The Four Sons…a new boy band in the image of the Backstreet Boys, N'Sync:
"It’s like I’ll want to ask someone a question but I just can’t. I really can’t," said Donny Goldberg, or also know as the Son Who Doesn’t Know How To Ask. Donny is one of the four members in the hottest boy band in Jewish music history, the Four Sons. "I’m not sure how to do it. Like Jeopardy – I’d suck at that."
It started about three years ago, when Yerachmiel Begun began to lose interest in the Miami Boys Choir. The pepper bearded tall composer sat down at a Starbucks with a plain black coffee and told me how it happened. "I only drink Cholev Yisroel so that’s why I’m only drinking black coffee here." When I explained to him my question was in regards to the Four Sons and not his coffee, he answered, "well, I noticed that there wasn’t enough flash in the Miami Boys. I felt like something was missing and putting a "z" at the end of "boyz" just wasn’t enough." So Begun began his search for a band in the image of the Backstreet Boys , *NSYNC, and God. "Well, the image of God is important in everything I do. I remember that we are all created B’tzelem Elokhim. But that was the easy part. Do you know how hard it is to find a nice bocher that looks like Justin Timberlake?" While meeting the other band members, it became abundantly clear that we are indeed less better-looking than our goyish counterparts.
In an unconventional beginning for a pop star, these guys never belonged to any Mickey Mouse Club, they sat and learned. "I’ll be honest, the most experience I had before this was an audition for Tzivios Hashem, which by the way, I made lieutenant," said Jordan Garfunkel, also know as the Wise Son, "but that’s it. Oh, and Shabbos Zemiros." Jordan makes quite an unlikely pop star, much like the others. He is a bit on the chunky side and is going through an unfortunate acne problem. "But that’s fine," Garfunkel reassures me, "after all, I am the Wise Son." After pushing on me his quite random knowledge, I almost believed that this was the Wise Son. I then asked him a multitude of questions pilfered from Trivial Pursuit, the Disney Edition. He could not answer them – and now the doubting began, was this really the Wise Son? "Am I supposed to waste time with that shtuss?" he answered my question with another question. "Please, besides everyone knows that Disney was an anti-Semite."
After meeting with Jordan, who incidentally was able to do my taxes and interpret a "most difficult Tosefos" for me, I proceeded to meet with the others. I was warned about meeting Yissel Fleishman, the Evil Son, as he would be elusive and hesitant in answering just about every question I threw his way. But much to my surprise, I found Yissel to be the quite the opposite. Pleasant and accommodating. When I met him at his house, he was busy setting up his mother’s Shabbos candles. On a Tuesday. "I like to be prepared and help out as much as I can. It’s my true nature." I confronted Yissel on his label as the Evil Son. "Oh, that’s just an image. It’s like wrestling. We give people an image to buy into. It’s Yerechmiel’s idea. In fact, if he knew that I was downplaying my evilness, he would dock me from night activity." I then proceeded to tell him that I was a reporter and reporters write stories for the public to read. So there was a good chance that Yerachmiel would indeed see this piece. "In that case, "Yissel began to raise his voice," get out of my house, you Shaygutz! I have no time to answer silly, stupid questions from someone who can’t find a date!" And it was with this that I finally understood his label. Indeed, here was the Evil Son.
Danny Ben David (who insisits he's not related to "him") is known as the Simple Son. "Please, please, don’t make such a fuss out of me," Danny said, "it’s just me." I was putting out soft drinks for Danny to drink but he insisted on drinking water. "Water is just water. I like that." While the others have distinct qualities, Danny lacks something significant. In a world of Kosher Delight Burgers, Danny is a Veggie Burger. "You know, most people would take offense to being called the Simple Son but I don’t mind." Because you are simple, I asked. "Well, yeah and because I don’t get these complicated movies like "Kate and Leopold" or understand arty reads like those Tom Clancy books." I spent the least amount of time with Danny because he wasn’t all that interesting. "I just like singing because it’s a nice thing to do."
Now back to the fourth son in the Four Sons. I found Donny Goldberg almost comical. He really was not able to ask any questions. "You have this in a medium," he said matter-of-factly to the wardrobe manager, "I can’t wear a small." Donny was trying on a white shirt and black pants, the opening uniform for the Four Sons show.
"You know, I never really thought to ask questions. I always just said things. Most people think it’s cocky and confident but it’s my way of doing things, you know." But I found this to be the challenge I was looking for. I was going to make Donny ask me a question. Ask me where I was born, I told him. "You were born," he said back, "somewhere."
Chol Ha’moed Pesach; this was the largest show the Four Sons were to perform. It was in Great Adventure and there was an incredibly large presence of Jewish people there. Everyone from the Hasidim with their 13 children to the NCSY’ers holding hands with their newly found "girlfriends."
"I’m really quite nervous," said Jordan, "which is normal and understood. That’s how the brain works."
"I want this guy out of our dressing room," interrupted Yissel. I took no offense because I really knew Yissel and this was just part of his image.
As I walked out I wished the four of them good luck and Donny shot back, "who needs luck." And then I realized I heard Donny say the word "who." A question! As if he read my mind, the Son Who Did Not Know How To Ask shot back, "that was a definitive statement, by the way."
The show was a spectacular unlike the Jewish music scene has ever seen. Full of pyrotechnics, dancing Rebbe extras, and even a reenactment of Moses receiving the Torah from God. They went through a set list of all their hits and threw in a cover of MBD’s "Yerushalayim Is Not For Sale." "We want to dedicate this song to Yerushalayim," said Jordan. "Because it’s about Yerushalayim, ya’ know," added Danny. Except for the obvious lip synching, the show was a brilliant display of showmanship. "The show has really changed my life," said Yaffa, an eight grader from Teaneck. "I don’t think I will ever go back to Evan and Jaron."
"That was my intent," Yerachmiel added to that, "I wanted to change people’s lives. It’s why I got into this business in the first place. And the fall of Evan and Jaron is a side benefit."