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December 24, 2013 12:21 am

Kippa, Tzitzit and Rock & Roll: The Unlikely Rise of the Gat Brothers

avatar by Gidon Ben-zvi

The Gat brothers. Photo: Screenshot.

What was initially perceived by many Israeli television viewers as a gimmick has turned into a phenomenon. A pair of devout, soft-spoken chasidic brothers in skullcaps and sidecurls are breaking down stereotypes and have emerged, according to a Times of Israel report, as the most unlikely of media darlings — reality rock stars.

Two days before their appearance in the championship round of the hit Israeli reality talent show  ‘Rising Star’, Arie and Gil Gat have grown from a local  obsession into international sensations. Increasingly known around the world as the ‘singing rabbis’, the brothers look, dress and act the part of the classic religious Jew – yet pound out an intoxicating rock & roll beat that can’t be denied.

The Gat brothers found their way to a more strictly religious lifestyle a decade ago yet never gave up their love of music, according to a profile piece published by Israel’s Channel 2 website. Before deciding to audition for ‘Rising Star’, Arie and Gil sought out and received Halachic (Jewish legal) approval to appear on a prime time television program whose target audience is largely secular Israelis.

Yet, it turns out that even among the Charedi (ultra-Orthodox) public that is considered to be well off the grid, the brothers are just as famous as they are among non-religious Israelis.

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As one ultra-orthodox fan recently told the rockin’ Gat boys: “We have heard all about you, the Charedi pair that is glorifying God on television.”

According to Gil, he and Arie’s music, “…brings down all barriers between secular and religious people.”

“There is this kind of love…,” he says.

Rock on, brothers, rock on…

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