Loud music and discussions about what key to play in is just a typical day at the Ross household in Lawrence.
Rabbi Aaron Ross, an elementary-level teacher at Yeshiva of South Shore in Hewlett, and his nine children ranging from 2 to 17 make up the family band called Rock Mishpacha. They’ve officially been playing together for roughly three and a half years and Ross explained the origin of the name. “In Hebrew, rock translates to only and mishpacha translates to family,” Ross said. “Our name translates to ‘only family’ in English.” The band consists of Ross and his children: BZ, Baruch, Avi, Mordy, Moshe, Yehuda, Batsheva, Dovid and Miriam.
Ross said the band provides an outlet for him and his kids that creates a stronger family bond. “The kids are all musically talented, which greatly helps,” he said. “In today’s world, electronics permeating the world around us and we wanted to give the kids an outlet besides electronics. This is what the band provides.”
The only electronics in sight when the family plays are iPads for each of the children to read the music. “It’s funny that we don’t want the kids on electronics but I bought them each expensive iPads,” Ross added.
Putting together a song set consists of meeting and deliberation in the family’s dining room. “There’s a lot of healthy discussion that takes place in the dining room,” Ross said jokingly. “We deliberate on what songs to play and who will sing vocals for each song. There’s a lot that goes into this.”
Making money is not the goal as right now they prefer to be charitable with their musical abilities. “We would love to play for those that cannot afford a band,” Ross said. “A wedding, bar mitzvah or any other special event really needs good music and we want to help those in need have an amazing experience.”
The band’s most recent gig took place at the home of the New York Mets, Citi Field, in August. Baruch, 16, is a student at Yeshiva of Far Rockaway. The drummer considers the gig in Queens as his favorite one yet. “We were able to freestyle a lot of our set at Citi Field,” he said. “I had a blast performing there.”
The oldest child, BZ, 17, plays the tenor saxophone. Ross considers him the “co-leader” of the band. “I just have so much fun playing with my family,” BZ, said. “I hope we continue to do this going forward.”
Ross also runs a blog called Yid parenting, which offers parenting advice and a not for profit called the MJYA Foundation. He also recently began working as a public adjuster. “I don’t sleep much, but that’s OK,” he said. “When you love what you do, you don’t need much sleep.”
A possible tour is in the planning. “We’ve discussed playing at different day camps throughout the tri-state area next summer,” he said. “Hopefully we can finalize some dates soon.”
More information on the band can be found at Rock Mishpacha’s website, https://www.rockmishpacha.com/.