Thursday, August 30, 2012


There's a new video from international Hasidic pop star, brocade bekeshe and funky glasses wearer, Lipa Schmeltzer. It's called Mizrach (East) and it celebrates unity or achdus among all Jews. Well, among all kinds of male Jews. OK, maybe not all male Jews, but anyway.

The Mizrach at issue here is Israel and the division between its haredi and secular Jews. That division (and the bitterness it creates) is felt in the haredi community's (until now, legal) avoidance of national military service via the Tal law. "The law, enacted in 2002, provided a legal framework for full-time yeshiva students, mainly from the haredi community, to indefinitely defer military service."  That law recently expired and the government is now free to start calling haredi youths for military service.

As you can imagine, the military's absorption of a huge, restive demographic with highly specialized ... ahem... needs is both a logistical and cultural challenge. There's a lot of ill will from all sides mizrakh, maariv, tsofen, durem (east, west, south, north). Enter Lipa.

Lipa is a vocal supporter of haredi participation in the Israeli military and this video is an interesting, and in some quarters provocative, statement of his support. He dances with soldiers, he dances with frum yingermen. He wears funky glasses and hipster square Satmar briln. He's got multiple kippah changes. Lipa is Liberace in pelts and this is 2012 akhdus, baby! 

Check it out:

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