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Lipa Schmeltzer

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Eluzar Lipa Schmelczer is an American Hasidic entertainer, singer, actor, and composer, popular in Israel and worldwide.

Musical career and controversies

Schmeltzer's albums have gained tremendous popularity within the American Hasidic community due in part to his masterful Yiddish lyrics, original compositions, and, most of all, his innovations in fusing traditional Hasidic music with contemporary music styles.

Schmeltzer's albums have been controversial from the very beginning. Conservative elements within the Hasidic community were unhappy with Jewish music being influenced by contemporary pop music. One of their main claims is that Schmeltzer's identity as a bona-fide Hasid makes it more appealing to a wider Hasidic audience and therefore more likely to introduce contemporary music to their community, which tends to be insular and more reserved. A number of communities have banned Schmeltzer's albums.

Proponents argue that Schmeltzer is a maverick in the world of Hasidic music. He pushes the envelope and is innovative in ways that no other Hasidic performer has been. However, this is precisely to what the opposing view is objecting.

Schmeltzer is himself a Hasid of Rabbi David Twersky, the Skverer Rebbe and he resides in Airmont, New York with his family. Under the guidance of his Rebbe, he is said to have declined to perform at events with mixed seating for men and women, despite offers of lucrative compensation. Some Hasidic members of the Skvere Community conjecture that Schmeltzer does not follow the directives of the Grand Rabbi, who rejects Schmeltzer's style and performances, while others deny that there has even been any backlash against Lipa from within their community.

The "Big Event" controversy

In February 2008, publicity started for a concert in Madison Square Garden in New York featuring Schmeltzer and Shlomie Gertner, billed as "The Big Event." A massive amount of publicity was generated in newspapers and radio stations. However, on February 20, 2008 a full-page notice was printed in the newspaper Hamodia. The notice stated that it was "a serious prohibition to attend or perform" at the concert, even going so far as to add that it was "forbidden to hire these singers to sing at any party, celebration or charity event."[1]

During the following days, there was much speculation over whether Schmeltzer would perform at the concert in the face of this ban or not. On February 26 2008 it was confirmed that he backed out after discussing the issue with his Rabbi. He was also quoted by the New York Times as saying “I have a career, I have a wife and kids to support, I have a mortgage to pay, I have to get out of the fire.” [2] At the same time, Lipa pulled out of a concert scheduled in London later that month with other singers.[3]

In the months after that, controversy grew about the ban and the motives behind it. In particular, people were questioning why the ban was put out so close to the concert date, resulting in the Israeli charity financing the concert losing $700,000 dollars, and also the wording of the ban, which seemed at odds with views the Rabbis who had signed it had expressed elsewhere. [4] In an interview in June 2008, Lipa stated “If I knew the truth, the Big Event would not have been cancelled." He added, “many Rabbis have told me that people came to them with false information regarding my concert." [5]


  • Nor Bsimcha (1999)
  • Shema (2000)
  • Letova (2001)
  • Bederech (2003)
  • Leeilu Uleeilu (2004)
  • Keneina Hora (2005)
  • Hallel (2006)
  • A Poshter Yid (2008)
  • Non Stop Lipa (2009)


External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Lipa Schmeltzer. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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