Forward Thinking

Hasidic Superstar Meets Lady Gaga — Must See

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

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Break-dancing Hasidic robots in metal yarmulkes.

The anti-Internet rally meets Toy Story in a Lady Gaga video.

Those seem to be the general concepts behind this new English/Yiddish music video by Hasidic pop superstar Lipa Schmeltzer, which you really need to watch.

Schmeltzer, the biggest act in the Hasidic world, is a long way from crossing over into mainstream pop, as this video can attest. But the production values are almost there, kind of. It’s like a late-90s boy band video with absolutely no girls in it, and really befuddling silver make-up.

We’ve written about Schmeltzer before. When he made an arguably exploitative video about the murder of 8-year-old Leiby Kletzky in Boro Park, we debated his aesthetic value on our podcast. We’ve also written about how a rabbinic ban levied against his concerts in 2008 actually boosted his popularity.

Schmeltzer now appears to be taking on the use of the web, one of the biggest issues of the day in the Orthodox community. He seems to be taking a slightly different tack from the rabbinic leadership: Instead of opposing web use broadly, Schmeltzer is criticizing overuse of mobile web devices.

That said, this video is pretty nuts. What’s going on with that refrigerator full of cell phones? And why is that kid juggling fire? Explain in the comments.

Update: A sharp-eyed reader notes that we a little off in our characterization of Lipa’s video as “like a late-90s boy band video with absolutely no girls in it.” In fact, there are girls — three, to be exact, browsing the electronics store at 0:13 and then again at 0:19. They disappear in time for the robots to start singing, and they don’t come back - not even for the non-robotic circle dance.


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