The Shmooze

Shuli Rand, Remember Him?

By Nathan Jeffay

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Remember Shuli Rand, the actor who took the lead role in “Ushpizin,” an internationally acclaimed Israeli movie made in 2004? Well that role is pretty much the extent of the actor’s exposure outside Israel since he returned to the ways of his Orthodox upbringing and became ba’al teshuva, or newly religious, in 1996. But in Israel, he has become a huge musical star.

In 2008 he managed the unlikely achievement of writing an album based on the teachings of his religious mentor, the late Hasidic leader Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. The album went gold, with buyers across the religious spectrum.

Today, he fills concert halls and theaters in Israel, and his songs are regularly played on mainstream radio stations. He recently released a live album of the concert he gave in Caesarea in October, which is selling fast. In a rare interview just uploaded to YouTube you can hear his thoughts on music (interspersed with clips of him playing), on the struggles of becoming newly religious – “It’s not that a person grows a beard and puts a hat on and that’s the end of the story” – and why becoming observant as a star is different today than it was in the past.

Watch the video below:


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