For President Obama, a Brand New Yarmulke From Lipa Schmeltzer by the Forward

For President Obama, a Brand New Yarmulke From Lipa Schmeltzer

Hasidic pop star Lipa Schmeltzer recently delivered a pair of newly-designed silver yarmulkes for President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle.

The gift was the culmination of a promise he had made to the First Couple last Hanukkah, after the annual candlelighting ceremony at the White House, where the singer had been invited to perform.

As President Barack Obama thanked him for the performance, Lipa, apparently moved by the moment, quickly introduced himself, adding that he’s known as “the Jewish Lady Gaga” and that he would like “to make him a gold and silver yarmulke”, whereupon Obama quipped: “Oh good, well let us know, man! I’ve been looking for a gold and silver yarmulke!”

Afterwards, Schmeltzer was suddenly struck with the magnitude of what he had done. “Here I had made a promise to the President of the United States, so I knew I had to keep my word,” he told the Forverts.

Michelle Obama’s spokesperson, who had overheard the exchange between Schmeltzer and the President, requested that the singer be sure to make one for the First Lady as well. Schmeltzer agreed.

Since then, Schmeltzer worked hard to design the yarmulkes, with the help of a Brooklyn company, “Best Embroidery.” In the end, though, he chose to use only silver.

On May 12, Israeli Independence Day, Schmeltzer finally returned to the White House and presented the two silver yarmulkes to the Liaison to the Senior Advisor.

He also donated a framed poem of thanksgiving to the First Couple which he had written for the occasion.

“I feel honored to be able to present them with a poem of mine, but, unfortunately, I forgot to sign it,” Schmeltzer said, and added, grinning: “But it doesn’t matter. I’ll autograph it the next time I see the President and First Lady, when they invite me for dinner.”

Rukhl Schaechter is editor-in-chief of the Forverts.


Rukhl Schaechter

Rukhl Schaechter

Rukhl Schaechter is the editor of the Yiddish Forward (Forverts) and also produces and stars in the YouTube series, “Yiddish Word of the Day”.

For President Obama, a Brand New Yarmulke From Lipa Schmeltzer

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

For President Obama, a Brand New Yarmulke From Lipa Schmeltzer

Thank you!

This article has been sent!