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.