THIS WEEK: How Jewish communities are responding to transgender Jews; Do we have a responsibility to Syria?; What’s new with Hasidic popstar, Lipa Schmeltzer?
The hugely popular Jewish singer Lipa Schmeltzer has stirred up controversy with his new music video in which he dons an Israeli Defense Forces Uniform reportedly in response to the heated debate over enlisting ultra-Orthodox Jews for military service. On a trip to Jerusalem earlier in the week, the self-styled Lady Gaga of Hassidic music posed in IDF uniform for the cameras in Zion Square accompanied by former soldiers from the ultra-Orthodox Nahal Haredi army unit. This provoked considerable anger in Haredi circles, where affiliation to the IDF is often taboo. This is not the first time Schmeltzer has attracted condemnation from the ultra-Orthodox community and has in the past been accused of ‘ribaldry’ for his outlandish videos. In 2008 thousands of Haredi fans were disappointed when the singer was forced to cancel a show at Madison Square Garden in New York when a group of 33 rabbis issued an edict against it. They accused Scmeltzer of luring young people away from the path of spirituality with his music.