Itongadol.- He’s been called the Jewish Elvis; he’s been called the Lady Gaga of Hasidic Music. He’s a rock star, he’s a YouTube sensation, and he’s a Hasidic Jew. He is Lipa Schmeltzer, and his wardrobe is way more interesting than yours.
Lipa hails from the Skverer Hasidic community in New Square, New York—a closed community that is no stranger to criticism and scrutiny from the outside world. But Lipa has made a name for himself that is—if not crossover, at least a stretch for the traditional world he still inhabits.
He got his start as a wannabe wedding jester, or badkhn, but quickly became a popular wedding singer and an even more popular YouTube—and then international—star. Performing in English, Yiddish, and Hebrew, Lipa sings about Israel and money and our addiction to cell phones in pop, rap, jazz, klezmer, and rock musical styles.
Lesser artists might have left the Haredi community, and others might have left pop music altogether, but Lipa—who some think can do no wrong—does it all, and has his own shul, to boot.