Jerusalem – Israels new sensation in Chassidic music is not from Jerusalem or Bnei Brak. Until a few years ago he was an African-American Christian from Ohio.
In an interview to Israel’s CH. 2 The Jews are the children of HaKadosh Boruch Hu, says rapper Yehuda Menashe, who studied in a New York yeshiva, converted and adopted a Hebrew name. He made aliya almost a year ago, and his speech is now a medley of English, Yiddish and Hebrew.
His booking agent, Moshe Kornfeld, tries to present him as a major figure in the music scene. We met at the yeshiva, Kornfeld recalls. I simply saw someone who sings and makes others and himself happy. He sings from the heart. How can I not be a part of this? I said to myself.
Since being discovered, Yehuda Menashe keeps a tight schedule. This week he led a couple to the chuppoh in song. Last week, at a Bnei Brak wedding, he shared the stage with top frum singers Dudu Fisher and Yishai Lapidot.
A few days ago he performed at an upsheren in Meron and he sings at bar mitzvahs. He says he has no problem appearing before various audiences, whether charedi, secular or in between.
Yehuda Menashe spends his time learning, looking for a shidduch and working on new material.
I love Jewish music, says the young prodigy. Its better than non-Jewish music. I sing like I’m davening. If someone sees me singing, for me its as if I’m praying to HaKadosh Boruch Hu.