Brooklyn, NY – It is difficult to remember a time when people didn’t hire a separate singer to sing at their simchos, but it wasn’t that long ago. Until approximately twenty years ago, it was generally the keyboard player who served as the singer. But all that changed one Chol Hamoed Succos in Kiryas Joel, NY when Michoel Schnitzler was asked to sing during a Simchas Beis Hashoeiva. Schnitzler refused, but was pushed up on stage anyway. He was so good that after he finished, he was asked to sing at an upcoming wedding. Clearly it was just a joke and Schnitzler agreed to do it.
Except that the person who asked him was deadly serious. A few weeks later he called Schnitzler and told him that he was expecting him to sing at his son’s wedding, that very night. Schnitzler unsuccessfully tried to excuse himself and in that moment, the Jewish music business was transformed forever. Schnitzler sang at the wedding and by the time the night was over, he had been booked to sing at several other weddings. And thus the job of “wedding singer” was created in the Jewish community, paving the way for countless other singers to lend their talents at simchos worldwide.
A successful recording artist, Schnitzler has released ten albums, four of them in Yiddish. His latest album, the best selling ‘Mein Kind Tref Mir’, featured the song ‘A Mentsh Tracht Un Gut Lacht’, which Schnitzler decided to make into a music video, titled Rabois Machshuvois. And once again, Michoel Schnitzler was about to make Jewish music history.
After reaching 20,000 hits on YouTube, Rabois Machshuvois was clearly a huge hit and Schnitzler decided to take it one step further. Working with his first Yiddish album, Di Neshuma Flam, he took all nine songs and transformed each one into a full blown music video. The result? Another ground breaking moment for the Charedi Jewish music world: Di Neshuma Flam DVD, the first full length, non-concert, music video ever made available to the chareidi world. The heartwarming stories, filmed all over the world, feature not just live actors, but horses and buggies, old houses and barns, making the stories literally come alive onscreen.
Each inspiring tale is a treasure that touches the heart. Lechtela, tells the story of a mother lighting her last candle in memory of her son who had surely died during the war and how, years later, her search for a candle reunited them in Yerushalayim. Another story tells of how the Koshnitzer Rebbe was born to his parents after receiving a bracha from the Baal Shem Tov. Optional English or Hebrew subtitles enable even non-Yiddish speakers to capture every nuance of each song. Almost two hours long, the DVD also includes a full length interview with Schnitzler, behind the scenes footage, and bloopers.
While most would view this DVD as simple entertainment, Shnitzler told VIN News that Di Neshama Flam has had an impact beyond anything he ever imagined, saying “I get calls, emails and texts all day long. A guy who hasn’t opened up a sefer in fifteen years told me that after watching the DVD he is going to start learning again.” Another story on the DVD, about a Rov who refused to leave his kehilla during the war and died in Europe, inspired someone who had abandoned Yiddishkeit completely to return to his Jewish roots and become observant again.
Schnitzler hopes to start work on his next DVD within the next six to twelve months.
Below is an Exclusive YouTube trailer of the DVD [Edit trailer credit ShiaHD]