July 14, 2024
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After Rocking Times Square, YU Student Continues Quest to Inspire With New Song

It was more than seven months ago that Yaakov Feldstein learned that one of his original compositions had been selected by popular vote as the theme song for a worldwide freeze mob/flash mob encouraging acts of goodwill. Since that time, the 21-year-old Queens resident has been on an emotional roller coaster, an experience he is sharing through a new song, hoping his message will have a positive impact on listeners.

Feldstein’s “More Light” was chosen last summer by Life Vest Inside as the anthem for its annual Dance for Kindness, a global event dedicated to spreading kindness throughout the world. The song emphasizes the importance of maximizing our potential by performing even small acts to better the lives of others. Twelve thousand participants, in over 100 cities and more than 50 countries, many decked out in Dance for Kindness orange T-shirts, capes and hats, all performed the same choreography to “More Light” on November 8, 2015.

The main Dance for Kindness venue was located in Times Square. Arriving on scene on the scheduled day and seeing a virtual sea of orange as a crowd of several thousand came to show their support and to cheer on 400 participants dancing to his song was a surreal experience for Feldstein.

“It was crazy,” said Feldstein. “Unbelievable. I got up there, had a microphone in my hand and it was kind of a dichotomy. I would say I never dreamed of doing something like this, but I have always dreamed of doing something like this. As much as I have always wanted to change the world through chesed and kindness, it was actually happening.”

Feldstein led the group through the song but admitted that he is not a big dancer, striding back and forth in front of the dancers instead as the music progressed.

“I felt like I was Yerachmiel Begun or Yossi Newman pacing in front of the Miami or Yeshiva Boys Choir, doing only half the moves,” quipped Feldstein. “You know, the easy ones.”

Feldstein, a junior who is majoring in finance and minoring in marketing at Yeshiva University, said that his music often comes from emotional places and personal experiences.

A few days after the Dance for Kindness event, he found himself writing another song, this one about seizing the opportunity to do something positive on a global level, a universal message that has the ability to resonate with anyone, anywhere, of any religion. Titled “Speak to the World,” Feldstein is proud to have delivered his message of unity to such a diverse and expansive audience, proudly wearing his kippah when meeting with Life Vest International, during television interviews and while leading the group in Times Square.

“Speak to the World is about that experience, being an ohr lagoyim, a light unto the nations, and taking the opportunity to do something positive for the world,” explained Feldstein. “My hopes are that this genre of upbeat, feel-good, motivational music speaks to members of both the Jewish community and the greater world population, as the messages behind the music are equally relevant to both.”

While still overwhelmed by the circumstances that led to his newfound celebrity, Feldstein continues to enjoy the emotional high he experienced in Times Square, which shows no sign of letting up any time soon. “More Light” has given Feldstein considerable exposure in the music world and he was honored this past Chanukah as one of eight student “Points of Light” at Yeshiva University’s 91st Annual Hanukkah Dinner and Convocation at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan for inspiring a global audience to perform acts of kindness.

The idea of giving back to others is nothing new to Feldstein, who has spent summers as a counselor in Camp HASC and is also involved with NCSY, Chai Lifeline, Music Vs. and Yachad. While music may be his passion, it is not something Feldstein sees himself doing full time.

“It is a hobby that I take seriously and will continue to do so, but it is probably not a promising career path,” said Feldstein.

“Speak to the World” was released in mid-February and is available through online music retailers including iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Spotify and Mostly Music. Feldstein is putting his coursework in marketing to good use, using social media to create buzz and generate sales for his new song. He currently has two other singles to his credit titled “No Disabilities” and “Shomer Hashem.”

By Sandy Eller

Sandy Eller is a freelance writer who writes for numerous websites, newspapers, magazines and many private clients. She can be contacted at [email protected].

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