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YU Student’s Song Chosen As Theme For International Kindness Flash Mob

A 20-year-old yeshiva student from Queens composed a song about making the world a better place, but he never envisioned that one day it would be used as the anthem for a worldwide flash mob that organizers hope will attract over 10,000 participants. Sometimes, as Yaakov Feldstein found out, life is full of surprises.

Feldstein, a finance major at Yeshiva University, has long had a love of music.

“I’ve been playing music since I was seven and writing music since I was 14,” Feldstein told the Jewish Link in a phone interview from Camp HASC, where he is working as a counselor. “I play primarily piano and guitar and dabble in other instruments.”

Feldstein, who describes himself as an “overall music enthusiast,” was about to release his song More Light on iTunes when he heard that the organizers of a mass global dance event were looking for a theme song.

“Someone forwarded me an email that they were calling on songwriters to submit a song for this big competition,” said Feldstein.

The event was Dance for Kindness, a project of Life Vest Inside, which inspires people to spread kindness around the world. Last year’s Dance for Kindness attracted 10,000 participants at more than 80 locations in over 30 countries around the world who all danced to the same song with the same choreography on the same day. Organizers were looking for a song that would continue their positive message for this year’s event.

Feldstein figured he had nothing to lose and instead of submitting his song to iTunes, he turned it into Life Vest Inside. Feldstein was surprised to find out that his song had made the top 10, with the winning song to be chosen by public vote. He placed requests for votes on social media and as days went by, he found himself in serious competition for the lead.

“People around the world were voting for More Light and the support was absolutely flattering and humbling to say the least,” said Feldstein. “Camp HASC was involved. Camp Simcha was involved. Friends were involved. People I didn’t even know were involved.”

By the time voting closed on July 10th, Feldstein had the lead. Once all the votes were verified, he was officially notified on July 16th that More Light had been chosen as this year’s Dance for Kindness anthem, with 190 more votes than his nearest competitor. The song emphasizes the importance of doing for others and how each of us has the ability to better someone else’s life in our own way, no matter how big or small, with inspiring lyrics including,

“Don’t need a cape to be a hero. It’s more heroic to teach others to fly.”

“My music can be primarily categorized as contemporary Jewish music or ‘open to interpretation’ emotion works, with lyrics in Hebrew of English and influences from past experiences or emotions,” explained Feldstein.

More Light will be produced and choreographed by Life Vest Inside and a dance tutorial video will be available to all participants in advance of the November flash mob.

Feldstein, who hopes to record a promotional video with Dance For Kindness in the coming days, sees the entire episode as an opportunity to present Orthodox Jewry in a positive light.

“I view this entire journey as one big opportunity to make a tremendous Kiddush Hashem and have a positive impact on the world with my music,” said Feldstein, who is involved with several organizations including NCSY, HASC, Chai Lifeline, Music Vs. and Yachad. “I am a young religious Jewish musician with a kippah, Hebrew name and all, and I am taking on a role of showing the world that it doesn’t have to be a place of just war and hate, but rather of camaraderie and kindness.”

Dance for Kindness 2015 will be taking place on Sunday November 8th, in celebration of World Kindness Day on November 13th. While Feldstein may be the face of the event, yarmulka and all, he is quick to note that the true focus of the event is on essential human goodness.

“It’s not about getting my name out, or basking in the spotlight that comes with this victory, but rather about putting my abilities to use and taking the opportunity given to me to make a difference,” said Feldstein.

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

By Sandy Eller

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