New York, NY - Orthodox Jewish Student’s Song To Take Center Stage At Global Dance Event
New York, NY - Thousands of participants who will be taking part in a worldwide flash mob to promote kindness this fall will be dancing to music composed by a Yeshiva University student from New York City.
20-year-old Yaakov Feldstein may be majoring in finance, but his twin passions are music and chesed. Both of those elements come together in his song More Light, which was chosen as the anthem in this year’s Dance for Kindness, a project of Life Vest Inside, a non-profit organization started by a former Yeshiva of Flatbush teacher in the hopes of inspiring the masses to make kindness an essential part of their lives.
“I brought the concepts of kindness and empathy to my classroom daily and I saw the impact it had on the lives of children,” Life Vest Inside founder Orly Wahba told VIN News. “We utilize kindness to teach people to recognize their true value and when they engage in kindness they feel validated for all the right reasons, not because of how many friends or followers they have or how much money they make.”
Below clip is the song ‘more light’ by Feldstein.
One of Life Vest Inside’s largest initiatives is Dance for Kindness, a large scale flash mob with participants worldwide performing the same choreography, set to the same music, on the same day. It evolved from a dream that Wahba had one night and she woke up the next morning determined to see her vision come to fruition.
“Dance is a universal language,” said Wahba, who noted that she herself is not a dancer. “It shows that, yes, we may be different but we are all linked by kindness and we really want the same thing at the end of the day”
Wahba used her organizational skills to create a model that she could share with others in order to create multiple flash mobs held throughout the world. After staging a model flash mob in New York City as a test run, Wahba created a handbook for dance group leaders worldwide and took her idea to Facebook in 2012.
“I asked if anyone wanted to be a group leader,” said Wahba. “I had 30 people in 30 cities in 15 different countries and 3,500 participants that year. It was absolutely amazing and all organized via social media.”
Wahba said that her numbers continued to double each year and that last year’s Dance for Kindness attracted approximately 10,000 dancers in 80 different locations in over 30 countries including the United States, Canada, Israel, Sweden, Greece, Vietnam, Italy, Australia, India, Argentina, St. Lucia, Brazil and Singapore.
While in its first two years Dance for Kindness used existing music, last year’s flash mob featured an original score and Wahba decided to go a step further for 2015, opening up a competition to musicians all over the world, with the final anthem chosen by the public.
“We put out a call to action and we had about 35 song submitted,” said Wahba. “We selected approximately 10 or 11 songs that went up for public voting. We gave our composers materials to help their campaign and they went out to rally their friends and get them to cast their votes.”
Feldstein, who plays several instruments and composes and records music, said that he had already recorded More Light professionally and was about to submit it to iTunes for distribution when he first heard about Dance for Kindness.
“I slammed on the brakes and said, ‘whoa, this is exactly what they are looking for,’” recalled Feldstein. “The criteria was about promoting kindness and unity and my song was all about that.”
Wahba agreed with Feldstein’s assessment.
“The first time I heard it all I could think of was that it was so spot on,” explained Wahba. “The concept of bringing more light into the world is wonderful. Everyone has light within them that only they can give and if we simply empower people to realize who they are is awesome and amazing and that what they have is unique, then they recognize that they matter. Once they realize that, recognizing the value in others is simple.”
Feldstein, currently a counselor in Camp HASC who is involved in various other organizations including Yachad, NCSY, Music Vs. and Chai Lifeline, watched his song spend time vacillating between first, second and third places during the campaign. He ultimately pulled out a win with a margin of almost 200 votes.
“It was very close at the end,” said Wahba. “Yaakov rallied his support network together. He works in Camp HASC, has volunteered for various non-profits including Yachad and NCSY and he told me that they created an office space the last night of voting and people were reaching out to Camp Simcha and all the networks they could think of. In the end, More Light won.”
A graduate of David Renov Stahler Yeshiva High School in Woodmere who attended Yeshivat Shaalvim in Israel, Feldstein met Wahba for the first time this week at YouTube studios in Manhattan where they filmed a short promotion for Dance for Kindness, which opens registration for this year’s flash mob on August 25th.
“The promo is basically an interview in which the audience gets a little more of an insight into who I am and the inspiration behind the song,” said Feldstein.
Those who attend Dance for Kindness’s flagship event in Manhattan on November 8th will get to see even more of Feldstein, the youngest of five children from Hillcrest.
“We will have access to the billboards in Times Square,” said Wahba. “The song will be there. Yaakov will be up there, in his yarmulka, all in Times Square.”
Feldstein’s song will undergo some minor tweaking before it is recorded for Dance for Kindness.
“We are working on the production process of the song, making the best version of the song we can,” said Wahba. “We will go through the lyrics to make them as universal and as powerful as possible.”
About to start his junior year at Yeshiva University, Feldstein hopes to make aliyah and plans to continue writing music as a hobby.
“A lot of people ask me if music is what I want to do full time,” said Feldstein. “Ideally? Yes. Realistically? No.”
While he looks forward to a central role in the upcoming Dance for Kindness, Feldstein is hopeful that the larger message of kindness will take center stage.
“I am just a young, religious guy in a kippah,” said Feldstein. “The fact that my face is the face of this thing is crazy and flattering but it’s not about me or about basking in the spotlights that come with this victory but rather about putting my abilities to use and taking the opportunity given to me to make a difference.”
The lyrics below from Feldstein song:
A broken smile on those who don’t
The power of will to those who won’t
Today’s your day to share a dream
it goes away if you don’t believe
If you can walk, walk for him
If you can talk, give her strength within
Plant a seed in the ground
Take the stage so we can hear your sound
More light, more love
Sing the song that goes on and on
Hold on tight, through it all
Pick the whole world up if you see it fall
If there’s a space that you can fill
Look inside, you’ll find the skill
You can shine strong like the sun
Tell the lonely that we are one
There’s so much art for you to choose
It’s all in the heart that you infuse
Make the climb, give it a chance
With what you find, Teach the weak to dance
Don’t need a cape to be a hero
It’s more heroic to teach others to fly
Just need the strength to carry on
Search for the courage to stand up and fight
Oh oh oh oh….
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