Matisyahu & Miri Ben Ari Mumbai Benefit

I just got back from the Mumbai “Chanukah: Light Up The Night” Benefit with Matisyahu and Miri Ben Ari. My first thought was, “wow, this event was put together beautifully and then it struck me how Chabad are the smoothest of the Chassidic sects.” Blue Fringe opened up the show and since it was an UWS style singles event, it was by default, background music. When it was time for Miri Ben Ari she had a friend hush the crowd, bring them to the front and school them on Miri’s accomplishments. Miri had a strong and dramatic hip hop backing track blast as she took the stage and delivered violin melodies that pierced your person. After her two songs Hillary Lewin, a NYer that spent 6 weeks with the Holtzberg’s in Mumbai spoke from her heart about her experiences and about how incredibly giving and selfless the Holtzberg’s were. The crowd continued to mingle, which was very very disappointing, but for the people that heard, it was very moving and special to be able to hear her experiences. Her words were followed by a video all about what had happend and words from the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach then took the mic (video here) and spent sometime trying to hush the crowd, when the mingling finally came to whisper, he spoke about how the Jewish people are not a morbid people and that it is important to understand the hurt and sadness, but it is also important to celebrate and take lessons and strength from what the Holtzberg’s actions were and the ideals they represented. He then drew a correlation to one Hasidic Reggae Superstar and how he too did not compromise his beliefs to live his dream of making music that moves the world towards spirituality and goodness. Matis took the stage backed by Trevor Hall on guitar and a very inventive percussionist. His music fit the mood perfectly. Somber, but uplifting. check the video to see Matisyahu and Miri Ben Ari performing together, as he called her to the stage for his final song. The evening was very different than most NY Saturday nights. My emotions jumped high and low as the speeches, videos and music went on. As I went to my car to drive home , I noticed that my window was open and thought someone had broken in, I looked closer to see that not one thing was missing. It is my bracha that everyone leaves a part of them open and that no one takes anything away from them in a negative way, but sees this window as an opportunity to connect
and bring the redemption we so badly need.

Erez Safar

Yasher Koyach to Rabbi Naphtali, for more info


TO VIEW VIDEOS FROM THE EVENT CLICK TO THE SHEMSPEED YOUTUBE HERE (give a day or two for more videos to get uploaded)

* If you would like to get involved with Shemspeed’s upcoming “Millions for Mumbai” benefit series, email


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