On the 15th anniversary of the attacks, Chabad of Forest Hills North teamed up with Lazer Lloyd, aka Eliezer Pinchas Blumen, for the “Stop The Violence Solidarity Event.” Lloyd is an internationally recognized musician who specializes in the blues and Americana.
For a few hours on Sunday evening, an engaged audience clapped and sang along with Lloyd's songs. Guests also made friends, enjoyed a home-cooked buffet and won prizes.
Chabad of Forest Hills North was founded in 2012 by 30-year-old Australian native Rabbi Mendy Hecht and 28-year-old Brooklyn native Rebbetzin Chaya Hecht.
“As a Chabad House, we hope that doing another ‘mitzvah,’ maybe by just smiling to another individual on your way to work, will make things a lot brighter in such darkness,” said Rabbi Hecht.
A younger Lloyd attended a Reform and Conservative Hebrew School, but felt the teachings did not resonate within him.
“When [God] came and took me, I had no choice,” Lloyd told the crowd on Sunday evening. “I heard, 'Lazer, I want you to use the blues to smuggle in kedusha all over the world.' We all have to connect to who we really want to be, and break all those chains of what we think society wants us to be.
“To see [God], you have to see the world,” he added. “There are different things that I see, which I just have to speak out about. There should be no such thing as a homeless veteran. Let’s meditate and think about how many people did a lot for us to get where we are today.”
Shortly over a decade ago, Rabbi Hecht met Lloyd while studying the Torah in a yeshiva in Israel, which is where the rabbi’s parents lived. Later, the two became neighbors.
“I was very impressed by his wisdom, personality and wit, and his ability to bring that into the modern world,” said Lloyd.
The rabbi in turn praised Lloyd for his spirituality and open-minded nature.
“Lazer knows all the big hits out there, but brings them out with greater meaning,” Rabbi Hecht said. “He delivers a message of peace, hope, and morals.”
At age 50, Lloyd is still a picture of youth. Raised in New Jersey and Connecticut, he began playing guitar at 13 and by age 16 was performing in bars with his band Legacy.
He has spent the past 22 years in Israel while touring worldwide, and some of his many original songs include “Rockin’ in the Holy Land,” “My Own Blues” and “Esqueça do Mundo (Forget the World).”
He recently composed a song for a critically injured Israeli soldier named Dikla After posting “Tears For Dikla” on Facebook, it garnered more than three million views and thousands of comments.
“She miraculously survived, and since her energy and heroism is embedded in that song, this woman soldier was able to affect millions of people,” Lloyd said.
One significant experience in his career was playing alongside the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, who is recognized as one of the most prolific composers of 20th century Jewish music.
“Through his deep message of love, peace, and unity, and being yourself and not giving up on you and your Jewish identity, it helped me connect to my soul and others,” Lloyd said.
[i]On September 15 from 8 to 10 p..m., columnist Michael Perlman will host a discussion titled “The Jewish History of Forest Hills” at the Young Israel of Forest Hills at 71-00 Yellowstone Boulevard. It is a free event and open to the public.[/i]