Uncle Moishy and Uncle Moishy slug it out in court

Jewish court rules that competitors can both lay claim to the popular Orthodox Jewish musical character.

Tzvi Lev,

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Court
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A Jewish court has ruled that two separate entertainers can both perform under the title "Uncle Moishy", settling a contentious lawsuit over rights to the musical persona, the Canadian Jewish News reported.

"Uncle Moishy" has released dozens of albums that educate children about Judaism and religious practice. Together with his entourage, titled the "Mitzvah Men", he sings songs about the importance of giving charity, studying Torah, and respecting one's parents.

The character was first played by Canadian Rabbi Moshe Tanenbaum, with his first album launched in 1979 to great commercial success. Tanenbaum has appeared in 22 albums and 14 videos, heading an extremely profitable and popular franchise that spawned many imitators.

However, the relationship between Tanenbaum and his "Suki and Ding" label deteriorated, causing Tanenbaum to leave to the Sonic Duo Productions label. Since the split, Tanenbaum and "Suki and Ding" have slugged it out in court over who owned the rights to the Uncle Moishy music collection and the character itself.

After deliberations, a Beit Din (rabbinical court) decided that Tanenbaum as well as "Suki and Ding" both owned rights to the character, leading to a scenario where two separate entertainers now perform under the Uncle Moishy title.

Suki and Ding's new Uncle Moishy character, which is played by Toronto-based Rabbi Yossi Berktin, released his first album to mixed reviews. Tanenbaum's lawyer told the Canadian Jewish News that he believed that the character should belong solely to his client.

“The Beit Din came to its decision,” said Tanenbaum's attorney, Farley Weiss. “We felt and believed that they should have decided in our favor; that since my client, Uncle Moishy [Tanenbaum], created the name Uncle Moishy, performed as Uncle Moishy before he ever got involved with Suki & Ding – that if he wants to go out on his own and perform as Uncle Moishy again he should be able to do so, and should be the only one doing it."


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