Gad Elbaz and Dudu Fisher in powerful 'Jewish Unity' concert

The sold out crowd of 3,000 at the majestic Kings Theater in Flatbush, Brooklyn was comprised of Jews of all ages and backgrounds.

Mica Soffer ,

Gad Elbaz
Gad Elbaz
Chaim Twiito

Participants at a recent music performance in Brooklyn experienced a unifying and electrifying evening that left them with an uplifting and empowering feeling about "The Power of Jewish Unity," as Tuesday's event was billed.

While the stage boasted a lineup of Jewish music's top stars Gad Elbaz and Dudu Fisher, the concert ended up being an emotional journey through the miraculous growth of world Jewry since the Nazi Holocaust.

The sold out crowd of 3,000 at the majestic Kings Theater in Flatbush, Brooklyn was comprised of Jews of all ages and backgrounds, from unaffiliated to Orthodox, from Litvish to Chassidish, from Sefardic to Ashkenazi.

If music has the ability to excite, imagine an evening packed with duets, cherished tunes, memorial tributes, moving images and to top it off - an actual wedding of a bride and groom who are children of Holocaust survivors.

"We wanted people to feel inspired and uplifted by the show. The message was, Judaism does not equal tragedy and death, but rather continuity and life," says Daniel Finkelman, who produced and directed the show along with executive producer and composer Cecelia Margules along with Lev Rivkin. Co-producers were Shlomi Cohen, Victoria Zirkiev and Zvika Bornstein.

Dudu Fisher
Chaim Twiito

Finkelman says the theme of the concert was the power of Jewish unity and "strength and survival of the Jewish people despite the horrors of the Holocaust." Performances carried the theme of Jewish pride and continuity, with dazzling production by Technical producer Moshe Okunov and the D-Vision company.

The show opened with singer Avi Benjamin and rapper Nissim Black rocking the house. An emotional moment was soon felt when singer Lipa Schmeltzer performed a moving duet with a pair of 90-year-old men who have risen to stardom as the "Holocaust Survivor Band."

The two men noted how they have recently returned from a visit to Israel and witnessed its miraculous development and growth. Tying both aspects was the world renowned performer Dudu Fisher who sang "They're Coming to Jerusalem" and "Mama" composed by Cecelia Margules to two elderly Holocaust survivor women presented with "woman of valor" awards.

Another moving highlight was a duet between C. Lanzbaum and young soloist Pinny Schachter, who performed a song composed by Cecelia Margules for the legendary R' Shlomo Carlebach. The crowd was transported back in time as the soloist sang together with the recording by R' Carlebach shown on the large screen.

When superstar performer Gad Elbaz took the stage, the crowd was primed for his upbeat popular songs and smooth demeanor as he sang some of his hits, including "Hashem Melech" and his now famous rendition of the Chabad Niggun "Tzoma."

Elbaz's voice then accompanied the transformation of the stage into a setting of a wedding ceremony. It came as a complete surprise to many in the crowd when a white Chuppah was placed center stage.

The groom Pesach Charni and bride Avigail Chazin, descendants of Holocaust survivors, agreed to share their special day and the joy of their wedding with the thousands in attendance, highlighting Jewish survival and continuity.

While getting married on stage is not what Avigail and Pesach had planned, when they heard that the show's producers wanted to have a wedding during the show, "It just all came together," the bride said.

"Our people had so many tragedies and we shed so many tears, that when we have a joyous occasion you want to share it with everybody, and you want to make it loud and invite as many people as possible," she said.

People in the audience turned their heads to see an elegant bride walking down the concert hall aisle to join the groom as Gad Elbaz sang "Boi Kallah." The wedding was officiated by Rabbi Aryeh Katzin, Executive Director of the Russian American Jewish Experience.

"Watching the wedding, and then hearing 3,000 people shouting 'Mazel Tov!' in unison when the chosson broke the glass, was just an unbelievably moving experience," Cecelia Margules said. "The unity in the room was palpable, as the entire crowd joined to share the joy of another Jew."

"One survivor told me after the show, that this was the first time she really felt acknowledged," Margules said. "Seeing the Chuppah and the continuation of the Jewish people meant the world to her," he said.