Arutz Sheva was on hand as famed Hassidic singers Avraham Fried and Yaakov Shwekey made a rare joint performance last Thursday during the intermediary days of Sukkot, in a special show to raise funds for the United Hatzalah volunteer emergency medical services organization.
The show, held at the International Conference Center (ICC) of Jerusalem's Binyanei Hauma, was both exciting and an honor according to the singers, with Fried calling it a "special treat" given the rarity of collaborations between the two.
While it may not have been the very first time the two performed together, they noted that joint performance was given particular meaning in the context of United Hatzalah's focus on unity and coming together to help the wounded.
Shwekey called for unity in all types of Jewish music, including hassidic, Ashkenazic, Sepharadic and more, so as to celebrate the beauty that brings them together.
"In many ways we're the same," Fried said, comparing himself to Shwekey. "Our goal is the same: to touch the yiddishe neshama (Jewish soul in Yiddish - ed.)."
He added that as singers, both he and Shwekey try to help Jewish souls, "and United Hatzalah helps Jews physically, so we're in the same business almost."
United Hatzalah founder and president Eli Beer told Arutz Sheva that the concert was "probably the nicest event I ever saw in my life."
The proceedings of having the "two giants" on one stage went directly to purchase equipment for United Hatzalah, Beer explained, noting the state of affairs is thanks to a generous donation by Leonardo Farkas of Chile which covered the entire event.