Jewish Unity Live will feature St. Louis debut of Orthodox singer

At left, Yaakov Shwekey performs in Jerusalem in 2015. The well-known Orthodox Jewish singer will make his St. Louis debut at the St. Louis Kollel’s upcoming Jewish Unity Live event on March 15 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center at UMSL. PHOTO: YAAKOVSHWEKEY.COM 

By Eric Berger, Associate Editor

Orthodox Jewish singer Yaakov Shwekey noticed in recent years that his six children didn’t even know the name Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach or his beloved compositions. 

“The only time machine we have today is music — you cannot go back in time no matter how great the technology is, no matter what kind of phone you have, you cannot go backwards. The only way to take the mind and the soul backwards to your feeling of youth is through music, and I felt that there were a lot of songs being lost,” said Shwekey, a well-known performer in the Orthodox world who lives in New Jersey.

With that in mind, Shwekey released an album last year, “Those Were The Days 2: My Favorite Collection,” featuring covers of classic Jewish songs from composers like Carlebach and Abie Rotenberg.

Shwekey will perform songs from the album and his original music during a show, “Jewish Unity Live,” on March 15 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center. The event is being sponsored by the St. Louis Kollel. It will be Shwekey’s first time performing in St. Louis, and he will be backed by a full band. 

“I am extremely happy to come to St. Louis. I’m looking forward to meeting new people and giving them an idea of what Jewish music is like in terms of new music and also singing some classics with them. I love to sing songs that people can sing together as well,” Shwekey, 43, said. 

When Shwekey spoke with the Light, he had just returned to the United States from performing in Jerusalem. 

“The feeling I get singing to the Jewish people is really a feeling that I can’t even describe because singing music is the lan