For the World’s Leading Hasidic Rapper, a New Album Is the Best Way to Honor God

The American-Israeli Ḥasid and rapper Nissim Black had planned to release a new album in November, but after the October 7 attacks he decided the timing wouldn’t be appropriate. Next month, however, the album, in which Black combines various styles he has experimented with over the years, will at last come out. Shiryn Ghermezian writes:

Black told the Algemeiner that a rabbi he became close with in recent years in Beit Shemesh, where the rapper lives, inspired him to name the album Glory. A native of Seattle, where his parents were part of the hip-hop scene, Black explained that he also recently experienced a period in his life when he thought a lot about his purpose in this world.

“I came to the conclusion alone that it was to spread the glory of God in the world. That’s what I’m here [to do],” said the singer, who converted to Judaism in 2013. . . . “And every time I would come into the beit midrash [study hall], the rabbi would put me on the spot and say, ‘Nissim, you need to make songs li-khvod sh’mayim [in honor of God].’ For him to be saying that about me, it was a good push.”

Black’s favorite track on the album is titled “Ayeh.” . . . In the song, Black sings about someone being in a very dark place in life, crying out and asking, “God, where are you?”

The name of the song refers to a line from the liturgy, Ayeh m’kom k’vodo, which means “Where is the place of His glory?”

Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hasidim, Jewish music, Popular music

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7