Lipa Schmeltzer Graduates With Honors At Columbia University

Manhattan       Lipa Schmeltzer, a well known Jewish music superstar and artist graduated from Columbia University on Monday. Lipa graduated with a double major in creative writing and visual art. Lipa currently has more than 18 solo albums to his name and is a sought out entertainer in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Israel.

The Jewish entertainer developed a passion for music and art during his early days. The second- youngest of 12 children and the son of a Holocaust survivor, Schmeltzer told the Columbia Spectator that his art helped him to cope with his surroundings.

At the age of 20, Schmeltzer got married. Schmeltzer tried making ends meet by working as a delivery boy when he first got married.

Coming from New Square Schmeltzer had never been exposed to contemporary music.

“I have one foot in the secular world and one in the Jewish community,” he told the Columbia Spectator.

He quickly rose to stardom in the Jewish music world, being dubbed the “Jewish Elvis”  while secular media outlets dubbed him the “Lady Gaga of Hasidic music”. Schmeltzer garners millions of views on his youtube videos and social media platforms and currently has 18.3 thousand followers on Twitter and 13.8 thousand followers on his Instagram account.

Lipa tells GifterIngotham that he had a rough upbringing and a very tough year after losing his father and grandmother.

Columbia University graduation 05.14.2018 Photo: Shimon Gifter
Lipa Schmeltzer Columbia University 05.14.2018 Photo: Shimon Gifter

However, his wit and style and music is deemed modern and attracts a range of responses on online forums.

Schmeltzer was featured in the New York Times in March 2008 for the controversy his music sparked. In February 2008, he was due to give a concert At The Theatre located in Madison Square Garden under the billing of “Big Event”. Hamodia, a Hebrew-language Israeli paper, published a paid and phony article banning and warning its readers against attending the show. As a result, Schmeltzer was forced to cancel the concert and a later one in London. Schmeltzer lost a considerable amount of money.

Rabbi Shmuel Kaminetzky later apologized for the ban saying he was misled when signing the ban along with other Rabbis who were misled. Many Rabbis who banned Lipa at the time promised to reimburse Lipa for his monetary loss to Madison Square Garden including his producer Sheya Mendlowitz but to date, he has not received a dime from anyone who made up fake stories which caused the ban in the first place.

Since that event, however, Schmeltzer has performed for Mayor Michael Bloomberg at his annual Hanukkah party at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. In December 2015, he sang for Michelle and Barack Obama at the annual White House Hanukkah Party and sang at thousands of weddings, Bar Mitzvah’s and other functions.

Contrary to rumors Lipa Schmeltzer never told people he is a Rabbi. Lipa is an entertainer and an artist and many unfortunate people do not know the difference.

When Schmeltzer arrived at Columbia, he tells the Columbia Spectator he experienced a dramatic learning curve entirely separate from the academic aspect of his studies. His background meant he had little understanding of how to operate in a coed environment, didn’t know the normal conventions for writing an email, and frequently came upon communication difficulties given that English is not his first language.

The 2017-2018 registration at Columbia is over 32,000 students according to the Columbia press department. graduates arrived at 5:30 a.m. The graduation ceremonies began at 8:30 a.m.

GifterIngotham stood on the sidelines at Columbia University to watch Lipa graduate and witness thousands of people cheer each other on. What a momentous occasion and historic achievement it was. To watch thousands of people be happy for each other and people they do not even personally know was a sight to see.

Lipa Schmeltzer at Columbia graduation ceremony. Photo: Shimon Gifter

GifterInGotham asked Lipa how he got his foot in the door and what his first experience was like getting into Columbia University. Lipa tells GifterInGotham, “My professor had to tell me it’d be a good idea to add ‘Dear Professor’ and a comma at the beginning of my emails, and maybe a ‘thank you’ and my name at the end,” Schmeltzer said, laughing.

Lipa Schmeltzer Columbia University graduation ceremony. 05.14.2018 Photo: Shimon Gifter
Lipa Schmeltzer Columbia University graduation 05.14.2018 Photo: Shimon Gifter

Many people think Lipa as only an entertainer and never serious. What I found was a very humble, emotional, serious person with a great sense of humor. the emotional side of Lipa is not something most people get to see unless they use him as a badchan at weddings.


After graduating, Schmeltzer will be returning to Columbia in the fall to pursue a masters in Jewish studies, and he hopes to go on tour this coming year and continue making art alongside his studies, which may include Jewish art. Lipa will always be available for gigs. Lipa is still a very sought out singer and entertainer.

“I think I have something to show, not only in the Jewish Community,” he said. “I do art to bring modern art into the Orthodox Jewish community, to bring people together, to bring peace to the world.”

While interviewing Lipa, dozens of people including people from different faiths congratulated Lipa on graduating and mentioned how his story is so uplifting and inspiring.

Lipa added, “not everything comes easy but when there is a will, there is a way.”




  1. This is so inspiring. Thanks to GifterInGatham for being truthful and sharing the important stories of the community.


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