About Mendi Jerufi
Early 1990s. 770 Eastern Parkway, Crown Heights, Brooklyn, NY, United States of America. A small corridor, just outside the office of the world renowned Lubavitch Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson. Every Sunday, the Rebbe stood there for hours and handed out dollar bills for tzedakah (charity) use to thousands of faithful Jews who flocked to him from around the globe.
Many anecdotes are told about this special place, and myriad stories are shared. Stories that took place that narrow corridor between the elevator and the Rebbe's office door in Brooklyn. And so it happened: A slender young man in his late teens slowly approached the holy Rebbe with great awe, awaiting his moment to receive a dollar. Menachem Mendel Jerufi´s eyes met the penetrating gaze of the Rebbe. And at that moment, something very special, in fact almost magical, happened. "We increase our joy," the Rebbe declared. This young man, who had yet to sing professionally, was astonished by the unusual blessing he'd just received. Typically the Rebbe said 'Bracha v'Hatzlacha' ('blessing' and 'success') when giving out dollars. Mendi quickly sought clarification of this special blessing, by asking those close to the Rebbe for an interpretation – to no avail.
"I began to analyze what the Rebbe meant by his blessing and came to the conclusion that he wanted me to use my voice to bring others joy," says Mendi Jerufi. "While I'd enjoyed singing in the company of friends and family, it never occurred to me to be a professional singer. Only after I completed my yeshiva studies and got married did I begin to pursue a career of making others happy with song."
Mendi first broke onto the music scene with a single called Eretz Asher Tamid ("The Eternal Land"), which was played on local radio networks and soon became a hit. Shortly thereafter, Mendi cut his first album (Eretz Asher Tamid) under the "Gal Paz" label, which propelled him onto the world scene as a Chassidic singer. A circle of listeners and fans grew steadily, and invitations to perform at concerts in various Jewish communities worldwide poured in. He sang and danced himself into the hearts of his audiences – and continues doing so.
His second album, produced by Eli Yechieli and titled "Veyadata Hayom" ("And You Knew This Day"), found itself quickly topping the Jewish music charts. In 2002, Mendi took first place at the Chassidic Song Festival at the Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv. Accompanied by a full orchestra of 80 musicians, and conducted by Mordechai Sobol, thousands of listeners were treated to the song Neginot Nenagen ("A Tune We Shall Play").
Today, Mendi works closely with many top Chassidic musicians and countless Jewish singers and musicians. It's not uncommon to see him on stage performing with the biggest names in Jewish music. His most recent album Merakdin ("Dancing") has produced several chart-topping hits, and its single Merakdin is now a staple at weddings. Veteran Jewish music producers Moshe & Eli Laufer, as well as Yuval Stoppel, have infused authentic Chassidic melody with a fresh twist in Mendi's music.
Mendi is currently working on a new album, soon to be released, with hopes it will continue to increase the joy of his avid listeners around the globe.