Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Justin Bieber in Israel

It doesn't matter that I'm blogging from Berlin because they're talking about teen pop sensation Justin Bieber and his new movie "Never Say Never" here too. It seems that Bieber's 29-year-old Jewish manager "Scooter" Braun is working hard to promote his talented young client and his new movie in the media. I was contacted the other day by Edmon Rodman of the JTA who was writing a story about the inclusion of Bieber saying the Shema Yisrael in the "Never Say Never" movie.

Last year, I wrote about Justin Bieber's prayer circle ritual before concerts in which he includes the Jewish "Shema Yisrael" prayer in Hebrew. Rodman quotes "Scooter" Braun who explains, "Originally Justin and the crew just did a prayer circle before the show that ended with Jesus Christ. I wasn’t into that," so “we started saying the Shema. About the third time, Justin chimed in." "He had memorized it. Now others say it with us, too."

Rodman quoted me in the JTA article:

As noted by Rabbi Jason Miller of Michigan, who writes at, “Based on the number of concerts at which Justin Bieber performs, I'm guessing that he's actually said the most important statement of Jewish belief many more times in his life than the average 16-year-old Jewish youth.”

What is certain to get people's attention in Rodman's article is that "Bieber is scheduled to bring the Shema to Israel" on April 14, just five days before Passover. While some artists, like Elvis Costello, have canceled performances in Israel, Braun stated that there is no question that the concert will happen as scheduled and that Justin Bieber and his mom, Patti, are excited to visit Israel (specifically Bethlehem).

In fact, Bieber will still be in Israel for the first night of Passover and "Scooter" Braun plans on having a seder. There's no word yet on whether Justin Bieber will lead the Four Questions (traditionally sung by the youngest at the table).

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