“I could have been a Rabbi, however, I guess I had other plans for myself, and I’m sure G-d approves of them.”
Yochai Greenfeld is not just another performing artist. His day begins with putting on Teffilin, and he follows all the laws of Judaism throughout his day – in between his rehearsals and auditions, of course.
Born 29 years ago into a Modern Orthodox family in Jerusalem, Yochai was always unique in his community. In his Jewish religious world, he stood out as an aspiring actor, and in his acting and performing world, he stood out as a yeshiva student. He found it hard to combine his love for studying and performing side by side. When the time came to join the IDF, he took 2 years for intense level Talmud studies at a Yeshiva and then spent 5 years as a high ranking intelligence officer. But that 7 year break did not stop his urge to get back on stage. He pursued studies in dance at the Jerusalem Academy for Dance and Movement, and then moved to Tel Aviv, performing with different dance ensembles. His big break finally came when he was cast as “Big Deal” in the Israeli version of “West Side Story.”
Is there any contradiction between religion and art? “Not at all!” says Yochai. “On the contrary, I feel that art is holy work, and I see myself as a messenger to make people happy.”
In April, Yochai will be moving to New York, where he is going to try and conquer the most prestigious stage of all – Broadway. While there, he says he’ll definitely be looking for a synagogue to join, so that he can hop over for Kabbalat Shabbat services between the matinee and the Friday evening shows.