Jared Feinman, 27, was once bound for a different life.
He was just a few credits shy from graduating from the University of Richmond with a degree in business. He’d studied music growing up in Newtown Square, but it never seemed quite right as a profession. But something was pulling him during that senior year.
He left Richmond for the Berklee College of Music and, today, Feinman, the great-great-great grandson of a Latvian cantor, is combining his business education and the music he loves into the Love and Be Free Foundation, named after his new song, “(Let’s Sing For) Love and Be Free.”
Feinman spoke about his life as Jewish songwriter, spirituality and tzedakah. He also thinks you should check out the new Bob Dylan album.
How would you describe the overlap between your life as a musician and your life as a Jewish person?
There is a parallel between my path as a songwriter and my spiritual path as a Jew. What I do in songwriting, I’m a seeker, I seek some truth. And in Judaism, we seek that truth in a different way. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we have music in our temples, and music is a big part of all religions, but specifically with Judaism, the nature and the presence of the cantor … there’s such a parallel that I’ve been finding. It is spiritual.
I don’t claim to be a very religious person — I wouldn’t dare to claim that. However, in a way, songwriting is my attempt to navigate any sort of spiritual template for life.
How is your latest song an expression of those feelings?
The song is spiritual. I collaborated with an amazing gospel choir from the city of Philadelphia — I knew from the beginning I needed some spirit. Of course, I wrote this song before the pandemic, and before the unrest in the country and the world; never could I have imagined how relevant it would be. But at the core, it’s a human condition song … The lyrics, “Let’s sing for love/ Let’s sing for freedom today,” each chorus, the way I imagine it, the chorus is almost like a congregation of people singing together. I imagine me singing this with a big group of people one day.
How would you say that the Love and Be Free Foundation is an expression of the values that you sing about?
Our mission is to heal the world through the song. It’s sort of taken different turns. I just knew that I wanted to help people, in my own small way, sort of my own mitzvah project. Charity has been an important part of my family, and that’s how I was raised, to give back. My willingness to serve definitely came out of this emergency we all face, with the pandemic.
I wanted to give back to local Philadelphia musicians, and people that work in these venues, that have been out of work for months now. We partnered with Philly Music Fest’s microgrant initiative, which gives out microgrants in the form of $250, and we’ve raised just over $2,000 in two short months.
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