From American Idol to the IDF band
American Idol alumnus Brett Loewenstern has made aliyah this week to enlist in the IDF and has already secured himself a spot in one of the military bands.
The 22-year-old Florida native, who made it to the semi-finals of American Idol’s tenth season, was able to land an unprecedented audition for the band even though he did not yet have his Israeli citizenship.
His early childhood was not easy. His love of art and music and the fact that he has a high pitched voice turned him into an easy target for bullies until the age of 16, when he auditioned for American Idol.
His heart wrenching story of overcoming childhood bullying combined with his wild red hair stole the judges’ hearts, particularly Jennifer Lopez. After his impressive performance of the song “Let It Ne,” Lopez exclaimed “That boy’s got blues!”
Loewenstern made it to the top twelve male semifinalists, but was the first to be voted out of the group.
He then made a trip to Israel which changed his life. “For a week I went around Israel, and I fell in love with the Jewish identity of the country. From then on, I knew that I needed to find a way for me to take part in the Zionist dream.”
After deciding to make aliyah, Loewenstern turned to Nefesh B’Nefesh, and because of his musical background, the organization, in conjunction with the Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, the Jewish Agency, and KKL-JNF, were able to set up an audition with the IDF band – even though he wasn’t even an Israeli citizen yet.
“When I received the message that I had passed the IDF band auditions, I jumped for joy,” Loewenstern said. “I was happier getting that message than I was when I passed the audition for American Idol. Even though I am not obligated to serve due to my age, I am happy for the privilege to contribute to Israel in the best way I know – by signing.”