Artist behind torched ‘Mitzvah bus’ finds new footing after arson
March 21, 2019 Sara Bosworth
Lev Schieber, also known as Leviticus. Photo courtesy of Lev Schieber
Almost two years after the brightly painted bus Lev Schieber used as a studio was torched and destroyed, the Crown Heights-based artist looks back on the arson not as a tragedy, but a harbinger of business.
Long before it was burned, the bus, which Schieber originally used as a mobile studio and a way of getting his kids to and from school, brought him good publicity after it was featured in a music video by Hasidic singer Benny Friedman. The song, “I’m a Jew and I’m Proud,” has more than 13 million views.
Months after making its music video debut, the “Mitzvah bus,” as it came to be called, was set aflame in June 2017 on the corner of Troy Avenue and Maple Street. Police originally investigated the fire as a hate crime because of what the bus had come to mean to the local Jewish community, but those charges were dropped once a serial arsonist was arrested.
“[The bus] is bigger than me,” Schieber told DNAinfo soon after the arson, adding that the community responded with “overwhelming sadness.”