The Heeb Interview: Matisyahu

If one were keeping track of the most talked about facial hair of the last year, I’m sure the honor would go to reggae star Matisyahu. In fact, I’m not sure there was ever another a time, aside from this one, in which a reputable news outlet like CNN or a gossip site like TMZ felt the need to report and to analyze one man’s decision to pick up a beard trimmer. And never mind the feverish discourse which happened all across the Jewish blogosphere (including on our very own site) which speculated on the shave like it could impact the Israeli/ Iran relations.

It turns out though that the while all the other media outlets focused on follicles, there was a lot more going on inside the mind of Matthew Paul Miller. Yes, the man behind the unkempt whiskers is going through some changes, stylistically, aesthetically, philosophically, artistically, and religiously. And while it saddens me to see any charismatic and talented young Jewish role model struggle with his identity especially when his unprecedented example has meant and can mean so much to many in our small and insular community, ultimately, Matisyahu’s struggle is very real and very much worth discussing.

With the release of the very commercial and radio-friendly album Spark Seeker, Matisyahu spoke to me about this little maelstrom in his soul, and the journey of one man privately seeking inner-peace in a very public environment. And as I found out very quickly–just a few minutes into our chat–we’ve all been guilty of asking the wrong questions. Frankly, this is all about much more than just a clean shave.

So…what would you like to talk about first: the music, or the beard? [Note: This was my attempt at opening the interview in a lighthearted manner. I wasn't trying to be insensitive if it comes across that way]
[Silence]

Are you there?
Yeah, I’m here.

Got it. Okay. So the new album Spark Seeker is an independent release. Tell me about the decision to go it alone.
I met some labels before releasing the album…and the labels weren’t running the way I wanted them to. The reaction from the labels was that they loved the music, but they didn’t step up to it when it came down to the bottom line.

Is everything okay? I’m sensing a little tension.
No, it’s all good.

Can I do anything to make it more comfortable?
I’m comfortable. I just can’t talk very loudly because of my voice. I try to not strain it before I perform.

Okay…
Who was writing all that shitty stuff about me on the website?

Ahhh. [Pause] That was not me. We have a staff of people who contribute to the site. I have yet to write about you since Heeb was in print.
Okay.

Apologies if you were hurt by that…but on a lighter note, the new sound–how did you think your hardcore fans would react to the record? I mean, they want to hear reggae, not a song produced by a guy who worked with Ke$ha? 
[Silence for a few seconds] Sorry I was spacing out for a second. When I write music, it’s not what and how people will think. It’s not how they will react. It’s what I do because it’s what I want to do. The last thing I want is for it to be an external thing. It’s an internal thing. Yes, it’s a more pop record…but basically, I’ve never been a purist in any form. I’ve always been about a blending of genres. I appreciate all types of music. I grew up in a world of blending and music. I’ve always been listening to different things—like I’ve been listening to Wu Tang in the parking lot of a Phish show.

Over the course of the career, an artist will go in many different directions. I could do an acoustic record. And I could easily do a top 40 record with [current producer] Kojak. I could also do a rock record. Bringing different things together. It wasn’t programmed or thought out. I met the producer and we worked together organically. And he brought out the cleaner side to me…a side that was all about the hooks and the melodies.

You just mentioned Phish and Wu Tang, but do you have an appreciation for Top 40 music? I can’t imagine you listening to Bieber.
Top 40 doesn’t necessarily mean shitty. Remember, Michael Jackson was top forty. And there’s an art form in writing a pop song. It’s about hooks. Why can’t a hook be something that’s not shallow? It doesn’t have to appeal to the lower aspects of humanity? I just wanted to make music that was accessible…again, I didn’t mean to make it accessible. It was just a groove that I got into with Kojak.

What has been the fan reaction thus far? Are you aware of it? Have you been reading reviews?
It’s hard to tell what’s reality and what’s just some bad, mean comment on Facebook. It could be some dude who has his opinion…and whatever. You create something, someone’s always going to have a reaction. But I don’t see how there could be a bad reaction to this record though. To me, it’s the funnest thing for me to listen to. I couldn’t listen to [live record] Stubbs right now but I can listen to the new one over and over.

Why can’t you listen to the older stuff? Is it like looking at awkward high school photos?
It’s just the way it is. Do I respect [the older material]? As a photo of where I was at the time? It was special and unique in the way that no one had done that.

I can’t help but think that you’re also distancing yourself from the bearded guy. That in some way, when you shaved, you shaved away that phase of your life and not liking it is a form of suppression.
Music was never about that. The only time I could see that awkwardness is with the more preachy elements…when I felt the impetus to speak in between songs…these ideas and concepts that are more related to the religious aspects. The music itself was pure to me. So no, that’s not awkward.

I’ve got to ask about your wife’s reaction to all of this. I know you have children and you’ve raised them in a fairly strict Orthodox environment…and for a husband and a father to change his aesthetic suddenly…and perhaps his observance…that must be pretty jarring. I think I even read that you didn’t discuss the beard shaving with your wife before getting it done.
Yeah…I love my wife very much. But it had nothing to do with her. I chose to become religious. I chose all that. I never said this is permanent and this is who I will be for the rest of my life. People who are close to me who chose to be close to me, and they have to accept that. In general, the whole beard thing was very personal. I am in the public eye so I knew it was going to be discussed…but I was trying to not think of other people at the time. I wanted it to be pure.

Your beard was your identity. Like Batman has a mask. Or Paul Wall has grills. And the Jewish community respected you for your uncompromising observance, even if, to many, it started and ended with aesthetics.
Yes, but I think that I should never see myself being dependent on the Jewish community. I saw my crowd grow from being 80% Jewish to there being maybe three or four beards at a show. Maybe five or ten yarmulkes out of a crowd of thousands. If Marley shaved off his dreadlocks, he maybe would have not been as cool but his music would have still touched the souls that it did.

When music touches you, it’s so intimate. You feel indebted to that artist. You feel closer to that artist more so than to anyone else in your life. I must have known to a degree that my fan base would have been there for me with a beard or without. But it wasn’t about other people. It came to a point that I just needed to do it.

How do you approach spirituality now? Like, let’s get specific in terms of observance.
I’ve got a chef who cooks vegan and it’s kosher. That’s not an issue though. The concept to me is much deeper than mixing meat and milk. You shouldn’t get caught up in all the stuff. It has to be about healthy, about mind, body and soul. You can keep kosher and be completely out of shape.
If I didn’t have Shabbos to turn off the phone, the computer, and to not tour–that’s a deep experience. Keeping Shabbos back in the day could sometimes be like a bad acid trip. I’m stuck in a dark place for twenty-five hours, sometimes on tour being in a hotel with no TV, being alone…that was really lonely. So I’ve come a long way as far as my relationship with Shabbos, in understanding it. In making it personal. And my thinking is, why not do that on Saturday…?

I’m a blend right now with what goes with my intuition and what goes with the rules. But why do I keep the Shabbos though? Is it guilt? Is it meaningful to me? I still have to sift through it.

How does one “sift” with a family and a spotlight?
I’m very open with the kids. I’m very comfortable with what I’m doing. My oldest son…we have conversations. We talk about it. I could say, we could never do this before…or mom doesn’t want us to do this…but dad is okay with it. It can get confusing but it’s important for me to show them that there is a broader perspective. This world that they’ve been raised in—basically the Lubavitch headquarters and then on a tour but–this is a beautiful opportunity for them to have these experiences. This is real. Change happens and you can’t always be sure of your decisions and beliefs. I think that they have to make their own decisions in life. They can’t have anyone telling them what to do. Not even me.

Do you want them being brought up in a Yeshiva upbringing?
I wouldn’t put them in Yeshiva, if it were up to me. There are some beautiful aspects to it. There are some holy and beautiful things to it…being outside of the mainstream culture which focuses on being cool, girls, and all that….the main thing for my kids is that they should be taught to think and question. That didn’t happen for me until college because I was in public school. I was exposed to my lifestyle, but no one else’s. The main thing [for my kids] is a place that can let them grow and learn and question. Next year, they’re going to a home school-type program where they learn differently. I think it’s important to get past the idea of who and what you are. It’s good to have identity and know what you are. I tried on different things…I wore a yarmulke on the subway, I grew a beard…that was me exploring. I don’t like the concept that we’re taught in Yeshiva of being the chosen people and that’s so rampant. I’ve seen that a lot. And my kids have said that coming home from school…and I’ve gone in to speak to teachers about that.

Are you still wearing a yarmulke?
I think basically when I took on the look of a chassid, there was a whole look. A whole vibe. It was style. I decided to be a chassid. But I was also twenty-one years old. I remember when I started wearing a yarmulke and started growing the beard and got the tzitzis all at once. It looked cool to me. It completed the uniform ,but then I got pushed into the suit. That became later when I got really sucked in to Chabad. You need to wear a hat and a suit. In retrospect, it was a style thing. I know the yarmulke represents more than style…but it didn’t fit with who I was any more. Does it really represent my fear of God? That’s bullshit. I wore a yarmulke when I was drunk and puking in public. That became nothing to do with fear of God. People act disrespectively when they’re wearing a yarmulke.

But do I feel God without the yarmulke? It did bring me to a different standard, yeah. I mean, I stopped checking out girls when I was twenty-one and wearing a yarmulke. But it wasn’t about God, it was about identity. I went into a gas station in South Carolina and had it on–I forgot to take it off–and I remember the reaction of the people in the gas station. I remember thinking, Oh yeah, I’m different. I felt proud. But then it became less important to me. My spirituality is happening inside. If it’s really happening inside, I really feel for myself and I don’t need anyone else being aware of it.

I know that you collaborated with Jewish African-American rapper Y-Love who recently came out of the closet. What are your thoughts on another Jewish role model reinventing himself?
We’re not necessarily close friends, but we do know each other. But what he did…that takes what I did to a whole another level. I think that people need to do what they need to do and be what they need to be. It’s every person’s decision to become what they always feel like they need to be.

I agree with you, but I was personally disappointed about his choice to come out and dress up in drag all at once in the video for his single “Focus On the Flair.” Like, consider all the kids you performed in front of at yeshiva gymnasiums before you throw on a dress.
It’s not my cup of tea but if that’s how he wants to represent himself. Live your own life.

Getting back to the new record, you open it with the words of praise “Yevarechecha [you should be blessed].” Why start the record with such a strong Jewy opening?
Shaved beard and blonde hair. He’s obviously given up on Judaism, most people will say. On the contrary, I feel more spiritual than I ever have. It’s not that simple as people want to see, and so I think it’s cool that the first thing someone heard on this record is yevarechecha. It’s a message that we [just] can’t all have simple.

I’m not sure if this is a sensitive topic, but I remember a few years back the New York Times published a story about your contentious break-up with your original label J-Dub. I was wondering if you could elaborate.
I don’t feel the need to make myself look great or cover over tracks and all that. Basically I had some issues with J-dub. Not so much with Aaron but with another person. I found that on more than one occasion I was lied to. And I also thought that there was a certain attitude that they felt like they knew everything and I can’t stand that attitude. The attitude that they are too sure of themselves, especially when it came to me and my career. On top of that, honestly, I got swept away by a big fancy manager who told me everything I wanted to hear. That I was going to be the next Bob Marley. I was going to be a superstar.
I had a lot of faith in myself that I would be successful so when I met a manager who told me that that was his speciality…and so I believed him. If I could go back, I definitely wouldn’t have done what I did. I’ve seen the J-Dubs guys here and there. I may have seen Aaron and told him I had regrets about things. I don’t remember if I did or not.

Don’t get me wrong—I appreciated what they did. I was in yeshiva and two guys came to me and said they could help me.

That being said, I don’t think there’s a need to have a label like that.

So if there are so many changes here, then why keep the name Matisyahu? Why not go back to Matthew if this is about reinvention?
Judaism is still very important to me. It’s still a big part of who I am. Looking here next to me…the books I have are Burnt Books, a comparison of Rebbe Nachmun of Breslov and Franz Kafka. Another is a tehillim, another is a siddur and another is a biography of the [Rebbe] [Note: Matisyahu mentioned a specific Rebbe but I was unable to hear it]. The name “Matisyahu” means a lot to me and it’s not hard to say. Like, it doesn’t have a “chh” in it. It has a spiritual life force. My real name Matthew or Paul are both Christian names and so I don’t relate to them. But Matisyahu feels like it has a spirit I relate to.

I read somewhere that your real given name is Feivish Herschel but you only found out about that years after having been Matisyahu?
I was not aware of that name for many years. Al Pi Halachah [according to Jewish law], my name is really Matisyahu. Those papers were discovered many years after I adopted Matisyahu.

As someone who has thought about name changes, aesthetic changes, why do people change their identities to be popular and accepted like, for example, Bob Dylan and Gene Simmons?
When I started this, I believed it’s all about being real and being true to yourself even it that means changing your name. I think people respond to that. Bob Dylan would have been Bob Dylan even if his name was Robert Zimmerman. I think it would have been the same regardless–he would have written the same songs. I think Gene Simmons had a tough name with a “chh” in it so that was a career change. But I don’t know if they were escaping their Judaism. I think they were just thinking, well, Bob Dylan is a cool fucking name.

What do you think?

About The Author

Arye Dworken

Arye Dworken lives in a tastefully decorated two bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side with his wife, son, and dog named Barrett. Barrett is named after one of the original members of Pink Floyd yet Arye wouldn't necessarily consider himself a big Pink Floyd fan. It just felt like a good dog name. You can find more Arye on aryedworken.tumblr.com or twitter.com/aryedworken.

30 Responses

  1. A

    I find it troubling to talk about spirituality with those who swing like pendulums, and monkeys searching for newly pleasurable bananas.

    I guess theres a little of that in all of us, but as adults we try to live a certain way, offering stability and dependability to protect our kids and others from the confusion of the shuffle that might bring us pleasure and others pain.

    Reply
  2. Y-Love

    Would you like to address what you thought of “Focus on the Flair” to me personally on Facebook, or would you rather only throw in side jabs in interviews with other artists?

    Reply
  3. Mark Dommu
    Mark Dommu

    “Like, consider all the kids you performed in front of at yeshiva gymnasiums before you throw on a dress.” So you’re saying that there is something wrong with dressing in drag and kids shouldn’t see it?

    Reply
  4. Arye Dworken
    Arye Dworken

    Yitz. Thank you for your thoughts.

    On May 15th, about a day or two after you premiered your video for “Focus on the Flair” I wrote an email to someone in your inner-camp in which I said this:

    Read the news about Y-Love. It’s really great to see him finally being himself. I congratulate him and wish him the best in all his future endeavors. I hope that his newfound freedom and his ability to live day-to-day as he’s truly meant to live will reflect in his work to come.

    I do have one thing to say and I’m wondering what you feel about this. Yitz is and can be a role model for many Orthodox Jews struggling with homosexuality. And perhaps his coming out will empower them and inspire them. Perhaps he can even stand as an example for the intolerant and judgmental community. However, the thing that bummed me out is that Yitz decided to dress as a woman in his new video.

    Here was his opportunity to be a strong role model, a young man deciding to be out and live as he is meant to live, but then he somewhat sullies that groundbreaking potential by giving the [close-minded] naysayers and the homophobes fodder to dismiss it all. Why can’t someone function in our world as a gay man? I would say he can, yet while homosexuality is very close to being culturally accepted, I doubt that cross dressing ever will. [Anyway] I was just curious about the decision to do this, etc.

    In any event, congrats again. Much strength and love to him.”

    I never heard back.
    However, I still very much feel this way. You came out as a gay man. Not as a transgender. If you had, then this would be a different conversation entirely, but when you live your life in public such as you do, there’s a certain amount of responsibility that comes along with it. You can be mad at me for what I said. I have no issue with that. But then again, I can also be disappointed with your choice to wear a dress.

    Reply
  5. Arye Dworken
    Arye Dworken

    A, Being a touring musician is an inherently unstable life. I admire Matisyahu at least for trying to figure it out.

    Reply
  6. Mark Dommu
    Mark Dommu

    Your non-apology is way more disappointing than wearing a dress is. Thank you for doing your part to put down queer art.

    Reply
  7. Mark Gunnery

    Drag is a part of gay and queer culture. Doing drag is an expression of that culture. We shouldn’t have to not do drag so straight people can be comfortable with us.

    Reply
  8. abigail

    I agree, Mark.
    Arye, cross dressing in this video (and, as I understand it, often in general) is an expression of self that is brave, fearless, joyful and playful. it actively challenges (quite joyously, i believe) what is normal and expected in both Jewish and secular society– a society that pressures us to believe that men and women are meant to behave, act, look a certain way. What I love about Y-Love (love to you, Y-Love) is how he is tackling so much at once. I understand the shock some yeshiva kids might feel seeing drag but honestly, I think this world needs more drag (whatever form it takes. for many, a woman putting on tefilin has the same visual impact, I’d imagine. I’ve seen more ortho guys dress in drag on purim than i’ve seen ortho women put on tefilin, ever). Our world would be better if more yeshiva kids, more of all kids, were exposed to a greater diversity of open, accepting, joyous, spiritually expression. Cowing to society’s expectations and limiting the expression Hashem lets flow through our veins is killing us both as Jews and people in the world that need to change things so that we call all live more wholly. The stakes are too high to tiptoe around these issues– especially when what we’re talking about with regard to this video is really not really that out there. Y-Love keeps Judaism and Hasidut alongside everything else that helps him express himself and that is what will allow us to keep on thriving, I think, as Jews and whole people in this world. I don’t think we change anything by staying within those lines. I’d say artists like Matis and Y-Love, who have the voice and the audience basically have an obligation to shine out to the world who they really are, in all of their soulful complexity and ambiguity. We young jews who identity with that ambiguity (whether it be halachic, spiritual, intellectual, gendered, whatever), need as much help, guidance and celebration as we can get.

    Reply
  9. Y-Love

    Exactly, like Mark Gunnery said. (I think I know who you sent that email to. It wasn’t sent to me, but that opinion sounds familiar so it probably was your email.) The woman in the video with me was Leiomy Couture, one of the premier dancers in the NYC vogue scene, legendary in her own right. Yes, transgender.

    Black gay culture is different from white gay culture in that respect. Vogue and “ball culture” is something that has been a staple of the black gay world for decades. “Focus on the Flair” was me accepting all parts of myself (mit der chassid, and voguing with Leiomy) at once for the first time.

    Obviously, I can’t give a damn about what people think – I’ve lost a percentage of my fans, and I’m cool with that at this point. However, don’t put it on the “kids I’ve performed in front of in yeshiva gymnasiums”, they represent the demographic I’ve lost the least of. In fact, as I said on Facebook, one yeshiva kid was even angry at his mother for not allowing me to play at his bar mitzvah — it was the mother who had the problem, not the kids.

    Reply
  10. Arye Dworken
    Arye Dworken

    Just to be clear, this is not about sweeping gestures or cross-culture criticisms. This is about a specific example–one man in one very complex and frankly unprecedented predicament. I think it’s presumptuous of anyone to think I was saying otherwise. Moreover, I think if you weigh the positive of the potential example versus the damage of the actual example…well, the sacrifice would have been worth it. Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts. I ask if you have any more comments about this to please reach out to me directly because ultimately this is a story about Matis.

    Reply
  11. abigail

    sorry– that was pretty rushed/redundant/typo-filled; i should be working and not commenting, but, this is something I’ve been thinking about for a while. thanks, arye, for both this interview & forum.

    Reply
  12. A

    Arye, while Im not in a greement with you on some of what you said, power to you, youre a person who draws the line!

    Everyone is free to do as they please in this free country, I agree!
    Free to make their ancestors, all the way back, blood curdle in shame, forget about the fans. They have the option of not buying tickets. Done. Free country.

    Atleast, were they not to stomp on all their ancestors held dear, PUBLICLY, with pride.

    And if someone might want to have relations on the street tomorrow, hey, its a new world with a new unlimited guiltless, carefree, shameless moral code.

    Reply
  13. FACE

    y-love, the article’s not about you. please don’t hijack the thread.

    Reply
  14. abigail

    this article isn’t about y-love, true, but it is about varying and evolving expressions of what a jew(ish artist) looks and sounds like. our ancestors would have probably been upset about matis’s dye job and veganism too. my own grandparents’ idea of what a jewish woman looks and sounds like is very different from my own. judaism isn’t just about protecting the past, obviously– its about growing, changing, giving, opening. being a diverse, complex light to a challengingly complicated world. like matis says, we can’t have it all simple.

    Reply
  15. A

    Abigail, I disgree, our ancestors would have probably NOT been upset about matis’s dye job and veganism. Whats wrong? Is there any prohibition against it in the Torah, even by Orthodox standards?????

    Abigail, people of the Book, of all religions, wildly differ with your thoughts and definition of “growing”. Are they backward? In your eyes, yes.

    Fast forward one hundred years, my friend, and we will then see what families have been raised and what values are being cherished and what choices are made by the offspring of those who think like yourself, and the offspring of others who think differently. (Please dont use terrorist murderers as an example of religion gone bad).

    And we’ll be looking down, you and I, and will then have a crystallized understanding.

    Reply
  16. abigail

    actually, the whole reason i mentioned the dye job is because dude’s hair coloring is included in the yoreh deah among the activities constituting the prohibition against a man dressing in woman’s clothes (which is in dvarim). the veganism was mostly a joke re many mommas (of many traditions) not understanding why you don’t want to eat the meat. i know the law, i care about the law, and because i know about it and care about it i feel confident in mindfully exploring/bending it. i don’t think my ancestors were backwards. i owe my life to them. i love them. i study their thought. they were not backwards in their time. but our time is moving forward. our tradition is one not meant to be set in stone but continuously breathed into– torah she’baal peh, though, though evolving more slowly now in its written form, is still evolving. as a non ultra-ortho person i believe i need to bring G-d into this world too. i believe in being rooted to our traditions, to our laws, but i do think some things can and will and should change, and i think matis is expressing that. i have faith that in a hundred years our jewish families will include even more diversity and personal manifestations of hashem’s beauty. i don’t know what judaism says about “looking down” in a hundred years, but i do hope whatever is there will be loving and good and clear, indeed.

    Reply
  17. Y-Love

    I love Matisyahu! He’s someone who I wish we could hang out more. Last time we were together (Jewlicious festival? show in NYC? don’t remember off the top) it was like just small talk – we were both backstage, and we’re just into drastically different stuff and he wasn’t into talking about music at the time. He’s close with Diwon though.

    And Arye, you are 100% entitled to your opinion, and I’m not angry at you or anything. It’s just that you know how public I am. My profiles are both public, I’m on numerous Facebook groups on the regular, I live on twitter (@ylove goes directly to me), most of my Instagrams are geotagged, I live on LinkedIn, I’m on Pinterest, Tumblr and Foursquare. (Not to mention multiple dating sites, but whatever.)

    Please, in the future — because my next few videos will, I guarantee, be far more controversial — voice sentiments like this to my facebook, not behind my back…

    Reply
  18. Bernard Mendelbaum
    Bernard Mendelbaum

    I’m on numerous Facebook groups on the regular, I live on twitter (@ylove goes directly to me), most of my Instagrams are geotagged, I live on LinkedIn, I’m on Pinterest, Tumblr and Foursquare.

    You should try to get offline more.

    Reply
  19. A

    ” i know the law, i care about the law, and because i know about it and care about it i feel confident in mindfully exploring/bending it. ”

    Free country.

    Abigail, what might your offspring want to “explore/bend”, with them having been raised by you, with your whats bendable and not bendable yardstick, that you pass on to them? I can imagine it now.

    Reply
  20. superstara

    Great interview Arye!

    Matisyahu and Y-Love aren’t emplyed as rabbis in a yeshiva or synagogue where being a role model is part of the job description.Just like Madonna might wear a cross one day and attend a kabbalah class the next,Matisyahu and Y-Love are free to explore their identities,albeit in the public eye. If fans regard musicians as entertainers – and not as their religious mentors- there’d be less confusion,disappointment and sense of abandonment.Just enjoy the music.

    Reply
  21. abigail

    A, i don’t understand your aggression here. i don’t have offspring yet. i am figuring things out before i do. i’m not taking potshots at your approach to life or child rearing here, or anyone else’s. halachic observance has many different evolving strains. if i offended your particular form in some way, i’m sorry. jews need to speak to each other with love, patience and kindness no matter what. otherwise, we’re doomed. kol tuv, brother.

    Reply
  22. A

    “If fans regard musicians as entertainers – and not as their religious mentors- there’d be less confusion……Just enjoy the music”.

    Within limits. Can a Jew watch a Nazi perform, even if he’s the greatest voice that ever graced a stage? I think not. Not that either of the above are in the category, but just saying….. theres a comfort level that is or isnt there.

    Reply
  23. Modus Operand

    Nice interview. I really enjoyed the new Matisyahu video, too. I must say, despite all the *Beardgate*, I see no major shift in his music. It still touches me on a Jewish level.
    As for Y-Love’s ‘Focus on the Flair’, same goes, still Jewish in heart, soul and context!
    Also, I thought Yitz looked great in drag (and a sheitl!) and the fact that he brought such diversity into the video is a testament to ‘Jewishness’ in the modern world itself.
    I myself have received prejudiced opinions from the Orthodox Community as I’m sure many of us have. Our relationship with Judaism is our personal relationshp with HaShem, our only ‘Judge’.
    Now, if we wanna talk Jewish male dye-jobs…
    I’m a HUGE Neil Diamond fan!
    And cross dressing…Yentl, anyone?
    Still looking for those ‘Non-Kosher’ Vegans to cite…

    Reply
  24. Levi Keller

    Do the kids go to oholei torah or ULY? What kind of fool is this matisyahu: “the main thing for my kids is that they should be taught to think and question”

    Right…… to question….. in Yeshiva……..

    Maybe, he’s paying full tuition, they won’t beat the living daylights out of them for thinking…..

    Reply
  25. A

    “Maybe, he’s paying full tuition, they won’t beat the living daylights out of them for thinking…..”

    LK,

    Its a miracle that those level headed doctors lawyers accountants therapists actuaries politicians business people bankers principals teachers, etc, too numerous to count, who are graduates of the Yeshiva system, can function at their jobs and lives, having had the living daylights beaten out of them throughout their school years for questioning, functioning with way less anger in them than the tone which you employ ;).

    Wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles….

    How are you doing in life, my friend?

    Reply
  26. RaiselR

    ” I don’t like the concept that we’re taught in Yeshiva of being the chosen people and that’s so rampant. I’ve seen that a lot. And my kids have said that coming home from school…and I’ve gone in to speak to teachers about that.”

    Here the discussion starts to be really interesting, because it touches and essential problem within the frum community which not only made matisyahu think. and the the (sorry: stupid) interviewer comes back to this banal question ”
    Are you still wearing a yarmulke?”.

    SO SAD.

    Reply
  27. robert

    I like to here more about him kickin some one in the face,if its true
    seldom is real truth told about some one

    Reply

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