He really dug the shirt. Really.Aint no party like a Kikar party cuz a Kikar party don’t stop
So there we were, Rebecca, Laya and I, waiting for Michael, Mayer and Gawker mascot Andrew Krucoff. Kikar Tzion (Zion Square) was buzzing with the usual post Shabbat crowd. The Breslovers were pogoing to their ridiculous Nachman Meuman rejigged euro-pop/techno crap, a frummy reggae band was getting ready to play and my arsi friends got into a fist fight. Once the band started, who does Rebecca spot 2 feet in front of us but none other than Hassidic Reggae Superstar Matisyahu. So we chatted a little, took some pics, he said he liked my shirt and then he did an impromptu song with the band (Acharit HaYamim) followed by a little hora action with the Breslavers.

Matisyahu also graciously signed autographs for all the ga-ga Yeshiva kids. After about 15 minutes though, he took off for his sold out show that evening. No. We didn’t have tickets, but we did have that one song and lots of beer. Oh… and wwe found out that he’s really keen on attending MarleyFest in Long Beach on President Day’s Weekend. Just sayin …

About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • I don’t understand why you couldn’t just get him to commit to J @ T B 2.0 while you were shaking his hand. You know, I’m beginning to suspect that you’re not fully committed to a celebrity roster for this conference…plus, there’s the return of that t-shirt, and you know how I feel about that…

  • So that’s what that crowd and the amps were about!
    We were there earlier in the night – ate at Ticho house to celebrate a family birthday – and saw them setting up.

  • Well Matisyahu showing up was unplanned. The Breslavers are there every saturday night and there are often bands randomly playing too. Matisyahu just kind of ambled over, checking everything out and then once discovered, participated in the festivities for a bit. That was totally unplanned. And very cool!

  • show last night was amazing…shannan street of hadag nachash and sagol 59 jumped up on stage with him. he tore the crowd to pieces. it was unreal. the highest energy i’ve ever seen at a show. it was profound.

  • Matisyahu is doing something that no one else has dared. Is he a jewish Marley? Bridging the gap between the secular pop culture and frumkeit? Maybe. He is breaking through barriers and getting people to comeout of thier shell. However, just because he is the only frum pop musician, and an awsome rapper and beat-boxer, I do feel like I have to offer some constuctive criticism. What is up with his band? I thought I was going to see some reggae/hip-hop. I mean when they are playing with him they have some good beats, they can pull off an awsome back up band reggae band. But when Matisyahu goes off stage the band really shows what they are made of, and it is not reggae, rap or hip-hop. Matter of fact there were times at the show last night when I wasn’t sure I was ata reggae show at all and more of a hard rock mosh pit scene. I think Matisyahu would do better playing with Acharit HaYamim or some other reggae veterens.
    The other criticism I have is for the fans. Now I realize that when a perfomer is well liked he is going to have people sing along with him. The whole show I heard people not just singing but trying to match the volume of his voice as well. He is not Rav Shlomo people. Matisyahu is great but I don’t feel like his songs are meant to be nigguns, to be belt out together in harmony. And if you are going to sing with someone HARMONY is the key. Quote Rav Shlomo “give me harmony.” Not scream at the top of your lungs the words that you have spent your free time memorizing. I think if Matisyahu is going to break out of this he will have to come up with new material often and freestyle even more often.
    Over all I had a great time. Matisyahu has great stage presence, his beats are good and his words spoke to my neshama. Shavua Tov

  • Okay… Matisyahu may be famous, but lets not overlook the band he impromptu played with…

    Achrait HaYamim is possibly the best Jewish Reggee you’ll find. Forget matisyahu, those guys are awesome. If you’ve never heard them, then find a way to check them out. Yehudah is the man, nicest guy you’ll ever meet, and the whole band is crazy tallented. When I was there 1.5 years ago they were working on a CD, it might even be out. If anyone knows for sure, let me know. I have to get a copy.

  • Several reasons why Matisyahu is NOT an orthodox Bob Marley:
    1- Marley, while totally inspired and spiritual music, was doped up on pot for his adult life. Matisyahu is clean.
    2- Marley had many wives, concubines— Matisyahu is monogamous.
    3-Marley was born in poverty, his world view influenced by a very spiritual mother. Matisyahu was raised in suburban New York (White Plains) to a spiritual vacuum.
    4-Marley’s music came from a larger context of ska, reggae, and the shanty town music that surrounded him in Jamaica — Matisyahu didn’t grow up around reggae, he adopted it.
    5- Marley had female back-up vocals, and well Matisyahu doesn’t.

    Ways that Matisyahu is/will be a Marley:
    1- Matisyahu has appeal beyond his ethnic/cultural group.
    2- Matisyahu has started a musical revolution (Frum guy on KROQ…).
    3- Matisyahu makes the establishment a bit uneasy with his spiritual path.
    4- Matisyahu has groupies.
    5- Matisyahu shows the Ja-Love and sports a beard!

  • J, people are longing for a leader, music is one of the main ways to get that love things between, you, the anonymous person in the crowd, and the performer who gives back the love to the entire crowd. This expands your sense of self, and of belonging to something.

    I was sure that this would work like that for him in Israel, I think more than anywhere else. This is a home turf for him.

    I am glad that the performance worked out well. I also remember old school reggae in Israel, I was w/ the first Reggae club we had going in Tel Aviv myself. We had the first Reggae nights in a club on Ben Yehuda St.

    I am eager to see this man in concert. The recordings I have heard thus far on internet I am sure are not doing justice, to what sounds like an awesome concert event. Right now i have to fly to Vancouver on business but am planning to get his CD from the local store to listen to on the flight.

  • i dig matisyahu’s music, but i find the comparison to marley a smidge silly. just like conor oberst is the new Dylan (that comparioson actually makes me want to vomit). there will never be another Marley. we don’t need another Marley. he lives on in his music.

  • “doped up on weed” why do we have to have such negative comments about the man himself, Bob Nesta Marley. He has done alot for the world and Jews, he deserves praise. Cali, Herb, Ganja, is a source of inpiration and healing. It has been for thousands of years.

  • Matisyahu is excellent! I love his music. I saw him in the show in London a couple of weeks ago when he was here. I can honestly say – It was a night I won’t ever forget! Hopefully I will be lucky enough to see him in Israel next year. (I hope he’ll be going back, as the new album is out at the end of January – can’t wait for that.)


  • How could anyone miss Matisyahu in a crowd? He’s like what, eight feet tall?

    I have to agree that although his CDs are nice, they are no comparison to seeing the man life live. He really rocks the stage.

  • CK… I’d love to get there and grab it, but I can’t go back until Sept. If someone else wants to grab it for me, I could hook up a paypal or something… wink wink…

  • Acharit HaYamim are really the most incredible band on the planet today. They are incredible live and perfectionists in the studio – that explains the lengthy wait for a full-release cd. In the meantime, with absolutely no advertising or promotion they have developed a following across the country. They organize an incredibly high festival on the Massuot Yitzchak hilltop in Gush Etzion every year and have now taken to performing free gigs almost once a week in Zion Square. Keep your eye on them.

  • AMAZING…MINDBLOWING…Clear, concise, precise, melodic, mindopening, mindbending, heart happy,WOW! Lyrics! Stage presence that I haven’t experienced in decades….Matisyahu is a g-dsend! Can anyone recommend his best recorded work?

  • “A brilliant artist” “His music is a breath of fresh air that the mainstream could never give us, thank you, Mathew Miller!!!”(matisyahu)
    Sup, LONG BEACH!!!

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