You would think the world had ended the way some people are going on and on about Matisyahu shaving off his beard and payes. Granted it was a bold move for a man who began his career as the “Hassidic Reggae Superstar,” but he had this to say on the matter:

No more Chassidic reggae superstar… Sorry folks, all you get is me…no alias. When I started becoming religious 10 years ago it was a very natural and organic process. It was my choice. My journey to discover my roots and explore Jewish spirituality—not through books but through real life. At a certain point I felt the need to submit to a higher level of religiosity…to move away from my intuition and to accept an ultimate truth. I felt that in order to become a good person I needed rules—lots of them—or else I would somehow fall apart. I am reclaiming myself. Trusting my goodness and my divine mission.

Some have opined that Matisyahu is leaving the fold, but it’s clear that the only thing Matisyahu is leaving is Reggae. That’s right, the writing was on the wall when Yeshiva University’s clean shaven Maccabeats covered Matisyahu’s 8 Days in this holiday video:

That’s right. Matisyahu is about to announce that he is going to be joining the Maccabeats. Meet the new Litvish Modern Orthodox Superstar. You heard it here first folks.

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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.


  • allow me to retort

    you all have been conned

    it was a good con…nay, maybe a great con

    and kudos to the guy for pulling it off for a decade

    much on par with the dr laura con, and she was only able to pull it off for half that time

    would anyone have paid the slightest attention to the guy were he just some white dude doing reggae? no matter what his tunes were allegedly about?

    i will bet you mitt romney’s 10k that stories are soon to leak about the former chasidic, reggae superstar engaging in some rather illicit activities while still supposedly observant….its the mantra of those who go off the derech

    you and some others may think this is a joke, but the sad thing is, there are many jewish youth who looked up to this buffoon…as in…hey look, you can be frum and do gigs in clubs with half naked girls dancing in front of you

    i would like to give big ups to chabad and the breslovers for giving this dude 10 years of cover…good job…great kiddush hashem

  • Half naked girls dancing? I have definitely been going to the wrong Matisyahu shows. I mean I saw him in Israel just a stone’s throw from Sodom, yes, literally Sodom, and even there I didn’t see half naked girls dancing. I need to hang out with walt kovacs apparently.

  • ck…guess you never went to any of his gigs in america….or have never been in an american club

    no…they did not give the yid a home….chabad used him, and he used them

    • I saw Matis in LA, in Long Beach (naturally), in Montreal and in New York. Also seen him by the Dead Sea and in Jerusalem a few times. Where are these half naked girls!!???!!

      And why are you so cynical? I know he and Thalia have been super supportive of Jewlicious and in person he has always been funny, quiet and humble. Watching him play with his kids, I know he deeply loves his family and watching him pray he sure seems to love hashem too.

  • CK, you’re trying to tell me that all the chicks at his gigs were pious Stern girls? Did you see the original Miracle video? That clip with a half naked girl and St Nick motifs did not seem to be something a real Chassidic bochur would agree to be in.

    Many people (kipa sruga types) are commending him from getting over his ‘crazy baal tshuva’ period, and I help but think WTF? Does this guy have an agent to keep him on the straight path?

    • First of all, Stern girls may not very well be all that pious… kidding, relax! I saw the original miracle video and I saw nothing in there that was overly titillating – nothing that would be out of place in a G Rated Film for instance. But getting back to the women at his shows, and I’ve seen him in Israel, Canada and the US – again I saw nothing noteworthy. Your typical concert hoochie wouldn’t ordinarily go to a Matisyahu gig – although there were always non-Jews and women in pants (gasp!) present.

      I have to tell you, seeing him explain himself in that other post I wrote, he seems just as pious as ever. He still goes to shul, still goes to the mikvah, still wears his kippah so whatever changes he is going through, and he does describe them as fairly monumental, it does not seem to have affected his commitment to his family and to his faith.

  • I’ve never seen Matisyahu perform at a large concert hall, but I’ve seen him perform at Jewlicious, I’ve seen him around his family, around the Jewlicious festival guests, and I agree that he’s been quiet and humble. I missed his jokes so I don’t know about funny.

    It’s weird to see this anger at him bubble up. He’s well known and he gets a lot of media attention. He’s going through a process now, whatever it is. What’s wrong with that? Geez.

  • You’d think, after Madonna and Newt Gingrich, people would be more supportive of spiritual growth.

  • Eh. He was a kid searching for an identity. He turned to religion. Classic story.

    Now that he’s found success far beyond the limitations one typically places on a Hasidic lifestyle, he has little use for affiliations. Who cares if he’s a Jew or not, the question is if he’s been representing himself authentically. He’s describing a transformation that’s only a few weeks old, and he’s already doing it in public? So, he’s still searching for an identity.

    Remember, the themes of Zion, and Lion of Judah found in Reggae are replacement theology.