The Arty Semite

Jews Scoop Up Juno Nominations

By Renee Ghert-Zand

The nominees for the 2013 Juno Awards have been announced, and among them are Jewish musicians Drake, Leonard Cohen, Adam Cohen and Toronto group Jaffa Road, which was nominated for Best World Music Album for “Where The Light Gets In.”

Getty Images

The Juno Awards, the Canadian equivalent of the Grammys, will be given out on April 21 in a ceremony broadcasted from Regina, Saskatchewan hosted by vocalist Michael Bublé. It is sure to be a big night for all the nominated artists — some familiar to American music fans, and some less known outside Canada. The former include international sensations like Carly Rae Jepsen of “Call Me Maybe” fame and teenage heartthrob Justin Bieber. Pop and country singer-songwriter k.d. lang will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.

Toronto-born-and-bred hip-hop artist Drake, 26, recently scooped up his first Grammy for best Best Rap Album for “Take Care.” He is nominated for the Juno Fan Choice Award. Director X (aka Julien Christian Lutz) is nominated for Video of the Year for Drake’s HYFR video.

Leonard Cohen, the legendary 78-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, poet and novelist is being recognized in a number of categories. The Montreal native is nominated for the Juno Fan Choice Award, Artist of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year (for three songs on his “Old Ideas” album).

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Music, Leonard Cohen, Juno Awards, Drake, Awards, Adam Cohen, Renee Ghert-Zand

Rick Ross Has a 'Black Bar Mitzvah'

By Josh Nathan-Kazis

Rick Ross may not be Jewish, but he’s seems to know something about opulent bar miztvahs.

The blockbuster Miami rapper released a free new mixtape last night called “Black Bar Mitzvah,” an 18-track album featuring contributions from Drake, Pharrell and others. Ross is pictured on the cover inside a gold Star of David.

“Black bar mitzvah. Black Hebrews. All my Jewish partners. All my business endeavors. Open your minds!” he chants, nonsensically, over the album’s intro track. “We get more money. We owners now.”

Ross boasts that he’s in the fiscal company of Vegas magnates Steven Wynn (whose first name he gets wrong) and the Maloof family.

“My boat was twelve million,” he says.

The album invokes an exceptionally extravagant bar mitzvah, with a twist. In an interlude track, Hot 97 radio host Peter Rosenberg (son of MJJ) plays a rabbi welcoming guests.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Pharrell, Josh Nathan-Kazis, Hip-Hop, Drake, Black bar Mitzvah, Rick Ross

Why Matisyahu Is More Interesting Than His Music

By Mordechai Shinefield

Getty Images

Last week on an adorable TMZ segment, former Degrassi child actor and current ubiquitous pop radio presence Drake called himself “one of the best Jews to ever do it,” where “it” presumably meant spitting lines. Conveniently timed to coincide with the release of his new album, “Live at Stubb’s Vol. II,” peyot-sporting rap-reggae-pop singer Matisyahu fought back: “He happens to be Jewish just like Bob Dylan happened to be Jewish, but what I’m doing is really tapping into my roots and culture, and trying to blend that with the mainstream… Drake’s being Jewish is just a by-product.” Jay-Z vs. Nas Pt. II this is not (it’s not even Eminem vs. Insane Clown Posse quality), but it does raise a question that anyone writing and reading about Jewish music has to confront eventually: What is Jewish music?

A snarkier critic might point out that Matisyahu dueting with Evangelical Christian nu-metal rockers P.O.D. in 2006 did very little for his Jewish bona fides (the “Testify” album cover contained a giant crucifix in place of the second ‘t’) but I’ll just wonder aloud if Matisyahu returning to Stubb’s on an album indicates his own uncertainty about his Jewishness.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Testify, TMZ, Shake Off the Dust... Arise, Sean Paul, Reggae, P.O.D., Pitchfork, Music, Mordechai Shinefield, Monica Haim, Live at Stubbs Vol. II, Matisyahu, King Without a Crown, Jody Rosen, Insane Clown Posse, Eminem, Drake, Degrassi, Bob Dylan, Awake Zion

Out and About: Woody Allen Film To Open Cannes; The Legacy of Lenny Bruce

By Ezra Glinter

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Woody Allen, Tom Tom, Tom Segev, Simon Wiesenthal, Simon Sebag-Montefiore, Peep World, Sarah Silverman, Out and About, Mindy Abovitz, Midnight in Paris, Lenny Bruce, Jewish Review of Books, Jerusalem UFO, Hannah Arandt, Grammy Awards, Gershom Scholem, Drake, Charles King, Cannes, ArtScroll, Berenice, Albéric Magnard, Abraham Yurberg




Find us on Facebook!
  • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
  • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
  • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
  • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
  • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.