The Shmooze

Matisyahu Ditches the Yarmulke

By Renee Ghert-Zand

  • Print
  • Share Share
Facebook/Matisyahu

First it was the beard, now it’s the yarmulke.

Matisyahu is currently walking around clean-shaven and with an uncovered head, and this is causing a lot of pain for observant Jewish fans who are lamenting what appears to be the once-Hasidic singer’s rapid slide in to secularism.

In case you missed it, the reggae performer posted on Facebook a photo of himself sans kippah, as well as another of him posing with rapper Wiz Khalifa, who appears to be smoking a joint.

Heeb has used the opportunity to humorously point out that the new and improved(?) Matisyahu bears more than a passing resemblance to Vanilla Ice. Others, however, are crying more than they are laughing about this transformation, which reportedly includes his getting rid of his tzizit, as well.

Elad Nehorai wrote in the Huffington Post that Matisyahu’s general audience doesn’t get why this is such a big deal for his Orthodox Jewish fans:

Religious Jews, especially the young ones who, more than any other generation for the last 5,000 years, have felt connected to the secular world, the “outside” world, felt an incredible connection with him. He wasn’t just a role model, the way a president is, or anyone else. He was a brother. Someone who had a connection with us no one else could understand. And he represented our culture to the entire world in a way that the world could finally understand and connect to who we were.

The problem now is that Matisyahu seems to no longer be interested in serving as this representative. Nehorai writes that this latest blow is in some ways even harder to take than the shocking disappearance of the beard. “Words cannot describe what it is like when your brother, the person you looked up to and admired for so long, rejects everything you hold dear,” he lamented. “It used to be that we loved him for the great good he did for us and the world, for the way he proudly represented who he was, without any apologies and with a full heart. He was our spokesman, our ambassador and mentor. Now he’s just our brother. A person we’ll always love, but who has, nonetheless, broken our hearts.”

But who knows? Maybe Matisyahu is on his way to carving out a different kind of Jewish path.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Matisyahu

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • Does Israel have a racism problem?
  • 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.