Tonight I had an amazing experience. Saw a concert by Matisyahu. He’s a Hassidic reggae singer, who wasn’t born a Hassidic Jew but became one after attending services at Shlomo Carlebach’s shul, just four blocks from my house.
His lyrics are mind blowing. I’m speechless. There’s so much I want to say and the words just aren’t coming.
I love being Jewish but was always just a bit ashamed. My vocal inflections are more Manhattan private school or elite Long Island public school than stereotypical Jewish inflections. It’s not Park Avenue or Locust Valley lock jaw, that belongs to older generations. It’s a cadence in my voice more than an accent.
We’re supposed to slurp seltzer, be schlemiels, nerds, moneymakers, secretly plan to take over the world. We scream about double dipping but probably secretly do it when nobody’s looking. We talk too loudly and too fast, not that there’s….Mostly we’re just not cool.
My parents really bought into that. All their good friends were Jewish, some practicing. My sister and I were expected to marry Jews, but be able to fit in anywhere.
I will forgive Adam Sandler anything for The Bar Mitzvah song both parts, which is our family’s official Hanukkah song. My eleven year old niece claims to cross out the dirty parts. She’s never explained how she does it without reading them and nobody has ever asked.
But Matisyahu, he’s major. His lyrics, his voice and presence are going to affect people for generations.
I felt a pride tonight that I have always felt but never been able to express before. I have always felt that any other group is hipper; any other group is cooler. Never really made sense because some of the coolest people I know are…
I went with Lucia and Little Luce, who is fifteen, with incredible skunk streaks on the sides of her long very dark brown hair. Little Luce is entranced by Matisyahu. I tried explaining the uncoolness factor and how i had always thought being Hispanic was too cool.
She didn’t get it. Not because she thinks being Hispanic isn’t cool, but Matisyahu is the ultimate in cool. LL has always had friends of many religions and many ethnic groups. Lucia expained that when she was married to a man with an Anglo name, doors opened for her that had been closed before.
My niece thinks that being Jewish is very cool. She’s into hiphop not reggae, but I think she might be into it very soon.
The concert was tame. The mosh pit was the least used I have ever seen; and I’ve seen them since they began. If you read Courting you might remember a post about me being carried over one. It was an incredible high.
So was this concert without me being carried over one. It had soul. The ghost of Bob Marley mixed with Bob Dylan and almost every major and minor Jewish holiday. I haven’t been exposed to many. That might or might not change. But tonight was a truly spiritual experience and I am in awe of Matisyahu’s talent and abilty to send people into controlled frenzies. Music at its best.
My friend Bone isn’t, but knows more about Seinfeld, you know he is, than I could ever know. He’s helped me put this contest into perspective and I would like to thank him for that.
Shayna made me an amazing video; when I tried to put it in, I lost the center template and right sidebar, but obviously got it back.
I feel amazed and wonderful because of the support I have been getting from my RLF and blogging friends. Vote and your name might appear here.
Though I believe that it’s not about winning or losing but the people you meet along the way.
Felt priveleged to have been at this concert with two of my very favorite people in the world. Lucia knew how important it was for me to feel pride in my ethnicity; and I guess LL learned something also.
To the people who were talking in back of us: almost took your pictures and plastered them all over blog lane. You were extremely rude. A bit too proud that everybody tried to make you be quiet, but my one “shut up” did it. Did make my throat hurt.
To the people who were smoking; if we’re going to smell and inhale your smoke most of us would prefer that it be pot. Except for LL of course, who doesn’t know what it smells like. Sure.
Just hit me; she’s fifteen, she goes out…but maybe she can get her highs from something bigger than herself. Though not a college boy, not yet….beginning to sound just like a mother.