Mark Kligman: Matisyahu, Shaves Beard, Leaves Orthodox Judaism?

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JEWISH ACADEMIC & UNIVERSITY NEWS

Has Matisyahu left Judaism?

Source: WaPo, 12-13-11
…Matisyahu, 32, who grew up Matthew Paul Miller in a Jewish family but not an Orthodox one, has created a certain cognitive dissonance for Jews, said Mark Kligman, a professor of Jewish music at Hebrew Union College in New York.

“It’s the paradox of an outwardly Orthodox Jew singing in a tradition that has absolutely nothing to do with Judaism,” Kligman said. He speculated that Matisyahu felt some of that dissonance himself.

“It could be that this is his own processing of that experience,” said Kligman, who added that it doesn’t appear that the singer is shedding his religion.

Matisyahu: “No More Chassidic Reggae Superstar”

matisyahu no beard

Jewish megastar Matisyahu, a poster child for the Chassidic community, shocked fans and followers alike when he revealed pictures of himself on Twitter on Tuesday with a clean shaven face. In addition to removing his trademark beard, the tweet was accompanied with the statement: “At the break of day I look for you at sunrise When the tide comes in I lose my disguise.

Shortly after, Matisyahu posted a blog, explaining his decision to chop off his facial hair in which he wrote, “No more Chassidic reggae superstar.

He went on to say:

“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. Get ready for an amazing year filled with music of rebirth. And for those concerned with my naked face, don’t worry…you haven’t seen the last of my facial hair.”

matisyahu no beard
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