College To Begin Offering Classes on Matisyahu
In the "are you serious? No, really, are you serious? It's way past April 1st" department. The JTA website is reporting that Fairleigh Dickinson University, a college in Teaneck, NJ will begin offering classes on Matisyahu.
An American university is offering a class on Jewish reggae singer Matisyahu.
Students at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, N.J., will study Matisyahu and his use of biblical and Chasidic themes in his lyrics, reported the New Jersey Standard.
The class is being offered as part of the school’s new Jewish studies minor.
Here is a small excerpt:
The Washington Jewish Week also has a story on this, which you can read here.
"The New York Times called the tall reggae-singing chasid dull, and said that for a real reggae sound, it’s better to listen to the Jamaicans. Carson Daly, on the other hand, said that the guy with the black hat, beard, and tzitzit is the hottest thing in music today. But while the national media debate whether Matisyahu is more shtick than soul, a class at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck will look into just how much Jewish essence lies behind the chassidic reggae superstar’s lyrics.
In “Jerusalem,” Matisyahu chants, “Jerusalem, if I forget you, may my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do.” The track on his new Sony-produced album “Youth” expresses his love of the Jewish holy city, but how many people know that King David penned a nearly identical line in the Book of Psalms some 3,000 years ago?
That’s why the new 12-class FDU course will study the message behind Matisyahu’s music, using the singer’s own songbook — the Torah. “It’s really unfortunate [that] people don’t know what he’s saying. As somebody versed in scripture, I see a lot more than just fun reggae music,” said Rabbi Ely Allen, director of Hillel for the UJA of Northern New Jersey, who will teach the course. “He has become so popular. But beyond [just seeing] the gimmick of this chassidic guy playing reggae, I thought it was important to point out what he was actually saying.”
(taken from Life Of Rubin)