As a student at an all-girls day school in Brooklyn, the first thing I learned about the Beastie Boys turned out to be untrue.
According to a yeshiva urban legend, two of the founding members of the Beastie Boys had attended The Marsha Stern Talmudic Academy in upper Manhattan. Some MTA students even claimed to know where the hip-hop pioneers had tagged the school with their handles.
Courtesy of Diwon, the artist formerly known as DJ Handler and otherwise known as the executive director of Modular Moods and Shemspeed.com, comes this fresh mix of pop, hip-hop, electronica and . . . Yiddish?
In a move that echoes this fusion of cultural exposure and music, the Taglit-Birthright Israel Alumni Association, recently rebranded as Birthright Israel Next, has launched the Israelity Tour -- a seven-city West Coast concert extravaganza aimed at exposing young American Jews to Israeli culture, promoting the free 10-day educational trips to Israel for 18- to 26-year-olds, as well as cultivating the connections alumni of the trip have already made to the Holy Land and one another.
Since the beginning of human history, man has struggled to figure out the meaning of life. Writer and solo performer Matt Sax's hip-hop musical, "Clay," doesn't just explain the notion of pain and struggle, but makes audiences part of the cure.
When Chasidic reggae-rapper Matisyahu sold 350,000 units of his new album, "Youth," in the first weeks after its release, he redrew the rule book for marketing Jewish music.
Justin Warfield, the monotone-voiced, seductive lead singer and co-songwriter of the local nouveau and dark-wave group, She Wants Revenge, has roots that stretch across the city, and truth be told, he really doesn't feel any tinge of revenge these days, because his band's moody, dance-club-beat debut self-titled album has not only conquered the radio waves nationally, but is about to take on the avid audience at the Coachella Music & Arts Festival this weekend, too.
For 2,000 years, Jewish music has been a hybrid compounded of elements picked up from our neighbors. Salamone Rossi created Italian Baroque settings of Hebrew texts. Chasidic niggunim drew on Viennese waltz music and Eastern European military marches. Sulzer and Lewandowski wrote like German Protestants. In the Diaspora, Jewish music has always been a hyphenate.
Welcome to Hip Hop Shabbat.
When you think of hip-hop or rap, you don't generally think of jowl-necked septuagenarians or skinny, psyched-out white guys rapping about the tsuris their mother gives them, but then again, you don't generally think of Jews either.
Jews have been part of hip-hop since its beginning," said Josh Noreck of the Hip Hop Hoodios, a Latino Jewish rap group based out of Los Angeles and New York.
The Borscht Belt has gone way downtown as a crop of young hip-hoppers redefines the shape of Jewish comedy.