As a kid growing up in Philadelphia, Edward Schwarzschild did a stint as a Kosher Boy Scout and hated it.
"Carrying two sets of dishes into the wilderness was a real turn-off for me," he said.
Now 40, Schwarzschild hails from a venerable tradition of writers who have mined their formative Jewish experiences for literary purposes. This makes sense, considering that his first novel, "Responsible Men" (Algonquin) due out April 8, revolves around a Jewish family in Philadelphia faced with the challenge of understanding their past and improving their present.
He's into rap, hip-hop, reggae -- and religion. He's not a Christian rocker; he's a Chasidic reggae/hip-hop musician.
Matisyahu is the artist formerly known as Mathew Miller -- until he found God, Lubavitch-style, almost five years ago.
"Hey, Mr. Lowenstein, welcome to life."
That's the wakeup call that Jaron Lowenstein, half of the pop duo "Evan and Jaron," says that he got this last year as he and his brother plan their comeback -- without a major studio backing.
Welcome to the world of Bram Presser, 26, the Melbourne, Australia-based lead singer of Yidcore, a Jewish punk rock group that specializes in Jewish and Hebrew songs.
I am not a big fan of Jewish unity when it's ideological. A room full of informed
and opinionated Jews, arguing their ideas back and forth, is a sign of a healthy people.
But I do support Jewish physical unity. Life is with people, and Jewish life flourishes when we learn, play, pray and -- of course -- argue together.
When Spectator caught up with Monique Powell, lead singer of the pop sensation Save Ferris, she was wandering around Anaheim, tired, displaced and searching for food.