From Hip-Hop to Judaism, a Natural Transition

Matt Bar
February 4, 2013
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This month’s Sh’ma Journal orients itself around David Moss’s question-based conceptual map of Jewish identity he calls “The Multi-Dimensional Jew.” The first of his 6 questions is: “What is behind me?” With a nod to ‘knowing from whence I came,” I attempt to blur the lines between my past in Hip-Hop culture and my present and future in Jewish learning. The overlap between Hip-Hop and Judaism may be surprising but considering the furnace from which the two cultures were forged, perhaps not. Enjoy this 6 minute presentation entitled: “Who put the Heeb in the Hippity Hippity Hop?” by clicking on the image below.

Overlap bt Judaism and Hip Hop

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Matt Bar is founder and Executive Director of Bible Raps, a non-profit born from Matt's desire to engage his Hebrew School classes on a deeper and more contemporary level than the way they were being taught at the time. Bible Raps launched out of Bar's participation in the PresenTense Institute during the summer of 2007. He continued to further his Jewish education during his 2008 year of study at The Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. Since its inception, Bible Raps has reached tens of thousands of young Jews with Torah-rich performances in schools, Hillels, conferences and camps across the US and abroad. Their teaching materials are being used in countless classrooms and teachers are currently being trained to be certified "Bible Raps educators". ‬ ‪In 2011, Bar was also named to The ‬NY‪ Jewish Week's "36 Under 36" list, a prestigious list ‬"highlighting the dedicated lay leaders who are reordering our legacy organizations alongside community activists and social justice crusaders whose startups are chock-full of innovation,". He is also 2009-2010 member of slingshot. Before his current role as Executive Director of Bible Raps, Bar was also featured on MTV and NBC, has opened for Grammy winning group Outkast and performed at numerous clubs and venues as a folk rapper. Matt currently resides in Philadelphia and is working on Bible Raps Album #3 and hoping to put out Hip Hop Lullabies, within the calendar year.

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