Matisyahu will be making a rare visit to the Upper West Side of Manhattan for a one time acoustic show (Spoiler Alert: this show will be hardly just acoustic!)  this Wednesday June 15th to benefit the new Jewish School him and his wife have started in Crown Heights, Brooklyn called The Lamplighter School.   (note: Lubobummer since it’s the same night as the West Side Chabad’s annual dinner)   But there  are still awesome VIP  tickets still available – so if you haven’t  gotten one – click here achshav:

A School?  WTF?

Bangitout had a chance to talk to Matisyahu about what the dealo is with this new school and get to the bottom of his ideas on new Jewish education, music and how a slacker in high school has dedicated himself to a new educational calling:  Creating a Jewish educational structure that creates students who wants to do one thing:  Impact the world. 

How will he do that?  Unclear.

The school started this past year with only a handful of kids in Crown Heights and will be creating and figuring out itself on the go– which is not unfamiliar grounds for Matisyahu  – who has admittedly done the same sort of morphing over the course of his own life and career – going from a baal teshuva novelty act to a major label Orthodox reggae mega star.  “I think my success has always been about  sticking to my gut and never paying attention to the rest of the world’s expectations. This school will be just the same”

The qualm him and his wife struggled with among Crown Heights educational offerings wasn’t the lack of sincere Torah or secular education  – it was the feeling that students were being sold on the idea that the outside world is something  evil, something to avoid at all costs.  That wouldn’t sit well with a man who proudly brought his children on his US summer tour last year.  

“Kids see all and know all. Remaining equally honest to the good and to the bad of what’s out there is what we’ve tried our hardest to do when out on the road. “ said Matis as he put the finishing touches on his Shabbat chulent.  “What we really want to do with our school is create a progressive school for developing the individual child, with the foundation being  Torah and  Chasidic thought – but also a place for kids to develop their passions for art, science, culture and even sports and see how they can fuse the two aspects of Judaism and embracing all what’s great in the outside world”

Matisyahu, father of 3 children now, ultimately sees a big vision with this new school’s outlook of appreciation of the outside world – culture, poetry, literature, science and not frowning down upon everything outside the daled amos of Yiddishkeit.  Heck, the school will even encourage going to college (not necessarily a Chabad agenda) despite Matisyahu’s own personal feelings that college isn’t the real place where people learn noting “I can honestly say I learned nothing about music in school.”   Matisyahu noted, “the children are still homegrown Crown Heights kids” – and as however embracing of culture the new school intends – it’s students don’t have exposure to TV,  movies.  

 “The one thing we want is to ensure that our children do not fear the world instead see it as a place to make their impact and better it.  That’s a big vision, but one that I am dedicated to creating for my kids”

This concert will be sick for one reason:  Aaron Dugan.   Matisyahu will be reunited with his original Phildelphian native guitarist – which might be a relief for Matisyahu show goers- as Matis shows have become much more rock than reggae –layered with sophisticated  keyboards and louder distortions, quicker beats (which you can hear clearly on Live at Stubbs II Matis’s newest album) The new sound has certainly throttled the Matisyahu experience into a much more experimental explosive  rock show but also one that can also feel slightly impatient,  mumbled and misses hearing the soul of a man crying out from the essence of his being.   This Wednesday will be different and back to basics – and for die-hard Matisyahu fans – this is a show not to be missed.

Matisyahu @ Symphony Space
Wednesday June 15
$108 / $58 / $38