Jenny McCoy

Miami University’s chapter of Hillel, a Jewish campus organization, will be attending Hasidic Jewish rapper Matisyahu’s concert Dec. 11 in Cincinnati.

Hillel, one of the largest national Jewish campus organizations, allows Jewish students to discover their religious identity, according to their Web site.

Hillel at Miami also allows students faculty, staff and the Oxford community to participate in religious, Israel-focused, social, educational, and community service-based events according to junior and Hillel member Dan Albert.

Matisyahu, a Hasidic Jew, combines reggae, rock and hip-hop in his performances. He is strongly known for not performing on Shabbat and opening his concerts with a prayer according to Miami senior, Dan Birnbaum.

According to Albert who organized the trip, Matisyahu is more of a rock star musician than a Hasidic Reggae rapper. Rather than focusing solely on religious aspects, Matisyahu’s songs speak of his experiences growing up, said Albert.

Since 2002, Albert has attended four Matisyahu concerts and said he enjoyed the number of diverse fans that the music reaches. With this event, Albert wanted to bring his musical interests to the attention of other students on campus.

“I’m not just a fan because he’s Jewish,” Albert said. “The lyrics they write are high-quality and I see more of the music.”

Hillel, located on East Walnut Street at the Beerman Jewish Student Center, encompasses a chapel, computer lab, wireless Internet and library, kitchen, dining room, game room and TV lounge. Hillel has weekly Jewish Shabbat services, followed by a home-cooked meal for all members of the community on Friday evenings. During the High Holidays and Passover, meals, services and seders are provided to the community.

Birnbaum, member of Hillel, has also attended several Matisyahu concerts. Just like the concerts, Birnbaum says it is not uncommon to have non-Jewish members of the community attend Shabbat services at Oxford’s Hillel weekly.

“We promote involvement from the whole community, not just the Jewish community,” he said.

Other students at Miami that are not Jewish and non-members of Hillel enjoy listening to Matisyahu’s music.

Junior Tony Stricker attended a Matisyahu concert in Cleveland three years ago.

“It’s incredible how people of all ages and religious affiliations can really enjoy his music,” he said.

Albert has purchased 15 tickets to the show for Jewish and non-Jewish students on campus. Through word of mouth, Albert has sold all 15 of his tickets.

Tickets for the concert are still available to purchase on the Matisyahu Web site.

Matisyahu performs at 8 p.m. Dec. 11 at Bogart’s in Cincinnati.