Matisyahu’s Live At Stubb’s Vol. II: A Flowing River Of Passion

King Without A Crown, the breakout single from Live At Stubb’s put Matisyahu on the musical map. On Jimmy Kimmel, here in LA, one song from Stubbs about a king without a crown, and love tearing a whole in ceiling created a worldwide phenomenon. Something about that song transcends religious, political, and ethnic lines. I’ve seen Lebanese Muslims, Quakers, Mormons, Jews of all persuasions jamming to that song. It hit mainstream.

Matisyahu would later say, when asked at Jewlicious Festival, that before he wrote that song things were not going as planned. He was praying, talking to God, and hoping that God could turn things around.

Apparently God was listening.

In the time since the first Stubb’s album, Matisyahu has sprouted his wings and built a musical ecosystem way beyond anything that we could have imagined. Matisyahu has toured the world multiple times, been nominated for a grammy and has two Gold Records under his belt. So Matisyahu decided returned to Stubb’s, the place where his musical footprint was first established, and recorded a new live album.

I have the privilege to closely follow Matisyahu, going to his shows all over the country, and experiencing his musical growth and journey. Even with a front-row seat, I could not have predicted how extraordinary this album would be.
Stubbs II is no greatest hits album. It’s not a nostalgia or revival album. Stubbs II is a shot across the bow of cookie-cutter corporate sameness and predictable genre-locked tonality. It’s a revolutionary album.  Its aerobic, agile, free flowing across the sky of sound and expressions. Live At Stubb’s 2 is the most compelling album of his career.

But you cannot listen to Stubbs II once on little iPod headphones or, God forbid, laptop speaker system. (May my neighbors forgive me.) To fully appreciate Stubb’s II you need massive sound, three or more listenings, and an open mind. If you can line that up, your musical world will be totally grateful.

Gone are the soft reggae lines, the linear, the expected. Matisyahu’s sound is more intense, holistic, and full of twists, turns, and flips. Just try to catch your breath. Matisyahu has refused to be compartmen

talized, boxed in, he is constantly in creative mode, reinventing his music

I’m not a music critic, and not a music critics son. But I run music festivals, and have worked with hundreds of artists from all over the world. Do yourself a favor: pickup or download his latest album, and catch him on tour this summer.

Matisyahu has refused to be compartmentalized, boxed in, he is constantly,

Matisyahu will be doing a massive tour this summer, starting next month in Alabama at Hang Out Festival. In addition to purchasing Stubbs 2, hopefully you will have a chance to catch this incredible performer soon.

PS- We wish Tahlia and Matisyahu a hearty Mazal Tov on the birth of a baby boy!

Passover Detective

Passover is a joyous time of year. Recounting the Exodus is good times, followed by delicious meals with plenty of wine to wash it all down. Passover is fun.

Passover is also a time of year when companies and stores prey on un-savvy shoppers.

Last year I posted a photo of a particularly deceptive package of candy made by Streit’s. But the photo has not had any effect it seems, as an abundance of mega-packaging candies still fill the stores.

Shopkeepers are also charging premiums of food that is kosher for passover and all year round. Except for a few loss leaders, prepared and packaged foods are sold at a huge premium.

So to add some consumer activism to repretoir, infused with some humor, I present a short series entitled “The Passover Detective.”

Let My People Eat Quinoa

Quinoa Real grown near Uyuni on the Bolivian Altiplano (3653 m). Mt. Tunupa in the background.

The NY Times just picked up on the debate about quinoa on Passover – and if this mushy stuff from the Andes is fit for consumption on Pesach.

The article missed the major point of contention about the entire quinoa issue. There is no scholarly rabbinic dispute about whether or not quinoa is a grain (in halachic terms) and hence chametz, and totally forbidden for consumption, possession, and benefit on Passover. The only question is whether it is KITNIOT (pronounced kit-ne-ot) or not, i.e. grain type foods that Ashkenazi and some Sephardic Jews do not consume on Passover.

The Oral Torah, codified in the Mishna, specifies that only five types of grain can become chametz: wheat, barley, spelt, rye, and oats. These items and food made from them with the exception of matzah, are forbidden the entire holiday. The question is really whether this quinoa grain-type food is classified along with rice.

A legitimate and significant concern that the NY Times did pick-up, is about the factories that process quinoa. These processing plants, generally in rural areas, also process other grains, and there is the problem of contamination of the quinoa with wheat and other grains.

One does not need to be a certified rabbinic authority from Chicago or New York to be concerned about contamination of bagged dry products. It is common practice among many people who run a kosher kitchen —or any careful chef — that you always check grains, rice, beans and even flour for hitchhikers.

The problem is that during the rest of the year, if someone comes across a rock in a batch of rice, or an odd object in a bag of barley, its no big deal. On Passover however, that grain of barley becomes kryptonite.

The Chicago based CRC certifies quinoa based on the places where it is processed, the OU doesn’t according to and Baltimore’s Star-K says that it fine, according to the NY Times article.

CalKosher (the certifying body that I supervise) after consultation with one of the leading halachic authorities in the world, is of the opinion that quinoa is not kitniot and hence OK for consumption on Passover by Ashekanazi and Sephardic Jews alike.

One doesn’t need a trip to the remote Andes to know that quinoa is a great substitute for rice in sushi, and a carb-neutral alternative to barley in tabouli. Vegans absolutely worship quinoa because it is a complete protein.

So enjoy your quinoa. Make sure to check it before Passover to eliminate any wheat-type grain that got in there and have a joyous and festive Festival of Freedom.

Kosher For Passover: A Step-By-Step Guide

You don't need a blowtorch 🙂 - simple cleaning supplies can do the trick.

Please, leave the blowtorch in the garage. 

Getting your home and life Kosher for Passover shape seems complicated — maybe even dangerous — but it doesn’t have to be. Perhaps you love Passover and the Seders and want to take your spiritual journey to a new level, or maybe you try to clean for the holiday but feel that it is a totally impossible task — use this guide (and accompanying podcast classes) to get Passover Ready.

The process does not have to be crazy or impossible. Starting seven years ago I began publishing the Going Kosher For Passover One-Page Guide on my website. Since then it has been downloaded tens of thousands of times.

This year I did not make any changes from last year in terms of process, but I will add this piece of advice:

Do what you can, do it without stress, and every year aim to take your Passover koshering to the next level.

And if you are experienced in koshering for Passover you should still read this guide as it can help you do it more efficiently and effectively. While a blowtorch is a method some use – you can leave your’s in the garage.

As an addition to the Guide, consider listening to several classes that I recorded last year that go into depth on Passover and koshering:

Going Kosher For Passover

Going Kosher For Passover – Seder Edition

Mystical Passover

May you and your loved ones have a joyous and healthy Passover!