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Moshav feat. MATISYAHU to Headline Jewlicious X

The Moshav Band feat. MATISYAHU epic combination reunion will be this year’s headline act at our 10th Annual Jewlicious Festival! They rocked Jewlicious 6 and the 1st Annual Night of Unity. They are back together for our 10th. (Can you believe this – ten years???)

If you have never been to this totally Jewlicious weekend, its a combination of a conference, sleepover shabbaton, mini-music fest, and all around great winter weekender with hundreds of other Jewish young adults on a historic ship the RMS Queen Mary, docked in Long Beach harbor with ocean views and breezes.

Matisyahu will also be joining Jewlicious for the entire Shabbos.

Great other performers and speakers are booked and will be announced shortly.

Don’t miss this chance to buy your ticket packages before the prices go up on Feb. 1st! Prices from $121 for hotel, food, programming for 3 days and 2 nights. Really.


Music Man: Detroit Jewish News Profile

Thank you Detroit Jewish News for the fantastic profile in this past week’s edition. Thank you to the article’s author Robin Schwartz, and Rabbi Jason Miller who suggested the idea.

Below is reprinted from

Music Man

Jewlicious Festival Founder’s Detroit Roots

Rabbi Yonah Bookstein recalls picking up a guitar for the first time at age 10, in the late 1970s, as a Hillel Day School student growing up in Detroit’s Palmer Woods neighborhood.

His late father, Marvin Bookstein — a bluegrass musician who played six different instruments — taught young Yonah the fundamentals, opening his eyes and ears to the beauty and power of music. He spent his early years attending concerts, going to Detroit’s Orchestra Hall, and attending chamber music festivals; so it’s fitting that Bookstein, now 42, of Los Angeles is the force behind Jewlicious. The nonprofit organization hosts hip seasonal music festivals in California that attract hundreds of young Jews from across the country.

“Music unifies and inspires people,” Bookstein says. “One of the reasons I got so into creating musical events is that music was an integral part of my life as a child.”

Read more


Matisyahu Beard Goes Missing, Jewish World in a Panic and Rushing to Judgment

The Jewish world is in spasms over Matisyahu’s facial hair.

Even before I awoke in Los Angeles, text messages were lining up like Hanukkah cards from the East Coast asking “is it true?” The blogs are on fire with questions like “Did he stop being religious?” “Is this a publicity stunt?” and much more. As my witty blogging friend Esther Kustanowitz put it, this was “the beard heard round the world.”

Never before in the history of our ancient people has one man’s beard cause so much panic. In fact, I am not sure in the entire history of beards, if one beard has created so much commotion.

In our world obsessed with looks and stardom, his decision to go beardless now warrants news alerts.

The Jewish Telegraphic Agency alert yesterday was“ Gingrich sticks by Palestinian comment, draws GOP rebukes.”

Today the alert is about our beloved singer’s decision to shave off his signature bristles, “Matisyahu Shaves off Beard.”

Tens of thousands of people have looked at the photos on Twitter, thousands are commenting on his website and Facebook. Even national gossip media sites are chiming in with their own opinions. But all one needs to do it look at what he himself wrote on his blog:

No more Chassidic reggae superstar. Sorry folks, all you get is me…no alias…. And for those concerned with my naked face, don’t worry…you haven’t seen the last of my facial hair.

It seems that his own words were not enough. Everyone has an opinion. Rushing to judgement is a national pastime.

There is no obligation in Judaism to wear a beard. It’s not a mitzvah. Facial hair is meant to be an adornment for the face, say the rabbis. The Torah instructs us about how to cut the beard – no razors allowed, leave the upper part of the sideburns – but doesn’t require a man to have a beard. While some associate taking off the beard with a lapse in religious observance, that is simply not the case.

Historically, Jews have gone without beards before. Over the ages, Jewish men have used depilatory creams and powders made from nasty stuff that took off the beard. At the most famous yeshiva in pre-war Europe, most men studied bare-faced. The invention of the electric shaver created the opportunity for even more observant Jewish men to go beardless without killing their faces.

I remember when i started growing my beard sixteen years ago, much to the surprise of my fiance. It had everything to do with my displeasure at shaving, and nothing to do with a fashion of religious statement. My skin is super sensitive, and no matter what kind of electric shaver, creams, treatments I used, my skin could not bear it. With my marital future in place, I took the risk and grew one leading up to my wedding. My grandmother, of blessed memory, was distraught that all the wedding pictures would have me in a beard.

A beard does not make a man make. I am sure some famous bard centuries ago wrote something along those lines. Matisyahu’s talent as a singer and performer have little to do with what clothes he wears and what kind of facial hair he prefers. While it might have been his signature look for a part of his career, it isn’t any longer. Let’s not rush to judgement and let him speak — and sing — for himself.

Hummus Harvest

Guest Post by Joe Tomino, drummer for Matisyahu and Drub Trio.

On my fifth trip to Israel I made it my mission get my hummus on. I decided I would sample some of the hummus I’ve had on previous trips and indulge in a few newcomers…at least to me.

My journey began in Tel Aviv and upon arriving at the hotel, i was ready for action.
Hummus Mashawsha:
Only a ten minute walk from the hotel I arrived at Mashawsha. I ordered hummus ful straight up. Ten minutes later it arrived table side. It smelled delicious and looked good too. A simple presentation of beans (chickpea and fava), parsley puree with a golden rim of olive oil was perfect. The hummus was piping hot and perfectly balanced. It was exactly what I needed after traveling 14 hours and not eating a proper meal. I didn’t want to do anything but take a nap after indulging.
I was taken to Ha-Suri by some local friends. We arrived with a large group and sat outside in the blazing heat while waited patiently for our hummus. I ordered a lemonade, the quintessential compliment (other might argue a bottle of Coke or beer), to a bowl of hummus. I had a great view of the man in action as he made my bowl of goodness. Assembling this concoction was like second nature for this gentleman as he began with a ladel of chickpeas, drizzle of tahini, dollop of broad beans, spalsh of lemon juice and olive oil, sliced egg, and finished with a dash of paprika. This hummus looked like a work of abstract expressionist art. The dish was surprisingly light and a perfect portion size for an afternoon snack.
Hummus Bethlehem:
Before heading over to the soundcheck, the promoters decided to take us out for a quick hummus. This was to be my first hummus masabacha experience. This was one well seasoned hummus….complete with healthy doses of paprika, cumin, black pepper, chopped parsley, lemon juice, tahini, and olive oil. The lemon juice was a really nice complement to all the spices. Topped off with a whole sliced egg and served along side whole jalapeños, onion wedges, and pickles, this meal was FILLING!
Abu Hassan:
Within 30 minutes of my first arrival in Tel Aviv, in 2004, Abu Hassan was the first Israeli hummus I’d ever consumed. I remembered it being quite an experience. Located in Jaffa, this place is slammed with locals, cab drivers, and a wait staff who scream orders at the top of their lungs…it reminds me of NYC in some ways. While the decor has cleaned up a bit, I think there was some renovations, this place hasn’t changed a bit. The hummus here is time-honored. What I really love about this place, aside from the atmosphere, is the accompanying garnish (a mix of lemon juice, garlic, and finely diced jalapeños). I must admit the hummus was a little under salted, but once i poured this simple garnish atop the mix of hummus ful and masabacha, it was perfect. Washed down with some lemonade….cue nostalgia.
Hummus Lena:
After wondering around the narrow market streets of the old city in Jerusalem, I finally found Hummus Lena (a humble establishment with four or so tables). This was my first hummus in Jerusalem. After waiting patiently, with a good view of the hummus being assembled, I was ready to indulge. The serving size was smaller than most that i’ve had. The looked was nicely layered with an aura of golden hue. A mixture of pureed chickpeas, crushed whole beans (chickpea and fava), a heavy pour of oil, and a light drizzle of lemon juice…it tasted AMAZING. this was some of the best olive oil i’d ever had…seriously unctuous stuff.
Other hummus joints, worth checking out, that i’ve indulged at on previous trips to Israel are:
Abu Adham
Abu Ghosh
Hummus Raquel
bon appetit.