Posted on | September 13, 2011 | By Guest Contributor | 5 Comments
Reposted from Loose Ends – Ben Garson’s Tallis and Tzitzit blog
Outside of the tallit and tzitzit business, it seems the term “tallit katan” is most commonly found on the Web to describe frum stage performers, especially Matisyahu. Here’s a typical example, taken from the The Taos News:
Not only does the [Taos Mountain Music Festival] include everything from folk to mariachi, it also features artists who stretch the boundaries within their chosen musical styles.
Reggae artist Matisyahu has made waves around the world for melding Jewish themes with reggae and beat-box rhythms. His song “King Without a Crown” was a Top 40 hit on music charts in the United States, selling over 700,000 copies to date.
Playing with his Brooklyn-based band, Dub Trio, Matisyahu’s unique sound has been elevated to even greater heights. An Orthodox Jew who has garnered international attention for his uplifting, youthful and heartfelt approach to music, Matisyahu’s performances break down barriers, and open doors. He is certainly one of few, if not the only, American rock star to dive off a stage with a tallit katan — a fringed garment traditionally worn by religious Jewish men.
A similar article recently in Local iQ also noted Matisyahu’s tzitzit, though it sounds like the writer is not very familiar with the terminology (unlike the above article, which was written by a reporter with the last name of Kramer, which might explain why she got it right).
“Judaism isn’t just a religion,” asserted Matisyahu, “It’s a lifestyle.” Onstage and off, he wears the tallit [sic, tallit katan] and payot (Jewish prayer shawl [sic] and side curls) of Hasidic orthodoxy. With his wife, Tahlia, and their three children, he is a longtime resident of the Orthodox Jewish district of Crown Heights in Brooklyn.