How do you deal with life in the spotlight?
I don’t know. How do you deal with it? It’s pretty cool.
You change your appearance — that’s one thing! Do people not recognize you these days?
Not even at my own shows!
When I saw you at the hotel, I didn’t even recognize you. You were wearing blue gym shorts, a blue T-shirt and tennis shoes — you just looked like a regular basketball player. People always grow and change and that’s awesome. Why did you decide to make your religious transformation so public?
The question is how do I not make it anything but public? I didn’t think I wanted to mention it. I wasn’t planning on mentioning it afterwards, with the Twitter thing. But I was going through Twitter and I read that quote ["When the tide comes in I lose my disguise"] — a fan quoted that lyric from “Thunder,” and I was like, “Oh, that’s perfect!”
‘Who is to say what the disguise is?’
Sometimes you write lyrics and it can mean one thing for you and then a year later it can mean a totally different thing for you and at that moment I felt, wow, there is something inside of me even at that point that felt that I was in disguise. There was some part of me even four years ago when I wrote that song that felt one day I’m going to take off my disguise and then, on the other hand, you can say, “Who is to say what the disguise is?” Maybe the other one is the disguise. But in that moment, I felt it was time to reveal panim, the face. So then I was thinking, “People will see me at shows and they won’t get that it’s me — I’m gonna have to mention it. People are going to want to know what’s going on.”
How are you navigating your current level of Jewish observance on the road?
It’s kind of a different thing for me now. There are certain things I am still holding on to strongly, like obviously not performing on Shabbos, not traveling on Shabbos. Kosher. Kosher has been easy for me in this run because we have a chef and he is a vegetarian and he cooks just for me. So that one’s like knocked off. So that’s that. Shabbos is Shabbos.
‘There are so many rules in Judaism, and if you get into them and you get obsessed and you have the kind of life that I have, it can make you a very unhappy person’
Everything else, for the most part, I’m not holding myself to it in terms of the rule aspect of it. It is more about an ideal. Ideally I would like to put my tefillin on every morning and daven mincha and daven ma’ariv [two of the three daily prayer services]. And I would like to say brachos [blessings] and all these things. But I sort of stopped holding myself to it. It is a weight off now I do it when I have the time and it feels right. When I make the time, I am a little bit more accepting, a little more patient with myself maybe than I was in past years trying to fit in putting tefillin on with, like, in the morning when I had to be at a radio station at 8:30… There are so many rules in Judaism, and if you get into them and you get obsessed and you have the kind of life that I have, it can make you a very unhappy person. It can make everything complicated and more stressful than it needs to be, so I kind of loosened the knots a little bit.
How was the transformation for your family?
My one-year-old dealt with it. He had to get used to seeing my face. I think the first time I held him, he didn’t recognize me. But it was very quickly that he got it. I think they look in the eyes. And the feeling and the voice. Maybe more than anyone else my one-year-old son got it right away. No judgments, certainly from him. And then, my other two boys go to Chabad school (in Los Angeles), and I had to warn them and tell them that people might say stuff. We had to have a lot of conversations.
‘More than anyone else my one year old son got it right away. No judgments’
I think it’s given them a whole new take on… everything, because they will want to know. That things are not as simple; life is a little more complex. It is not so clear.
We had a conversation with my son on the way up here that was so interesting, where he was saying that… the whole thing with Jews and non-Jews and the differences and all that. I try to open them up and just give them alternatives. Basically, I just tell them, “When you are raised in a religious family, you learn that there is no alternative. That there is one ultimate truth. And you can see it might come in various shades and colors. At the end of the day there is one truth and that one truth is this.”
I’ve had to talk to my kids and explain that maybe that’s not so. Basically what I tell them is that no one can ever be sure of anything — and in this life, your teachers, parents, yourself — you can have your own ideas, your own opinions, intuitions feelings, etc., whatever it is. But never to be too sure of yourself, and never to be too sure of anyone because, at the end of the day, we don’t know. That was a new idea for them. But amazing conversations — me and my sons.”
Please read my blog its to hard for me to say more, other than quote my friends , ” I was even more scared after seeing matis
I was done from the music bus.
I realized though that Hashem needs warriors everywhere
where one falls
he raises another!
Lets start with Getting our kids back to Torah and seeing its light
Daven to H” about it
the lines get so blurry with Public rebuke
or anything in the like!”
I agreed but make sure you all speak to your local truthful Rabbi before being confused by any public statements and paths of modern day musicians ! Hashem Yerachem ! Moshaich now !