Matt Bar and the Bible Raps – Rapping Jewish Text

Dates: October 23-30, 2019


While still a philosophy student at Washington University in St. Louis, Matt Bar developed a distinct Hip-Hop/Folk fusion of Bob Dylan and Lil’ Wayne, using his unique blend of folk/rap to open for Grammy winning group Outkast as well as Jurassic 5 and Matisyahu. His debut album, Lying in Chalk, includes singles that have been played on MTV’s ‘The Real World’ and NBC’s ‘Hip Hop Nation: Notes from the Underground.’
In 2006, Matt moved to New York to pursue his music career. By night, he played the hottest clubs, and by day, he worked as a Hebrew school teacher in Greenwich, Connecticut. In an attempt to get restless pupils to behave during class, he promised to rap for them at the end of each session. Captivated by the merging of beats and biblical narratives, his students’ enthusiasm inspired Matt to flip his teaching model, and to integrate hip hop into his lesson plans. 
Matt Bar, Bible Raps copy
Bible Raps is an outgrowth of Matt’s success as a Hebrew School teacher. This interactive approach offers students a unique experience, producing music and writing lyrics, all of which reflect their personal insights into biblical narratives and contemporary Jewish identity. 
Today, Bible Raps is a successful non-profit that focuses on co-leading a collaborative organization with other hip hop pedagogues called Rappers and Rabbis. Bible Raps has sold over 2,500 albums, performed on stage, and conducted collaborative workshops for more than 125,000 youth in 75 cities in the US, UK, and Israel. Matt is an alumnus of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, and the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. He currently resides in Philadelphia with his wife, Rebecca, and two boys, Micah and Jonah. 

What can Matt and the Bible Raps do in Cleveland?

A Performance at the @akiva's Opening Event

Multi-media performance of Torah rich songs offering many opportunities for interactivity & audience participation.

Rap Workshops

Participants create an original piece of music – from lyrics to beat to visual effects – using text they’ve learned & internalized. We create a custom source sheet to teach a text of your choosing. The workshop includes basic lessons on rap, hip hop & rhyme, the concept of 4-4 time, & transforming text into rap. Everyone learns the source sheet & then groups are formed to work on the elements included in the final rap song & music video (video clip creation is an option).

Educators Training:

We share how to do what we do best, explaining our pedagogy as well as practical techniques educators can apply during their very next class. Giving educators an inside look at how to break down the many resources available to Jewish experiences, they will be better informed to choose what’s best for their particular class.

Key takeaways:

Working knowledge of how to use Bible Raps tools in classrooms – such as the Bible Raps RAPport.

Practice using the techniques for harnessing the power of rap to teach various subjects in their own classes.

Receive a working menu with an up-to-date curation of the best digital resources available.