Bible Raps

Bible Raps is designed to bring the richness of Jewish wisdom, history and traditions to life through original albums, the creation of student-generated rap songs and eye-catching music videos.

Location: Drexel Hill , PA
Year founded: 2008

Description

...Single mom going crazy, working two jobs can't provide for her baby,

people in Darfur like "who's gonna save me? Enslave me?"

Members of the government again acting shady,

man on the streets next meal is a 'maybe,'

it doesn't even phase me, it's not that I'm lazy,

my coffee is warm and my bagel is tasty,

so why would it phase me, let alone change me

what that phrase be?

Am I my Brother’s Keeper?

I am a Jewish educator. And like many educators I try to follow the mantra of “starting where the students are.” That starting place could be surfing, animation, manicures, dance or Hip Hop. What I think is often overlooked with this type of pedagogy is that not all starting points are equal. Hip Hop, I contend, with its emphasis on creative expression and critical thinking, makes for a unique cultural octane, able both to ignite interest in Judaism and to do so without compromising tradition by making it shallow or something it is not.

The bible-rap excerpted above, “Am I My Brother’s Keeper?,” gives a small taste of how rap can help to make biblical questions salient, timely, and even urgent to the lives our students are living directly and indirectly through media. ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ This is in fact the very first question man uttered to G!d in the Bible. It is a question that reverberates through millennia and right into the present. How ought we to treat our fellow men and women? Is care and concern for my brothers and sisters not only my duty as a good person, but also in my very essence as human? Be it bullying or peer pressure, fitting in or embracing one’s uniqueness, the various crises our youth are facing today share a high-degree of psychological and ethical overlap with the questions our traditions greatest Rebbi have been wrestling with for millennia.

Needless to say, there are obvious concerns to be raised and conversations to be had when marrying Judaism with Hip-hop about how to address the rampant violence, misogyny, rape, drunkenness, homophobia, and gang wars. Nor is Hip-hop completely free of bad behavior. All joking aside, Judaism and hip-hop share an almost athletic intensity in posing question of identity, community, elder-respect, and tradition more generally. Be it under a highway pass or in the beit midrash, in wise-cracking or in musings, these two genres share an uncanny stylistic manner of riffing on the question of all question: ‘who am i’?

The Rabbis point out that it took G!d ten utterances to create the universe, so how many more are needed for mere mortals to create their universe? Hip Hop shares this reverence for reflexivity in regard to the word: “Word up” “word is bond” “word to your mother.” It is thus an exceptional place to begin with students when engaging Judaism’s textual tradition. Not just ‘the word’ but the sheer quantity of words made use of in hip hop helps us see the versatility of this genre in the classroom. We like to think of rap as monosyllabic. Things couldn’t be further from the truth. According to a recent study, it turns out that certain rappers might just have a larger vocabulary, and in fact a much larger vocabulary, than Shakespeare. Rap is speaking volumes to us, doing it quickly, and giving us an enormous amount of materials to deal with.

Recently, in an Eli Talk, I compare Judaism’s Oral Tradition with Hip Hop’s Oral Tradition attempt to highlight the number of reasons why using Hip Hop to teach our textual traditional makes complete sense. And in a certain sense is innovative because it is in fact, not much of an innovation at all.

Digitizing the Bible Raps Experience. Leveraging our on-site prowess for long term engagement.

About

a

Back to Top

What is the mission and purpose of this program?

a

Back to Top

Program Description

a

Back to Top

Demonstrated Need

a

Back to Top

Program Accomplishments

a

Back to Top

How do you measure the success of your program?

a

Back to Top

Digitizing the Bible Raps Experience. Leveraging our on-site prowess for long term engagement.

About

a

Back to Top

What is the mission and purpose of this program?

a

Back to Top

Program Description

a

Back to Top

Demonstrated Need

a

Back to Top

Program Accomplishments

a

Back to Top

How do you measure the success of your program?

a

Back to Top

Digitizing the Bible Raps Experience. Leveraging our on-site prowess for long term engagement.

About

a

Back to Top

What is the mission and purpose of this program?

a

Back to Top

Program Description

a

Back to Top

Demonstrated Need

a

Back to Top

Program Accomplishments

a

Back to Top

How do you measure the success of your program?

a

Back to Top

Digitizing the Bible Raps Experience. Leveraging our on-site prowess for long term engagement.

About

a

Back to Top

What is the mission and purpose of this program?

a

Back to Top

Program Description

a

Back to Top

Demonstrated Need

a

Back to Top

Program Accomplishments

a

Back to Top

How do you measure the success of your program?

a

Back to Top

No grants received yet

Photos

×

Are you ready to take your giving circle from idea to reality?

Our Jewish Giving Circle Incubator will help you bring your giving circle to life. Whether you're 23 or 73, interested in social justice or Jewish innovation, and ready to give $50 or $10,000, we want you to join the Incubator. Apply today!

Applications are open until July 31st.

Apply Now
×