Hassidic musician Matisyahu discussed his Jewish identity on Thursday at the Presidential Conference in Jerusalem, saying "When I came to Israel I was 16 years old and ready to party basically, but I did have an experience in Jerusalem where I felt something."
Matisyahu said he felt the heritage and history of Judaism and "the depth, the sorrow, the pain and the struggle. All of those things that kind of are I guess part of Judaism, I felt kind of erupt inside of me, emotionally."
He said a lot of young American and European Jews don't have that much connection with Judaism but when they think of the Holocaust "all of a sudden they're in tears and they're feeling so Jewish in their souls. So unfortunately, you know, that's still one of the main ways Jews really connect to being Jewish."
"I think still to this day, at the end of the day, when Jews really feel like they're Jewish when they really feel connected, is when someone is trying to kill us, or someone is trying to eliminate us," said the Hassidic hip-hop reggae infusionist.