Rav Shmuel is a rabbi who hangs out in Greenwich Village and plays original compositions on his guitar. He has a beard and sidelocks and he loves The Dead. He does not see an inconsistency between these two identities. Rather, he thinks of Judaism and music as complementary and often coalescing tools and methods for communication (blah blah blah)
Rav, who has taught Jewish Philosophy and Talmud at various Universities, has also toured the country with Gefiltefish, his first stateside band, playing sold-out parking lots before and after Phish shows. He does not play klezmer, although he does make the odd Maimonidean joke. He thinks of himself as a Rock Star
Born in Brooklyn, Rav spent seven years in Jerusalem teaching by day and playing in the clubs at night before moving back to New York in 2001. Typing "Open Mike Night New York" into Google pointed Rav to the notorious Antihoot held in the East Village's landmark venue The Sidewalk Cafe. He quickly became a house favorite on a scene that has produced such stars as Beck, Hamell On Trial and, most recently, The Moldy Peaches. Within months he has moved up to being a headlining weekend act
Rav recently released his first album "Protocols". As Billboard wrote, "Rav Shmuel's solo debut is an immediately likable bit of good-humored anti-folk that doesn't require the visuals or even the knowledge that, yes, Rav Shmuel really is a Hasidic rabbi ... like the old slogan for Levy's Rye Bread used to say, you don't have to be Jewish to enjoy Rav Shmuel"
So what we're talking about here people is a forty-something Orthodox Hasidic rabbi with six kids who is rocking the pants off of the East Village's freshest scene