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American singer and rapper Matisyahu performed a concert at Hillel on March 24. Credit: Julia Nguyen

Around 200 community members attended a Matisyahu concert at Penn Hillel on Sunday night. 

Matisyahu — a Jewish American, Grammy-nominated Reggae artist — came to Penn through an invitation from Penn Hillel. While his pro-Israel stance has been a subject of recent controversy, there were no demonstrations held at the March 24 show. 

Three Matisyahu shows have been canceled over the past few months due to pro-Palestinian protests outside the venues. Before the concert at Hillel, Rabbi Gabe Greenberg alerted Penn Hillel community members that they expected protests during the concert. 

"I do also want to let you know that we have learned that some anti-Israel individuals are planning a protest around Matisyahu's visit and concert," he wrote in an email on Friday afternoon. No protest ensued. 

College juniors and co-Presidents of Penn Hillel Olivia Domansky and Lauren Krasilovsky introduced Matisyahu, and he addressed the audience before his performance.  

“We just wrapped up a 34-city tour across America, and it’s incredible to be here with you on this final evening,” he said. 

He performed some of his most popular songs, including "One Day" and "Live Like a Warrior." 

College first-year Eyal Lubin said that the turnout at the show was "uplifting."

"Everyone brought so much energy, the crowd was electric," Lubin added. "There was such a strong sense of community among everyone there, and I felt proud to be a part of it."

Following the performance, Matisyahu spoke with a group of concert attendees about his music and their lives at Penn. 

“[Speaking with him] was honestly one of the coolest experiences of my life,” College junior Kevin Bina said. 

Attendees reported that the event reinforced feelings of community, strength, and joy within Penn’s Jewish community. 

“A lot of times in college, it’s hard to take time and properly celebrate the big Jewish holidays, so I’m thankful for all that Penn Hillel did for Purim,” Bina said. 

Purim — a Jewish holiday that commemorates the salvation of Jewish people living in Persia — was celebrated from March 23 to March 24. 

Matisyahu's appearance at Hillel happened two weeks after his concert at the House of Blues Chicago was canceled due to “the threat of protests,” he wrote on his X account after the cancellation.

“We will continue to play shows. And we will always stand tall against hate and march towards the true goal of a long term peace for all,” he wrote.