Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Orthodoxy's right-ward turn affects all:3-Fun banned

In some communities, ten-year-old boys are no longer allowed to play baseball. The internet, television, video games, secular music, secular books—all are banned in certain circles. Every waking minute of a young person’s time is to be spent with one’s nose in a sacred text.

But that’s not enough, either. Now, even Jewish music is being banned. Benefit concerts are cancelled on two weeks’ notice, lest our at-risk youth lose what’s left of their fear of G-d because they hear music that may show signs of non-Jewish influence, and/or because sacred words aren’t supposed to be set to secular music, and/or because concerts are of dubious permissibility since the destruction of the Temple, and/or because the band is playing before both men and women, even though there are separate entrances for men and women and the genders are seated strictly separately. A few years ago, a former blogger complained bitterly that he’d gotten dirty looks at a Jewish-music concert because he’d had the unmitigated chutzpah/gall to sit with his own daughters, rather than sending them to sit with total strangers who just happened to be female. The nerve!

If you think that this won’t affect you, imagine the day when you won’t be able to take your kids or grandkids to see a squeaky-clean family band such as Shlock Rock—they will have been forced out of the concert business because, being a kiruv band (that is, a band that tries to encourage Jewish observance) they sing Jewish parodies of non-Jewish songs, along with original Jewish music, and play to mixed-seating audiences.

If the great twentieth-century Jewish singer/songwriter Shlomo Carlebach were alive today, the chareidi establishment would probably do the functional equivalent of tarring and feathering him and running him out of town on a rail. Poor Shlomo is turning in his grave.


Blogger RaggedyMom said...

Well put. I think this whole thing is making a lot of us contemplate where we stand on some of these issues.

Reb Shlomo is buried about 10 feet away from my great-grandparents. Literally. There are always people there when we go. It's a safe bet that he'd be totally dismayed.

Tue Mar 04, 07:38:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Thanks, RaggedyMom. Such a negative approach to innocent recreation does seem to me to be reason enough to get one thinking.

Your great-grandparents are in good company.

Tue Mar 04, 08:43:00 PM 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, during Rav Shlomo's lifetime, many rabbinical types actually treated him in the way you described. The yeshiva world's embrace of Rav Shlomo and his music is mostly a posthumous affair. Sadly, I doubt he would be terribly surprised by what's going on today.

Tue Mar 04, 11:10:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I guess it's easy to forgive someone who's no longer in a position to "make trouble." :(

Tue Mar 04, 11:17:00 PM 2008  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Also, I wasn't aware that the many in the "yeshiva world" were opposed to Shlomo when he was alive. Thanks for the info, much as I'm sorry to hear it.

Wed Mar 05, 10:12:00 PM 2008  

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