Friday, February 29, 2008

Ban, Baby, Ban!

Further to "Kol Koreh Bamidbar, Ban New Derech Hashem"...

This story has not gone away. The Charedi leadership needs to address this.

Incidentally, the writers at Cross-Currents have been noticeably absent from this discussion. Isn't this the kind of subject they claim to be out there to present the Charedi viewpoint on?

Here are some more links.

The Jerusalem Post picks up the story. If there were rabbis who gave their approval to the event, prior to it's being advertised months ago, they have an obligation to come forward publicly, and either defend their position (my preference) or explain why they've changed their minds about the event.

Word is the NY Times is considering running a story on this as well.

Vos Iz Neias posts "Lipa In Interview: The Ban Was Manipulated By An Activist." He has audio of the interview.

Some are critical of Lipa for saying this. I think he's performed an important public service by doing so.

Over at Orthonomics, Sephardi Lady posts "Economic Terrorism". This is an important post that connects the wig store ban and the concert ban. I'll likely have further thoughts on these two stories and a thread that connects them with another recent Chillul Hashem.

Shlomo Walfish posts an anti-ban letter to the Yahoo Jewish Music Group.

Failed Messiah continues his series.

Tzig comments.

MOChassid and SerandEz link to my earlier post(s).

JE Magazine posts " A Letter From One of Our Readers."

The letter is written by Y.S. Haber, a frequent JE contributor (who appears to have had a gender change from the days she wrote ads reviews of JM albums for the Jewish Press. Oh, brother! What am I buzzing about?).

The letter is a list of the winners and losers with regards to the ban.

JE prefixed the letter with the following:
As most of you know the JE Magazine doesn't get involved in politics, hence the reason there were no comments on the site about the BIG EVENT. This being said this letter was sent to us by one of our readers/writers and we agree with his statement. Please read the following and tell us what YOU the people think.
Since you asked...

I think JE would have been better off not publishing this letter. Read the whole thing at the above link. Here are some excerpts with my comments.

From the WINNERS category:
1. LIPA-Let's face it, he could've stuck to his guns and ended up performing to a sold out house. More important, his show (as described by people involved with the production) would've showcased a "new"Lipa-one way closer to his-and our "roots". I'm talking substance and style, more nigunim less "narishkeit", etc. Despite his plans to use the Big Event to debut this, out of respect for what the names on the document represented, he backed out of a show that would've ironically made him way more acceptable to the very people targeting him for extinction.
I've seen others make the claim that Lipa was going to change his style for this show. I don't believe this claim. There is no evidence to indicate that it is true, and there is plenty, including all of the marketing videos, indicating the opposite. The background music for the clips, to address the music issue alone, does not inspire confidence that Lipa was moving back to "our roots", unless those roots refer to the Blues.

Plus, caving to blackmail doesn't make one a winner. My impression is that Lipa had no choice here short of leaving his community. Simple as that. It's part of what makes this episode so shameful. (and Orwellian.)

From the LOSERS category:
SIMCHAT TZION: Because Every organization in Israel has the resources to absorb six figure losses. Ok so some Kahllas in Eretz Yisroel may have to make the most special day of their lives way less special, but at long as some people made our world that much safer for their way of life, those Kahllas should understand-actually those Kahllas should be happy for us.
This is outrageous. If true, there should be massive public outrage at Simchat Tzion. If their directors have gambled that kind of tzedakah money, then they have demonstrated that they can not be trusted with overseeing tzedakah funds.

I'm pretty sure I've written on this topic before, but I can't find those posts at the moment. So, here's my position on this. I do not believe tzedakah organizations should be assuming any serious financial risk in any fundraising events they plan. This includes concerts, which are very high-risk. There have been numerous concerts where the organization didn't make enough money to justify holding the event, and some significant losses in the past.

Additionally, even if they do make money, the rate of return needs to have been high enough to justify the expenditures, something I suspect occurs far less frequently then assumed.

Here's an example of the right way to have a fund-raising concert.

The people behind the ban definitely need to take responsibility to make their victims, including Simchat Tziyon, whole. However, Simchat Tziyon deserves opprobrium for placing itself in a high-risk speculative situation. Where's the accountability?