Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Lipa in Wonderland - 20 (or so) Ban Questions

There are many outstanding questions about the recent banning of the "Big Event" requiring answers and clarification.

1) Who paid for the HaModia ad proclaiming the ban?
1a) If the money came from Nechomas Yisroel or another such charity, is it ethical to divert the funds from their intended purpose?

2) Where is the money being used for refunds (and allegedly to remunerate Lipa) coming from?
2a) If it is coming from Nechomas Yisroel or another such charity, is it ethical to divert the funds from their intended purpose?
2b) If it's coming from a private sponsor, couldn't the funds have been put to better use?

3) Which ban signers signed out of opposition to Lipa?
3a) Which signed the ban on the general principle that concerts are forbidden?
3b) Who, in addition to Rav Shmuel Kamenetzky, signed due to the fraudulent representation that Rav Elyashiv and Rav Shteinman requested they do so?

4) The ban clearly states that at its root, the basis for the ban is the fact that the gedloim in Eretz Yisroel and the USA oppose concerts. Is it ethical for those gedolim who do permit concerts --or at least are willing to allow them -- to sign a ban against a show when the ban is citing an underlying reason they don't hold of?
4a) Is it intellectually honest?

5) The Halacha is that a gabbai tzedakah has to be beyond reproach. In fact, there is always supposed to be more than one person aware of the funds raised, to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. A dishonest person may not be a gabbai tzedaka. Given that Rav Kamenetzky has publicly implied that the director of Nechomas Yisroel a liar, and that Nechomas Yisroel does not publish their financial report, is it even permissible to give money to that tzedakah?
5b) How should the leadership address situations in which it becomes evident that a gabbai tzedakah is not an ish emes?

6) It's apparent that HaModia did not verify the ad until after questions were raised about its legitimacy. This stands in contrast to reputable secular media who generally vet all proposed ads. What safeguards, if any --since its clear that it could have happened-- have they now put in place to prevent a fake ban from being published?

6) Rav Kamenetzky has acknowledged that he was induced to sign through being lied to. Does the chareidi leadership believe that the end justifies the means?
6a) If so, what are the parameters for determining this?

7) On information and belief, the "final straw" as it were, motivating the Novominsker Rebbe (and some others) into action against Lipa was a personal interaction between the two. In light of this, when if ever is recusal appropriate for a Torah authority with a personal bias?

8) Is it true that there is no longer an obligation for a judge to hear both sides of a dispute before passing judgement?

9) Is it true that disputes are no longer required to be brought to Beis Din?

10) What are the obligations of public figures when falsehoods are widely publicized under their signatures.
10a) Does it matter if the sheker is material or not?
10b) If materiality is a factor, what are the parameters for deciding what is material?

11) At what point does a public Chillul Hashem require a public response?

12) It is indisputable that these bans foster a lack of Kavod HaTorah for many. At what point does this effect need to be taken into account?
12a) Does it matter if the disaffected are within the community or not?

13) How should people in the community resolve the issue of conflicting Da'as Torahs in situations like this?

14) Is rabbinic leadership ever obligated to acknowledge error publicly?
14a) If yes, when?
14b) If not, why not?

15) What obligations, if any, do those leaders who are opposed to the ban have?

16) How can we prevent tzedakos from assuming huge and potentially debilitating financial risks?

17) According to Nechomas Yisroel's Asher Friedman: "“The gedolei yisroel don’t want that issue [to be discussed] on the radio and in newspapers. It doesn’t belong for the public to decide on issues that belong for Da’as Torah.” At what point does something become so public that there's simply no choice?

18) From a public policy perspective, is it acceptable for someone to hide behind a claim of following Da'as Torah, as Friedman did in his interview to the Jewish Star, without even identifying who said "Da'as Torah" is on a matter that they have brought before the public?

19) Is it correct that someone can be advised to break a contract on non-Halachik grounds?
19a) If hashkafic grounds are acceptable, what are the parameters of said exception to Hilchos Chosen Mishpat?

20) What are the parameters for denigrating terminology used in a ban? (i.e. "Mezamrim mektze hamachaneh"). Even if a ban is deemed necessary, at what point is this language considered gratuitious Loshon Hora?

21) Why on earth was Lipa Margulies asked to sign this ban, given his history of having knowingly protected a sexual predator in his school for about 30 years, and the fact that he has no constituency?
21a) How do the other Rabbonim who signed feel about this?
21b) What message is the community supposed to take from this?

22) Will the other announced concerts be banned as well?
22a) For those rabbonim who signed the ban against this concert because they oppose all concerts, why didn't they issue a ban against this past Sunday's Haazinu concert?
22b) Isn't the apparent inconsistency troubling
22c) Why have they not yet issued bans against any other announced concerts?
22d) Are they planning to issue any?

23) If rabbinic consensus on this issue could so easily be achieved and publicized , why isn't it being mustered just as easily on a host of other more-pressing issues, that ought to have a more universal consensus, say in support of criminal background checks for private school employees?