Thursday, March 06, 2008

Today's Lipa Links For Y'all

Rabbi Gil Student posts "On the Concert Ban and Rabbinic Responsibility." It is an important piece. Rabbi Student supports the ban's goal, but notes flaws in the process.
There are additional "process" issues that should be raised. It seems to me that a rabbi is responsible for his name. It is a rabbi's duty to make sure that his signature does not appear alongside other, problematic names and that his signature is not placed on a letter that does not represent his personal views. Furthermore, as a businessman I have learned that it is better to walk away from a deal than to agree to terms under time pressure (or other pressure techniques) that does not allow me to represent my interests properly. I fail to understand why a rabbi--and we are talking here about a number of rabbis who are full of learning and piety, which only compounds the dilemma--would sign a ban under less than optimal conditions because of time pressure. Better not to sign than to ban someone improperly or in the incorrect way. I believe that all of these happened in the ban under discussion.

Let me emphasize that I believe that many of the signatories of the ban are learned and wise. They are very aware of the reality "on the ground" and have sensitive, nuanced views of the situation. But that does not mean that they are infallible. They currently acknowledge that they were lied to about details in this case and that the extent of the language of the ban is not what they believe.
Hirhurim includes a column by Marvin Schick in his post. Here's a taste:
There is now a culture of exclusion and prohibition in the yeshiva world, a dynamic that feeds on itself and therefore accelerates. In recent days, there was the extraordinary ban on a concert scheduled in a Madison Square Garden auditorium. The prohibition has been effective and the concert has been cancelled. Painful scars remain. If the event was deemed inappropriate in any way, a prohibition was in order, although its sponsorship by a respected Israeli charity and it already being scheduled and planned at great cost should have been factors that were taken into account. What is striking about this episode and even frightening is the violence of the language utilized in the ban, the impression being that in addition to prohibiting that which may have been inappropriate, the intent was to destroy.

The language utilized in this issur or prohibition that was signed by many prominent yeshiva deans and rabbis ought to be contrasted with the prohibition declared a half century go by eleven great Torah leaders, the foremost being Rav Aharon Kotler, ztl, against participation in the Synagogue Council and other rabbinical and congregational bodies together with Reform and Conservative clergy. This was probably the seminal event in the contemporary development of American Orthodoxy. For all of the enormous significance of that prohibition, the statement announcing it does not come close in vehemence to the language employed in the prohibition of a minor event and a particular singer who apart from being a truly religious Jew has done much chesed through his personal visits to critically ill children in our community.

Our leadership needs to reflect on this episode and also what it means to lead.
Read the whole essay.

The Jewish Week published "Playing with the Banned"

Here's a bit o' that:
The whole affair has left many in the haredi world perplexed and others angry, prompting a raft of questions about the genesis and execution of the ban itself, and what it might portend for the future of musical entertainment in the community.

It has also caused criticism of the rabbinic leadership, who, it appears, may have been duped into signing the ban, and who, some people believe, are woefully out of touch with their communities.

“How can they do this?” asked Miriam Hertz, a Brooklyn Bais Yaakov student, on hearing the news. “What about the poor orphans who need this tzedakah money to get married?”

When approached by The Jewish Week, a Flatbush resident who would identify himself only as Mendy, commented: “With all the problems our community is grappling with — teens leaving in unprecedented numbers, prominent yeshivas accused of knowingly employing pedophile teachers, chasidim rioting in the streets of Borough Park while their rebbes engage in public court battles over succession, I am astonished that this is the issue these 33 illustrious rabbis have chosen to tackle.

“Our children need an outlet,” Mendy continued, “and what could be better than a frum concert? Riots are OK, concerts are ossur [forbidden]?”
JTA wired "Rabbinic Ruling Prompts Cancellation of Concert at Madison Square Garden"

Beyond BT posted "Concerts, Intellectual Understanding and Rabbinic Authority." Many of the comments there and elsewhere, like Rabbi Horowitz's site (now with over 8000 hits on his Lipa post), and Hirhurim demonstrate the concern so many in the community have about this.

Y-Love posts “The Battle For The Future Of Orthodox Judaism”

This was inevitable. You can now buy a "Lipa T-shirt."

Interestingly, Rabbi Horowitz posts an older column he'd written, "Open Letter re: Ad Guidelines", about political ads appearing in Monsey Jewish media. That article contained more constructive suggestions than the one published in yesterday's Hamodia.

I'm going to take this opportunity to highlight my post "Lipa in Wonderland - 20 (or so) Ban Questions" for those concerned about process. These are just some of the questions that need to be addressed.

For ease of reference reference, my previous posts on the subject are listed here in chronological order.

"It's A Beautiful Day For A Ban!"
"Anatomy of a Ban"
"Kol Koreh Bamidbar, Ban New Derech Hashem"
"Ban, Baby, Ban!"
"The Silence of the Bans"
"The Times They Are A-Bannin'"
"Of Bans and Men"
"The Lipa Ban -- A Response to Rabbi Adlerstein"
"Lipa in Wonderland - 20 (or so) Ban Questions"
"You've Got (Lipa) Mail"
"A Unified Chareidi Non-Response to the Lipa Ban"
"Think People Are Talkin' Bout Dis?"

Here's a somewhat related post I wrote two years ago: "Lipa Schmeltzer and Rabbi Nosson Slifkin."

As always, I am happy to give space to opposing views. I invite the Chareidi leadership to present their point of view here. Care to guest post?