Friday, May 02, 2008

Matzav Reports, You Decide is reporting on the story behind the scenes of the Lipa ban.

The reporting raises more questions than it answers. No time to go into it now, but, for example, it doesn't address the process failure at all.

You'll be pleased to hear that the people who signed onto this farce are "working on it."
A meeting of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel of America was convened to discuss a plan of action for the future. Most rabbonim expressed that concerts may be held, but there must be a set of guidelines to be followed regarding the performers, the style of music, intermissions, and separate seating. The rabbonim said that they cannot decide what should or should not be allowed in Eretz Yisroel. The gedolim there will deal with the issues in that country. As far as America is concerned, however, they see the challenges facing our communities, the diverse backgrounds, the issue of kids at risk, amongst other important matters. The rabbonim felt - and still feel - that there is a strong need to provide kosher outlets for members of our communities, especially children and young adults.

There were some rabbonim who expressed their feeling that any gathering of many people that is not for the sake of Torah should not be held at all. However, most of the gedolei harabbonim did not concur with this view, and maintained that if our generation were holding on such a high level, it would indeed be a wonderful thing. The reality, the rabbonim said, is that this is simply not the case. If there would not be kosher outlets, people will seek sources of entertainment elsewhere and will find options that are far worse to their spirituality.

The question remained, however: How can this issue be rectified peacefully without creating another tumult?
Gee, I can't imagine how else to avoid another tumult. Anyone have any ideas? Like, perhaps taking responsibility for one's actions, speaking up publicly if a ban you've signed doesn't reflect your view, following the halachik process, and just practicing basic mentshlechkeit!

There are some interesting tidbits here like:

1) A letter of sort-of approbation of Sheya Mendlowitz from Rabbi Belsky

2) Contrary to the banner's promises, the financial losses to the tzedakah mossad and the concert organizers have not been recovered. (This is an important point. Part of the justification cited by some of the ban signers for their aggressive tactics and refusal to compromise was predicated on the fact that the financial losses would be covered.)

3) There is no compelling explanation for why these rabbonim --through commission and omission -- didn't allow an alternate revised program. Contrary to the article's claim, it was quite possible to put a new event together.

4) With the exceptions of Rav Shmuel Kamenetzky (who did so immediately) and Rav Belskey (who did so about two months later), none of these rabbonim, who allegedly feel bad about aspects of a ban they helped perpetrate have come forward publicly. Its just sad.

5) It seems like they're going to attempt to regulate the style of music permissible at concerts. I hope they talk to some klezmorim and ethnomusicologists before they issue pompous statements that will also inadvertently prohibit the music they feel is appropriate. Although, from a humor perspective, such proclamations are great!