Thursday, December 11, 2008

From the mailbag...

E. forwards a link to Michelle Citin's Chanukah Video"Pass The Candle."

I.C. writes:
I read your recent post regarding the rebbe video, and it seems to me that Shauly is not backing down from his criticism of rebbes. He says only that he would have done a better job if he knew it would pop up on the internet.

I know you were a staunch critic of the Lipa ban, as am I, but it should stop and make you think that perhaps the banners were correct - being that Lipa's songwriters (at least one of them) harbor such animosity for the rebbes.

Do we really want our children emulating such individuals?
The notion that this retroactively justifies the banners actions is silly. As I've amply documented, the way the ban was issued in this case was unjustified and against halacha; even if you grant all of their (varied and shifting) premises. So, no, I don't think this justifies their actions at all.

Have you ever heard the original song being parodied? The spoof version was sharp satire, but quite accurate, and obviously modeled on the original Nickelback song. The video crossed the line, but, Shauly says he had nothing to do with that anyway.

The final question "Do we really want our children emulating such individuals?" is a separate question. Personally, I believe that if these leaders want our children to respect them, they have to change the way they deal with these types of situations. These bans do a lot of damage to their image, especially among the young. Rightfully so. The lack of respect they're feeling from the younger generation has been well-earned over the past few years. They've been acting just like politicians. The youth see the hypocrisy and unfairness and respond to that.

Moshe writes:
I’ve been following your series of posts on this book, and I just find it ironic that this Kannoish author must have researched all this stuff on the web – no? Where else would he have found all this – the B’nei Brak public library? :-)
I suspect that he found a book or two on the subject, and in addition to citing them, is quoting all of the sources cited in those books as if he has independent knowledge of them. I've come across one or two cites that don't jive with my recollection of the original.

David Harris Ebenbach writes:
I''ve just stumbled across your blog -- I've been looking for blogs where Judaism and the arts intersect -- and I think it's great. I am a fiction writer and a poet and a person who teaches about writing and the creative process for writers, artists and musicians more generally.

I'm writing because I’ve just launched a blog called “The Artist’s Torah” that I think might interest you; my blog explores the nature of creativity and the creative process for artists and others, using a Jewish religious lens. I'm sure you're busy, and may not have time to take a look, but I thought I'd send you an e-mail anyway, just in case this might spark your interest.

If you're still reading, if you haven’t hit that “delete e-mail” button yet, and if you want to get right to the site, here’s the address:The Artist's Torah

If you’d be interested in a little more detail:

As a writer, and as a person who teaches about creativity, I find myself regularly wrestling with a number of big questions that are rooted in the life I lead: What is creativity? Where does it come from? Who has it? How does it work? What does it do in the world? As a Jewish writer, I find myself asking: What, if anything, does Judaism have to say about all this?

In Judaism, we turn for understanding first and foremost to the Torah. Our sages have even suggested that God read the Torah for instructions when creating the universe! Now, I should say that I personally don’t take a story like that literally, but see it instead as a kind of inspired metaphor for just how rich the Torah is as a text, how full it is of a people’s
accumulated wisdom, how engaged it is with what we feel as sacred in the universe. With that understanding, this blog delves into our weekly Torah readings for wisdom on all aspects of the creative person’s life. Above all, this exploration is meant to be open and useful to all creative people, whether religious or not, whether Jewish or not, whether a professional artist or a part-time amateur.

So – feel free to check out “The Artist’s Torah.” If you like what you read and want to be notified whenever there’s a new post (I’ll post once or twice per week), click the “subscribe” link on the right side of the page. And if you think others might be interested, don’t hesitate to spread the word as far as it’ll go.