Monday, January 28, 2013

Suspended for Singing

The Forward's Sisterhood blog reports on a "Controversial Suspension For Contestant On Israel's 'The Voice'."

This is a must-see video. Watch it.

I disagree with Renee Ghert-Zand's spin on this. I think the school and the girl's family handled this correctly. I give Ophir and her family a lot of credit for being willing to do this. The school has rules and standards which students are expected to live up to, and while a parent may not agree with a specific rule, they do have to respect the schools policies and the effect public rule-breaking of this sort could have on the rest of the student body. Given this, a penalty that is "serious" enough to be pointed to as a deterrent is warranted. However, it does seem that the school and family negotiated a punishment that would both serve as a deterrent to others and would still allow for Ophir to compete on "The Voice" without expulsion from school, something that would be the expected response from a Chareidi school.

The challenge will be what/how to handle future televised appearances during the season. Hopefully, the school will subsume it into this penalty. Ophir made a tremendous Kiddush Hashem in her appearance, and has the potential to continue to do so.

Kol Isha is a complicated halachik issue. The only way it may change is from within, with examples like Ophir's, not with knee-jerk attacks from without.