Friday, January 07, 2005

More Matisyahu email

MoC emails:
Why do you limit your criticism of Mattisyahu, Soulfarm, Moshav, etc., to the "chareidi world" ? Drugs, alcohol and shomer negiah issues apply equally to the MO world. One example to illustrate my point.

Mattisyahu played at HAFTR during Chanukah. Moshav played at Mayanot (a girls high school in NJ). Whether, in a vaccum, these were good things or not is beyond the scope of my email and people can disagree.

What is very clear is that as a direct result of the Mattisyahu gig, quite a number of 16, 17 and 18 year olds at HAFTR went to his gig at BB Kings (and, I think Irving Plaza), both treif nightclubs where drugs, alcohol, body surfing and other stuff goes on.

I spoke to one parent about it. He had absolutely no idea about the nature of these nightclubs or that there were other acts playing with Mattisyahu. He was told by his daughter that she was going to a "Jewish concert" and he was actually very happy about that. He also reasoned that since Mattisyahu played at HAFTR, it must be kosher.

It wasn't kosher, not literally and not figuratively.

If Mattisyahu thinks that his gigging at nightclubs is 'kiruv' *(a very dubious proposition, but, again, not the point for now), good for him. But he should stay away from the MO yeshivas and the HASC concerts and other places where the results will be the opposite of kiruv.
I agree that these issues apply to the MO community as well.

The reason I distinguish between the communities is because in the MO community, there's at least some discussion of these issues in the schools. Many of these schools have drug and alcohol awareness programs and have (perhaps unsuccessfully) addressed issues of teenage sexual behavior.

The charedi kids are totally unprepared for this. The fact that the community regards them the same way once they go to a club, regardless of what they actually did there, is a disincentive for them to behave since they feel that they're already labeled "bad." For the most part, the charedi community doesn't distinguish between those who go to clubs, drink or dance at clubs, or do drugs and are promiscuous. As a result, once the line has been crossed by entering the club, from the teen's perspective, there's no reason to not do all the other stuff. All of the social barriers are gone. The only reason left would be common sense, which is often not a good enough reason for teenagers.