Friday, June 10, 2005

Not Shlock At All

Hirhurim has discovered Jewish rap.
My only thought is... There is such a thing as combining Torah with contemporary culture, but hanging out in bars and clubs is not something an Orthodoxobservant (of any denomination) Jew should be doing. Peritzus, leitzanus, nivul peh, not to mention drugs and alcohol. Come on, guys. Get yourselves to a beis midrash, drop your ghetto slang and stop pretending that doing "shlock rock" to whatever music is currently hip is some sort of mitzvah. There is no kiddush Hashem in being more Britney than Britney (or whichever musician is cool nowadays).
I assume that R' Gil isn't actually referring to the band, "Shlock Rock", whose typical venue is a Day School, JCC, or Shul. I've played for many kiruv organizations and events, including ones where Lenny Solomon performed, where Shlock Rock's music impacted both children and teens deeply. In my opinion, Lenny Solomon, deserves a lot of credit for his Kiruv work.

Here's an illustrative comment Ari Khan left on Gil's post.
I first met Lenny Solomon from Shlock Rock around ten years ago when we were both visiting South Africa and “performed” at the same shabbaton. I had delivered a host of shiurim – I would like to believe with a modicum of success. After Shabbat Lenny preformed and blew the people away, especially though not exclusively, the teenagers.
I knew that music is a powerful medium but that moment crystallized in my mind the value that music possesses in outreach work (and perhaps “in-reach” as well).
Lenny has a number of Rap hits in his repertoire of shlock rock. The truth is he speaks to kids better than many Rabbiem in many Beis Hamedrish. He probably has impacted and has been mikarev more people than most outreach professionals (and I say this from a perspective of 17 years of outreach experience).
Update: R'Gil emails:
No, I meant nothing against Shlock Rock or anyone doing kiruv. My point was about glorifying an immoral culture and putting oneself in spiritually dangerous, and probably forbidden, places like clubs and bars. To my knowledge, Shlock Rock doesn't do that.