Friday, February 27, 2009

WSJ On The Lipa "Event" Concert

The Wall Street Journal has a profile of Lipa Schmeltzer, "Dancing and Shaking With an Exultant Spirit," that was obviously written before the latest ban.

Check this:
"The Event," as the March 1 show has been dubbed, is being heavily promoted in New York's Orthodox neighborhoods. A huge billboard of Lipa smiles upon Avenue J in Brooklyn. "I would doubt very strongly that there would be a ban this year," said Zev Brenner, a popular radio host who says that he has been told that several rabbis acted last year before "they had all the facts in front of them." One of the rabbis, Rabbi Shmuel Kamenetzky, told the Jewish Star newspaper that he now had no problem with Mr. Schmeltzer: "As far as I know he is an ehrliche Yid [a truly devout Jew]."

In some ways, another condemnation might be more harmful to the rabbis than to Mr. Schmeltzer. To an outsider, it is striking how popular he is in the community. Within seconds of hitting the sidewalk on 13th Avenue in Borough Park, Brooklyn, on a recent evening, he was approached by a man holding a small child. The 40-something Hasid, with sidelocks dangling underneath his black hat, gestured toward the singer and spoke to the boy in Yiddish. Later, Mr. Schmeltzer translated the words. "He says, 'You wouldn't believe who this is. Should I tell you who this is? This is Lipa Schmeltzer himself.'"
The Wall Street Journal realizes the damage another ban will cause. So do many of the rabbonim who signed last year's ban. It's time for responsible leadership to end this lunacy.