Thursday, December 23, 2010

Reader Email on Vos Iz Neias Ban

"Name Witheld" writes:
You write:

"Note, Rav Shmuel Kamenetzky signed this one. Surprising, given his public statements after the Lipa ban. It seems to me that he has an obligation to clarify the process he followed here, and explain why only this site, but not competing sites were banned."


Do I understand the ban? No. Am I a fan of bans? No. But this smacks of chutzpa to write on the web that R' Shmuel owes me or you or anyone else a clarification of why he feels this way. R' Shmuel is a true godol, a man who has no self interest involved, who doesn't have an ounce of "gaavah" in him.

I know you will disagree, saying that a gadol is not above the law, and we can question etc, but at the very least it is unparalled chutzpa to talk about him in that manner.
My response: I understand the point you are trying to make. I disagree with your premise. Rav Shmuel publicly stated that the process used in the Lipa Schmeltzer ban was wrong. For him to do the exact same thing, without explaining why he thinks the situation is different, raises obvious questions. A leader has the obligation to resolve those issues. I’m not demanding that he do so. I’m simply pointing out that if he doesn’t, his ban won’t carry a whole lot of weight. And, it will result in a diminution of his authority. As someone who thinks the community needs to be able to respect rabbinic leadership, this saddens me.

This is exactly the same situation as the Lipa ban all over again. Banning VIN without also banning Yeshiva World News and other similar sites? It’s arbitrary, and raises many of the same questions the Lipa ban did. And everyone sees through it.

If a gadol is going to do/say something that on its surface looks wrong, and publicize it, then they have an obligation to be aware of how their actions will be perceived and explain them. Ravv Kamenetzky is well aware of how bans are perceived both inside and outside the community. He knows that his actions here raise troubling questions. He should address them.

Incidentally, I’m fairly certain, based on what I’m hearing, that this specific website was targeted for a ban by the “askanim” involved, because of an unrelated issue. When gedolim allow themselves to be manipulated into taking sides on something that isn’t their issue, as it were, that also results in a reduction of kavod haTorah.

Yesterday was a great day for another ban!

This time, it's the website Vos Iz Neias.

Hirhurim has details and a translation of the ban, which was published in yeterday's "Tzeitung".

Note, Rav Shmuel Kamenetzky signed this one. Surprising, given his public statements after the Lipa ban. It seems to me that he has an obligation to clarify the process he followed here, and explain why only this site, but not competing sites were banned.

The askonim's plan to eradicate respect for rabbinical authority progresses!

Monday, December 20, 2010

From the mailbag...

Shlomo (Sol) emails:
Hi- I arranged and played in a kumzitz with Reb Shmuel Brazil this past motzei shabbos, I thought your subscribers might enjoy...there are a few of his Regesh classics, and 2 new never-recorded songs.

Ki LaHashem Hamelucha

Ki Mitziyon - NEW SONG

Gam Ki Aylech

Modeh Ani

Shomer Yisrael - NEW SONG

Dovid Kerner writes:
In which other music video can you find President Obama, Gamal Nasser, Rodney King, Jack Webb and yours truly coming together to make a point about peace in the Middle East?

"Move to a Settlement."
"Agunah" writes:
In the video at 2:35, the person sitting to right next to Matisyahu is Simcha Levenberg - the producer/director of the Miracles video. All the way to the left is Rabbi Dov Yonah Korn, chabad shliach to NYU, and standing is Tuvia Helfen, another Lubavitcher. All four of them are BTs.

Matis is not the only one who is responsible for his image.

Just sayin'
I disagree. Ultimately, of the people you've listed, he's the only only one responsible, although the others may be giving him bad advice (depending on your perspective). Personally, I see him as someone who is struggling with his place in Judaism. Since he's in the public eye, it is possible to see certain aspects of this struggle. He has his ups and downs, observance wise. I wonder how many of his critics appreciate the "ups" --and there are some big ones - even as they criticize the "downs."

From the spam folder... "Dash Valiant" writes:
Ran across your site - glad you created it. Just me, or is this the first (only) post? Questions:

- Which is the "original", and which is the "cleaned-up" version? (I have run across at least four textual Chasof Zeroah variations, I think.)
- Do your sources also indicate a medieval German origin for the tune? (Seems to be a common source for the music we have, as well as some Lutheran High Church hymns).
- Just what is a self-described Chasid doing in this evil online assur-type environment anyway? 

Interested in your thoughts -
My response: Just found your email in my spam folder...

There are seven years worth of posts which you can access at Blog in Dm.

With regard to the origin of Maoz Tzur, you might find this video clip interesting.

Personally, I believe that everything can be used for good and/or bad. I’ve written extensively on the blog about why I do this. See here, "Taking Stock (not Viacom)", for instance.

Finally, Alex Karpman writes:
Please consider posting this Yiddish Parody of Kanye West's song Runaway -- KanYid feat Shlepa T - Gai Kocken Offen Yom.  Just posted the video yesterday and it is on the homepage of funnyordie with 6000 views in one day!

You can watch the parody here: Jewish/Yiddish Parody of Kanye West's Runaway - KanYid feat Shlepa-T

The song is available on iTunes here.  All proceeds to benefit the Jewish Home for the Aging.

For the original Kanye's song that is spoofed: YRunaway (SNL Performance) - Kanye West feat Pusha T

For lyrics and a glossary of Yiddish terms, go here.

We'd be remiss...

...if we didn't note this remarkable Jewish music video.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12/14/10 Link Dump

A must read! Terry Teachout's WSJ article about German violinist Adolf Busch, "the Man Who Said No to Hitler."

In Haaretz, "Fiddling While The Candles Burn." Here's a bit:
The moment everyone has been waiting for arrives when the rebbe takes his seat again and picks up the violin.

But any expectation of hearing pristine, moving sounds is quickly shattered. The Hasidim are indifferent to harmony or quality, which are of no consequence when the rebbe himself is playing a Hasidic melody.
Vuvuzela as anti-piracy solution.

Not Jewish music, but a nice fan vid for Jonathan Coulton's "Shop Vac".

More non-Jewish music. Here's a nice organ cover of Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

In the Forward:"Metamorphoses: The Sources and Journeys of a Tune."

Worlds are colliding!

The last edition of Jeremiah Lockwood's Nigun Project is up at the Forward.

Life in Israel posted " Interesting Psak: Homosexual Singers" and "Listening to Female Singers."

Finally, Esther K. finally understands the 'Kol Isha' Prohibition.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mussar for Matisyahu

Over at, Marcy Rivka Nehorai posts"Matisyahu, Say It Ain’t So." Great comments thread too!

From the mailbag...

Yehudah Katz emails a link to his latest music video.

Steven writes:
I have been trying to locate sheet music of songs performed by Etti Ankri. Been surfing the web with no luck. Even emailed her and got no response. Any Ideas??
Anyone have any suggestions?

E. emails a link to "Why Can't We UnFriend?" by War.

Christina emails:
Hope you're doing well! I wanted to send you a quick e-mail to introduce you to The Yule Logs, the world's greatest Christmas and Hanukkah Rock 'n Roll band from Chico, CA. They recently released their sophomore album, Walked With A Reindeer on Nov. 9th and I wanted to see about getting them a feature on your site.

Check out their hit Jewish song, "Hanukkah Mambo" here:

The Yule Logs truly encompass all that holiday spirit stands for! Let me know what you think!
"The Hesh" writes:
Here's a link to a blog I just posted, related to the whole issue of the supposed Jewish music ban.

Of Laws, Lockstep, Bans, and Boneheadedness | The Hesh Inc. on music

Enjoy. Let me know if you have any commentary.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Happy Chanukah!

Sen. Orrin Hatch Adam Dickter: There are no good Hanukkah songs!

Matisyahu: Why aren't there more folksy Hanukkah songs! Plus his music video for his new Hanukkah song!

This was well done, I thought!