Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Big Event Live: Banned

Last week, there was a ban published in Hamodia that declared an upcoming charity concert by Shloime Gertner and Lipa Schmeltzer to be forbidden (link). Frankly, I have no patience for bans and don't understand why rabbis keep chipping away at their own authority by signing them. They may have won the battle but they are badly losing the war.

I watched one of the videos posted on the concert's website (link) and it seems to me to just be a lighthearted event of good, clean fun (with separate seating -- I, II). Fun, that is, and not the kind of concert that is all about singing songs in praise of God. There could very well be an halakhic problem with such a concert, perhaps on multiple levels. I certainly do not approve of this kind of concert. But a ban... ? It just alienates the people who are attracted to this kind of event and are already feeling alienated. In other words, it exacerbates the "at risk" problem and serves to undermine rabbinic authority in a large segment of the Charedi community.

Maybe it would be more effective -- on many levels -- to teach why this concert is inappropriate rather than APPEARING to bully the singers and charity into losing a huge amount of money and spoiling everyone's fun.

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