Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Jewish Music Post # 1

Recently I was having a heated discussion with BlogDM about Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach and who should play his music. I am going to respond to him on a later post which will be a long one, especially since this is something I am very passionate about.

What I wanted to discuss was something about Jewish Music which was talked about all over the Jewish Blogosphere today. The first place where I saw something was on Arutz 7 when I got there daily email and saw the following article #7 about the new music video that Avraham Fried has produced. Rubin brings in an Interview with Avraham Fried about the state of Jewish music and I don't remember where I saw the other discussions regarding this issue.

My problem with all of this is why is there a need to have a Jewish Music video? I think all of this is a defamation of the Torah everytime an "entertainer" who some people think is a musician sings some psukim to put on a show for some people. While I was bored and looking at all the stupid videos that are available online, someone posted a video of what they called "Jew Video" which was actually MBD dancing around pretending to be spiritual. Its real spiritual to have your, name, picture, and video all over the place while you are putting money in the bank. What is the necessity of a Jewish Music Video? Most people who listen to that garbage don't have TV's to begin with so where are they going to watch it? If its on a CD its not going to work on a CD player. You need a DVD player or a computer to watch it. What would be the point? In secular music the whole reason why MTV came about was to have a video as an advertisement to sell albums. Videos draw attention by having semi dressed woman dancing around and all sorts of other things. The more vile, the better the video. Is this the path the Jewish Entertainment world is going to take as well to sell more albums?

I know I am being extreme but this has got to be one of the stupidest things around. If you look at the people who are given credit as starting the Jewish Music business, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, Ben Zion Shenker, Diaspora, Deveykus, Rabbis Sons and a few more I am unaware of, were in the music business to spread Torah, neginah and dance in a way to help people with their Avodas Hashem and to bring people closer. Not to have their pictures plastered on posters and billboards all over Jewish neighborhoods to sell albums and tickets to concerts. Now on top of that videos need to come out? They might as well sing in English, take all Psukim out of everything they sing, come out with their videos and finally admit what they are doing is not Jewish. There are plenty of Jewish musicians who are out their who are not "entertainers" and are really Baalei Niggunim the right way. I am not going to list the ones who are in this category but I will say there are not many. Not only are there not many of these people but almost all of them live in Israel. That can add to the bumper stickers that I see that say Yerushalayim Shel Zahav- Americai Shel Kesef- Jerusalem of Gold-America of Money.

The only thing I can do is not buy these peoples albums and not listen to their music and go their concerts. The only problem is that it is impossible to ignore when they put there faces all over the newspapers and the other places I mentioned before. Maybe these people love looking at themselves and seeing themselves all over the place now in videos as well. There is no other explanation for this. I will continue with a post to come about Jewish Music in general.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Post Thanksgiving Observations

Yesterday in America, Americans celebrated the wonderful holiday of Thanksgiving. Before I take any religious questioning about anything, I always check to see what was already discussed on Gils blog. After briefly going through some of these posts I want to discuss the following based upon how I feel about the issue.

According to Wikipedia, "Thanksgiving is another name for the Harvest festival, held in churches across the country on a relevant Sunday to mark the end of the local harvest, though it is not thought of as a major event (compared to Christmas or Easter) as it is in North America, where this tradition taken by early settlers became much more important."

If this definition is correct then Thanksgiving should be considered a religious holiday. The day of Thanksgiving is on a different day in Canada and I don't believe other countries celebrate such a holiday. If other countries do not celebrate it then maybe it isn't a religious holiday and it is just an American holiday. I get together with my family on Thanksgiving and I think that Frum Jews in America should take advantage of this holiday and have a meal with their family.

Most Frum Jews get together with their families for Shabbos meals and Yom Tov Meals with restrictions of the melochos of Shabbos and Yom Tov. Thanksgiving offers a time when you can have a meal and enjoy it with your family without having to worry about any Shabbos or Yom Tov problems. The only issue that I see is leftovers. At everyone's meal there is usually leftovers and because Thanksgiving is on Thursday many do not cook for Shabbos and just eat leftovers for Thanksgiving. I think that this practice is wrong and Shabbos needs to come first not second as leftovers indicate. With this in mind, do the Conservative and Reform movement take Thanksgiving too far? I think they do and they should focus their time on Torah and Mitzvos instead of concentrating on Thanksgiving. Here are a few links of examples of what's done in the conservative and reform movements"
1 - From a shul in Long Island
2- From the Reform movement (PDF)

It seems the reform movement is big into helping the Hungry worldwide and the conservative movement is big into the interfaith dialogue. I understand that where the reform movement is coming from with the hunger but I don't understand why they don't list any of the Jewish organization's that help with this problem and only seem to be interested in the secular groups. As Jews, the Jewish people should come first. I am not saying we shouldn't help non Jews but if we are giving away all our money to non- Jewish groups who is going to help our own?

Last year there was an article in the Jewish World/sentinel about a prayer to add during benching that was composed by one of these movements to be said on Thanksgiving. My question to them is what about the Modim prayer in Shemonah Esrei and Mizmor Ltodah?? Teach your movement to say these prayers and what they mean instead of coming out with new ones which to me says you don't respect the ones we have already and have been saying for thousands of years.

I am curious to see what other people did for Thanksgiving and what they think of my observations.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

18 minute matza Minyan

This morning I had the lovely pleasure of deafening in the Minoan which is known as the mat's Minoan or the someone escrow Minoan because on a regular weekday they take 18 minutes to complete seashores. Today because it is Thursday took a few minutes longer because of the Tasmania and Torah readings. One might ask why would I go to such a Minoan if I knew how the davening was going to be. This morning I attended a bris which was in a different neighborhood which would take some time for me to get to. I was going to meet someone who was going to give me a ride their. Because I was not going to make to Shacharis there I davened at a quick minyan before hoping that I would get to the bris on time and just finish my davening there. It turns out that I made it just as they finished the bris and everyone was going down to the Seudah. At the minyan I was able to say Berachos, Baruch Sheamar and yishtabach then everything through tachanun then Aleinu. All of that took me at least twenty minutes while everyone else was finished. Is it me or is this rediculous? Not only that, there were people talking the whole time and people who left early. To those people i ask, whats the point of even going to shul if your not davening? I would love to see what other people think about this minyan. Do minyans like this happen in your neighborhoods?

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach Part 2

The Legacy of Shlomo Carlebach is one that makes an impression on anyone who is Jewish in this world and many non-Jews as well. Reb Shlomo's Yartzeit is being comemorated by people this whole week and is going to conclude with a convention in New York. This post can be found on Luach.com :

3rd INTERNATIONAL CARLEBACH CONFERENCE 3rd INTERNATIONAL CARLEBACH CONFERENCE OUTREACH thru INREACH - EVERYONE DESERVES to have their soul fired up! SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 12 Registration begins 9:30am Program begins 10:00am - 5:00 pm at tThe JCC in Manhattan - 344 Amsterdam Ave and 76th, NYC Presenters include: Rabbi David Aaron, Rabbi Ephriam Buchwald, Rabbi Naftali Citron, Rabbi Nehemia Polen, Melinda "Mindy" Ribner, Rabbi Nossen and Channah Schafer, Rabbi Avraham Arieh & Rachel Trugman, Maureen Kushner, Rabbi Shmuel Stauber, Hella Winston and more!! For FULL PROGRAM and To REGISTER and visit http://www.carlebachshul.org/ online discount by 11/6

Unfortunately I have a big problem with this conference and what it stands for. The past couple of years, Reb Shlomo has been commercialized as seen by this convention. The Motsai Shabbos concert is the following :
Yahrzeit Tribute ConcertĂ‚“Shlomo Carlebach Music for the SoulĂ‚”Performers include (subject to change): Yisroel Williger, Shloime Dachs, Yossi Piamenta, Mendy Wald, Yehuda Green, Heshy Broyde, Rocky Zweig and The Holy Beggars Band.

If you are a stereo-typical Brooklyn Yeshivish music listener, this would be a great lineup but for a Carlebach fan this is a complete joke. I am not sure about Heshy Broyde and Yehuda Green but Rocky Zweig and maybe Piamenta are the only ones that have anything to do with Reb Shlomo. Whats even a bigger joke is the fact that the other three singing are possible names in the following lawsuit about people stealing Reb Shlomo's music. What bothers me so much is the fact that people like Yisrael Williger are part of the group thadespiseded Reb Shlomo when he was alive. Now that he passed away and these people realize they can make money off of him they love him all of a sudden? These people make me so sick. What makes me even sicker is this post here by Rubin where MBD clearly knows he is stealing and doesn't care and then comes on Mendy Walds new CD a whole thing about stealing. Reb Shlomo had a big problem with these people when he was alive and now that he is not these people think they can take advantage because no one is going to stop them until Neshama starting her lawsuits and posting this on her families webpage.

If you open any of the CDS of these people stealing his music and making money off of it, you never see any thanks to Reb Shlomo or anything about donating money to his foundation. In Israel, the Carlebach memorial and Yarzteit concerts arcompromiseded of people who really had a connection to him and are not trying to use his niggunim to make themselves popular because they can't sell albums or concert tickets any other way. The fact that Sruli Williger goes around leading "Carlebach" shabbatons makes me sick. The so called Teaneck Carlebach group hires these same clowns to do things for them as well. How come the real Chevraren'tnt taking over in America to teach Shlomo Torah, stories, and Niggunim the way they are supposed to be taught? How come Noah Solomon, or Yehuda Solomon are not involved in this concert? How about Rabbi Moshe Shur or Oneg Shemesh even the guys of Pey Daled or Avraham Rosenblum?
If someone could explain to me why this happens I would love to know. There are still many holy people involved with the way the foundation is run I just don't agree with what they are doing. I would think Reb Shlomo would not be happy either. One of the things Reb Shlomo used to go crazy about is when people sing niggunim he brought down from shamayim the wrong way and that is exactly what some of the people I mentioned do. I could make this post much longer and go on and on about this issue but I will not right now because I want people to read this and when things are long people don't read.

I want to post one more thing. I am curious what people think about this article about a Reb Shlomo musical. If this doesn't prove my point about how Reb Shlomo has become commercialized I do not know what can. Maybe someone can fill me in, is Neshama the one commercializing everything?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach zt'l Yartzeit

I just wanted to post something quick with a much longer post coming up later. Last night and today is the Yartzeit of Shlomo Carlebach. For those of you who don't know who he is or are not familiar with him can check out this. Today at 11 am eastern time Nachum Segal will be hosting a live lunch where you can listen to Reb Shlomo's music. There will also be an archive here from the Jm in the AM show this morning which featured Reb Shlomo's music. If anyone has any stores about Reb Shlomo please feel free to put them in the comments. Anything that is not appropriate will be deleted. I will be posting again later today with stories and comments about the life of Reb Shlomo.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Where to Daven in a Shul

After reading Dvar Phutims post here it got me started on another thing that drives me crazy which is something I will never understand no matter how many people try to explain or rationalize it. It is clear from halacha as seen in Mishna Berurah when one goes to shul they should not sit by the door or stand by the door because it gives the impression that you are rushing to leave shul. With that in mind I have a question. Whenever I show up late for mincha someplace I can never get in. There is this phenomenom that people like crowding by the door when they are late and are scared to go in. I understand that if someone is davening you cannot go within 3 amos of them but if they are in a position that is blocking you, i see no problem with walking within their three amos to get by. By people blocking the entrance they are preventing other people from coming in to daven. To me this looks like selfishness. Why can't you make your way further inside. The minyan I go to, the Rav stops and tells people to move to the front. When people are gathered by the door or in the back, it also leads to talking. Preventing someone from getting into shul is really bothering to me and Rabbaim need to place signs on doors stating this so it doesn't happen.

Conclusions About Halloween

I want to thank Litvak for his lead to the Halloween articles here. Based on everyones comments and from what I observed this year I have come to the following conclusions.

1. Almost everyone who goes to a public school or a non religious private school takes part in Halloween.
2. Immigrants to this country who have never heard of the holiday celebrate as well. I base this on the Chinese families who rang my bell who did not speak English.
3. Whenever you give anyone candy for free without any conditions they are very happy and will be thankful.
4. Despite what people say about Americans knowing the real reasons behind Halloween I think Americans are not. I base this on how it has become a Hallmark Holiday and every radio show and every TV show as well as everywhere you went was Halloween based. When I went to the local JCC/YMHA the receptionist was dressed in a costume.

Therefore, I will continue to give candy to Trick or Treaters unless I learn something new that will change my mind. In one of the comments on the Hirhurim blog it is mentioned that Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky used to give out candy on Halloween because he loved children. It is a persons individual decision whether or not they want to spend money oon candy to distribute but I don't see the harm. I guess it also depends upon where you live. If you live in a real Chassishe Neighborhood like Crown Heights, Williamsburg, or Boro Park where there are not so many non Jews I can understand why you wouldn't want to answer the door but if you live in a neighborhood like I do where there are lots of non-Jews its good to make a Kiddush Hashem in my opinion by partaking.