Read This First

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St. Louis, Missouri
I'm not grumpy all the time, just enough for people to think I am. I'm an almost frum, liberal, conservadox Jew who davens with Chabad. I love movies, music, chinese food, and working out. I'm training for a marathon and trying to quit smoking at the same time. Oh yeah, and on most days, I really hate my job.

Friday, September 19, 2008

A Music Hechscher?

So, this latest chumra is absolutely absurd. The Cheradim's desire to put a hechsher on music has crossed the last line of decency in my book. Don't get me wrong. The sexist and xenophobic statements made by many Cheradi Rabbis are completely unacceptable, and I would never liken the ban of music without a hechsher to the oppression of women in these areas. But, I'm just so stunned that the Cheradi community has decided to flex it's muscle to force people support its bans on music.

You may be thinking, OK they wont listen to it and that's fine. They weren't listening to it in the first place. But, that's only part of the story. The rest is that they will boycott anybody or any venue that does not bend to their rulings on music. You own a wedding hall? Better not AKA-Pella perform there, or the Cheradi community will boycott. Do you own a Jewish book store? Better not get caught selling a Moshav Band CD, or you will be boycotted.

The Cheradi boycotts also go deeper than the economic issue. How many acts of violence have Cheradi Jews perpitrated on people as they try to force others to participate in their boycotts, or participate in their Chumrot? I do remember all the news reports from not to long ago about women being attacked on buses for not sitting in the back, and stones being thrown at un tznius women walking on public roads that just happen to be in neighborhoods the Cheradi moved into after the norms of the neighborhood were already set by the current residents.

It's no secret that I think that cheradic chumrot are a load of horse crap, but to ban music for it's style and not it's message is ridiculous. Don't these people know that the regge beats of Matisyahu brought more people into teshuvah? Or that the rap/rock of Ta-Shma allowed young people to see the mitzvoth as more than just actions and prohibitions? Or maybe they need to ask how many people enhanced their tefillah through listing to Y-Love.

All of these artists, and so many more that I didn't name, are observant, Torah loving, G-d fearing Jews and you will deny them their ability to express themselves in a public setting because you don't like the style of their music? The chillul Hashem is your attitude, not this music.

If you want to live your lives to a higher purpose, then go for it. I have no problems with that. But, quit making sweeping chumrot on things that are perfectly acceptable in Torah based Judaism just because you don't like it.

Here's a short list of chumrot that are especially ridiculous

Strawberries - assur
Miami (the whole city) - assur
The color red - assur
Shetil ads in newspapers and storefronts - assur
and now music with pop or disco beats, or any song that uses any holy themes in a "frivolous" manner - assur

The list is much much longer, but I just wanted to give a few examples of the absurd levels that these chumrot go to.

Have fun being assuridox Jews, maybe you should just not do something if you don't like it instead of trying to force your views on everyone else. You keep on fighting the evils of strawberries and saxophones, I'll be busy fighting child abuse, domestic violence, poverty, illiteracy, government corruption, and hunger. But hey, worst case scenario, I'll move to Miami. Since the whole city is assur, you wont be there to enforce your asinine chumrot.

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