Sunday, September 14, 2008

More Comments on A Music Hechsher/ About Negative Campaigning in Election 2008

Never Again By Wu Tang Clan

The talk of a hechsher for music emanating from Chareidi circles haunts me. People are progressing from so many different levels and social backgrounds, this step seems to lack sensitivity to people from outside the Chareidi community. Although reggae music was on the list of banned musical forms specified by those promoting a music hechsher, there are actually people like myself who went through a stage where reggae music drew me closer to Judaism

There are people from Modern Orthodox backgrounds. There are people who are thinking of leaving Judaism who could be reached by music done in a style they feel a connection to. Are we ready to make one psak for all levels and styles of observance?

The general trend of observance in the Orthodox world is towards greater strictness. If that strictness is meant to come close to G-d, then that is a good thing. But if it is observed in an ostentatious manner, a way that demeans others, I have to ask if it is for the sake of heaven or if it is to give the neighbours hell.

There are rabbis who give lenient opinions in Jewish law who are very strict in their own personal observance. Many such people go to great pains to conceal their strictness so as not to discourage or exhaust their students who might try to emulate them. Such modesty is itself worthy of emulation.

One recurring thought I have when among Jews from different communities is how alike we would have looked shaven and in striped uniforms in Auschwitz. Visualising such tragic unity leaves me with a desire to carry it over to times of peace and joy. As contentious as this issue is, We must strive now more than ever to stay united in the face of the many threats facing our community from drugs to abuse in Yeshivas and elsewhere to broken families and even terrorism. G-d gave us each other. We must not scorn the gift He has given us.

I am presenting this song "Never Again". by Wu Tang Clan, a non Jewish song about the holocaust. Although I presented it a few months ago in another posting, the point needs to be made that all sorts of music can be a part of a striving for truth, that the message is more important than the medium. I hope that the dialogue about the spiritual role of music has the effect of bringing our community together. Anything short of this would add to the misfortune of our already troubled times.


Obama on Negative Campaigning, Keepin It Real

Barack Obama’s press secretary Bill Burton has accused presidential hopeful John McCain of “the sleaziest and least honorable campaign in modern presidential campaign history.”

After all of the attacks on Sarah Palin’s family and John McCain’s war record I would be inclined to agree, although not for the same reasons as would Obama.

Obama Campaign Complaints About Negative Campaigning

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