Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Banning treif music - the new standards

JPost reports:

Musicians who use rock, rap, reggae and trance influences will not receive rabbinic approval for their CDs, nor will they be allowed to play in wedding halls under haredi kosher food supervision, according to a new, detailed list of guidelines drafted with rabbinical backing that differentiates between "kosher" and "treif" music.

The guidelines, which are still being formulated, also ban "2-4 beats and other rock and disco beats;" the "improper" use of electric bass, guitars and saxophones; and singing words from holy sources in a disrespectful, frivolous manner.

"Michael Jackson-style music has no place in our community," says Mordechai Bloi, a senior member of the Guardians of Sanctity and Education, an organization based in Bnei Brak that enforces what it sees as normative haredi behavior.

"We might be able to adopt Bach or Beethoven, music with class, but not goyishe African music and beats. We haredim want to protect ourselves from what we see as negative foreign influences. We are trying to maintain our own authentic music styles. We admit that times are changing, but we are trying to stay loyal to our roots."

This is the first time that specific, detailed criteria, including comments on playing styles, will be used to add transparency to the delineation between acceptable or "kosher" Jewish music and forbidden or "treif" music.

The man responsible for drafting the list is Rabbi Efraim Luft of Bnei Brak, who heads an organization called the Committee for Jewish Music. Luft works in conjunction with Bloi's organization and with the Jerusalem-based Council for the Purity of the Camp headed by Rabbi Yitzhak Meir Safronovitch. These are the two most important and influential "modesty patrols" in the haredi community.

Bloi and Safronovitch have managed over the years to consolidate their power by successfully courting the backing of the major halachic authorities. A large portion of the haredi community, which numbers between 500,000 and 700,000, is loyal to its rabbis.

Calls by rabbis to boycott a business, to take to the streets to demonstrate or to vote for a particular candidate are taken seriously.[...]

Similarly, enforcers of haredi norms are monitoring, supervising and censoring the haredi pop music scene, with Luft spearheading the campaign. Luft has already issued a list of "kosher" and "non-kosher" bands and musicians. He said that dozens of yeshiva heads have agreed to refuse to come to the wedding of a student who hires a non-kosher band. Halls with haredi kashrut supervision who host non-kosher bands run the risk of losing their supervision, and hence their clientele. Companies that help promote haredi concerts expose themselves to the danger of a consumer boycott.

Luft said that music is just part of a much larger problem in haredi society.

"We see that the same people who are involved in the treif pop scene are also the ones in the unapproved news media, in the so-called religious radio stations, in film and in advertising," said Luft. "All of these things come together to demoralize haredi society and to lower the spiritual level of our youth.[...]

17 comments :

  1. Sigh. This is what the famed Rabbi Jacob Kassin z"l had to say about "unkosher" music:

    "Borrowing melodies and providing them with new, sacred Hebrew texts is done for a good reason, a reason of fundamental importance, and it is correct that it is said about it "that it is good." This is so because the melody is a holy spark. Because when one plays sensual love songs, the spark is submerged in the kelippot [waste coverings]. It is for this reason that it is necessary to establish a foundation of holy words- drawn from the mouth of scholars and from the mouth of books- for any tune with a non-Jewish source, in order to lead the spark from the realm of evil to the realm of holiness. This is an obligation in the same way that it is an obligation to draw sinners to good, to turn away from iniquity, and to bring out the precious from the vile. It is an obligation to make clear the holy sparks. So it is with holy songs. The holy sparks bring light to the just."

    ReplyDelete
  2. "
    Rock ´n roll is here to stay,
    it´ll never die
    It was meant to be that way,
    though I do not know why
    I do not care what people say,
    rock ´n roll is here to stay

    (We do not care what people say, rock ´n roll is here to stay)

    Rock ´n roll will always be
    our ticket to the end
    It´ll go down in history,
    just you wait, my friend
    Rock ´n roll will always be,
    it will go down in history

    (Rock ´n roll will always be, it will go down in history)

    So c´mon,
    everybody rock,
    everybody rock,
    everybody rock,
    everybody rock
    Everybody rock

    Now everybody rock ´n roll,
    everybody rock ´n roll,
    everybody rock ´n roll
    Everybody rock ´n roll,
    everybody rock ´n roll

    Rock ´n roll will always be
    our ticket to the end
    It´ll go down in history,
    just you wait, my friend
    Rock ´n roll will always be,
    it will go down in history
    If you do not like rock ´n roll,
    think what you have been missin´
    But if you like to bop & strawl,
    c´mon down & listen
    Let´s all start to have a ball,
    everybody rock ´n roll

    Ah, oh baby, ah, oh baby, ah, oh baby, ah, oh baby, rock!"

    ReplyDelete
  3. The irony of that song from "Danny and the Juniors" is that its chords were transplanted into a Frum tune while slipping under the radar about fifteen or twenty years ago. I hear it around all of the time and I cannot think of who plays it. The specific note that I here all of the time come from the third stanza. Most likely anybody could get away with playing them at any wedding hall even under the new guidelines.

    The extra irony of all of this is the prophetickness of the song. Especially in light of todays article.

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  4. Most Chassidic nigguns have melodies that were taken from popular European saloon songs. If anything should be assured, it should be saloon songs!

    Lubavitch's Shabbos Mevorchim repetition of the Shemona Esrai is sung to the tune of the "Internationale", the Communist national anthem. Nothing is more against Torah than Communism. Use of this melody should CERTAINLY be banned.

    Read Idelsohn on Jewish Music, and you'll see how many "Jewish tunes" are adapted from local folk songs, even church tunes, etc. Some of the most popular Jewish tunes come from secular sources. E.g. Goldfarb's Vene'emar, which many today criticize because of the repetition (ushmo ushmo ushmo echad). R' Rich Wolpoe has noted that its themes are derived from the tunes for nursery rhymes - Hickory Dickory Dock (vene'emar, vehaya adoshem), The Farmer in the Dell (bayom hahu, bayom hahu, yiheh H' echad).

    Say goodbye to the classic Kol Nidre (a Gypsy/Romany folksong),and much of classical chazzanut, which liberally borrows from opera (especially the arias, that Orthodox chazzanim were permitted to sing in Europe, such as Nabucco and Rebecca), and many of the songs we sing at weddings.

    The "tetriser niggun" is a Russian folksong. Then there is "Hail the Conq'ring Hero" from Handel's Judas Maccabeus on Shabbos Chanukah and Handel's "Comfort ye my people" on Shabbos Nachamu, from the Messiah.

    Maoz Tsur is commonly sung to the tune of a Lutheran hymn, one of two tunes written by Luther for the chorale Nun Freut Euch, Lieben Christen Gmein. The first was composed in Wittenberg in 1524 and the second in 1535. Version #1 (1524) is generally accepted as the source for Maoz Tzur by most scholars of Jewish musical history as the melodies are tonally identical. The minute changes in note values are to be expected as a result of adapting to melody to a Hebrew text.

    There should be a council of Baalei Teshuva musicologists created to research the origin of every melody currently used in davening and niggunim as they ALL have their origins in non Jewish sources and should be banned to remove the treif influence from our communities.

    Only melodies that can SURELY be attributed to the Bais HaMikdash should be permitted. All others come from Gentile influences.

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  5. This is clearly a plot to get free CD's. After all, the next thing to be announced is that all frum musicians will need this rabbi's "seal of approval" on his CD for it to be sold and played. And in order to do that, the musician will have to send his CD to the rabbi. And possibly play at a family simcha for free.

    Now, in following Bartley's lead and with all due apologies to Bob Seeger:

    Just take those old records off the shelf
    I'll sit and listen to 'em by myself
    Today's music aln 't got the same soul
    I like that old time rock 'n' roll
    Don't try to take me to Shweky
    You'll never even get me out on the floor
    In ten minutes I'll be late for the door
    I like that old time rock'n' roll

    Still like that old time rock'n' roll
    That kind of music just soothes the soul
    I reminisce about the days of old
    With that old time rock 'n' roll
    Won't go to hear them play a tango

    I'd rather hear some blues or funky old soul
    There's only sure way to get me to go
    Start playing old time rock 'n' roll
    Call me an apikorus, call me what you will
    Say I'm new-fashioned, say I'm modernisher
    Approved Jewish music ain't got the same soul
    I like that old time rock 'n' roll

    Still like that old time rock'n' roll
    That kind of music just soothes the soul
    I reminisce about the days of old
    With that old time rock 'n' roll

    ReplyDelete
  6. "Most Chassidic nigguns have melodies that were taken from popular European saloon songs. If anything should be assured, it should be saloon songs!"

    People say this all the time, but never support it.

    Christians who want more modern music say the same thing about the old style hymns.

    Urban legend or just over generalization?

    ReplyDelete
  7. "Most Chassidic nigguns have melodies that were taken from popular European saloon songs. If anything should be assured, it should be saloon songs!"

    People say this all the time, but never support it.

    Christians who want more modern music say the same thing about the old style hymns.

    Urban legend or just over generalization?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Consider:
    Sanhedrin on 101a. It is amazing that practically the entire Jewish world ignores this halacha forbidding singing psukim.
    One can sing pesukim in the correct time. Pesach related praises on Pesach, and Succot ones on Succot, and so on.

    There is another Gemara in Sotah (35a) that says that King David was punished because in tehillim he stated that "your statutes were to me as songs in the house of my pilgrimage." Apparently David sought comfort in learning during the times that he was being chased by Shaul. But the fact that he even made reference to psukim as songs was grounds for punishment -- even though he did not sing them.

    The popular music of the 18th and 19th centuries included marches, arias and waltzes. From these were adapted the saloon songs of the era. Any student of European music recognizes the melodies commonly used in the davening as adaptations of popular songs of a century ago.

    Some pieces have become so embedded and adopted everywhere (like Maoz Tsur which is a Lutheran hymn) that we regard these as the tune of the piece. Another example of this is, En Kamocha and Ki Mitzion. These songs were in fact originated by Salomon Sulzer (1804-1890), the great cantor of Vienna. Sulzer's melodies were composed by none other than Schubert, who was even specially commission to be the composer of Sulzer's Friday evening service Mizmor Shir Leyom Hashabbat.

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  9. More "Jewish" music trivia.

    Mordechai Ben David is one of the all time most popular Chassidic music stars. Like all other Jewish musicians including MBD's father the venerable Chazzan Dovid Werdyger, MBD gets many of his melodies from "goyishe" composers.

    A few well known examples are:

    "Lichtiger Shabbos" on Just One Shabbos (1982) [retitled "Yiddish" on Solid MBD (1993)] is an adaptation of "Close Every Door To Me", from the musical theater production Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber.

    "Yidden" on Jerusalem: Not For Sale (1986) uses the music of "Dschinghis Khan" (English: Genghis Khan), from the German band Dschinghis Khan.

    "Father Dear" on Yerushalayim Our Home (1988) [retitled "Daddy Dear" on The English Collection (1998)] uses music from "Little Child," performed by many earlier singers, notably Cab Calloway and his daughter in 1956; it, in turn, is adapted from an earlier French song.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Musicman said...

    Consider: Sanhedrin on 101a. It is amazing that practically the entire Jewish world ignores this halacha forbidding singing psukim.
    One can sing pesukim in the correct time. Pesach related praises on Pesach, and Succot ones on Succot, and so on.
    ==========================
    This is the view of Rav Moshe Feinstein
    שו"ת אגרות משה יורה דעה חלק א סימן קעג

    אבל לע"ד אסור לכתחלה לעשות רעקארדער /הקלטה/ מפסוקים בשביל לשמוע הניגון להתענג מצד האיסור דעושה פסוק כמין זמר שהתורה חוגרת שק ועומדת לפני הקב"ה ואומרת לפניו רבש"ע עשאוני בניך ככנור שמנגנין בו לצים שאיתא בסנהדרין דף ק"א והוא עוד מעשה ליצנות מכ"ש. ואם עושה הרעקארדער כדי שע"י זה נוח להתינוק להתלמד מזה יש להתיר.
    ---
    שו"ת אגרות משה יורה דעה חלק ב סימן
    קמב

    ובעצם רואים אנו שרוב העולם מזמרים נוסחי ברכות וגם פסוקים בכל עניני שמחה אף חסידים ואנשי מעשה, אף שזה ודאי הא מפורש בגמרא לאיסור ולא ידוע לי טעם נכון, ואולי מפרשים בגמרא דוקא פסוק של שיר השירים שלא יבואו לזלזל בשיר השירים לומר שאינו קדוש אלא הם דברי שיר בעלמא, דלא כרש"י שפירש שנקט שה"ש לרבותא אע"פ שמשיר השירים הוא ועיקרו שיר אסור לעשותו כמין שיר, שמשמע שכ"ש פסוקים של תורה וכל נביאים וכתובים שאסור, אבל אף אם נמצא פירוש כזה היה לנו לחוש לפרש"י וכן הוא גם בנ"י, וצ"ע בטעם שמקילין. עכ"פ למה שמקילין בזמרה של האדם ממש אין להחמיר גם בטעיפ רעקארדערס, אבל לבעלי נפש מן הראוי להחמיר שלא לעשות טעיפ רעקארדער מברכות ופסוקים, וכשנעשה כבר שלא להעמידו להשמיע הברכות והפסוקים לתענוג בעלמא. ואם אינו לזמרה ולשחוק אלא רק להזכיר איך שנהגו אז בימי חתונתו וכדומה, נראה שלא שייך האיסור אף בפסוקים ואין להחמיר אף לבעלי נפש, וכ"ש כשנעשה כדי שיהא נקל לחזור אחר מה שלמד שמותר.

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  11. The chord progression from "Rock ´n roll is here to stay" is the backbone of Baruch Hagever, a Pirchei Boys Choir classic.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Musicman,

    just a small deatil. It seems that the Maoz Tzur niggun is quite older than the lutheran "Nun freut euch lieben Christen gmein".

    This is from Wiki: The present melody for the Hanukkah hymn has been identified by Birnbaum as an adaptation from the old German folk-song "So weiss ich eins, dass mich erfreut, das pluemlein auff preiter heyde," given in Böhme's "Altdeutsches Liederbuch" (No. 635); it was widely spread among German Jews as early as 1450. By an interesting coincidence, this folk-melody was also the first utilized by Luther for his German chorals. He set it to his "Nun freut euch lieben Christen gmein" (comp. Julian, "Dictionary of Hymnology," s. v. "Sing praise to God who reigns above"). It is familiar among English-speaking people as the tune for a translation by F. E. Cox of the hymn "Sei lob und ehr dem höchsten gut," by J. J. Schütz (1640-1730). As such it is called "Erk" (after the German hymnologist), and, with harmonies by Bach, appears as No. 283 of "Hymns, Ancient and Modern" (London, 1875).

    Cantor Eduard Birnbaum, Chanuca-Melodie für Pianoforte, mit Vorbemerkung, Königsberg, 1890;

    ReplyDelete
  13. And how about niggunim from non-orthodox jews? Most people sing Sholom Aleichem to a tune made by a conservative rabbi (although conservative 100 years ago, uncomperable to the conservative movement in our time) Israel Goldfarb and the tune of Birkas Hamazon is said to be composed by Mordechai Kaplan for a summer camp...

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  14. The Rambam, I believe, has problems with Shirei Agovim (love songs) only. In terms of words, it appears that only those from Shir Hashirim are universally proscribed.

    I have previously mentioned the Kabolo/Chassidus based approach of the venerable Rabbi Jacob Kassin who wrote:

    Borrowing melodies and providing them with new, sacred Hebrew texts is done for a] good reason, a reason of fundamental importance, and it is correct that it is said about it "that it is good." This is so because the melody is a holy spark. Because when one plays sensual love songs, the spark is submerged in the kelippot [waste coverings]. It is for this reason that it is necessary to establish a foundation of holy words- drawn from the mouth of scholars and from the mouth of books- for any tune with a non-Jewish source, in order to lead the spark from the realm of evil to the realm of holiness. This is an obligation in the same way that it is an obligation to draw sinners to good, to turn away from iniquity, and to bring out the precious from the vile. It is an obligation to make clear the holy sparks. So it is with holy songs. The holy sparks bring light to the just


    The Gemora in Chagiga relates that the once great Tanna turned apikores Elisha Ben Avuyah lost his emuno despite great knowledge of Torah. The reason given is that “Greek music never ceased to emerge from his mouth.” It would seem that music has the capacity to draw us closer to Hashem, and at the same time it has the power to estrange us from our faith

    The Mishna in Sotah states that once the Sanhedrin stopped functioning, music was banned in “wine houses.” The Talmud Yerushalmi explains that with the demise of the Sanhedrin there was a lessening in the ability of Rabbis to outlaw and police the practice of the introduction of corrupt lyrics into music. It is not just the lyrics though which may be at fault. The Talmud Bavli relates that the songs of the “weavers” were forbidden because they were “frivolous” or of little value, whereas the songs of farmers and wood workers were permitted because those songs helped the workers to do their work. At the other end, the Talmud Yerushalmi (Megillah 3:2) relates that Mar Ukvah criticised the Reish Galusa (Leader in exile) for excessive listening to music. Based on these sources, Rashi prohibits singing in a bar-like environment whereas Tosfos add that excessive music is always forbidden, but that music of a religious nature, performed in the context of a Mitzvah or Simcha, is always permitted.

    There is a lot to music that is highly personal. It goes without saying that a song which touches the soul of one person, may have a zero or even negative effect on another. Some listen to a song and are heavily attuned (sic) to the lyrics. Others focus on the actual tune as the ikkar (main thing) and often can’t even recall the name of the song or won’t know the lyrics.

    How does one make sense of these competing dichotomies? Can music be the source of an apparent deviation from Torah norms or is it a later manifestation of a previous deviation? Clearly those who have concerns should discuss this with their LOR (Local Orthodox Rabbi).

    A good approach is to “use your head”. If one’s children are completely sheltered from the vicissitudes of western depravity, a closely supervised or “kosher” approach must be followed punctiliously. If one’s children are exposed to drums, bass and guitar then consider channelling them towards the now rich and expanding array of Jewish music pioneered by the Mordechai Ben Davids of this world, and now emulated and transformed by all and sundry. Don’t ever call such music Treif.

    Borrowing the words of Reb Moshe Feinstein (Orah Hayim 3:87), who was strict (Orah Hayim 1:166) on the general issue of music after the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh,

    “one should not object to one who follows the ruling of the Ramo regarding music”.

    In summary, make sure that the leisure/enjoyment aspects of music enhance the spiritual experience. Music is a most powerful weapon-if used in the right way.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 15, 2008 at 8:25 AM

    Black Ger in Brooklyn wants to introduce a new beat: Convergence of the geirus and controversial music issues.

    A recent report in VIN points to a convergence of two major issues that have been discussed on this blog lately: Geirus kehalacha and music "kehalacha" but what happens when a Ger Kehalacha desires to introduce his own natural brand of music that rabbonim feel is not appropriate? It's not an easy dilemma as one reads this story from VIN of 09-14-08 (video attached as well on VIN):

    http://www.vosizneias.com/20287/2008/09/14/brooklyn-ny-tale-of-tragedy-and-triumph-for-a-struggling-hasidic-black-convert-rap-star/

    "Tale of Tragedy and Triumph For a Struggling Hasidic Black Convert Rap Star

    Brooklyn, NY - Yitzchak Jordan’s act is ‘kosher’ in the rap world, but Hasidic elders have yet to give their blessing. Pace for News

    Yitzchak Jordan’s act is ‘kosher’ in the rap world, but Hasidic elders have yet to give their blessing.

    He dodged bullets on a streetcorner. He watched his mother die from a cocaine addiction. But Flatbush’s Yitzchak (Y-Love) Jordan is more Hasidic than ‘hood.

    New York’s only known black ultra-Orthodox Jewish rapper left his native Baltimore at 21 for Brooklyn, converting to a religion that drew him into a far different world.

    Jordan, now 29, travels the globe rhyming his views - as a black man and a Jew.

    “The entire way I look at the world is a fusion between Baltimore and Brooklyn,” said Jordan last week, finishing a performance at the Knitting Factory in Tribeca.

    “Being black affects everything,” he said. “I had kids stare at me like I was a gremlin in Borough Park.”

    In the song, “From Brooklyn to Ramle,” Jordan raps about straddling two worlds:

    The same racist systems create the same victims

    Half-hour in the pizzeria, they ain’t even ask me, man … hattan I could spend 1/2 hour hailing taxis

    That’s how I live on the daily

    Black man Haredi [ultra-Orthodox]

    Can’t let these haters faze me ‘cuz if I did, I’d go insane!

    If Jordan’s real-life story weren’t rare enough, he raps in a mix of English, Hebrew, Yiddish, Arabic, Latin and Aramaic - a homage to his love of the Torah and other old-school godly texts.

    Judaism intrigued him at the age of 7 as he watched his first Passover commercial. But as a black kid in East Baltimore, he couldn’t escape the city’s violence.

    “I was shot at in high school,” he said, explaining that neighborhood thugs fired two bullets at him as punishment for “acting too white.”

    Rapping became Jordan’s outlet when he enrolled in a Jerusalem yeshiva at 21, two years after dropping out of Maryland’s Towson University in 1996.

    He ended up on Avenue H in Flatbush, staying close to his newfound brethren, working in Manhattan as a computer programmer.

    Hasids now make up Jordan’s sense of family. An only child, Jordan lost his father to cancer, then his mother to drugs.

    “I wanted to be Jewish my entire life,” Jordan said. “Judaism is native to parts of Africa.”

    Even though he wears a yarmulke, Jordan has street cred with the hip-hop elite.

    Hip-hop magazine XXL pronounced his music “kosher,” and URB magazine called Jordan a “proud individual.”

    While the bling intelligentsia praise his style, his Hasidic elders are far from fans.

    In Israel, ultra-Orthodox rabbis forbid rap music, calling it unholy.

    And in Flatbush, Rabbi Meir Fund, who converted Jordan, said hip-hop is harmful. “I am proud of Yitz Jordan’s efforts,” Fund said. But “music of this type will not benefit the listener spiritually.”

    Jordan said he has no plans to give up his music.

    “Dissing styles of music is counterproductive to the Jewish community,” Jordan said. “I have faith that in the future it will change, and all Jewish music will be seen as equally Jewish no matter what style it happens to be in.

    Sample of Y-Love music performing a rap song on Aicha from Tisha B’Av (YouTube video)"

    ReplyDelete
  16. Recipients and PublicitySeptember 15, 2008 at 10:12 AM

    Bais Din established by Charedi keaders in Israel to monitor tznius.

    As reported by Dei'ah VeDibur 11 Elul 5768 - September 11, 2008,

    http://chareidi.shemayisrael.com/KSZ68atsnius.htm

    "Krias Kodesh For All to Follow Modesty Guidelines Established by Beis Din Mishmar HaTorah

    By Yechiel Sever

    As the Yomim Noraim approach many segments of the public are uniting and raising awareness based on the holy calls by gedolei Yisroel shlita to reinforce the boundaries of tznius and kedushas Yisroel in schools and in every Jewish home through the instructions and guidelines of Mishmar HaTorah, a special beis din set up to oversee and buttress the walls of modesty by establishing clear parameters for proper conduct in Kerem Beis Yisroel.

    The beis din has been holding more chizuk gatherings in chareidi areas and at seminaries around the country, as well as overseeing clothing stores that agree to meet the standards set by the beis din and to sell clothes that meet standards instituted to staunch breaches in Jewish homes and schools in accordance with the remark by Maran HaRav Eliashiv shlita that "these regulations are not excessive stringencies but essential aspects of Torah" ("takonos elu ainan chumros yeseiros ela hein hein gufei Torah").

    A krias kodesh issued by maranan verabonon reads: "The issue of modesty and the sanctity of the Jewish people has always been among the foundations of the religion of the Israelite nation, and this has distinguished us from all other nations. In every generation our forefathers were wholly dedicated to the task of upholding the boundaries of modesty and buttressing the walls of the religion of Moshe and Israel. In places where the boundaries of modesty were breached Rachmono litzlan communities [assimilated] without a trace. Therefore we have an obligation to set ourselves apart and distance ourselves from the ways of the gentiles and the permissiveness of the streets.

    "Recently we merited a great reawakening in maintaining the boundaries of modesty and Jewish sanctity, both at schools and seminaries as well as in the general public, with the setup of a special beis din to address these matters, i.e. Beis Din Tzedek Mishmar HaTorah...

    "In our generation, unlike previous generations, many dams have burst, especially in matters of modest attire. In the past the legacy was passed from mother to daughter and there was no need to explicate and clarify this matter, which was clearly understood, but in our times this situation has changed and now many outside influences have penetrated, even into the best homes, unfortunately.

    "Therefore, as emissaries of rabbonon, we deem it necessary to turn to every head of household regarding proper modes of conduct in Jewish life, particular in the matter of attire." Attached to the letter is a list of guidelines for choosing appropriate clothing.

    The krias kodesh bears the signatures of Maran HaRav Eliashiv, Rosh Hayeshiva HaRav Aharon Leib Shteinman, the Admor of Gur, HaRav Shmuel Wosner, the Admor of Belz, HaRav Yehuda Lefkowitz, the Admor of Sadigora, HaRav Nissim Karelitz, the Admor of Sanz, HaRav Chaim Kanievsky, HaRav Shmuel Auerbach, HaRav Yisroel Hagar, the son of the Admor of Vishnitz, and the Admor of Erlau shlita.

    The rabbonim appointed to the beis din are HaRav Azriel Auerbach, HaRav Yisroel Gans, HaRav Shammai HaKohen Gross, HaRav Shmuel Dovid HaKohen Gross, HaRav Yitzchok Darzy, HaRav Naftoli Nussbaum, HaRav Yehuda Silman, HaRav Moshe Shaul Klein, HaRav Chaim Shmerler and HaRav Boruch Shraga."

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  17. I just came across an article at the BBC website on this topic. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7609859.stm) They also have a pdf of the "Rules for Playing Kosher Music." Supposedly these are the rules compiled by Rabbi Luft, the head of the "Committee for Jewish Music."

    I have to say that, while I am sympathetic with some of the goals expressed in these "rules" (particularly 1, 8, and 9), they are coming way too late in the game.

    If these rules had been promulgated twenty or thirty years ago, they might have made some difference. But by now, for good or ill (mostly ill, in my opinion), the die is set and people are accustomed to certain kinds of music and all the rules in the world are not going to make any difference.

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