The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

More Rockin with the Lord

DM, was cc'd on the email I responded to yesterday regarding YU inviting certain bands that had performed at BB King's and offers his own articulate response.

Essentially, DM doesn't have a problem with these groups gigging at places like BB King's per se. His beef is that the groups specifically target the yeshiva audience by scheduling these gigs during the chaggim and attract this audience to the NYC bar scene.

DM has certainly articulated the heart of the issue more clearly than I had. As he says:

"It’s not as if they take a gig in a bar, publicize the gig to the world at large, or even to the secular or culturally Jewish communities who are comfortable in that environment. Rather, they target the “frum” kids whose communities (and parents too, I might add) do not approve of such behavior.

"I’m not talking about a situation where a band gets a gig at a club, and someyeshiva kids (BTW, when I refer to yeshiva kids here, I’m talking mainly about the black-hat community) hear about the gig and decide to show up. Some of these bands are specifically trying to draw that demographic to their shows and their marketing is geared towards that end."

In theory, I agree with DM that a club scene doesn't have to be unkosher. For example, I attended a gig at the Yellow Submarine club in Jerusalem that featured Aron Razel. Razel, a classically trained ba'al teshuva who, unfortunately, is largely unknown in the US, is one of the most talented musicians/songwriters on the JM scene in Israel. His music is very Jazzy and sophisticated and appeals to a cross section of Israelis. The audience at the club reflected this cross section and the gig was wonderful. But it wasn't targeted to underage kids who would be coming to drink, mosh and get out of control. Unfortunately, I am not aware of many venues where you could pull this off in the US.

I also agree strongly with DM that if groups like Blue Fringe and Moshav really want to expose all kinds of Jews to Jewish cultural music they should be playing at college campuses and not targeting the heimish community. I know, for example, that when Chaim Dovid comes to town, he goes out of his way to play a few Hillels and college communities, often for very little money. It can be a very effective way of connecting with Jews who have very little exposure to Yiddishkeit. That is very different from playing the NYC bar scene.


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