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Apr 13, 2008

The Committee Against Concerts and Anything Fun

This whole "banning concerts" thing is not going away as fast as some people thought it would.

After Lipa's big concert was recently banned, and he caved in and canceled the performance, many people thought it was a one time event, specifically targeting Lipa because of his style.

I did not think so at the time, as experience has shown that when "they" get their way, "they" become emboldened and demand more. It is never a one time thing for these committees and organizations that fight for Purity of the Camp in whatever field they might specialize in (be it music, cellphones, internet, shabbos, tznius, whatever).

Chabad has scheduled their annual concert for tonight in Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv (I was at last years concert, but the couple we went with then did not invite us this year, so either they are going with other people or they are afraid of the ban and are not going - he is a reader so I will take this opportunity to call him a scaredy cat). The stars of the show are MBD and Shweckey.

Chabad has generally stayed out of the various bans and cherems. They run their own system and are usually oblivious to what these various vaads say. After all, the various vaads all ban Chabad anyway because of their own issues, so why should they care what the vaads say about Chabad functions?

Yet this year, the Committee Guarding Sanctity and Education has come out swinging. They decided to ban the Chabad concert and pressure Shweckey and MBD into canceling their participation. The concert is fully separated between men and women.

So why the ban? I doubt anybody really knows. In the end it is because the guy running the vaad does not like something. He says what happens outside the stadium is horrible - the guys and girls meet there. He says he has pictures from previous concerts of haredi guys and girls doing dreadful things. At this rate, he should ban hotels, houses, cars, parks and anything and everything else because dreadful things are sometimes done there. Is that the reason - I don't know. That is an excuse he uses as a claim. He also says these concerts are not the way of the frum world - if you want simcha, come to an event at Yeshivas Chevron or the Yeshiva of Vishnitz and you will see real simcha. These concerts are not real simcha. So he is against concerts.

The other day, Yaakov Shweckey responded to the threats during an interview with Menachem Toker (the scheduled emcee for tonight's event, and a popular Radio show host that deals with the Jewish Music world). The interview is not yet online - on menachem Tokers website it says the interview with Shweckey will hopefully be online today, but as of a few minutes ago it still has not been uploaded.

Shweckey said he has a letter from rav Ovadiah Yosef, his Rebbi, allowing him to participate in the concert (the letter from Rav Ovadiah can be see below). He claims, "These people will never be happy. After Rav Ovadiah, they want all the other Rabbonim to sign and then their Sanhedrin will approve. It is all shtuyot."
"If somebody can find a psul in the concert of me and MBD, either he has a problem, or somebody is deceiving him. Nothing will move me from my decision to participate [in tonight's concert], just like nothing stopped me from participating in the concert at Teddy Stadium, after Chacham Ovadia has permitted me to."

When Toker asked Shweckey that maybe the Vaad members are doing this with pure intentions following instructions from their own rebbeim, Shweckey responded, "They are not activists of the public. They are "simcha stoppers". They do not have the concept of "l'shem shamayim". Maybe they did not like my last album (entitled "Lshem Shamayim")." "They are unsuccessful in getting involved in Avraham Fried concerts and others, so they try me next."

Somebody involved in the music industry in Israel confirmed Shweckeys claim. He said that since the last concert of MBD in Israel was canceled, there were attempts at having other concerts, even only for men, with MBD. Even after the Gerrer Rebbe approved of it, these askanim opposed it to the point that the financiers of the concert backed out. He says they will never approve a concert, so the only way to deal with it is the way MBD did for many years - ignore them. He suspects Lipa will never seriously perform again. He will put out albums and perform at weddings and small events, but never will he do a serious concert. This is because he gave in to them once already.

Mordechai Blau, the head of the Committee against all Concerts and Anything Fun (not the official name of the committee), responded sharply to Shweckey's claims.

Blau is not backing down and he is starting now with threats. He says anybody who shows up to tonights concert will be photographed. His picture will be passed on to the relevant parties, be it Rosh Yeshiva, Seminary head, etc.

Blau is very upset at MBD, claiming they had a silent agreement and now MBD is openly breaking it. Blau has been meeting intensely with MBD's mentors and rebbeim and is hoping to see results immediately. Blau threatened MBD directly saying if he does not cancel his participation, they will forbid the music stores from selling his albums, they will ban his concerts and any personal appearances before Rabbonim, they will teach children in schools about the horrible stumbling block he took part in.

When asked about Rav Ovadiah Yosef's letter supporting Shweckey's participation, Blau said he doubts Rav Ovadiah even saw the letter. he brought the letter to Rav Wosner who said this is a concert like any other and he doubts Rav Ovadiah signed such a letter.

Rav Ovadiah Yosef's letter can be seen here:

So for any of you who thought the ban was a one time thing, this is only the beginning. This is what happens when these askanim get some power.


  1. I dont understand, did he bring the letter to Rav Wozner and Rav Wozner told him he didnt think Rav Ovadia saw it, or Blau told Rav Wozner that Rav Ovadia never saw it? im confused.

    I imagine (and hope) that soon we will discover that Blau abuses his children, and then we wont have to hear from him anymore.

  2. I hope Blau does not abuse his children...

    from the article it seemed to me that Rav Wosner said it, but I might have misunderstood. It is funny for him to use that claim - once they start saying letters were forged, why should anybody else believe his letters were not forged?

  3. ya, but unlike The Big Event this concert is still going to happen and both its main headliners are proceeding. Not to mention there have been half a dozen major concerts in the U.S. since the Lipa show. So from where I'm sitting, I think the initial concert ban was a massive failure.

  4. there are rumors in the forums that MBD very well might back out. also if they scare people out of going by threatening to hpotograph them and get them thrown out of yeshiva... who knows? they might draw a smalled crowd than expected and that could lead to future problems...

  5. After what MBD wrote in his interview with Voz Iz Neias, I don't think he's going to be backing out of concerts anymore. Unless the show is cancelled all together (like it was in London.)

    They are losing power, and I think as time goes on more Rabanim will start supporting (albeit separate seating and no intermission) more shows.

    People will understand that instead of cutting off the hand, you apply medicine to the infection and when dealt with properly, it gets healed.

    The fact that there have been/will be so many major concerts in the U.S. show that the long term effect of that Lipa ban was zero.

    Not only that, but the singers appearing at Pesach hotels everywhere from Miami, L.A., Pheoinx, Palm Springs, upstate show not only were concert bans ineffective but bans on going to hotels or miami were also ineffective.

    People are going to do what theyw ant to do. Maybe taking photos will stop some bochurim from going but the majority of people won't care.

  6. the difference may very well be Israel and the US. In Israel these vaads have acquired much more power and influence than in the US...

    But fear not, the US is usually only a few years behind the chumros of Israel. If it does take hold here, in a few years it very well might be happening in the US as well.

  7. i guess then the door has been officially opened to ask - how do we know anyone's letters aren't forged? if they can claim ROY's are, whose to say theirs aren't? and what about RCK's regarding that last couples wedding - maybe his was forged? etc.....

    let's go further -= who says any psak given or sefer written isn't forged?

  8. It sounds like it is getting uglier and uglier.

  9. We in RBSA should be well aware of what gedolim say vs. what they are quoted as saying.

    2 recent issues: 1)Shefa Shuk and the maybe cherem and 2)The Kupa poster with Rav Chaim Kanievsky saying to give only to them.(BTW for my fellow BTYA members...after this week's drahsha did anyone ask the Rav what he felt about Kupa using a picture of gedolim putting money into a box? Actually Kupa even put a picture of the Rav with their poster on Purim to collect Matanos Le'evyonim. If Kupa isn't a "herd" mentality then what is?) But I digress.

    I think that something is going very wrong in our mesorah when Rabbonim are quoted and misquoted about so many things.

    Just my 10 agrorot.

  10. Well, the concert happened. MBD and Shwekey performed, and the world kept on spinning. baruch hashem. it's a pesach miracle.

  11. A Daf...

    You are correct about Kupa and herd mentality. We were called 3 different times and visited once in order to commit to going to the Melave Malka. The fact that we had a family simcha that evening just didn't seem to register with them.

    Phrases like "everyone is going" and "you can make a table with all of your friends" were added to the push.

    I know that they exist, I know that they give out money and I'll give to them. Why do they need such a hard sell?

  12. We're not going this year.. Too much "YECHI" last year.

    ...but now that it might be banned...



  13. The issue with the Chabbad concert isn't the concert, but rather Chabbad itself.

    Only Christians believe that the messiah died and will return. Jews don't believe that.

    This dangerous sect (Rosenblum is wrong; THIS is the most dangerous thing to Judaism- posing as something kosher when it is the triefest of the treif) must be put in cheirem.

    Total cheirem.


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