More on the Rock and Roll Shabbaton

I tend to get the most readers/comments when it snows locally. So check back here over the next days. For those looking for my Tu b’Shevat Seder post from last year, here it is.

This should not be taken as a critique the rabbi or the rock shabbaton. Rather since this will be setting the tone for OU synagogues, let’s understand it now. I will have several upcoming posts on the connection of these trends in Orthodoxy with the new “Emerging Church” “Café Church” and “Next Level Church.”

This post is a continuation of Cruise Ship Synagogues for Orthodoxy, which generated interesting comments.

First, Daltry will be presented with an award at the Shabbaton.

ROGER DALTREY. This larger than life figure is being honored by our synagogue for his countless contributions to charities around the world. He will be the recipient of WSIS’s first annual Tikkun Olam Award. Roger has been at the forefront of the battle against teen addiction.

Second, as presented to the elderly readers of the Jewish Week about this experiment in the future of Modern Orthodoxy.

The “Tommy” singer will discuss “what it’s like to be him, his connection to Jewish people and his charity work,” said the congregation’s president, Andrew Fox… Fox, 43, said the “Rock and Roll Shabbaton” is part of the shul’s “experiment on what modern Orthodoxy is going to become.”

Third, Rabbi Einhorn was interviewed on Zev Brenner – link was provided by an anon commenter.

The Rabbi declared that he had an expansive Eyn od Milvado “There is nothing but God or there is no ultimate source but God” (Eyn od milvado-literally “there is none other than God”) approach. God can be found everywhere.
He said that such a program gives Hizzuk because it shows that non Jewish have great respect and love for Judaism. If they did not have this respect then they would not be speaking in a shul

Zev Brenner pondered out loud about our use of Winnie the Pooh menorahs or Mickey Mouse Menorahs. Do we use pop-culture to be hip?

Rabbi Einhorn explained that these programs serve as an entry point to Jewish life for many people, they serve as a bridge between where people are and the synagogue. We encourage a “total celebration of Judaism.”

Brenner: Where do you draw the line?

Rabbi- We draw the line only if we find someone who values are antithetical to Judaism.
[site editor- he was asked this 4 times in the course of the interview from both Brenner and audience. In each case he avoided the issue that few bands stand for sex, drugs, and rebellion as do the Who. ]

[I skipped the phone questions that wanted to discuss Rock trivia.]

Phone-In question- Do we need to go to Rock and Roll, does it show we are lacking? And the Who is certainly against Jewish values, one of the members is even charged with child molestation.

Rabbi- We have to make decisions with all tunes that we use and with the decoration and styles of shuls. In each case, we have to decide just how far and how much. Our shul does not turn to rock instead of gedolim, in fact we have have more gedolim than any other shul. We have had the Moditzer Rebbe, the Nikelsburger Rebbe et al. Our shul promotes gedolim. [The list of gedolim is interesting as well as the choice of the word “promote.”]

Question from Brenner- what is the use-function of a shul?
Rabbi’s Answer- You have to experience to understand how it brings hizzuk.
When I teach about the angels going up and down above Yakov avinu, I use Stairway to Heaven- it is a mashol!
Everyone has things from the outside world – Our difference from the Haredim is only how and where it comes in There is wisdom among the goyim so we try to pick up the best.
These approach is not pulling someone out of shtibl but our congregants are already immersed in rock and roll.

Zev Brenner – The moral life of rock stars is not recommended. How can you bring them? What are they showing?

Rabbi Einhorn- “He wont bring in anyone who is against Torah values.” Elan Atias – Lead Singer of Bob Marley has started to put on tefilin everyday. Ellen Foley – davens at Jewish center and is rediscovering her connection to yiddishkeit.

There is limited time for programming and a house of worship does take on the character of the programs.
When Centrism started with Medical Ethics, Business Ethics and politics, it produced congregations of upper middle class professionals active in Israeli politics. Those with other interests did go elsewhere. What wil this produce over time?

Shul life programs like the men’s club cater to those already members, but outreach program’s that are not part of the shul life create a consumer ethos like Aish Hatorah. Most of Aish’s attendees belong to Reform Temples and they come for the Aish programming. Even if they change denominational affiliation, this outreach will create an Orthodox synagogue of non-observant or not totally observant congregants.

Will phrases like “eyn od milvado” and “total celebration of Judaism” replace the halakhic terminology?

Finally, in what way is this a hizzuk? A hizzzuk of what? Jewish pride in what?

4 responses to “More on the Rock and Roll Shabbaton

  1. Dr. Brill- Were you at the Orthodox Forum on Yirat Shamayim when Rabbi Twersky presented his paper (never published) which discussed Ein Od Milvado and Shalom Carmy correctly noted that he is distorting the meaning of Eyn Od Milvado- it actually means that there is no OTHER God, beside Him. It does not mean that God is everything and the only thing. Einhorn is a talmid of Rabbi Twersky, I believe. Funny stuff.

  2. I have the Rav Twersky’s paper, it was sent to me among the other papers. I think that is why this should not be connected to Neo-hasidism but is something new. I thought his source is the Habakuk usage- “there is one ultimate source to all things” like in the Shivi Keller song.
    P.S. I just found two usages like this from the Kiruv world, Tzipporah Heller and Moshe Goldberger. (links fixed)
    (By the way, please provide email in the future)

  3. Can I say that I’m worried for the future of Rock n Roll? Though I guess people have projecting the end of Rock n Roll since 1957…..

  4. Rw Carmy is thus correcting a well-entreched hassidic (and if I’m not mistaken kabbalistic) understanding of the verse. Who cares what it “means”!

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