Thursday, September 11, 2008

Not So Fly (Even For a Rabbi)

A large organization representing Haredi (i.e., ultra-orthodox) Jews in Israel has come up with guidelines for "kosher" music.
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."

I love the distinction between classical music (does none of that have 2-4 beats?) and "goyishe African music", and how it screams ethnic chauvinism. On the other hand, this creates an opportunity for a great cross-over project: "Footloose on the Roof."

But seriously -- this is such an embarrassment to the worldwide Jewish community. These people are our fundamentalists.

Via Tapped


Stentor said...

I hope that by "2-4 beats" they mean putting the accent on beats 2 and 4 (one TWO three FOUR), which is generally considered a characteristic of blues-derived music like rock, rap, and reggae, whereas European classical music is generally characterized by accents on 1 and 3 (if it's in 4/4 time). I initially read it as banning music in 2/4 time.

It's interesting to me that when they move past the pure ethnic chauvinism and try to come up with reasons why the music is treif, they end up sounding just like the guy in this video, who is a fundamentalist Christian.

Jack said...

More chauvinistic sure... but to the outsider it makes about as much sense as dietary restrictions.