Q & A Board - View Post
Author:  Jonathan
E-mail:  j.meola@attbi.com
Date:  11/13/2002 11:24:00 AM
Subject:  What is the Sephardi equivalent of "narishkeit"?
Message:  What is the Sephardi equivalent of "narishkeit"? I ask it only because I have noticed a downward trend in terms of the postings being made to this board.

I can understand people having a need to ask questions (it is the singular and timeless Jewish trait) dealing with halacha, kashrut, minhagim, and hashkafa. However, some of the posts on this board are nothing more than the poster's need to demonstrate his/her own lack of saychel.

To ask if the music of R'Shlomo carlebach ZT"L is something to be avoided is just disgusting. It is an unjustfied slight to his memory and legacy.

Reb Shlomo (the son and grandson of learned rabbanim) was chosen by the Lubavitcher Rebbe to be one of his first shluchim, going out into the world at large to reach out to the myriads of Jews disconnected from Torah. He gave up a lot in terms of material comforts, as he worked tirelessly to save Jewish lives by offering them an alternative spirituality based on Torah that kept them out of cults such as the Moonies and Hari Krishna.

Reb Shlomo has been the target of "lashon hara" and "motzei shem ra" because of his "unorthodox" attitude and behavior. People in the observant world know exactly of what I am speaking - the whispers about him have been around as long as his music. I challenge anyone to show me any content in his music or stories that would warrant such attitudes. That "radical" Jewish groups such as the Reconstructionist and Havurah movement (groups that are no doubt outside the realm of Halacha) have made his stories and songs an integral part of their movement does not mean that he himself supported their philosophy; it should instead be seen as proof that his ability to connect to Jews who were and are on the "extreme fringe" had been recognized, appropriated, and imitated.

I also find disturbing your response to the poster who asked about entering a Conservative synagogue to vote in the recent elections. Are you then telling him that he has to be disenfranchised as a result? (an absentee ballot may have been a way around this, but as seen in recent elections, their status has been called into question) He was not participating in any function or service of the synagogue, nor asking for any legitimazation of their practices. He was just trying to participate in the electoral process, something that would undoubtedly fall into the category of "being a good citizen of the county in which he lives".

I had seen your response to someone who had asked about working for an organization which had its offices in a Conservative synagogue building. Again, the issue as described had nothing to do with the "services" or the "congregation" itself, but was only a tenant of the physical facility. Why would that be considered sinful?

Does this prohibition extend to kiruv efforts as well? If so, I would like to see the halachic justification for that position. Many Reform and Conservative congregation members have returned to Torah Judaism because of such efforts. These efforts may have been in the form of a weekly class, or the appearance of a guest speaker who would speak once their "services" were concluded. What about a "messianic Jewish" church? Should a kiruv professional not enter one of these places as well, even when Jewish neshamot are at stake?

I await you or your father's response. Thank you.
Reply:  Each person has his opinion of what is important & what isn't. There are many that feel that what you wrote is ridiculous.
Shlomo carlebach did many things in public that are against what is written in our Shulchan Aruch. To deny that is silly. I'm not the Judge nor the Jury, but to ignore the reality and just get angry at others who don't idolize him, is a waste of everyone's time.
In regards to Conservative Synagogues, if one wants to enter for Kiruv purposes, they should seek the advise of a qualified Rabbi in person. The same would apply to entering a church or the like.

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