Orthodox Jews and the Arts

DK has once again reminded us today that his standard is the only one that we should hold ourselves to, and that Orthodoxy has done everything wrong.

He quotes SJ who says that,

Orthodox Jews don’t have a musical tradition. The Orthodox jewish “musical tradition” sounds either like little kids babbling or it sounds whiny.

And DK agrees with this.  I have so many things to say about this:

1) No musical tradition? What about the singing in the Temple? Or the Various tunes in davening that have lasted centuries?

2) Even if you don’t like the music doesn’t mean its not a tradition.  Personally I am not a huge fan of  “Jewish Music” but to say there is no tradition is just plain ignorant.  If you don’t like something it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

3) Little kids babbling? I don’t even know what that means.  Can I get an example?

4)Whiny? OK.  I hear that in some cases…

DK eliquently goes into a diatribe about how arts are shuned in the religious world and that,

If you come from an artistic family like I do, you should understand that those skills (yes, Orthodox readers, artistic abilities and achievements do count as “skills”) will not be appreciated in the Orthodox community. In fact, they will be derided.

I can’t say that I blame DK for his view.  He is so woefully ignorant of the actual orthodox world that he just doesn’t know the truth.  Purely on the issue of music, the orthodox world does not deride but in fact looks up to musical talents.  Don’t believe me? Watch how many people merely stand and watch the band at an orthodox wedding.  I know DK wouldn’t know this because he hates separate dancing (i think he called it “gay”, but I can’t find where he said it, so I wont officially say that he did), and therefore would never attend an orthodox wedding.

Or even the admiration for people like Piamenta or Lipa Schmeltzer.  You may not like their music, but people look up to them and certainly do not deride what they do.

I could go on and on with examples from the arts too, but I won’t.  Why you ask? Because you don’t kick a man when he is clearly already been beaten.

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3 Responses to “Orthodox Jews and the Arts”

  1. Offthederech Says:

    This is ridiculous. Gawking at musicians (by children, mind you) does not equal a systemic appreciation for the arts! Maybe they respect science also?

  2. cheerer Says:

    Reasonable point. So what would you define as appreciation?

    More importantly, that point is more to counter DK’s assertion that they would be derided in the frum community. Certainly they are not derided as per the examples I cited above.

    And it isn’t merely children, in fact I rarely see children as part of the group that watches the band.

  3. Neil Harris Says:

    Sadly the larger observant community doesn’t have the resources or the outlets for the arts. It’s a big shame. I think that lack our more access to the arts is the reason that most of the “Jewish” music sounds the same. Of course, every so often, thankfully, some BT comes out with an album that is lyrically deep and still rocks.

    I grew up listening to punk and hardcore. Haven’t found a replacement for that, yet. 🙂


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