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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I’m Back AGAIN! Looks Like Nothing Has Changed…

I have spent the last 8 months or so not blogging.  For the most part I didn’t feel the urge.  Yeah blogs from DK, SJ, OTD and various other misinformation hubs have annoyed me, but never enough to get me back into writing.

Even now as I write this I still doubt my decision.  However, with my recommitment  to blogging I do so with a few caveats.

I don’t feel pressured to post every day.  If i have something I want to write about, I will.  If I have time to write, I will.

So why do I say that nothing has changed since I left?  Well, DK can help me out there.  In the last week he has posted not one, not two, but three separate articles about the NCSY awards dinner known as The Ben Zakkai Dinner.  Not only is it more obvious then ever that DK just wants to get NCSY, but in the three posts he refuses to make a point.

Sure each time he gives the opportunity to explain at length why he opposes the award, which he has done in the past, but instead he merely makes comments about buying seats and Rabbi Lashak’s receiving the “Baruch Lanner Enabler Award”.

What did Rabbi Lashak do to recieve such treatment? Perhaps you meant to convey a point? Maybe you could have suggested something constructive like Rabbi Lashak refuse the award because of whom it was named after?

No, instead DK would rather make boring and unintelligent comments that really don’t make any point whatsoever.  And he would rather do it over and over again, because he gets sad when people don’t comment and comment and comment on his posts so he must re-post on the same subject with no new material.

Please DK, hold your blog to the same standard you hold the frum world to.  Be intellectual and actually make a point, no matter how wrong you are.

Facts Shmacks

When arguing with certain people who beleive something without any real reason nothing will change their mind.  Nothing.  It doesn’t matter if they are Democrat/Republican, Frum/Secular, Jewish/Non-Jews, Male/Female, people who don’t use proof to back themselves up just cannot be convinced of the truth no matter what.

I have seen over and over again that the Kvetcher is one of these people.  He has time and time again been proved wrong on certain issues, but refuses to correct himself.

One issue DK has been harping on a lot in the last couple of months is circumcision.  Over and over again he talks about it as if it is child abuse and that the right wing nutjobs are forcing people to do it and that there are no real studies that prove that it helps anyone.  Its all the Jews fault.

Well, now there are.  TM of Jewlicious posted in a comment a study from the Wall Street Journal that says ,

The study, led by scientists from Johns Hopkins University and Makerere University in Uganda, relied on data from the same randomized control trials in Africa that already showed that circumcision cuts in half the risk of contracting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which can cause AIDS.

What now DK?  Im expecting some kind of rant about how the religious fundies run the WSJ, or that the study was conducted by people who had a vested interest in the result.

Either way it should be an entertaining response, albeit not an intellectual one.

So These Are the Arguments of the “Intellectuals”

Many times we have heard people who hate hassidic, yeshivish, and in general more religous people, argue that these groups are not “intellectual” and the only books they look at are the gemara so they obviously know nothing about a scholarly argument.

On that note I would like to point out what some people I have been arguing with have said after I wrecked them in an intellectual argument.

Half Sours:

You sir, are liar, liar pants on fire. And everyone knows it now. Another kiruvnik discredited. My work here is done.

DK:

Cheerer, have you considered dating a militant feminist? Because your whole, “That’s not funny!” refrain would go over quite well with those women.

DK after someone questioned his making holocaust jokes in the context of the Heeb Magazine Contest for fake holocaust stories

Liz: No matter how you want to spin it, Holocaust “jokes” are not funny.

DK:  Then don’t laugh.

And of course DK’s response to my argument based on his making a satirical posting about the OU giving a haskgacha to Zyklon B

Me: I will not be told that I “didn’t think” from someone who marginalizes the holocaust.

DK: I will not have one of my best satires marginalized by someone who connects issues that are not interrelated.

These are the people who claim there that frummies are “anti-intellectual”.

These are the people who are trying to stop kiruv.

These are the people who say religious people are stopping the advancement of the Jewish People

These are the people we fight for future of our people.

Don’t ever forget it.

Freedom of Religion (for those who agree with him)

The First Amendment of the United States Constitution reads as follows,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…

Apparently according to Kvetcher when the amendment says “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” it meant only the stuff that he finds sensible.  DK, despite the fact that you find chalov yisroel products “inferior” and have “inflated costs” (which there is substantial proof to back up that claim), it does not mean that people should be allowed to make that part of their religious observance.

He claims that it is

a terrible thing for the U.S. government to be subsidizing these idle haredim who are so “pious” they can’t trust gentile farmers to be delivering cows milk.

but then in the same breath claims that

Maybe the Agudath Israel should teach its people the value of work, and stop “educating” the government on how to treat their degenerate constituency with ever-greater coddling and “sensitivity.”

If these people are not trusting non-Jews for their milk then it must be Jews making the milk.  Is that not good enough work for you?  I see, they should spend their days in front of a computer insulting people who merely express their religion differently then him, because that is good honest American work.

Moreover, just because they have different views in this case it makes them degenerates? Excuse me?  How dare you call them that merely because they believe something you don’t.  Its not like they didn’t go about this the right way.  Do you have any proof that they did something illegal or inappropriate to get the government to agree to this prevision for chalav yisroel?

This is a dangerous line to cross people.  At what point do we draw the line because we find something silly or too stringent?  Soon those “silly Jews” with their “silly specific ways of killing cows” or their “silly rules of kosher”.  While DK may be ok with this i would say all orthodox Jews (not just the silly ones with the hats) would have a problem with this.

Yet again I am forced to ask.  Merely because they want to do something different religiously then DK , and ask for governmental allowance the same as anyone else with a different religious belief, that gives them a “dark heart”?  Taking it a little far are we?  But thats our good friend David Kelsey, always on the forefront of hating other Jews.

Calling the Pot Black

I don’t take well to insults to my character.  Being called a liar? That has to be up there as one of the biggest insults to my character that someone can make.  Recently Kvetcher has called me a liar, and claimed I didn’t think when he mistook my intentions in one of my posts, and now (despite his own rules) says i’m “not very bright”.

So lets go through the times that DK has written with hyperbole just like I did, but I’m the bad person.

Here DK wrote,

I think for refusing to wear tefillin, the son should be publicly whipped, his apartment “donated” to a yeshiva, his secular whore of a girlfriend dragged by a mehadrin Egged-bus around town, and just for good measure, a Modern Orthodox girl should get bleached.

He was clearly trying to mock what some crazies did to some people who weren’t keeping up with their religious standard.  But by his rules we must believe he actually believes we should do those things.

Here it says,

And I am not going to shake hands with Eli anymore. Now I realize…he is just trying to cop a feel.

Well I should hope DK has not shaken Eli’s hand since that date, because then he is the liar.

On this page Kelsey posts a picture of Jim Jones who was the leader of the Jonestown cult where they killed a congressman and themselves.  So his implication is that NCSY will get you to kill yourself and members of congress.  I’m sure that wasn’t his point, but he “didnt think” when using someone like Jones to make a point.

In the same vein, here, Kvetcher has a picture of Stalin and actually has a tag saying that it is Rabbi Pinchas Stolper.  So we are to believe that Rabbi Stolper killed millions of people, ran communist Russia, helped defeat Nazi Germany after making a deal with them, and most importantly is dead.

So, were you trying to make a point with all these examples  (i have many more I just stuck with these), or did you mean for them to be taken literally? Did you think before posting them?

Fortunately, when dealing with people who hate religious people so much, you get used to the double standard.

It was Bound to Happen…

Well, it was bound to happen.  Sooner or later, despite the fact that DK applauded my disagreement with JSU, Kvetcher has attacked me.  He does this if you like kiruv, or in this case…logic, and the English language?

Let me explain.  If you look at the comment “war” that has been going on my last posting there has been a major disagreement between me, HS and DK.  The main reason I am being attacked on his page is my statement that,

rather then let it be at that (there are far worse traditions for people to attack in Judaism) people like DK attack this tradition (albeit not as the main focus of the posting) as if it also involves killing a human baby.

While there is a great more that we argue about this is what he took exception with.  He begins his post by claimingthat I did not

much success at countering my attacks on Big Kiruv.

Actually, I answered all of your attacks in the comments.  If anything, your post on your page is because you were so fed up with getting smacked around on my page that you figured you would use your own soapbox to try and make it look like you were winning.  Nice try.

My defense of the “killing babies” comment is based on the fact that I was using exaggeration to prove a point.  DK says i was lying.  I let you the public be the judge.  However, let me give you the following points to consider.

The American Heritage Dictionary says that an exaggeration is an intransitive verb which is defined as,

To make overstatements

But I think exaggeration was probably not the right word to use.  Rather I should have used Hyperbole which is defined as

a figure of speech that uses an exaggerated or extravagant statement to create a strong emotional response. As a figure of speech it is not intended to be taken literally.

Wow.  That’s amazing.  Anyone who actually read what DK wrote would know that he didnt actually say it was like killing a baby.  I  even linked to his article so that anyone could read it.  Now he may claim that people may not read it and so they wouldn’t know what he actually said.   Then my question would be: why did you use the exact same argument against someone who wanted you to speak of the different view on JSU?

Brad:  “I applaud your passion for this subject. But, you are clearly masking some aspects of the article for it to fit your agenda.”

DK: “And the article in its entirety is linked.”

Double standards? I think so. But typical DK, the facts won’t stop him.

I think that’s enough for everyone to stew on for a while.  If he continues his assault I will post a list of articles on his site that do EXACTLY what i did (here are two for a preview, one, two)  I used those two because they require no explanation.  All the others I have require an explanation  to understand.

I know I didnt hold up my end by posting the article about respecting other Jews like i said i would.  That will be soon, I had to address this first.