Litvishe Roshei Yeshiva in America Refuse to Sign Ban Against Concerts

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kol-korehThis Sunday, as many know, an almost sold-out musical event will be held at the WaMu Theater in Madison Square Garden featuring a number of Jewish music singers and a program that Sheya Mendlowitz, the producer, says will be nothing short of uplifting. The evening, called “The Event,” will also feature a special musical tribute to Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum zt”l, the legendary marbitz Torah and mechanech, in a medley performed by Abie Rotenberg of Toronto.

This year, like last, there were some people who wished to stop the efforts of the concert organizers and performers. has discovered that virtually every single Litvishe rosh yeshiva refused this year to sign any letter or kol koreh banning a specific singer or The Event concert.

Gedolim have faced tremendous pressure from certain so-called activists and have maintained their position despite fabricated stories that all other roshei yeshiva would be signing against concerts and/or singers.

One particular rosh yeshiva whom was in contact with mentioned that these activists sat with him for over an hour, not willing to let up, and telling him that they have signatures from every other rosh yeshiva. This particular rosh yeshiva had the foresight to pick up a phone and contact a few other roshei yeshiva only to find out that they too were told the same stories but refused to sign.

Of course, at the same time, these rabbonim have said that it is vital to reinforce the idea that concerts should be comprised of kosher entertainment that does not contradict the spirit of the Torah.

Recognizing that there is a strong need to provide kosher outlets for members of our communities, especially children and young adults, gedolei harabbonim have refused numerous requests and attempts to have them sign letters against this upcoming concert and other similar events.

Over the past year, has been involved in and has done extensive research regarding the situation surrounding concerts in frum communities in the United States. We also have helped pair up those in the music world with roshei yeshiva and gedolei harabbonim to ensure that the result will be one of kiddush Hashem and a ribui of kevod Shomayim.

Last year, a meeting of the Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah of Agudas Yisroel of America was convened to discuss a plan of action for concerts that will take place in the future., after consulting with a number of the roshei yeshiva in the United States, learned that most felt that concerts may be held, but they said that there must be set guidelines to be followed regarding the performers, the style of music, intermissions, and separate seating. The rabbonim said that they cannot decide what should or should not be allowed in Eretz Yisroel. The gedolim there will deal with the issues in that country. As far as America is concerned, however, they see the challenges facing our communities, the diverse backgrounds, and the issue of kids-at-risk, amongst other important matters. As mentioned, the rabbonim felt – and still feel – that there is a strong need to provide kosher outlets for members of our communities.

There were some rabbonim who expressed their feeling that any gathering of many people that is not for the sake of Torah should not be held at all. However, most of the gedolei harabbonim did not concur with this view, and maintained that if our generation were holding on such a high level, it would indeed be a wonderful thing. The reality, the rabbonim said, is that this is simply not the case. If there would not be kosher outlets, people will seek sources of entertainment elsewhere and will find options that are far worse to their spirituality.

Sheya Mendlowitz, the producer of this year’s “The Event” concert, told that he has consulted with his rabbonim, as he has always done in the past, concerning the outline for the upcoming event. has confirmed that he has gone to consult with many of this generation’s leading roshei yeshiva and rabbonim in the United States to inquire as to how he can make this event a true kiddush Hashem and hopefully recoup the lost money for the tzedakah organization which had invested in last year’s cancelled event. has had representatives at these meetings as well.

The roshei yeshiva and rabbonim that contacted over the past few months have said that the outcome of a new event with a program that conforms to the spirit of the Torah would be a big kiddush Hashem. They have hoped that if this event were designed and orchestrated in a proper fashion, in accordance with the spirit of Torah, it would set a standard for all future concerts to follow.

These rabbonim have also recognized the fallout that occurs from kol korehs and bans that do not take the full picture into consideration and have thus not allowed for their signatures to appear on such letters.

 { Newscenter}



  2. I don’t know why you write that the “Litvishe” gedolim refused to sign. As far as I know, the chassidishe also refused to sign, including the admorim of Satmar, Skver, Vizhnitz, Rachmatrivke, Bobov and many others.

  3. When I hear about these things, I ask if the following people have signed:

    Harav Shmuel kamenetsky
    Harav Hillel david
    Harav feivel Cohen
    Harav Dovid Feinstein
    Harav Elya Ber Wachtfogel

    If they don’t sign on something, then forget it

  4. anybody out there know who the suprise artists are? the rumor is that some of the biggest and best are showing up. lipa please do your best. we love your style. can’t wait for a little simcha. hatzlocho sheya.

  5. How in the world can “activists” lie to roshei yeshiva and get away with it? i never heard of such a thing. and if it is true they will get their due punishments after 120. anyone who takes a signature of a rov or rosh yeshiva either falsely or by misrepresenting facts to them is mechellel sheim shomayim and reduces the honor of the Torah. and if these people are known, their names should be exposed. we cannot have people going around trying to fill their own agenda by “getting” rabbonim to sign for what they want. and anyway, i never understood why a person needs 45 signatures. if an important matter comes up, you go to our 5-10 leading gedolim, whether the moeztes or whoever, and you either get them to sign or you don’t. it is a bizayon to go and get 40-50 signatures from who knows who.
    there is a lot that needs to be discussed here about the whole letter/kol koreh business.

  6. I think that in general it is dangerous for newspapers etc. to publish every kol koreh that comes out. Today, they’l print about smoking, tomorrow about concerts, the next week about driving cars, the next week about brushing your teeth, the next week about this and the following week about that….
    if certain rabbonim want to sign, then that is their prerogative. but responsible newspapers would not print them.
    the problem? you guessed it. money. the newspapers get paid, often times a lot, to print kol korehs from every guy who has an agenda. the real heros are those who aren;t blinded by the money and know that the printing of the kol koreh will only do damage.
    let them hang the kol korehs on lamppoasts and shuls. but don’t print them in papers, magaziens and websites. that’s my take anyway. and credit goes to those who aren’t blinded by the kesef yaaneh es hakol.

  7. Rabbi Eli Teitelbaum was a one of a kind rebbi who spoke up against all the scam artists and swindlers who tried to scheme everyone out of their money. He did so much for Klal Yisroel. He also showed what true Yiddishe music is. We are bereft without him. He said what people needed to hear.

    We need him now more than ever.

  8. My family and I can’t wait for the event! We got scared for a second that there was yet ANOTHER one of these “scares” but BH we will be showing up bright and early. We wish sheya, lipa and the other performers lots of hatzlocha!!!

  9. Ban taleisim, ban water, ban starwberries, ban water, ban wings from India, ban ban ban ban ban ban ………And we thought the taliBAN were nuts?

    We are almost like the taliban.

    is this post going to be banned too?

  10. a ban that just has signatures of people that never appeared before on any other kol korah is not a ban. whoever heard of a letter coming out with names of people you never heard of.

  11. don’t rabbonim have more important things to do. why do people feel it necessary to rob their precious time and hock them a kup for an hour to sign a piece of paper.

  12. your accountability article you posted earlier about holding websites accountable applies to this topic as well. how a “frum” website can report such a subject so irresponsible causing more controversy. i give much credit to matzav for putting a proper spin and reporting it from an intelligent and proper angle. for those who know what i mean know. hamaiven yovin.

  13. i just spoke to lipa – he is a good friend of mine. the other website that “agreed” was referring too quoted lipa. lipa told me he never even spoke to the guy. how can people turn to get their news from a website that does dishonest reporting and quotes people he never spoke to.

  14. I would ask lipa for a brocha. chazal say that one who gets unnecessary emabrasemtn and pain in this world is a tzadik. Lipa if your read this could you give hershel dovid ben zisha a brocha.

  15. Matzav, you are the best. The one and only intelligent site for frum people. In my house its only the Yated and Maztav. All the rest is for idiots like gilby!

  16. Poster : Dovid
    To suggest that the ‘activists’ will be dealt with in Shomayim is harsh. These guys are just part of the system. Many decisions that are made, are driven by activists and special interest groups, just like in the white house. Most of the time, the Tokonos that are brought out are based on these are accepted by everyone. Sometimes, everyone pushes back.

    Thanks to the likes of the Internet and blogging, it’s getting harder to be a Rabbi, everything they do is public knowledge

  17. This propaganda makes me feel uncomfortable. I’m sure Matzav is a wonderful site, as is both the Yated AND Hamodia wonderful papers, but the “only intelligent site” talk and “all the rest” rhetoric is childish and doesn’t reflect well on the referenced subjects.

    As mature and intelligent adults, we don’t need to put down the “other” in order for others to think well of our preferred medium.

  18. last year only the hamodia printed the ban and yated neeman did not. Asher Friedman, who was behind the ban, told my neighbor that the yated neeman was offered five thousand dollars to print it but refused to print it
    don’t know how much hamodia was paid


  20. Nobody knows the cheshbon of ther rebono shell olam but the last time certain askonim caused this major divide in klal yisroel ,we experienced terrible loses ,the yeshiva massacre,mumbai,personal loses,parnasa, let’s not pay attention to those askonim who make machlokes between us

  21. if something is soooo kosher and a mitzvah of kiddush hashem why do you need to quote “roshei Yeshiva” 25 times in the article? i’m wondering maybe the roshei yeshiva refused to sign a ban because its beneath them to get involved in such a low life event? maybe they understand that people that would go aren’t going to listen anyway?

  22. To curious,

    We won’t know why the Roshe Yeshiva refused to sign the ban, perhaps you are right, and perhaps you are way off the mark. We won’t know unless we hear a clear quote on this. Assumptions don’t lend clarity to the situation either.

    On the other hand, I do wonder about this article. It was clearly agenda driven, and lots of philosophical positions and opinions were attributed to the Gedolim and Rabbanim without even a single quote corroborating these positions. “Matzav’s involvement” is interesting small talk, but doesn’t lend credibility to the presumed facts.

    This is simply a matter of journalistic honesty and integrity in reporting; the concerts themselves are not the issue. Although I personally enjoy Lipa, I’m not going to state my opinion or position, which is irrelevant in the face of the Gedolim’s decisons.


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