The Jewish Community Council of Marine Park is sponsoring an emergency blood drive tonight at K'hal Bnei Torah ("Rabbi Schiffenbauer's shul" -- 3514 Flatlands Avenue -- Google map link) from 6:30 to 11:00 PM tonight. I urge all those who are eligible to give blood to do so. I plan to be there myself later on in the evening and drop off a pint of Wolfish blood. Donating blood is a mitzvah and saves lives. On top of that, they'll even serve you dinner too.
I found out about this event through a flier that was distributed in various shuls in the neighborhood. At the bottom of the flyer were printed the following words:
This Blood Drive has the complete support & endorsement of the Vaad Horabbonim of Marine Park.
This is not the first time I've seen this sort of disclaimer for an event. In fact, I've been seeing them more and more often over the last few years on all sorts of events from children's carnivals to gatherings to discuss serious communal issues.
I'm not going so far as to say that there are no events that shouldn't have rabbinical oversight or endorsement, but one wonders why you would need rabbinical endorsement for something as simple as a blood drive. Even if you thought there might be a halachic issue with giving blood (I'm certainly not aware of any issues that have a valid logical basis), that's why we have rabbis to ask questions of, correct? If I saw a flier for a blood drive and I thought it might be a problem, I would simply call up my local orthodox rabbi and say "Rabbi, there's a blood drive tonight and I'd like to donate but I'm not sure if it's allowed because of reasons X, Y and Z..." You should not require a rabbinic committee to approve an event or organization that is a mitzvah and providing a benefit to the community. An ad to raise funds for a charity such as Tomche Shabbos shouldn't need to say something along the lines of "approved by the Vaad Harabbonim of...." That's not to say that organizations shouldn't have a rabbinic adviser to whom they can turn when they have a question -- organizations should have just such an adviser. But this obsession with getting rabbinic approbation for any event is just another sign of the fact that common people are abdicating their responsibility to use common sense and good judgment.
One wonders where this is all going in the future. Will my kids be sending out invitations to their sons' bar mitzvahs with the line "Approved by the Vaad harabbonim..." on it? Or will my future five-year old grandchildren receive an invitation to a friend's birthday party that reads "Come to Chavie's Birthday Party! Approved by the Vaad Harabonnim!?"