Thursday, September 04, 2008

Rabbinic Committees: Where Are We Headed?

It seems lately that there are a large number of Rabbinical Committees that have been springing up. These are committees that are formed (usually in Israel) to cover various aspects of life. A long-standing one is the Committee for Kedushas Shabbos. Others that have sprung up in the not-too-distant past include the Committee for the Purity of the Camp (covering various tznius concerns), the Rabbinical Committee for Communications (covering cell phones), the Rabbinic Committee for Transportation (the driving force behind mehadrin buses and erecting mechitzos on airplanes). A new committee, the Committee on Jewish Music has arisen to govern various musical styles. What are the most pressing problems in Jewish music today according to the committee?

  • 2/4 beats
  • Improper use of electric bass, guitars and saxophones
  • Goyishe African music and beats
  • Rap and reggae music

Ok, whatever. I don't want to get into a whole discussion on what is Jewish music and what isn't. Personally, I believe that music bleeds through cultures and that just about all "Jewish music" today originated from non-Jewish origins.

It seems to me, however, that there is an upswing in the number of Rabbinic Committees that have formed of late. As such, here are some of the news stories that you should be looking out for in the future:


The Jewish residents of Jerusalem were shocked today when the Committee for Ma'achalim Tehorim (Pure Foods) announced a ban on all pizza stores, pasta parlors, Chinese and Japanese restaurants and almost all other shops where foreign and ethnic foods are served (aside from Jewish foods, of course). Rabbi Jacobson, the leader of the committee issued a strongly worded condemnation of these establishments. "It is unconscionable that Yidden are putting foreign, goyishe foods in their stomachs. Do you think the Chofetz Chaim ever ate pizza? Do you think that the holy Gr"a would have stopped to eating Chinese food? It's been said that 'you are what you eat.' HaKadosh Baruch Hu gave us the mitzvah of keeping kosher so that we could always maintain purity both inside our bodies as well as outside. Just because a pizza has no pork or meat doesn't mean that meets the standard of proper food for a Jew to eat. It has to not only be kosher, but an authentic Jewish food. With the backing of the gedolim, we are going to make sure that only authentic Jewish foods are served in our resturaunts." The Committee announced it's plans to scan the menus of every resturaunt in Jerusalem in the next six months, and instruct withhold kashrus certification from foods that are deemed "foreign, strange, or that has signs of improper seasonings."


The clothing industry in Israel was rocked to the core today when the new guidelines by the Rabbinical Subcommittee on Clothing Colors announced their new regulations and guidelines for the Jewish state's garment industry. Millions of yards of fabrics in various colors which had been purchased by dress and shirt manufacturers have now been banned and cannot be made into clothing for the hareidi community. Rabbi Canner, spokesman for the Subcommittee, explained the regulations. "It's all very simple and it's not really restrictive. Men can have a shirt in any color that they want, so long as it's white. We recognize that women need more choices in their clothing than men and so they will have a choice between black, ebony, obsidian, jet, onyx or midnight. To compliment those colors they can choose white, off-white, ivory, eggshell and lily." The committee fully expects all clothing stores to be following the new guidelines in the next few weeks, before women begin shopping for outfits for Yom Tov.


Huge bonfires went up all over the country this week, as parents rushed to destroy games that did not meet the new guidelines of the Rabbinic Committee on Children's Recreation. "There are games and activities that our children are engaging in that can virtually destory their pure neshamos," said Rabbi Eliyahu Danner, head of the committee. "We, as parents and mechanchim are responsible for the spiritual upbringing of our children, and we must do all we can to shield them from the horrible influences of the outside world." Among the banned games are Clue (due to the murder theme), Careers (the game shows working as a lechatchila, and not a b'dieved), Life (people having children while riding around in cars in NOT a Jewish value and, again, there is no emphasis on learning), Stratego and Battleship (war and killing), Trivial Pursuit (it has cards, which are unJewish as well as an emphasis on unimportant information) and Scrabble (the possibility of making words that are improper is just too great). Among the games permitted to remain are checkers, chess and tiddlywinks. However, those games are only permitted for girls since "boys should be learning all the time and not wasting their time playing silly board games," according to Rabbi Danner.

The Wolf

(Just so that we're clear...all the stories in this post [except for the music story] are fiction. I made them up. They're what I think we can expect in the future -- but they're not real... yet.)


ProfK said...

Actually a committee on pure Jewish foods isn't a bad idea. And those supporting this committee should be the first ones to go back to that "pure" Jewish diet. So let's see, they are going to be eating cholent for breakfast, lunch and dinner and for any snacks in between. I'd say that it will probably be day three of this diet when severe gastric distress might lead to the disbanding of this committee, at least if they can get out of the bathroom long enough to issue a retraction.

PsychoToddler said...

You laugh now, but just wait a little...

Anonymous said...

"Jewish" dishes have their origins in non-Jewish cultures,as does Jewish music,Jewish dress,etc. etc. etc.Real Jewish food(ancient Israelite food) is based on grains,fruits,olive oil,and an occasional piece of meat now and then.So let's cut the B.S. Don't rabanim have better things to do with their time like rail against theft,deceit,duplicity,hypocrisy,and apathy to the plight of the less unfortunate?This too,after all,is somewhat related to Judaism.At least,it was the last time I opened a Tanach.

mlevin said...


I think this is just toooo funny. I think they surpassed the Taliban.

Wolf, do you have links to these.

BrooklynWolf said...

No... they're fiction. I made them up.

I thought that was clear from the line:

As such, here are some of the news stories that you should be looking out for in the future:

The Wolf

BrooklynWolf said...

I added a coda just so that we're all clear on that point.

The Wolf

Orthonomics said...

The food one is already out there, albeit not in a committee.

Harry Maryles said...

Great Post. Sounds a bit like mine today. Great minds think alike?

G said...

Saw this, posted on it.

Where are we headed?...Anybody see the movie Footloose?

Go rent it.

Pesky Settler said...

Wonderful.. now even dark brown and navy blue are Assur?

Very nice, but between Ashkenaz and Sepharad, what dishes are 'true' Jewish?

Anonymous said...

Wolf, this was fabulous!

Anonymous said...

I think it's clear that there are too many rabbis without enough to do. Idle hands do the devil's work, after all.

Perhaps the rule in Israel that rabbis are required to be drafted into the army. That'll stop people from getting smicha real fast.

Ookamikun said...

aaron, "theft,deceit..."
What's the matter with you?! How would yeshivas and haredim get money if they stop doing that?!

Chess is also about war and should be banned too.
Drinking wine will be banned too. People who want to drink wine at the seder will be allowed to do so only at officially designated public sedorim and only under the observation of a committee agent.

-suitepotato- said...

Oppressing and controlling others is an exercise in cowardice and bullying when you have the power and luxury to do it freely. Those they bully will become bullies in their own way. It is the way of men to embrace self-fulfilling prophecies, and the only thing which can be done to break the cycle is to recognize it, and oppose it no matter what the cost to ourselves. Our act of opposition when we don't have the luxury to do it freely, that is not bullying but bravery.

The question is, can the community do it, keep to it, and do it without the malice being expressed towards them by those they seek to stop in their misguided actions without becoming the inheritor of their fear and fulfilling the prophecy?

Good post Wolf. Keep holding to what is important to you.

Anonymous said...

Wolf, you forgot something. A few weeks ago in New York some Rebbe wanted to ban white jackets.
For years women do not wear red clothing, chas vashalom. They somehow make do with burgandy, bordoeux, maroon, etc.
One question: Can we donate old forbidden-colored clothing to a Yeshiva (similar to old cars) and get a tax break?

Anonymous said...

New Directive From the Frum Union.(You know, the one that puts the "FU" on everything) "People should not give children names of unkosher animals.Hence boys may no longer be named Aryeh,Dov,Ze'ev,etc.Even using yiddish equivalents is to be discouraged.Girls named Chaya or Tzipora should ask a shayleh.As far as is known Bluma or Rose is still o.k.This is no joke!I heard it from Rebetzin Parvie Tzimmes herself!

Anonymous said...

Wow Aaron from LA, guess my dad better change his name. How dare he be named after a lion. How goyishe. :) As for people taking this seriously wolf, well, it isn't too far off the mark is it? Joke today, real tomorrow. Love your blog.
jewinjerusalem, think I'm going to go put on red right now while I play some clue and life.

Mindy 2 said...

Aaron from LA, couldn't've said it better myself. (re your first comment)

Moshe, wine will never be banned. It has too much of a traditional place in Judiasm besides for the enormous halachic significance and literature.

Charlie Hall said...

The gemara in Shabat 118 says that beets, fish, and garlic should be part of a Shabat meal. Nothing about cholent and kugel. How did we get the idea we can overrule Chazal?

(Yes, beets, fish, and garlic were all served at my Shabat table earlier today.)

Commenter Abbi said...

The comments about name changing: Don't laugh, my brother has a charedi niece from his wife's side who was advised by a mekuabal to change her name- after 18 years!

Anonymous said...

Every time they ban something or make a chumra I make a post predicting what will come next. Then I decided to write this piece on the chumra research institute.

SaraK said...

The food one is totally not far off. Do you know how many times people have said to me that food I serve on Shabbat is not "Shabbat food". Oh, because you mean only gefilte fish, roast chicken, potato kugel and cholent can be eaten on Shabbat?

Ezzie said...

We've gotten strange looks for serving french fries as a side dish on Shabbos.

Ookamikun said...

Gefirte fish, yuck. Fish and chips is where it's at. We also eat vobla, Russian salt-dried fish with beer.
Only eat traditional cholent in shul. At home, Caribbean rice, bulgur, meat, sweet potatoes, honey, spices, eggs and chestnuts is what cholent is supposed to be made from and if we have special guests, veal tongue.

Anonymous said...

Let's ban Yiddish. It contains words from Polish, German and Hungarian.

Anonymous said...

The sad thing about all this is -- all this does is create "undergrounds" of people who now have to do clandestine things (a la "TV in the refigerator box" style) just to enjoy the music they like.

To extend this to your examples above -- imagine black market Chinese food, under the supervision of "Rabbi X", delivered at 3 am by a guy only known as "Wong". In a Kosher Delight bag.