Sunday, February 15, 2009

BTS's view and reply on “Goyish” Music, TV, and Movies by Babysitter

This was supposed to be a simple comment on Babysitter's post, but at some point I realized it's to big for a regular comment and is good enough to posted as a reply in my blog. Especially after I didn't write here for a long time it was a good chance to fix this issue.

So Babysitter was writing about her views on non-jewish music, movies and TV. She's an FFB (not to hurt any one's feelings) and I wanted to add my 2 cents as BT.

So here's a copy of my reply:


From a BT point I'm more accustomed to non-jewish music. I should bring that at the age of 3 I knew AC/DC is playing on radio from first to second accords. Don't remember this myself but my brother recently told me this.

Anyway I think for the amount of non jewish music I listen to compared to jewish one I have more against jewish. Here are my points:

1) I hate these modern remixes of non-jewish music where new words were put up to make it sound jewish. It cuts my ears since I knew all this stuff in original. I know that our old Rabbeim used to take non-jewish music and that's how we have lots of nigunim today, but I would not compare Rabbeim of 200 years ago to people who of today's who try to kosher non-jewish stuff to make it appropriate for less modern masses. At some point I dreamed of finding some heavy metal styled jewish music but later I changed my point to "if you say that's tuma don't put it in a kosher pot". Though, I still appreciate open use of guitars on Shwekey's CDs (take Wedding Album for example).

2) As I mentioned before I trust to Rabbeim of 200 years ago who didn't write any songs for money. Today it's not that clear so many "inspirational" just doesn't make a cut for me since I don't know who wrote this, what was on in his mind at that moment, what was in his blood at that point (rare cases I guess) and how much of tzadik his is for the words in the lyrics. So most modern stuff is cut off for me except of Just One Shabbos and couple of others.

3) [this is not anti-jewish reason] I listen to goyishe music for my entire life, I grew up on it and there were days when it helped me survive through my long lasting depression. Today it is something irregular to see me without headphones or have my music turned off, however today often music for me is just a wall around myself which lets me concentrate on things I'm doing and forget about things around; I often don't pay attention to what exactly plays in my ipod and what words are being sang. Plus I know most of music (not exactly lyrics) in my ipod by heart.

I happened to share these views with one girls I was on shidduch with and then she said no. It is something very personal and doesn't have to be always shared with others as I learned.

As of my kids - I really don't want them to listen to crap I listen to so I understand at some point I will have to sacrifice most time of listening to it for my kids not take example of me.


Can't say anything particular about TV, since I didn't watch TV much after I got PC at 13 so can't say much. If this is allowed to kids it has to be explicitly monitored as there's less of safe stuff on TV today than things that just dump tons of spoiling dirt on people watching it. I happen to come to my friends house sometimes and she always has TV on so I can catch some things going on there.


Movies. Should be judged on per item basis. What I learned is that movies for teens dirtier than any movies for adults. Seriously. Adult movies usually concentrated more on certain idea than bed scenes and such stuff.

For example I have a friend who is also FFB but comes from a russian BT family which is probably not as strict as pure muli-generational FFB families. She goes to movies and Broadway shows sometimes.  She has a personal view on many things and more into serious stuff than into teenagers' interests. She loves Johny Depp, Alan Rickman, Adrien Brody and many other charismatic characters.
So looking at her I can't say she's got spoiled anyhow by movies she watched.

Don't think I was spoiled much by movies either, although I for sure watched less movies than her. I watched American Beauty when I was about 13 and re-watched it recently, watched couple of American Pies about 5 or 7 years ago. That didn't add much to my spoilness either.
Yes, I should admit I was more opened to many things that happen in a non-frum world during my teen age than most of FFB boys and girls, but if they watch movies except of type of mentioned here and in the Babysitter's post I don't believe there will be lots of harm.


  1. You'd be surprised to know that Rabbi B said that American Jewish music for kids is gonna make them retarded and better that they listen to classical music.
    Shlomik watches/listens to Russian kids music and anime AMVs.

  2. You don't have to feel like a hypocrite for wearng jeans in the week, nor for listening to some good metal. I'm frum, daven with a minyan 3 times a day, learn for about 1 hour a day, yet it doesn't stop me from working out to Pantera, Ozzy, Megadeth, etc. No I don't let my kids listen as they are still young and impressionable, my gym is at my office and so are my CD's.

    If you're stuck on Jewish music only, try David Lazar, he's got some Jewish original rockin tunes. He's retired as a rocker though, he's now an outreach rabbi.

  3. haha wow an ffb listening to pantera!! who would have thought?!?! it makes me giggle :o)

    I can't agree with you enough, as a BT's hard to think about never listening to my fav bands or spice girls lol :). it's apart of who I am and you know what that is between me and hashem!! that girl you went out with OBVIOUSLY had some problems :D

  4. @Phil - i feel jeans and music as two separate things. With music i don't show anything - that's personal and my behavior doesn't change based on the time/place - i.e. i don't switch to only jewish music when I come to Monsey/New Square. So there's nothing hypocratic i find here except of one of my favorite bands called Hypocrisy.
    Now jeans is a different story which often bothers me because people who usually see me only on Shabbos think of me as someone who knows well halocha and so and so. This based partially on how I act (like I'm strict on certain things related to community and i'm strict on some things I keep like Cholov Isroel), but also on how I look - I wear hat. No one asks me why I do so but many think of me having some good yeshiva background because of it.
    However on regular days I wear jeans and sometimes have problems with fulfilling certain daily mitzvot. Noone knows this because I obviously don't tell that to everyone I meet.
    So this is what I call hypocratic - by some actions I subliminally make people imagine me more then I really am and I don't do anything to break that imagination.

    I'll checkout DL, thanks!

    @mazal - I wouldn't say for anyone having any problems, but that was her view. May be she was more sensitive than you or me to things like that, may be she was looking for someone with less aggressive tastes.

  5. I think that is right bout that. Nice info and thanks. Need to get in google feed.

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