Photo Credit:
Abie Rotenberg

I think that’s one of the reasons we were successful with The Marvelous Middos Machine series – because when your kid asks you to play a CD in the car, you’re not going to want to play it more than once if it hurts your ears to listen to it.

What’s your take on the current state of Jewish music?


I don’t follow it that much. I really don’t. I’m not a wedding performer, so I don’t have to know all the hit songs of today. But music always changes, so whatever is well accepted and inspires people is good. I have a song on Journeys 3 called “Yes, We’ve Got the Music,” and the lyrics at the end of the song are “…but one thing we must keep in mind/a Jewish song of any kind/is only precious if and when/it brings us closer to Hashem.”

So that’s what Jewish music is. Jewish music is something that should help us identify as Jews. And what’s being Jewish? It’s a connection to Hakadosh Baruch Hu. So if music gets us there, it doesn’t matter what the rhythm is, it’s a beautiful thing.

In the 1990s, Rabbi Emanuel Feldman wrote an article titled “A Ten Course Affair” in which he lambasted modern-day frum weddings for exhibiting “glatt gluttony” and featuring music “distorted [by] the strident rhythm of the jungle.”

Rabbi Feldman was my inspiration for the wedding song on Journeys 2. On some wedding invitations people write, “Please dress tznius” when the wedding itself is anti-tznius! Tznius doesn’t only mean you cover your elbows. It also means you don’t show off your money.

As far as the music is concerned, I understand what Rabbi Feldman is saying, but I’m wary to criticize anything because music always changes. If you took a rosh yeshiva from the 1960s and brought him on a time machine to a contemporary wedding in Lakewood, he would be shocked out of his mind. It could be the frummest wedding but this rosh yeshiva from the ‘60s would platz and run out of the room in horror because all the music has rock rhythms. So music changes, and if today’s kids get closer to Hakadosh Baruch Hu because of these songs, it’s wonderful.

I know a lot of people feel differently but I hesitate to say anything negative.

What are you working on now?

I’m actually working on a sefer in English.

On what topic?

I don’t want to say right now but I hope to have it finished some time within the next year.

As far as music is concerned, there’s nothing really happening at the moment – although my kids say I should release a single. Maybe I’ll do that.

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Elliot Resnick is the former chief editor of The Jewish Press and the author and editor of several books including, most recently, “Movers & Shakers, Vol. 3.”