December 4, 2021 The forbidden women’s music academy
Here’s the story of a new women’s music academy in Hasidic Williamsburg that recently roused the ire of some fanatical rabbis, who sought to shut it down. Men have been enjoying a music culture for years, and learning instruments – which was unacceptable in my childhood – is incredibly prevalent. The shops sell instruments and the magazines advertise music lessons for boys.
Yet the women’s version wasn’t acceptable to some of the community’s most zealous rabbis. Writing to condemn Chimes, the women’s music academy, one of these extremely conservative rabbis wrote:
“A Jewish woman needs to find meaning in her home with cooking and baking, with preparing her home, with teaching her children, this is the work of a Jew. A Jewish home is a temple. The work a Jewish mother does is pious and serious, even when she does corporeal things … The whole concept of singing for women is out of the question entirely. This just brings temptation. A woman has no business touching a musical instrument. Why does a woman need an instrument? For what, for why? Only for temptation, god forbid!”
After the rabbis released this pamphlet, presumably to avoid further controversy, the music academy canceled its upcoming get-together. Note however, that there is no indication that they are shutting down.