Imagine

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As publicity for its national auction, NCSY put together this video of a talented young frum singer.

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Editor of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student has served two terms on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America and currently serves as the Director of the Halacha Commission of the Rabbinical Alliance of America. He serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

23 comments

  1. Does he know he’s singing an atheist anthem?

  2. Listen to the words. They are obviously changed.

  3. Joel C. Salomon

    @Brian Epstein: You did notice the words have been changed to almost the exact opposite of the original lyrics, right?

  4. The OU, NCSY, and Nachum Segal should be ashamed of themselves. On what planet is the idea of a “Jewish Justin Bieber” in consonance with Torah values?

  5. This kid is amazing, but is this legal? this is not exactly shlock rock.

  6. imho we need to get R’ daniel feldman to opine if john lennon’s lips are moving in the kever (2 obvious chakirot to start with – does it apply to the music or only words(or each separately)? bnai brit only?
    btw i hope those experiences shown remain with those kids for many years – the havdalah ceremony pleasantly reminds me of quite a few local ones when my kids were in that parsha
    KT

  7. MiMedinat HaYam

    all these jewish copies of secular songs stink (perhaps shlock rock excepted; he has a different purpose. r gil’s “erev shel shoshanim” is also an exception, for the reason r gil notes. for thosec who remember the issue there.)

    the kid wasnt bad; i assume he needs voice lesssons, but give him a few years. anyway, we (should) know that jewish music doesmt pay too well.

    also, the song following this “justin bieber” character was by shlomo carlebach. the contrast was striking. copy music with lyrics simply praising ncsy (talk about cult-like behavior) vs a real composer and performer.

  8. Imagine frum people writing good original music…. nah, can’t.

  9. > This kid is amazing, but is this legal? this is not exactly shlock rock.

    And why do you think that Shlock Rock is legal?

    http://bdld.info/2010/12/01/satire-parody-and-the-fair-use-doctrine/

  10. I think that the video is a great announcement for a superb cause. MeMedinat HaYam-why don’t you talk to some of NCSY’s alumni before you condemn and write off the organization as a cult?

  11. From an e-mail that I received this afternoon:
    Dear Friend,

    “NCSY is in the “business” of inspiring Jewish teens, but even we were caught off guard when 12-year-old Edan Pinchot from Chicago, Illinois inspired us with his beautiful rendition of John Lennon’s classic “Imagine” to help promote NCSY’s upcoming online fundraising Auction. To watch the inspiring music video version, or audio version, and to help us spread the word kindly forward this email to your family and friends.”

    A 12 year old-a katan is supposed to inspire by “his” ideas?

    The following by Prof Waxman re kiruv is of interest:
    “For example, whereas at mid-century religious outreach was the province of the modern Orthodox, with the haredim being somewhat suspicious of ba’alei teshuva (the newly religious), by the end of the century the haredim were heavily engaged in religious outreach. Some of the frameworks include the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP), the Association for Jewish Outreach Programs (AJOP), with which hundreds of Orthodox outreach organizations are affiliated, and the Orthodox Union’s National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY). Many of these were initially modern Orthodox but are today staffed by haredim”
    Kiruv was done by MO heavily 45-70 years ago-they got pushed out by the Chareidi world. Of course, now one hears revisionism that MO wasn’t interested in Kiruv-a total falsehood-but necessary for the vayakam melech chadash asher lo yada revisionism.

  12. “A 12 year old-a katan is supposed to inspire by “his” ideas?”

    It says “rendition,” not “ideas.” And it was “his” rendition.

  13. Mycroft wrote in part:

    “Some of the frameworks include the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP), the Association for Jewish Outreach Programs (AJOP), with which hundreds of Orthodox outreach organizations are affiliated, and the Orthodox Union’s National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY). Many of these were initially modern Orthodox but are today staffed by haredim”
    Kiruv was done by MO heavily 45-70 years ago-they got pushed out by the Chareidi world. Of course, now one hears revisionism that MO wasn’t interested in Kiruv-a total falsehood-but necessary for the vayakam melech chadash asher lo yada revisionism”

    This observation would be correct if it was limited solely to AJOP. Anyone familiar with the professional staff that runs NJOP or NCSY would be hard pressed to justify the same. In addition, MO always was active in NCSY and YU’s LSS. I invite the reader to read both the works of Victor Geller and Zev Eleff as well as discuss the issue with NCSY alumni before one asserts that Kiruv was and has been largely a Charedi enterprise

  14. “Steve Brizel on February 23, 2011 at 2:37 pm
    Mycroft wrote in part:

    “Some of the frameworks include the National Jewish Outreach Program (NJOP), the Association for Jewish Outreach Programs (AJOP), with which hundreds of Orthodox outreach organizations are affiliated, and the Orthodox Union’s National Conference of Synagogue Youth (NCSY). Many of these were initially modern Orthodox but are today staffed by haredim””

    Not my words-I was quoting Prof Waxman.

  15. Yitzhak
    This is not parody. this is the appropriation of some one else’s creative property to promote ones own product. it is illegal. Lenny Solomon agrees with me. I spoke to him about it.

  16. lawrence kaplan

    Gil: Given the serious legal issues raised, shouldn’t you pull this and ask a shaylah of your Rav?

  17. I’ll assume that they looked into these issues before making this. WADR to Moshe Shoshan, he isn’t a lawyer. Neither am I. And since this is only a blog post of a video that is “out there”, I’m not going to spend time investigating it.

  18. Lawrence Kaplan

    Gil: I didn’t say Moshe Shoshan is right. I said there is a legal queston here. I confess to not assuming, as you do, that the NCSY looked into these issues before manking the video. Any of our resident lawyers want to weigh in? Steve? Joseph? Any blogger expert in copyright law?

  19. Sorry, Lawrence, not my expertise. But from the little I know, my gut tells me Moshe Shoshan is probably right since this isn;t a parody. But even if NCSY is wrong, Gil is one removed and I’m not sure he’s in violation of the copyright law. My suggestion is to let Yoko decide; if she sends a cease and desist letter, pull the post. Otherwise, let Gil spend his time correcting rabbini]cal honorifics (whixh he really does have the time to do). 🙂

  20. Moshe: Did you read my post? I do not know how you define ‘parody’ and how you distinguish it from ‘the appropriation of some one else’s creative property to promote ones own product’, but the sources I cite (no one else here has cited any) are very clear that a claim of ‘parody’ is not necessarily sufficient for a particular ‘Use’ to qualify as ‘Fair’.

  21. Mycroft-WADR, Dr Waxman’s assessment is inaccurate.

  22. Gil,

    It is true that I am not a lawyer and neither did I consult with one on this matter. I did however speak to the person in the Jewish music biz who probably has more experience with these issues than any else, both in general and with regard to the Beatles.

    The reason why this bothers me is that I think the OU needs to be a role model when it comes to things like dina d’malchusa and ve’heyitem nekiyyim.

  23. MiMedinat HaYam

    as i understand it, ncsy did not produce the video, it only found it on youtube. from an admiring fan.

    if they dont put it on their website, no liability. unless they want to insist its references to ncsy should be deleted. (for moral reasons.)

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