A great video discussion by Rabbi Wallerstein on why certain current cultural trends are NOT KOSHER. He includes discussions of Zumba, Rap and Pole Dancing. Kosher Pole Dancing? Kosher Zumba? He explains why there is simply NO WAY.
UPDATE – Several commentors (via comments and email) have pointed out that the rav slips from a cultural explanation to one that can easily be understood as racist. Reviewing the video on this basis, I agree. We do not condone such ideas, and certainly would feel strongly if such was directed at us. I have therefore removed the video. (I am not, G-d forbid, accusing the rabbi of being racist, I don’t know him. Just saying a few unfortunate statements in this video lesson can be interpreted that way.)
However, I want to summarize his points with which I agreed:
1. The Yetzer Hara, the Evil Inclination, is able to slide some negatively impacting elements into the religious Jewish community under the guise of exercise and modern health.
2. Music and body movements have an impact on our perceptions and emotions. Certain types of music styles are heavy in their impact, and these types of music are integral parts of these problematic exercise routines. Further, these routines usually target women.
(I’d add two points here. First, studies on music impact have even shown listening to “fast” paced music while driving results in the driver driving faster or listening to certain types of music result in the driver driving more recklessly. Second, if you’ve ever seen young children (2-4 years old) react to certain types of music, you can directly see a “body” reaction to music without any type of cultural filter.)
3. If you want to consider compatibility between an exercise routine or type of music and orthodox Judaism, just imagine yourself sitting with your 12 year old child going over Torah homework immediately after listening or exercising to such music or routines. Can you return from gyrating to thumping tunes and discuss the parsha, a Rashi or a Mishnah?
When viewed in such a context, the incompatibility is obvious.