Behind the Scenes of the Jewish Music Gemach
What's it's like...
Life has been busy with Pesach! Trying to get back into life isn’t simple. It’s feels like I finally get settled into a good routine and then something comes and destroys it all.
I really want to show you guys the behind the scenes in running the gemach, and a little bit about it. In short, the idea is if you delete or do not own any non-jewish music, you are open to downloading thousands of frum songs from the gemach.
So how did this idea start?
When I was a kid I grew up with maybe 10-15 CD’s. Growing up out of town, new music was scarce, to the point of not really knowing how much music existed. Any CD we bought, I bought with my hard earned babysitting money was like a treasure. When I finally discovered that there were thousands of CD’s it was quite shocking, and I decided I wanted to have as much as a could.
10 years later….I have thousands of CD’s. I had gotten a psak as a kid that I could take music from the internet with no halachic problem, and I began to wonder, if anyone could do the same. I thought of my large collection, and of the girls I knew my age who struggled with listening to non-jewish music. I thought to myself: If they had a large collection of Jewish music it would be much easier to give up non-jewish music. I know for myself, the more Jewish music I had, the easier it was to get rid of non-jewish music.
So, I called up my Rabbi, a well known posek from Yerushalayim who had taught halacha in seminary and I asked him, could I pass on my collection to others?
It wasn’t without bumps in the road, he needed to know exactly where my music came from, what websites, how accessible it was, exactly how I downloaded it, and so much more. We also had some unpleasant interactions with some singers, and had to pause the gemach for a few weeks so he could look into the entire topic in depth, get other Rabbanim’s take on it, and find out the details of the copyright laws. Since then my Rabbi advised me to send out e-mails to all the singers as a courtesy, which took so much time and energy. Originally I thought to ask singers but never received responses to my e-mails. Since I had the halacha on my side, my Rabbi suggested I e-mail them, and also include if they do not respond then it will be taken as consent.
Many people were extremely happy to donate their music! Off the top of my head some of the singers who were excited to join were: Mordechai Shapiro, BeiNONi, Derech Achim, and plenty more.
Even after that was all over, up keeping the gemach isn’t simple.
I’m pretty tech savvy, so I figured out how to make google drive automatically upload anything in my MUSIC folder, so whenever new music get’s added to my computer, it will automatically add the files to the gemach that is housed on google drive.
I organized all the music by singers, with other folders for Holiday, Shabbos, Kol Isha, Instrumental, and other songs. Here’s just some of the folders:
Now that’s it’s sefirah time, I’m doing the entire sefirah section. Here’s a sample of some of the folders and songs in there. The single songs have the singer in parentheses.
The section is basically done, I just have to e-mail all the people who I haven’t e-mailed yet.
I hope you enjoyed some behind the scenes of the gemach!
— Hadas Bat-el