After over a decade and a half worth of reporting on Television news for FOX in Miami and gaining a tremendous amount of experience in public talking, Rosh Lowe, a former Broadway actor, created a company to help train individuals in the art of public speaking.
The mission of MicDrop is to teach individuals and company employees how to be more articulate when talking about an experience or sharing their views on a topic. “I go into a place and I train people how to tell their stories in five to ten minutes and then I put them on stage,” said Lowe. Rosh uses unique methods to help even the most nervous speakers overcome their fear.
MicDrop has been gaining popularity around the United States and in addition to working with business corporations, MicDrop has hosted an array of public speaking events with large crowds in attendance.
MicDrop first faced opposition from the Frum community when an event was advertised in Miami featuring ten Chabad Rebbetzins who would share personal narratives of their involvement in cultivating their respective communities. Due to the objection of many local Shluchim, the original plan of 10 speakers dwindled down to 6 women who forged ahead despite the outspoken disapproval.
Earlier this year in the month of Cheshvan, Crown Heights saw its first MicDrop presentation when Crown Heights Young Entrepreneurs (CHYE) hosted separate MicDrop workshops for business men and women on two different days. The presentations at these events were not made public.
However, the brunt of the opposition to MicDrop came when a public event was scheduled in Brooklyn, featuring twelve “Wonder Women” who would speak about their own personal struggles in front of a mixed audience.
Being that the event was geared towards members of the Crown Heights community, local Rabbonim felt the responsibility to speak out against it. In response to a question on his own website a few weeks before the event, Mara D’asra, Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, member of the Badatz of Crown Heights, wrote a clear, detailed and explicit explanation of his strong reservations against this new phenomenon and the different factors involved which led him to such a conclusion. He specified the prohibition of hearing Lashon Hara and how it is strictly permissible when it is spoken L’toeles – for a specific purpose. Assuming, arguendo, that this case would be considered L’toeles, we would need to prove that it is necessary to have all the people listening in, in order to achieve this goal.
There are also issues of modesty. The general Torah approach is not to expose oneself in public by sharing personal issues that are often better kept under wraps. All the more so when it comes to women, who are always encouraged to act in an extra dignified manner, beyond the general expectation. The issue of Tznius is further compromised when the audience votes on the speeches, which causes each speaker to wish to outdo the other by sharing something more personal, intense or traumatic. (This can also have bearing on the point mentioned earlier, the so-called effectiveness of this approach.)
In addition, Rabbis Avrohom Osdoba and Shlomo Segal, issued a letter prohibiting the attendance at the event for similar concerns, a few days before the MicDrop event was scheduled to take place.
While all of this was going on, there was one “Chabad” website which continued to strongly promote the event despite the warnings against it.
Rabbi Shea Hecht, author of Confessions of a Jewish Cultbuster, likened MicDrop to Call of the Shofar – a controversial “therapy” program that was branded a cult. Counselor and therapist, Rabbi Raphael Aron of Melbourne, Australia, also shared his concerns with the MicDrop concept, listing a host of potential problems with this platform.
Although a number of the women who had prepared presentations backed out after the Rabbonim banned the event, some blatantly ignored the Rabbonim and continued on with their planned speeches.
Unfortunately, in addition to this “Chabad” website ignoring all of the Rabbonim, a number of people from Crown Heights attended the event as well. After the event, the same website was proud to share photos and videos from the evening.
Earlier today, Eli Nash, a financial supporter and co-founder of MicDrop, shared on Facebook that the upcoming MicDrop event scheduled for February, 26th at The Aliyah Institute in Crown Heights, will be canceled due to recent requests from Lubavitch Rabbonim.
We hope that respect for Shulchan Aruch and the Rabbonim is restored in its fullest capacity in Crown Heights and around the world.