Volume 11 Number 4
                       Produced: Wed Jan  5  8:02:08 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Anthony Fiorino]
         [Danny Skaist]
Jewish Adoption (3)
         [Nadine Bonner, Michael Shimshoni, Michael Shimshoni]
Non-Jewish adoption
         [Gary Fischer]
TeX fonts
         [Mitch Berger]


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 93 16:07:28 -0500
Subject: Adoption

Miny Schimmel asked about adoptions.

There was an article in _Tradition_ which later appeared in _The
Conversion Crisis_ (Ed E. Feldman & J. Wolowelsky. Hoboken, NJ: RCA/Ktav
1990) by R. J. Simcha Cohen regarding the conversion of children born to
a gentile mother and a Jewish father.  This article was expanded in his
book on conversion (_Intermarriage and Conversion, A Halachic Solution_,
Hoboken, NJ: Ktav, 1987).  He brings down many teshuvot which are
relevent to the issue of conversion of minors generally.

The reason that it is permissable to convert a minor is, as stated,
because it is permissable to do something to benefit a person without
that person's knowledge.  As to whether we have a *right* to do so or
not, I don't see why not.  All education and socalization is "forced"
upon children without consent.  Children are coerced -- whether a
particular child is adopted and converted to Judaism, or if that child
were adopted by Catholics, or atheists, or whatever, that child will be
"forced" into some set of beliefs.  As to whether one considers it
acceptable to "coerce" a non-Jewish child into keeping mitzvot which
s/he otherwise would not have to keep, that all depends on whether one
thinks it a zchut to keep mitzvot.  I ceratinly feel, and we all should,
that one is better off being a Jew and having mitzvot, than not.  If I
recall R. Cohen's article correctly, gemara assumes, when discussing the
conversion of children, that one will not "miss" the unbridled,
mitzvah-less lifestyle unless one has actually experienced it, and
assumes that minors will not have experienced it.

Regarding a convert saying "elokeinu, velokei avoteinu," the Rambam in
his letter to Ovadia hager tzedek states in emphatic terms that this is
the proper thing to do.  The convert has attached him/herself to klal
yisrael, and is in every sense a descendent of Avraham, Yitzchak, and
Yaakov.  This is how we poskin, although one can find differing
opinions.  The text of the Rambam's letter (which I find very
inspirational) can be found in the chapter "Love of the Stranger" in
_The Good Society: Jewish Ethics in Action_, Ed N. Lamm. NY, NY: Viking
Press, 1974.

A halachic issue with adoption not relating to conversion is yichud --
once the children become a little older, there may be problems with one
adoptive parent or the other being alone with adopted children of the
opposite sex.

A bibliography on conversion can be found in the s.j.c archives (part X
 -- intermarriage).

Eitan Fiorino


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Mon, 27 Dec 93 09:49:45 -0500
Subject: Israel/geula

>David Ben-Chaim
>"Wait for Machiach" to take you to Israel, but do we sit back and not
>work and just pray for The Eternal to feed us, do we not go to doctors
>and just pray that The Great Healer will do his work for us? Only when
>it comes to Aliyah is the Jew suddenly dependent only on prayer and
>refuses to take the first step.

It was pointed out to me once that in the Amidah, the prayer for
redemption [t'ka bshofar] comes after "healing" and "income", things for
which we pray but still take positive actions for, and before "return"
[hashivah shoftenu] for which we can only pray.  The catagory of what we
pray for has obviously changed from prayer with action to prayer without

"t'ka bshofar" is in the middle, and different people just place it in
different catagories.

>(Interestingly, it was the non-religious sector of our people who lead
>the return to Israel while Rabbis usually advised against such moves.)

The Geula (may it be speedily completed) is following it's own schedule.
The settlement of Eretz Yisrael was pushed by religous leaders in the
19th cent. When the religous "dropped the ball", it had to be picked up
by whoever was available, because the schedule is already made and will
be kept.

>Civil service workers (including univ.  workers) have May Day off, but
>we have to take Jerusalem Day off our yearly vacation time.!

Civil service workers (I don't know about Univ) get Jerusalem Day as the
same conditions as May Day i.e. yom b'chira [optional day off]. Of
course you are only allowed 2 per year and the list is large for
religous Jews.  (I prefer to take Purim and Tisha b'Av)

>from Spain, Anti-Semitism and the Shoah as punishment to cleanse us
>(spiritually) to be worthy of re-recieving The Land.

I have noticed that "geula" seems to be preceeded by a shoa (although
not every shoa lead to a "geula).  In Egypt 80% of the the Jews died
during the plague of darkness.  In Persia the Shoa was ready and only
averted at the last minute by Mordechai and Esther. And the last shoa
before this "geula".  Is there any recognized written connection between
the two ?



From: <n.bonner@...> (Nadine Bonner)
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 93 20:29:01 -0500
Subject: Jewish Adoption

  Benjamin Svetitsky asked about Jewish adoption.
  Although I have no personal experience with adoption, I lived in a
community in Israel where there happened to be several couples struggling
with this issue.  Jewish infants are very rare in the adoption market.  The
top "catch" in Israel are Ashkanazi boys.  At the bottom of the rung are
Sephardi girls.  One couple I know adopted three Ethiopian infants at two
year intervals.  Another adopted two Sephardi children.  Several other
couples followed a common Israeli practice of going to Latin America for
  Yes, there are orphanages in Israel, but most couples want infants not
children.  I also believe there are civil laws, if not halachas, against
adoptions that would have Jewish children leaving Eretz.
  There are also opinions that it is preferable to adopt a gentile baby and
convert it rather than adopt a Jewish baby to avoid any possiblity of incest
in the future.

From: Michael Shimshoni <MASH@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 93 12:24:32 +0200
Subject: Re: Jewish Adoption

Towards the end of his article on adoption Josh Klein asks:

>Now, a question: if a child is born of a Kohen or Levi father, and a
>Yisrael family adopts him or her, do the various halachot regarding the
>childs tribal affiliation change too?

I think that by  Halkha the answer is an absolute no.   To the best of
my limited knowledge  there is not such a thing  as "adoption" (in the
gentile sense) within  Halakha.  Thus in every way  when one mentioned
adoption in some recent discussions,  it is more like some "fostering"
arrangement, with, among  other matters, the status of  the child with
respect his  biological parents  remaining practically  unchanged.  In
this case adoption  differs from conversion where the  relation of the
ger to his/her biological parents is much changed.

Michael Shimshoni

From: Michael Shimshoni <MASH@...>
Date: Fri, 31 Dec 93 12:40:45 +0200
Subject: Re: Jewish Adoption

In his  article giving facts  about adoption in America,  Mitch Berger
also writes:

>My wife once found 19 Down's kids living with a Mormon lady in Utah.
>They were smuggled out of Israel via Brigham Young U. on Mt. Scopus.
>When the case was found, Utah conformed to the pro-forma by giving
>Vicky Krausz and my wife chance to place them. 2 days! 3 kids of the 19
>were placed, a neis nigleh (obvious miracle) in itself.

I am most amazed about these news, and not because of the miracle
claimed.  Why did not the two ladies in question approach the
authorities and report that crime of smuggling children out of Israel to
USA.  This act is criminal by Israeli law, and I am sure that also the
American law would define it thus.  As certain circles in Israel were,
and are, strongly opposed to the Mormon University in Jerusalem, I am
also surprised that the ladies did not make, not the "nes" but the
crime, more "nigleh", and thus giving a very hard time to that

Michael Shimshoni


From: Gary Fischer <gfis@...>
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 93 21:21:14 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Non-Jewish adoption

My wife and I have recently adopted a child from Russia, so I have some
thoughts on some of these issues.  First of all, it is very difficult to
find healthy Jewish babies available for adoption.  (I do not know
anything about adopting Ethiopian Jewish children, admittedly.)

First of all, there are no halachic problems with adopting a non-Jewish
child.  I would suggest that anyone contemplating this speak to their
LOR regarding the procedure for conversion before actually adopting to
be certain that there will not be any problems, but there ought not to

Our biggest concern was alluded to in the first letter-- is it fair to
make someone not born Jewish Jewish without his/her consent.  Put
another way, is it right to obligate a person to observe the 613 mitzvot
when they could otherwise be a praiseworthy person by just keeping 7.
We resolved this problem in the following ways:

	1.  We believe that a Torah, Jewish lifestyle is a beneficial
one for anyone to lead.  ("It's ways are ways of pleasantness and all
its paths are peace . . ." etc)

	2.  We believe that we can provide a loving, nourishing home to
a child, and Judaism, for us, is part of that.

	3.  The conversion of the child to Judaism is not complete until
he is 13, at which time he may choose to not maintain his Judaism.  he
is not Jewish if he chooses this path at the age of Bar Mitzvah.
Therefore, he ultimately _does_ get to choose.  This of course is
unsettling.  We, of course, believe that if we raise our child to love
Judaism, he will choose this path.

What we did not completely come to grips with until after the adoption
was circumsizing him.  We are still uneasy about subjecting him to
general anesthesia (necessary at his age, of course) given that he
cannot consent to this.  (Others who we know in the same position have
no reservations about this.)  It turns out that he needs minor surgery
so the issue is moot for us -- he'll have both done at the same time.

My wife and I are happy to correspond with anyone who would like to
discuss these issues, and would be happy to be involved with a network
devoted to these issues.

Gary Fischer


From: <mitch@...> (Mitch Berger)
Date: Wed, 29 Dec 93 19:00:58 -0500
Subject: TeX fonts

I use TeX alot, and while I have two hebrew METAFONTs neither is all
that pretty, and both require typing last letter first, and playing with
word wrapping.  Anyone out there know of a good hebrew
preprocessor/macro package/font for TeX? Thanks.

       | Mitchel Berger, TFI Systems, 26th fl. | Voice: (212) 504-3144 |
       | Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette          |   Fax: (212) 504-4581 |
       | 140 Broadway  New York, NY 10005-1285 | Email: <mitch@...>  |


End of Volume 11 Issue 4