Volume 11 Number 19
                       Produced: Sun Jan  9 22:55:32 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

American vs European
         [Eli Turkel]
Censorship & Reform Responsa
         [Daniel Faigin]
Kiddush Clubs (3)
         [Gedalyah Berger, David Kramer, Freda Birnbaum]
Kiddush clubs - leaving davening early
         [Alan Mizrahi]
Minyan - catching up
         [Aliza Berger]
Reform Responsa
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Shmitta and Leap Year
         [Lawrence Myers]


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 94 14:27:18 +0200
Subject: American vs European

>> Is this a new American, orthodox development?  I would venture to say
>> this Kiddush Club idea is not practiced by our reform/conservative
>> brethern.  Do these "Kiddush Clubs" appear in Israel or are they an
>> American invention?  My gut feeling tells me that the pre-war, European
>> Shuls would have shown more respect and reverence for Davening and their
>> shuls.

     Many people have the impression that pre-war Europe was in some way
"more religious" than our days. I have heard this from many people including
Roshei Yeshivot. However, I suspect that much of this is nostalgia.
Most of the problems that exist today already existed for a long time.
I strongly suspect that more people are learning today than before the war
and the level of learning at least in some respects is higher.
I once read an article from a "sofer" (scribe ?) journal in which they
claim that most sefer torahs recovered from Europe have a large amount
of errors and there is no reason to assume that an 70 year old sefer Torah
was written any more carefully than a recently written one.

Eli Turkel


From: <faigin@...> (Daniel Faigin)
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 94 10:46:47 -0500
Subject: Re: Censorship & Reform Responsa

I read with interest a number of articles in M.J v11n4, v10n88, and
v10n81 regarding my posting of a Reform Responsa (actually, excerpts
thereof) in M.J.  For those not familiar with me, I moderate the
Mail.Liberal-Judaism digest, which is modelled on M.J, whose charter is
to accept discussions of Judaism in a context where the validity of
Jewish movements as Jewish is not questioned (this includes not only O
criticizing R, but R criticizing O). Thus, I understand the notion of
charters of lists, and how to work within them.

In the case of the issue in question, I quoted from the responsa because
it appeared to bring in another halachic justification for allowing
women to pierce their ears (adornment and beutification) that had not
been mentioned before. Many of the authors of the Reform responsa,
although not currently Orthodoxy, did have Orthodox training in their
youth and use this training in their writing. Their opinions, when
citing halacha, should be examined with as much skepticism as any other
layperson quoting on the net that you do not know. I don't find that an
insult to them, for examining halacha can only lead to further learning.
Certainly, we shouldn't just ignore what they say.

For those interested, there are many books of Reform Responsa that
investigate halachic issues. Although you may disagree with their
conclusions, I would think that the thought and reasoning process (both
its hits and misses) would provide additional insight to your knowledge
of halacha. Interested readers can consult the Reform Reading List on
israel.nysernet.org, in the israel/lists/scj-faq/reading-lists directory
(filename "reform").

Lastly, I would like to let you know that I *do* read M.J, just as Avi
reads M.L-J, as part of the bond of brotherhood between our two lists
(and in many ways, I do view M.L-J as a younger sibling of M.J). As
brothers, we learn from each other as we grow and mature, and I am
thankful for that.

Moderator, Mail.Liberal-Judaism
<faigin@...>, liberal-judaism@nysernet.org


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 94 15:11:56 -0500
Subject: Re: Kiddush Clubs

> From: <sieg@...> (Barry Siegel)

It certainly is not new, unfortunately.

> I have noticed a rather unfortunate "custom" forming in some synagouges
> called "Kiddush Clubs".As I see it, Kiddush Club's are formed by some
> men folk who walk out after Torah reading on Shabbat and make their own
> kiddush (with whiskey & cake) in private while shooting the breeze.
> These folks stay out during the reading of the Haftorah, the Rabbi's
> speech, and return to Davening [prayer-service] for Musaf.

They return for mussaf?

> I would like to know exactly which Halacha this Kiddush Club violates.
> Is one allowed to make Kiddush before Musaf (especially when Musaf will
> be very soon)?(I know that Simchat Torah is a very special case and we
> allow ourselves to make kiddush early due to time constraints.)
> Certainly the disrespect shown for the Rav & Congregation are beyond
> question.

They miss the Haftarah.  They miss mussaf.  They are engaged in bizayon
ha-Torah [disgrace of the Torah - Mod.] and bizayon beit haknesset
[disgrace of the Shul - Mod.].  They are porshim min hatzibbur (ones who
separate themselves from the community).  In short, the Kiddush Club is
among the most appalling demonstrations of disrespect for God and
Judaism that I know of in the "frum" community.  These people may be
observant, but they certainly are not very *religious*.  I apologize if
I sound harsh, but I grew up in a shtiebel, and was left speechless the
first time I encountered a Kiddush Club.  On second thought, I don't

And I echo your reaction, Barry - uugh!

Gedalyah Berger
Yeshiva College / RIETS
Finals are over!!!

From: <davidk@...> (David Kramer)
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 94 07:54:55 -0500
Subject: Kiddush Clubs

R. Mordechai Willig, put a stop to this disgraceful practice in his shul
very quickly. He simply forbade the gabbai to call up to the Torah
anyone who participates in the 'kiddush club'. He felt that anyone who
shows such disrespect for the Torah and the prayer service in such an
unashamed public spectacle does not deserve the honor of making a bracha
on the Tora for the Tzibbur (congregation).

[  David Kramer                       |  INTERNET: <davidk@...>  ]
[ Motorola Communications Israel Ltd. |  Phone (972-3) 565-8638 Fax 565-8754 ]

From: Freda Birnbaum <FBBIRNBA@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 94 09:30:57 -0500
Subject: Kiddush Clubs

Barry Siegel asks about kiddush clubs in V11N16:

>Is this a new American, orthodox development?  I would venture to say
>this Kiddush Club idea is not practiced by our reform/conservative
>brethern.  Do these "Kiddush Clubs" appear in Israel or are they an
>American invention?  My gut feeling tells me that the pre-war, European
>Shuls would have shown more respect and reverence for Davening and their

My hunch is that these clubs appear in Orthodox and not Reform or
Conservative settings because the Orthodox services are so
loooooooong... C and R services are much shorter AND the folks are more
in awe of Western "manners" which think it rude to leave before the end
except for an emergency.

Seems to me a more authentic or legitimate response to the impatience
with the long service would be to go to a hashkoma minyan which is
usually much shorter, no sermon, etc.  (Of course that's another issue
because many shuls resent hashkoma minyans as taking away from the main
one.)  (I meant shorter because they move faster, not because they omit
stuff!  I mean the shatz just davens, he doesn't warble, etc.)

>I recently spoke to a Rabbi of a congregation
>with a rather large Kiddush club about him stopping it, and he replied
>that "You can't fight all the battles, and you have to pick which one
>you want to stand up against".  This seemed like a cop out to me.

I guess it is a cop out but he probably has assessed his chances of
success and... You CAN'T win them all, at least not all at once.

Freda Birnbaum, <fbbirnbaum@...>
"Call on God, but row away from the rocks"


From: <amizrahi@...> (Alan Mizrahi)
Date: Sun, 09 Jan 94 16:20:22 EST
Subject: Kiddush clubs - leaving davening early

Barry Siegel in v.11 n.16 brings up the issue of "Kiddush Clubs," people
who leave in the middle of davening to make kiddush and shmooze.

I have noticed a different phenomena in many shuls that also involves
leaving davening early.  In shuls that have multiple minyanim, it is
apparently very common for people to leave their respective minyanim and
meet in the hallways to talk.

This also brings up the halachic issues that kiddush clubs do.  Although
I am not condoning these activities, I think it is better to go outside
to talk than to talk in the shul if one cannot restrain oneself.

-Alan Mizrahi


From: <A_BERGER@...> (Aliza Berger)
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 1994 13:12:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Minyan - catching up

Of course I NEVER come late to shul, but just in case:

When praying in synagogue, it is a large priority to recite the silent
shmoneh esrei together with the congregation.  Does this apply only if one
is present/caught up enough to begin the shmoneh esrei at the same time as
the congregation, or also if one will begin it while they are in the 
middle? (even if one will then not be able to respond to kedusha, being
still saying the silent shmoneh esrei).

Sources will be appreciated.

Aliza Berger


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Fri, 7 Jan 94 12:11:07 -0500
Subject: Reform Responsa

I must disgree with Najman Kahana use of Rav Meir and Acher as a proof for
not reading/learning from a Reform Responsa

> 	The Talmud deals with this directly.  Rav Meir learned from Acher
> (Rav Elisha Ben Abuya, who had been a great sage, but left Judaism).
> The Talmud asks how come Rav Meir learned from a tainted source, and
> answers that Rav Meir was unique in that he knew how to eat the fruit and
> discard the pits.

The problem here is the question of being somech on an apikorus --
meaning, chachamim felt that the mesorah transmitted by Acher was not
trustworthy due to his heresy (which I have seen attributed to his
pondering the question on theodicy -- perhaps we should curtail those
postings on the nature and existence of evil . . . ).  Rav Meir was
trusted as being knowledgable enough to asess and authoritatively evaluate
any Torah passed from Acher's rabbe through Acher to Rav Meir.

This is entirely different than the situation we have here.  Given that
the transmission of halacha and mesora is no longer oral in general,
anyone can open a sefer and have an authoritative source before him.  If a
Rambam or the Shulchan Aruch is quoted in a Reform responsum, how can that
POSSIBLY affect the binding nature of whatever din is quoted?  Of course,
one is always better off going to the original source no matter what, and
of course, this is very different from accepting the sevara of a Reform
responsum.  Needless to say, if one is interested in learning halacha,
one is better off with a mishna brura or igrot moshe than a collection
of Reform responsa (the understatement here is intentional).  And of course,
there exists the posibility of misquoting.  However, it is important to
point out that misquoting of primary sources goes on all the time, even
among Orthodox publications -- I have seen, and heard of more cases in
which sefarim, both English and Hebrew, have misquoted the gemara and
shulchan aruch.  These are sefarim with haskamot from prominent rabbaim. 
English sefarim also have the possibility of distorted translations.  The
moral of the story is Journalism 101 -- always check your sources. 

Eitan Fiorino


From: Lawrence Myers <lmyers@...>
Date: Sun, 9 Jan 94 17:43:07 -0500
Subject: Re: Shmitta and Leap Year

>       (for a shmitta year cannot be a leap year)

I fail to understand this statement since shmitta by definition
occurs every seven years whereas leap years are every second or third 
year depending on position in 19 year cycle.
The next shmitta but one will be in 5768 which is the 11th year of
the 304th 19 year cycle *A LEAP YEAR*

L Myers


End of Volume 11 Issue 19