Volume 11 Number 96
                       Produced: Wed Feb 23  8:29:14 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Jews with Disabilities lecture
         [Mark A. Young]
Mormon Software
         [Mark Steiner]
         [Danny Skaist]
Strangers and Minyan
         [saul djanogly]
Women Rabbis (2)
         [Aleeza Esther Berger, Yitz Kurtz]


From: Mark A. Young <myoung@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 1994 23:58:52 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Jews with Disabilities lecture

Rav Tendler spoke broadly of the critical need for ALL shuls to have
ramps to facilitate access. Ramps help not only those with disabilities
but also people with children in strollers.

He spoke of the importance about breaking down attitudinal barriers
within the Jewish community.

Adapted Excerpts from THE JEWISH WEEK and combined sources:

--Jewish community must meet the needs of people with disabilities--

Jews with disabilities have an ally in Rabbi Moshe Tendler, chair of
Yeshiva University's department of medical ethics and other prominent
Rabbonim affiliated with the Orthodox Union.

At a recent symposium sponsored by the Orthodox Union and TODA-The Torah
Organization for Disability Access, Rabbi tendler affirmed that that is
an obligation, not a matter of choice, for Jewish communal organizations
to accomodate the needs of the physically and developmentally disabled.

Rabbi Tendler's unwavering "YES" came in answer to a question from
Sharon Lachs an observant Jew who uses a wheelchair. Rabbi Tendler was
asked whether it is an act of chesed (kindness) or mishpat
(responsibility) to make a synagogue accessible to disabled people.
Mispat is pro-active-you anticipate the needs of the entire community.
Rabbi Tendler indicated that it is "mishpat not charity" that must be
the Jewish Kehilla's guiding light.

Dr. Mark Young, a Rehabilitation Medicine Physician at Johns Hopkins
University is the founder of TODA- an international Jewish disability
access advocacy group composed of people with disabilities, Physical
therapists, physiatrists,occupational therapists, speech
therapists,nurses physicians,Rabbonim,educators and lay people.

TODA's call to action is the estimated 325,000 Jews with disabilities.
The organizations headquaters are in Baltimore at 3409 Shelburne RD.
Baltimore 21208. (telephone 410-764-6132)

Making a house of worship accessibile may involve providing wheelchair
ramps both outside and within a shul, high tech microphones that require
no batterries or electricity for the hearing impaired (Rabbi Tendler
recently rendered a Rabbinic approuval of one such device),and large
print and braille siddurim.

Mr. Terry Klein, a hearing impaired member and vice president of TODA
spoke eloquently of the need for a heightened awareness of disability
sensitivity in many Jewish communities. TODA has sponsored a provocative
"Rehabilitation and Jewish Law" Symposium in several cities to
accomplish this goal. This unique learning experience utilizes source
material from leading piskay Halacha which convincingly substantiates
the need for greater accessibility and awareness of disability all
throughout the Jewisk community!!!  .

Rabbi Yizchok Rosenberg of the Orthodox Union played an instrumental
role in setting up this historic conferenve which featured speakers from
TODA, OUR WAY FOR THE DEAF (an OU sponsored project spearheaded by Rabbi
Leiderfiend) and YAChad ( directed by Rabbi Dr. Jeff Lichtman).

For more info:
contact <myoung@...>

3409 Shelburne road
baltimore, MD 21208



From: Mark Steiner <MARKSA@...>
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 94 06:43:03 -0500
Subject: Re: Mormon Software

>From: Sue Kahana <SUE%<HADASSAH@...>
>I have lately learned that both WordPerfect and Novell are products
>of Mormons.  In this case, there obviously is less of a problem than with
>geneological software where they are tracking Jewish families.  However,
>the problem that I heard is that, at least the owners of WordPerfect,
>tithe to their church.  This means that if I, as a customer, buy their
>product, 10% of the price goes to a missionizing, possible a.z. church.

For the purpose of this note, I am assuming that Wordperfect is not put
out by a church, but by private individuals who happen to belong to it.
(In my previous note on this subject, I assumed that the genealogical
software is put out by the Mormon church, a different matter entirely.)

R. Yochanan in the Talmud A. Z. 13a holds that it is forbidden to
purchase items in a store where a tax is levied for a. z., and this is
the halakha.  However, the Tosafot ad locum restrict the prohibition to
instances where this tax is actually explicitly made part of the
purchase price.  The implication is also that the Church officials come
around to collect the tax shortly after the sale is made.  Neither of
this conditions is present where the idolator tithes voluntarily and no
part of the purchase price of Wordperfect etc. is specified for such a

It is forbidden for a Jew to cause any human being including a "Ben
Noach" (gentile) to worship a. z. (A. Z. 6b), based on the verse, "Thou
shalt not put a stumbling block before the blind (lifnei `iver, etc.)."
Nevertheless, that is not the case here, because the money tithed goes
to the Mormon officials who then use the money for a. z. (in the worst
case).  Indirect causation of this type is not forbidden (lifnei
delifney) in the case of gentiles, since THEY were not commanded not to
put a stumbling block before the blind.

Thus, if the Mormon church were an ordinary religion of a. z.  there
would seem to be room to permit the purchase of Wordperfect (which I am
writing on right now--I was not aware of the source of the software).
It could be, though, that their missionizing campaigns are so offensive,
and the success of these campaigns are so linked to the financial
strength of their church, that a thinking Jew would not want to do
anything which will strengthen such a church.  As my previous note on
the Mormons argued, Jews are not allowed to do any action which will
have the effect of promoting "minuth," which is the ideology of a.
z.--particularly when a missionizing church is at issue.  Only a rav on
the scene who knows both the facts and the halakhot can decide

I conclude by saying the obvious, that I am not an halakhic authority on
this or any other matter, and that I quote these sources only to clarify
the question at hand.

As a user of Wordperfect up till now, I'd appreciate anyone who knows of
any decisions by poskim on this question.  Word for Windows, anyone?

Mark Steiner


From: DANNY%<ILNCRD@...> (Danny Skaist)
Date: Sun, 20 Feb 94 16:36:46 -0500
Subject: Ostriches

> Reuben Gellman
>D'varim (Deutoronomy) chap 14 as a non-kosher bird. Admittedly, we don't
>know for certain what the birds listed in those chapters are, but (1) bat
>ya'anah is pretty clearly identified; (2) lack of identification is used

>Joey Mosseri
>See Vayiqra 11:16 and Debarim 14:15 , there the  BAT HAYA'ANAH is mentioned
>among the list of unkosher birds. It seems that most of the commentators
>have translated this to be the ostrich. There is one opinion (that of Yehuda
>Feliks Ph.D.) who says that the BAT HAYA'ANAH is the eagle owl..)

The Rabbis who knew the translations of the names of the birds in the bible,
gave us simanim [signs] to identify them.  One of the signs is that the eggs
of kosher birds are larger on one end then the other (egg shaped ??).
Ostrich eggs are round, hence the bird is not kosher.

There is an ostrich farm in Eilat, which claims to have 30 species.



From: <saul@...> (saul djanogly)
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 94 04:42:43 -0500
Subject: Re: Strangers and Minyan

A stranger is believed if he STATES that he/she is Jewish.
See Tosaphot re.the non-Jew who passed himself off as a Jew to bring 
the Korban Pesach(Pesachim 3b).
See also Mishne Torah Hilchot Issurei Biah 13.10
The Beer Heitev Even Haezer 2.1 says that when it comes to marriage a
full investigation must be carried out.

saul djanogly


From: Aleeza Esther Berger <aeb21@...>
Date: Wed, 16 Feb 1994 13:25:17 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Women Rabbis

The Conservative movement has discussed this issue and, as probably
everyone knows, decided in favor of ordaining women. Many of their
responsa on the subject have been publihed as a book, *The Ordination
of Women as Rabbis: Studies and Responsa", edited by Simon Greenberg. Before
you start screaming, note that (a) there aren't any Orthodox sources I know
of that treat the issue as a whole, so this book could be used as an 
introduction to the specific issues (e.g. shaliach tzibur [leader of prayer],
edut [witness] which may be discussed in various Orthodox sources.   Also, 
(b) not all the responsa in the book conclude that women may be ordained.

Aliza Berger

From: Yitz Kurtz <hmrcelec@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Feb 1994 13:01:24 -0500
Subject: Women Rabbis

In a recent posting Ari Ferziger asked for sources and issues relating 
to Women Rabbis. The real issue is: What is a Rabbi? Halakhically, this
is not a simple question and I will not deal with it here. Instead, I 
will deal with two common notions of what a Rabbi is: 

1) Rabbi as someone qualified to paskin (decide) in halakhic matters
2) Rabbi as religious director of a congregation

Rabbi as Posek

Tosafot, Niddah 50a discusses whether women can be dayyanim (judges).
Tosafot cites Devorah the Prophetess, who according to the Book of
Judges was a judge, as an apparent proof that women can be judges. This
contradicts the mishnah in Niddah 49b that states that all kosher
dayyanim are kosher witnesses and we know that women are not kosher
witnesses so they must be unfit to be dayyanim (there are similar
Tosafots in Yevamot 45 and Bava Kama 15 (see the reference in the
margins)). Tosafot offers 3 resolutions:

1) A woman _can_ be a dayyan and the mishnah in Niddah is only referring
to men. Tosafot in Bava Kamma suggests, according to one answer, that a
woman could even be a mumcheh (halakhic expert with special authority and
2) A woman cannot be a dayyan but Devorah judged "al pi hadibbur" 
3) Devorah did not actually sit on the beit din, she just taught people
what the correct Torah law was.

IMHO answers 1) and 3) are very favorable to the idea of women Rabbis.
For even if Devorah was not a dayyan ( answer 3)) she did no less (and
probably more) than what a Rabbi does. Answer 2) addresses the issue for
dayyanut only and leaves the question of Women Rabbis open.

Rabbi as Religious Director of a Congregation

Another important issue is the Rambam's opinion, in Hilkhot Melakhim,
that just as it is prohibited to appoint females as monarchs, it is
prohibited to appoint women to any position of SRARA (authority) over
the tzibbur (community).

I don't have the reference here but R'Moshe Feinstein has a tshuva 
responding to someone who wanted to know  if it is forbidden to appoint
a woman mashgiach (kashrut supervisor) because of SRARA. R' Moshe answers
that there is no problem because:
1) It is unclear whether the halakha is like the Rambam that the 
prohibition against appointing queens applies to all positions of
srara and
2) Being a mashgiach not a position of srara. 

I think that rabbinical appointments involve srara but is srara a
problem?  If it is, the same prohibition would apply to female shul
presidents as well as female directors of public organizations.

I once heard that Rav Shternbuch (of Jerusalem ) has a tshuva discussing 
whether it is prohibited for a woman to be a bus driver because of srara.
At first I thought this was ridiculous but then I visited Israel and rode
on an Egged bus. I wouldn't dare disobey one of those drivers. I
realized that there is no greater srara indeed ;-).

Yitz Kurtz


End of Volume 11 Issue 96