Volume 13 Number 74
                       Produced: Fri Jun 24 14:59:15 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Explaining Shabbat to potential employers
         [Cheryl Hall]
Explaining to Employers about Shabbat and Yomtov
         [Jerrold Landau]
Flat Earth
         [Doug Behrman]
Freedom of Religious Expression
         [Steve Wildstrom]
Hebrew alphabet/Hebrew Months
         [David Charlap]
Lemon v. Kurtzman test
         [Marc Meisler]
Pronunciation and ashke-sfard
         [Ezra Rosenfeld]
Sefer Milchamos HaShem
         [Marc Bookbinder]
Shabbat and employers
         [Gedalyah Berger]
Toveling of Bottles, Containers, etc.
         [Stephen Phillips]
Yerushalmi Minhag
         [Michael Rosenberg]


From: <CHERYLHALL@...> (Cheryl Hall)
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 19:02:11 -0400
Subject: Re: Explaining Shabbat to potential employers

I am a Project Manager with an Information Systems company and really
deal with client project teams more frequently than my own employers,
however I have to deal with it every 6 months or so. I have to deal with
this at the outset of every project... in addition to the issues of
kashrut on the road.  I have travelled throughout the midwest and west,
the prime "bible belt", and have not had anything but genuine interest
and respect from my *gentile* clients. This distinction is intended...
the ONLY time in 12 years I had an issue, got a LOT of flak from the
client and could not get a concensus agreement, was a large project in
LA where 5 of the 6 team members were ASSIMILATED JEWS. Rosh Hashanah
and Yom Kippur they could understand but this "Sukkot and Shmeni
whatever" was too much for them.

Of course, I also have had very supportive managers in my company. It
seems to be an individual approach. Try to work things out at the lowest
level. In some ways it is easier to START a job as an observant Jew. The
expectation is set from the beginning. I've not worked on Shabbat, but
have become increasingly traditionally observant. So when I used to eat
out with colleagues per the Conservative kashrut standard now I don't.
When we have staff meetings or classes with a lunch provided, my boss
jokes we have a kashrut class each time. There's always someone there
who hasn't been there before and asks the dreaded question "What's does
kosher mean anyway?"

I can understand the legal reasons for avoiding the subject early in the
interviewing process, although I'm not sure I would. One also has to be
concerned with the requirements of the position and the valid needs the
employer has. Some jobs just don't fit and we have to be accepting of

Cheryl Hall
Long Beach, CA


From: <LANDAU@...> (Jerrold Landau)
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 15:14:56 EDT
Subject: Explaining to Employers about Shabbat and Yomtov

A recent posting on this subject indicated that is necessary to explain
to the employer that there are 13 days that one must take off.  In
reality there are never 13 days on weekdays.  The maximum on weekdays is
12, which occurs when Pesach falls on a Tuesday.  If Pesach falls on a
Shabbat, like next year, there are 9, if Pesach falls on a Sunday (like
this year), there are 10, and if Pesach falls on a Thursday, there are
only 6 (since Rosh Hashana and Sukkot will all be on Shabbat-Sunday).
In addition, in Canada, and probably in the United States, often a
Yomtov will occur on a Public Holiday (a day of Pesach on Good Friday,
Yom Kippur or Sukkot on Canadian Thanksgiving, or possibly Columbus day
in the U.S., and Shavuot on Canadian Victoria Day).  Therefore on
average, there are 8 or 9 Yomim Tovim on working days.  Of course, the
years when Pesach falls on Tuesday do tend to be problematic.

Jerrold Landau, Toronto


From: <ASLAN7@...> (Doug Behrman)
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 17:20:48 -0400
Subject: Flat Earth

Just to reply to one of the Gemaros that Moshe brought down,and to raise
a question of my own. The Gemara in Taanis that refers to Oceanis is
consistent with theories of the early structure of the Earth's land
mass, in which there was one large land mass (referred to as Pangea) and
the world's ocean(yes,singular -one BIG ocean) surrounded it. The
question this brings up to me is in reference to a Rashi in Beraishis in
which he refers to country named Oceanis, which sank into the sea(sound
suspicously like Atlantis?).  Does anyone have any other information or
sources that refer to this "country"?


From: Steve Wildstrom <swild@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 14:25:03 EST
Subject: Re: Freedom of Religious Expression

> From: <Dialectic@...> (Barry Freundel)

> Lemon is no longer applicable it was overturned by Smith versus Oregon. 
> Much if its protection was restored by the Religious Freedom Restoration 
> Act passed last year. The difference is that it is legilative not 
> constitutional protection a much lower Madreigah (level).

Not necessarily as a practical matter. The tradition of stare decicis 
(sp?)--let the old decision stand--is much stronger in halakhik 
tradition than it is in U.S. courts. A constitutional protection that 
is not explicit can be changed at the whim of a judge (or five on the 
Surpreme Court), as it was when Smith v. Oregon in effect overturned 
Kurtz. By contrast, unless a statute itself is found unconstitutional, 
its plain meaning is binding on all federal judges. 


From: <david@...> (David Charlap)
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 94 15:37:37 -0400
Subject: Hebrew alphabet/Hebrew Months 

<rya@...> (Rani Averick) writes:
>As I understand it, our current Hebrew alphabet is not the original
>one with which the world was created.  Yet there are many writings
>about the significance of the shape of each letter in the current
>alphabet, and the holiness of the alphabet.  How is it that the
>original alphabet was replaced, and why did the replacement take on
>such religious significance?

You're referring to the "k'tav ivri" vs. the "k'tav ashuri" that we
use now.

This was discussed once before.  If I remember correctly, the answer
is that both existed at one time.  The Torah and other religious works
used the "k'tav ashuri" that we use today.  Other texts, however, used
a far simpler (and not holy) alphabet - the "k'tav ivri".  In the time
of Ezra, I believe, the Jewish nation switched over to using "k'tav
ashuri" for all writing.

>Similarly, how is it that we adopted foreign names for the months of
>the year and lent them religious significance as well?

Religious significance to the month's names?  I haven't heard of that
before.  The Torah only refers to them as "first", "second", "third",
etc.  I thought it was well understood that the names we use today are
human inventions.


From: Marc Meisler <mmeisler@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 23:58:25 -0400
Subject: Lemon v. Kurtzman test

I must respond to Rabbi Freundel's comment on the fact that Lemon v.
Kurtz (sic) has been overruled by Smith.  First, the actual name of the
case is Lemon v. Kurtzman.  Second, it is still good law.  The Smith case
(which prohibited people from using peyote in a religious service) was
deciding the standard to apply to cases involving free exercise of
religion.  The Lemon case was to be applied to cases involving the
Establishment Clause (whether Congress can make a law establishing a

The Lemon test has been used haphazardly over the years but is still
good law.  It could be overturned at anytime as the Court is currently
deciding the Kiryas Yoel case and could release that opinion anytime
between this Friday and the end of the term (presumably either next
Monday or the following Monday).  The attorneys in the case argued it
based on the Lemon standard but the lawyers for Kiryas Joel also argued
(If I remember correctly) that this was an opportunity to finally
overrule Lemon.  In short, though, as of today, it is still good law.

Marc Meisler                   1001 Spring St., Apt. 423    
<mmeisler@...>           Silver Spring, MD  20910


From: Ezra Rosenfeld <zomet@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 16:51:43 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Pronunciation and ashke-sfard

Yaakov Ashkenazi (fictitious name) grew up in my community, the son of
French parents who speak hebrew and davin in sefaradit. Ten years ago
Yaakov graduated high school and went to learn in a well known yeshiva in
Jerusalem. After a while, Yaacov returned home for Shabbat was called 
to the Torah and  made the Berachot in Ashkenazit. When I asked him about 
it, he told me that it was the policy of his Yeshiva that one cannot be 
a chazzan or make Birkot HaTorah publicly in the yeshiva in sefaradit.
Does anyone know of other Piskei Halacha on this topic?



From: Marc Bookbinder <BOOKIE@...>
Date: Sun, 19 Jun 1994 06:38:02 -0400
Subject: Sefer Milchamos HaShem

This past week's parasha made reference to a "Sefer Milchamos HaShem"
(Chukas 21:14) and gave a nice sized quote from it.  I find it
unusual that the Torah would seemingly feel it necessary (or even
desirable) to give a reference to another sefer, yet 13 pasukim later
(21:27) it speaks about the "moshlim" (the "parable makers") as also
employing what would appear to be an  outside reference here as well.
I'm not familiar with any other area of Torah where something of this
nature occurs.  Perhaps you could help illuminate me. (I do know that
HaRav Dovid Pam Shlit"a (Son of HaRav Avrohom Pam Shlit"a) told me
that he believes the Maharal Diskin says it goes on Sefer Shmos.
Perhaps someone could better explain this to me as well.)

Marc Bookbinder.


From: Gedalyah Berger <gberger@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 1994 12:41:09 -0400
Subject: Shabbat and employers

Stephen Phillips wrote in #67:
> holidays and early Shabbosos. He asked my what I would do if a woman
> came in to the office just before Shabbos needing an urgent
> injunction to restrain her husband from beating her up. I replied
> that in this case my religion had to come first. His response was
> "Well you are honest; do you want the job?"

I'm a bit confused: since in this case, as in all cases, religion indeed
does come first, one must get the injunction to restrain the woman's
husband from beating her up.

Gedalyah Berger


From: Stephen Phillips <stephenp@...>
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 94 13:07 BST-1
Subject: Toveling of Bottles, Containers, etc.

What is the position regarding using bottles and other containers
that contained food or drink which is under a Hechsher and which are
now empty? Do they have to be Tovelled [dipped in a Mikveh] before

The case at hand is a bottle of Hadar grape juice from the States. Do
Hadar and other companies with a Hechsher Tovel their bottles, and if
not then presumably one would need to do so in order to re-use them?

Stephen Phillips


From: <Michael.Rosenberg@...> (Michael Rosenberg)
Date: Tue, 21 Jun 94 06:15:06 PDT
Subject: Yerushalmi Minhag

 U> From: <P.Mett@...> (Percy Mett)

Perets Mett writes:
 U> 7) Burial without a coffin was standard practice in Eastern Europe.
 U> Likewise saying kaddish at the graveside and making the shuroh (line of
 U> m'nakhamim) outside.

I am active with the Hevra Kaddisha here.  One of our members, a BT from
Yerushalayim was recently back home for a visit and attached himself to
a Hevra Kaddisha in Yerushalayim to learn.  The procedures for tahara he
came back with were different than anything I have read about or learned
about here.  For instance, they wash hands (as in the morning) and feet
(also, alternating r-l).  I would appreciate knowing if this is a
general minhag that I just don't know about (there are others I could
discuss via e-mail)?

Michael Rosenberg
uucp: uunet!m2xenix!dawggon!31.9!Michael.Rosenberg
Internet: <Michael.Rosenberg@...>


End of Volume 13 Issue 74