Volume 14 Number 92
                       Produced: Mon Aug 22 17:53:27 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Anecdotal Data re Afterlife
         [Michael Chaim Katzenelson]
Attending college in mail.jewish Vol. 14 #84
         [Sam Saal]
Colleges and Universities
         [Jonathan Katz]
Fair Testing
         [Sam Juni]
Poskim Disagreeing
         [Barry Freundel]
Yeshiva, careers, etc
         [Steve Roth]
YU Environment (2)
         [Joseph Steinberg, Michael Broyde]


From: nelson%<bnlmcn.dnet@...> (Michael Chaim Katzenelson)
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 94 14:19:59 -0400
Subject: Re: Anecdotal Data re Afterlife

 Dr. Juni in v.14, n.77, raises an objection to ancedotal reports of
 after-life and near-death experiences.  Dr. Juni's objection in essence
 is that reporting is selective since negative reports are generally not
 newsworthy.  Thus there are a lot of positive anecdotes compared to the
 number of negative anecdotes.

 The other side from Dr. Juni's argument is perhaps that only one solid
 verified event is all one needs.  After all, how many times did we stand
 at Har Sinai?  That we find people nowadays who think that they are
 prophets or even Moshe Rabenu, does not invite us to view with sceptism
 the existence of G-d and prophesy (hv''s).

 Michael Chaim Katzenelson


From: Sam Saal <SSAAL@...>
Date: Fri, 19 Aug 94 09:57:00 PDT
Subject: Re: Attending college in mail.jewish Vol. 14 #84

Bruce Krulwich says:

>I think it's VERY wrong to underestimate the pressures that a college
>atmosphere puts on kids.  It's completely separate from the secular
>world in general, and it's not an intellectual issue.

While this is true, I'd like to point out the other side of the coin. What 
about the secular Jews who come to these universities (they have no reason 
not to) and see the positive role models of the Frum Jews also attending?

>Now, this says nothing about attending college at night, or attending
>commuter schools, both of which are in practice done by Yeshiva kids who
>are interested in professions that require it.  And, while I'm on the
>subject, the fact is that the Rabbaim of their Yeshivas (at least in
>America) support them, albeit only after the decision has been made, and
>keep them as part of the Yeshiva communities.  As much as they do
>discourage it, in practice it does happen and they are quite supportive
>of the kids involved.

If all Frum Jews did this, how much poorer would the environment be for 
outreach? Hillel and Chabad organizations are great, but they can't do 
everything. They provide guidance and facilities, but generally are not 
_peer_ based role models. That's where the attendance by Frum Jews can be 
important.  In addition, students are generally aware of problems on campus 
faster than the official Jewish organizations are. Some Jewish organizations 
must be circumspect in their warnings about potential problem groups while 
students can "get away" with more vocal warnings. For example, if a 
missionary group bases itself in a legitimate Christian student 
organization, mainstream Jewish organizations will be more hesitant to 
condemn it or to warn students. A committed Jewish-student population can 
more actively oppose it while referring potential victims to appropriate 
resources (including the mainstream Jewish organizations).

While there is a risk  of Orthodox Jews losing their connection to Judaism, 
there is also an opportunity. These must be balanced. I'm not saying 
everyone should go to university, but I am equally uncomfortable with the 
other end of the spectrum.

Sam Saal
Vayphtach HaShem et Peah HaAtone


From: Jonathan Katz <frisch1@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 1994 15:04:12 EDT
Subject: Colleges and Universities

I don't know quite how to put this, and I am almost afraid that by
saying this I will be opening a whole other can of worms, but here goes:

David Rier writes:
"I could write a LONG list of people who left Columbia...less or

Everyone seems to be starting with the assumption that it's somehow a good
idea to stop (whether by limiting options etc.) people from leaving the 
orthodox Jewish community. However, what if the issue is simply not this
black and white.

Though I (and presumably most others on this list) feel that the orthodox
lifestyle is the correct one, and though I *want* more Jews to be orthodox,
I *don't* believe that the correct answer is to force people to be

Say a boy learns in Yeshiva for 12 years, having never had any exposure to 
any other "lifestyle" (for lack of a better word at the moment) option.
Then, he goes to a college, and realizes that the orthodox lifestyle
is NOT FOR HIM. Maybe he leans toward conservative Judaism, or maybe
(chas v'shalom) he strays from Judaism altogether. However, at some level
it must be his choice to make.

Is it really a better solution for him to continue "with blinders on" in
the path he has been on all his life? What if he doesn't really believe
in what he has been learning (this can develop into a whole other
thread) because he's never been confronted with anything else!
It's very easy to "believe: in God when no one has ever suggested
otherwise; belief in God means much more to me when it's evidenced by
someone who HAS been challenged, and has resisted the challenge.

Please, don't start flaming me...just respond to what I have written.

Jonathan Katz
410 Memorial Drive, Room 251B
Cambridge, MA 02139


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Aug 1994 14:32:25 -0400
Subject: Fair Testing

The discussion of cheating on curved tests has listed into the area of
fair testing practices. Examples:

   Jules Reichel (14/75) sees a test distribution in the 40 to 60 range
as indicative of poor teaching.

   Aryeh Blaut (14/75) posits that the only fair grading is where a
is compared to him/herself.

    Michel Berger (14/78) believes that if good students do poorly on a
test, it implies that the test is poorly written.

    Ellen Golden (14/78) presents a scenario where she "pulled a test out
of balance" by scoring significantly above the curve.

    I see several issues here. Let me point at those which I feel
comfortable with.

    We can divide disciplines into a) those where absolute mastery is
essential, and where a cutoff percent of knowledge is unacceptable.
b) those where relative competence is acceptable.

   If one can point to a discipline where "a" applies, the entire idea
of passing anyone with less than total competence is absurd.  This
leaves us the "b" category.

   Assuming that we are sampling, rather than testing all the facts in
an exam, it is up to the judgement of the examiner which materials to
include and how difficult to make the material.  One can engineer a test
so that any particular student get a 100, 50, or 20, using these
parameters.  Merely looking at raw numbers and concluding teacher
competence, fairness to students, or test-writing ability of the
examiner does not seem warranted.

   The notion of grading a student compared to their own previous
performance is useful in tracking student progress.  I can't see how
this would be useful in an academic grading scheme.

     Dr. Sam Juni                  Fax (212) 995-3474
     New York University           Tel (212) 998-5548
     400 East
     New York, N.Y.  10003


From: <Dialectic@...> (Barry Freundel)
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 02:20:38 -0400
Subject: Re: Poskim Disagreeing

In a recent mj the following appears:

Who gave Rav Chaim Naeh the right to disagree with Chazon Ish about the
size of shiurim?" . If Chazon Ish says something then one has a right to
disagree only by bringing other achronim that disagree, For the record
such an opinion flies in the face of Igros Moshe Yoreh Deah 3:88 which
calls such argumentation the greatest kavod possible for the chazon Ish

On the lower quality of Gedolim i would add the fact that the holocaust
has had its effect as the leading scholars in their 60s and 70s who
would normally take over for the generation that has just left do not
exist in the numbers that would have been here had there been no
Holocaust both in terms of those killed and those who could not sit in
Yeshiva and study during their most important formative years


From: <rot8@...> (Steve Roth)
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 11:37:24 -0400
Subject: Yeshiva, careers, etc

Chaim Twerski makes an interesting point about Lavan and Yaakov and
business. Nevertheless, I disagree that everyone should try to go into
business for several reasons. First, not everyone has the aptitude,
interest, ability, or the start up capital to accomplish this. Many
businesses fail.  What happened to the gemora that one should seek out an
umnas kala u'nikia (an easy and clean living)? Business is not the only way
to do this (and some might argue it fits neither descriptor in today's
world!). What about the need to teach one's son how to earn a living? Also,
for long term hapiness and satisfaction, a person simply must do that which
he enjoys the most.

Rabbi Twerski is, I think, speaking from his viewpoint as a member of the
presidium of the largest day school in Chicago (Bais Yaakov), where I also
send my children. With 80-85% of the students on scholarship, and a growing
deficit, it is vital that some large source of continued support be
available. (This situation is not just confined to our school.) Yes,
support of the school generally must come from the parents unless the
school is fortunate enough to have some very wealthy benefactor(s). I don't
know the exact figures, but let's assume only about 5% of the parent body
generates three figure incomes or greater (this may be an overestimate, and
even if not, with 5-6 or more children in the school, low three figure
incomes may not go far anyway).  Now the remaining parent body generates
lower incomes and must end up on scholarship. Instead of going into
business, what would happen if the parents of let's say another 100
children were in professions or other jobs earning incomes exceeding 100K?
If all 100 could pay full tuition, that's another 500K coming into the
school. This is probably not a totally realistic assumption, but the point
is that if parents entered careers that generated high incomes, the schools
would be much better off (although granted, not the ultimate solution). In
my opinion, since business is not the answer for everyone, the best
alternative is to seek careers that pay as much as possible (consistent of
course with all the halachic requirements) to support our families and
schools. If everyone attempted to go into business and had no other
training, when these businesses failed, we would have an overwhelming
parent body ending up on scholarship. IMO, this is a prescription for

Steve Roth, MD
Anes and Critical Care
Univ Chicago


From: Joseph Steinberg <steinber@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 10:06:32 -0400
Subject: YU Environment

 (I do not mean to say that these things _never_ happen elsewhere, 
 but YU has a college campus - things are done in the open with no fear of
 discipline. Not true in "yeshiva")

Hold on a second -- this is not 100% true. Anyone caught being M'chalel
Shabbat in a YU Dorm is OUT... anyone caught even using a TV on Shabbat on
a 'Shabbat-Clock' in a YU dorm is OUT. Some things are done more openly --
and some not. Anyone who attends YU realizes that not everyone in the
college is religious. But, acts of blatant averot are controlled in the
dorms. (Obviously in outside apartments nothing can be controlled -- not
in YU and not in any other Yeshiva). 

Interestingly, some things are done a lot less openly at YU -- noone would
ever consider smoking in a YU Beit Midrash or shiur room... I cannot say
that the same is true in many other Yeshivot... 


From: Michael Broyde <RELMB@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Aug 1994 11:37:31 -0400
Subject: YU Environment

One of the writers commented on the environment at Yeshiva University.
In my years there, I never saw conter-halachic behavior there, although,
to be honest, I am sure that it occured -- as it does in all yeshivot.
I am, to be honest, in agreement with the writer who suggested that YU
is not a place for recent Balai teshuva.  Yeshiva University by its
deffinition involves a certain intuitive balance of torah and mada that
comes from a long association with torah (and mada).  I doubt that a
person who is only recently accepted the yoke of commandments has that
balance, and can function well in such a place without be overwhelmed by
all the secular persuits, which are by no means counter-halachic, but
simply have a place. This type of balance cannot be accepted by all.  I
would remark that the same thing is true for torah im derch eretz
yeshivot, as well as numerious other yeshivot that have dual aims, other
than torah umada.


End of Volume 14 Issue 92