Volume 15 Number 6
                       Produced: Sun Aug 28 23:53:58 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Accepting Shabbat Early
         ["Ezra Dabbah"]
After- death experiences
         [Nadine Bonner]
Definition of "work" for Chol Hamoed
         [Jeff Mandin]
Dor Yeshorim and Gaucher's Disease (2)
         [Yosef Bechhofer, Warren Burstein]
Dor Yeshorim vs. US News &WR - Update
         [Yaakov Menken]
From the Mouths of Babes
         [Sam Juni]
New book Announcement
         [Steven Edell]
Tay Sachs Testing
         [David Steinberg]


From: "Ezra Dabbah" <ny001134@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 94 22:46:11 -0500
Subject: Accepting Shabbat Early

Several years ago, I prayed kabbalat shabbat and Arbeet\Ma'ariv at the
Kotel. The minyan I prayed with finished at 7 PM and the sun was still
out. Walking with my 3 little kids up the hills to the hotel was
a major task to say the least. Someone suggested that the followihg 
Friday night, I accept Shabbat at the conclusion of prayers 
and tell my wife not to accept Shabbat until sunset. This would enable 
my wife and 3 little kids to take a taxi to the hotel while I walk alone.

My questions are as follows:
1) Is this allowed?
2) If it is allowed, can I go in the taxi as well being that it
   would be like a shabbat elevator to me?
3) The streets of Jerusalem are a little scary (empty) late Friday.
   Does "sakant nefashot" play here?                        


From: <n.bonner@...> (Nadine Bonner)
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 23:15:17 -0400
Subject: After- death experiences

   My computer-phobic husband has been collecting literature on this
topic for years.  He finds it interesting that most near-death
experiences correspond to the patient's particular religious beliefs.
One of his favorite books was written by a cardiologist in Atlanta,
Dr. Michael Sabom, that features interviews with patients and tries a
scientific approach.  If you read the interviews, you see that
Christians usually see Yoshka or have a particularly Christian
experience.  He has been trying to find interviews with people of other
religions, i.e. Buddist, Islam, to see if there is a correlation.
  He does have a friend, a non-Jewish co-worker, who had two near-death
experiences during surgery.  One of those WAS a bad experience -- he
found himself in Gehenna (or the Christian equivilent).
  I don't have a mystical bent, so I don't follow this as closely as my
husband does.  But what fascinates him the most are not the actual death
experiences (the white light, the welcoming of long dead relatives), but
the fact that during the time these patients are technically dead, they
describe conversations that occurred in the hallways outside the
operating theater.  So something is happening that defies the ordinary
life experience.
 Nadine Bonner


From: Jeff Mandin <jeff@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 1994 12:59:44 -0400
Subject: Definition of "work" for Chol Hamoed

Moed Katan 2b says that it is "tircha" [burdensome labor] which is 
prohibited on Chol Hamoed.  The places that I looked (Rambam, Aruch 
Hashulchan) don't describe how to determine whether a particular 
act is "burdensome", but only discuss specific actions - just like 
the Mishnah.

What is the halachic definition of "work" for Chol Hamoed?  

Jeff Mandin


From: <YOSEF_BECHHOFER@...> (Yosef Bechhofer)
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 01:42:04 -0400
Subject: Dor Yeshorim and Gaucher's Disease

In response to my query about the extension of testing to Gaucher's
Disease, Freda Birnbaum rejects my concerns with issues that relate to
Tay Sachs Testing, which I DID NOT question.

My question is, again, about non life threatening diseases. And, yes,
generic testing does require permission of Halachic authorities. Some
day there may be genetic testing for conditions such as obesity! Do we
allow Dor Yeshorim to automatically test for that then as well.

In this season let us not forget who is ultimately charged with
deciding: "Who shall live and who shall die!"

From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 05:42:37 GMT
Subject: Re: Dor Yeshorim and Gaucher's Disease

Yosef Bechhofer writes:

>Like US News & World Report, I too am troubled by the extension of dor
>Yeshorim testing to the non-fatal (as I understand, Rabbi Adin
>Steinzaltz has this disease and has led quite a productive life)
>Gaucher's disease, and question the Bitachon issue here.

I am in the dark both about what Gaucher's disease consists of (as
well as the range of symptoms, is R. Steinzaltz a typical sufferer
from this condition?) as well as what the Bitachon issue is.

 |warren@         bein hashmashot, in which state are the survivors
/ nysernet.org    buried?


From: Yaakov Menken <ny000548@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Aug 1994 16:51:49 -0400
Subject: Dor Yeshorim vs. US News &WR - Update

This morning, I called Shannon Brownlee at the U.S. News, and this
afternoon I received a call in return - from their Deputy General
Counsel.  It would appear that they are _very_ concerned about this
issue; they get nasty letters and phone calls all the time without using
someone from the legal department to respond.  She (the Counsel)
explicitely mentioned not only my phone call, but the e-mail
correspondence sitting on her desk.  She had _read_ it, as well...  and
I doubt she would have without all the other (e-)letters that came in.

Their attitude at this point is _very_ apologetic - they're obviously
surprised by the intensity of the criticism and the volume of letters.
The counsel claims that Ms. Brownlee never intended to suggest that in
the Dor Yeshorim system, young carriers are instructed not to marry,
period.  Nonetheless, the Counsel did not try to refute my argument that
only this interpretation allows for the use of the term "eugenics" -
which describes an attempt to "purify" the gene pool.  Encouraging
carriers to marry non-carriers will actually _increase_ the number of
carriers in the next generation.

So, they are "looking into it," and expect someone in the editing dept.
to be back in contact next week (they just put out a double-issue, which 
is followed by a one-week vacation).

In the meantime, I spoke again with Rav Ekstein (the director of Dor 
Yeshorim - I'd never spoken to him before this week), who FAXed to me 
letters sent to USNWR by Agudath Israel and the Children's Hospital of 
Philadelphia, among others.  He asked me to release these, which I will 
do to soc.culture.jewish, and to anyone that requests them.  His own
letter is still in preparation - coming as it does from the director of 
the affected organization, his was not written on a Saturday night.

It is my _opinion_ that USNWR will probably end up printing a retraction,
because the responses are proving that this is in their best interests.
My thanks to all who wrote letters - and Rav Ekstein sends his as well.
Further correspondence encouraging a retraction would be beneficial -
again, please send me a CC, as Rav Ekstein _does_ want to know what kind
of responses we are getting!

All the best,

Yaakov Menken


From: Sam Juni <JUNI@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 1994 03:18:14 -0400
Subject: From the Mouths of Babes

   It is interesting to get to know your kids anew when they return from
Camp with fresh perspectives.  This time, I picked up some interesting
byproducts of socialization into a sense of "fair play" which seems to
have induced some conflicts.

   Exhibit 1: I was challenged this week by my 12 year old daughter
regarding Shmitas Kesofim (the abrogation of debts with the end of the
year).  She was wondering why I bothered doing a Pruzbul (a writ which
averts the abrogation), since the people who owed us money would never
take advantage of such a law, since it isn't "fair."  She had a hard
time seeing herself refusing to pay back a debt under such
circumstances.  I told her that if I owed the money, I would return it
under such circumstances, but state that I was in fact giving it not
under Hallachic obligation, but voluntarily. The question is interesting
because it points to an interpersonal issue of ethics which does not
seem congruent with Hallachic prescription.

Exhibit 2: My older daughter came home with a She-eila.  Her co-counselor
took away her new sneakers she had bought the day before as a prank, but
never managed to find them again.  The question was whether she could ask
her for the cost of the sneakers.  I wasnt sure about this, but I
felt that, Hallachically, one must estimate the value of an item by
its resale value; I doubt the market value for sneakers which were used
for a day is much.  Here, again, the "fairness" issue came up, because
the compensation would fall short of the money my daughter now has to
spend replacing them.

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


From: Steven Edell <edell@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Aug 1994 07:34:42 -0400
Subject: New book Announcement

I am honored to be able to inform you of a new book, THE COAT OF THE
UNICORN ("Kisui Or Tachash"), by Nathan Merel.  Among the approbations
in the book is this one, which serves as a good review:

(NOTE: All Hebrew phrases were translated or taken out & some formatting
was changed.  Any changes or mistakes in the text here are invariably
due to my copying error)

Rav Lord Immanuel Jacobovits SHLITA
Emeritus Chief Rabbi of United Kingdom

        This volume by my friend Nathan Merel is published as a touching
tribute to his recently deceased wife Gerdi.

        I have known her since our early pre-war years in London.  Then
and until her untimely passing she always exhibited an exceptional
combination of a deep love of Torah, a pious commitment to Jewish
Practice, and a beautiful yearning to serve others - which turned her
into such a widely respected personality.

        This book reflects some of her sparkling qualities, and it will
serve as an enduring monument to her creative life.

        The book itself mirrors these virtues.  The interpretations here
collected are replete with scholarship, charm and ingenuity.  The author
seeks to dip beneath the surface to discover meanings in Biblical and
especially Rabbinic texts which escape the cursory reader.  For those
with a refined taste for these partly mystical, occasionally esoteric
and sometimes homiletical forms of exegesis, every chapter will reveal
some engaging new insight or stimulating thought -- all reflecting the
wealth of our literary heritage and the endless treasures of thought to
be mined in it.

               (signed Immanuel Jacobovits; Rav Lord Jacobovits)

For an online excerpt of the book, or ordering information, you may 
contact me.

Steven Edell, Computer Manager   Internet: <edell@...>
United Israel Appeal, Inc        listowner <Culture@...>
(United Israel Office)    **ALL PERSONAL**          Voice:  972-2-255513
Jerusalem, Israel        **OPINIONS HERE!**         Fax  :  972-2-247261


From: David Steinberg <dave@...>
Date: Sat, 27 Aug 1994 20:38:50 +0100
Subject: Tay Sachs Testing

In a recent mj someone asked for the source that permits broad scale
testing for various diseases.  I believe the relevant source is Rav
Moshe ztz'l Iggros Moshe EH 4:10.  The teshuva addresses Tay Sachs
specifically.  The logic would seem to pertain to other screenable
ailments.  While you could differentiate Tay Sachs on the basis of
prevalence and fatality on the face thats less than convincing.  As
always CYLOR.

 I also seem to remember that other gedolim were involved in
establishing / advancing the testing protocol and urging their adherents
to register.

BTW - While on the subject of testing - am I alone in feeling that the
Testing / Grade curve controversy has run its course as far as jewish
content goes.

[No, I feel the same way. As I mentioned to someone over Shabbat, there
will probably be one more issue with postings on that subject, but
anything beyond that will have to show me why it is Jewish
related. Mod.]

Ksiva V'Chasima Tova

Dave Steinberg 


End of Volume 15 Issue 6