Volume 17 Number 9
                       Produced: Mon Dec  5 23:08:39 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Josh Backon]
Army and Sherut Leumi
         [Jeffrey Woolf]
Carrying Guns on Shabbat
         [Chaim Turkel]
         [Anthony Fiorino]
Jonathan Katz's second conversion question
         [Steve Albert]
Sherut Leumi
         [Eli Turkel]


From: <BACKON@...> (Josh Backon)
Date: Mon,  5 Dec 94 19:42 +0200
Subject: RE: Army

Zvi Weiss mentioned that the IDF tries pretty hard to insure some level
of kashrut. Just last week there was a big scandal in one army base. Erev
Shabbat (about 30 minutes after candle lighting) someone walks into the
kitchen and sees the (new) cook frying the chickens ! The Rav Tzvai had done
his weekly disappearing act and naturally the mashgiach was nowhere to be
seen. A secular officer ordered the cook to *throw out* all the food he had
cooked on shabbat. The people on base ate cheese and challah all shabbat.
Where else in the world can you get court martialed for cooking on shabbat
or smoking in the dining room on shabbat ?



From: Jeffrey Woolf <F12043@...>
Date: Mon, 05 Dec 94 18:59:28 IST
Subject: Re: Army and Sherut Leumi

Kol Hakavod to Mechy Frankel on his defense of Sherut Leumi. When oh
when will people stop attacking those of us who believe in defending the
entire Jewish People spiritually and physically?  If they are not going
to serve, to help to show any kind of solidarity with the rest of
us..Please! At least don't add insult to injury and attack us...

Jeffrey Woolf


From: <turkel@...> (Chaim Turkel)
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 94 14:47:35 +0200
Subject: Carrying Guns on Shabbat

[       Because of claims that living in Bnei Brak is as dangerous as
serving in the army I am copying a note written by my son (a graduate
of the hesder yeshiva in Shaalavim). - Eli Turkel]

	To start with we must differentiate between types of dangers.
True in Beni Brak there is a greater chance of being in a car accident
then in Lebanon. When we are talking about danger in a military sense,
we must look at what the authorities say. The law in the army is: within
the green line, a soldier is not allowed to put a clip in his gun.
Beyond the Green line, a soldier is required to put a clip in his gun,
but there are laws before shooting. In Lebanon not only is a soldier
required to put a clip in his gun, but there is a bullet in the chamber,
and the law is - anything that moves is shot at.

	Like it are not, there is a war going on in Lebanon. True it is
dangerous in Israel from terrorists, and there are some aspects that are
harder that Lebanon, since the enemy is not known. But in Lebanon all
cars are bullet proof. I don't know if you were in the army in a combat
unit or not, But anybody who has been through the army, knows very well
how dangerous it is to patrol in Lebanon not knowing what ambush lies

	The Halacha is given according to the dangers. Within the green
line, as far as I know a private person is not allowed to carry a
gun. Yes, the Mishmar Ezrachi (civilian patrols) is allowed, so is the
police - since they are in charge of security. Over the green line a
private person is allowed to carry a gun - I am being general, it is not
according to the line, but to the place were yeshuv is. The rabbis
paskened that a soldier that is in the army is allowed to do anything
that has to do with security.  That means that a soldier DRIVES a jeep
on shabbat, he uses COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT on shabbat - he turns on and
off spot lights to see might be moving, anything that is necessary for
security. Again some of these may be allowed for one living in Gush
katif or Chevron but not Bnei Brak.

	I am very sorry that you do not feel for the soldiers in
Lebanon, since only thanks to them can we SAFELY be here in Israel.

Chaim Turkel


From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 1994 13:17:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject: conversion

Jonathan Katz asks:
> What do you tell a non-Jewish person who wishes to convert to Reform or
> Conservative Judaism?

And comments:
> On the one hand, you can say that perhaps by converting they will eventually
> reach the point where they will become more observant, and thus they should
> be encouraged. Furthermore, even consider it from a logical point of view:
> even if they were to convert to Orthodoxy, they will not be perfect, and
> will commit some sins, so what real difference is there if they convert to
> non-Orthodoxy and commit some sins?
> Of course, looking at it from any other perspective, one's first thought
> is to discourage it - it is better from a halachik standpoint to be a 
> righteous gentile than to convert and then violate the Shabbat.

His assumption here is that someone who undergoes a Reform or Conservative
conversion is in fact a Jew and would therefore violate the sabbath. 
However, this is an incorrect assumption.  Non-Orthodox conversions are
considered invalid and therefore the Reform or Conservative "convert" can
not possibly violate halachah by working on shabbat.  In fact, one would
be more concerned that a gentile might believe him or herself to be Jewish
and go about properly observing shabbat, which is assur for non-Jews.

As far as non-orthodox conversions go, Rav Moshe has a famous teshuva in
which he declares them invalid because they were not performed in the
presence of a valid beit din and because of improper kabalat hamitzvot
[acceptance of the mitzvot].

Jonathan also asks about the issue of a convert who insists that he or she
will not perform a particular act after converting.  The refusal to accept
even one minor mitzvah invalidates a conversion.  The issue becomes
determination of such refusal (ie, is the person stating something because
he or she does not understand the halachah or rather because they are truly
refusing to be be m'kabel).  Secondarily, the issue is, is such a
statement truly an anti-halachic statement?  In Jonathan's hypothetical,
the convert-to-be stated that she would not cover her hair when married. 
Now one can find (admittedly obscure) teshuvot that state that married
women are not required to cover their hair (see the exchange of articles
between m-j-ers M. Broyde and M. Shapiro in _Judaism_ a few years back). 
One could perhaps argue that in this case, since there are minority
opinions permitting the behavior in question, that the statement is not
fundamentally "anti-halachic."  On the other hand, such a statement may
reflect a generally negative attitude toward halachah on the part of the
potential convert.  This type of matter would (presumably, hopefully) be
addressed by the beit din during the education process of the
convert-to-be, and at the time of conversion, when the beit din questions
the convert-to-be regarding his or her attitudes toward Judaism.

Several articles of interest that appeared in _Tradition_ were collected
and published as _The Conversion Crisis_ edited by E. Feldman and J.
Wolewolsky (Hoboken, NJ: Ktav Publishers), I believe the year was 1991. 
See also an article on conversion in the RJJ Journal as well as _Becoming
a Jew_ by M. Lamm.  See also the extensive discussions which are archived on
mail-jewish from about 2 years ago.

Eitan Fiorino


From: <SAlbert@...> (Steve Albert)
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 1994 12:40:18 -0500
Subject: Re: Jonathan Katz's second conversion question

Jonathan Katz writes:
>What do you tell a non-Jewish person who wishes to convert to 
>Reform or Conservative Judaism?
>On the one hand, you can say that perhaps by converting they will eventually
>reach the point where they will become more observant, and thus they should
>be encouraged.

    Here's my understanding: Halachically, a non-Jew can't "convert to
Reform or Conservative Judaism"; conversion is a halachic process, with
certain requirements, including a proper bais din and acceptance of the
commandments, neither of which would be present in the posited scenario.
A non-Jew who goes through such a ceremony then *thinks* he's Jewish,
and many Jews will think the same thing; the likely outcome is more
intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews (who think they're Jewish), more
non-Jewish "Jews", greater "who is a Jew?" problems, etc.
    The idea that they might later become more observant doesn't affect
the case; they're then non-Jews who are more observant of Jewish law.
If anything, it makes it more likely that they'll be fully accepted as
Jewish and intermarry.  (There *are* cases where such a person later
seeks a halachic conversion, and I know such people; however, I think
they're rare, especially because the communities they join neither
practice nor preach adherence to halacha, etc.  We shouldn't encourage
lots of trouble for ourselves, for the sake of the occasional rare
person who benefits.)

> Furthermore, even consider it from a logical point of view:
>even if they were to convert to Orthodoxy, they will not be perfect, and
>will commit some sins, so what real difference is there if they convert to
>non-Orthodoxy and commit some sins?
>Of course, looking at it from any other perspective, one's first thought
>is to discourage it - it is better from a halachik standpoint to be a 
>righteous gentile than to convert and then violate the Shabbat.

    If they "convert to Orthodoxy", i.e. halachically, they will be Jewish.
Like the rest of us, they won't be perfect.  But they'll be Jews, like us,
doing their best to live Jewish lives; not non-Jews mistakenly believing
they're Jewish. If they have a non-halachic ceremony, they won't be sinning
Jews, but non-Jews (who may or may not be sinning).  The big problem I see is
with creating non-Jews who claim (sincerely) that they're Jewish, and the
problems that creates for the Jewish community.
   There's no obligation to encourage someone to become Jewish.  Kal
v'chomer, we shouldn't encourage someone to do something which will make him
claim he's Jewish when, halachically, he isn't.
    There's also no religious "benefit" to the non-Jew in a non-halachic
conversion; they remain non-Jews.  Better to tell them they have a choice:
be righteous gentiles (Bnai Noach), which is all that Judaism teaches them
they have to do; or embrace Judaism fully, if they're prepared to do that,
and convert according to halacha.  (Many Bnai Noach, by the way, study
Judaism seriously, take classes, have rabbis they consult, etc.; they're not
cut off from Judaism.)  This needs to be done with great sensitivity to the
person's feelings, so that they don't feel they're being rejected or looked
down on.  Usually they don't realize what's involved in conversion, that only
halachic conversions are universally accepted (Conservative won't necessarily
accept Reform, for example), and that Judaism, unlike Christianity, doesn't
teach that they have to convert to be "saved."  Putting the emphasis on
teaching will make it clearer that *they* are not being rejected, but rather
are getting honest advice from a friend.
     For me, it's a clear issue:  non-halachic conversions are to be
discouraged, but the non-Jew thinking of converting is to be treated with all
the respect and sensitivity we can show.  He's recognizing the truth and
beauty of Judaism (even if he's only been exposed to a small part of it), and
for us to treat him badly would be a chillul hashem; but to encourage him to
"convert" without accepting halacha, would be to commit fraud.  It's a tough
balancing act, but one I think we have to undertake.
    Regarding Jonathan's other question, what do we do with someone who wants
to convert but says "I won't cover my hair" or says he'll reject some other
Jewish practice, I leave that to those more learned in hilchos gerus!

Steve Albert


From: <turkel@...> (Eli Turkel)
Date: Mon, 5 Dec 94 14:23:21 +0200
Subject: Sherut Leumi

     Yaakov Menken writes:

>> The problem with Sherut Leumi is that a girl cannot abandon her post the
>> first time a man makes a pass at her.

    For those not familar, the Israeli army army offers 3 alternatives
for girls
1.  Army service - shorter than for men. It rarely is combat usually
    office work or teachers or other non-combat duty.

2.  Religious girls can refuse to serve in the army at all. If they wish
    there is an alternative work service called "sherut Leumi". This
    involves working (usually in groups) in hospitals, other institutions,
    development towns, etc. These places must get permission to become
    involved with Sherut Leumi girls.

3.  Religious girls can refuse to do any voluntary service at all.

    The statement of Yaakov is simply not true. My eldest daughter
served in Shaarei Zedek hospital and received no sexual advances. My
daughter-in-law worked in a school and likewise had absolutely no
problems.  These places are chosen specialy for these girls. I would
guess there are more sexual problems for a girl working in downtown New
York than in Sherut Leumi in Israel. As for quitting it is just as easy
as quiting any other job.  Sherut Leumi is voluntary and can be left
when one wishes. In fact in some places if a girl marries in the middle
of the year she is required to leave sherut leumi. I personally know of
many members of this list whose daughters worked very hard in sherut
Leumi offering a service to the country rather than sitting home or
working at a job like others do.  I was personally very offended by
Menken's remarks and insuations.  I am not sure why everytime he
disagrees with an opinion he must insult someone or else imply that
other opinions don't belong on this list.

     Since sherut leumi is completely voluntary there would be no
difficulty in charedi institutions establishing their own. So I just
don't buy these excuses.

    Also I know of plenty of girls that went to the army and I trust
were virgins when they left. As to the girls that Yaakov saw on the
beach I assume they were irreligious girls who used sherut leumi as a
way of avoiding army service. It is a well known problem that
non-religious girls obtain rabbis recommendations that they are
religious. Would Yaakov had preferred that they claim to be charedi and
not do any public service?



End of Volume 17 Issue 9