Volume 17 Number 33
                       Produced: Sun Dec 18 12:17:58 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Administrivia - New mail-jewish list
         [Avi Feldblum]
New List - Rabbinics
         [Avi Feldblum]
The Future of Mail-Jewish (2)
         [Francine S. Glazer, Akiva Miller]


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Dec 1994 12:17:24 -0500
Subject: Administrivia

There have been a several more comments about the future of mail-jewish
that have come in, as well as several comments I have received verbally
from mail-jewish members that I see in person. Most of these comments I
am reading and saving in a file which I can upload later on for people
who are interested. A few, which explicitly stated that they were for
posting, I have posted here.

What I would like to do over this two week period is come up with a few
possible scenarios for how we will proceed and then put that up to the
list for a vote. Because of the fact that I suspect that many people
will be on vacation between now and the end of the month, I will
probably not have the actual vote take place until early January. That
will give me time to work with any people who submit proposals to get
things tightened up and present some limited number of ideas to the
readership as a whole. 

I think that if we use this in a productive manner we will end up with a
list that is even better than what we have now, which I think is already
pretty good.



From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Dec 1994 11:30:07 -0500
Subject: Administrivia - New mail-jewish list

As part of the current activites rethinking the roles and format for
mail-jewish, and based on some ideas I have had for a while but was not
ready at the time to implement, I am starting up the following new list:


mj-chaburah is proposed as an electronic analogue of a chaburah in the
traditional Yeshiva world. The basic idea is as follows:

1) Some member of the list proposes a topic for a chaburah. Once
accepted and scheduled, this will be posted to mail-jewish and to

2) One week before the start of the chaburah the proposer makes
available a list of maarei memokomot. This will also be posted to both
mail-jewish and to mj-chaburah.

3) The chaburah begins with a (probably) lengthy post by the proposer on
the topic, based on the maarei memokomot given. This and all following
discussions will be ONLY on mj-chaburah.

4) This is followed by a two week discussion on the topic, by the
members of the group. It is expected that such discussion will be
primarily text/source oriented.

5) At the end of the two week period, the discussion on this topic will
be closed, all the shakla vetaria (discussion) will be collected into a
single named archive file, and the name and location of the file will be
posted back to mail-jewish.

I expect some of the details above to change as we get this started and
see what works. The proposer may be set up as a short-time moderator of
the list during the period of his/her topic. The rules of translation of
all hebrew transliteration to english will probably not be required. I
would really like to allow mixed real Hebrew and English if we
can. Maybe some of the Israeli members of the list, or others who have
dealt with this can give some suggestions. The requirement must be it be
doable in software, and it be usable by anyone with a PC or Xterm at
least. What fraction of the list will that cover? This would not be at
first, but I just have a real problem with serious learning in

OK, so here is what I'm doing now. I'm creating the list mj-chaburah. To
join, please send the message:

sub mj-chaburah <your real name here>

to: <listproc@...>

I expect the first month of this lists existance will start with a
discussion of my proposed rules and methods above, as well as proposed
topics. I'd like to be able to start the first Chaburah by mid-Jan.
The second topic that I'd like to discuss during the first month is the
possibility and/or feasability of running this with real Hebrew.

I think that this list will be a nice addition to the existing
mail-jewish list. NOTE: unlike the Kosher and Travel section of
mail-jewish, this is a fully different list and you need to subscribe to
it separately. It is linked into mail-jewish by having the topic and
maarei-mekomot posted there. 

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator
<mljewish@...> or feldblum@cnj.digex.net


From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Dec 1994 11:44:32 -0500
Subject: New List - Rabbinics

Shamash is pleased to announce the creation of a new list aimed at the
Orthodox Rabbinic community. This list is created under the auspices of
the OLC - the Orthodox Leadership Council.

The purpose of this list is to allow a place for practicing Rabbis to
discuss issues of interest to them, including but not limited to
congregational relations, counseling, outreach, fundraising, sermons,

The list is a closed list, i.e. you must request from the listowner to
be added to the list. The list will be limited to people who are
Rabbis. At the present time, I will act as listowner until an OLC intern
or possible some Rabbi is identified. If you would like to join, please
fill out the following form and mail it to:


Email Address:
Name of Congragation:
Address of Congregation:

Name of person or institution from whom/where Semicha was granted:
Date Semicha was granted:

Thanks in advance and we hope that this list will develop into an
important medium of continued learning and growth for the Rabbinic

Avi Feldblum
Shamash Facilitator
<mljewish@...> or feldblum@cnj.digex.net


From: <fglazer@...> (Francine S. Glazer)
Date: Thu, 15 Dec 94 18:26:34 EST
Subject: Re:  The Future of Mail-Jewish

Shaul summarized the data in the file of responses that Avi uploaded to
nysernet.  The statistics were quite interesting: I would like to
respond to some of Shaul's conclusions/suggestions.

I was quite surprised by Shaul's analysis of his own posting frequency
(as analyzed by number of postings/day and number of lines/day).  He
describes himself as an "admittedly overactive subscriber" -- while I do
not wish to dispute his claim (!), I was surprised to see that Shaul's
"posting frequency" fell well within Avi's proposed limits.  It seems
clear, then, that the proposed limits are not what anyone would describe
as "too restrictive."  I would say, though, that the 4 issues/day are
not a target, but an upper limit.  My admittedly
non-scientifically-analyzed perception is that there have been many days
when that limit is reached.  Knowing cognitively that the average number
of issues/day is far less than 4 really doesn't help prevent me from
feeling overwhelmed when I log in on Friday to download my Shabbos
reading, and the mail queue spools off the screen!

Therefore, if we are not currently reaching Avi'e established upper
limits, I would say that the limits are plenty generous.  Shaul mentions
that few people protested the current volume: I would venture to guess
that that's because the people who can't handle the volume either don't
read most issues and perhaps missed the initiation of this discussion,
or have already unsubscribed from the group.

I completely disagree with Shaul's "inescapable conclusion", that "the
problem is neither the volume, nor the long postings or overactive
submitters, but simply Avi's lack of help and his inability to keep
things rolling alone."  I do agree that issues grouped by subject make
selective reading much easier.  However, even though upper limits on
posting lengths and frequencies have not been reached, I do think that
prolific individuals can dominate a discussion to the overwhelming of
everything else.  (which is not at all to say that those contributions
are not valuable and thought-provoking!  -- they often ARE.  I'm simply
saying that brevity is sometimes as much appreciated as a well-developed

Fran Glazer

From: <Keeves@...> (Akiva Miller)
Date: Sun, 18 Dec 1994 09:43:03 -0500
Subject: The Future of Mail-Jewish

Seeing Shaul Wallach's statistics in MJ 17:24 has prompted me to put in
my two cents worth. since joining the list about three months ago, I
have really enjoyed both reading it and posting to it. It is very much
like a radio call-in show where I can actually get through the phone
lines, and my opinions actually get on the airwaves. It's like agreeing
or disagreeing with Dear Abby, and my response actually gets
printed. It's a way to work towards my 15 minutes of fame, and to do it
in a Torah atmosphere. What more could we ask? I offer my ideas to the
public, who can support me or correct me, and I a better person for it.

I did not bother to verify Shaul's statistics; I'll take his word for it
that November averaged 2.9 digests and 950 lines per day, and that for
December it was 1.7 digests and 569 lines. What I disagree with was his
conclusion that since this is less than Avi's "goal" of 4 digests and
1000 lines, the only problem is that Avi needs help. My opinion is that
the 4/1000 "goal" is way too high.

I, for one, find it hard to find the time to keep up with all these
digests.  For the first few weeks that I subscribed, I was actually
printing them out on paper to read and study them over Shabbos. I
quickly realized how unrealistic that is, but I would really like to
spend more time on each post than I can at the present, and I am one of
those who support some kind of cutback.

But how to do this fairly? I have posted about a dozen times in these 3
months, and a couple were on the long side. I guess that's why I support
the idea of giving each poster a maximum total lines per week or per
month.  Several people have been using this mailing list as an
alternative to writing books, as a way of publishing their ideas. Their
posts have been frequent and long. I am starting to ramble, but I guess
my point is that I am also something of a frustrated author, and I am
very sympathethic to them. But the friend who introduced me to
mail-jewish has recently cancelled her subscription due to the length of
some of these monologues, and I really can't blame her.

Avi's idea was to immediately publish anything under 100 lines, put
posts 100-200 on a queue, and make the 200+ line posts available only by
special request or on another list. I reject this on several grounds:
First, having three groups is too complicated for our already
overburdened moderator.  Second, there is a timeliness which is lost
when posts get sent to the back of the queue. Third, is it so terrible
if *on*an*occasional*basis* an individual has an idea which takes 300
lines to explain? Fourth, speaking for myself, my posts have a different
number of lines when I write them and when they get published, and that
makes it difficult to budget my words properly.  (This was line 38 on my
screen as I write this.) [It is about line 45 now. Mod.]

So I suggest putting a maximum limit on lines per week or per month for
each poster. I don't think this will be a burden on our moderator, since
the vast majority of posters do so quite rarely. The ones who post
frequent long articles are few enough that he can keep a list of them
with pencil and paper. And when they get close to their limit, he can
warn them. Those posters then have the option of waiting till next
week/month, or shortening their articles, perhaps simply writing an
extract, including something to the effect of "send me email personally
if you want the long version".

I am deliberately leaving out a specific number of lines for the limit,
because I really don't count lines as I read, so I don't know how long a
200-line post really is. How about this idea: Go through the last 3
months or so, find the three posters who sent the most stuff, and count
their lines, and set the max at about 50-60% of what they submitted?

Akiva Miller


End of Volume 17 Issue 33