Volume 18 Number 28
                       Produced: Thu Feb  2 22:41:48 1995

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Community Computer Networks
         [Claude Schochet]
Freedom riders
         [Joshua W. Burton]
If I am only for myself, what am I?
         ["Richard Schwartz"]
Loving Torah
         [Moshe Waldoks]
         [Shimon Schwartz]
Turning out the lights
         [Joshua W. Burton]
YU Controversy and Lashon Hara
         [Elie Rosenfeld]


From: <claude@...> (Claude Schochet)
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 1995 14:17:08 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Community Computer Networks

Our local (Detroit) Jewish Community Council has asked for 
advice re setting up a computer network. Initially they have
three goals in mind:
a) Making it possible for Jewish youth from all over the Metro
area to communicate (via email or possibly chat)
b) Community Calendar and related Jewish topics to be circulated
c) Making it possible for local Jewish teachers and 
other professionals (eg employees of Jewish agencies) to access
the specifically Jewish parts of the internet (eg Mail Jewish).

Later on they would like the network (suitably expanded) to serve the
general Jewish community in Detroit etc.

Assuming they want a stand-alone system (not just a corner of usenet,
compuserve, etc), does anyone know of another community that has tried
this? Does anyone have (informed) advice re hardware and software?

Thank you. 


From: <burton@...> (Joshua W. Burton)
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 95 16:22:22 -0500
Subject: Freedom riders

Bob Werman recalls `two or three' (!) Jews who risked their lives in 
the civil rights struggle of the early '60s.  I am sure that there are 
at least a couple of mail.jewish readers who spent the summer of '64 on
the front lines with my parents (z"l) and much of our congregation,
and also a few academics who can document the major role Jews played
in the founding of the NAACP.  So instead of belaboring a point that
others can make much better than I, I'd like to mention a less public
kiddush ha-Shem---a tale I hope to pass down for many generations.

My paternal grandmother, Lillian Krieger Burton z"l, was arrested for
deliberately riding in the back of Miami's city buses at least eight
times during the period 1921-26, when she first lived in that city.
Nobody reported stories like that in the news then; nobody wrote 
letters to the governor, or marched on Washington, or even came down
to post bail for a young Jewish high-school teacher with an attitude.
Her principal, though liberal in his own attitudes, wouldn't lift a
finger in her support against an angry PTA and a redneck school board.
Maybe the fight wasn't even worth fighting, in that year, in that
town.  But Grandma thought otherwise.

And maybe it's all the fault of the black community that they seem to
hate us so much today.  But it's our fault if we let the world forget
that "kike nigger-lover" was the standard Southern epithet against us
in the first century after Emancipation.  It was a label to be proud of.

`U-kra'tem dror ba'aretz |=====================================================
l'kol yoshveha....'      | Joshua W Burton  (401)435-6370  <burton@...>
    -- Leviticus 25:10   |=====================================================


From: "Richard Schwartz" <SCHWARTZ@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 1995 13:10:03 
Subject: If I am only for myself, what am I?

     Two recent postings stressed the primary obligation of Jews to 
work for the betterment of fellow Jews.  And, as Hillel taught, "If I 
am not for myself, who am I?"  So, certainly we should put great 
efforts into combatting anti-Semitism, working for a secure Israel, 
and aiding Jews and Jewish causes as much as possible.
     However, I would like to respectfully argue that it is very 
important today that Jews apply our splendid tradition and values to 
the critical issues that threaten the world.
     Can we really divorce ourselves from concern about societal 
problems? Are they really "non-Jewish" issues?  Don't Jews also 
suffer from polluted air and water, unemployment, resource 
scarcities, etc.
     Perhaps the situation is, in mathematical terms,one of 
conditional probability.  If conditions in the world are good, it is 
still possible that Jews will suffer.  But if societal conditions are 
bad, it is almost certain that Jews will be negatively effected.  
Hence, even considering self-interest alone, it is essential that we 
work for a better world.
      As I wrote in my book, "Judaism and Global survival", 
 "It is essential that Jews actively apply Jewish values to current 
critical problems.  We must be G-d's loyal opposition on earth, 
rousing the concience of humanity.  We must shout NO when others are 
whispering yes to injustice.... We must act as befits "descendants of 
prophets, reminding the world that there is a G-d of justice, 
compassion, and kindness.  Nothing less than global survival is at 
     Today the whole world is like Nineveh, in need of repentance and 
redemption and in danger of destruction, and each one of us must play 
the part of Jonah, striving to warn the world that it can be 
saved only by turning from greed, injustice, and idolotry.
    It is essential that we apply the remainder of Hillel's 
admonition: "If we are only for ourselves, what are we?  If not now, 
     Richard (Schwartz)
P. S. Please note my new address: <Schwartz@...> edu.  I 
still receive E-mail at my previous address also.     


From: <WALDOKS@...> (Moshe Waldoks)
Date: Wed, 01 Feb 1995 14:35:15 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Loving Torah

I recently had the pleasure of viewing a video symposium "On Being
Jewish" produced by Torontonian Jonathan Pearlman. It has a series of
intertwined interviews with Jewish thinkers of all persuAsions on issues
of Creation, Revelation, Redemption (God, Torah,Israel). Among the
Orthodox representatives was Rabbi Noach Weinberg (of the Aish HaTorah
institutions). He articulated the traditional claim of Torah from Sinai
as a masorah (tradition) attested to by the fact thathat it was
witnessed by the multitudes of Jews at that time. He went on to say that
if he didn't believe that every single word was literally dictated by
God he wouldn't perform any of the mitzvot. He implied that there was no
inherent or intrinsic value to a Torah life devoid of a literal
acceptance of the Sinai event. Is this mainstream? Is there no room for
the beauty, efficacy, wisdom, brilliance, psychological astuteness,
etc. that Torah and mitzvot exhibit.  Are all of these aspects of living
a Torah-life worthless without doctrinal purity. Is Rabbi Weinberg
advocation a "Catholic" view of credo over action; of elevating "daas
Torah" to the level of "papal infallibility"? What's going on?  Moshe


From: <schwartz@...> (Shimon Schwartz)
Date: Wed, 1 Feb 1995 14:27:21 +0500
Subject: Re: Sermons

  From: <eisenbrg@...> (Lon Eisenberg)

  IMHO, if a sermon is to be given, it should be after mussaph.  The
  purpose of shul is prayer.  Those who wish to stay after that may do so
  (if the rabbi's sermon is so poor that he has to give it when people
  have to wait around to finish their main obligation for being there,
  then he shouldn't give it at all).  I noticed, by the way, that this is
  the way it is done in (the only orthodox shul in) Allentown, PA.  Here
  (in Israel), I think that a sermon in the middle is almost non-existent
  (but there are shuls where divrei Torah are said after mussaph).

Davening in our shul involves learning as well as prayer.
This is true weekdays as well as Shabbat: a 3 minute halacha drasha usually
follows the second weekday Shacharit, and a 20 minute Mishne Torah shiur
continues until the third Shacharit.  No one is obligated to stay for either,
but in practice, most of the second Shacharit people stay the
extra 3-4 minutes, which for most men is tefillin roll-up time.

The 8:45 Shabbat morning minyan usually includes a drasha or sermon
(depending upon the needs of the day) between the haftarah and
returning the sefer to the ark.  The 7:45 minyan has a parshat hashavua
shiur -after- musaf and kiddush.  Again, no one is forced to stay, but
many do.  Contrary to Lon's line of reasoning, the rabbi will (very
infrequently) give a MAJOR drasha AFTER the second musaf (and before
kiddush), so that the hashkamah minyaneers can return to shul to hear
an important or substantial issue.

I realize that Lon wants to partition davening and listening times, but:
	-- Many people do not learn during the week; aside from learning
	   within the nusach tefila, this is the only time that they hear
	   divrei Torah.
	-- There is often an item that needs to be discussed publicly,
	   e.g., using the eruv properly or supporting the ambulance corps.
	-- There are many people who expect the rabbi to speak,
	   and will shul-hop on that basis.
Those who really want to daven, period, attend the 7:45 Shabbat davening, 
and go home immediately afterwards.  Nothing wrong with that.  Of course,
I realize that we have B"H enough members (and not-yet-members ;-) ) to
support multiple options, while other communities may be more limited.
Nevertheless, the mid-morning sermon/drasha/shmuess is established
practice and can be halachically beneficial.



From: <burton@...> (Joshua W. Burton)
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 95 12:47:12 -0500
Subject: Turning out the lights

It seems as if at least once a year I stumble across a story about some
pathetic little Jewish community flickering on the edge of extinction in
Djakarta or Qom or Yellowknife or some equally unlikely place.  The tone
always seems to be wistful, even though in most cases the lifeblood of
these communities has flowed into Dizengoff Square instead of spilling
itself on unhallowed ground.

Now this has me wondering.  Assume for the sake of argument that I am the
last observant Jew in Tierra del Fuego.  Am I any more or less obligated,
from a halakhic standpoint, to move back to Rehovot than I am today here
in Rhode Island?  What if there are no good doctors in Tierra del Fuego?
On the other hand, what if there is a graveyard with 300 years of my
ancestors, on which the authorities are waiting to build the Our Lady of
Avoda Zara community center the day I pack my bags?  What if there are
assimilated Tierra del Fuegans who are halakhically Jewish, and who send
their children to hear my stories from time to time?  What if I am the
TENTH to last observant Jew?

Does anyone know of any sources or responsa concerning Diaspora Jews
who have gone out with a whimper instead of a bang?

``Corrupt politicians make |===================================================
the other ten percent look | Joshua W Burton (401)435-6370 <burton@...>
bad.'' -- Henry Kissinger  |===================================================


From: <er@...> (Elie Rosenfeld)
Date: 2 Feb 1995  15:00 EST
Subject: YU Controversy and Lashon Hara

In Vol. 18 #26, Aryeh Frimer writes:

>   In light of the Brody-Jolkovsky debate, I think the time has come to
>discuss the issue of Lashon Hara (Public and Private) and the Media.

I think this is an excellent issue.  Can a distinction be made between
lashon hara about a private individual, and lashon hara about a public
official or an institution?  I think the answer may be yes.

In the case of individuals, no public good is served by publicizing bad
things that they've done.  However, an elected official has a duty to
the public.  It is very important for the electorate to know what kind
of person s/he is, since that knowledge affects their voting decisions.

As for institutions, it should be the the responsibility of each member
to work for the betterment of the institution, and each do their part
to correct any problems which may exist.  How can this be done if any
and all problems are kept hidden as much as possible?

Let's turn back to YU for an example.  At least once, possibly more
than once, during my four years at YC, a questionnaire was circulated
to the student body by a major student organization (either the Student
Council or the Commentator).  The survey included questions on sexual
activity and drug usage (similar to those "purity tests" that are always
floating around the Net).  As soon as the results were collected, the
student organization was ordered by the University _not_ to publish them.
The reason given was that the results may/would constitute "lashon hara
about the school".

I have two comments.  First, it practically goes without saying that the
results would have shown dramatically _less_ sexual activity and drug
usage at YU than at nearly any other college.  So it's really a matter of
opinion whether the results would have been "lashon hara" or, relatively
speaking, "lashon tov".

Much more importantly, whatever level of such activity _did_ exist at
YC was there regardless of whether the survey would be published.  What
purpose was served by hiding the truth?  Publishing the results would
have given the administration, the professors and Rabbaim, the student
leaders, and the student body as a whole, the knowledge they needed to
scope out the problem and work for improvements.  Conversely, covering
up the results just led to rumors - which, if anything, most likely
_exaggerated_ the problem.

Elie Rosenfeld


End of Volume 18 Issue 28