Volume 24 Number 08
                       Produced: Mon May 20  8:08:55 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Cheating at Yeshiva
         [Chaim Shapiro]
         [Debra Fran Baker]
Hallkha and Lesbianism
         [Reena Zeidman]
Joining Communal Councils with Reform Clergy
         [Micha Berger]
Shabbat/e-mail/time differences
         [Israel Pickholtz]
Support Jewish women who are being denied their 'Get'
Use of "yenta" without specific referent
         [Shaul & Aviva Ceder]


From: Chaim Shapiro <ucshapir@...>
Date: Thu, 16 May 1996 12:05:44 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Cheating at Yeshiva

	One of things that I am the most ashamed of during my tenure in
Yeshiva high school, was the amount of cheating that went on during the
limuda chol classes.  One could easily assume that someone was cheating
on virtually every test.
	In general there were two types of cheaters.  The first was the
bochur who did not know the material, and would do poorly even with
hours of study.  Cheating then, was the method by which he made it
through school.  Although certainly wrong, such people exist at any
school, and there really is not much one can do to prevent it.  But, one
must consider its consequences on the other students.  Picture this.
The Yeshiva has a very poor teacher who grades on a curve.  If everyone
took the exam fairly, the grades would all be low, and the curve would
bail everyone out.  If, however, 5 out of the 8 bochurim in the class
steal the exam the day before it is administered, where does that leave
the three honest bochurim?  They must choose between cheating on the
exam like everyone else, or recieving a low grade which will no longer
be fixed in the curve.  I will admit that I was faced with this dilema
several times, and although, I would never normally dream of cheating, I
did, feeling I had no choice.
	The second type of cheater is one that is unique to many
Yeshivas.  A bochur, who spends countless hours planning and plotting
the perfect way to cheat.  It is game to him.  If he expended his energy
properly, he would do extremly well on any exam.  That however, isn't as
much fun as coming up with the perfect scheme.  It becomes a way to
expend devious energy.
	Suprisingly, during my four years of high school, the issue of
cheating was never adressed!  No mussar, no speeches, nothing.  Is it
possible that the Hanhala had no idea that cheating was going on?  Or,
did they choose to look the other way?  Whatever the case may be, it is
an issue that should be adressed.  It should be considered unacceptable
for bochurim in a yeshiva to cheat in their english classes.  It is
certainly detremental to the overall develoment of a ben torah.  

Chaim Shapiro


From: Debra Fran Baker <dfbaker@...>
Date: Sat, 18 May 1996 21:26:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Conceiving

> From: <Gevaryahu@...> (Gilad J. Gevaryahu)
> Tefilla Buxbaum, (MJ 23#94) suggested (inter alia) using kosot ruach
> (i.e., suction cups) as a fertility method, for women who have problems
> conceiving.
> It is well known that psychology (state of mind) can help in conception
> as many of us heard of women who could not conceive, decided to adopt a
> child and immediately got pregnent after the pressure was off.

It may be well known, but it is incorrect.  Yes, there are couples who
have conceived upon adopting a child, but they do so at the same rate as
couples who have simply ceased infertility treatment or who have not yet
begun it.  Stress does not cause infertility, nor is the relief of
stress a cure for it.  This story is one of the most common myths
around, and is acutely painful for those of us struggling with

> The only reasonable method of solving a fertility problem (with God's
> help) is to go to a medical doctor (OB/GYN) with a fertility
> subspecialty who is trained in this subject. Sending women with
> fertility problem to an old Yemenite lady might deprive them of proper
> medical care, waste valuable time and worse, it might give them a false
> hope. An MD can do more than ([toyte] bankes).

Especially if one considers that half of all infertility cases are male
factor, and no amount of work done on the women will make a difference
in those cases.  In other cases, the cause may be physical or hormonal,
and no cupping will cure that, either.

Oh, the proper person to see would be a reproductive endocrinologist.

Debra Fran Baker                                      <dfbaker@...>


From: Reena Zeidman <dkriger@...>
Date: Sat, 18 May 1996 22:14:22 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Hallkha and Lesbianism

Dear Subscribers:
 I am researching the topic of lesbianism in halakhic discourse from
early tannaitic lit. to modern teshuvah lit.  I have seen the major
secondary sources on the material (Biale, Maganot, etc.) and some of the
more "confessional" lit -Nice Jewish Girls_).  If anyone has encountered
any teshuvot on the matter, I would welcome them.
 Thanks in advance,
Dr. Reena Zeidman,
Queen's University,


From: Micha Berger <aishdas@...>
Date: Thu, 16 May 1996 20:36:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Joining Communal Councils with Reform Clergy

Way back when there was a debate over joining the Synagogue Council of
America. From what I was told (I'm too young to remember this myself),
this issue ended up being a key player in the split between the Modern O
and Yeshiva movement.

Rav Yoseph Ber Soleveitchik's position is that it is permissable, nay,
*obligatory* to join such councils if the purpose of the organization is
to take care of the physical needs and survival of the Jewish people.
Certainly NOT if the council is intended to be a religious body.

The Moetzes Gedolei Hatorah, the Agudah's leadership committee, which
included R. Moshe Feinstein and R. Yaakov Kaminecki among many other
notables, felt that even for communal and political issues membership
should be prohibited. Acknowledging Reform or Conservative clergypeople
as communal leaders will be taken by the masses as acceptance of R or C
as ch"v other valid expressions of Hashem's message to Moshe.

Recently I had an experience that would bear out the majority view.

A "Rabbi" Dr. John Sherwood, who holds the title "Rabbi Emeritus" at
some Temple, frequents soc.culture.jewish (or do we call it
news:soc.culture.jewish nowadays?).

He expressed to me the opinion that most Orthodox Rabbis accept Reform
as valid. I stated that I knew as a certainty this could not possibly be
the case. Dr Sherwood provided proof to his assertion -- look at all the
Orthodox Rabbis who he's worked with on this communal board or another,
dear friends who treated him with respect. He therefor concluded I must
hang out with those aweful "ultra-Orthodox" and must meet the O

With all due respect to The Rav zt"l, it seems that history has born out
the truth of the opposing view.

Micha Berger 201 916-0287        Help free Ron Arad, held by Syria 3448 days!
<AishDas@...>                     (16-Oct-86 -  1-May-96)
<a href=news:alt.religion.aishdas>Orthodox Judaism: Torah, Avodah, Chessed</a>
<a href=http://haven.ios.com/~aishdas>AishDas Society's Home Page</a>


From: Israel Pickholtz <rotem@...>
Date: Sat, 18 May 1996 22:59:34 +0300
Subject: Shabbat/e-mail/time differences

I am writing this piece while it is still Shabbat in the US.  Of course
I have no problem with that since its the same as speaking to a USA
answering machine of someone I know won't answer the phone.  By the same
token, I have no problem sending e-mail to shomer Shabbat friend or
relative whom I know won't have his computer on.  Same for an individual
MJ subscriber, since I presume a Hazaka of shemirat Shabbat.

I also subscribe to the Jewish Genealogy group, where one can safely
assume the majority of participants in the US to be a) Jewish and b)
not-Shomerei Shabbat.  That group is handled by moderators, but the
postings come out individually, rather than as a digest.

I figure that the way to deal with the various Shabbat/Yom tov 
possibilities (avoiding "lifnei iver") are:
 - I do not send anything to the group or to an individual I don't    
   know, until Sunday morning.	
 - I don't read anything in my inbox dated after Shabbat comes in,    
   until Sunday morning.  
 - I don't worry about messages to individuals that I send on Friday, 
   for I am no more responsible for when they open them as I am for   
   something I send on Wednesday - so long as it arrives there before 
   Shabbat their time. This is no different in my mind than mailing a 
   letter in the US on a Friday and having it arrive on Shabbat.
 - I don't post messages TO THE GROUP after early Friday morning,    
   because there is a good chance that by time the moderators get to  
   it it will already be Shabbat.

Is all this reasonable?  (I'm hesitant to ask my local rabbi, as it 
involves issues he's not really familiar with.)

Israel Pickholtz


From: <agunot@...>
Date: Thu, 16 May 1996 21:12:54 +0100
Subject: Support Jewish women who are being denied their 'Get'

*            email    <agunot@...>                     *

We are terribly sorry if we have disturbed the tone of this newsgroup,
but we have an important announcement.

The Agunot Campaign is an organization founded in the UK by Gloria
Proops.  It is dedicated to providing support to Jewish women who are
'chained' to their husbands because the men refuse to grant a Get, the
religious divorce.  In these situations, the women are unable to
re-marry in an Orthodox synagogue, even though they may have been
divorced for years under civil law.

A recalcitrant husband cannot be forced to grant a Get.  Thus, a number
of men in the Jewish community worldwide have been able to blackmail
their wives out of everything from houses to finances to child custody
simply by stating that, if the woman wanted a Get, she would have to
give in to all demands.  Gloria Proops finally obtained her Get in 1995
after 20 years.  She decided to found the organization in the hope that
concerned Jews, women and men, Orthodox and non-Orthodox, could band
together, and prevent this cynical exploitation of an age-old problem.

The Agunot campaign would like to hear from anyone in the world who:

                       - is being denied a Get
                       - knows someone being denied a Get
                       - would like to support the 'chained' women
                       - simply wants to find out more about the problem

Thank you in advance for any support or encouragement!

Please email us:        <agunot@...>


From: Shaul & Aviva Ceder <ceder@...>
Date: Thu, 16 May 96 19:54:23 PDT
Subject: Use of "yenta" without specific referent

In a recent posting by Gad Frenkel on remarriage, the following line 

>minhag.  When the yenta brigade was still not satisfied, I discussed it

The use of the term "yenta brigade" brought to mind an article I had
submitted for publication to a magazine, but which did not meet the
periodical's editorial needs at the time. However, I feel the subject
matter, being little discussed, bears some thought, so I am submitting
it to MJ:

	The Jewish public today has, Baruch Hashem, more exposure than
ever to the need for shemirat halashon. Innumerable Torah educators
continue to alert Am Yisrael about the need to avoid all aspects of
lashon hara and rechilut. The prolific distribution of the works of the
Chafetz Chaim zt"l, and to English adaptations such as Guard Your Tongue
and Apples of Gold, as well as countless lectures and recordings on the
Torah obligation to avoid gossip and slander, attest to the blessed
spread of this phenomenon.
	There is one aspect of shemirat halashon, however, which is
virtually untouched upon and largely neglected, because even the best
mechanchim on purity of speech probably have little acquaintance with
the origins of the problem. Indeed, the Chafetz Chaim does not mention
it in his sefarim, aside from the general issur against slandering
groups of Jews, probably because the issue had not yet materialized when
he had written them.
	A totally sincere and earnest lecturer on lashon hara, in
adjuring his or her audience to avoid gossip, might well admonish them,
"Don't be a Yenta!" And that same person, in sincerely attempting to
discourage lashon hara against individuals or even groups, will
unconsciously, by the very use of the term "Yenta", have blanketly cast
ridicule on all women who bear that name! Admittedly, few women are
named Yenta today, since the unrelenting use of that name as an epithet
has done nothing but discourage parents from burdening their daughters
with a name which invites mockery. It would seem that such a practice
echoes the vulgarity of the secular world when their reputed wits use
names such as "Bruce" to refer to adherents of perverse and deviant
lifestyles, causing no little embarrassment to men with that name.
	I had once written to an eminent rav who had delivered an
excellent series of lectures on the guarding of one's tongue, who had
innocently used the word in one of those lectures. Because of the
disruption of mail during the Gulf War period, it was some six months
before the letter reached him in a badly shredded condition, with my
return address obliterated, precluding any response. Baruch Hashem, I
recently managed to discuss the matter with him during a lecture he gave
in my neighborhood, and he admitted that the use of the name was indeed
improper, and that the fact that he could not answer me had been
bothering him for years. I was certainly grateful for the opportunity to
give this rav some peace of mind when at last I cleared the matter up
with him.
	The "Yenta" abomination originated during the so-called Haskala,
when writers of secular Yiddish fiction, in their zeal to cast scorn on
the Torah and those who remained true to it, seized upon this perfectly
respectable name, and appropriated it to epitomize their false
stereotype of the Orthodox woman, whom they chose to depict as a gossipy
chatterbox, exemplified by Sholom Aleichem's caricature of the Jewish
matchmaker. The results of the vulgarization of this fine name became
apparent all too quickly. Virtually the only places left in which
parents do not fear to give this name to their daughters are
neighborhoods such as Mea Shearim, where the influence of writers
inimical to Torah is virtually unknown.
	The same admonition would apply to the use of the name Yachne,
an adaptation of Yochana, in the same sense. And when you find yourself
thinking, "This Yoyneh doesn't know enough not to double-park!", or use
the name "Yoram" (as is sometimes done in Israel) to signify an
insensitive dolt (and I have no idea why so many of these
misappropriated names start with a "yud"), you would do well to remember
that taking a given name and dragging all its bearers into the mud is no
less offensive than doing the same with a group of Jews who happen to
follow a particular Rebbe, attend a specific yeshiva, or share the same
geographic origin.
	Such offensive use of personal names deserves to vanish from our
lips completely. May we all, by the purification of our tongues,
contribute speedily to our worthiness for the geula shleima.

Shaul Ceder
Name: Shaul and Aviva Ceder
E-mail: <ceder@...>


End of Volume 24 Issue 8