Volume 29 Number 84
                 Produced: Wed Sep 15  6:48:19 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

A Tax for Day School Tuition (2)
         [Moshe Feldman, Daniel Geretz]
Different Customs in the Same Shul (A Proposal)
         [Sheri & Seth Kadish]
Zacharias Frankel
         [Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Zechariah Frankel
         [Noson Yanofsky]


From: Moshe Feldman <MFeldman@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 13:40:37 -0400
Subject: RE: A Tax for Day School Tuition

Elie Rosenfeld <erosenfe@...> wrote:

> Thanks to Nina Butler for her wonderful article about the 5% estate
> tax program to subsidize day school tuitions, which apparently was
> launched in the Chicago Jewish community somewhat over a year ago.

As a tax attorney, I note that people would, in the aggregate, save
money if all Jewish education was supported by donations, which are tax
deductible.  Currently (and for political reasons, this is unlikely to
change), day school tuitions are not tax deductible.  I once did
research for a Yeshiva day school as to how to convert tuitions into tax
deductible donations, and concluded that there was no way to do this
because a donation is not deductible to the extent that there is a quid
pro quo that certain services will provided "free."  When a donor
receives a benefit in return for a donation, the charitable deduction
for the donation is reduced by the amount of the benefit.  See
Rev. Rul. 67-246, 1967-2 C.B. 104; cf. U.S. v.  American Bar Endowment,
477 U.S. 105 (1986).

If people would donate money to yeshivot irrespective of whether their
children attended those yeshivot, then the yeshivot could offer truly
free education.  And the donations would be tax deductible (saving 40%
for most middle class people who live in NYC or other highly-taxed
areas).  That means that you wouldn't even need full compliance: as long
as 60% of people donated a pre-tax equivalent to their after-tax
tuitions, the system would come out even.  (I.e., a person who pays
$6000 tuition today would donate $10,000 if he is in the 40% tax

Kol tuv,

From: Daniel Geretz <DGeretz@...>
Date: Fri, 10 Sep 1999 09:52:26 EDT
Subject: A Tax for Day School Tuition

Elie Rosenfeld writes

>  One key fact was not mentioned and is of great interest: What, if
>  any, were the impacts of this new program on 1999-2000 school year
>  tuitions?  I.e., what is the average tuition this year vs.  last?

Although I am not familiar with the details of the Chicago program, my
understanding is that this is meant to be built up as an endowment.
Thus, the program is likely to have a minimal effect at first, but by
the time those kids' *children* are in day school, the effect could be

I heard of this program quite some time ago and thought at that time
that it was a really creative idea.  I'm surprised that other Jewish
communities (or at least mine) haven't given public consideration to the
adoption of some similar plan.

I'm interested in hearing more about Elie's idea of charter schools.
However, my understanding of current government funding mechanisms of
public education (at least in New Jersey, where I live, and especially
in Highland Park) is that a charter school would be funded by the local
school board - so what you'd gain in lower tuition could easily be lost
in higher property taxes and lower property values (as non-Jews would
most likely not want to live in a community where a significant
percentage of their tax dollars were spent on what might technically not
be, but practically would be, a parochial school.)

Daniel Geretz


From: Sheri & Seth Kadish <skadish@...>
Date: Tue, 07 Sep 1999 20:06:13 +0200
Subject: Different Customs in the Same Shul (A Proposal)

I very much wanted to get feedback on this proposal, so thanks to Carl
Sherer for some important comments.  He made me think twice about some
important things.  I accept some of his points but still disagree
(respectfully) with others.

1.  Carl is absolutely right that although Israeli "Ashkenaz" has
absorbed some of the Gr"a's customs, it is still not entirely accurate
to refer to it as Nusah ha-Gr"a (though this is commonly done).  I'll
have to explain this more carefully in a future draft.  (BTW, there are
immense difficulties in reconstructing all the details of the Gr"a's
customs on prayers.  It may be that there never was a siddur published
cunforming to the Gr"a in all of its details, though one recent siddur
has tried to remedy the situation.)

2.  On my proposal that the "order" (but not the nosah) be according to
the hasidim, Carl wrote:

>I don't see why this is any different than the "Nusach Achid." You are
>essentially telling people, "we're davening Nusach Sfard" (as opposed to
>Ashkenaz or Edot Mizrach). People who daven Nusach Ashkenaz or Edot
>HaMizrach will find this order of prayer unfamiliar, will feel
>uncomfortable and will daven elsewhere.

Good point.  I was uncertain whether the procedure should simply be
"according to the sheliah tzibbur" even for the *order* or not.  I
decided not to rock the boat too much, though, and leave the *order*
according to the majority.  This is especially because nosah sefard of
the hasidim tends to have extra paragraphs not in Ashkenaz, and people
often don't take well to *not* saying something they are used to saying.
And people might just get confused with a different order, so in the end
I hypothesized that one order would be better.
	In principle, though, Carl is right: If we want people to be
comfortable with different nosha'ot, then why should it be any different
for different *orders*?  But principles and reality don't always mesh
well, and quite frankly I'm not sure where to draw the line here.  But
maybe Carl is right, and simplicity is the best: Make all components
(including order) simply follow the sheliah tzibbur.
	In any case, Carl's assumption that changes in *any* component
(whether in the order, nosah, or musical nusah) will make people
*equally* uncomfortable brings us to the next point.

3.  >I think you're placing too much importance on melody. Maybe that's
>because I daven in a very Litvish place in which there is no singing
>except on the Yamim Noraim (we even recite Keil Adon responsively on
>Shabbos morning), but I think that most Israelis place a lot less
>importance on melody than you are placing on it.

My experience has been the exact opposite of Carl's.  Here are two

First of all, try having a Tripolta'i use his tunes for Morrocans, and
you'll see how central tunes are.  Or try to take the traditional melody
for Kabbalat Shabbat away from Ashkenazim and instead chant it Sefardic
style, and see the response you get.

Secondly, in reality, there are *very* few places in Israel today where
nosah "Ashkenaz" is a live option (except where huge numbers of
English-speaking immigrants live, or where there are right-wing
Lithuanian yeshivot).  The majority of Ashkenazim who live elsewhere in
the country (including western immigrants) learn to live fine with
hasidim/sefard minyanim (though they sometimes grumble about it, myself
included :-).  But if you put any of them in a true sefardic synagogue,
they will be flabbergasted!  Why?  Not because of the *nosah*, but
because of the *tunes* and the style of chanting.  Bottom line: It is
*easier by far* to get used to davvening with people of a different
nosah, than it is to davven with people who use different tunes.  (I do
believe, however, that despite the difficulty it is both possible and
highly worthwhile for individuals to do this.)

"Tafasta merubbeh lo tafasta" ("Don't bite off more than you can chew.")
-- So let's at least try to get ourselves used to a variety of nosha'ot.
If that can work, then later on we can tackle the tunes as well, and
educate our children to pray in any minyan that uses any of them as

Indeed, ideally my proposal of letting the sheliah tzibbur use his own
nosah should bridge the ashkenazic-sefardic gap on tunes as well.  Let
him use his own tunes, no matter what they are!  The problem I'm scared
about is that it won't work because too many people, by force of habit,
will start chanting/singing their own way regardless of what the sheliah
tzibbur does.

4.  >>	Anyone reading the Torah may sing the te`amim according to his
>> own custom, and should try to read accurately according to that custom.
>Doesn't that contradict the whole idea of having a uniform mode of 

Absolutely!! The whole point is *not* to have a uniform mode of prayer,
each person according to his own custom, and yet somehow to pray
togethor as a tzibbur at the very same time.  For tefilla this presents
all kinds of problems.  But Keriat ha-Torah is passive (except for the
baal koreh), and so there is no problem to solve in the first place.
Children can grow up comfortable listening to keriat ha-torah of any
variety, and we all can learn from all of them.

5.  >What about the things one Nosach says which the other doesn't?  For
>example, suppose a Chazan wants to skip Ha'Aderes v'ha'Emuna on Shabbos
>(Nosach Ashkenaz doesn't say it). Do you allow him to skip it?

The proposal was that order be according to hasidim/sefard.  So no.
(But in this example, by the way, there might not be a problem, because
for separate reasons it might be better to have the sheliah tzibbur not
start until yishtabah.)

6.  >I would suggest that you
>might be better off by doing what many of the shtiblach in Yerushalayim
>do, which is that whatever Nosach the shliach tzibur (leader) davens is
>the Nosach for that minyan.

On this I think Carl may be totally right, as I wrote above.  The only
way to truly know will be to test it and see how it works.  I certainly
never meant to try to bring in "nosah ahid" through the back door.

Carl also suggested setting up separate minyanim for every different
nosah.  But as I wrote above, this is not at all feasable in most
places.  And even where it is, I don't think it's the right way to go.
Communities are being formed in Israel today that are not united by
custom but by neighborhood, and why shouldn't a true tzibbur like that
be able to pray togethor as one, at the same time leaving a place for
all the customs?  "Berov Am Hadrat Melekh".  The last thing we need is
any sort of "nosah ahid".  What we really need is "tefilla me'uhedet".

Shanah Tovah!
Seth (Avi) Kadish
Karmiel, Israel


From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999 22:36:16 EDT
Subject: Zacharias Frankel

This is a reply to Israel Rubin (MJ 29#71) on Zacharias Frankel. 

1. I read with amusement the scathing attack on Rabbi Zacharias
Frankel. This is not the place to elaborate on RZP's accomplishments and
contributions or his shortfalls, but to advocate the position that >>But
certainly there is justification for not quoting the name of a rosho,
which would only give credence to his cause.>> is too much. We as Jews
have no right to steal from anybody, and quoting without attribution,
that is, you imply that you, the writer came with the idea instead of
giving the source for the originator of the idea, is "genevat da'at" and
in my opinion falls within a "lo ta'ase". In law the term for it is
"plagiarism-the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and
thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own
original work" (Random House Dictionary, 2nd edition, 1987, p.
1479). It goes without a say that it also violates the Mishnah's maxim
"hamevi davar beshem omro mevi geulah l'olam" ["He who quotes with
attributions brings redemption to the world"]. If someone would follow
this innovative idea that it is acceptable practice to bring idea of
what you defined as "Rosho" and publish it as your own, he'll be fired.

We all use the Marcus Jastrow dictionary of Aramaic even though he was a
Rabbi of Rodef Shalom Congregation in Philadelphia - a Reform shul
today, and certainly not Orthodox shul at the time Jastrow was a rabbi
there. Would Israel Rubin advocate printing the next edition without his

2. Israel Rubin writes: >>Actually Zacharia Frankel was not a scholar
who "sometimes espoused non Orthodox positions" (whatever this
means). He was one of the leaders of the Reform Movement in his day,
though he was considered the leader of it's more moderate, "traditional"
branch. Today he is regarded as the forerunner of what eventually
evolved into the Conservative Movement.>>.

The sources on Frankel which I read (I am not an expert of Frankel)
suggest to me a different picture. "Frankel was the founder and the most
eminent member of the school of historical Judaism, which advocate
freedom of research, while in practical life it upholds the authority of
tradition" (JE Vol. V, p. 482). If he lived today he would probably lead
the department of Talmud at Yeshiva University, Bar Ilan University or
Hebrew University. His contributions are numerous; his book Mevo
Ha'Yerushalmi is still the standard text, and the three interpreted
masechtot of the Yerushalmi are widely quoted.

Just because he refused to debate Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch does not
mean that he is automatically on the wrong!  Please note that there were
many rabbis in history who were severely criticized for their opinions
during their lifetime and later were "rehabilitated," the most prominent
among them is the Rambam.

3. Israel Rubin further states: >>In fact, I suspect that if there were
indeed Orthodox scholars who quoted him by name, it was because they
were unaware of his true beliefs.>>.

Professor Ephraim E. Urbach, who was both an Orthodox Rabbi and a major
scholar in Judaic studies quotes him extensively as RZ"P. Rabbi Adin
Steinzaltz quoted him a dozen or so times in his Pe'ah -Yerushalmi as
Z"P.  Both of these eminent scholars knew the work of Rabbi Zecharias
Frankel well, and they did not find Israel Rubin idea of calling him a
"rosho" and stealing his idea appropriate behavior for a fellow Jew.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Noson Yanofsky <noson@...>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 1999 22:26:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Zechariah Frankel

In the Fall 1992 Tradition, there is a nice article by Marc B.  Shapiro
called "Sociology and Halakha" that deals with this.  Mr. Shapiro writes
about the evolution of German Orthodoxy's attitude towards Zechariah
Frankel and his Darkhe haMishna.  Gradually, German Orthodoxy accepted
Frankel or at least his books.

About a year ago, I walked in to a shul in Lakewood and was surprised to
find the Darkhe haMishna there. I imagine this should not be taken as an
endorsement of Frankel's ideas but rather an expression of ignorance
about who Frankel was.


End of Volume 29 Issue 84