Volume 35 Number 27
                 Produced: Fri Jul 27  6:16:58 US/Eastern 2001

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Adopting Jewish vs. Non-Jewish
         [Stuart Wise]
AID's and Frum Community
         [Jeanette Friedman]
Date of 1st Churban
         [Edward Weidberg]
Holocaust Archive (2)
         [Stuart Cohnen, Gilad J. Gevaryahu]
Nusach of Davening
         [Eli Turkel]
OU and Kashrut
         [David Cohen]
Sperm donors for artificial semination
         [Carolyn Lanzkron]
Torah & Sefer Yehoshua (2)
         [Bernard Raab, Shaya Potter]
Unauthorized Kashrut Symbols
         [Stuart Wise]
Ushmo x 3
         [Alan Cooper]
Why does the Torah request "meitav haaretz" payment?
         [P.V. Viswanath]
Yekum Purkan (was vsen tal umatar)
         [Michael J. Savitz]
Request: Trip to VT or NH
         [Rhonda Stein]


From: Anonymous
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 11:45:38 EDT
Subject: Adopting Jewish vs. Non-Jewish

This issue is disscussed at length by R' Moshe Feinstien (see Egroth
Moshe Yoreh Deah 162). He explains and rules that the cons of adopting a
Jewish child far outweigh those of a Non-Jew. Providing that the
Non-Jewish child is converted properly. Adopting a Jew can be extremely
problomatic in terms him being a Mamzer, a problem that obviously does
not exist with a Non-Jew.



From: Stuart Wise <swise@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 09:27:33 -0700
Subject: Re: Adoption

 From my understanding, the reason for non-Jewish adoption is to avoid any 
future problems of siblings marrying.  Not to mention that there are also
very few adoptable Jewish babies, so for those who want to adopt an infant,
the pool of non-Jewish children is bigger, though reportedly tiny compared
with the situation 50 years ago.

No child should go unloved but not everyone is capable of embracing a
nonbiological child with "special needs" or even perfectly normal older
children.  But how many of those children are up for adoption?  Usually
family members will take them in or formally adopt them.


From: Jeanette Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 07:37:49 EDT
Subject: Re: AID's and Frum Community

      and all of this is done in the strictest confidence, which
      unfortunately is necessary in much of the frum community today.

The secrecy behind AIDS patients in the frum community is a double edged
sword. Frankly, I don't think there should be that kind of
confidentiality, especially, when the HIV people are making believe they
are dying of other things, because it is a threat to potential brides
and the children they will have. It's shanda or shidduch time, and it
would be preferred to hide homosexuality in the community and AIDS is
disguised as cancer. This is instead of dealing with the issue openly.

Jeanette Friedman


From: Edward Weidberg <eweidberg@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 10:55:53 -0400
Subject: Re: Date of 1st Churban

see attached FYI
    From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
>Have you seen/addressed this argument before?  I would be grateful for any 
>insight you can provide.  Thank you and Shabbat Shalom

I have seen it.  Mike says that his argument is based on the data
Claudius Ptolemy presents in his Almagest.  And that's true.  It's based
*solely* on that.  And the problem is, there is reason to believe that
Ptolemy fudged his data.

In "The Crime of Claudius Ptolemy", Robert Newton demonstrated that
Ptolemy calculated the values which would match his theories and
pretended that they were actual observations from Babylon.  A lot of
scholars have argued with this, but I think that in many instances, it
may be more of a case of "You can't take away the only source of
information we have!"

But if Ptolemy took his chronology as a starting point, and then
assigned certain observations to certain reigns on the basis of his
chronology, it becomes a circular argument to say that his calculations
support his chronology.  Of course they do; they can't do anything else.

Feel free to post this back to Mail-Jewish.

Hope that helps,


From: Stuart Cohnen <Stuart.Cohnen@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 09:27:50 -0400
Subject: Holocaust Archive

>I was told there is a computerized Holocaust archive accessible to the
>public which lists individual towns & names...does anyone know the web

You might try www.jewishgen.org  or www.yadvashem.org
Happy Surfing!

From: Gilad J. Gevaryahu <Gevaryahu@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 10:11:08 EDT
Subject: Holocaust Archive

Three weeks ago I visited Yad va-Shem in Jerusalem, and the above system is 
available there on the premises. I was told that it is not yet available via 
the Internet, but it will be in the future. They might response to a 
particular question if you send them an email query.

Gilad J. Gevaryahu


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 09:24:35 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Nusach of Davening

Many people have written that the custom in many shuls in Israel,
especially in public places like the army,hospitals etc allow the
chazzan to choose the nusach.

I just saw a teshuva from R. Shlomo Zalman Auerbach who claims that in
this circumstance the nusach should be according to the majority of the
people in shul at that time.

To my mind this does not seem overly practical.
Has anyone ever seen such a vote?

Eli Turkel


From: David Cohen <bdcohen@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001 09:08:23 -0400
Subject: OU and Kashrut

<<The OU, however uses this trace element possibility as a reason to not
walk into store, pick up a product and buy it based on the ingredient
label. As a private citizen, who is truly concerned about Kashrus,
couldn't I assume that a product with all kosher listed ingredients, no
artificial flavors, etc., is still kosher because any traces are Butul
Chaim Shapiro>>

That works IF your posek allows you to do so. There is no such thing as
"a private citizen" in the sense of "I can decide the halacha for
myself". One can use knowledge to determine where and when I have to ask
a shayla, but a halachic authority is required to forbid or permit. If
your authority says rely on the labels, then fine. (Parenthetically, how
would you know that a listed ingredient is kosher, since the ingredients
do not list their individual hechsherim?)

David I. Cohen


From: Carolyn Lanzkron <clkl@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 05:49:45 -0400
Subject: Re: Sperm donors for artificial semination

>but warned that the donor must be a non-Jew to avoid the
>potential problem of the resulting child marrying a sibling."

I don't understand this ruling.  If two Jewish women were inseminated
using the same non-Jew's sample, would the resulting babies not be
siblings?  Would they somehow be halachically unrelated, even if the
were biologically siblings through the non-Jewish biological father?

(All sorts of questions are bubbling up here, with respect to children
of previously intermarried baalei teshuva.)



From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001 01:47:46 -0400
Subject: Re: Torah & Sefer Yehoshua

>From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
>It seems to me that there is a contradiction between attributing a frame of
>reference to God and the statement in Hilchot Yesodei Hatorah 1:11 that God
>has no physical attributes.

A "frame of reference" is not really a physical attribute but rather a
mathematical abstraction which distinguishes one "world" from
another. The world which G-d inhabits, however abstractly one envisions
it, is certainly not the world which we inhabit here on earth. The
concept of "frame of reference" may be a very useful one to draw this

From: Shaya Potter <spotter@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001 16:12:33 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Torah & Sefer Yehoshua

Schroeder isn't claiming a refernce frame for Hashem.  He asks a
question "Is it possible to understand the "6 days of creation" as
dealing with set units of time" and he says "it depends on the clock we
use, we have to find a correct clock" The "clock" he uses is the cosmic
background radiation that is left over from the "Big Bang" That has been
getting "colder" over time.



From: Stuart Wise <swise@...>
Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001 10:37:50 -0700
Subject: Re: Unauthorized Kashrut Symbols

This has nothing to do with the OU and Kashrus discussion per se, but I
heard an interesting anecdote at recent Shiur by R' Heineman from the
Star-K. It seems someone advised him that there was an OU on Fuji film.
One would wonder why film needs a hechsher (to take kosher pictures?),
but when contacting the OU, R' Heineman said the OU knew nothing about
it.  So he called Fuji in Japan and they responded that they heard an OU
on package is a segula (good luck symbol?) for success.  Hence, the
unauthorized OU.

Besides being a funny story, the point concluded that one must always
check labels regardless of the kashrus supervision.


From: Alan Cooper <amcooper@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 09:51:38 -0400
Subject: Ushmo x 3

Joseph Kaplan writes:

>Zev Sero writes about "Ushemo, ushemo, ushemo echad": "I have taken,
>whenever I hear it sung, to ostentatiously counting on my fingers, one,
>two, three, and then one, in the hope that people who notice will feel
>uncomfortable."  I don't know the mores in his shul, but if someone did
>that in my shul he would be considered both obnoxious as well as
>disrespectful to the shul's rabbi who sets the halachic standards for
>davening.  In general, being ostentatious in anything is usually not a
>very good idea.  That goes double or triple for shul and davening

Fortunately, in our shul we only say ushmo once--even though we use the 
"standard" tune--so we don't have this problem ;-)   What bothers me much 
more than ushmo x 3 is "she-hu noteh shamayim" sung to the tune of "The 
Itsy Bitsy Spider."  Whenever I hear it, I feel like doing the accompanying 
choreography.  A leading Jewish musicologist once told me that the ultimate 
source of the tune is an old nursery rhyme, the Hebrew version of which 
goes: "akhbar, akhbar hishamer, pen he-chatul yavo maher" (loosely, "mousy, 
mousy, watch yourself, lest the cat pounce on you").  How nursery tunes are 
appropriated for liturgical use is another story . . . .

Alan Cooper


From: P.V. Viswanath <pviswanath@...>
Date: Tue, 24 Jul 2001 17:38:21 -0400
Subject: Why does the Torah request "meitav haaretz" payment?

Daniel Cohn asked: Can anyone offer an explanation on why does the Torah
request a person to compensate damage in "meitav haaretz" (the best of
his land) when payment is made by means of a piece of land?

Bernard Raab <beraab@...> answered:

      You are assuming that you can get a good appraisal of each
      property. I think the Torah is saying that you are less likely to
      get cheated if you are offered a piece of a producing orchard for
      instance, than if you were to be paid in a larger tract of
      non-producing land that "will certainly become very valuable in
      the future" which you can imagine the landowner saying.

Is there any evidence for this suggestion?  How was the appraising done? 
Presumably under the auspices of a bes din.  If so, it would be
surprising if they countenanced systematic misvaluation!

Meylekh Viswanath


From: Michael J. Savitz <msavitz@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 08:13:29 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Yekum Purkan (was vsen tal umatar)

>>>BTW, if those ~100 Jews in Iraq have a Rabbi, he is surely the most
prayed-for person of all time!  Every Shabbos, every Jew who davens
nusach Ashkenaz or `Sefard' (see other thread) says a Yekum Purkan for
all the Rabbis of EY and of Bavel; surely it would make sense to change
this to `di bear'a deyisrael vedi begaluta', or, as we say in kaddish
derabanan, `vedi bechol atar va'atar'.  Surely the Rabbis of America,
Europe, Australia, etc, deserve our prayers and blessings as much as
that one Rabbi (if there is even one) left in Bavel.  <<<

The old (1946) Conservative siddur for Shabbat (the "Silverman siddur"),
still in use in many shuls AFAIK, did add the phrase "vedi bechol ar'at
galvatana" after "di bevavel."  This change is discussed in the siddur's
foreword.  In the newer C siddur, the "Sim Shalom," this Yekum Purkan
seems to have dropped out entirely.


From: Rhonda Stein <rhondastein@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Jul 2001 10:18:45 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Request: Trip to VT or NH

We are looking for ideas for a place to stay for Shabbos in New
Hampshire or Vermont en route to a Sunday wedding in Montreal.  Can
anyone advise about lodging near shuls, kosher food etc?  Please email
off-list.  Thanks.


End of Volume 35 Issue 27