Volume 37 Number 66
                 Produced: Wed Oct 30 23:16:41 US/Eastern 2002

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Becoming a Minister
         [Janet Rosenbaum]
Bo'ee v'Shalom
         [Zev Sero]
Bo'ee V'shalom
         [Barry Best]
Geathering under the tallit for birkhat kohanim
         [Abraham Lebowitz]
Genetics and Kohanim
         [Eitan Fiorino]
Kriat Shmah Before Retiring
         [Russell J Hendel]
Source of Cohanim (2)
         [Stan Tenen, E. Stieglitz]
         [Beth and David Cohen]


From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 11:11:22 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Becoming a Minister

Wendy Baker <wbaker@...> writes:
> We all would love to pay fewer taxes, but this is not the way to go
> about it.

I think the poster was trying to find a way to get legitimate tax
exemptions for religious work that he does, work of a type which might
be done by a pastor in other religions or even a rabbi.  Many people
perform the functions of a rabbi and do not have actual ordination.

Btw, does anyone know whether graduation from Drisha's scholars program
(or similar) gives women some means of declaring themselves clergy for
tax purposes?



From: Zev Sero <zev.sero@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 16:06:31 -0500
Subject: Re: Bo'ee v'Shalom

Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...> wrote:
> The turning at the end of L'cho Dodi is a turn to the West. It is not
> relevant whether there is a door there or whether it is in the back
> or side of the shul (I would be interested to understand how it is
> done where the shul faces west). 

I can tell you how it *is* done, but not how it *should* be.  This
question occured to me every week when I was learning at the Yeshiva
Gedola in Melbourne, where the Aron Kodesh is in the west, and the door
is in the north, but we turned around to face east, towards neither the
shechina nor the entrance.  Unfortunately, I never got around to
actually asking any members of the hanhala about it.

PS One of the rooms on the east side of the study hall was known as `the
Queen's room' (legend had it that some queen had once visited the
building, decades before the Yeshiva bought it, and had stayed in that
room); perhaps we were expecting the Shabbat Queen to emerge from

Zev Sero

From: Barry Best <barry.h.best@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 14:46:12 -0500
Subject: RE: Bo'ee V'shalom

R. Moshe Feinstein addresses this in Igros Moshe (i believe in
O.H. section 3, t'shuva 45 or 48 in the middle of the t'shuva).  he
gives the identical answer that steven white gives (we welcome the
sh'chinah coming in from the west).  he has some sharp words for those
who face the back of the shul when that is not west that are worth
looking up; something to the effect that facing the back (where
presumably the door is located) makes it look like we can't wait to get
out of shul.

having said that, i have davened at many shuls whose aron is not in the
east and without exception, they all face backward (not westward) for
bo'ee v'Shalom.  has anyone ever been in a shul where the congregation
turns to the west when this is not the back of the shul or facing the


From: <aileb@...> (Abraham Lebowitz)
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 22:22:39 +0200
Subject: Geathering under the tallit for birkhat kohanim

I wonder if anyone has any information as to the source of the minhag of
covering one's head with the tallit during birkhat kohanim, which is is
followed by some people who do not otherwise cover their heads (with a
tallit) during davening.  An extension of this minhag is for the sons to
come under their father's tallit and for the father to put his hands on
his sons' heads.  When I daven at my son Shimon's (well known to Mail-
Jewish subscribers) shul he usually has his sons under his tallit which,
in turn, is under mine.

I came across a different implementation of this minhag when I was
living in Rome and davened in a Tripolitanian (Libyan) shul.  At birkhat
kohanim at ne'ilah (and only at the ne'ilah) the shul would divide up
into family groups with wives and and daughters coming from the ezrat
nashim to join the male members of the family, grandparents, parents and
children under one tallit, often held up like a chuppah.  (To make this
work some males moved to the ezrat nashim and formed groups there.  I
must say that I was impressed with the sheer beauty of families gathered
this way for birkhat kohanim which, for some reason, made me think (my
imagination having gotten out of control) that this was what b'nei
yisrael must have looked like camped in the desert after yetzi'at
mitzra'im.  In any event, any information on this minhag, whether among
ashkenazim or b'nei edot hamizrach, would be much appreciated.


 Abraham & Shulamith Lebowitz (Jerusalem)         <aileb@...>


From: Eitan Fiorino <tony.fiorino@...>
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 2002 16:38:16 -0500
Subject: Genetics and Kohanim

From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Oct 2002 14:02:26 -0400

> Also, there is the question of the Lemba tribe of South Africa.  As I
> remember it, one of their family lines has more than 50% genetic markers
> for Kohanim.  
> As of now, members of the Lemba tribe are attempting to be recognized as
> Jewish, without adopting full adherence to halacha.  What if some, with
> Kohen genetic markers, do become fully halachically observant?  Would
> they be accepted as Kohanim, or would there be a halachic process of
> "re-certification"?  Or is Kohen status, once lost, never recoverable?

Thanks Stan for making me look up the Lemba and learn about a very
interesting group.  The following is from the Yearbook of Pediatrics
2002 (commentary on a 2000 article in the Journal of Human Genetics).
I've taken extensive excerpts because the story is so interesting:


The Lemba claim that they descended from a group of Jews who came from
"Sena in the north by boat." This group is traditionally endogamous and
speaks a variety of Bantu languages. They are spread over several
locations in South Africa and Zimbabwe. The evidence to support their
claim to Judaism is slim: an oral tradition of this origin and several
customs that mimic Judaism (ie, circumcision and food taboos). The
members of the tribe do not agree on the location of "Sena." Some
suggested locations of Sena include Sanaa in Yemen, Egypt, Ethiopia, and
Judea. Y-chromosome markers suggested a gene pool with Semitic and Bantu
contributions. This is consistent with Lemba oral tradition. . . . An
attempt was made to provide a more detailed analysis of Lemba heritage
through paternal genetic analysis.
  . . . 
The Y chromosomes were clearly part of either the Semitic or Bantu
clades.  Remarkably, a high-frequency Y chromosome termed the "Cohen
modal haplotype" was found in one of the clans. Not only is this thought
to be a signature haplotype of Judaism, but also it is a paternally
inherited characteristic of Jewish priesthood.
  . . .
The authors of this report studied the paternally inherited Y-chromosome
markers . . . . these markers were studied in the Lemba, the Bantu, the
Yemeni, the Ashkenazic Israelites and Sephardic Israelites. Arabs were
studied as well. . . . The results do suggest that the genetic history
of the Lemba is compatible with their oral tradition. Clearly, there has
been a Semitic genetic contribution. Support for a Jewish contribution
to the Lemba gene pool is found in the presence at a high frequency in
the Lemba of a very specific polymorphism (CMH). This CMH has been
suggested as a signature haplotype for the ancient Hebrew
population. Thus, the genetic evidence revealed in the study is
consistent with both a Lemba history involving an origin in a Jewish
population outside Africa and a male-mediated gene flow from other
Semitic immigrants and a later admixture with Bantu neighbors.


And what about Stan's question?  I think the easy answer is that since a
convert's halachic relationship with his/her biologic parents is
severed, it is clear that the kahuna is not passed on.  We know that if
a known kohen marries a non-Jew and a male child of that union later
converts, he is a Yisrael.  It wouldn't matter if that convert is shown
to possess the "cohen modal haplotype," the so-called Kohein gene - he
is a Yisrael.

The status of the Lemba is interesting.  It is probably safe to assume
that, in contrast to the Ethiopian Jews, there is no rabbinic tradition
that the Lemba are Jewish (I believe th Raavad makes the first known
reference to the Ethiopians in rabbinic literature and accepts that they
are Jewish).  In another reference I saw that their own tradition is
that no women came with the founders of the community, meaning that the
community could have been propegated only through intermarriage with
local non-Jewish women, further weakening any claim to being
halachically Jewish. I would thus conclude that despite genetic evidence
of Jewish ancestery, the Lemba must undergo conversion to be considered

Tony Fiorino, M.D., Ph.D.
Equity Research Analyst - Biotechnology,  Citigroup Asset Management
100 First Stamford Place, Stamford, CT 06902
Phone: (203) 961-6238, Fax: (203) 602-6045


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Oct 2002 22:31:28 -0500
Subject: RE: Kriat Shmah Before Retiring

David Curwin v37n47 asks

>c) If someone is so tired they can't really concentrate on what they're
saying, is there any need to say Kriat Shma Al HaMita?<

Quite simply the sources are as follows:
1) Biblically we must say Kriat Shma twice a day This is explicitly
stated in the 1st chapter of shma

2) But sometimes we either say Maariv too early or dont concentrate at
all. Hence it would be helpful IF YOU HAD A DOUBT, to repeat Kriat Shma
before going to sleep.

3) Also: I think the Kitzur SA(Code of Jewish law) recommends saying
>verses of mercy< so as to hasten the induction of sleep (And saying
shma has that effect also).

Bottom line: You do NOT have to say Shma over again. If you however did
not have proper intention or timing you should say it over again. Since
a person who does not have proper intention in the 1st verse of shma
does not fulfill anything, if the person is that groggy then he should
go to sleep. But if he is groggy and said the Maariv shma improperly
then the Rambam and SA (Chapter 1 of Shma) recommends making him say the
1st verse properly and >after that if he falls asleep then he falls

What is proper intention? Minimally the person must be aware that he is
saying a verse that acknowledges Gods sovereignty

Russell Jay Hendel; http://www.Rashiyomi.com/


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Oct 2002 18:43:41 -0500
Subject: Re: Source of Cohanim

At 10:23 PM 10/26/02, E. Stieglitz wrote:

>I remember seeing the number 6% in relation to all of this,
>though I can't recall which group it was referring to. But
>we're probably dealing with relatively small numbers.

Actually, no.  In one of the tribal families of the Lemba, the marker
occurs in about 50% as I recall.


From: E. Stieglitz <ephraim0@...>
Date: Sun, 27 Oct 2002 19:40:39 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Source of Cohanim

Stan Tenen responded: [above]
>Actually, no.  In one of the tribal families of the Lemba, the marker
>occurs in about 50% as I recall.


My information on the topic comes from an article in an academic
anthropology journal and an article from the NYTimes which seems to have
used information from the original journal article. The anthropology
article focused only on male Kohanim of Ashkenazic and Sephardic
descent. It didn't mention the Lemba at all. The NYTimes article, on the
other hand, was specifically about the Lemba and hinted at the
possibility that the original Ashkenazic/ Sephardic study may have been
part of the key to the riddle of the Lemba (a Bantu-speaking tribe in
southern Africa who now seem likely to have had Jewish ancestors from

Basically, the anthropology article made the assertion which I cited
above. I remember the NYTimes article saying something about 50% of the
Lemba males having a particular genetic trait, though I'm not sure how
to blend the statistics in the two articles together.

In any case, I think I may have tracked down at least an abstract of the
original article that I'm referring to. While this isn't the article
that I originally read, it seems to summarize many of its points. The
main authors are Michael Hammer and Karl Skorecki.


Here's another article which claims that one of the authors was
concerned that his research might be used by religious authorities to
"validate" people as Kohanim:

"...Hammer warned, however, that the research is not complete, and that
only 20 percent of the men who might be descendants of Aaron had those
particular markers..."

(Google's a wonderful thing, isn't it? :-)



From: Beth and David Cohen <bdcohen@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 2002 13:57:03 -0500
Subject: Re: Techum

>From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
>>Is the statement that the GWB is a techum breakpoint based on a shaila
>>asked of a rav?
>I know that the kehila in Washington Heights does not, per their
>rabbonim's pesak decades ago, cross the GWB on Shabbos.

I know that when I dormed at MTA in the late 60's, we took Shabbat
afternoon walks across the GWB. I'm sorry I can't remember whose p'sak
we followed.

David I. Cohen


End of Volume 37 Issue 66