Volume 38 Number 68
                 Produced: Thu Feb 20  5:59:12 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Administrivia - Kiddush Clubs
         [Avi Feldblum]
Kiddush Clubs (5)
         [Eli Turkel, Harry Weiss, Tovia Lent, Road Runner, Alexis
Lo Sisgod'du (2)
         [Gershon Rothstein, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
         [Russell J Hendel]
A SA Requirement for Kidush Clubs!
         [Russell J Hendel]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Thu, 20 Feb 2003 05:57:29 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia - Kiddush Clubs

The topic of Kiddush Clubs is generating a good, if possibly heated at
times, discussion. A couple of points regarding submissions on this topic.
The original post asked for advice in a situation where a Kiddush Club
existed, the Rabbi knew of what was happening and felt unable to directly
stop it. So it appears to me that responses along the lines of "throw the
bums out" are pretty meaningless since the original request was basically
that the situation was that they likely could not. Valid responses to the
original request would need to deal with either how the Rabbi or others
could convince the people belonging to stop, or how the lay board of the
shul may be able to do things that the Rabbi felt unable to do.

Beyond the original request, the topic is growing in two positive
directions. One is to explore what is the origin / reason for this
behaviour. Is this just a symptom of a different problem, and maybe the
solution is along different lines. A second is to discuss what is the
larger impact on the shul, especially the younger members of the shul, of
this behaviour. A final sub-thread is in defense of these activities and
why they may have a valid reason / origin. As long as they are
respectfully written [I admit I passed through two messages that may have
needed to be edited, but as I would like to see discussion of the topic, I
decided to let the "spice" of the comments elicit additional responses] I
look forward to addition comments on this topic.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Eli Turkel <turkel@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2003 10:58:43 GMT
Subject: Kiddush Clubs

I wish to point out that there are 2 distinct problems involved.
Leaving during davening/derasha and drinking.
In our shul we have a shiur in gemara AFTER davening. Over time it
has developed into a kiddush/shiur with a fair amount of drinking
which increases the levity/rowdiness during the shiur.
We have debated eliminating drinking which would also reduce the
attendance at the shiur especially among those whose only exposure to
learning during the week is this shiur.

 Prof. Eli Turkel,  <turkel@...> on 02/18/2003
Department of Mathematics, Tel Aviv University

From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 13:56:18 -0800
Subject: Kiddush Clubs

Avi Feldblum wrote:

>Just a short comment to clarify what the subject refers to for those lucky
>enough not to have the issue in their community.
>The "Kiddush Club" is a group of people who leave the shul following the
>completion of the reading of the Torah (some places during the reading
>of the Haftorah, other places during the Rabbi's sermon / drasha) in
>order to make kiddush and have a drink of wiskey. Often, the group will
>have a good bottle of single malt scotch (the "cult of the single malt"
>mentioned by one poster) and may include respected members of the
>shul. I have seen this occur in almost every shul I have spent time in,
>and it is not an easy situation for a Rabbi to deal with. The current
>crisis relating to teenagers from religious families that are increasing
>running into problems with alchohol (as well as other issues) has served
>to highlight the potential dangers of this activity and thus there is
>more popular demand for shuls to deal with the issue of "Kiddush clubs".

Why do people go to Kiddush clubs?  (I live in a small community, where
there are none, but, have visited places where there are.)  I don't
think is for the drinking.  People seem to drink very little (at most
two 3/4 oz shots.)  I don't think it is an alcohol issue.  People go for
a break in the davening.  The shmoozing is more important than the
drinking.  Perhpas the length of the service is a problem.  My chidlren
after spending time learning in Israel (and getting used to the shorter
davening there) complain a lot about the length of the minyan.  While we
don't have Kiddush clubs, we have a bigger problem. Many people come an
hour or so late, thus missing tefillah betzibur for Shacharis.

Perhaps we should not look at the Kiddush clubs as the problem, but as
symtoms of a different problem.

From: Tovia Lent <sld11@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 15:42:11 -0500
Subject: Kiddush Clubs

Attention Robert Tolchin: Methinks you Doth Protest too Much.You say-
"How dare you involve yourself in other people's practices that don't
interfere with your own." In our shul the Rabbi banned kiddush clubs
because of the bad message that all those drinkers are sending to our
children-both yours and mine. Their drinking DOES interfere with my and
many other like minded parents who do not want to explain to our
children that it is okay to leave shul to drink or do any other thing
that does not belong in shul. If you want to drink-grab your drinking
buddies and do it at home. We have a no hard alchohol policy in our
shul-to protect our children from people like you who think that
drinking is above all else. It is people like you who have contributed
to the high percentage of teenagers at risk of drugs and alcohol. I am a
physician in my neighborhood who has heard to many times from teenagers
with drinking problems how they started drinking at kiddushim and then
went from shul to shul finding kiddush clubs just like yours who help
these children to become the alchoholics they are today. If you think I
am crying wolf, get your head out of the sand and take the drink away
from your lips long enough to study the problem. Telling Mordecai
Horowitz that the answer for him is to lighten up and have a drink
speaks volumes regarding your own drinking philosophy. Teach your own
kids to drink at lib before you try to tell others when it is
appropriate or not to drink.  I am sure i will see them next Purim in
the Emergency Room

From: Road Runner <mengel1@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 16:06:48 -0500
Subject: Kiddush Clubs

Kiddush clubs are troublesome on several grounds. Just a few: They are
generally run as exclusive sub-sets of the minyan since not everyone can
afford to belong (even if they wanted to). The result is factionalizing
of the congregation. They set a bad example for the children.  They
violate the decorum of the shul and they show lack of respect to the
kavod (honor) of the Rabbi. I suspect that there may be Halachic issues
as well. (Disclosure: I used to belong to one.)

Certainly the best solution would be for the Rabbi to meet privately
with some (or all) of the KC members and explain his problem with a
significant portion of the minyan walking out of shul after kriyas
hatorah. If quiet diplomacy fails, the best suggestion for a solution I
have heard to date is for the Rabbi to call a halt in the service (a
complete recess or perhaps for the recitation of Tehillim) when the
members of the KC begin to walk to the exits. Davening (Haftorah) would
not resume until they return. Initially, it may cause an uproar, but it
would bring the problem out into the open for eventual resolution.
However, it takes a very gutsy and secure Rabbi to do that.

Michael Engel

From: Alexis Rosoff <alexis1@...>
Date: Mon, 17 Feb 2003 20:27:01 -0500
Subject: Re: Kiddush Clubs

On Sun, 16 Feb 2003 12:16:23 EST, Robert Tolchin wrote:

|> I simply cannot believe the intolerance and pedantic holier-than-thou
|> and self-rightous response from Mordechai Horowitz.
|> If you don't like kiddush clubs, don't attend them. You can sit in your
|> seat and listen to the Haftorah and the Rabbi's sermon. Live and let
|> live. How dare you involve yourself in other people's practices that
|> don't interfere with your own.

Mordechai's response was strongly worded. However, I think he was right,
in the main.

"Live and let live" does not apply when someone is doing something that
is against Judaism. In this case, the members of the kiddush clubs are
not violating a declaration set by a few rabbis in a particular segment
of the community. (And if followers of those rabbis did violate the ban
on the Internet, it would be within the rights of those rabbis to take
privileges away from them.)

The kiddush club members are (IMO) violating very basic principles of
respect for the Torah, the rabbi, and the congregation. By leaving for
the Haftarah and the sermon, they send a message: This isn't important.
This is a message that will be absorbed by other congregants, most
importantly, the children. Even if they are reciting the Haftarah in
private, they've still left the impression that it's acceptable to walk
out and ignore what the rabbi has to say. This disrespect damages
everyone present, not just the members of the kiddush club.

Unfortunately, I don't have a solution to the problem. A discussion of
the importance of respect would not go amiss, though, and perhaps some
of the club members would listen.



From: Gershon Rothstein <rothsteing@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2003 15:07:01 -0500
Subject: Re: Lo Sisgod'du

I have four first hand data points on the topic:

1- Rav Yaakov Kaminetzky zt"l, former Rosh Yeshiva of Mesivta Torah
Vodaath was of the opinion that a mixed Tefilin minyan on Chol Hamoed
was an isur d'oraisa, a Torah violation. I asked him if everyone there
is in violation and he said that the minyan goes after the Baal Tephilah
and anyone who does other than what the Baal Tephilah does is in

2- Rav Tuvya Goldstein shlit"a, Rosh Yeshiva of Kollel Emek Halacha is
of the same opinion that a mixed Tefilin minyan on Chol Hamoed was an
isur d'oraisa, a Torah violation.

3- There is a Tephilin minyan in Mesivta Torah Vodaath on chol hamoed
for shachris and then they join the regular minyan for Hallel and the
rest.  Rav Avrohom Pam zt"l attended that Tefilin minyan. He apparently
did not feel that it violated Lo Sisgodedu to have two separate minyanim
with separate customs in the same building.

4- Rav Fivel Cohen shlit"a, author of the sefer Badey Hashulchon has one
minyan in his shul on chol hamoed that does not wear Tefillin. He will
not allow any other minyanim in his shul that wear Tephilin.

Bech'vod Rav,

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <Sabba.Hillel@...>
Date: Wed, 19 Feb 2003 19:53:45 -0500
Subject: Re: Lo Sisgod'du

In my shul in Baltimore, this is the normal custom.  That is, those who
put on tefillin on Chol HaMoed (when there may not be enough for two
complete minyanim of each) will daven in the women's section until it is
time to remove the tefillin.  After the tefillin are removed, the two
groups will merge.  The explanation is indeed because of Lo Sisgod'du.
That is neither group is to be treated as an invalid minhag, which is
what would be implied if they are mixed.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz
<sabbahem@...>, Sabba.Hillel@verizon.net


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2003 10:05:18 -0500
Subject: LO TISGODEDU: Applies IN and OUTSIDE Israel

Mark Steiner in v38n63 makes the following comments

>.This "psak" on lo sisgodedu does not apply anywhere else 
> but the Land of Israel.

Why? Rambam (Laws of Idolatry 12:14) makes it clear that the prohibition
of LO SISGODEDU(Dt14-01) applies to making two Bait Dins in ONE city
(Independent of Israel of not). In The Book of Commandments (Negative
Prohibition #45) Rambam also states this.

Let me put it another way: It is one thing eg to state that calendar
formation should COME from Israel so as to give Israel primality. But to
state that lack of controversy should only happen in Israel but not the
Diaspora does not sound right.

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


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Feb 2003 10:03:48 -0500
Subject: A SA Requirement for Kidush Clubs!

I was a bit taken aback at the vehemence of the discussion on Kiddush
clubs in recent issues (v38n63,64,65).

So let me deflame the situation by citing a possible halachik backing
for Kiddush clubs. Then let me try and present a balanced picture of
BOTH sides for indeed there are two sides to this issue

According to the SA (Authoratative code of Jewish law) one is prohibited
from abstaining from eating past noon on Shabbath (it violates the
Rabbinic obligation of Shabbath Joy).

Now just suppose that a shule has a Rabbi who gives long sermons and the
congregation cant get out till after noon.

But then a member of the Kiddush club who indulges has been saved from
Rabbinic violation.

So my approach is that if we discuss Kiddush clubs then we must discuss
it as a package deal. I want everything discussed: That includes (a)
indulgence (b) long sermons (c) not eating Shabbath morning (d)
listening to Haftorah (e) listening to the Rabbis sermon.

And if we cant find a perfect solution to all 5 issues maybe we should
acknowledge that Kiddush club members are solving some but not all of
the problems (same as the rest of us)

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


End of Volume 38 Issue 68