Volume 38 Number 96
                 Produced: Mon Mar 31  5:33:21 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Academic Jewish journals
         [Chaim Shapiro]
"feminists"--Gemara for women (2)
         [Janet Rosenbaum, Carl Singer]
Gemara b'tzin'ah (in private)
         [Shayna Kravetz]
Gemara for women
         [Chaim Tabasky]
Kitbag Question
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Modern Orthodoxy
         [Binyomin Segal]
My interpretation of AYLU VEAYLU
         [Russell J Hendel]
Open Orthodoxy
         [Michael Feldstein]
Putting on Tefilin Before Coming to Shul
         [Sam Gamoran]
Women and Talmud study
         [Isaac A Zlochower]


From: <Dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 22:30:09 EST
Subject: Academic Jewish journals

I am looking for any information about any Jewish education academic
journals as I write a literature review for my upcoming dissertation.
Refereed journals with searchable databases are preferred, but any leads
will be of great help.  Please email me at <Chaimshapiro@...> with any


Chaim Shapiro


From: Janet Rosenbaum <jerosenb@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 11:23:03 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: "feminists"--Gemara for women

Daniel Wells <wells@...> writes:
> Is the girl learning <subject> doing so because she wants to show that she
> can be as accomplished as her male counterpart? 

It's universally true that any person whose most profound dreams are
ridiculed and trivialized ultimately begins to think of their
accomplishments as disproving their detractors.

Such ridicule can have two effects: despair and determination.  Those
who fall victim to the former ultimately neglect their dreams, while
those who are determined try even harder.

B"H any woman can become a justice in the highest court of the most
powerful country in the world.  A woman who values Jewish law over
secular law and so seeks to become as well versed in halacha as a
Supreme Court Justice should be in American law, who persists and does
not fall into despair seems to be a target of your remarks.

Your question thus makes an (unintended, I'm sure) statement about
values which is quite unfortunate in our secular-focussed society: it is
acceptable for women to seek knowledge of every secular domain, but if
they seek equal knowledge of our Holy Torah, we must be skeptical of
their motives.

If you also mean to question the motives of Jewish women who seek
accomplishment in all traditionally male-dominated domains, your
question has another unintentionally unfortunate connotation.  If you
have trouble seeing the connotation, try replacing "girl" by "black" and
"male" by "white", and you find a sentence which could appear in any Jim
Crow-era Southern newspaper.

Shavua tov,


From: <CARLSINGER@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 07:10:37 EST
Subject: Re: "feminists"--Gemara for women

      Careful; I doubt sincerely that the women of such "calibre" can be
      counted on one hand.  The women of such calibre who learned on
      their own, without support from family, risking the negative
      reaction of society, against (let's face it) probably strong
      negative pressures, can be counted on one hand.

I was struck by the phrase "without support from family."  

Without getting into current psycho-babble, marriages are partnerships
-- neither partner can devote time and energy to serious endeavors
without both emotional and physical support of their partner.  Just as
"kolel wives" are a vital partner (or possibly enabler) so too, if hubby
isn't going to do the laundry then wifey can't go to class.

I'm also unsatisfied with the characterizations that seem to accompany
the several postings.  We need to be cautious in not painting those
women who learn (Gemorah) as "renegades" or "feminists."  Some, no
doubt are -- but our brush can be too broad.  There happen to be some
extremely bright, learned women in our society -- and not all of them
want to dance with the Sepher Torah or learn in front of the Mechizah.

  .... all of which reminds me of the "canoe trip story" -- twenty some
years ago when we were living in Philadelphia I got a motzei Shabbos
telephone call -- a "4th" had dropped out and the guys (other married,
30ish men from our shule) need a 4th for their planned Sunday morning
canoe trip.  After a quick conference with my wife, I replied, "Sure,
Miriam would love to go."  It was too late for them to say no.  A great
time was had by all (and both father and baby survived a day of taking
care of each other.)  BTW -- my wife ran a waterfront for several years
and was the clear choice for this trip.  Although she complained a bit
about the "lilly-dippers." :)

Carl Singer


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 11:09:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Gemara b'tzin'ah (in private)

Binyomin Segal writes, about women studying gemara:
> Now then, what does a properly motivated woman do. That depends on what the
>motive is.
>If the woman is interested in her private devotion, there is no real
>issue. No one has ever (seriously) questioned a woman's right to learn.
>If a woman truly believes that learning gemara will bring her closer to
>God, let her do so. But let her do so privately.

And how does she learn to do this? Who teaches her? How does she find a
teacher for herself ?  And what of chevruta, which is so crucial to
gemara study? This approach places women's gemara in a kind of samizdat
status, in which the whisper goes out from one to another that this one
or that one is studying, this one or that one is willing to teach.

Surely this is not a process of which we are ashamed. I recognize that
there are many things of which we are not ashamed but which should still
be kept private. (I still shudder when I remember reading an activist
slogan for some movement that read "Privacy = Guilt".) But gemara study
is not a solitary process for men for good reasons. Why should it be so
for women?

Kol Tuv.


From: Chaim Tabasky <tabaskc@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 18:53:13 +0200
Subject: Gemara for women

In the late 1970's I taught at Michlelet Bruria, at the time a pioneer
institution for women's learning in general, and gemara in particular.
Hagaon, Rav Shaul Yisraeli zatzta"l was a neighbor, and once, while
walking to shul, I asked him if it is mutar to teach gemara to
women. "Of course, it's mutar," he responded, "but why would they want
to?"  I explained that for many young women, devotion to Torah could not
be assumed as a product of family and societal influences, and
involvement in study is a prerequisite for involvement of modern women
in religious life. Rav Yisroeli's reponse was something like : "sounds
like a good idea".

I realize that this argument does not apply to all communities and
circumstances, but I nevertheless find it compelling.

OTOH, in Israel today, many yeshivot find that gemarah is not the main
path for inculcating devotion, among the young men, that is.



From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 19:49:33 +0200
Subject: Kitbag Question

Isn't the modern term for "Kitbag Question" something like:
DADT = Don't Ask, Don't Tell
which came into use with Clinton and the subject of homosexuals in the
armed forces?

Yisrael Medad


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 11:15:55 -0600
Subject: Re: Modern Orthodoxy

Bernard Raab writes:
> ... I think that the overiding philosophical issue is the one you 
> allude to in the earlier sentence:
> "...accepting that there can be any positive to progress."
> Please correct me if I'm wrong, but the charedim I've spoken to all
> seem to accept the proposition that the farther we recede from the
> days of matan torah the more we lose in knowlege and wisdom, a
> situation which is fated to continue at least until the coming of the
> Moshiach. Not only do we fail to progress but we fight a losing battle
> against the forces of ignorance and atheism, and therefore, our only
> response can be to hold tight to the practices of earlier generations
> which were ipso facto closer to the origins of our traditions, and
> therefore, more authentic.
> I believe the MO attitude is that we can learn from earlier generations
> and actually add to knowledge as time progresses. I believe this is the
> fundamental divergence between the two "camps" and the source of all of
> the practical differences we see today. Comments?

This is actually where our conversation started. I think the charedi
position is a bit more nuanced then your post might suggest. If the
charedi camp really saw itself fighting a battle it was destined to
lose, it is hard to imagine any serious attempt to win. Frankly, I can't
imagine getting up in the morning if I really thought I was fated to
fail. Certainly there are charedi leaders who have innovated and/or held
on to hope for a future. As one example, most of the elementary orthodox
jewish education we have in the US was initiated by innovative charedim
from ny in partnership with locals of all flavors (I don't think that is
controversial, is it?).

So while it is true that generally "charedim accept the proposition that
the farther we recede from the days of matan torah the more we lose in
knowledge and wisdom." It does not follow that we accept that "we fight
a losing battle against the forces of [evil]". Progress against evil is
cumulative, and while we may be making less headway now then we have in
the past, we start where they finished.

Hope this helps -


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 14:25:26 -0500
Subject: My interpretation of AYLU VEAYLU

Bob Werman in v38n89 suggests AYLU VEAYLU legitimizes different views of

I would just like to present my interpretation.

AYLU VEAYLU does not legitimate CONTENT but METHOD

In other words if two Rabbis each spend 20 hours researching some point
of Jewish law but Rabbi A turns out to be correct while Rabbi B turns
out to be wrong (eg he is refuted) then I would hold that:

- The law is ONLY like Rabbi A but both Rabbi A and Rabbi B get EQUAL
reward for their learning 20 hours. (A possibly counterargument is that
since Rabbi B was refuted therefore he didnt learn as well as he should
Therefore Rabbi B-s learning is somewhat inferior to Rabbi A-s learning
since only Rabbi A arrived at the correct psak.

Thus the statement AYLU VEAYLU negates this approach and tells us that
each of them shares equally in the reward of learning.

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


From: <MIKE38CT@...> (Michael Feldstein)
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 07:56:53 EST
Subject: Open Orthodoxy

<As a start, I would propose that a better translation of hareidi is
"insular orthodox". I think this descriptor gets closer to the heart of
the real distinction in world view. I am less satisfied with using the
term "open orthodox" as its counter-point, but that's the best I can
think of.>

"Open Orthodoxy" is, in fact the term that R. Avi Weiss (in his ads for
his new rabbinical school) now uses to describe what others would define
as Modern Orthodoxy.  He doesn't like the word "Modern Orthodox,"
because, as you mentioned in your post, Chareidi Jews use the
technological conveniences of the modern world equally as Modern
Orthodox Jews.  Similarly, he doesn't like the word "Centrist Orthodoxy"
(a phrase Rabbi Lamm favors), because the center is a different point
for different people who identify themselves within the Modern Orthodox

Michael Feldstein
Stamford, CT


From: Sam Gamoran <Sgamoran@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 14:41:18 +0300
Subject: Putting on Tefilin Before Coming to Shul

Last week we had a few stormy days.  Living next door to the shul I
rarely bother with a coat unless it is really coming down.  The
coathooks in the shul's anteroom are on one of the walls.  There is a
utility table in front of them.  I could not hang up my wet coat because
of 5-6 men/boys putting on talit/tefilin at the table before going into
the Shul.

The Shul follows a European/Sfard Nusach but the participants in the
weekday minyanim are quite "mixed" between European descendants and
Eidot Hamizrach (Easter descendants).  It was mostly the Sefardim who
were putting on their Tefilin outside the Shul while the Ashkenazim,
myself included mostly do it inside the Shul.  I normally leave mine in
the storage bin in front of my regular seat.

In better weather many of those who put on Tefilin beforehand are seen
wearing them as they drive to the Shul and try to park as close as
possible so as not to have to walk too far.

Can anyone elaborate on the different minhagim for when/where you put on

Sam Gamoran
Hashmonaim, Israel

P.S. Forced to choose between waiting to hang my coat and thereby
missing answering amen to the first kaddish or bringing the coat in with
me - the seat next to mine got minutely moist that morning.


From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@...>
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 13:06:29 -0500
Subject: Women and Talmud study

The current discussion on this subject have mentioned the favorable view
of the late Lubavitcher Rebbe on the question of the advisability of
teaching talmud to female students.  In addition to the private
conversation that he had with the Gerrer Rebbe on this matter that was
cited by the moderator, the Rebbe also gave a public discourse on the
permissibility and, even, advisability of such an innovation.  He also
commented on it in writing in a parsha sicha [from another poster, the
parsha sicha is Emor 5750. Mod.].  An excellent exposition
of his views together with specific references can be found in the
chapter on "Women and the study of the Torah" by Susan Handelman in the
book, "Jewish Legal Writings by Women", M.D. Halpern, and Chana Safrai,
Eds., Urim Publications, (1998).

Yitzchok Zlochower


End of Volume 38 Issue 96