Volume 40 Number 40
                 Produced: Fri Aug 15  5:45:22 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bone marrow drive for Maimonides School teacher
         [Harvey Sukenic]
Books by catholic/religious figures who converted (4)
         [Art Werschulz, David Feiler, Tzadik Vanderhoof, Yakov Spil]
Dam Betulim
         [Tzadik Vanderhoof]
         [Gil Student]
Fake Holiday
         [Yisrael and Batya Medad]
Jewish Fort Smith Arkansas
         [Sam Saal]
Partners in Torah
         [Gershon Dubin]
R. Shmuel Vital
         [Michael Kahn]
Three Oaths
         [Isaac A Zlochower]


From: Harvey Sukenic <hsukenic@...>
Date: Wed, 13 Aug 2003 8:28:7 -0400
Subject: Bone marrow drive for Maimonides School teacher

SHARON STEIFF, a Maimonides School teacher for 20 years, has provided a
strong foundation of skills and shared her love of literature with
generations of students. Our prayers have given her strength in her
fight against leukemia. Now she needs our support even more and the help
of the entire Jewish community.  She needs the gift of life.

He who saves a single life, it is as though he had saved an entire world
Talmud Sanhedrin, 37a

To serve a teacher is greater than to study Torah. Talmud Berachot, 7b


The donor pool is not representative of all ethnic groups. The more
Jewish donors are registered, the greater the chance Sharon will find a
life-saving marrow match.

Maimonides School, Brener Campus
2 Clark Road, Brookline, MA
Sunday, August 24, 2003
9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.*
- Eligible donors must be between 18-60 and in general good health.
- Blood type doesn't matter.
- Registration involves a simple swab of cells from inside the mouth.
-  Donors will also be entered in the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Registry
   for the benefit of patients worldwide.
*You can also register to become a donor on our website at www.giftoflife.org
Support Gift of Life and help find a match for Sharon. Contributions can
be made payable to Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation, c/o Fuld
Family, 95 Clark Road, Brookline, MA 02445.
If you are already registered as a bone marrow donor, you can still help.
Volunteers are needed during the drive.
For information call: 617-277-3083, e-mail <lfuld@...>
or check the website at www.giftoflife.org

 Harvey Sukenic


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 14:42:57 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Books by catholic/religious figures who converted

<WjErrYES@...> (Jerry Weinberg) wrote:
> I am seeking the name/s of books written in the last several years
> by catholic/religious figures who then converted and are orthodox
> jews. 

Ordained to Be a Jew: A Catholic Priest's Conversion to Judaism by John
David Scalamonti, Ktav Publishing

Art Werschulz
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: <agw@...><a href="http://www.cs.columbia.edu/~agw/">WWW</a>
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7060, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325

From: David Feiler <dfeiler@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 21:08:28 -0400
Subject: Books by catholic/religious figures who converted

"So Strange my Path" by Abraham Carmel is one well-known book of this
genre.  The Amazon edition is dated 1977 but I believe that it may have
been originally published earlier.  One of the Amazon reviews: has this
to say:

"The story of Mr. Carmel's spiritual journey is very worthwhile
reading. His strange path from Anglican priest, to Roman Catholic priest
and subsequent conversion to Judaism is well told. His modest, gentle
and generous nature will come through to any reader. Plus it's very well
written. After all he spent the latter part of his life as an English

David Feiler
Syracuse, NY

From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: Re: Books by catholic/religious figures who converted

Here's one:
Ordained to Be a Jew: A Catholic Priest's Conversion to Judaism
by John David Scalamonti, Ktav Publishing
ISBN: 0881254126

Here's Amazon's blurb:
Scalamonti, a lecturer and writer, offers an account of his spiritual 
odyssey as a young American Catholic priest who, having lost faith in his 
birth religion, becomes an Orthodox Jew. Scalamonti candidly describes his 
seminary training, eventual ordination, and growing disillusionment with the 
theology, teachings, and practices of his church. This ultimately leads to a 
loss of faith and a departure from the priesthood. Once out in the secular 
world, he is introduced to Orthodox Judaism through an Orthodox Jewish woman 
and her family, and he converts after much soul-searching. While definitely 
not a diatribe against Catholicism, this is a revealing memoir of an 
individual who finds spiritual truth not in his ancestral religion but in 
the parent faith from which it sprang. This moving account will interest 
Jew and gentile alike.

From: Yakov Spil <yspil@...>
Date: Tue, 12 Aug 2003 04:23:11 -0400
Subject: Books by catholic/religious figures who converted

I know there are others, but one Yid was a Methodist preacher and is now
a frum rabbi/social worker at Ohr Somayach in Yerusholayim- Asher Wade.
He does occasionally come to the States and speak, but he has a tape of
his life story available through ohr.edu- the Ohr Somayach website.

While you are there, although he was not a convert, but he is an
incredibly choshuv baal teshuva is Rabbi Yaakov Asher Sinclair.  He also
has a tape of his life story which is fascinating.  He was a famous
producer/actor from Britain and eventually went to learn and get smicha
and he teaches at Ohr Somayach there as well.

Yakov Spil


From: Tzadik Vanderhoof <tzadikv@...>
Subject: Dam Betulim

>A friend of mine will be getting married soon. He is studying the laws
>of Niddah with a local rav (a fairly charedi rav). This rav told him
>that if the gynecologist tells his wife that her hymen is intact, then
>she doesn't have to worry about dam betulim, even if she bleeds. If she
>no longer has a hymen she also doesn't have to worry about it. The only
>time she would have to separate from her new husband after first
>intercourse is if she has no hymen and she bled.  Has anyone heard of
>this shitah before?

That shitah sounds *very* strange at the very least.  I *strongly*
suspect that someone misunderstood the halacha somewhere along the line.
According to my understanding, the halacha is very clear and undisputed
that "dam betulim" requires separation and tevilah, even if it is
certain that it is "dam betulim".  The only thing I can think of that
your friend might have heard is that the couple is not required to
separate *immediately*... that is, they can complete the intercourse
(which would not be the case if it was "dam niddah").

Since it is (unfortunately) very common to have misunderstandings in
this area of halacha, here is what I would suggest.  Have your friend
purchase or borrow a well-respected and readable book in Engilsh on
Hilchos Niddah.  Your friend should first read that book and understand
it thouroughly.  He should then pick out parts of the book that he
thinks contradict what the Rav taught him and show those parts to the
Rav.  Have the Rav read those parts from the book and then confirm if he
indeed disagrees with the book on that point.  This will eliminate the
possibility of confusion due to misunderstanding.


From: Gil Student <gil_student@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 11:56:56 -0400
Subject: Re: Ethics

Joel Rich wrote:
>Ziyuf Hatorah (falsifying Torah) is clearly forbidden (see the story in
>the Talmud of the Roman emmissaries who learned all of torah to see if
>anything was anti nonJew-they found 2 examples-why did the Rabbis teach
>them those 2 and not lie?)

If you read the Frimer article on Women's Tefillah Groups you will learn
that Ziyuf HaTorah is only prohibited if one is asked.  However, if one
volunteers the information it is not a ziyuf haTorah.  Furthermore, if
it is only on the topic of a rabbinic obligation then it is also not a
ziyuf haTorah.  And if one only implies the untruth rather than states
it outright it is also not a ziyuf haTorah even when discussing a
biblical prohibition.

The only conclusion one can draw is that the behavior under discussion
is perfectly permissible or can easily be modified to be so (intended

Gil Student


From: Yisrael and Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 22:43:13 +0200
Subject: Fake Holiday

Well, I guess I can make use of this list for a confession.

During my army training period back in 1974, one of the religious guys
in the unit proposed that we all inform our commander that as tomorrow
was Tzom Iyov (Job's Fast Day) we couldn't participate in strenuous
maneuvers and thus gained for ourselves a few extra hours of relaxation.
The non-observant also merited by our subterfuge until all was
discovered at lunch.

Yisrael Medad


From: Sam Saal <ssaal@...>
Date: Thu, 14 Aug 2003 08:00:25 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Jewish Fort Smith Arkansas

I may have a trip to Ft. Smith, Arkansas. Can anyone point me to Jewish
resources there? Kosher food? Chabad? etc? I may have to be there over
a weekend.

Sam Saal


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 19:53:01 GMT
Subject: Partners in Torah

Some time ago I had posted to encourage everyone who possibly can to get
involved in Partners in Torah.

Of the inquiries I got subsequent to that post, some asked if the
program encompasses Israel.

At the time the answer was no, but, Israeli list members, please check
out this link.  I haven't but it apparently is geared for English
speaking Israelis:


Tizku lemitzvos.



From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 00:14:36 -0400
Subject: Re: R. Shmuel Vital

>I read in a book "The false Messiah" by John Freely that the son of
>Rabbi Chaim Vital - R' Shmuel, was one of the disciples or prophets of
>Shabetai Zvi. Could that be true?!

Was it true? I don't know. But it COULD be true? Yes.  Some great people
were fooled by Shabtai Tzvi. Before Shabtai Tzvi converted to Islam
there was a great machlokes among world Jewry as to Shabtai Tzvi's
legitimacy.  I'm sure others in the list can fill in the details.


From: Isaac A Zlochower <zlochoia@...>
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2003 23:05:12 -0400
Subject: Three Oaths

I am in general agreement with Zev's interpretation of the verse in
Jer. 27:22, "They (the temple vessels mentioned in 27:19-21) shall be
brought to Bavel and shall remain there until the day when I redeem them
says Hashem, and I will bring them up and return them to this place."

> Zev -- "In this case, Yirmiyahu announced that Hashem had told him that
> the contents of the Bet Hamikdash and the royal palaces would `be
> brought to Bavel and there they shall remain, until the day that I
> remember them'.  Now the simple reading of the prophecy refers to the
> property, not to the Jews.  And even if it does somehow refer to the
> Jews, it would be simpler to take this as a prediction of what will
> happen, rather than a command to each individual to remain in Bavel.
> But R Yehuda held, and this comes down to us as halacha, that Yirmiyahu
> was indeed conveying a command from Hashem, and it was directed at each
> individual, both in the first Galut Bavel and today, not to leave
> Bavel."

The above verse clearly refers to vessels.  However, the
prophet(Jer. 29:4-10) also cautions the Jewish exiles who live in Bavel
to adopt that country as their new temporary home for they will not be
returning for another 70 years.  " For thus says Hashem, when Bavel has
completed 70 years then will I redeem you and I will fulfill my good
word to return you to this place." Jer. 29:10

Now that promise was, indeed, fulfilled with the advent of the Persian
conqueror, Cyrus the great.  "In the first year of Cyrus, king of Persia
in fulfillment of Hashem's word through Yirmiya, did Hashem inspire
Cyrus king of Persia to issue a proclamation throught his kingdom, and
in writing." Ezra 1:1.  In the following verses he specifies that the
temple is to be rebuilt by the Jews who are encouraged to return and are
promised material support.  The temple vessels taken by the Babylonians
are to be taken for use in the new temple.  This, then, fulfills the
message of Jer. 27:22 and 29:4-10.

What basis is there for postulating, then, that there is a continuing
prophetic prohibition to return to Judea from Bavel?  Moreover, many
great sages made that trip after the first return.  Ezra and Nechemia
came later during the reign of Artxerxes.  Hillel came during Roman
times as did the Tana'im R' Chiya and R' Nathan and the Amora'im Rav and
Shmuel.  I can only assume, then, that Rav Yehuda (T.B. Ketubot 111a)
uses the verse in Jer. 27:22 as a device (asmachta) to drive home the
message that now (Rav Yehuda's generation) is not the time to be leaving
Bavel to study Torah in Byzantine Palestine.  The "real" reason is that
Rav Yehuda considers that Bavel has become the center of Torah life and
studies, and it is inappropriate to leave that clime for studies
elsewhere.  Rashi, in fact, uses this very argument in explaining an
analogous statement by Rav Yehuda in the name of Shmuel that it is
forbidden to leave Bavel for other countries (with the presumed
exception of Israel).  It is curious that the Rambam uses the verse in
Jer. 27:22 to justify the prohibition against leaving Babylonia for
other countries, but not for its original use by Rav Yehuda in detering
would-be aliya to Israel.

Yitzchok Zlochower


End of Volume 40 Issue 40