Volume 41 Number 89
                 Produced: Mon Jan 19  6:13:15 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Administrivia - mail-jewish spoofed message with virus sent out
         [Avi Feldblum]
Ari vs. Aryeh
         [Arthur Altman]
Day School Costs
         [Esther Posen]
Kollel -- reprise / tzedukah
         [Carl Singer]
         [Bill Bernstein]
Parental Responsibility
         [Jonathan B. Horen]
Shule Operations
         [Carl Singer]


From: Avi Feldblum <mljewish@...>
Date: Mon, 19 Jan 2004 05:29:58 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia - mail-jewish spoofed message with virus sent out

Hello All,

It looks like a spoofed message was sent out last night to the group
which contained a virus. The message originated outside of shamash, but
had my email addressed as a forged address, so the server sent it out. I
am following up with Shamash. In addition, I thought the list was set up
to discard any attachments (the unix tool I use to process the list
cannot handle any attachments, so I never send out attachments), I will
correct that today.

Avi Feldblum
mail-jewish Moderator


From: Arthur Altman <arthur_altman@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 09:56:42 -0600
Subject: Ari vs. Aryeh

Not precisely on topic, but thought you might enjoy this from Ari
Fleischer, the former Press Secretary to President Bush, who gave the
keynote speech at a Dallas Jewish Federation Annual Campaign dinner the
other night. He related how when he first went to Austin to join
then-Governor Bush's staff, none of these Texans had ever heard the
name, "Ari."  At first they thought he was calling himself, "R.E.", a la
"J.R."  Soon afterwards Governor Bush declared that he was to be known
as, "Ari Bob." Yee-hah!

All the best,
Arthur Billy, aka Zvi Aaron Billy,
Dallas, Texas


From: <Smwise3@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 17:59:21 EST
Subject: Re: Day School Costs

<< The answer is, the funds come from our tuition and our fundraising
efforts.  At most schools my children have attended parents are required
to raise additional funds over and above the tuition. Yes, this is a
burden. Yes, I often resent it. But I have never thought that the
schools are profiting from our tuition.
Nadine Bonner >>

I am sorry you are appalled, but I am also not so certain that there
aren't any schools that make money.  Yes, we also have a building fund
and a dinner requirement, plus we pay for every project the kids work on
and trips they go on.  Probably your response could have included that
not all students pay full tuition or any tuition, as an earlier bunch of
posts here stated.  But last I heard, the teachers and staff, including
maintenance, aren't exactly the highest paid of people.



From: Esther Posen <eposen@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 10:26:50 -0600
Subject: RE: Kollel

Some thoughts about the rabid anti kollel perspective:

Meir Shinar Says: "The Rambam's position is well known even if ignored"

I believe the Rambam's position includes rabbonim, rebbeim and the like.
This position appears to be non-viable for most of us.

Meir says: "The model of universal kollel is not a sustainable one,
which is why it was never held until today.  It therefore is
incompatible with the view of the torah as a torat chayim."

I think the problem everyone is having with kollel is that it seems to
be working fine despite reasonable expectations that it should collapse
under its own weight.  We have many families with a third generation
starting their kollel careers. So it shouldn't work at all and anybody
earning $150,000 in computers should be set forever but that is not what
seems to be happening.  There is a g-d you know.

Meir says "The role of the kollel in maintaining or destroying the
Orthodox community can be debated.  Yeshaya Lebowits recounts a
conversation he had with Agnon, where Agnon asked what happened to the
tremendous power that Torah had exercised over the Jewish community and
people - and RYL answered that Torah became talmud torah - rather than
being the concern of every Jew on some level, it became a profession.
One might argue over the historical reality, but there is much truth to
that argument.  This concern - that by paying for torah, one denigrates
it and reduces it to a profession - is not novel, and is quite explicit
in the rambam's discussion.

I believe that despite all the non-religious Jews in Israel, the simple
fact is that Torah is undergoing a renaissance not a death spiral since
the holocaust.  Torah had very little power in Europe.  They were
schlepping guys out of the Mir and into the Communist party.  And the
average religous male and female person today knows far more about Torah
then ever before.  Torah has indeed become available and integral to the
entire Orthodox jewish community.  There are no villages like the one my
grandfather grew up in where the Rov new kitzur shulchan oruch.  And
again, nobody gets paid very much for sitting in kollel. I am not sure
why I care about Agnon's excuse for not being religous.  We all have our
excuses and our chips on our shoulder.

Meir says "Furthermore, the position of kollel today is different than
100 years ago, or even thirty years ago.  Rav Salanter argued that when
a Jew learns in Kovno, he stops a Jew in Paris from converting.  Today,
when a Jew learns in Bne Brak,..."

I say that, one of the problems with this line of reasoning is that it
is not being supported by anyone of the stature of Rav Salanter.  The
other problem is that Torah holds up the world in a meta-physical sense
and has meta-physical powers so learning torah does not always have to
be supported by rational arguments"

Meir says that "in America, the role of kollel is different - but the
kollel is not viewed by the general community as wonderful role model,
but rather as a danger that they hope their kids won't be sucked into.
This leads to an ambiguous relationship and concern about the education
of their kids - hardly the shining light that is maintaining the

I say that it depends what you consider the general community and the
"general community" Meir is refering to is losing the battle of defining
the norm which is why they create their rabid anti-kollel response.
They can throw in the towel or not throw in the towel but given the size
of the chassidi and hareidi/kollel community in America how can they
proport to be the general community?

Meir says "even in the states, it is not only a private choice.  The
community has limited funds, that are stretched to the limit - ask most
day school principals whether there are excess funds.  The establishment
of a kollel in a community draws funds from the existing funds and
donors, as well as bringing in families who will make extra demands
(outside of the direct funding that the kollel itself draws) on the
existing social welfare system.

Esther says, "there are far more kollel children in Bais Faiga and the
Lakewood Cheder in Lakewood New Jersey then there probably are all over
the United States.  The community kollel represents a tiny minority of
kollel learners in the United States.  And actually most day school
principles resent that when there are enough "frummy" kids in town they
open their own schools.  Which one can argue drains funds but usually
the funding source is different...

Esther Posen


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 07:25:55 -0500
Subject: Kollel -- reprise / tzedukah

It seems to all discussants that the kollel as an institution is not
financially self sustaining -- that is it needs external funding to keep
going.  Some of that "external" funding is targeted funding from
relatives.  (I.e., a parent or in-law of subsidizes a kollel family and
perhaps also the kollel.)  Some is direct donations that (no one has
argued otherwise?) are considered halachically to be tzedukah.

When the kollel funding is in the form of a forced subsidy or a "tax" on
the community at large be it directly such as school "scholarships" or
otherwise -- then we have a potential for conflict.  More than that
there now is the issue of choice.  I have a dollar bill in my hand that
I am going to give to tzedukah.  Do I give it to the kollel who's
members or former members (graduates?) have enhanced my community (or
the Jewish community at large) and my life -- do I give it to the
hungry?  -- do I give it to the poor?  -- do I give it to a kollel who's
members display an elitism, a lack of derech eretz, a sense of
entitlement, etc.)  Halachically, when I give my dollar to tzedukah is
must be with a smile on my face and a warm heart.

Carl Singer


From: Bill Bernstein <bbernst@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 08:58:03 -0600
Subject: Re: Numbers

In support of Carl Singer's comments on numbers, I remember when I was
growing up in NY there was a "personality" around who was called "The
Numbers Man."  I dont remember his name or other details.  I believe he
died about 1980.  But his "shtick" so to speak was to connect disparate
numbers to prove some point.  So, the number of seats in Yankee stadium,
the number of steps in the Statue of Liberty and so were all grist for
his theories.  One of his theories was that he was Moshiach (yes, of
course he was Jewish).  After he died one radio show interviewed a
mathematician and asked about the amazing coincidences that the Numbers
Man came up with.  The mathematician responded that while it seems
amazing there are in fact billions of numbers of different things in the
universe so it is not surprising at all that some of them should
correlate in one way or another.  I would think the same would hold true
for many gematrias: it is no surprise that some of them work given the
many many possibilities.

Kol tuv,
Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN


From: Jonathan B. Horen <horen@...>
Subject: Re: Parental Responsibility

>>[is supporting one's children's education tzedakah?]
>>My child support payments were deemed to be so (Baruch Sh'patarni!)

> I find this comment, both in fact and in attitude, to be shocking.
I responded to Leah offline.

> Furthermore, I am troubled that a father would exclaim joyously to be
> free of caring for his children.

My "Baruch Sh'patarni!" was, perhaps, unclear.  It meant:

1. Thank G-d that I was able to make the payments, and more, for more
    than 11 years, neither miss nor be late with a single one, and still
    be able to "have a life".

2. Thank G-d that my daughters are grown and self-sufficient.

3. THANK G-D that I no longer have to contribute even a single agora to
    maintaining their mother, paying her overdraft at the bank, or her
    telephone bills, all in order to make sure that my daughters had a
    roof over their heads, food in their stomachs, and clothes on their
    backs, despite #1.

The Rabbis asked: "Why does a divorce cost so much?" and a Bas Kol 
min-Shamayim answered, "Because it's worth it!"


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 07:51:59 -0500
Subject: Shule Operations

I'm merging themes in three recent groups of postings:
1 - dress code for the Shaliach Zibbor (and others?)
2 - slow davener
3 - being denied entry into the shule

First -- 3 short excerpts:

1. "The problem arises when there is no formal statement of
requirements, and then incidents such as that described by David Waysman
might occur - the gabbai or someone else decides that a certain form of
dress is inappropriate, even though nothing has been said about it
previously. Of course, if the previous LOR had ruled accordingly, then
there is no point of argument."

2. The Slow Davener

>> Addressing only the second point -- as we have such a person in our
>> congregation.
>> If this person davens loudly enough for others to hear and is always "on a
>> different page" what is the appropriate response to this disruptive
>> situation?

And who, pray tell, rules that *anyone* is allowed to daven that loudly, 
especially at a minyan?

3. The security guard seemed to be saying that we weren't allowed in with
 >cameras, and that if we wanted to come in to daven we would have to
 >abandon all our photographic equipment in the street.

Judging from the tone of your post, it sounds like you weren't treated
well at all ... which is inappropriate regardless of the validity of
denying your entrance.


All three really reflect how shules (which are social groups of
individuals - not "just" buildings) set boundaries, make rules of the
road and communicate / enforce those rules of the road.  And how we as
individuals react to same.

1 - Points out an authority issue that frequently occurs during times of
flux.  In the example, there is no current Rabbi -- but even when there
is but rules / customs are changing -- it's not uncommon for someone to
quote an authority figure (in their absence) as the source for their
ruling.  As often as not upon checking with that authority figure one
finds that he was misquoted or "I never said such a thing."  Some people
find it easier to assert their will by claiming that they're "just
following orders."  or "The Rabbi said so."  As the shule "rules" change
(or did they) lots of confusion and dispute.

2 - Different people have different levels of tolerance and many people
find it awkward to deal with things that impose upon them.  There are
people whose behavior in shule (lets say for the sake of discussion -
unknowingly and without malice) adversely impacts others.  They daven
too loudly, their kids are noisy, they take up two seats with their
Tallis Bag.  Some people find it difficult to respond to such situations
- either directly (confrontation?) or indirectly (delegation?) via the
shule "management."  Yes, no one should daven so loudly as to disturb
others.  Are you going to go over to that guy and tell him?  Will he
thank you or get in your face?  Why not just grab him by the scruff of
the neck and throw him out?

3 - It seems that one of the posters had a bad time, and another (later)
poster found it acceptable -- and we're all now trying to figure out (a)
the motives of the shule for making its rules and (b) trying to
determine if the security guard correctly conveyed in tone and texture
the message that this shule was trying to get across.  Two things:
Different people FEEL differently about such situations -- does security
at a building (or the airport) threaten you and inconvenience you, or
does it make you feel more comfortable knowing that you are being
protected.  Some people REACT differently to such situations.  Some
stalk off in anger.  Some would negotiate an acceptable compromise
either with the security guard or other shule authorities (hey, if I
leave my cameras on the street they'll get stolen -- can I lock them in
your office?)  and others would chalk it up as a lesson learned.

I would suggest that disagreements and incidents that take place in
shule are often as not more social / organizational in nature than truly
halachic.  Even when the issue is specifically halachic, its the
interpretation and communication and resultant interaction that becomes
the issue.

Carl Singer


End of Volume 41 Issue 89