Volume 42 Number 09
                 Produced: Wed Feb 11  5:22:03 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

ATID Fellows 2004-05
         [R. Jeffrey Saks]
Baruch Dayan Emet
         [Andrea Penkower Rosen]
Carrying RFIDs on Shabbat and Yom Tov
         [Tobias Robison]
Chiddush and Midrash
Jesus, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny
Predispositions - Free will - Genetotrophic Diseases
         [Russell J Hendel]
R' Shlomo Carlebach's 10th yahrtzeit
         [Shlomo Katz]
URL for Bibles
         [Shimon Lebowitz]
What's Jesus? (2)
         [Michael Kahn, E Geiger]
Women Taking Challah
         [Carl Singer]


From: R. Jeffrey Saks <atid@...>
Date: Thu, 5 Feb 2004 14:53:50 +0200
Subject: ATID Fellows 2004-05


Visit www.atid.org for details on the ATID Fellows Program for young
Torah educators and future communal leaders.

For details in Hebrew, visit: http://www.atid.org/applyh.htm

ATID has been established in order to enable talented men and women,
young professionals from all fields, who have a rich background in Torah
study, to develop the tools to make informed decisions about the
education of the next generations. We have established ATID to help
shape and develop the future of educational leadership in our
community. These future leaders and visionaries will be the teachers and
builders of educational institutions, members of the boards of
directors, and the forces in setting the educational agenda within the
Jewish community in Israel and abroad.

In the coming academic year the ATID Fellowship will again be comprised
of a select number of people who have shown early promise of taking a
role in educational leadership. The Jerusalem-based in-service program
consists of weekly seminars, individual and group research projects and
field work, and mentoring by senior educators. Fellows are generally in
the first 5 years of their professional life, and have at least a BA (or
equivalent). The fellowship is awarded for two consecutive academic
years, and the academic program runs from September-June (inclusive).
Each Fellow will receive a yearly stipend of $3,500 (US).

Details and applications available at www.atid.org/apply.htm

ATID is an independent, privately funded institution which aims to
foster new and significant thought on the crucial issues facing Jewish
education among future leaders in the field-students, young educators,
and other professionals who will serve as lay leadership. Feel free to
contact our Jerusalem office at 02-567-1719 or <atid@...> to discuss
our program.

Rabbi Chaim Brovender, President, ATID Foundation
Rabbi Jeffrey Saks, Director


From: Andrea Penkower Rosen <apr@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 09:25:39 -0500
Subject: Baruch Dayan Emet

As her eldest child and loving daughter, it is with sadness that I honor
her memory and tell you all that Lillian Harriet Stavisky Penkower,
Chaya Ahuva bat Avraham Menachem Mendel and Feiga Bayla, died peacefully
in her sleep last night, Monday, February 9th, the 18th of Shevat,
surrounded by family.  She was 94 years old.

She remained elegant and dignified to the very end.  Her great faith in
God enabled her to leave with the certainty that her time had come and
she was ready.  On Sunday, fully alert, she proclaimed several times to
the many who had come to bid farewell, "I love you".  She was a queen,
in turn making her farewell.

She was the beloved widow of Rabbi Murry S. Penkower and is survived by
her four chlldren, Andrea P. Rosen, Monty, Jordan and Sharon P. Kaplan,
18 grandchildren and 15 great-children.

Funeral services will take place at the Plaza Jewish Community Chapel,
630 Amsterdam Avenue, corner 91st Street, on Wednesday, February 11th,
at 9:30 a.m. followed by interment at Mt. Carmel cemetary.  The week of
shiva will be observed at my mother's home at 60 East 8th Street (corner
Broadway), in Manhattan.  Donations may be made in her memory to AMIT,
817 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10003.

Andrea Penkower Rosen


From: Tobias Robison <trobison@...>
Date: Thu, 05 Feb 2004 12:50:56 -0500
Subject: Carrying RFIDs on Shabbat and Yom Tov

Within a few years, RFID tags may be ubiquitous in our clothes. These
devices, called Radio Frequency Identification tags, are based on the
same technology that lets cars pay E-ZPASS tolls without stopping. They
have no batteries, but respond to the signals of any RFID reader that
they pass. RFIDs can currently be the size of a small pebble, and they
are going to get smaller. RFID chips can be embedded into products and
clothing and covertly read without our knowledge. A small tag embedded
into the heel of a shoe or the inseam of a leather jacket for inventory
control could be activated every time the customer entered or left the
store where the item was bought; that tag could also be read by any
person, business or government agency that has a compatible reader.

I'm wondering whether we will be required to remove RFIDs from any
clothes we plan to wear on Shabbat and Yom Tov, and would like to see
some comments on this rather new topic. Please note that RFID
manufacturers are working on ways to allow us to turn RFIDs off after we
buy clothes containing them. An "off" RFID presumably would not respond
to any reader. Its halachic status (since it is an utterly useless thing
at this point) might still be problematic.

(My description of RFIDs was excerpted and paraphrased from this web
page: http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040216&s=garfinkel , a Feb
3, 2004 article).

- tobias d. robison


From: <meirman@...> (Meir)
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004 22:25:14 -0500
Subject: Chiddush and Midrash

>From: Jack Gross <ibijbgross2@...>

Gosh, I do appreciate your glossary, but two of these definitions have
just confused me, in light of the America Heritage Dictionary4

>* Chiddushim - collected novellae

novella: 1. A short prose tale often characterized by moral teaching or
         2. A short novel.

These meanings of novella seem almost unrelated to the Latin origin of
novella, and to my mind unrelated to the meaning of chiddush.  Unless
I'm thinking of something else, I thought that chiddush was a novel,
original though, and not necessarily about moral teaching.  If so, does
a chiddush have to be new in Jewish history, or only one that a person
thinks of himself, without having read or heard it?  Or is it a chiddush
if the listener hasn't heard it before? :)

>* Midrash - exegetic collection

exegesis:  Critical explanation or analysis, especially of a text.

I thought many or most midrashim were collateral stories which made some
point related to a text, but were not exegetic at all.  As an important
aside, this also reminds me of the question I'm sure a lot of people
have as to who all wrote the midrashim and what is the level of
authority of the midrashim.  For example, can any observant Jew apply
any interpretation that seems right to him?

<meirman@...>  Baltimore, MD, USA


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2004 21:08:59 -0600
Subject: Jesus, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny

Shalom, All:

Tzvi Stein asks what we tell (little) kids about Jesus. In my family,
the first question to come up was about Santa Claus. ;)

When they were very young, I told my children there is no Santa Claus
but they must never, ever tell that to their Christian friends because
it will make them cry. I told them the same thing about the Easter

When the question of Jesus came up, it was an easy transition to tell
them that Christians believe Jesus is God, but we know he's not.
However, once again, they were not to tell their little friends this
fact. As my son grew older (he's now 18, my daughter is 7) I gave him
theological ammo: where the Christian bible made mistakes. He only uses
this "weapon" on obnoxious classmates who tell him he's going to hell
because he's Jewish.

Kol tuv,
Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 8 Feb 2004 22:53:03 -0500
Subject: Predispositions - Free will - Genetotrophic Diseases

Dr. Goldstein in a recent issue discusses "genetic predisposition" (eg
to certain types of alcoholism).

But a central tenet of Judaism is man's free will.  Without disputing
the literature I think we should briefly mention why such "genetic
predispositions" do not contradict this important tenet.

We can best approach this using the concept of a "mediating
variable". That is very often such predispositions are not direct but
rather a consequence of some "intermediate cause."

A large class of examples is given by what Dr Williams has termed the
GENETOTROPHIC diseases---diseases which happen because of higher
nutritional requirements.  Alcoholism is classified as genetotrophic.

The idea here can be illustrated with some famous experiments. A group
of rats is given the choice of say water, or alcoholic beverages with
varying levels of alcohol. Needless to say the rats will randomly
choose--some will become alcoholic and others not. BUT, if the
non-alcoholic rats are fed diets deprived of certain nutrients while the
alcoholic rats are fed superior diets (with full nutritional
requirements) then SOME (not all) of the predisposition towards
alcoholism vs non-alcoholism can be reversed.

Here, "nutritional requirements" are a "mediating variable". What the
rats really have a predisposition towards is certain high nutritional
requirements--- if their requirements are not met they will develop
symptoms which ordinary rats do not have. We need only recall the
opening paragraph of Rambam. Laws of Characters Chapter 4 that "it is
not fully possible to know God if a person is not healthy".

I am not trying to dispute the literature; nor am I trying to claim all
dispositions are nutritional. I am simply pointing out that according to
Jewish beliefs we should regard "predisposition studies" as indicating
that SOMETHING is missing (but NOT ones freedom). Very often the
discovery of what is missing can cure the problem.

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


From: <Solk55@...> (Shlomo Katz)
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2004 06:19:32 EST
Subject: R' Shlomo Carlebach's 10th yahrtzeit

I wanted to let you know that I have begun planning a very special
tribue for our zise Rebbe's 10th yahrzteit which will take placeon the
16 of Ram Cheshvan 5765, November 29th 2004.

I am dividing up the whole shas (Bavli) by masechta or perek and we will
Im Yirtse Hashem be doing a siyum on the yahrzteit lei'luyi nishamto
hakdosha, can you imagine the kavod which is so deserved?

Whatever it is, a whole masechet or even a perek... i just need to know
as soon as possible so we can mamesh get this rolling. We have nine
months... seems like a lot but it's not.

Also very important, if you know that you can't handle a whole perek and
just want to learn a little peice with someone to be part of this huge
mitzvah please let me know.

Please let me know fast as the masechtas will Im Yirtse Hashem be filling
Let's make it happen.
Tavo Aleichem Habracha
kol tuv
Shlomo Katz


From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 09:33:08 +0200
Subject: Re: URL for Bibles

I was rather surprised to read a posting recommending a site that comes
with the caveat:

> PLEASE NOTE: This is a site run by a Christian ministry. If you want to
> avail yourself of it, please take appropriate notice.

Why should our list publicize such a site? Do we really want to see what
they have there? Or to encourage others to see?

If you want a free downloadable Tanach (and Rambam, and Mishna, Tosefta,
and Shas Bavli + Yerushalmi) you can get it at

(There is another one called EZER which I have and says it is freely
distributable, but I cannot find it anymore on the web.  Requests gladly
answered - 5.3MB, and I can send it in smaller pieces if that is more

I recently came across a site that had some other Jewish literature that
would be extremely useful, but I left the site as soon as I realized it
was missionizing, and using those sources *against* us.  I certainly
will not publicize its URL.



From: Michael Kahn <mi_kahn@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004 23:02:13 -0500
Subject: RE: What's Jesus?

>Here's the middle ground that I taught to my kids: He was a man who
>lived a long time ago. Other people believed that he was a god, and
>started davening to him, and they made a whole religion out of it. We
>don't believe that, because a person *can't* be HaShem, and it's sad
>that they do, but that's the way it is.

I think that's a great answer. You might want to add how hashem apeared
to 6,00,000 people at Har Sinia which has been passed down from one
generation to another which is basicly the Kuzari's arguement. this is
what my dad told me when I was a kid and was troubled by "How do we
know..." I still remember his answering me this.

From: <egeiger@...> (E Geiger)
Date: Mon,  9 Feb 2004 22:06:14 -0500
Subject: What's Jesus?

> I suppose you could say, "For gentiles he's sort of like a rebbe from
> long ago.  Many even pray to him.  We Jews don't do anything like that."

I'm not sure that one should put Jesus and (l'havdil elef havdalos!) a
Rebbe in the same boat, so to speak, even for purposes of explaining
something to children so they will comprehend-it's not necessarily a
safe type of 'comparison' and might ultimately (or sooner than that)
become even more difficult to explain...



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 09 Feb 2004 22:06:05 -0500
Subject: Women Taking Challah

A guess here -- no doubt women in a "baking class" are taught to take
challah and that this is a mitzvah that women should be especially
mindful of.

It's not a far stretch from that position for someone to believe that
it's a "women's only" mitzvah.  Ignorance might be a strong word.  Might
it not be considered "sexist" for a woman not to consider that there are
men who bake.

Carl Singer


End of Volume 42 Issue 9