Volume 42 Number 64
                 Produced: Sun May  9  8:37:31 US/Eastern 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

B'nai Brak Seder; Temple Mount
         [Nathan Lamm]
Chasidish Aversion to Pets
         [Batya Medad]
Early Soviet Jewry activists -- the UK
         [Paul Shaviv]
Pets Article
         [R. Jeffrey Saks]
Smelling bread
         [Matthew Pearlman]
Source for Challah
         [Eli Hoffmann]
Soviet Jewry / and Rabbis (2)
         [Leah Perl Shollar, Meir Shinnar]
Soviet Jewry & Rabbis
         [Yisrael Medad]
Soviet Jewry issue
         [Bernard Raab]
Soviet Jewry movement origins
         [Mike Gerver]
         [Amitai Bin-Nun]


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Thu, 6 May 2004 05:43:20 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: B'nai Brak Seder; Temple Mount

Both the Hagadat Hamikdash (available in English as The Temple Hagadah)
by R. Yisrael Ariel and the Hagadat Hara'ayon Hayehudi (available in
English as The Hagadah of the Jewish Idea) by R. Binyamin Kahane, hy'd,
have lengthy essays on the Bnei Brak seder and how it relates to Bar
Kochba, the Mikdash, and the overall theme of Yitziat Mitzraim and the

On R. Akiva being on the Temple Mount: The Rambam, in describing in
visit to Jerusalem, also describes ascending the Mount. So we see it
wasn't that unusual as late as the Middle Ages (especially considering
there was no "kotel" as we know it to visit then), and in the time of
the Tanaim, it's even more likely they knew exactly what portions were
permitted to be walked on and which weren't- after all, the Mikdash
itself had stood in their lifetimes, and the ruins were still there.

Nachum Lamm


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, 06 May 2004 06:49:09 +0200
Subject: Re: Chasidish Aversion to Pets

      I have heard of this chasidish aversion to "non kosher animals"
      but it doesn't make sense to me.  Surely in Europe, chasidim had
      contact with horses, which are non-kosher.

Horses are generally outside, or in a barn.  They don't climb onto you,
or lick or paw you when you're eating, reading or dovening.



From: Paul Shaviv <shaviv@...>
Subject: Early Soviet Jewry activists -- the UK

No discussion of the early Soviet Jewry movement should take place
without mentioning the name of Malcolm Lewis, z'l, a Bnei Akiva activist
in London, England. Malcolm, together with Mike Hunter (now in Israel)
and Gordon Hausmann (? still in London), started the Universities
Committee for Soviet Jewry in England as early as 1966 (possibly even a
year or two earlier). They bought a full page in 'The Times', and
carried an ad signed by hundreds of UK academics calling on the Soviets
to free Soviet Jews. It was followed by years of lobbying, demos and
other campaigning.  Malcolm was a student at Cambridge. Following the
initial demos, UCSJ, together with the '35 Group' of women were
important and influential political movers in the Soviet Jewry movement
- especially in Britain, which was seen by the USSR as less
irretrievably hostile than the USA, and, being European, a highly
important public forum. Needless to say, the initial reaction of the
British Jewish establishment was horror.  Malcolm made aliyah in the
early 1970's, and worked for the JNF as a land surveyor. He was killed
when his car fell over a narrow hillside ledge in the Galil in the mid
1970's. (His brother Malcolm, z'l, was also killed tragically in a light
plane accident in the UK a few years ago.)  May his/their memory be for
a blessing.

Paul Shaviv, Toronto


From: R. Jeffrey Saks <atid@...>
Subject: Pets Article

I noticed that Howie Jachter's article "Halachic Perspectives on Pets"
from the JHCS (Spring 1992)  is available on line at:


From: Matthew Pearlman <Matthew.Pearlman@...>
Date: Thu, 6 May 2004 09:10:50 +0100
Subject: Smelling bread

Following the recent discussion on whether one may derive benefit from
smelling bread on Pesach, I thought it would be interesting to share a
halacha from the Rema (OC siman 216) where he brings a dispute about
whether or not one should make a beracha on smelling hot bread.  Given
the dispute, he rules that one should therefore avoid smelling hot bread
all year round!  Note that the Mishna Berura says that if you did in
fact smell the bread, then you should not make a beracha.



From: Eli Hoffmann <eyhoffmann@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Jun 2004 22:11:39 -0400
Subject: Source for Challah

My wife is looking for any sources that 40 women baking and separating
Challah Erev Shabbos is a great zechus for childless couples and refuos
and shidduchim. According to her, it is murgal be-fi ha-nashim, but we
are looking for a solid mekor.

I am aware of Chazal that be-zechus challah a beracha enters one's home,
and that in the zechus of challah the world was created
(reishis/be'reishis).  We're looking specifically for something about a
group of 40 women baking?



From: Leah Perl Shollar <leahperl@...>
Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 09:56:27 -0400
Subject: Re: Soviet Jewry / and Rabbis

>       I think that all of the efforts, from the behind the scenes
>       efforts of Chabad and the Rebbe and the mainstream efforts of
>       Birnbaum, and the more radical efforts worked together
>       synergistically, and actually achieved the goal.  In that sense,
>       it was K'lal Yisrael, working together.
> major historical error.  the main opponents of an activist struggle were
> the Rebbe and Rabbi E. Teitz.  they tried to halt anything "public",
> demos, petitions, rallies, etc.  No talk of emmigration.  No targeting
> Russian officials.

And yet, during all that time, Chabad was doing some very practical
hands-on things: smuggling tefillin, siddurim, etc., into the USSR,
maintaining underground yeshivot, sending yeshiva bochurim to travel
through and show solidarity...

Leah Perl

From: Meir Shinnar <Meir.Shinnar@...>
Date: Thu, 6 May 2004 07:20:18 -0400
Subject: Re:  Soviet Jewry / and Rabbis

REMT (writing on his father, Rav Pinchas Teitz z"l's position on

>His position, too, is presented in an only partially correct manner.
>He was in favor of the protests and demonstrations of SSSJ.  He felt,
>however, that those considered leaders of the American Jewish
>community, and most especially rabbanim, should not be part of such
>activities, because of the adverse effect it had on the Jews in the
>Soviet Union, and on their ability to conduct a semblance of Jewish

 Growing up in the 1960s, the sense that the youth had was quite
different - they sensed an inherent opposition to all demonstrations, in
favor of quiet, behind the scenes activity, rather than the more
measured position described above - nuances are quite difficult to
communicate, especially to youth groups - and I therefore appreciate
REMT's explanation of his father's position.

Meir Shinnar


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 07 May 2004 15:47:05 +0200
Subject: Soviet Jewry & Rabbis

Far be it from me to understand the motivations and the operative
policies of Torah greats and leading Rabbis and pass judgment.
Therefore, I will not deal with all the possible aspects of R. Elazar
Teitz's response in Vol. 42 No. 62.  Of course, I apologize for writing
"E." rather than "Pinchas" but that's the foibles of corresponding in
real cyber time, late at night.

However, patur b'lo klum i-efshar, so several very short comments.

a) "Rabbanim should not be part of activist demonstrations because of
the adverse effect it had on the Jews of the Soviet Union."

	This is a very difficult subject.  With hindsight, we now know
that the struggle, especially the activist one, liberated over 1,000,000
Jews who emigrated, helped contribute to the bringing down of a 70 year
old communist empire and aided in the reconstruction of Jewish religious
and cultural life in Russia and Eastern Europe.  We know that
demonstrations, including one in which my future wife and I participated
in some 10 days before our wedding (my mother went into canniptions
fearing an arrest) on the sidewalk at the entrance to the Soviet UN
Mission, halted the death sentences for the Leningrad plane-nappers.  We
know that more violent events, as those practiced by the JDL, didn't
affect too adversely the plight of Soviet Jews.

	Did some Jews experience worsening of conditions?  Yes.  Did
they agree to accept the yissuirm?  Yes.  Did they ask us, those who
went over to talk and discuss policy direction, to ratchet up the
activity?  Yes.

	The question is not really were we right and correct, and not
only from a strategic view but from a Halachic one, but if Rabbanim had
been with us from the beginning, what then would have been the outcome?
Would things have happened faster?  Would religious non-Jerwish leaders
have joined earlier?  And many other questions.

b) the publishing of an advertisement in the non-Jewish press (the New
York Times!!!)  pleading for the cancellation of a Somchat Torah rally
in sympathy with that going on in Moscow.

	As Rav Moshe Feinstein zatzal was involved, all I want to ask is:
How can you be against too-too public activities, which would permit the
Soviet authorities to take action against the Moscow Jews according to
your viewpoint, and then go ahead and announce your opinion in the
goyishe media where the Russians will be sure not to miss it?  This
"it's not me but them" approach in Jewish politics for the last several
hundred years is a unique custom.

c) R. Pinchas Teitz z"l travelled to Russia already as early as November
1964 to determine the effect American demonstrations were having.

	At that time, there had been maybe 2 or at the most 3 public
demonstrations (May 1 and the Lower East Side one for sure because I was
there).  I don't know if a proper conclusion could have then been drawn.
It also depends on who you ask in order to judge properly the effects,
adverse or otherwise.  I know that of the many dozens of Soviet Jews
with whom SSSJ, and then the Union of Councils, conferred, and I myself
was involved including my own trip to Moscow in 1976, all were
pro-activist events.

	Moreover, because of the activist campaign, I would maintain,
the yeoman's efforts of luminaries like Rav Teitz and others were able
to be so successful.  Yes, the underground work of Chabad, including
circumcisions, matzot, etc., was in place but of a scale that could not
deal with the total problem over 2 million Jews were facing.

Yisrael Medad


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Thu, 06 May 2004 10:56:13 -0400
Subject: Soviet Jewry issue

One more thing needs to be said regarding this issue before it
disappears from the pages of M-J: We should never forget the inspiration
and leadership of Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, a true "Ohev Yisroel
and chasid me'oomos haolam". We now know that the Jackson-Vanik
amendment, which tied US trade with the Soviet Union to progress on
human rights issues, was a huge thorn in the Soviet side. Jackson was
more activist than the wildest JDL'er, and always spurred the Jewish
community to action when some were growing weary and discouraged.  It
always amazed me that HKB"H would send such a person, crucially
non-Jewish, at just the right time and place. We owe an enormous debt...

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Wed, 5 May 2004 15:40:13 EDT
Subject: Soviet Jewry movement origins

Discussing the origins of the Soviet Jewry movement in the US, Batya
Medad writes, in v42n61,

      JDL started later.  SSSJ and Yaakov's work predated JDL.  We ran
      clever, gimmicky demonstrations, non-violent and no arrests, and
      we got headlines and pictures in the papers.  Yes, I was there.

Can anyone tell me how Harold Light zt"l fits into the this chronology?
He died very young, but at a talk that Elie Wiesel gave in San Francisco
in 1976, Harold Light was in the audience, and Elie Wiesel mentioned
this, and said something to the effect that he was the single person
most responsible for getting the Soviet Jewry movement started. I think
he mentioned 1964, the same year SSSJ started in New York. Did he and
Yaakov Birnbaum independently start their organizations in San Francisco
and New York? Did one of them inspire the other?

Mike Gerver
Raanana, Israel


From: Amitai Bin-Nun <readsscience@...>
Date: Wed, 05 May 2004 08:19:44 -0500
Subject: RE: SSSJ and JDL

      Some mention is made of R. Meir Kahane z'l and the JDL in bringing
      the topic of Russian Jewry to the headlines.

Technically, this is correct. Meir Kahane's JDL succeeded in making Page
One of the New York Times, the attentions focused far more on their
controversial techniques and shadowy modus operandi than the plight of
Russian Jewry.

See "Anti-Arab Jet Plot Laid to Seized Pair; Anti-Arab Plane Hijacking
Plot Laid to Seized Pair" (9/29/70), "Bomb Wrecks Office Of Palestine
Group; PALESTINE OFFICE DAMAGED BY BOMB" (10/7/70), and "Bomb Damages
Russian Offices Here; Soviet Jews' Plight Cited by Callers Pipe Bomb
Damages Soviet Airline Offices Here" (11/26/70).

The SSSJ movement succeeded in part by incorporating identity themes
into their protests, with symbols such as a shofar or a Menorah figuring
prominently in their marches. Rabbi Kahane's actions, while attention
grabbing in the short term, made the Soviet Jewry movement one that the
average Jew couldn't identify with (for how many people find violence
resonating and exciting?) and hurt the movement in the long term.

Thank you,
Amitai Bin-Nun


End of Volume 42 Issue 64