Volume 43 Number 82
                    Produced: Mon Aug  2 10:57:20 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Alexander as a "Hebrew" name
         [Batya Medad]
An "Ellis Island Cohen"
Hats (formerly the Streimel discussion)
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Kohanic "Choice"
Meshullachim and Elimelech/Naomi
         [Batya Medad]
Meshullachim during Tefilah
         [Carl Singer]
Mixed Weddings (2)
         [Martin Stern, Leah S. Gordon]
Naming not an urban legend
         [Lynn Zelvin]
Public, open idolatry (2)
         [c.halevi, Nathan Lamm]
Turning of an Electrical Oven on Shabbat when Thermostat is Off.
         [Daniel Lowinger]


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Aug 2004 06:18:10 +0200
Subject: Re: Alexander as a "Hebrew" name

    My Hebrew name is Alexander after my grandfather. I was told that there
    is a tradition that as a sign of gratitude towards Alexander the Great
    who maintained a friendly attitude towards the Jews, all male babies
    born in a particular year in Eretz Yisrael were named Alexander and the
    name has since been handed down generation to generation. Has anybody
    ever heard of this tradition?

I heard this decades ago.  My father's Hebrew name is also Alexander.
Many of the Russian immigrants also have the name, and contrary to
others, refused to get a new Hebrew name when circumcised, insisting
that Alexander is a Jewish name.



From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 2004 00:38:07 -0500
Subject: An "Ellis Island Cohen"

Shalom, All:

Harry Golden, author of 'Only In America' and other best sellers,
described in one of his books the phenomenon of the 'Ellis Island
Cohen.' Just as Stan Tenen noted WRT his uncle Levy who wasn't a Levite,
when the gentile immigration officials at America's then gateway from
Europe, Ellis Island, came across an obvious looking Jew with a hard to
spell Slavic or Germanic name, they'd cavalierly rewrite the person's
name as 'Cohen.'

Most of these Jewish immigrants were honest about not claiming priestly
privileges, demurring from being called to the first Torah aliyah, but
some brazened it out and were exposed. At least one case, Golden wrote,
found its way into the U.S. court system, with the court finding against
the ersatz Cohens

Kol Tuv,
Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Aug 2004 09:28:21 +0300
Subject: Re: Hats (formerly the Streimel discussion)

Stan Tenen <meru1@...> stated the following on Thu, 29 Jul 2004
10:26:09 -0400:

      And finally, with regard to the tallis per se.  It is intended to
      envelop us.

The term tallis actually refers to ANY garment. As in "shayyim ohazin."

      When we hold together the four corners (with tzitzis) and surround
      ourselves within it, we are literally engulfed in a 2-torus
      (doughnut, inner tube-shape) which mathematicians understand as
      representing a hyperdimensional sphere.

I think Stan means figuratively rather than literally.  A torus is a
doughnut shaped solid formed by rotating a circle about an external
axis.  Perhaps a great deal of imagination could be employed to think of
the prayer shawl as having the shape of a torus.  Perhaps not.  A sphere
is a special case of a torus.  A 2-torus is the product of two circles.

       I doubt that the word "hyperdimensional" occurs in Torah or
      any ancient vocabulary, but I think it's reasonable that the
      idea that the transcendent sphere was somehow a higher order
      of our 3-D material world-sphere, was probably appreciated. 
      So, it's natural for us to step into a higher space in order
      to experience a higher space.  Tallis memorializes this
      memory. But it's not tallis per se.  Rather, it's how we
      wear, and how we use the tallis.  If the bands on our tallis
      reflect the patterns of creation in B'reshit, then we step
      into this pattern when we wear it and pray.

Remarkably original approach, which I doubt has been proposed
previously.  Nor understood.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Rephael <raphi@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2004 00:17:34 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Kohanic "Choice"

Nachum Lamm <nelamm18@...> wrote:
> I've never heard that a daughter of two converts is 
> (l'chatchilah) assur for a kohen, although I've had 
> similar experiences with other "lechatchilah" cases-
> a woman whose father wasn't Jewish, for example.

See Rambam, Hilchot Issurei Biah, 19-10 (sometimes 19-12): "Gherim
Umeshuchrarim...". Just click on: http://kodesh.snunit.k12.il/i/5119.htm

The reason (my wording) to that Issur is that a Cohen must marry a bat
Israel, and the offsprings of 2 converts were never mixed to any "Zera
Israel".  However, if a Cohen marries their daughter anyway, their union
is valid.

Rephael Cohen


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Aug 2004 06:25:42 +0200
Subject: Re: Meshullachim and Elimelech/Naomi

>> donations are not given at the door.  I think that those meshullachim
>> who behave in perhaps not quite the best possible way ruin things for
>> the others.

>It was my understanding that this was exactly the issue Elimelech had
>when he left Eretz Yisrael for Moav. My assumption (sorry, no source,

There's none of this in the pshat, and considering how Nomi was shunned
when she returned...



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 01 Aug 2004 22:38:56 -0400
Subject: Meshullachim during Tefilah

From: Moshe Goldberg <mgold@...>
>I remember being very favorably impressed during a visit to Melbourne
>about eight years ago. The Mizrahi synagogue had signs at the entrance,
>something like: "We welcome all solicitors of charity, but only after
>'Ashrei' (the second time -- near the end of the prayers) in order not
>to disturb our devotions." As far as I remember, people came in asking
>for donations only near the end, as requested.
>Perhaps other synagogues would like to make a similar rule.

It would be nice -- but certainly inefficient.

It seems that the meshullachim make the rounds -- "hitting" as many
shules as they can on their trip in from New York.  That was the case
when I lived in Edison, NJ; and today in Passaic, NJ.  On mornings where
I've gone to a different minyan at a different shule, I see the same
groups of meshullachim at these other shules.

Carl A. Singer


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Aug 2004 09:28:06 +0100
Subject: Re: Mixed Weddings

on 1/8/04 9:22 pm, Stuart Cohnen <cohnen@...> wrote:
> 1. My cousin's daughter is getting married, but the groom is not jewish.
> Should I not attend? Should I skip the "ceremony" and show up for the
> reception? Obvisouly, I am not in favor of this wedding, but my parents
> who can not attend (due to health issues) are pressuring me to do so.

Personally, I would not attend either the ceremony or the reception. At
one time one sat shiva in such cases and, even if this is not done
nowadays, to attend is to condone. B"H I have not been put in such a
position, the nearest that I experienced was when relatives married a
halachic Jew in a non-Orthodox ceremony. On principle I refused to
attend the 'religious' part but did go to the reception when it was
under reliable kashrut supervision.  On one occasion the family refused
to have such supervision and I made it quite clear to them that, in such
circumstances, I would not attend at all.

> 2. I will be making a wedding for my daughter IY"H soon.  Another
> cousin of mine (the brother of the one above, coincidently) is
> divorced and is living with a non jew. Do I invite him and not her, do
> I invite them both or do I invite neither?

Mazal tov, may you make many more simchas in the future. As regards your
cousin's cohabitee, perhaps the way to look at it is whether you would
invite people with whom he was sharing an apartment (with no sexual
overtones). If you would not even dream of doing so in that case, then
there is no reason to invite his [non-Jewish SO. Mod]. If he takes
umbrage, then tell him you would not have dreamt that he would do such a
[deleted by mod, approximately - serious transgression] on which kanaim
pogeim bo [zealots take matters in their on hands on such a
person. Mod.]! With the high intermarriage rate today we must take a
stand.  Treating them as a couple is condoning completely unacceptable

Martin Stern

From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Sun, 01 Aug 2004 19:20:22 -0700
Subject: Mixed Weddings

Stuart Cohnen writes:
>1. My cousin's daughter is getting married, but the groom is not jewish.
>Should I not attend? Should I skip the "ceremony" and show up for the

I think, particularly since your aging parents wish you to attend, and
since your absence will not affect their marriage but may well poison
cousin relations, that you should go.  Who knows what goodwill you may
engender by going and being a nice guy.  The chance of bad fallout for
not going is significant IMO.

>2. I will be making a wedding for my daughter IY"H soon.  Another cousin
>of mine (the brother of the one above, coincidently) is divorced and is
>living with a non  jew. Do I invite him and not her, do I invite them

I think that you have to invite both members of a cohabiting couple, or
neither.  I think that if you invite neither, you're causing bad blood,
particularly assuming you're inviting other 'parallel' relatives.  I
assume you'll also invite the ex-wife?  (She's not your daughter's
ex-cousin, after all....)  What would you gain by inviting just the
cousin?  I think the chance is nil that he would think, "ah, this is
just the message that I've been waiting for; my relationship with
Ms. NonJew is inappropriate, and this simcha will be the first day of
the rest of my pure life."  ;)

I hope that is not too harsh an answer.  I realize that these things are
complex, hence my previous query re going to a nonJewish wedding in the
3 Weeks.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Lynn Zelvin <lynn@...>
Date: Mon, 02 Aug 2004 00:35:36 -0400
Subject: Naming not an urban legend

Whatever it is, it is not an urban legend. Out of my great-grandparents
and in some cases great-great-grandparents who came to the U.S., roughly
half had some sort of name change, either dramatically (in the case of
Shushanski becoming Shore) or less dramatically (as Rokeach-Block was
shortened to Bloch). One family name ended up being spelled a dozen
different ways throughout the extended family. It was these people who
told their children who told their grandchildren, who told me that it
was the immigration officers who shortened or modified their names. did
the story get changed through it's re-telling? Did actual memories fade
and communal experience replace memory? Or did people's names get
modified despite the presence of translators because immigration
officers were tired or sloppy or just didn't care? Whatever the case,
that's not what you call an "urban legend". Ironically, the two family
names that were changed in Europe - one because they travelled with
illegal papers and one because the Russian army took their name away,
these names were preserved intact when they came here.



From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 2004 00:46:08 -0500
Subject: Public, open idolatry

Shalom, All:

Nachum Lamm, dealing with the issue of idolatry, notes that >>Martin
Stern quotes Chazal as saying "Nobody serves idolatry except to permit
themselves forbidden sexual activity in public."<< Nachum then asks,
>>wouldn't "brazenly" or "without guilt" be a better translation than
"in public?" After all, even Zimri seemed not to be actually doing the
act in public, but in his tent.<<

But our Torah, prophets and Sacred Writings are replete with instances
of open idolatry. Consider the parents who burned their poor children in
the fiery Moloch idol; the people who not only believed in t'rapheem
(household gods), but also built altars to strange gods and worshipped
Baal, leading to the confrontation with Eliyahu (Elijah) at Carmel; and
even the traitor that Mateetyahu (Mattathias) killed for openly
sacrificing to Zeus, thus precipitating the Maccabean revolt?

Kol Tuv,
Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi

From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 2004 09:47:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Public, open idolatry

--- "c.halevi" <c.halevi@...> wrote:

> But our Torah, prophets and Sacred Writings are replete with instances
> of open idolatry.

That goes without saying. I was questioning the translation of having
*sexual relations* "openly," as opposed to brazenly and/or without

Nachum Lamm


From: Daniel Lowinger <Daniel.Lowinger@...>
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2004 11:57:16 +1000
Subject: RE: Turning of an Electrical Oven on Shabbat when Thermostat is Off.

A similar question to Daniel's would be whether one would be allowed to
swich a light on or off whilst the shabbos clock has turned off for the
night in order to have light or darkness for the next day. Any

Daniel Lowinger

From: Daniel Gross <gross@...>
> Lately, the following question occurred to met:
> Our oven in the kitchen has a little orange light indicator, showing
> when the heating elements are turned on or off. Would it be permitted to
> turn off (i.e. turn the ovens knob to zero) on shabbat when the
> termostat has turned off the heating elements ie. disconnected the oven
> heating elements from its electicity source . Is turning off an oven,
> whose termostat has switched it of, similar to extending the
> shabbat-clock -- to keep the lights on or off for longer?


End of Volume 43 Issue 82