Volume 43 Number 88
                    Produced: Wed Aug  4  8:01:26 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

civil/not marriages in Poland [was Names - Alexander, Changes]
         [Naomi Kingsley]
The Cohen Modal Haplotype
         [Ben Katz]
David Cone
         [Art Werschulz]
Ellis Island
         [Carl Singer]
Ellis Island Names
         [Nathan Lamm]
Kohanic "Choice" (2)
         [Nathan Lamm, Gershon Dubin]
Mixed Weddings
         [Michael Rogovin]
More on genetic testing
         [Carl Singer]
Sleeve Length
         [Martin Stern]


From: Naomi Kingsley <rogerk@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 15:23:43 +0300
Subject: Re: civil/not marriages in Poland [was Names - Alexander, Changes]

> I've always been told that our name was changed when my grandfather came
> to America because the Polish government at the time (in between the
> world wars) didn't recognize Jewish religious marriage ceremonies.  (Did
> they recognize only Christian? Or even civil?) As a result, many Jews
> whose parents had only had a chuppa but were never licensed did not have
> valid marriages, and the children where considered illegitimate, and
> only having a mother. When those children had their first encounter with
> the civil authorities- namely, when they needed to get a passport- they
> were told that they had no father, and where given their mother's name
> instead. .....  So: Can anyone confirm the Polish legal facts here?  Did
> many Jews have civil ceremonies? Did many Jews change their names back
> to the original when they arrived at their destinations?   Nachum Lamm   >>

My mother, whose parents came from Poland between the wars, said it cost
a fair amount of money to register the marriage - so people often didn't
register; every now and then, some official would come round, and there
were then forced fines/back registrations [not sure of the details].
Thus, the early children in a marriage would very often have the
mother's surname on official documents; later children might have the
father's surname. This was in explanation as to why my mother's paternal
uncles had a different surname from my grandfather. [Incidentally, at
least one of them used both surnames more or less at random.]  The
impression I got was not that of civil ceremonies [would there have been
such at that time?], but 'registration' of the marriage for which a fee
had to be paid. It could be that this fee only applied to Jews.

Naomi Kingsley


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 11:48:14 -0500
Subject: Re: The Cohen Modal Haplotype

>From: Tony Fiorino <Fiorino@...>
>Given the fact that this marker appears in high frequency in some of
>these populations, one would have to assume there were a remarkably high
>percentage of kohanim in the initial populations. Unlikely for exiles
>from the 10 tribes and we have no reason to suspect an unusually large
>population of kohanim in Italy in antiquity. As for the Hungarians being
>descendants of the Khazars, the Khazars were allegedly converts to
>Judaism - and thus should have among them no kohanim and no one
>possessing the Cohen modal haplotype to pass on to their descendants,
>Jewish or otherwise.

         Eitan is only correct if there was no subsequent (legal)
intermarrying between the communities.  For example, if a daughter of
converted khazars married a cohen (or the daughter of a khazar who
married a non-priestl) then there would be some intermingling of cohen
and khazar genes.

         I have thought about this a lot re the cohen haplotype.  This
is the only way to account for the fact that there are just as many
cohen haplotypes among sephardi as ashkenazi Jews.  Ashkenazim look like
Europeans so we have to be descendents of converts.  For there to be
Ashkenazi cohanim like me somewhere along the line one of these
ashkenazi convert offspring had to marry a sephardi cohen.

         i realize i am making some assumptions here and that no one
really knows where the ashkenazi and sephardi branches of judaism
originate from.  yet it seems to me that since sephardim look like
they're from the middle east, that they must be genetically more ancient
bearers of our sacred religion.


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 12:20:49 -0400
Subject: David Cone


On Mon, 2 Aug 2004 23:57:36 EDT, <EMPreil@...> (Elozor Preil) responded
to the question
> Are there any other non-priestly Cohens out there who spell it
> kaf-hei-nun
by saying
> Rav Dovid Cohen of Kehillas G'vul Ya'avetz spells his name
> kuf-alef-hay-nun. And of course, there's ex-Yankee and Met David Cone,
> but I have no idea how he spells his name in Hebrew.

Surprisingly enough, David Cone isn't Jewish.  Once source is

However, there is a former Atlanta sportscaster named David Cohen who
once got confused with David Cone, as reported in the Atlanta Jewish
Times e-archive (http://atlanta.jewish.com/archives/2001/033001cs.htm).
>From the context, it appears that David Cohen is Jewish, but I don't
know how he spells his name in Hebrew. :-)

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: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 09:10:44 -0400
Subject: Ellis Island

> This issue has been discussed at length on JewishGen which is a mailing
> listed dedicated to Jewish genealogy.


Thank you for the information.  The term "Ellis Island" is used as an
inexact encompassing term that refers to the immigration process.
People left their home in Europe (or the DP camps as was my case) with
one name and arrived in the goldeneh medinah with another name.  I came
to America via Ellis Island in 1949.  My family paperwork was in Polish.
My Father, ztl, was listed as Berko Zynger on his Polish paperwork and
Berl Singer on his immigration papers and later on his citizenship
papers.  As a matter of fact my Mother's cousins who came to meet us
couldn't find us because they went to the S line and we were in the Z
line -- or perhaps the other way around.

 From the exacting standpoint of a genealogist the precise circumstances
under which a name was changed may be of interest.  The fact remains
that countless names were changed when people came to America and the
stories are true, even if the exact circumstances aren't precisely

Carl Singer


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 08:21:01 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Ellis Island Names

Perhaps the most famous scene of such a change is young Vito Andolini of
Corleone, Sicily having his named mistakenly (and probably fortunately,
as he was on the run) recorded as "Vito Corleone" by an Ellis Island
official (translator present) in the second Godfather film.

So if it is an urban legend, it's not just Jews who pass it down.

It should also be noted that most immigrants to America did not, in
fact, pass through Ellis Island.  First, there were obviously all those
who entered through a port other than New York. In addition, all
passengers whose papers- passports, visas, sponsors, etc.- checked out
(this included all first and second class passengers, etc.) were simply
processed on board and disembarked in Manhattan (or skipped the
immigration station in whatever city they were in).  Only those who had
to be cleared further (still a huge number) were put on a ferry to Ellis
Island. And as regards another urban myth, very few were sent back.

At what point were legal procedures for changing names instituted?

Nachum Lamm


From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 05:48:24 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Kohanic "Choice"

Janice Gelb writes:

"(similar to a case where a kohen might choose to marry a forbidden
woman and then not take part in the privileges of kohanut)."

This, I believe, is a very common misconception, and is even practiced
here and there. That doesn't mean that it's not 100% incorrect. Can a
Jew "choose" not to take part in the privileges of being a Jew in order
to, say, marry a non-Jew- or eat treif? Of course not.  Neither can a

Furthermore, there's more of an issue here: The products of such a
marriage will be chalalim, whether or not the Kohen still gets his
aliya, terumah, etc.

I'm at a loss as to how this idea arose. Perhaps it comes from the idea
that no kohanim today are guaranteed to be kohanim, but that seems to me
to be wishful thinking.

Nachum Lamm

From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2004 16:05:18 GMT
Subject: Kohanic "Choice"

From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>

<<they could decide whether to live by all of the restrictions of
kohanut and then take on the privileges of a kohen, or whether not to
live by those restrictions and then not take on those privileges>>

Doesn't help.  Kehuna is a privilege, but also an obligation, and
denying the latter, even when declining the former, is not a halachic
option.  Neither is

<<similar to a case where a kohen might choose to marry a forbidden
woman and then not take part in the privileges of kohanut).>>

A cohen may not *choose* to marry a forbidden woman, and beis din in
times of old would beat him to a pulp until he divorced her, even if he
protested that he doesn't like the taste of Terumah anyway.



From: Michael Rogovin <rogovin@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 09:50:20 -0500
Subject: Re: Mixed Weddings

Martin Stern writes

>  At one time one sat shiva in such cases and, even if this is not done
>  nowadays, to attend is to condone. 
>  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
>  behaviour.

I think that one reason for the difference between my (and other
 posters') responses and Mr. Stern's response may have to do with the
 nature of the families and or communities we are talking about. I do
 not know Mr. Stern's background, the community he lives in or how many
 observant/non-observant relatives he has (I suppose after all these
 years on MJ I should). But certainly the shiva reaction may make more
 sense in a communtiy where the vast majority are observant, or at least
 observant enough that marrying out was almost unheard of. There a very
 strict reaction could be justified. But in my case, and (I sense) the
 case of the original poster, I believe that such an approach cannot be
 justified. In both my family and my wife's family, we are the only ones
 who are shomrim shabbat. While most of my family married in, there are
 some who did not, or are otherwise with non-jewish SO's. These include
 counsins and some relatives who are even closer. Sitting shiva, or its
 equivalen t, would serve no productive purpose. Now if we lived in a
 predominently orthodox community, my reaction would be different, and
 what I would do now still depends on the particular circumstances. The
 key point is that the context of the question is as important as the
 question itself in determining an appropriate answer.

Imho, Mr. Stern's suggestion of what to tell someone who is offended
would similarly only be appropriate, if at all, for a person who was
raised in an orthodox home and in an orthodox community. To anyone else,
I think it could actually constitute a hillul hashem (behavior bringing
the Jewish religion, and henceforth God, into disrepute) rather than the
kiddush hashem (behavior bringing honor to G-d and the Jewish religion)
or tochacha (constructive rebuke) that Mr. Stern presumably intends. It
is easy to make a snide remark. It is much harder to give real tochacha
or pursuasive arguments.

Michael Rogovin


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 11:54:42 -0400
Subject: More on genetic testing

I received an interesting and thoughtful response (off list) to my reply
re: DNA testing.

Here's another thought: Is not knowing a sakuneh?  I.e., if
pre-conception one does not avail themselves of appropriate testing are
they creating a condition of sakuneh for either the mother or the child?
And therefore, halachickally, is such testing required?

I'll partially answer my own question, when I note that "blood tests"
are required in many jurisdictions to get a marriage license.  These
test for Rh factor which could lead to dangerous blood incompatibilities
down stream.  Are there any halachic authorities that "ban" these tests?

Carl Singer


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 03 Aug 2004 17:29:39 +0100
Subject: Re: Sleeve Length

on 3/8/04 3:40 pm, Batya Medad <ybmedad@...> wrote:

>> Does the phrase "e.g. loose pants instead of tight jeans" imply that in
>> some societies it it permissable for Jewish women to wear trousers/pants?
> True, it has become acceptable in our area, acceptable though not
> universal.  When my daughters were in Ulpanat Ofra (girls hs) there were
> halachik discussions.  Now all sorts of "pants" with/without long tunics
> are worn, frequently by married women in hats/scarves.

As far as I can see, there can't be much objection to "pants" with long
tunics like the shawal kamiz, the national dress in Pakistan, even if
the tunic is only mid-thigh length since the pants are very loose. I
seem to remember that there was a hetter from, I think, the Seridei Eish
on these lines about dressing for skiing but cannot recall the
details. Can anyone supply further information?

Martin Stern


End of Volume 43 Issue 88