Volume 43 Number 98
                    Produced: Fri Aug  6  9:06:32 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Change your Name
         [Menashe Elyashiv]
Dissertation Info
         [Binyomin Segal]
Font size for Tachnun
         [David Cohen]
Mixed Weddings (4)
         [Martin Stern, Martin Stern, Samuel P Groner, Bill Bernstein]
My Uncle (Minhas Elozor) did not get Smicha from his Father in Law
         [Jeannette Friedman]
Name Changes
         [Batya Medad]
Setting Alarm Clocks
         [Carl Singer]


From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 10:19:19 +0300 (IDT)
Subject: Change your Name

In JM 43/94 - in Israel name changing is not done in court - it is
easier than that - fill out an interior ministry form!


From: Binyomin Segal <bsegal@...>
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 22:38:00 -0500
Subject: Dissertation Info

Hello all -

I recently defended my dissertation at Loyola Chicago, and thought the
topic was one that some of the people on the list might find
interesting. Below is an abstract, an unofficial copy of the
dissertation is available at www.bsegal.com

binyomin segal


The modern American Jewish day school first developed in New York city
during the early part of the 20th century. How have changing conditions,
in American generally and in the American Jewish community, affected
what kind of schools are both possible and desirable? Focusing on the
mesivta ketana, a Strictly Orthodox all-boys elementary school, this
paper employs a synthesis of modern secular scholarship and traditional
Jewish scholarship to explore this question.

Historical research is used to describe the past century of Orthodox
Jewish education in America, detailing the development and
diversification of the day school. The social changes that have occurred
over the past century are detailed, with special consideration as to how
those changes might effect the educational methods that are possible and

A traditional Jewish philosophy of education is articulated. Jewish
education is defined to contain three main components: limud (study),
chinuch (practice), and umanus (vocation). Special consideration is
given to the issues raised by community funded secular education for
children. Modern secular approaches to education, that are congruent
with traditional Jewish concerns, are explored.

A synthesis of the traditional philosophy, current situation, and
secular methods, produces a picture of an ideal Jewish school. Based on
this ideal picture, specific recommendations are made to improve current
educational practice within the yeshiva ketana.


From: David Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 08:45:01 -0400
Subject: Font size for Tachnun

Carl Singer wrote:
> I've noticed that the introductory sentence (Vayomer David el Gad ....)
> is a smaller font.  Does anyone have an explanation?

According to the note in Ezor Eliyahu, it was not in the old sidurim,
and was added by the Kitsur Shl"ah.

The Gr"a opposed its addition to Tachanun on account of its meaning in
its original context (David ha-Melekh was choosing to be punished by a



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, 05 Aug 2004 16:54:55 +0100
Subject: Re: Mixed Weddings

on 5/8/04 2:02 pm, William Friedman <williamf@...> wrote:
> Would Martin Stern advocate similar strictures regarding inviting
> Sabbath-breaking relatives?  If so, what is his rationale for
> excluding all non-observant Jews from religious s'machot?

Where inviting them would involve them in chillul shabbat, I would not
invite them to any affair on shabbat. For this very reason I did not
make a kiddush on shabbat on the occasion of my boys' barmitvahs but
rather had a reception on Sunday. Otherwise I cannot see any reason not
to invite non-observant Jews to one's s'machot.

Martin Stern

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2004 09:19:44 +0100
Subject: Re: Mixed Weddings

on 5/8/04 2:02 pm, William Friedman <williamf@...> wrote:

> Would Martin Stern advocate similar strictures regarding inviting
> Sabbath-breaking relatives?  If so, what is his rationale for
> excluding all non-observant Jews from religious s'machot?  If not,
> then I fail to to see how singling out intermarriage (not necessarily
> even a d'oraita, and certainly not worse than hillul Shabbat) has any
> basis in halakha whatsoever.  Invoking "kenaim pog'im bo" is clearly
> inappropriate when dealing with modern-day intermarriage (as recent
> discussions on this list have attested), and in any case, is not a
> halakhic rationale.  As Ed Ehrlich pointed out, intermarriage is but a
> symptom of the larger problem of estrangement from Judaism; to
> separate out intermarriage for special treatment when other aveirot
> are also being committed is farcical, and probably racist.

As I have written previously, I tend to agree with Ed's analysis but I
fear William is being somewhat short sighted in his. Intermarriage, by
and large, is the end of the line in assimilation and, where it is a
Jewish male who is marrying a non-Jewish female as in the majority of
cases, there is not even the possibility that future generations may
return to Judaism. Thus invoking halachic categories of the seriousness
of sins is really not an appropriate paradigm.

His claim that opposition to out-marriage is probably racist is also
ridiculous since we accept gerim of all races; it is only to marrying
those who do not convert that we object even if they have three 100%
Jewish grandparents, the only non-Jewish one being the mother's mother.

I have answered his question regarding excluding non-observant Jews from
one's religious s'machot previously but the much more troublesome
problem is what should an Orthodox Jew do about invitations from them to
their celebrations. Where these take place under Orthodox auspices, as
is common in the UK where the majority of non-observant Jews are
affiliated to Orthodox synagogues, there is no real problem in attending
the religious ceremony and, provided the catering is kosher, even the
reception/meal.  There might be a problem at the latter with the dress
of some of the female guests (or rather lack of it) but, for relatively
close family one might find some solution in consultation with one's
rav. Where there is entertainment involving female vocalists (usually
also scantily clad) one can always discretely leave the hall during the
performance, after all other guests will also flit in and out for
various reasons.

The real problem arises with those who affiliate with non-Orthodox
religious groupings. I have had this problem on several occasions when a
relative married to the son of the religious leader of the Masorti
(Conservative) movement made simchas and I was put under considerable
parental pressure to attend. My rav ruled that I could attend only the
reception, provided it was kosher of course, but not the religious
elements of the celebration. Since we do not live in the same town, this
made going to a barmitsvah virtually impossible whereas for weddings we
could be 'held up by traffic' and arrive too late for the chuppah.

There was one occasion on which I discovered by chance that the wedding
reception was not being catered by a kosher caterer and remonstrated
with the said religious leader who was most offended that I had bothered
to try and find out what they were doing; he called it going behind
their backs. As it happens the facts came out quite by chance (mesiach
lefi tumo) as I had not even suspected that they would do such a thing;
all I had done was verify what I had heard.

Such arrangements are virtually unheard of in the UK where non-observant
Jews, even members of Reform, normally arrange kosher catering if they
have any observant guests. That the family of the spiritual leader of UK
Masorti, who claimed to be observant, should not do so was therefore
doubly offensive. In this case we were offered the option of prepacked
kosher meals but turned this down because of 'marit ayin - others would
not realise we were not receiving the same as everyone else' and, more
seriously, 'lifnei iveir - others, seeing visibly frum people eating
there, would assume that the whole affair was unquestionably kosher'.

This case may be slightly special since it involved ideologically based
departures from accepted practice ("If WE think it is kosher enough, you
MUST accept it") whereas most non-observant Jews are simply tinokot
shenishbu, who do not have a strong Jewish background and, therefore,
know no better.

These are merely my personal experiences and anyone facing similar ones
should consult their rav as to how they should proceed since the
circumstances of every case differ.

Martin Stern

From: Samuel P Groner <spg28@...>
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 10:48:34 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Mixed Weddings

William Friedman writes that

> to separate out intermarriage for special treatment when other aveirot
> are also being committed is farcical, and probably racist. (As R'
> Kahane once accused Alan Dershowitz of being, quite correctly IMO.)

I think that "racist" may be the wrong term in this context.  After all,
the jew and non-jew seeking to marry each other could either be of the
same race, or of diferent races, and the objection would be the same.
Perhaps what William meant was that "to separate out intermarriage for
special treatment when other aveirot are also being committed is
farcical, and probably discriminatory against non-jews."  Finally,
having read things by both R. Kahane and Alan Dershowitz, my guess is
that when R.  Kahane accused Dershowitz of being "racist" he also really
meant "discriminatory against non-jews."

To those considering a reply that jews and non-jews are different races,
please supply halakhic sources to back up that contention if you make
it.  They are few and far between.


From: <billbernstein@...> (Bill Bernstein)
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 2004 09:09:41 -0500
Subject: Re: Mixed Weddings

This is obviously a hot topic which, unfortunately, comes up with some

There are many halakhos about a person who is intermarried, whether he
can be counted in a minyan, whether he can be called to the Torah etc
etc.  But the actual practice in many places (at least many places in
Nashville TN) is to treat intermarried people no differently.  I once
heard an explanation for this.  In the time of the Shulchan Oruch if a
person intermarried he was making a statement that he was no longer part
of the community.  That so, it would be inappropriate to do things that
would include him in that community.  Today the situation is totally
different.  Since most Americans see religion as simply a personal
choice and most Jews are unfortunately ignorant of halakha, the person
intermarrying sees no contradiction between his spousal choice and his
religious identity.  If that is the case, then excluding a person
because of his spouse will not send any constructive message.  The
result will be puzzlement and anger.

Bill Bernstein
Nashville TN.


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeannette Friedman)
Date: Fri, 6 Aug 2004 08:23:32 EDT
Subject: My Uncle (Minhas Elozor) did not get Smicha from his Father in Law

      the Minhas Elozor gave semikha to the Munkacser Rov.

No he did not. My mother says no way. SHE WAS DEFINITE. BARUCH
LAWS. He got the smicha from a group of rabbis, and I have a call into
the Dinever Rebbe to get the names.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2004 15:02:17 +0200
Subject: Re: Name Changes

Not only Ellis Island.  My mother's six British cousins (children of her
mother's brother), the Vishnefsky's, were all registered in school under
different names.  Their mother was illiterate in English, so the clerks
who registered them each wrote something else.  At some point her uncle
decided to change all the names to something simpler, Marks.



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Fri, 06 Aug 2004 07:44:59 -0400
Subject: Setting Alarm Clocks

From: Joseph Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
> The Shmirat Shabbat H'hilchata (Rabbi Joshua Neuwirth) writes that one
> is permitted to wind and set an alarm clock before shabbat, and pull out
> the alarm-set button on Shabbat in order to use the clock for awakening
> for davening or learning.  I presume that he is referring to a
> non-electric clock. (Chapter 18/41) I have an old (5725) edition, so it
> may be elsewhere in the newer revised edition.

The above is especially interesting because it's a very simple example
of how changing technology may impact halachic rulings.

Perhaps 40 (5725) years ago or earlier the norm for a non-electric (make
that non-plug in) alarm clock was the "old" 12 hour clock that could not
distinguish AM & PM -- so the above was an issue and a learned Rabbi
dealt with that issue.  BTW - Turning off the Alarm's ringing wasn't an
issue because the alarm simply wound down after a minute or so.  (One
could regulate the length of the ringing by how much they wound the
secondary spring which controlled only the alarm bell.)

As I mentioned in an earlier post -- today 24 hour clocks are readily
available today and many have a limited alarm which turns itself off
after one minute.

There are many more complex examples whose context has changed over
time.  Consider (shteitel?) life without running water, a refrigerator,
a stove that one simply "turns on" (rather than gathers fuel for),
indoor plumbing -- and the chores related to living in that environment
-- and the related halachic rulings.  For example, without a usable eruv
eating a hot meal on Shabbos might be close to impossible.  The
community eruv allowed people to keep the chulent in the baker's oven
(which would stay warm through Shabbos morning) and carry it home on
Shabbos.  In this context, then, a ruling against the use of an eruv was
tantamount to a ruling against chulent.  But then again, people may not
have locked their doors -- so carrying keys was not an issue of the day.

Carl Singer


End of Volume 43 Issue 98