Volume 44 Number 89
                    Produced: Tue Sep 21  5:59:35 EDT 2004

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Book of Quotes for Occasions
         [Rose Landowne]
Following the minhag of your HOST
         [Simon Wanderer]
Sukkot on the J Site and 72 holiday links
         [Jacob Richman]
Teaching Evolution or Abortion (3)
         [Shayna Kravetz, Jonathan Katz, Alexis Rosoff]


From: <ROSELANDOW@...> (Rose Landowne)
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2004 21:56:43 EDT
Subject: Re: Book of Quotes for Occasions

      From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>

      I always get stuck when writing a greeting card for a simcha
      (occasion) - I'd love to be able to write something other than the
      most common quote. Is there a book of such quotes (Hebrew)? I
      tried the Internet and could not find any such list.

I'm a little behind in my email, but there's a book in Hebrew called
"V'zot haBracha" by Shyke Shapira which gives brachot you can put in
cards for all occasions.  It doesn't seem to be by a wellknown
publisher, but there are phone numbers on the title page: 02 9931075,
for the writer, and 052 578460 for the publisher.  Also a post office
box, but no mail code; box 1164 yerushalaim. I wonder, though about the
mailbox address, because the phone number is one from Efrat, so maybe
the PO box should be also.

Rose Landowne


From: Simon Wanderer <simon.wanderer@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2004 15:35:07 +0100
Subject: Following the minhag of your HOST

Carl Singer discussed social convention with regard to Kiddush in Vol. 44 #83 

>Having had the pleasure of hosting guests at our home for many, many
>years and having been guests in many people's homes it seems that the
>generally accepted SOCIAL approach to all this (and I'm specifically NOT
>talking about daughter / husband / father) is that the host will ask
>guest if, for example, they wish to make their own kiddish.

This brings to mind a question I have had for some time.

As Carl says, some hosts do, indeed, offer guests the option of their
own Kiddush. Some, however, do not. Whilst I am not an expert, I
understand that the decision to be Motzei everyone with one Kiddush
Vs. allowing individual Kiddushes is based on Halachic considerations
(the precise nature of these is not relevant), but is treated as a
matter of Minhag (i.e. one tends to follow his family's practice). My
question is: do you follow the host's or the guest's minhag?

Perhaps the question can be clarified by illustration:
-Mr A's Minhag is for individual Kiddush
-Mr B's Minhag is for collective Kiddush

Scenario (i) - B is a guest at A's house:
A offers B to make his own Kiddush; should B decline as his view is that
collective Kiddush is preferable? But what about the following
considerations: A would prefer B to make his own and B is a guest in A's
house; A would (presumably) for that reason, rather not be Motzei B

Scenario (ii) - A is a guest at B's house:
Should B offer A to make his own Kiddush? Should B respect A's Minhag,
or does B's position also include a repugnance of multiple Kiddush in
his house? If B does offer, should A accept? should he respect his
host's Minhag or follow his own practice.

Does the fact that this issue has an Halachik basis influence matters?
i.e., could one side or other impose (or accept) a position based on the
fact that one Tzad has superior Halachic reasoning? Are there other
issues that I have not identified? In particular, I think it may hinge
on how we define the scope of each Minhag, although I cannot think of a
succinct way of explaining this. Also, certain course of action above
are active, while others are passive, this may be influential. Finally,
the Halachic reasoning behind collective Vs individual may mean that one
position applies only to individuals, but the other can apply to others
one can affect. 

In all these cases, I'm talking about a situation where both parties'
Minhagim are know to the other, and in addition there is no risk of
causing offence. That is to say, what is the correct practice in *purely
Halachic* terms? 

Sorry to be so longwinded about this relatively straightforward
question. As ever, please quote sources if possible. 



From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Subject: Sukkot on the J Site and 72 holiday links

Hi Everyone!

Sukkot is the Jewish holiday that commemorates how protective "Clouds of
Glory" surrounded the Jewish people after leaving Egypt during the forty
years of wandering in the desert.  It also commemorates how the Jews
lived in temporary dwellings during that same time.  Sukkot begins
Wednesday evening, September 29 and continues until Friday, October 8th
2004.  (In Israel, ends Thursday night, October 7th.)

The J Site - Jewish Education and Entertainment <a
href="http://www.j.co.il"> http://www.j.co.il </a> has several
entertaining features to celebrate Sukkot:

Jewish Trivia Quiz: Sukkot

What is the Hebrew date of the first day of Sukkot ? 
What is another name for the Sukkot holiday ? 
What does Sukkot commemorate ? 
What is the minimum area of a Sukkah as defined in the Talmud ? 
What is the maximum height of a Sukkah ? 
What does the Aramaic word "Ushpizin" mean ? 
Who gets called to the Torah reading on Simchat Torah ? 

The above questions are examples from the multiple choice Flash
quiz. There are two levels of questions, two timer settings.  Both kids
and adults will find it enjoyable.

Sukkot Clipart
Whether you need a picture for your child's class project, a graphic for
your synagogue, Hillel or JCC Sukkot announcement, the Jewish Clipart
Database has the pictures for you. You can copy, save and print the
graphics in three different sizes.

Multilingual Hangman - Sukkot
It's the classic Hangman game recreated in an online Flash version.  If
you expect your simple "hang the man by the rope" drawing then you are
in for a surprise. The game can be played in English or Hebrew.

Multilingual Word Search Game: Sukkot
Enter the Multilingual Word Search game and choose the language you
would like to play in: English, Hebrew or Russian. There is an easy mode
for the kids and a harder mode for us big kids. Each game is randomly
generated.  You can even print out a blank game (and the solution page)
for offline playing.

My Jewish Coloring Book - Sukkot Pictures
Young kids love to draw and this online coloring book is made just for
them. Three different size "brushes" and 24 colors to choose from. You
can print the completed color pictures or print black and white outlines
to color offline.

My Hebrew Song Book - Sukkot Hebrew songs (with vowels)
for viewing and printing. All songs are in graphic format so you do not
need Hebrew installed to view or print them.

The J site has something for everyone, but if that is not enough, I
posted on my website 72 links about Sukkot, from laws and customs to
games and recipes.  Site languages include English, Hebrew, Russian,
Spanish, French, Portuguese, German and Italian.  All 72 links have been
reviewed / checked this week.  The web address is: <a
http://www.jr.co.il/hotsites/j-hdaysu.htm </a>

Please forward this message to relatives and friends, so they may
benefit from these holiday resources.



From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2004 09:43:57 -0500
Subject: Re: Teaching Evolution or Abortion

After Yitzchok  Kahn <mi_kahn@...> V44 N78 asked::
>> I am becoming a NYC public high school history/social studies teacher.
>> I am wondering how I am supposed to deal with the issue of teaching the
>> evolutionary origins of man, which to me are kfirah.

Frank Silbermann <fs@...> replied:
>Just state the facts.  Everyone agrees that the world seems to _appear_
>to be very old, developed via punctuated evolution, and that all medical
>studies yield results which are consistent with that theory.  Whether
>this happened by chance, by Intelligent Direction, or whether G-d chose
>a few thousand years ago to create the universe to have such an
>appearance is a matter of faith and is not subject to proof or disproof.

I'm not sure why Frank Silbermann refers to "medical studies"; perhaps
you meant scientific studies in general, or are you thinking of
anthropological or anatomical studies used to establish the structural
similarities between current human beings and fossil evidence of
previous hominids?

In any case, the problem with your answer comprising chance,
"Intelligent Direction" (I have usually seen this referred to as
"Intelligent Design"), or the recent creation of a universe that appears
billions of years old, is that the third possibility destroys both the
philosophical basis of knowledge and the entire scientific enterprise.

What is the theology of a God who sets up a tricksy universe designed to
fool us into 'disbelief' by providing a complete set of evidence for a
false hypothesis?  Remember that this explanation presumes that, no
matter how thoroughly we inquire, there will never be any concrete proof
that the world wasn't created billions of years ago but our faith
requires us to deny that evidence.  When Galileo Galilei muttered his
legendary "Eppur si muove" ("Nevertheless, it still moves") when forced
by his church to recant the notion that the earth revolved around the
sun, he was defending the idea that the universe was *comprehensible* to
human inquiry.  We may fail or make mistakes in the course of that
inquiry but the universe is not set up to force our failure or mistakes.

As the Tiferet Yisrael points out in his wonderful introduction to the
Yerushalmi Masechet Neziqin, when faced with new evidence of the nature
of God's creation such as dinosaur bones, we must reconsider *our
understanding of that process*, not deny the evidence. The TY argues
that we have a *religious* obligation to attempt to puzzle out the
mysteries of the physical universe in order to understand more deeply
God's relationship to it.  From an Occam's Razor point of view, of
course, science does very well without God but, for a believer, seeing
the physical universe as "welling forth" from God in some metaphysical
sense need not undercut the pursuit of an understanding of the
*physical* side of that "welling forth".  

> YK>> How do I teach abortion?  

> FS>What do the textbooks say?  I suppose you could just give the
>technical details of the procedures, with large glossy color
>photographs.  :-)

I presume that what Yitzchok Kahn really is struggling with is how to
teach the moral question of abortion.  Photographs are of little help
there.  I presume that, as a public school teacher, you are obliged to
alert your students to the spectrum of moral approaches from the moral
nullity approach (it's just a medical procedure like having an
appendectomy, so what's the problem?) to the radical anti-abortion
position (the fetus is a human being from the moment of conception whose
right to life as an innocent unborn outweighs that of its mother).  From
a social science point of view, one would need to address the legal
history of abortion rights and restrictions and the deep divisions that
it has entrenched among Americans.  It might also be appropriate to
discuss how other countries have addressed the issue.

Of course, neither of those is the orthodox Jewish position; indeed, the
"orthodox Jewish position" is itself not monolithic!  I would assume
that one might be permitted to mention the halachic approach to abortion
as one point of the spectrum but would be *prohibited* from presenting
it as preferred in a public school class.  The teaching goals would be
to have students capable of explaining why some people view abortion as
a moral problem while others don't, on what issues this cleavage is
based, and how abortion has become the socially powerful and divisive
issue that it is in the US.

B'hatzlakhah and gmar khatimah tovah.
Shayna Kravetz

From: Jonathan Katz <jkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2004 07:19:02 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Teaching Evolution or Abortion

Frank Silbermann <fs@...>, in response to a question of
Yitzchok Kahn, writes:
> > I am becoming a NYC public high school history/social studies teacher.
> > I am wondering how I am supposed to deal with the issue of teaching
> > the evolutionary origins of man, which to me are kfirah.

> Just state the facts.  Everyone agrees that the world seems to _appear_
> to be very old, developed via punctuated evolution, and that all medical
> studies yield results which are consistent with that theory.  Whether
> this happened by chance, by Intelligent Direction, or whether G-d chose
> a few thousand years ago to create the universe to have such an
> appearance is a matter of faith and is not subject to proof or disproof.

This seems like a rather dangerous approach to me which is unfair to the
students. To flip things around, how would you feel if a Christian
taught the same about Jesus in public school ("whether or not Jesus is
divine is simply a matter of faith...") or an atheist taught the same
about the Exodus from Egypt ("now the Jews claim to have undergone a
mass exodus from Egypt, but of course that is all a matter of faith and
we have no proof that it ever occured...").

My point is that matters of religious belief are best left outside the
(public school) classroom. If you are hired to teach science, then your
job is to teach science and not your speculations about science. If you
don't believe in science, then maybe teaching science is not the right
job for you.

From: Alexis Rosoff <alexis@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2004 17:45:25 +0100
Subject: Re: Teaching Evolution or Abortion

On 11 Sep 2004 23:24, Yitzchok Kahn wrote:

> I am becoming a NYC public high school history/social studies teacher. I
> am wondering how I am supposed to deal with the issue of teaching the
> evolutionary origins of man, which to me are kfirah. How do I teach
> abortion? If there are any teachers out there who have asked shaalos and
> dealt with these issues I'd love to hear from you. In general, I'd love
> to hear from frum public school teachers.

I'm not sure that the issue will come up in the way you're afraid it
would.  If you were becoming a biology teacher, it would be an issue:
evolution is on the Regents (it seems to be much less controversial
there than in some states, and at least when I took the exam, evolution
was taught as more or less fact). But social studies doesn't really deal
with explaining evolution or abortion. You'll make reference to it when
teaching subjects such as the Scopes trial or Roe v. Wade, but IME
(having graduated from a New York public high school in the 1990s) it
will not involve advocating either. At most you'd have to explain what
the issues were, which is not the same thing as presenting it as
scientific fact.



End of Volume 44 Issue 89