Volume 46 Number 75
                    Produced: Thu Jan 27  7:02:17 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

The ban on Rabbi Slifkin's books (2)
         [Paul Mendlowitz, David Mescheloff]
Beauty in Marriage
         [Bernard Raab]
Calendar question (2)
         [Eliezer M Teitz, Ira L. Jacobson]
Date of Passover
         [Larry Israel]
Google Ads (2)
         [David Charlap, Robert Israel]
Google Ads, etc.
         [Carl Singer]
Proselytizing Ads
         [Yosi Fishkin]


From: Paul Mendlowitz <mendlowitz@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 08:38:46 -0800 (PST)
Subject: The ban on Rabbi Slifkin's books

Yes, I am prepared to oppose them,and intend to. You are absolutely
right, most Rabbonim (especially in Eretz Yisroel) never read the
book. They do not read English, and rely on their shammosim [helpers].

Now for some of the American Rabbonim who signed, they generally will
sign anything sent to them from Eretz Yisroel. Just look at most of the
flyers that are in the newspapers, they are the same cast of characters.

I will be speaking to many Rabbonim and Rosh Yeshivas in the U.S.A. and
will work with them in a manner that will be a Kiddush Hashem.

This Mob Mentality must stop,especially when it comes to being marbetz
Torah to the masses.

Let us not forget,not too long ago,"prominent Rosh Yeshivas"wanted to
prevent the translating of the Gemmorah into the English language".

Los Angeles

From: David Mescheloff <david_mescheloff@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 03:10:07 -0800 (PST)
Subject: The ban on Rabbi Slifkin's books

Here's another bit of interesting reading on the subject a friend just
forwarded me.  Enjoy (only for those with a sense of humor, and who can
stand a bit of self-criticism)!


David Mescheloff


From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 13:31:31 -0500
Subject: Beauty in Marriage

>From: <Rabbihg1@...> (Heshy Grossman)
>But no, the Avot were not simply 'basar v'dam'. Rabbi Avraham ben
>HaRambam, quoting his father, cites a tradition going back to the time
>of the Gaonim (either Rav Saadia or Rav Hai, I don't recall), that for
>one to even see Moshe Rabbeinu was a level of prophecy. While the Avos
>were 'also' Basar v'Dam, the Torah is describing much more than just
>that, and the substantive reality of the Torah is spiritual, rather than

I am not sure what you mean by "substantive reality". Do you mean that
the description of Matan Torah, for instance, does not describe a real
physical event? Or is the description of the ten plagues and the exodus
from Egypt intended as some form of spiritual lesson but does not
describe a real historical event? Please clarify.

b'shalom--Bernie R.


From: Eliezer M Teitz <remt@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 17:02:57 GMT
Subject: Re: Calendar question

The reason Rosh Hashana is later in the ninth year than at any time in
the nineteen-year cycle is because 5 of the previous 11 years were leap
years (Years 17 and 19 of the previous cycle, and 3,6 and 8 of the
current one). The latest possible date, October 5, occurred in 1967.

Similarly, the earliest possible date is the seventeenth year of the
cycle, because 6 of the previous 8 years are non-leap years (Years 9,
10, 12, 13, 15 and 16).  Since 1900, the earliest date has been
September 6, but it will be September 5 in 2013, unless the Sanhedrin
has been reconstituted with the coming of Mashiach by that time, in
which case it's too early to tell when it will be.


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 15:06:11 +0200
Subject: Re: Calendar question

      This is all explained very well by the following page on Remy
      Landau's excellent Hebrew calendar Web site:

My trouble with this site ( http://www.geocities.com/Athens/1584/ , not
the particular cited page) is that it gives the molad as six hours later
than is normally given everywhere else.

His explanation is that the time of the molad he gives is precisely as
derived from the halakhically mandated calculations.  Considering the
caliber of those who think differently, his explanation was not very
convincing to me.

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: Larry Israel <VSLARRY@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 05 22:20:04 +0200
Subject: Date of Passover

I have looked at the archives and can not see a satisfactory answer to
the question of when Passover falls.  This year, again, Purim occurs
after the vernal equinox.  This means that Passover is not in the month
of the equinox, but in the next month.  Or does "hodesh ha'aviv" mean
that the month of Nisan starts in the thirty or so days after the
equinox? In that case, what about the earliest Passover, around April 5.
Would that squeeze the start of Nisan in on or after the equinox?


From: David Charlap <shamino@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 10:17:14 -0500
Subject: Re: Google Ads

Chaim Tatel wrote:
> The group is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Leining/ When I accessed
> this link I was indeed brought to the proper Yahoo page, but the page
> also included a box with three (presumably paid) advertisements for
> "Messianic" Jewish groups! Is there some way we can contact Yahoo and
> get them to remove this advertising?

I saw the same thing on a list that I run.  Yahoo, like most large web
sites these days, uses what the industry calls "targetted advertising".
They try to figure out what you (the reader) are interested in and try
to choose ads that they think you will be interested in.

In the case of Yahoo, my group is categorized under "Religion & Beliefs
-> Judaism".  As such, the banner ads that appear are for products and
services related to religions of all kinds.  Very often, it is for Bible
stores, churches and other Christian groups, including messiannic

I assume this is because Yahoo is only categorizing ads based on the
top-level category (Religion & Beliefs) and not the lower-level
categories (Judaism).

I suspect the same thing is happening for the Leining group.

There may not be much you can do about it, but you should ask the list
owner to contact Yahoo, explain the situation, and kindly ask that ads
for missionary groups not be shown on his group's pages.

Yahoo will respond that they can't make this kind of change (as they did
to me), but despite this, those particular ads did seem to stop
appearing after I wrote to them.

If that doesn't work, I believe Yahoo still gives list owners the option
to pay a small annual fee to eliminate ads altogether from a particular
list's web pages.

Kenneth H. Ryesky wrote:
> A few days ago I saw similar ads from Google on the website of the 
> Jewish Exponent (the Philadelphia Federation weekly newspaper).  They
> were replaced by different Google ads when I returned to the same
> page a few minutes later.  The ads apparently rotate around, and the
> Google engines apparently get hooked on the word "Jewish" (unless the
> advertisers have given false and deceptive info to Google in order
> to intentionally have their ads shown on these pages).

Google, and similar sites, also participate in targetted advertising.

Google's preferred mechanism is through what they call "ad words".
Someone paying for an ad specifies the keywords he wants his ad to be
associated with and the frequency it will appear.  He pays based on the
number of times he wants the ad to appear.  Whenever someone does a
search for one of those keywords, the ad may or may not appear,
according to the frequency he paid for.

It would not surprise me if some missionary groups are buying ads using
a laundry list of Jewish keywords.  That's the way they like to operate,
through deliberate deceptions.

If you personally encounter ads that you find objectionable, write to
the site hosting them (like Google) and let them know.  Be specific.
Include the full text of the ad and (if possible), the URL it links to.
If it's a graphical ad (instead of plain text), including the image file
or a screen-shot might also be helpful.  (You can't expect a webmaster
to do something about an ad if he doesn't know exactly which one you're
talking about.)

Complaints like this may or may not work, but there's no way the site
owners will do anything if you don't make them aware of the fact that
there is a problem.

-- David

From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 11:19:09 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Google Ads

Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...> wrote:
|Chaim Tatel give a reference to the Yahoo leining group:
|The group is: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Leining/
|When I accessed this link I was indeed brought to the proper Yahoo page,
|but the page also included a box with three (presumably paid)
|advertisements for "Messianic" Jewish groups!  Is there some way we can
|contact Yahoo and get them to remove this advertising?

Be careful what you ask for: your wish may be granted.

You must understand, first of all, that advertising such as this is how
Yahoo makes money.  Yahoo somehow decides what advertisements are shown
together with a group: I'm fairly sure that this is done by computer
software with little or no human intervention.  The result is not always
appropriate, e.g. I subscribe to a group having to do with computer
algebra, and the ads are usually about accounting software.  The
advertisers must tell Yahoo in a general way what type of groups they
want their ads to appear in, but probably don't specify specific groups.

Now there is nothing illegal, or (to most non-Jews' minds) immoral about
the Messianic advertisements, so I doubt that Yahoo will give you a lot
of sympathy.  And the advertisers must be happy that their ads are going
to Jews, who are the audience they want to target.  On the other hand,
the readers of a leining group are not likely to be particularly
susceptible to the "Messianic" message.  They may be annoyed, but no
serious harm will be done.

So what would happen if Yahoo grants your request?  They won't refuse
ads from the Messianics, but they might stop the ads from appearing in
your leining group.  Instead, the same ads will appear in other Jewish
groups, perhaps groups catering to less-committed Jews who would be more
receptive to the Messianic message.  That might make the Messianics
happier, but it shouldn't make us happier!

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel 
University of British Columbia            Vancouver, BC, Canada


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 07:36:44 -0500
Subject: Google Ads, etc.

This is a bit far afield for Mail Jewish -- but relevant.

I don't know the full details -- but google searches content and then
displays paid ads that match.  Google's new GMail -- which I've been
experimenting with because it has a clever way of stringing together
emails (i.e. I send you, you send me, I send you back -- becomes a
single "string" of 3 emails) -- scans mail content and posts relevant
ads in the margin.  So if I use the word mortgage in my email ads for
mortgage companies show up in the margin.

Much "Jewish" content on the internet is Messianic.  One needs to be
careful.  I recall one day being away from sources and in need of a
Jewish Calendar a few years forward.  My search landed me in a very
"Jewish" looking website with a calendar -- only a few YomTovim had
their names "adjusted."

Yes, searches will find letters that you have posted -- perhaps that's
good reason for using one's Yiddish or Hebrew name in contrast to one's
English name (if one has such.)  For reasons that I won't detail here, I
now use my Yiddish name in the local community phone book -- it
certainly helps filter (in or out) mail.

I personally find unsigned mail to be annoying.  I think anonymous is
fine at the discretion of the list moderator.  But if mail is signed
"John Smith" I really want to know that I'm talking to John Smith, not
to anyone else.

Carl Singer


From: Yosi Fishkin <Joseph@...>
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 07:09:10 -0500
Subject: Proselytizing Ads

If you ever notice Messianic ads appearing via Google on any website
where it would seem inappropriate, notify the webmaster of the exact
website that was advertised - in Google AdWords, they can add that
website to a "block list" to prevent ads for that site from appearing
again. Unfortunately, there's no way (yet) in Google AdWords to easily
block all Messianic ads from appearing - it must be done on an ad-by-ad

Yosi Fishkin, MD
www.GoDaven.com - The Worldwide Minyan Database


End of Volume 46 Issue 75