Volume 48 Number 88
                    Produced: Thu Jul  7  6:01:36 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Gay pride messages
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Kidush levono
         [Perets Mett]
Mechitza at Funeral Parlour and Placement of Cohanim
         [I. Balbin]
Secular Translation of the Torah
         [Avi Feldblum]
         [Avi Feldblum]
Working for the Jewish press
         [Avi Feldblum]


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <Sabba.Hillel@...>
Date: Wed, 06 Jul 2005 21:16:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Gay pride messages

> From: Abbi Adest <abbi.adest@...>

> You are making many assumptions here that I think veer somewhat into
> motzi shem ra.
> First, it is not my impression that the organizers of the gay pride
> parades are making any claims that they are looking or demanding
> halachic stamps of approval. I don't think many or any of the would
> claim that their bedroom practices are sanctioned by halacha. What they
> are looking for is acceptance as human beings, regardless or despite the
> lifestyle they choose to lead, and the tolerance and respect that goes
> along with that (back to the k'vod habriyut discussion).

They actual claim that they are demanding full acceptance of the
"homosexual lifestyle" not acceptance as "human beings".  They have made
this public statements to this affect.

> Whether that respect and acceptance can or should be given by all
> sectors of society, including the halachic one, is certainly debatable;
> but making that decision with knives, as one or two charedi men decided
> to do at the parade yesterday, is definitely not sanctioned by halacha
> and I think it's simply abhorrent.

This has nothing to do with the discussion.

> As for the accusation about Jewish Federations, I find it hard to
> believe that one would deliberately not make kosher food availabe for
> Orthodox Jews attending their events and since most Federations support
> both Orthodox and non-Orthodox institutions, I think this is a grave
> accusation to make without proof or examples.

Hard as it is to believe nowadays, this has been done in the past.  A
search of the AngloJewish press archives will verify this.  The
situation has improved since that happened and many communities will
(nowadays) indeed insist on kosher food so that everyone can eat.
Actually, I did come across such a circumstance in a community, many
years ago.  The local federation had not arranged for kosher food at its
annual banquet.  THere was a furor in the community and the federation
apologized and learned its lesson.

The main point that I was referring to however was in the 1930's when
the Socialist worker's groups explicitly sought out nonkosher food even
if kosher food was readilly available.

Similarly, there was a dispute that made it to a national radio program,
in which a well known talk show host (who at the time kept kosher) was
invited to speak at a Federation dinner and no kosher food was
available.  This occurred in the Southwest and became a cause celebre on
the radio and in various Jewish publications.

Those who remember the incident will know what I am talking about, those
who do not know do not need to know the details.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz | Said the fox to the fish, "Join me ashore."
<Sabba.Hillel@...> | The fish are the Jews, Torah is our water.


From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Wed, 6 Jul 2005 17:09:05 +0100
Subject: Kidush levono

> However in the course of my research I discovered that numerous
> Synagogues in Europe used to have Kiddush Levana either inscribed or
> painted on the walls outside the Shul.

And, of course, the writing was sufficiently large to enable everyone to
read the words. Hence the expression "kidush levono oysies" for
oversized writing.

Perets Mett


From: I. Balbin <isaac@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2005 09:36:03 +1000
Subject: Re: Mechitza at Funeral Parlour and Placement of Cohanim

> From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
> I fear this is not an atypical example of the way some organisations
> are run. Often changes are made to suit those in control but which
> upset others who use the facilities. The former may claim to have the
> approval of Gedolim, whose names they are not prepared to disclose, or
> some vague Da'at Torah but how much credence can one give to such
> anonymous views?

I have not mentioned the name of at least one Rov who is alleged to have
given the Psak that they should create a permanent Mechitzah because I
learned with him for about 10 years, and would want to check with him
personally before I mentioned it. Knowing him, and his procedures, he
would have also checked this with certain renowned Poskim. I'll make an
effort to speak with him (I've been out of touch for about 5 years) and
come back with details of who Paskened this way.  I guess nobody knows
of any published piskei halacha (decisions) on such a matter.


From: Avi Feldblum <avi@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2005 05:52:12 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Secular Translation of the Torah

cp listed a URL and asked about permissability to read "secular
translations" of the Torah. Gilad and Even respond along lines that we
should be seeking out all sources of knowledge, regardless of the nature
and ideology of the writer.

As with many such topics, I doubt there is any simple response that is
acceptable / meaningful to all. My first question would be to cp to
better define the parameters from which he is asking the question. If he
is part of a group that holds that any writings that are not in line
with "Daas Torah" are forbidden to own and read, then what is the
purpose of his question? [Actually, if he is part of that group, he is
probably not permitted to be using the Internet and finding that URL in
the first place.] Given that he has read the review at that URL, it is
clear that Prof Alter has significant scholarship to offer, but is also
not all constrained by the opinion of Chazal.

There is an opposing stream that basically holds that all knowledge has
the oppertunity for good, so it is permitted to read it with the
understanding that one must judge the content based on halacha and
Jewish philosophical principals. There is also a modified version of
that position that says the the above is appropriate for some people but
maybe not for the masses. There is also a position that general
"secular" knowledge is fine to read but not "kefirah" - books of
"heresy". For this position, one now needs to define what exactly falls
under the catagory of "kefirah".

So for cp's question to be meaningfully discussed in this group, I think
cp needs to better define the assumptions of the question and elaborate
on what s/he is actually trying to ask.

Avi Feldblum


From: Avi Feldblum <avi@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2005 05:36:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Volunteering

<FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman) in response to Carl Singer
> If Plony, the cab driver in Monsey is making a living driving people to
> the doctor and the hospital, and suddenly the service is provided for
> free by others, that IS DISGUSTING. What they can do is raise funds so
> the poor people don't have to pay him, but he should be paid. Driving
> him out of business and making his family starve is a bigger aveyrah
> than paying him to take them to the doctor.
> Driving anyone out of business--if they are honest and hardworking and
> deliver quality, to me, is a criminal act.

One of the difficulties of discussions like this is that while we can
post examples, to be able to reduce to a halachic principle we need to
be able to express and define the underlying halachic elements. Most of
us live in areas where the dominant economic model is some form of
capitalism. In this model, if A can provide the same goods or services
as B and provide them at a lower cost, A will gain market share from
B. It could well be that B is honest and hardworking and delivers
quality, but A's ability to provide the same at a lower cost will cause
B to go out of business. Does Jeanette view this as a criminal act? More
critically for this list, how does halacha view this situation? I think
that halacha recognizes the concept of compitition, but does not allow
all forms of compitition. We have a concept of "hasagas gevul"
(lit. encroaching on a border, but expanded by Chazal to include
forbidding some forms of compitition) whereas free market capitalism
tends to see all "fair" compitition as good for society.

So from a halachic perspective, I think the discussion should be on what
are the guiding principles (I propose "hasagas gevul" as at least one)
and how well can we define / elaborate those principles.

Avi Feldblum


From: Avi Feldblum <avi@...>
Date: Thu, 7 Jul 2005 05:57:03 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Working for the Jewish press

> From: Nadine Bonner <nfbonner@...>
> As I said in my previous post, working for the Jewish press means
> virtually working for free. Not many good writers are willing to do
> this. So a paper has to hire the best writers it can find. Who still may
> not be very good.  And, again because of the pay scale, they are usually
> very young and inexperienced.

Just as a second voice with a similar (indirect) experience, when my son
graduated from college, he was interested in the possibility of going
into journalism. He worked for a while for a Jewish (I think federation
affiliated) paper in the NY area. As Nadine writes, the pay scale was
pretty poor, and the turnover was pretty high. After less than a year of
this, he decided this was not for him and moved to a different job,
using more of his computer background and less of his writing skills,
but more likely to provide a long term financial path.



End of Volume 48 Issue 88