Volume 49 Number 18
                    Produced: Mon Jul 25  5:28:13 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Aramaic, Systematically
         [Ben Katz]
Artichoke and Marror
         [Jeanette Friedman]
Cellphone safety
Cellphones while driving (5)
         [Gershon Dubin, <chips@...>, Shayna Kravetz, Bernard Raab,
Competition and Chicago
Orthodox Jews in the Military (2)
         [Dov Zakheim, Meir]


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2005 15:17:32 -0500
Subject: Re: Aramaic, Systematically

>From: Allen Gerstl <acgerstl@...>
>I don't know of any policy anywhere AGAINST learning dikduk, whether
>Hebrew or Aramaic.  People and institutions priorize. Dikduk isn't
>considered by many as a particularly interesting subject (its an
>acquired taste with some).

         Re the first comment above:

         My father a"h used to tell a great story that I would never
have believed had he not been the one telling it.  My father attended
Chaim Berlin in Brooklyn in the mid-30's.  My father was in a class as a
boy and the rebbe/melamad was explaining that we read Bahaalotch on
Chanukah (the last day) because Chanukah starts with a Chet and
Bahaalotcha has a Chet (I kid you not).  When one of the boys in the
class, who was obviously braver than my father, had the temerity to say:
but rebbe, Chanukah starts with a Chet and Bahaalotcha ends with a Chaf!
The rebbe screamed : get out my class, you Zionist!

         At the risk of explaining the obvious, the story is amusing on
at least 3 levels: 1) the melamed/rebbe's unfamiliarity with
Heb. spelling, hard as that may be to believe, 2) the assumption that
one needed some specialized knowledge of dikduk to spell, and 3) that
anyone who knew dikduk was a Zionist.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
2300 Children's Plaza, Box # 20, Chicago, IL 60614
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: <FriedmanJ@...> (Jeanette Friedman)
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 08:46:37 EDT
Subject: Re: Artichoke and Marror

      Does the artichoke representation for maror have anything to do
      with the artichoke being a thistle?  Edible thistle bases are
      known for being bitter.

artichoke hearts taste like potatos. they are just a pain to prepare.
maybe that's why they qualify. romaine lettuce, raddichio, escarole,
they also qualify, but I don't understand why romaine lettuce does
because it is not bitter at all. We use it for wrapping the marror
before dipping


From: <meirman@...> (Meir)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2005 22:47:32 -0400
Subject: Re: Cellphone safety

At 02:19 PM 7/24/05, Carl Singer wrote:

>It is also the first to conclude definitively outside of a laboratory
>setting that holding a phone to the ear or talking through a hands-free
>device pose the same risks.

I've heard on the news the same conclusion from other studies, maybe
done in laboratories or other ways than accident data.

And I believe them.

Yet Thursady this thread came to mind as I was waiting to pull out of
the small street that leads from my small neighborhood to a larger
street, and another driver came whooshing down the street and turned
into my street, while holding the phone to his right ear.  As I watched,
the difficulty of turning the wheel with one arm, the possibility of
losing hold of it and the wheels reverting to the straight-ahead
position, and his driving straight into me, seemed very real.  It's a
turn I make myself every day, no slower than he was really, and I'll
check but I think I have to go hand over hand a bit to make even the
wide turn I usually make (since there is rarely anyone in the oncoming
lane.).  Another thing likely to be in one's hand, a drink, is something
we have been drilled from age 2 or so not to drop, and even food is
another thing we've been taught not to drop.  Even a phone we've been
taught not to drop, and even if a light cell phone dropped on an
upholstered seat and carpeted floor wouldn't be damaged, our habits and
reflexes aren't going to make exceptions for cell phones until there
have been several occasions to need to.  Grabbing the wheel with the
phone still in one's hand isn't likely either, or likely to give a good
grip.  So I can't help thinking holding the phone is more dangerous than
a microphone attached to the sun visor.

That I can believe both the studies and my own conflicting personal
experience is a paradox, I guess.

Regardless of which is right, I would like to stop believing one of

<meirman@...>  Baltimore, MD, USA


From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2005 14:56:43 -0400
Subject: Cellphones while driving

From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>

> I've heard this rationale, too, but I don't understand why
> conversation using a cell phone would be any more distracting than
> conversations with passengers in the vehicle.

The passengers in the vehicle are aware of a potentially hazardous
situation developing, and pause the conversation on their own. The
person at the other end of the cellphone keeps talking and by the time
the driver says "hold on a minute" if in fact he ever does, it's usually
too late.


From: <chips@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2005 14:30:04 -0700
Subject: Re:  Cellphones while driving

because in the 2nd case the driver is talking within the context of
driving the car, but with a cell phone the conversation is not. See the
book "Emotional Design" for much more information on this.


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2005 16:26:06 -0400
Subject: Re: Cellphones while driving

Because when speaking to a live person, you get many more cues as to
meaning which are absent from a cellphone conversation.  You can
momentarily glance at the person to see their facial expression; you're
better able to hear things like sighs, breaths and pauses; you don't
have to cope with the cut-outs resulting from overpasses or electronic
interference; you don't have to strain to hear or pronounce certain
consonants that are frequently indistinguishable via electronic media,
etc., etc.  Apparently, conversing via cellphone takes place in
different parts of your brain from talking to a person next to you.

And let me ask, aside from emergency situations, what's the argument
/for/ allowing cellphones to be used while driving?  The continual
acceleration of business and life in general, the drive to be constantly
available and the associated destruction of leisure time are creating
unnecessary stress in many areas of human experience.  Who can relax
with their family when they know they're on call?  Who can settle down
to read a book or learn a blatt gemara when at any moment they can be
summoned to work?  Are you /really/ so indispensable that your office
can't be out of touch with you for 20 minutes?  or an hour? or (perish
the thought!) two?  What's so urgent?  This is really becoming an ethics
issue in a way.  What salary can compensate fairly for employment which
is essentially 24/7 (except for shabbat)?

Kol tuv from
Shayna in Toronto

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2005 16:28:40 -0400
Subject: Re: Cellphones while driving

Harlan raises a serious question. I too have wondered about this: Why is
this an issue for cellphone users but somehow not for those engaged in
conversation with other passengers? I have, on occasion, asked my
passenger to be quiet while I negotiate a tricky or unfamiliar traffic
situation. But I have done this very rarely, so here is my analysis:

 1. A passenger may recognize when the traffic demands the driver's
    complete attention, and will voluntarily shut up for a while.
 2. The driver can ignore the passenger temporarily without the passenger
    wondering if the driver is still there.
 3. Conversations with passengers rarely are so serious and complex as to
    demand the driver's complete attention.

Obviously, points 1 and 2 do not obtain for a phone caller, and probably
phone calls tend to be more important and demanding of attention,
especially since one pays by the minute. I too try to pull off the road
when answering a phone call, but I think it is well to remember that
conversations with passengers can also be distracting, especially if you
are driving in unfamiliar territory or facing unusually tricky traffic

b'shalom (be careful)--Bernie R.

From: <meirman@...> (Meir)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2005 23:02:59 -0400
Subject: Re: Cellphones while driving

I don't think I can explain it, but I feel it.  When someone is in the
car, talking to him is an experience in the car, along with looking out
the windows.  Talking to someone on the phone transfers one's
imagination to the place where the other person is, looking at him in
the face surrounded by the place where he is.  Maybe not for you, but at
least for enough people to raise the accident rate.  Plus, when talking
to someone in the car, the moment the driver is distracted by trouble,
the other party usually notices either his change in behaviour or
directly notices the same danger the driver has, and he shuts up,
leaving the driver free to drive.

<meirman@...>  Baltimore, MD, USA


From: Anonymous
Date: Fri, 22 Jul 2005 09:49:02
Subject: Competition and Chicago

These very issues of competition and support for Jewish business was
played out in Chicago when the Jewel (Albertsons Co) Market opened a
huge kosher section complete with a bakery, deli, dry foods, and fish
section (I do not include the Chinese food take out, as it is 100%
Jewish owned) .  I wasn't able to follow all the arguments involved, but
if the Kosher consumer gets better quality for a better price, more
power to him.

One other argument I have heard numerous times; chain stores are less
likely to hassle customers about returns.  I have had the occasion to
returned a spoiled product, only to be yelled at by a Kosher store owner
who refused to take it back!  Knowing that I can return an inferior
product for a full refund without any hesitation is reason enough for me
to go to a chain store even if the chain is slightly more expensive!

In case you think it is not true, a major Kosher Supermarket in the
Chicago area has a blatant lie posted near their refrigerator section.
The poster claims that the city health department does not allow them to
take back any returns on refrigerated or frozen foods.  Well, the city
doesn't allow them to RESTOCK returned refrigerated and frozen foods.
They may certainly take them back and issue a refund if their product is
faulty (as the Jewel two miles away, albeit in a different suburb, does
willingly).  But this kosher store makes it seem like their hands are
tied and the city wont let them refund your money!  Where would you



From: Dov Zakheim <zakheim_dov@...>
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2005 16:27:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Orthodox Jews in the Military

In addition to kosher MREs (meals ready to eat) every effort has been
made to provide. Jewish forces in Iraq Pesach rations as well.

The new Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps (four star) is openly
and proudly Jewish.

And only yesterday (Shabbos Parshas Pinchas)I was at.a Seudah Shlishis
in our community for a young graduate who finished first in Ranger
school and is deploying to Iraq. Our Rav gave a dvar Torah. And so did
the freshly minted Second Lieutenant.

Dov Zakheim

From: <meirman@...> (Meir)
Date: Sun, 24 Jul 2005 23:56:56 -0400
Subject: Re: Orthodox Jews in the Military

From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
>As an aside -- I've found in both civilian and military world that
>non-Jews who are religiously observant tend to be much more concerned
>with my "rights."  Friday afternoon is a case in point -- even in the
>summer when Shabbos starts late, some of my fellow soldiers would get
>uneasy in late Friday afternoon when I was still around.

I believe you, of course.  That's one more thing that makes the Air
Force Academy so troubling.  Is there something about the Air Force that
attracts born-agains more than the U.S. Army or Navy.

>Let's get real -- today there are very few Jews in the (U.S.) military.

Probably not the navy as a whole, but Annapolis has quite a few Jews, 2%
or so.  And this year a big new building, privately paid for, to go with

>Now that you know that kosher meals are available, what's stopping you.

Well, I'm too old.  I regret some that I didn't enlist during Viet Nam.
I was a 9- or 12-day-a-year Jew**, so that wouldn't have been a big
problem.  I probably would have gotten missiles in Turkey like they said
(I did inquire), or something even in Viet Nam that was reasonably safe.
More than that, I really regret not serving in the IDF.  Had they sent
me a draft registration form or a draft notice, I would have not even
considered avoiding it.  But they don't do that to Americans.  I should
have found them.

As to what is stopping people, I think it is partially the memory of the
tsar's army, the French army, and maybe every other army, and the
possibility of getting killed or maimed. How many Jewish parents want to
risk that for their kid?  A long story in the BJT about the Naval
Academy with an interview with a Jewish1980 graduate talks about how
hard it was to be observant then, only allowed to go to shul in town on
Sunday morning.  And though the Academy has improved, I don't think
kosher food means the navy the other services as a whole are much

**3 calendar days RH, 2 days YK, 2 seder nights, 3 days yiskor, 2
calendar days yohrtseit.  Probably 9 days is more accurate but for the
sake of this topic, I was trying to maximize the potential conflict.

<meirman@...>  Baltimore, MD, USA


End of Volume 49 Issue 18