Volume 49 Number 71
                    Produced: Thu Aug 25  4:59:19 EDT 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Church/Shul v. State
Honest vs. Lies
         [Carl Singer]
"Jew Couple"
         [Carl Singer]
J/J Campaign (2)
         [Harry Weiss, Ed Greenberg]
Mihag v. Secular Law
         [Orrin Tilevitz]
Separation of Church and State (7)
         [Art Sapper, Frank Silbermann, Ed Greenberg, Akiva Miller, Art
Werschulz, Janice Gelb, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]


From: c.halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 16:20:53 -0500
Subject: Church/Shul v. State

Ari Trachtenberg said 
>To the best of my understanding, secular law (or probably more
>specifically common law) often recognizes value in a long-term action
>regardless of its original validity (e.g. if people regularly trespass
>through your field for a long enough time, they can continue doing so;
>if someone mows part of your lawn for long enough, with some
>conditions, that part of the lawn becomes theirs).

Thank God, this isn't really carved in stone. U.S. history is replete
with secular edicts (long term actions) such as Jim Crow **laws** - not
just customs - that have been rightfully overturned.

Kol Tuv,
Charles Chi (Yeshaya) Halevi


From: <casinger@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 09:57:37 -0400
Subject: Honest vs. Lies

From: Anonymous
> Is there a commandment for Jews to be honest? Is it okay to lie in order
> to protect the ones we love? Are we authorized to make this decision on
> a personal level or is there a halachic guideline?

I've an acquaintance who recently bemoaned that fact that we Jews are
the people of the "loopholes" -- What part of "do not lie" does not
translate to being honest?

Are we looking for loopholes or to serve HaShem.

Carl Singer


From: <casinger@...> (Carl Singer)
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 10:02:10 -0400
Subject: "Jew Couple"

>The headline reads:
>"New Jersey restaurant writes 'Jew Couple' on check".  The restaurant's
>practice was to use descriptive terms rather than table numbers to
>identify the patrons.
>I wonder if this would have been deemed newsworthy (i.e. offensive) if
>the descriptive term had been "Jewish couple" instead of "Jew couple"?

I saw the TV report on same and the couple involved.

I guess the what puzzled me was an underlying question of what behavior
(there certainly weren't to my knowledge visible clues) defined this
couple as "Jews" -- it was, after all, a treif restaurant and they
weren't dressed (as best I could tell) in anything that denotes Jewish
(yarumulke, sheitel, payos, arba confus, etc.) -- so there must have
been some stereotype / stereotypical behavior involved.



From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 18:22:30 -0700
Subject: J/J Campaign

>From: David Prins <davprins@...>
>I am a subscriber to a Yahoo Group for a shul email list.  Yahoo puts
>ads on emails that go out to members of the list. Recently "Messianic
>groups" have started to sponsor those ads, and the list members are of
>course not happy with this.  The moderator has initiated communication
>with Yahoo to see if these ads can be prevented from appearing on this
>shul's email list.  Have any readers experienced similar problems and
>how have they been solved?

I  am a moderator of our shul list and have the same problem.  I think 
they specifically contract with Yahoo to be on Jewish sites. We had a 
number of people contact Yahoo.  There seems to be a bit less of the J4J 
adds recently.  I don't know if it connected or not.

From: Ed Greenberg <edg@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 15:41:48 -0700
Subject: Re: J/J Campaign

Perhaps by moving the shul's list to an ad-free service. This might cost
a few bucks, but you get what you pay for.



From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 07:52:13 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Mihag v. Secular Law

In a post on "In God We Trust", Ari Trachtenberg writes:

> To the best of my understanding, secular law (or probably more
> specifically common law) often recognizes value in a long-term action
> regardless of its original validity . . . . This is in
> contradistinction to halachah, which rules a custom based on an
> invalid premise to be invalid.

Ari is correct about secular law in some cases, but IMHO incorrect about
halacha.  For example, I believe a thief can become the owner of stolen
property if the original owner has yeush.  And as far as a valid custom
with an invalid premise, the classical example is the minhag not to eat
gebrochts on pesach.


From: <asapper@...> (Art Sapper)
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 10:30:44 -0400
Subject: Re: Separation of Church and State

In volume 49, no. 66, Nathan Lamm wrote:

> for all the horror stories of what life in America was like in the
> '50's, I wonder if Jews were really flocking to convert to
> Christianity as a result of singing carols in public schools.

No, they were not, but let us not mislead ourselves by hyperbole.
Something happened that was nearly as bad and, in the long run, nearly
just as devastating.  Instead of flocking to the baptismal font, Jews
who grew up in the 1950's and attended Christmas pageants and plays in
public schools were heavily christianized or, put another way, nearly
entirely de-judaized.  I grew up in the 1950's and attended public
schools in what was then a heavily Jewish neighborhood (Hillcrest,
Queens), and almost none of my Jewish classmates live a Jewish life
today.  Almost none of them put any value on Judaism or Jewishness, and
they heavily intermarried.  Their children and grandchildren today are
today singing Christmas carols quite freely.

Let us also face another fact: The very purpose of public schools was
and is still just this sort of assimilation.  At first, the purpose of
public schooling was to de-catholicize Catholic school children; later,
its purpose included de-judaizing Jewish school children.  It is not for
nothing that they were long called "Protestant schools."  Although
Catholics were able to limit the damage because they quickly established
a strong parochial school system and had strong leaders (priests and
nuns supported by bishops and cardinals) unafraid to assert their
rights, Jews lacked a strong Jewish school system and were plagued by
fearful Jewish "leaders" who favored assimilation as a way of avoiding
anti-Semitism.  So, yes, the 1950's were really bad, and I would not
want to see Jewish school kids expected to sing Christmas carols again.

Art Sapper

From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 09:44:01 -0500 (CDT)
Subject:  Separation of Church and State

Does anyone consider it a violation of the separation of church and
state when the government takes over Tzedakah?  How about when it
decides upon standards for meal preparation in the schools, and promotes
the eating of tref?

Older societies had official state religions.  At first America has a
separation of church and state; now the trend seems to be to separate
theology and public prayer from the other aspects of religion, and to
establish all but these two aspects as government functions.  To me,
that sort of violates the spirit of the separation of church and state.

Frank Silbermann	New Orleans, Louisiana		<fs@...>

From: Ed Greenberg <edg@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 11:14:31 -0700
Subject: Re: Separation of Church and State

> More practically, for all the horror stories of what life in America was
> like in the '50's, I wonder if Jews were really flocking to convert to
> Christianity as a result of singing carols in public schools. And I
> think we can safely say that many of the "What if" examples proferred by
> Leah Gordon are things that aren't advocated by the most fundamentalist
> Christians, and certainly wouldn't be a result of the Supreme Court
> reversing a few of its more extreme decisions.

I don't think that they were flocking (or even considering) converting, but 
my own experience was one of shame.

* Why am I doing this?
* I don't want people to see me glorifying another religion.
* I am embarrassed since people know I'm jewish.
* What will my Jewish friends (or my parents, or the people I look up to in 
  shul) think of me?
* What will my goyish friends think of me?
* What will G-d think of me?

Remember that children are greatly influenced by both peer pressure and
general pressure to be well thought of.

As an adult, we can look at this many different ways. When I was a
child, I could not understand my mother playing Bach's B-Minor Mass on
the piano.  Now I know that it is considered a significant piece of
classical music. I like to think that a thinking, intelligent Jew can
play it as music. After all, Pablo Casals recorded Kol Nidre on the
Cello. I don't think was Jewish.

As an adult, I can go to a church wedding, or Christian funeral. As a
child, I would have been mortified. I would expect to be turned to a
pillar of salt.

We need these protections in our schools, more than anywhere else.

To those who complain that the schools do not teach their children to be
G-d fearing, I say, do your own job.


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 12:04:35 GMT
Subject: Re: Separation of Church and State

Art Werschulz wrote <<< You can only imagine how the Jewish kids felt
under such circumstances. In fact, the incidents from my childhood
*still* make me wince with pain. >>>

I too painfully remember singing those carols in school. And as recently
as this past Shabbos, I "winced with pain" over a fellow Shomer Mitzvos
who had his diploma proudly displayed his wall, but the pride of that
diploma was stained by the words "... in the year of our Lord ..."

Akiva Miller

From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 10:32:29 -0400
Subject: Re: Separation of Church and State

Bernard Raab <beraab@...> wrote:

> These issues should engage our interest not only in America, but most
> especially in Israel. I suspect that most of us in this list would prefer
> a stronger state religion in Israel, where the other forms of Judaism are
> de-legitimized, and where Sabbath observance and kashrut are mandated by
> state law. But is this really in the long-term interest of either Israel
> or of Judaism? Having grown up in America, I have seen first hand how the
> "wall of separation", however porous, has served to strengthen our
> religious communities in ways which could not have been imagined 50 years
> ago. Might it not be similarly advantageous for Israel? I am anxious to
> hear other opinions.

I'll acquaint y'all with an Old Saying I once made up:

     When you mix religion with politics, you get bad religion and bad

'Nuff said.

Art Werschulz (8-{)}   "Metaphors be with you."  -- bumper sticker
GCS/M (GAT): d? -p+ c++ l u+(-) e--- m* s n+ h f g+ w+ t++ r- y? 
Internet: agw STRUDEL cs.columbia.edu
ATTnet:   Columbia U. (212) 939-7060, Fordham U. (212) 636-6325

From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 09:17:04 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Separation of Church and State

Art Werschulz <agw@...> wrote:
> I also remember that during the mandatory Christmas concert in high
> school, Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus" was one of the selections.  The
> band director insisted that we all rise for same.
> It didn't stop there.  Our town's high school has a "Winter Concert",
> during which the Handel piece is the Grand Finale.  Again, everybody is
> expected to stand for same.
> You can only imagine how the Jewish kids felt under such circumstances.
> In fact, the incidents from my childhood *still* make me wince with
> pain.

A friend of mine tells the story of his elementary school in 1962, which
introduced the one Chanukah song in their Christmas assembly with the
words "And here's how other people celebrate Christmas." (His parents
threw a fit.)

-- Janice

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <Sabba.Hillel@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Aug 2005 20:46:31 -0400
Subject: Re: Separation of Church and State

> From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
>  *  A federal law provides that a government employee be allowed to make
>     up time lost from work for religious observance unless the employer
>     can prove undue hardship.

This is not a "breaking" of the wall but a reinforcement.  Since you
state that a "government employee" can take off, then the employer is
the federal government.  What it means is that a federal employee is not
required to use annual leave for religious time off, but is allowed to
make up the time by working extra.

The reason for this, is because government workers are not allowed to
work "for free" and therefore must be exlicitly allowed to "make up" and
charge for time taken in a different pay period.  Since most government
workers are paid a flat salary and not an hourly wage, they are
forbidden to take off without charging a valid leave type and they are
also forbidden to work without charging to the job.

Technically, Congressmen should also be punished for taking off time to
campaign (as John Kerry did) without using annual or sick leave.

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


End of Volume 49 Issue 71