Volume 50 Number 10
                    Produced: Fri Nov 18  6:32:46 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Israel Caspi]
         [Paul Azous]
         [Ben Katz]
Hakirah Press Release: Call for Papers
ketubat non-betulah
         [Yossi Ginzberg]
Shul Ritual Objects Needed
         [Ira L. Jacobson]
Starbucks and the 'Holiday'
         [Art Sapper]
Tearing Shirt in Gaza
         [Dov Teichman]
Wearing jackets to shul
         [Carl A. Singer]


From: Israel Caspi <icaspi@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2005 22:09:07 -0500
Subject: Brit/giur

Yasher koach and thank you to all who responded so eruditely on and off
the list to my question about the b'rachah recited at the circumcision
of a convert, all of whom pointed out my lack of knowledge of the fact
that the b'rachah recited at the circumcision of a ger is different from
the standard b'rachah that is recited at the brit milah of a
natural-born Jewish child.  In addition, Martin Stern goes on to say
that "the tevilah should take place asap after the milah has healed to
avoid leaving the child's status in limbo."  That leads to the question:
why doesn't the t'vilah precede the milah?  If it did, the status of the
ger would not be an issue and the b'rachah at the brit could be the
usual one.

--Israel Caspi


From: Paul Azous <azous@...>
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2005 00:06:10 +0000
Subject: Re: Chapel

In regards to Mr. Carl A. Singer's where he write:
> 2 - There are many mincha minyans in office buildings.  Some are held in
> conference rooms, some in out of the way alcoves, etc.  What if
> management sets aside, or lets you reserve a conference room for a 15
> minute period in the afternoon.  Does that room need any sanctity --
> does it matter if that same room is used by a Christian (group or
> individual) for prayer?"

I would say that the room, as long as its not dedicated specifically for
Christian use, can be used by Jews. The problem, according to many
poskim, is that Churches, and somewhat by extension, non-Orthodox
synagogues, particularly one's without a mechitza, are forbidden to
daven in, regardless if only ten men are present. I believe also,
though, that just because someone sanctifies such and such, it doesn't
necessarily make it 'trief' to utilize. The most popular example of
course being the sun. Meaning, just because there are people who make
the sun into avodah zara doesn't mean the sun is off limits to Jews.

In regards to Mr. Joseph Kaplan's comments: 
> I'm not sure what Rabbi Solovietchik would have said about davening in
> a non-denominational chapel, but I do not believe it is what Paul
> Azous said he said.  The Rav, in writing about (and prohibiting)
> listening to the Shofer in a Conservative shul on Rosh Hashana, was
> not basing his psak on the lack of a mechitza or the fact that it was
> a Conservative shul.  Rather, the basis was that there was mixed
> seating, and a shul where men and women are davening while seated
> together has no sanctity. Thus, this psak does not apply to, for
> example, a Conservative shul where men and women sit separately
> although there is no mechitza.

Doesn't mixed seating imply no mechitza? There is a shul in Tokyo that
has three separate section, one for the men, one for the women, and a
mixed seating, in the middle of both (surrounded by a mechitza). Unique
for certain. Of course I cannot read what the Rav said or would have
said about a shul like this, but I believe he based his ruling that the
Conservative synagogue had no mechitza, hence the shul was void of
sanctity. He thus ruled that this gentleman couldn't even listen just to
the shofar, let alone pray there.  Paul


From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 11:29:46 -0600
Subject: Re: Cover

         I think two points need to be made: 1) just because words sound
alike they are not necessarily related, and words that sound quite
different may be.  2) Even more fundamentally, it is best when data are
approached without preconceived notions (eg wanting to derive everything
from Hebrew or not, or wanting Ibn Ezra to be frum or not [but I digress
to another matter in this issue to which I will also respond shortly]).

         My brother likes to point out that the words immediate and
miyad (or miyadit) mean pretty much the same thing and sound quite
alike, yet appear to have 2 completely different derivations: one from
"yad" (at hand) other from Latin medium (im-medium, w/o middle steps)

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: Hakirah <hakirahflatbush@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 21:04:53 -0500
Subject: Hakirah Press Release: Call for Papers

On November 17, 2005, Hakirah, The Flatbush Journal of Jewish Law and
Thought, issued a call for papers on: 1) The place of rationalism and
the impact of mysticism upon Jewish thought and practice, and 2) Issues
related to the kashrut of eruvin in metropolitan centers. See
www.Hakirah.org for the full text. Articles accepted for publication
will appear in the forthcoming volume 3 of Hakirah.

Sincerely, Heshey Zelcer, Hakirah


From: Yossi Ginzberg <jgbiz120@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 12:02:36 -0500
Subject: ketubat non-betulah

>Perhaps Hillel is thinking of a more modern situation where the ketubah
>of a previously unmarried girl specifies 200 zuz as for a virgin. In
>many cases, outside Orthodox circles, the couple have been living
>together prior to the wedding so this might not strictly be the correct
>sum. Should the husband try to wriggle out of his obligations under the
>ketubah at some later date by making a claim that she was be'ulat atsmo
>and therefore only entitled to 100 zuz, this would be rejected since
>Beit Din would rule that he wrote the larger amount at the time as a
>mark of his love for her and a wish to avoid the embarrassment the lower
>sum might cause her.

I recall many years ago being at the wedding of a female convert to a
born Jew, and after the ceremony asking the Rabbi (quietly and
privately!) how and why the ketubah was read aloud with 200 zuz and the
betulah in it (since a non-Jewish girl is presumed to not be a betulah).
He claimed that he had asked Reb Moshe Feinstein, and was told that the
groom has the right to give as much additional as he wishes. The word
betulah, he said, was read aloud but not written in, to avoid raising
eyebrows or risk shaming the bride.

Yossi Ginzberg


From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 19:17:08 +0200
Subject: Re: Shul Ritual Objects Needed

Warren Burstein <warren@...> stated on Wed, 09 Nov 2005 19:08:40

>>In a book published some years ago, it was stated that the use of such
>>a light in certain synagogues is actually a Frankist custom and should
>>be discouraged.

> Did the charge of Frankism it relate to any Ner Tamid, or only to an
> "antique or traditional looking lamp"?  In all synagogues, or only in
> "certain synagogues"?

A ner tamid light; in a synagogue (any synagogue).

By the way, I think that my use of the word "discouraged" was an

IRA L. JACOBSON         


From: <asapper@...> (Art Sapper)
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 10:41:37 -0500
Subject: Starbucks and the 'Holiday'

Baruch C. Cohen writes:

> It's not about pitting or comparing Chanukah with Xmas, and it's not
> about the fear of not wanting to antagonizing gentiles. That's a complete
> misread of the situation. It's about a Jewish-owned mega-corporation that
> strategically places its stores in the heart of religious Jewish
> communities (i.e., Hancock Park & Beverly Hills in Los Angeles) where 95%
> of the clientele of these well-positioned stores are orthodox Jews; and
> to go all out with garish Xmas decorations -- is simply disrespectful and
> disgraceful. [Imagine, if you will, a Starbucks located in the frummest
> section of Meah Shearim in Yerushalayim decorating it's store with
> Xmas(?)]. The Jewish-owned corporation does not need to flaunt and 'go
> all out' with Christian-based celebrations, especially where it is
> out-of-place. Better not to have any decorations at all (the Grande latte
> will still taste the same), but if Starbucks is going to decorate, then
> it [should] show some balance ...."

        It is not clear to me that Baruch Cohen is speaking entirely to
the same point that I wrote about.  The original posting by Steve
Goldstein complained about the lack of Chanukah decorations alongside
Xmas decorations in a Starbucks.  Mr. Goldstein wrote, "I asked my
Jewish barista why there were no Chanukah decorations in this highly
Jewish patronized store ..."  But most of Mr. Cohen's posting seems to
be saying that there should be no Xmas decorations at all if Starbucks,
which is Jewish owned, places a store in a highly Jewish community.
Actually, with that idea, I am not sure that I have a quarrel.  I can
see that a respectful approach can and probably should quietly be made
directly to a Jewish businessman about the impropriety of a Jewish-owned
business in a 95 percent Jewish community displaying Xmas decorations.

        My dispute was with Mr. Goldstein's idea that Jews should push
for the inclusion of Hanukah decorations alongside Xmas decorations.
Part of Mr. Cohen's response also seems to advocate that ("if Starbucks
is going to decorate, then it [should] show some balance").  I continue
to firmly disagree with that idea.  Equating Hanukah with Xmas is false
to the spirit of Hanukah.


From: <DTnLA@...> (Dov Teichman)
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 22:41:42 EST
Subject: Tearing Shirt in Gaza

David Mescheloff  writes:
<<I tore my shirt on purpose, with a bracha>>

Many people during the evacuation/disengagement from Gaza tore their
clothes and said the brocha of Dayan HoEmes.
Was there an official psak that this was a valid occasion to make this
brocha with hashem's name?

Dov Teichman


From: Carl A. Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2005 21:05:48 -0500
Subject: Wearing jackets to shul

> ...  But can we not also find a place in our hearts where we can
> entertain the thought that the person we see, who is dressed
> differently from what we would like, may be experiencing some
> exceptional circumstances?

Thanks for some insight into your interesting adventure.

Of course there may be extraordinary circumstances -- but that's clearly
the exception not the rule.  If you had a clean shirt / pants at your
disposal your decision would have been different.  The concern is not
the rare exception, it's someone living in the community, whose house
has not burned down, who has not had an infestation of moths or locusts
-- who wears a jacket to work every day, then comes to shul wearing
dirty pants and a T-shirt.



End of Volume 50 Issue 10