Volume 50 Number 64
                    Produced: Mon Dec 19  4:56:22 EST 2005

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

An addititional note on tuna
         [Arnie Kuzmack]
Death Penalty
         [Tzvi Stein]
Father and Mother as Called by Children (3)
         [S.Wise, Chaim Tatel, Sam Gamoran]
"Minor" Holiday
         [Tzvi Stein]
Names for Parents
         [Aliza Berger]
The Term "homophobia" and Some Questions
         [Lisa Liel]
         [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
         [B Lemkin]


From: Arnie Kuzmack <Arnie@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 15:27:14 -0500
Subject: An addititional note on tuna

I beg the Moderator's indulgence to post an additional, off-topic,
comment in response to Dr. Backon's medical advice, since it does
involve the physical health of Am Yisrael.  He noted:

> Before I give the halachic aspect (below) here's my medical hat on: I
> wouldn't eat canned tuna fish more than once a week and would
> completely avoid frozen tuna steaks. [That's from my being the
> SCIENCES in the mid 1980's]

We do have some additional data since the 1980's.  Specifically, canned
white or albacore tuna has about three times as much mercury as canned
light tuna on average and is about at the level of fresh or frozen tuna
steaks.  The official US Government guidance is to eat no more than one
6-ounce can of white tuna (which is about 2 sandwiches or servings of
tuna salad, on average).  Canned light tuna is considered a
"low-mercury" fish; consumption of canned tuna plus other kinds of fish
should be limited to an average of 12 ounces per week.

That's it for me on this subject.  If anyone has further comments or
questions, please contact me off-list.

Gut shabes to all!


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Dec 2005 21:13:24 -0500
Subject: Re: Death Penalty

> From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
> The recent execution of Stanley Williams brings up some interesting
> halachic questions.  May a Jew serve in a [secular] jury (or
> prosecution) where the death penalty is an option?  How about if the
> defendant is a Jew?
> It would seem that this would center on whether a court's decision is
> halachically considered murder if not supported by a bet din.  I'd be
> interested to hear what people know of this issue.

Well, non-Jews do have a mitzva to establish courts, and those courts
have to enforce the 6 other Mitzvos that they have, all of which have
the death penalty attached to them.  Since it is non-Jews who have this
mitzva, it doesn't seem logical that a bet din would have to be

Whether Jews should be involved at all is another story.  I never heard
any objection to it, and frum Jews seem to be on juries all the time.
When I was on jury duty, the judge was the one who brought up the
Shabbos issue (i.e. adjourning the trial early on Friday) from his
previous experience with frum jurors.


From: <Smwise3@...> (S.Wise)
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 14:22:53 EST
Subject: Re: Father and Mother as Called by Children

> Deborah Wenger writes, in v50n58
>> You make an interesting point about Abba and Mommy.  I've seen lots of
>> examples of this combination (or the Yiddish/English as noted above),
>> but very few the other way, i.e., Daddy/Ema.  Any ideas about that?
>In my family, our kids call us Daddy and Imma. Originally we were Daddy
>and Mommy, but when our oldest daughter was about 7, she started calling
>my wife "Imma," I think because that's what her friends called their
>mothers. And our younger kids followed her lead. But they never called
>me "Abba" for some reason. Perhaps because my wife always spoke Hebrew
>to our kids, and I always spoke English to them.
>      Mike Gerver,       Raanana, Israel

My kids refer to us as Abba and Mommy.  My wife said she calls her
mother Ema and choses this for herself but wasn't bothered by the fact
that both her father and I are referred to as Abba by her, though now
she refers to her father as Saba.  When I was growing up we called our
parents Mom and Dad or some variation.  As for the Daddy/Ema phenomenon,
maybe because Mommy and Ema use bilabials so there isn't much of shift
from Ima to Mommy, as opposed to the bilabiial Abba and the interdental


From: Chaim Tatel <chaimyt@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 11:40:55 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Father and Mother as Called by Children

A few years ago, I had major tendinitis problems in my hands due to
repetitive stress injuries from the computer. I had to wear heavy metal
braces on both hands and wrists. My daughters called me "RoboPop."

My grandkids call me either "Zaidie" or "Z-D" (Zeedie).

By the way, after two chasunahs and a few grandchildren, I've decided to
change my name to "ATM."

From: Sam Gamoran <SGamoran@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 15:31:46 +0200
Subject: Re: Father and Mother as Called by Children

Our children (who spoke English as a first language at home despite
living in Israel since birth or toddler hood) call us "Mommy" and

Our grandchildren (who speak Hebrew at home, English with us next door
and Spanish with their other grandparents down the street) have an Ima
and an Aba, a grandpa and a grandma (us) and a saba and savta down the
street.  They also have a bubbie (my mother-in-law is their great
grandmother) and a bubbeh and a zaideh (their maternal line great
grandparents also down the street.)

There is also another set of great grandparents and a great-great
grandmother from their mother's side who do not live in Hashmonaim and
I'm not not sure what they call them.

Sam Gamoran


From: Tzvi Stein <Tzvi.Stein@...>
Date: Sun, 18 Dec 2005 21:03:22 -0500
Subject: Re: "Minor" Holiday

From: Irwin E. Weiss <irwin@...>
>Tzvi Stein writes to observe that Chanukah is irritatingly characterized
>as a minor holiday.  (Vol 50 #56).  I guess it depends on what one means
>by a "minor holiday".  It is a holiday upon which we may work, unlike
>some holidays.  We can cook, unlike some holidays. 

Can't we cook on *all* holidays?!


From: Aliza Berger <alizadov@...>
Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2005 17:44:43 +0200
Subject: Names for Parents

Thanks to everyone who answered, both on and off the list. There were a
total of 17 responses, 18 including my post.

Some people didn't say what country they were in, so I can't really say
anything about Israel vs. outside of Israel.

The results of languages:
Aba/Ima - 3, but I'm sure many people use this who didn't write in. 
Aba/Mommy 7 + someone who reported that 2 sets of grandchildren use it.
Daddy/Ima 1
Two people reported that their relative(s) use Totty/Mommy.

A few people noted that they know quite a few cases of Aba/Mommy
combinations but none of Daddy/Ima. The next question is, why? I have 2
theories but will only state one of them now: Aba is a lot easier to say
than Ima, so even if the mother calls herself Ima, it may not stick. For
example, our son who is 15 months old, says Aba and Ma-ma, even though
my husband and I call ourselves Aba and Ima. And this is in Israel.

Aliza Berger-Cooper, PhD
English Editing: www.editing-proofreading.com
Statistics Consulting: www.statistics-help.com


From: Lisa Liel <lisa@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 12:54:36 -0500
Subject: Re: The Term "homophobia" and Some Questions

Frank Silbermann <fs@...> wrote:

> To understand why the attitude against homosexual behavior 
> remains harsh, we must review exactly how we developed more 
> lenient attitudes towards those other violations.

I disagree with this.  If by "homosexual behavior", you mean actual
physical acts, that's not even what we're talking about here.  The harsh
treatment is aimed at people who *are* gay, regardless of any physical
acts they may or may not engage in.  And if by "homosexual behavior",
you mean simply being known as gay, then (a) there is no violation
involved, and (b) the harshness is not something that has been around
forever in Torah Judaism.

Do we have to raise the issue of the homoerotic poetry written by
gedolim again?  It doesn't matter if they only wrote it because that was
common poetic usage at the time.  Imagine R' Mordechai Eliyahu writing
something in gangsta rap style today.  It simply would never happen.
But no one looked askance when major gedolim wrote piyyutim that are
comparable to modern gay erotica.

Modern homophobia among frum Jews is a result of assimilation from the
Christians around us.  Yes, even frum Jews can find themselves falling
into the trap of assimilation, so long as ritual isn't disturbed.

> The alien ideologies that caused so much assimilation over last 
> two centuries neither promoted nor defended homosexuality, so 
> the "captured as infants" argument we use to justify tolerance 
> for nonobservant Jews did not apply to homosexual behavior.

Lo ploog.  I don't believe you can find a single source for your claim.

> Now that we understand why the leniency often show for certain
> violations was not applied to homosexuality,

I don't think we understand that at all.  It wasn't applied to specific
issurim.  The idea of tinok she-nishba has been around for a lot longer
than two centuries.

> we see that there is no basis for assuming an irrational fear or
> averion on the part of those who hold the traditional negative
> attitude -- and, therefore, no justification use of the term
> "homophibia".

Yet there is.  When a frum woman who doesn't cover her hair, or who
wears slacks, snubs me because I'm gay, there's a serious problem going
on here.  When all the halakhic parameters of "hevei dan et kol ha-adam
l'chaf zechut" are abandoned specifically in the case of gays and
lesbians, there's a major disconnect.  When lashon hara and rechilut --
not to mention ona'at devarim -- are given an implicit blanket heter in
the case of icky homosexuality, even when the victim of these issurim is
a frum Jew, then we're not talking about attitudes which stem from the
halakha.  We're talking about the halakha being used as a justification
for homophobia that already exists.

Let me add that the term xenophobia does not mean only fear of that
which is different.  It means fear and hatred and hostility against
something different.  The same is true for homophobia.  Those who try
and use etymology to pretend that "homophobia" means anything other than
bias and bigotry against gay people are no different at all from the
folks who use etymological arguments to claim that "antisemitism" really
means being against Semites, including non-Jews.  It's a specious
argument.  We don't darshan English words.

> The very recent incorporation of a "gay rights movement" within the
> secular world suggests that the "captured by infants" argument might
> one day be extended to this sin, but I don't know whether any
> influential rabbis have made this argument.

R' Chayim Rapoport is influential:


You might want to read it.

This isn't just an issue of whether frum gays and lesbians "deserve it".
It's a question of issurei Torah that are being violated on a regular
basis in the frum community in relation to us.



From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <Sabba.Hillel@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 10:37:22 -0500
Subject: Re: Tides

> From: <MJGerver@...> (Mike Gerver)
> Hillel Markowitz writes, in v50n59,
> There seems to be some confusion here. Spring tides are the "highest
> tides" in the sense that there is the greatest difference between high
> tide and low tide on those days (full moon or new moon), while neap
> tides are the "lowest tides" in the sense that there is the smallest
> difference between high tide and low tide on those days (first or last
> quarter moon). But whether the tide is actually high or low depends on
> the time of day.
> In any case, the whole explanation of the tour guide is nonsense, since
> Irwin says it was a lake. You only get tides in the ocean, or in a body
> of water that is close enough to the ocean that water from the ocean can
> flow into it or out of it, like a bay or estuary. In an isolated lake,
> the moon and sun do not produce tides, because there is no place for the
> water to go, or come from.

Thanks, I missed the point of it being a lake.  You are correct that a
lake would not have a "tide" (daily raising or lowering of the water)
but I think that the guide *may* have been tring to say that the water
is pulled toward the moon during the time of the "spring tide" so that
it would be higher than the normal water level shown during the time of
the "neap tide".

However, I would somehow suspect that the effect would not necessarily
be as obvious as Irwin's question implied.  Of course, since it was
closer to the point of "neap tide", he was probably wrong anyway.  A
period of rain (or snow meltoff) would probably have a much greater
effect than the moon.

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


From: B Lemkin <docben10@...>
Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2005 09:27:08 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Torahlight.com

Just to remove any misunderstandings - www.torahlight.com is definitely
not a messianic website and is now functioning.

                 -B Lemkin


End of Volume 50 Issue 64