Volume 53 Number 89
                    Produced: Fri Jan 26  4:30:35 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Change in Jerusalem Hechsher policy (3)
         [Eliyahu Shiffman, Barry S Bank, Menashe Elyashiv]
Higher Education for Women (2)
         [W. Baker, Carl Singer]
Illusion and not Magic ?
Leah Gordon's baby - update to post
         [Leah S. Gordon]
Speaking in Shul (3)
         [Frank Silbermann, Immanuel Burton, Martin Stern]
Spitting (2)
         [Rise  Goldstein, Ben Katz]
         [Richard Dine]


From: Eliyahu Shiffman <sunhouse@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 17:24:17 +0200
Subject: Re: Change in Jerusalem Hechsher policy

> Up to now, the policy of the Jerusalem rabbinate regarding food chains
> was "all or nothing." In other words, if a single branch of the chain
> in the city would be open on Shabbat, none of the branches in the city
> would be given a Hechsher. Now, in a clear change, branches of the
> Aroma coffee shop chain in Jerusalem which have always been closed on
> Shabbat now have a Hechsher

Actually, the Jerusalem rabbanut probably sees views Aroma has having
given in to the rabbanut's demands.  The rabbanut decreed that if a
company wanted to have both kosher and non-kosher branches in the city,
the kosher ones must have a different name.  (It suggested that
McDonalds rename their kosher branches "McKosher", indicating that while
they know halacha, their knowledge of marketing is quite deficient.)
Now Aroma has essentially acceded to the rabbanut's demand, having
renamed the kosher branches "Aroma Hakasher Espresso Bar."  Admittedly,
the change is minor, especially since graphically, the word "Hakasher"
is smaller than the other words in the new signage, but I'm sure the
rabbanut would insist there has been no change of policy.


From: Barry S Bank <bsbank@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 18:48:26 GMT
Subject: Change in Jerusalem Hechsher policy

I think Shmuel is mistaken about a change of policy.  It is my
understanding that the kosher, shomer Shabbat Aroma outlets actually
changed their name to distinguish themselves from the Aroma branches not
eligible for a kashrut certificate.  I'm not sure whether the 2 have
actually incorporated separately but the change of name is apparently
sufficient for the Rabbanut to consider them as separate entities.
Therefore, granting a kashrut certificate to the outlets with a
different name may be a legal fiction, but it is NOT a change of policy.

I would like to know the basis for Shmuel's implication that the
Rabbanut considers kashrut observers to be "so stupid ..."  that they
cannot "differentiate between stores with and those without a Hechsher"
and that that is the reason for not giving a hechsher to an entire
company if not all of its outlets are kosher and/or shomer Shabbat.  I
have no inside information regarding the Rabbanut's motives on this
issue, but it seems to me that it just might be a way of pressuring
companies who want to be in the food business in Jerusalem to observe
kashrut and Shabbat fully and completely.  If the latter is the case,
then I say "kol hakavod" to the Rabbanut for its principled standard.

--Barry S. Bank

From: Menashe Elyashiv <elyashm@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 09:18:43 +0200 (IST)
Subject: Change in Jerusalem Hechsher policy

What happened? My wife took a course in evaluational testing for
teachers in a Beit Yaakov seminary. The course was for senior special ed
teachers.  After a year, they upgraded the course towards a BA. However,
the requierments for teaching for a BA is at least a MA. How many female
Haradiot have a MA? So they took from the outside. My wife studied
special ed in a DL seminary. She, unlike the other women, could see
things that were taught or that were said, that belong outside the
haredi world. This seminars were making good business, the graduates
were earning more money, but in time the haredi newspapers and "machers"
started a storm...


From: W. Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 10:50:43 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Higher Education for Women

> From: Sarah Beck <beckse@...>
> What would be the problem, from a pro-ban perspective, with a "kosher"
> B.A. (or other degree) taught under a "stricter" hashgacha? By only
> suitably vetted professors? Wouldn't such a program itself create
> challenging and Torahdik academic jobs for highly educated haredi women?

At least at the present time there may not be people withthe advanced
degrees necessary to teach in a degree program that are also
sufficiently charedi to meet the need.

In addition, one of the points brought up in the ban was that women were
becoming too"careerist" in outlook and less focused on their main job of
keeping the home and raising the children.

I am not posting here in agreement with the ban oy gevalt!, but am just
trying to explain some of the permutations and combinations that seem to
be involved.

Wendy Baker

From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 07:55:32 -0500
Subject: Higher Education for Women

I'm not sure why such issues would apply only to women students.  This
gender asymmetry probably reflects on the community where this is being
enacted / discussed.  As it stands we know find many "college" degrees
that are hardly worth the paper that they are printed on, and elements
of the certain communities who flock towards such "opportunities."

Carl Singer


From: <chips@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 21:37:29 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Illusion and not Magic ?

Does anyone know if a Posek discusses if it is ok for a Jew to do a
performance if the performance is called an Illusion by an Illusionist
instead of a 'magic act' ?


From: Leah S. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 12:14:17 -0800
Subject: Leah Gordon's baby - update to post

Dear Mail.Jewish friends,

We are grateful to God and very happy to report that our son has
recovered from his early lung issues and had his bris yesterday;
everyone is doing well.  His name is Gedalya Haim Menashe.

--Leah (and Ben) Gordon


From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 06:23:00 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Speaking in Shul

Perets Mett <p.mett@...> Tue, 16 Jan 2007 10:46:19 +0000,
>> Sadly the majority of German Jews did not escape the Holocaust.

Martin Stern <md.stern@...> Thu, 18 Jan 2007 20:21:53 +0000
> I think Perets is in error. More than 50% of German Jews did manage to
> escape before the outbreak of WW2. Perhaps the majority was not very
> great but it raised questions when compared to the destruction in
> Eastern Europe.

Yes, that's another reason why I believe that the arguments blaming
Reform Judaism for the holocaust are weaker than those blaming Marxist
sympathies among Jews during the pre-WWII years.

I haven't yet thought about the relative likelihood of talking in shul
being the driving sin, however.  The comparison between talking in shul
versus support for the second-greatest evil of the 20th century would
make for an interesting discussion.

Frank Silbermann	Memphis, Tennessee	<fs@...>

From: Immanuel Burton <iburton@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 12:41:41 -0000
Subject: RE: Speaking in Shul

I once attended a shiur in which it was stated that one of the reasons
that the First Temple was destroyed was that people did not recite the
blessing for studying Torah.  This may seem a fairly minor reason until
one understands the explanation for why this contributed to the
destruction of the First Temple.

We have the commandment to sit in a succah during Succos, and we recite
a blessing when we do so.  However, although there is a mitzvah to build
a succah, no blessing is recited when doing so.  This is because
building a succah is a hechsher mitzvah [preparation for a mitzva], and
a blessing is not recited on a hechsher mitzvah.  In the First Temple
era, the blessing on Toray study was not recited as people viewed Torah
study as preparation for performing the commandments, and not as a
mitzvah in its own right.  It was not the failure to recite this
blessing per se that was the problem, but the attitude and mindset that
this generated.

Similarly, I feel that speaking in Shul exhibits a lack of respect for
what it a house or worship to Hashem, not to say a discourtesy to those
who might actually want to pray and be able to listen to the
proceedings.  I find it odd that people won't talk in the cinema, and so
feel that the works of Steven Spielberg, Jerry Bruckheimer, George Lucas
and John Woo (to name but a few) engender more respect than being in the
presence of God.  I feel that it is the lack of respect (possibly
bordering on chutzpah) displayed by speaking in Shul that is more of a
problem that the actual speaking, and it this that could be used as a
rationale for explaining a catastrophe.

On a personal note, I find background chatter extremely distracting when
I am leining.

Immanuel Burton.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 13:52:24 +0000
Subject: Speaking in Shul

> Yes, that's another reason why I believe that the arguments
> blaming Reform Judaism for the holocaust are weaker than
> those blaming communist activism (and support for it)
> among Jews.
> I haven't yet thought about the relative likelihood of talking
> in shul being the driving sin, however.  The comparison between
> talking in shul and support for the second greatest 20th century
> evil would make for an interesting discussion.

The whole idea of blaming some other person or group for a catastrophe
is really quite unjewish. The traditional Jewish response has always
been to ask "What can I personally learn from this event and what can I
do to improve myself?" What the Imrei Emess said was that he thought
that the fact that by and large German Jews did not talk in shul might
have helped to save them despite their much greater defections in other
areas from a Torah lifestyle, rather than that the East European Jews
were punished for that particular aveirah.

Martin Stern


From: Rise  Goldstein <goldsteinrb@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 18:43:35 -0500
Subject: Re: Spitting

Jeannette Friedman wrote:
> Surely now that we know that disease is easily communicated via
> spittle spitting on someone (unless one is provably in perfect health)
> is more than a question of embarrassment! Since the "spitee" has no
> way of knowing the health status of the "assailant" surely they have a
> right to be seriously concerned (so even if one were in perfect health
> it wouldn't be an appropriate thing to do, out of consideration for
> the state of mind they would create).  If you are HIV positive and
> spit on a person, you are, in the US, a possible candidate for an
> attempted murder charge. 

 As an epidemiologist specializing in mental illness and substance
abuse, I've also done psychosocial and behavioral research in HIV/AIDS,
though I must admit that I haven't kept up on recent trends in felony
charges against HIV-positive individuals for spitting on others.
Nevertheless, it's now well known that transmission of HIV through
saliva, urine, and other nonblood, nonsexually related bodily
secretions, is quite unlikely, *unless* said secretions contain gross
blood (significant amounts, visible to the naked eye).  The above
statement is in no way intended, G-d forbid, to discourage the use of
good infection control procedures, including universal precautions in
health care settings.  I am also not disregarding the potential risks to
individuals who come into contact with bodily secretions, from
HIV-positive or HIV-negative source persons, that may contain *other*
infectious agents.  However, for all that IMHO it's despicable for
*anyone* to spit on *anyone else*, ever, anywhere, anytime, one
certainly hopes that good science trumps what the epidemiologic facts
identify as the "overkill" of attempted murder charges in such a

Rise Goldstein (<goldsteinrb@...>)
Silver Spring, MD 

From: Ben Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 2007 20:05:52 -0600
Subject: Re: Spitting

>If you are HIV positive and spit on a person, you are, in the US, a
>possible candidate for an attempted murder charge.

         This is the grossest of generalizations, for many reasons, not
the least of which is that fluid needs to have cells in it (like blood
or semen) to transmit HIV infection.  Saliva, spit, tears, and urine do
not spread HIV.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Children's Memorial Hospital, Division of Infectious Diseases
e-mail: <bkatz@...>


From: Richard Dine <richard.dine@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 21:43:47 -0500
Subject: Wine

The following was posted on an Israeli tourist website.  Is it true?
Has anyone had experience with this?

"During the production of kosher wine, no animal products may be used.
Gelatin or egg whites are sometimes used by non-kosher wine makers, to
clarify the wine, while kosher wine makers use a clay material, called
bentonite, which pulls suspended particles to the bottom of the barrel."

Thanks, Richard Dine


End of Volume 53 Issue 89