Volume 53 Number 93
                    Produced: Tue Jan 30  6:06:33 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Back of the Bus Update - Legal Petition
Back to the back of the bus (3)
         [Warren Burstein, Orrin Tilevitz, Mordechai Horowitz]
Kavod HaRav
         [Harlan Braude]
         [Batya Medad]
Modesty Edicts
         [Aliza N. Fischman]
Prayers and Tehillim for a Young Boy
         [Rabbi Meir Wise]
Speaking in Shul (2)
         [Akiva Miller, Frank Silbermann]
         [Robert Israel]
Talmidei chachamim increase peace ?
         [Edward Black]
Update on separate seating buses in Israel


From: Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 22:19:58 +0200
Subject: Back of the Bus Update - Legal Petition

Women ask High Court to stop gender division on public buses

By Reuters

A group of women petitioned the High Court of Justice on Wednesday to
order public bus companies to stop telling women to sit in the back of
buses running through some ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighbourhoods.

Many ultra-Orthodox Jews follow teachings that bar any public contact
between men and women, and government-subsidized transport companies
have recently granted demands to run gender-divided buses along some

The petition was filed by U.S.-born novelist Naomi Ragen, an Orthodox
Jew, and five other women, including a representative of the Reform
Judaism movement.

Ragen said she was seeking to prevent Israel from "turning into a
Taliban country," referring to the former hardline Islamic regime in
Afghanistan that barred women from public life.

The petitioners asked the court to instruct the Transportation Ministry
to study whether there was a real need for "segregated" buses and, if
so, to limit their number and label them as such so that women could
choose not board.


From: Warren Burstein <warren@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 03:00:38 +0200
Subject: Re: Back to the back of the bus

I would like to suggest that anyone who does not believe the Haaretz
reporting take a look at an entry on the Cross-Currents blog by Jonathan
Rosenblum from Dec. 12, 2006, which can be found at


He writes that although he hoped that he "briefly entertained hopes that
the whole thing was a fabrication", after the woman called him and he
also confirmed "at least the broad outlines of her story" from a second
source, he changed his mind.

From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 09:21:23 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Back to the back of the bus

I am puzzled at Avi's decision to publish SBA's charge that the bus
beating incident was "orchestrated by a woman with a reputation for
being a loudmouthed troublemaker".  Aside from the issue of motzi shem
ra, unless the statement is actually true this 50-year-old grandmother
would seem to have a claim in U.S. courts for defamation against both
SBA and Avi.  

From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 21:50:58 -0500
Subject: RE: Back to the back of the bus

> Could it just possibly be that the whole thing was a load of crock -
> orchestrated by a woman with a reputation for being a loudmouthed
> troublemaker???

I know the woman in question and find your statement to be disgusting.
This list should have banned your comment.  She is an honest and
trustworthy person.


From: Harlan Braude <hbraude@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 09:03:08 -0500
Subject: Re: Kavod HaRav

>> At the end of Massekhet Berakhot, the Gemara states "Talmidei
>> chachamim marbim shalom be'olam - Talmidei chachamim increase peace
>> ...
>> implied that where someone was a cause of discord, it was a proof
>> that he was not a Talmid chacham, something with which the rav found
>> it impossible to disagree.
> Sometimes "peace" can only be "increased in the world" after much
> strife and pain. Sometimes even wars.

Perhaps our understanding of the term "peace" is lacking. It's easy to
confuse "peaceful" with "peace". While the imagery of a summer day nap
in a hammock may be compelling, vigorously campaigning to right a
societal injustice is probably a better demonstration of "increasing
peace" in the long run.


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 15:02:53 +0200
Subject: Re: Ketuba

my old dumb questions

What's the point of the Ktuba if it can't be enforced?  It's not a
mutual I give/you give contract.  It's a pledge from the husband that if
the woman marries him, and the marriage breaks up, she will be
compensated.  It's "unilateral," which has become a dirty word.

Have I misunderstood anything?

Too many times husbands initiate divorce as a bargaining ploy, without
really wanting to free their wives.  Many women are terrified of being
divorced and will do almost anything to keep the marriage together,
setting themselves up for serious abuse at times.

The rabbis can improve things by demanding from husbands initiating
divorce that they write up the gett and have it held by the Beit Din
until the various pre-divorce steps have been taken.  Without preparing
and signing a gett, a man can't initiate divorce.

Batya Medad


From: Aliza N. Fischman <fisch.chips@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2007 14:41:27 -0500
Subject: Re: Modesty Edicts

Is it just me or do some of these remind other people of the notorious
Jim Crow laws which relegated African Americans to second class citizens
from the 1880's through the 1960's in America?

I got the following sampling of Jim Crow Laws from
http://www.nps.gov/archive/malu/documents/jim_crow_laws.htm.  Noted
after each law is the state that had said law in place.

1. {Related to number 1} [The County Board of Education] shall provide
schools of two kinds; those for white children and those for colored
children. Texas

2. {With a bit of leeway, Related to number 2} All persons licensed to
conduct a restaurant, shall serve either white people exclusively or
colored people exclusively and shall not sell to the two races within
the same room or serve the two races anywhere under the same
license. Georgia

3. {Related to number 3} Any person...who shall be guilty of printing,
publishing or circulating printed, typewritten or written matter urging
or presenting for public acceptance or general information, arguments or
suggestions in favor of social equality or of intermarriage between
whites and negroes, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to fine
or not exceeding five hundred (500.00) dollars or imprisonment not
exceeding six (6) months or both. Mississippi

4. {Related to number 4} Montgomery's segregation laws were complex:
blacks were required to pay their fare to the driver, then get off and
reboard through the back door. [From

If the school is run by the city, what right do they have to reject
certain children?  A private school is one thing, but a city run school?

Aliza Fischman


From: <Meirhwise@...> (Rabbi Meir Wise)
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 11:19:30 EST
Subject: Re: Prayers and Tehillim for a Young Boy

May I request prayers and tehillim for a young boy (of whom I was the
sandak) who is in hospital for over a week.  The doctors are still not
sure of a diagnosis - he seems to have something like menengitis
(without spots).

Tzvi Dovid ben Avigayil Avivah

Hope to inform you of good news.
Rabbi Meir Wise (London)


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 11:58:58 GMT
Subject: RE: Speaking in Shul

Like most listmembers, I am very annoyed by those who talk in shul.
However, there are valid arguments against such talking, and there are
also invalid arguments. It does not help our cause when someone uses an
illogical argument to prove his point.

Immanuel Burton wrote: <<< 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. >>>

Do you really think that the reason they are quiet at the cinema is
because of their respect for the producers? If you really think that,
then I apologize.

But it seems very clear to me that people are quiet at the movies
because they are interested in the story, and they are talkative at shul
because they are bored and uninterested in what's going on.

Respect has nothing to do with it. Let's be honest -- if respect were
the real criteria, then even the non-talkers would refrain from non-
holy talk ANYTIME we're in shul, even before and after the service.
There are indeed some such people, and I admire them and aspire to be
among them, but I'm not there yet.

Akiva Miller

From: Frank Silbermann <fs@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 08:29:47 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Speaking in Shul

Martin Stern <md.stern@...> V53 N89:
> 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.

A subtle but key difference, I must admit.

> 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?"

Indeed, it may be that in looking into his own sins and the sins of his
own community, talking in shul may have been the worst sin that the
Imraei Emess could think of.

And following the traditional Jewish response, instead of blaming other
Jews it was his own (community's) sins that he chose to emphasize.

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


From: Robert Israel <israel@...>
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 08:32:53 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Spitting

Rise  Goldstein <goldsteinrb@...> wrote:

> 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 circumstance.

I am neither a lawyer nor a physician, but since the charge in question
is *attempted* murder, it seems to me that the act involved probably did
not actually kill anybody.  It could be that the spitter was not
up-to-date on the epidemiologic facts and was actually attempting to
infect the victim with HIV.  The case would be analogous to trying to
shoot somebody with a gun that you thought was loaded, but turned out
not to be loaded.

Robert Israel                                <israel@...>
Department of Mathematics        http://www.math.ubc.ca/~israel 
University of British Columbia            Vancouver, BC, Canada


From: <edwardblack@...> (Edward Black)
Date: Fri, 26 Jan 2007 11:56:28 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Talmidei chachamim increase peace ?

One of my rabbanim (who shall remain anonymous as I have not sought his
permission to quote him here) suggested to me when I asked him to comment
on the idea that talmidei chachamim increase peace in the world that the
Gemara at the end of Massekhet Berakhot was that rarest of things: a
talmudic joke.

Kind regards
Edward Black


From: SBA <sba@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2007 23:46:59 +1100
Subject: Update on separate seating buses in Israel

Reposted from Areivim, with permission of poster.

From: "Aryeh Stein" <>
>A group of women petitioned the High Court of Justice on Wednesday
>to order public bus companies to stop telling women to sit in the back
>of buses running through some ultra-Orthodox Jewish
>neighbourhoods....The petition was filed by U.S.-born novelist Naomi
>Ragen, an Orthodox Jew, and five other women, including a
>representative of the Reform Judaism movement.

Among the 61 comments to the article is the following from a reform
Jew in which he defends the practice of separate seating:

Crowded buses and trains with young male soldiers (intentionally ???)
brushing against my daughters are a real problem for many.  I suggest
offering male-only and female-only buses on certain routes.  For trains,
a single male-only and another single women-only car would be helpful.
No - we are not Taliban. Just trying to live a modest life within our
democratic state. Democracy for all - even the religious and modest.

PS I am a reform Jew !!!!!!!


End of Volume 53 Issue 93