Volume 54 Number 07
                    Produced: Tue Feb 13  5:47:57 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Back to the back of the bus (3)
         [Meir Shinnar, Perets Mett, Martin Stern]
Beit Din Experience
School Admissions (2)
         [Martin Stern, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
         [Mark Goldin]
Talking during Davening
         [Batya Medad]
Talking in Shul
         [Orrin Tilevitz]


From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 09:47:14 -0500
Subject: Re: Back to the back of the bus


> From the outpouring of her outrage, it would seem that she ought to be
> concentrating on that, rather than joining anti-religion activists in
> petioning the court to ban Mehadrin buses (which she has no hope in
> achieving anyway)?

Don't get mad, get even..

The problem is that the anti-religion activists are the ones supporting
her - the religious community is not.  And I wouldn't be sure that she
has no hope in achieving that - the court may well decide that Mehadrin
buses violate basic human dignity - even if most of those riding them
don't - and I (and many others) would applaud that decision...

> In any case, read her own description of what happened and her
> subsequent behaviour and language. She sure doesn't come over as a
> shrinking violet.
> And whilst being concerned about 'motzi shem ra', maybe you could also
> take up cudgels on behalf of Charedim?
> After all, even assuming that her story is true, she has besmirched an
> entire community because of the actions of a few.

One could argue that what happened on the bus is the action of a few -
but the reaction of much of the haredi community (as manifested in the
above post, as well as others) to the beating of a grandmother for
violating presumed stndards - does more to besmirch that community than
anything she has done...

Meir Shinnar

From: Perets Mett <p.mett@...>
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2007 12:34:17 +0000
Subject: Re: Back to the back of the bus

Janice Gelb wrote:

> As we keep repeating, the main issue here is not the buses themselves
> but the attitude that the rest of the world should be inconvenienced
> and threatened to accommodate a minority.

I haven't noticed any attempt to seek male/female separation on buses
where chareidim are a minority. I think Ms Gelb is mistaken.  The
question is whether Egged should provide mehadrin buses on routes where
chareidi passengers are the overwhelming majority.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2007 16:10:39 +0000
Subject: Back to the back of the bus

Having read innumerable postings on mail-jewish on this subject, I now
see that this matter has been taken up in the non-Jewish press. Last
week there was a long article in the (London) Times which drew too many
comparisons between this gender separation and the treatment of Blacks
on public transportation in the Southern states of the USA.

Personally, I do not see the need for such segregation though I can
appreciate that others may not agree. What is not acceptable is physical
violence or, for that matter, rudeness and lack of consideration of
other people's differing lifestyles which it would appear both sides
have displayed.

This whole business has now become a chillul Hashem and, I suspect, both
sides are to blame to some extent. With a little bit of derekh erets a
reasonably satisfactory solution could have been found without resorting
to the Israeli High Court which is viewed in chareidi circles as being
prejudiced against them. Should it ban any form of separate seating this
will simply increase the ill-feeling against the state in general in
these segments of society, most of whom are not rabid Neturei Karta
supporters by any means but who will become more sympathetic to that
philosophy in consequence. Confrontation has never been the optimal
method for resolving disagreements.

Martin Stern


From: Anonymous
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2007 23:06:24 -0500
Subject: RE: Beit Din Experience

A while back I was summoned to a Beit Din where I was told by the
administrator I needed to face "justice" for my crime against the
complaintent.  The Beit Din in question was one which I had previously
had a financial dispute with when I worked for them as a Mashgiach and
was lied to by the President of the Beit Din (I only received my money
when a local Chabad Rabbi fought for me to get paid)

When I received the hazmana in Nissan I immediately let them know I
would get back to them after consulting a Toein (A halachic lawyer)
because I knew nothing about how to halachically present a case in Beit
Din.  The Beit Din ignored my response and threatened to throw me into
cherem.  I opposed even being called to the Beit Din because of the
multiple conflict of interest (my previous financial dispute, one local
influential Rabbi was pushing the case and the administrators own
comment indicating I was coming for sentencing and not a trial.)  When I
chose the option of Zabla which they offered and showed up for my first
hearing I found they had ignored my choice for a Rabbi for the hearing
(but did allow my opponents choice on the Beit Din)

At the end of the day because of the influence of my Toein I managed to
get the Beit Din to follow the halachot of Zabla.  Suddenly when neutral
Rabbis were going to be involved the Din Torah went away (the plaintiff
was only interested in a biased bought beit din).  I wasn't even able to
get them to send me a letter saying the case was over.  They did tell me
I owed them hundreds of dollars for their time in trying to
excommunicate me.

If I didn't have the connection (via my wife) to an important toein the
Beit Din couldn't ignore I would have been tried and convicted by my
local Beit Din before I even showed up.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2007 16:16:58 +0000
Subject: School Admissions

On Wed, 7 Feb 2007 09:13:47 -0500, David Greenberg <dgreenberg@...>
> I was always fond of this one, which was reportedly going around
> Brooklyn preschools/kindergartens before we moved out:
> "What's your favorite TV show?"
> Any answer disqualifies the student.

What about "Ich verstehe nicht. Wos ist a TV? (I don't understand what
you are talking about. What is a TV?)"

Surely that should have guaranteed admission!

Martin Stern

From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2007 04:54:52 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: School Admissions

I would like the answer that my grandchildren tend to give, "Mommy and
Daddy's wedding video". (or Uncle XXXX and Aunt YYY because we were in

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


From: Mark Goldin <goldinfamily@...>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 09:34:34 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Talibanization

Did any of you hear the NPR report about mehadrin buses this morning?  I
had the dubious pleasure of listening to a long report on my way to work
about the "back of the bus" issues we have been discussing recently.
They featured an interview with Naomi Ragen, self-professed observant
Jew, who is involved in the lawsuit against the Israeli Department of
Transport and who was herself harassed by burly Hareidim.  The beating
was mentioned (though they didn't dwell on that), as were the modesty
patrols, the burning of see-through stockings, anti-gay demonstrations
etc etc.  Very sad.  I just hope I don't have to try and explain any of
this to my co-workers.  And yes, the word "Taliban" was mentioned.

Mark Goldin
Los Angeles


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Fri, 09 Feb 2007 13:50:50 +0200
Subject: Re: Talking during Davening

> How about making shul more interesting? My experience in MO shuls has
> been anything but positive. Everything is fine until you get to
> kedusha or layning/reading the Torah (depending on the chazan). Then
> it starts getting shleppy. Once you get to psichah (taking the Torah
> out) the davening turns interminable. What with the misheberachs,
> speeches, kel malehs....

Huh?  Are you talking about dovening or a performance?  Are the rabbi
and chazan there to entertain or to help you pray?

Baruch Hashem, I'm in Israel, especially Shiloh (25 years already!) too
long to identify with your complaint.  I remember a number of years ago
a cousin's son came from the states on a teen tour and spent Shabbat
with us.  He wasn't religious, but he went to shul on Friday night with
my husband and sons.  His reaction was: "Wow! Everybody here knows all
the words!"  He could feel that the prayers were said with a kavanah
only reached by understanding the words.

I wouldn't exagerate and say that I or my neighbors pray every prayer
every time with such intensity, but one thing is for sure.  We don't
enter shul waiting to be entertained.  Dovening or praying is neither a
performance nor social event.  If your Hebrew's not good enough to
understand the prayers, get a good translation, and lose yourself in it.

Shabbat Shalom,


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 07:17:36 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Talking in Shul

I have been following the discussion of talking in shul with a mixture
of amusement and horror; amusement because I am always looking for
potential Purim Torah, and horror because some people who should know
better seem to believe what they are writing.  The problem, as always,
seems to be that people are paskening halacha without bothering to look
at or cite sources.  I'll pick on the most recent perpetrator, Russell

> The way I understand it it is prohibited to talk FROM the prayers
> Baruch Sheamar till after the completion of the recitation of the 18
> blessings and similarly during the Musaf prayer) ANY OTHER TIME IT IS
> PERMITTED (except during the reading of the Torah and Haftorah).>

You understand wrong. For one thing, it is also forbidden to talk during
the repetition of the Amidah.  Shulchan Arukh, OC 124:4 ("Kesheshatz
chozer hatefila hakahal yeish lahem lishtok.")

> Similarly inbetween aliyoth there is no prohibition of talking. I
> think it a good time to shmooze about the Parshah and its
> relevance. Perhaps discuss the latest current events, politics and see
> if the Parshah can help..

Wrong again.  Id., 146:2: "Once the baal koreh begins to read, it is
forbidden to speak, even divrei torah, EVEN BETWEEN ALIYOT (afilu bein
gavra legavra)" (followed by some POSSIBLE exceptions for silent Torah

Although Russell does not mention the brief interlude between one's
finishing the private amida and the beginning of chazarat hashatz,
talking then is highly problematic; it is forbidden even to move in
front of some else who is still saying the amida, lest one interfere
with his kavana, so it ought to be pretty clear that one can't speak
then either unless one is out of earshot of anyone who is still

So basically, it is forbidden to speak (1) from Baruch She'amar until
after the repetition of shachrit; (2) during the entire layning and
haftarah, and (3) from the beginning of musaf until after the musaf
repetition.  What is left is a small fraction of the tefilah.  Can one
speak in this fraction?  Technically, yes; for that matter, one could
speak during the rabbi's sermon.  But there is an inyan of derech eretz
about how one treats the rabbi, and this extends to the sheliach
tzibbur.  If people are talking when I am talking, I stop talking, and I
apply that principle as sheliach tzibbur as well.  What about during eyn
kelokeinu, ff.?  This portion of the service is frequently led by
pre-bar mitzvah boys.  What message is sent by incessant talking when
they are leading the services?  And what message, to anyone, is sent if
one is talking about anything while the Torah is being removed from the
aron or while it is being marched around the shul?

Another gaping hole in Russell's logic: according to him, it would seem
to be perfectly acceptable to talk during kol nidre, and during the
entire yom kppur eve davening following the silent amida.  Any takers
for that proposition?

> There are vague prohibitions of "idle chatter" in the synagogue
> because it is a house of worship. I am not certain what idle chatter
> is.

They are not "vague".  The Mishna Berura at 151:1:2 defines "idle
chatter" (i.e., "sicha beteila") as "afilu sichat chulin shehi letzorech
parnasa", i.e., even secular talk that is necessary for one's living.
At the same siman, the Aruch Hashulchan, the great mekel, feels that he
has to justify the practice of "sichat chulin" in shul AFTER DAVENING IS
OVER.  So it is quite clear that, even according to him, secular speech
during davening is forbidden, i.e., "idle chatter" means "anything but

> My point is that synagogues provide BOTH a religious outlet and social
> outlet

Davening betzibur is an inherently social act because its essence is
everyone beginning the silent - repeat, silent - amida together.  And we
humans are very good at social interaction without any verbal
communication: motioning someone to a seat, shaking someone's hand,
sitting down next to someone who has suffered a loss, or even embracing
him/her; asking someone to act as the next sheliach tzibur: none of
these require talking.

> I believe this is justified in the Jewish Law Books

You are welcome to cite specific sources.


End of Volume 54 Issue 7