Volume 54 Number 89
                    Produced: Mon Jun 11  5:49:49 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

46th Annual Hebrew Book Week
         [Jacob Richman]
Dealings with someone who is in Cherim
         [Carl Singer]
Digitized version of the 14th Century Nuremberg Mahzor
         [Elhanan Adler]
Fiat Libellus Repudii
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Gadlu la-Shem iti
         [Ephi Dardashti]
Jewish community in Poland
         [Leah Perl]
Kosher Jew
         [Abbi Adest]
Response to Aryeh Frimer Review
         [Tamar Ross]
R.Z.Yehudoh Kook z"l and University
         [Michael Frankel]
Shul Auctioning
         [Carl Singer]


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Wed, 06 Jun 2007 19:47:06 +0300
Subject: 46th Annual Hebrew Book Week

Hi Everyone! 

Tonight starts the 46th annual Hebrew Book Week.  Over the next 10 days
there will be book related events in every major city in Israel. In
Jerusalem, the main book fair will take place in the old train
station. The events are free.

The Jewish National and University Library (JNUL) has collated data
about books published in Israel during 2006. The JNUL is the legal
deposit library of Israel, and receives, according to the "Book Act",
two copies of each book, journal, cassette or disk published in
Israel. The publications are catalogued in the JNUL catalogue, in the
Israel national bibliography and in the Israel Union List.

>From their website: 
"During the previous year 8,608 new Israeli titles were registered by
the Legal Deposit Department of the JNUL: 6,840 books, 915 new
periodicals, and 650 non-print titles, such as CDs and cassettes. In
addition, 12,874 issues of current periodicals were received in
JNUL. The JNUL catalogue is the most comprehensive in Israel, and
includes the vast majority of the titles published in Israel."

You can see additional information at their website at: 

I plan to pay a visit to the Jerusalem book fair next week.  I visited
these fairs in the past and not only is it fun to leaf through new books
and get discounts - it is also great to see Am Yisrael expressing
themselves (both sellers and buyers) as the "people of the book".



From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 10:33:39 -0400
Subject: Dealings with someone who is in Cherim

We have a man in our community who had been declared to be in cherim by
a competent bet din for not giving a get.

What is considered the halachicly appropriate way to deal with him when,
as in my case, I'm walking in the park --as many of us do on Shabbos --
and I get accosted by him.  Do I reply to his "Good Shabbos", do I turn
by back and walk away, etc.  This is especially problematic to me as I
know both parties involved and time and again he starts his litany of
what's going on with the courts, the bet din, the latest document he
just received / letter he just wrote, etc.  AND I don't want to be
involved with this either on Shabbos or Voch.



From: <elhanan@...> (Elhanan Adler)
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 16:01:49 +0300 (GMT+0300)
Subject: Digitized version of the 14th Century Nuremberg Mahzor

M-J members interested in early sources of nussah ashkenaz (a frequent
topic) will find the following of interest:

The Jewish National and University Library, is pleased to announce that
a digitized version of the "Mahzor Nuremberg", from the collection of
Dr. David and Jemima Jeselsohn, is now available for public access at
the JNUL site.

The giant, ornamental Nuremberg Mahzor contains prayers and piyyutim
(liturgical hymns) for the whole year according to the Eastern Ashkenazi
(Austrian) rite, the five Megillot and the Haftarot. It includes also a
comprehensive collection of commentaries on the piyyutim and prayers,
written in the margins. The manuscript was written in the year 1331. The
manuscript's nickname derives from the fact that from the 16th century
until 1951 it was held by the Nuremberg Municipal Library. Subsequently
the manuscript was acquired by Mr. S.Z. Schocken, and recently purchased
by Dr. David Jeselsohn who has generously allowed the JNUL to scan the
Mahzor and make it available to the public.

In terms of its physical description, the Mahzor Nuremberg is a unique
cultural object from the Middle Ages. The manuscript was written on
parchment and is one of the largest and heaviest codices to have
survived anywhere. 50 cm high by 37 cm wide and weighing 23 kg, it
contains 521 folios (i.e. 1042 pages). This huge book was written in the
finest calligraphic script by a scribe who was evidently a professional

>From an artistic point of view, the ornamentation, painting and
decoration in the style of the Upper Rhine valley, are of a very high

The Mahzor is also unique for its textual content, containing many
piyyutim not found in any other source. Moreover, the many commentaries
in its margins have never been researched or published.

The digitized manuscript is presented in the DjVu format which provides
high quality, magnifiable images compressed into relatively small files
for easy downloading. In order to view these images it is necessary to
download and install (once) the free DjVu viewer program.

This project inaugurates a new JNUL digitization series "Treasures of
the Jewish People" in which we hope to present to the public important
Judaica treasures which are found in private collections.

The launching of the Mahzor Nuremberg web site was celebrated at the
JNUL on June 7, 2007 with an event which included lectures by Prof.
Jonah Fraenkel on the text of the Mahzor, and Prof. Bezalel Narkis on
its artistic aspects. Both lectures will soon be available at the site
which already contains previously published material about the mahzor.

The Mahzor Nuremberg site can be accessed in both Hebrew and English
versions via the library site:
or directly at:

Elhanan Adler
Deputy Director for Information Technology
Jewish National and University Library
Email: <elhanan@...>, elhanana@savion.huji.ac.il 


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 05 Jun 2007 10:40:59 -0400
Subject: Re: Fiat Libellus Repudii

> The English word "fiat", meaning, a self-effectuating pronouncement,
> i.e., a pronouncement that effects its intent, through the very fact of
> its being pronounced, comes from the Latin, specifically, from the
> familiar verse in Genesis:
>         Dixitque Deus: "fiat lux" -- et facta est lux.

Fiat is simply the 3rd person singular subjunctive of the latin verb "to
do" (facio) ... but the English etymology of the word is entirely
besides the point (and, I would argue, misleading in its translation),
since we have the original Hebrew!

> It is greatly tempting to believe that we have the power to bring
> things into existence by calling them into existence, and, believing
> so, it is greatly tempting to exercise that power.

But the Torah gives us precisely this power with its pronouncement "lo
bashamayim hi" ([the Torah] is no in the heavens ... ), and Rabbi
Joshua's similar "rebuke" of Rabbi Eliezer over Achnai's oven (I believe
the reference is B"M 59a).  It appears that the rabbis have felt that,
though the will of the majority, they have an ability to understand and
interpret the Torah, even if their understanding is wrong!

This scenario reappears in various forms, for example the debate between
Rabbis Gamliel and Yehoshua ben Chananya over the date of Yom Kippur
(where, again, the majority won with the implication that they were
wrong) and even the epic arguments between Hillel and Shamai (where we
act according to the majority Hillel, although there is the clear hint
that Shamai was probably "right").

The bottom line is that it would seem that the rabbis do have the legal
authority to "solve" the agunot problem ... it would appear that the
majority feel that there are moral reasons for not doing so.

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>


From: Ephi Dardashti <ephidardashti@...>
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2007 13:30:31 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Gadlu la-Shem iti

In our synagogue one of our shelikhey tzibbur refuses to bow when he has
the sepher Torah in his arms.  A sepher Torah doesn't bow he says. I
have not seen any bowing on the taking out of siphrey Torah amongst our
brethren the Edot Ha Mizrakh.


From: Leah Perl <leahperl@...>
Date: Tue, 05 Jun 2007 23:29:59 -0400
Subject: Jewish community in Poland

I am traveling to Poland at the end of this month with a group of
teachers.  There are some other Jewish teachers, but no one else is
Shomer Shabbos or Kashrus observant.  Does anyone know of any Jewish
amenities there at all?

Leah Perl


From: Abbi Adest <abbi.adest@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 17:14:26 +0300
Subject: Re: Kosher Jew

> He said that he was just a "kosher" Jew and that a kosher Jew kept ALL
> the laws of the Shulchan Arukh."

Not every Orthodox Jew views it as realistic to keep all the laws of the
Shulchan Aruch. Most just do the best they can. There are Jews who feel
comfortable relying on lenient opinions (as the case of women's hair
covering clearly illustrates) and clearly they still align themselves
with the Orthodox community.


From: Tamar Ross <ross@...>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2007 14:31:24 +0300
Subject: RE: Response to Aryeh Frimer Review

Aryeh Frimer posted a review essay entitled "Guarding the Treasure" of
my book, "Expanding the Palace of Torah: Orthodoxy and Feminism". In
this essay, Aryeh presents a number of criticisms of my work. The
following is a link to my response to that review essay:


Tamar Ross


From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 12:02:35 -0400
Subject: R.Z.Yehudoh Kook z"l and University

David Ziants writes:  <Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook (son of Rabbi A.Y.) based his 
zionist philosophy on the teachings of his father, but he seems to be more 
radical on our relationship to the secular world than his father. For 
example there is the famous picture of Rabbi A.Y. on the podium at the 
opening of the Hebrew University, whereas the philosophy of Merkaz HaRav 
(Kook) yeshiva, when I was in one of their satellite yeshivot, seemed to be 
anti anything to do with university.>

As one personally tossed out of Mercaz Harav on R.Z. Yehudoh's direct order 
because of university connections, I would still have to say that 
R.Z.Yehudoh himself was more nuanced than the suggestion he was "anti 
anything to do with university".  It was back in 66-67 - a good year for 
adrenalin fixes as it later turned out - but the short version is I had come 
to spend a year in Israel, not as the current practice has it for a year's 
yeshivoh experience (that was then quite rare and the only member of my 
class to do so was notyetR. Mordechai  Willig. well, also notyetR. Aryeh 
Ralbag but he went after high school and returned, I think, to Fordham on a 
somewhat different deal) but rather to spend an undergraduate YU junior year 
at Hebrew University.  Since university didn't start till Sept or Oct and I 
had gotten there in June, I spent the summer time playing hooky from the 
mandatory foreign student ulpan run by the university and attending shiur at 
Mercaz Harav (a quite good one BTW, somewhat to my surprise. didn't think 
they really knew how to learn rambam outside of YU).  R. Z. Yehudah had no 
problem with this arrangement or my university intentions and only balked 
after university formally started since he felt it unfair to allow me to 
attend yeshivoh and university simultaneously when regular Israeli talmidim 
were not allowed the same privilege.  While I protested at the time, I came 
to agree with him (about the unfairness to the other students). But as I 
recall, it was the simultaneity to which he objected, not the concept of 
going to university.  Now gotta run and catch my Virgin Atlantic connection 
to Israel.

Mechy Frankel


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2007 09:47:51 -0400
Subject: Shul Auctioning

>>     In other words , there are so many items out there that are
>> costly to be a Jew. Why is the Shul the first being suggested as the
>> place to eliminate dues or to introduce other means of support?

> I think it is because, in general, synagogue membership seems
> optional, given that, at least in a large community, one can always
> join the minyan in the house with the sefer torah to solve one's
> prayer needs.
> I would point out though, something that my husband remarks upon
> frequently, which is that the dues for the Sephardi synagogues here in
> England are much lower than for the Ashkenazi ones.  This, he
> believes, is due to the general practice in the Sephardi shuls of
> auctioning off everything and everything (every aliyah and honour
> every shabbas, sometimes on weekdays as well I think, etc etc).

I recall in one shul that I belonged to we would bid for certain Yom Tov
kebudim -- but not for ourselves but for the opportunity to give that
kovud to the Rav.  Young Israel (national) does not permit requesting $$
after an aliyah -- which means that dues and donations are the primary
sources of income.

The pay as you go (auctioning, asking for $$ after an aliyah) has
interesting economic ramifications -- maybe it should be extended to pay
for going to each shiur and / or pay for the children's groups on a per
capita (child) basis.  Thus we've reduced a shul to a use-tax model for
funding.  My kids our grown so I guess I need not support the youth
minyan or the high holiday babysitting .....  I daven mincha at the
office so I guess I shouldn't pay for that either ....

If people look at a shul as a community resource and support it
accordingly then it has a chance -- if they look at it as a utility then
maybe we should pay as you go and, no doubt, offer to accept credit

Carl Singer


End of Volume 54 Issue 89