Volume 55 Number 44
                    Produced: Sun Aug 19  9:25:22 EDT 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Orthodox don't contribute
Reciting Tehillim at Night (3)
         [Yael Levine, Stu Pilichowski, Akiva Miller]
Understanding Modern Hebrew
         [Rose Landowne]
We ain't that good
         [Carl Singer]
Yerushalmi and Ashkenaz (2)
         [David Curwin, Eitan Fiorino]
Yeshiva High School Staffing
         [Eitan Fiorino]


From: Leah-Perl <leahperl@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 10:49:57 -0400
Subject: Re: Orthodox don't contribute

> How about this idea?  Take one of these Orthodox communities and get
> every local school to refuse to provide special needs education and
> early intervention unless the families foot the entire bill for the
> cost of the care provided.  Let the conniptions and panic play out in
> the local Orthodox community when many families realize they now have
> to come up with anything from an extra $5,000 to $50,000 per year to
> pay for the education of their most vunerable and needy children.

I find this offensive and insulting.  Those of us who pay mortgages are
already paying for the full compliment of services -- the fact that we
only use them a la carte should not be a mark against us.  Those of us
who rent are no different than any other renters out there who are
allowed to educate their children at no personal cost.  AND many
families are already paying tutions of 5-10K per child, at great
personal sacrifice.  Finally, it is illegal for local schools to refuse
to provide special needs education to any child in their district.  Your
tone is mean-spirited and vindictive -- not a great way to start Chodesh

Leah-Perl Shollar 


From: Yael Levine <ylevine@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 20:20:00 +0300
Subject: Reciting Tehillim at Night

The question of whether Tehillim may be recited at night is in dispute
among the Poskim.  According to the Ari one should not recite Tehillim
at night. This issue has been discussed by quite a few Sephardi
Poskim. See inter alia, Rav Ovadiah Yosef, Yabi'a Omer, Volume 6, OH,
simman 30, pp. 99-103.


From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 10:06:19 +0000
Subject: re: Reciting Tehillim at Night

I certainly remember at least one Tehillim session one night on behalf
of a young man in later stages of cancer.

Is this an exception?

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion, Israel

From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 12:39:10 GMT
Subject: Re: Reciting Tehillim at Night

I don't have any idea what the halacha seforim say on this issue, but I
note that my (Ashkenaz) siddur does include many Tehillim to say at
night. These include:

#27 at end of Maariv during Elul and most of Tishrei
#49 at end of Maariv at a Shiva house
#16 at end of Maariv at a Shiva house on non-Tachanun days
#67 after counting Sefira
#91, most of #3, and #128 during the bedtime Shema
#95-99 and #29 during Kabalas Shabbos (though some would say that these
    are said prior to the night, not during the night) 
#144, #29, and #67 prior to Maariv on Motzaei Shabbos
#91 and #128 at end of Maariv on Motzaei Shabbos
much of #148, and #121 and #67, during Kiddush Levana
#145 at the beginning of Selichos
#24 at end of Maariv on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur
#126 before Birkas Hamazon on non-Tachanun days
#137 before Birkas Hamazon on Tachanun days

I will concede that some of the above are not said by everyone. Still,
the fact that these *are* mentioned in the siddur, it seems to me, does
constitute reasonable doubt against any rule against saying Tehillim at
night. It is possible that such a rule exists, but not an
all-encompassing rule. It would have to be a rule which allows for the
exceptions listed about.

If someone would suggest, for example, that a fuller stating of this
rule might be: "One can say Tehillim at night if it is part of an
established minhag, but one should not simply say Tehillim at night as
part of one's personal prayers." But if that is indeed a correct
statement of the rule, then I have to wonder how any of the examples
above got started. Shouldn't their very beginning have been prevented by
this avoidance of saying Tehillim at night?

(I was going to ask a second question, about cases where the shul says
Tehillim after Maariv for a member of the community is ill, or the rare
Ad Hoc Community Prayer Service for some sort of emergency at home or in
Israel. However, on rereading this thread, I see that the rule as posted
by Brandon Raff was "that Tehillim is not recited at night unless there
are pressing circumstances", and these would certainly count as pressing
circumstances. But this would not apply to the examples in the siddur.)

Akiva Miller


From: Rose Landowne <Roselandow@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 09:25:20 -0400
Subject: Re: Understanding Modern Hebrew

> Certainly it is more important from a religious perspective to
> understand Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew than it is to understand
> modern conversational Hebrew, and this priority is magnified in the
> diaspora, where I think one could legitimately claim there is no
> particular reason at all to learn modern conversational Hebrew.  I for
> one would gladly trade the time my children currently spend learning
> modern words and usages for increased time spent on a more
> sophisticated understanding of Biblical and Mishnaic Hebrew and
> Aramaic.

In my opinion, the real problem is that without an ability in modern
conversational Hebrew, the day schools are not preparing children to
live in Israel, where they can best fulfill the mitzvot and the mission
of the Jewish people.

Rose Landowne


From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 06:25:33 -0400
Subject: We ain't that good

> That is exactly the way a statistician would "prove" by normalizing
> (i.e., taking into account) such factors as "parents education level,
> household income, household "learning culture", etc." that Jewish kids
> are no different from any other kids. But here we are dealing with the
> "un-normalized" population. The Jewish families in the suburbs, and I
> suspect in the cities as well, do tend to have a higher education level
> and "learning culture" than the population at large. Our outsize
> accomplishments in all fields of intellectual endeavor attest to this
> tendency.

Bernard -- I resent any association with statisticians. :)

In part you miss my point -- I'm not speaking of the population at
large, I'm speaking of the local population.  There are exceptions --
but often your non-Jewish neighbor has the same (secular) education,
drives the same car, earns about the same, (and almost definition ally)
owns a home in the same price range as your own.  (And because of
yeshiva / day school tuition - has more disposable income.)  This was
true when I lived on the Philadelphia Main Line and similarly in Edison
/ Highland Park (New Jersey.)

In all candor, this is not true (or much less so) in Passaic where I now
live, because Passaic was an older, poorer, multi-cultural community
with many first generation immigrants, etc.  Jews moving in in many
cases are of a different economic / education demographic than their
non-Jewish neighbors.



From: David Curwin <tobyndave@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 13:15:00 +0300
Subject: Yerushalmi and Ashkenaz

Alan Rubin <alan@...> quoted:

"From the Palestinian tradition of Jewish worship came the Ashkenazi
rite used in Western and Eastern Europe and Russia. From the Babylonian
tradition came the Sephardi rite followed in Spain, Portugal, North
Africa, and the Middle East. Both rites, as well as some others, are
still practised in Orthodox Jewish communities worldwide."

I remember learning that in my yeshiva. In that context I remember
learning that Spanish Jewry pointed out their Babylonian origins to
their Christian hosts so they could not be blamed for the crucifixion,
since they weren't living in the Land of Israel at the time.

-David Curwin

From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 08:45:42 -0400
Subject: Re: Yerushalmi and Ashkenaz

Alan Rubin cites the following from a British Library exhibition:

"From the Palestinian tradition of Jewish worship came the Ashkenazi
rite used in Western and Eastern Europe and Russia. From the Babylonian
tradition came the Sephardi rite followed in Spain, Portugal, North
Africa, and the Middle East. Both rites, as well as some others, are
still practised in Orthodox Jewish communities worldwide."

And asks, "Is this true?"

It is a very crude summary of a much more nuanced and not well
understood phenomenon.  The standard "explanation" for differences
between nusach Ashkenaz and the true Sephardic nusach (not the Chassidic
derivatives of nusach Ashkenaz) is that the Sephardim followed the
liturgical traditions of Bavel (the Seder Rav Amram gaon was composed in
response to a query from Spain), and that the Eretz Yisrael nusach
travelled to Italy and then northward into Europe.  I think there is no
doubt that the Italian nusach and the various Ashkenazic nusachot (there
was once far more heterogeneity) contain more Eretz Yisrael elements,
particularly in the realm of piyut, however these rites have been
heavily "Bavelized" as well, and there are certain anomolies (e.g., the
Sephardic minhag to answer amen to one's own recitation of certain
berachot is pure eretz yisrael, preserved in the italian liturgy, but
completely absent from Ashkenaz - this may have happened under the later
influence of the chasidei ashkenaz, I'm not sure).  I think in reality
the situation was much more fluid and dynamic, there was tremendous
regional liturgical heterogeneity which was later homogenized through
cycles of expulsion and migration and then by the printing press.  The
JNUL website has some excellent material associated with its digital
displays of the Worms and Nuremberg machzorim.

As far as the overall relationship between the academies of Bavel and
Eretz Yisrael, and their respective struggles for "share of mind" among
Jewry, and the eventual loss of authority of Eretz Yisrael in halachic
matters, the calendar, and eventually in liturgical matters as well, I
cannot recommend highly enough Robert Brody's book on the geonim.



From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2007 09:45:49 -0400
Subject: RE: Yeshiva High School Staffing

> From: Stuart Feldhamer <stuart.feldhamer@...>
> I feel the need to add a data point here. I went to Yeshiva 
> of Flatbush High School. We had 3 or so librarians, who were 
> very nice people but who never did anything useful (that I 
> know of) for me or for any of the other students, and I spent 
> more time in the library than most. Friends of mine used to 
> point out how they added no value other than telling us to be 
> quiet if we were discussing our school subjects too loudly.

Stuart goes on to declare the similar uselessness of the guidance
counselors and assistant principle, despite his having had some
interation with them and having received some benefit from them.

This argument is akin to me saying "I have never talked to my
Congressman or Senator, nor do I have any tangible evidence that they
have done anything useful, thus their functions must be superfluous."
Now Stuart graduated from one of the most prominent day schools in
America, that has been doing a fine or even excellent job of educating a
diverse student body for decades.  Is it really so far-fetched to
imagine that they have actually got something right with respect to
their staffing needs?

I think there can be subtantive debate over the administrative needs of
a school, over the question of the appropriate number of administrators
for a given student body and faculty.  Every school must decide on the
benefit that each additional hire brings and whether that is worth the
added expense and schools ought to be disciplined in making these
decisions, and I'm sure that there are times when schools are not.  But
it seems to me that the mail-jewish dialgue on these issues has been
informed largely by ignorance.  "Having attended a school at some point
in my life" makes one no more of an expert on school finance and
staffing than "having flown in an airplane" makes me a pilot.

If people want to do more than spew uninformed kvetches about school
finance, then what they ought to do is go get involved in a local day
school for a year or two, serve on the Board, the finance committee, the
scholarship committee, the budget committee, the development committee,
the dinner committee, the education committee, whatever.  Then come back
and talk about experiences that are relevant to the topic at hand.

Having just typed this on a computer and submitted it via the internet,
I guess I am now an expert in information technology and computer
networking.  Wow, that was easy.  Avi, you'll be happy to know that with
my new found expertise in these matters, my assessment of your role is
that it is not yet superfluous, because I have had reason to communicate
with you offline, and a fully automated listserve could not have handled



End of Volume 55 Issue 44