Volume 55 Number 73
                    Produced: Wed Sep 12  4:39:03 EDT 2007


Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Fruit Juice requires a hechsher (6)
         [Carl Singer, Mordechai Horowitz, <ERSherer@...>, Martin
Stern, Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz, Eitan Fiorino]
Learn to Read Hebrew in just 2 Hours
         [Mark Burt]
Natural Law
         [Carl Singer]
Tzedaka
         [Joel Rich]
Tzedduka mailings -- was unwanted gifts (2)
         [Carl Singer, Perry Zamek]
Why 2 days RH
         [William Gewirtz]


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From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 21:24:55 -0400
Subject: Fruit Juice requires a hechsher

 From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
> My local Kashrut board is starting to require all fruit juices to have
> a hechsher in their establishments.  My Rabbi didn't know why there
> were doing it.  Has anyone heard of anyone suggesting making this
> change an know the reason?

Many years ago very, very bright gentlemen in my daf yomi shiur said
sarcastically that "if Rabbi plony gave a hescher on water -- I'd read
up on how one makes water treif."  Although this was meant as a put down
for the integrity of Rabbi plony's hasgacha -- there was a lesson to be
learned.

In the case of fruit juice I surmise (and I am not in either the food or
hasgacha "business") that the primary issue may be additives to include
using grape juice as a sweetener.  Secondary issues may involve
equipment -- say a bottling plant that also bottles clam-ato juice, etc.

Carl

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From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 22:29:24 -0400
Subject: Re: Fruit Juice requires a hechsher

Since I sent in my original question I received an answer on the issue 
from the OU

KC-8939 Fruit Juice
Dear Mordechai,

Thank you for checking with the OU regarding your Kashruth question.

Containers of fruit juice without certification may no longer be
accepted in OU food service establishments

It is true that 100% pure apple and orange juice by the tanker load may
be accepted in OU certified plants from any source. This is because
these juices are intrinsically kosher. The problems arise at the
bottling plant. Juices are hot filled on equipment that is often used
for other non-kosher products as well.

Our investigation of such plants has revealed the fallacy of the
assumption that any ta'am issur in the equipment would be automatically
batel in the volume of the kosher product. Hence the distinction: a
tanker truck of 100% apple juice is presumed kosher. A bottle of 100%
apple juice is not - unless it bears proper certification

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From: <ERSherer@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 21:09:43 EDT
Subject: Re: Fruit Juice requires a hechsher

Do you know what else goes into a container?  There's more than just what
you get by cutting an orange and squeezing it. 

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From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 06:00:17 +0100
Subject: Fruit Juice requires a hechsher

Is it possible that there is a reasonable suspicion (miut hamatsui) that
shemittah produce or orlah might be present? Another possibility is that
grape juice or cochineal might be used in some products on the general
market in quantities small enough not to require declaration under
secular law but more than the one sixtieth necessary for bittul?

Martin Stern

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From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabba.hillel@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 05:52:10 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: Fruit Juice requires a hechsher

1.  Many fruit juices use grape juice as an additive.   
2.  Many products use artificial coloring made from cochineal beetles. 
3. Often different runs of products will use the same set of piping so
   that even if grape juice is not in this product, it can be there from
   a previous run.

For example, in a fruit juice product review I found 

http://www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/beverages/juices/naked-juice.asp 

Our first instinct was to check the ingredient label to find the secret
behind the sweetness. We found that, of the drinks in our line-up, all
but the Pomegranate Juice contained grape juice (either white, red or
both), a go-to ingredient for drink companies that want to add sweetness
without loading the product with added sugar or artificial
sweeteners. Sometimes the added grape juice can be so sweet that it
overpowers the rest of the flavors in juices, but we didn't find this to
be the case with the Naked line. The Pomegranate Blueberry still has
enough tannins to make your mouth pucker, which we liked; and the
Pomegranate Ašai and Red Machine flavors, while quite sweet, are still
full of great flavors. We would have liked a bit more of that wonderful
sour-bitter flavor in the Pomegranate juice; we felt it got a bit buried
under the sweetness.

Another pointer

http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB113833159673257881-7aQTK755ykjASE3hGnfjQrjZlSk_20060203.html?mod=blogs 

 Is There a Bug in Your Juice? 
 New Food Labels Might Say  By JANE ZHANG 
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
 January 27, 2006

  Food makers may not want to dwell on it, but the ingredient that gives
  Dannon Boysenberry yogurt and Tropicana Ruby Red Grapefruit juice
  their distinctive colors comes from crushed female cochineal beetles.

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

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From: Eitan Fiorino <AFiorino@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 09:27:50 -0400
Subject: RE: Fruit Juice requires a hechsher

Commercially made fruit juices often have grape juice added to them.  As
to whether a small amount of grape juice could be nullified, when added
lechatchila by a non-Jew, I have no idea given the stam yeinam issue.
Of course the grape juice could be mevushal, which would shift things
towards a lenient view.  In any case there are legitimate issues.

If something is labelled "100% juice" I'm not sure as to the rationale.

Ketiva vehatima tova!

-Eitan

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From: Mark Burt <moshehakohen@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 09:27:44 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Learn to Read Hebrew in just 2 Hours

Shalom Friends;

FYI, Dictionary.co.il has created an online video course called Instant
Hebrew.  It teaches total beginners how to read Hebrew and more in just
2 hours. It covers all the letters, vowels, and some vocabulary as well.
Please pass this along to the people you know that would benefit from
it:

http://www.dictionary.co.il/Instant_Hebrew/

Regards,
Moshe HaKohen

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From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 21:46:09 -0400
Subject: Natural Law

From: David Riceman <driceman@...>
> From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
>> There is something called "natural law" -- by which, for example, most
>> people, regardless of their religious views might conclude that
>> killing children is WRONG.  Thus with or without Torah many (most?)
>> people would come to this same conclusion (and presumably act
>> accordingly.)
>
>The existence of natural law is a machloketh rishonim [argument among
>medieval Jewish scholars] - Rambam [Maimonides] in the introduction to
>Perek Helek [Chapter [[of Mishnah beginning with the word]] "Portion"]
>says its a foolish notion, and Sa'adiah in Emunoth V'Deoth [Opinions and
>Beliefs] accepts it - as well as an argument among philosophers; as far
>as I know nowadays only neo-Thomists [I'll let the moderator translate
>that one] accept it.

I must point out that my "natural law" quote was fresh from a shiur that
I attended last week.  I didn't attribute it as I don't have permission
or an exact transcript.

Without natural law, how would we explain the behavior of non-Jews be
they monotheists, ovdai kochavim or whatever?

Carl

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From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 20:59:29 -0400
Subject: Tzedaka

Rambam in chapter 10 of hilchot matanot aniyim lists the ladder of
priorities and also that one shouldn't throw oneself onto the community
(although he doesn't seem to cast it as a complete prohibition.)

If one ignores the Rambam's advice concerning throwing oneself onto the
community, does it have any implication for his ladder rung?

KVCT
Joel Rich

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From: Carl Singer <casinger@...>
Date: Mon, 10 Sep 2007 21:36:34 -0400
Subject: Tzedduka mailings -- was unwanted gifts

> Experience has shown that these gifts do, in fact, often generate a
> donation in return (in a number of instances, from people who had not
> given to these particular organizations for a number of years).
> 
> Economically speaking, the financial return from a charity mailing
> campaign needs to more than cover the costs of the mailing: printing of
> the letter and the inserts (including the gift), list management,
> envelope stuffing, postage, return postage (reply paid envelopes), and
> the actual writing of the letter (a professional skill). Once the donors
> are familiar with the name of the organization, they (or a significant
> proportion of them) will continue to give regularly.

This sounds more like a business with yield management, production
coordinators, mail service bureaus, etc.  Thus the natural question is
how much goes to the tzedukah and how much to all of the enablers.

Since I get an overwhelming number of look-alike mailings for
organizations that I've never heard of, I find that I'm concentrating on
the needs of organizations that I have a personal connection with -
whether or not they send me an envelope.  I have also recently adopted a
policy of not making any pledges over the phone. In part because many
names sound so much alike, I've given more than once to a single
organization and given to organization B thinking it was organization A
(a sign of senility?) and in part because some solicit several times per
year.  I've made a pledge only to later look into my tzedukah check book
to find that I wrote them a check a few months ago.

Some solicitors offer to send me an envelope and then ask if they can
put me down for a specific amount -- I've learned to tell them no.
(Impulse buying?)

Is this tzedukah mailing / calling "industry" a perversion of tzedukah
concepts?

Carl

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From: Perry Zamek <perryza@...>
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 10:11:37 +0300
Subject: Re: Tzedduka mailings -- was unwanted gifts

Yes, in some ways it sounds like a business, and there are people who
make money from their services to the tzedakah organizations (myself
included).

I don't think, however, that this is a perversion of tzedakah concepts,
unless some of the players are unscrupulous (see below).

You have to consider that smaller organizations may not have the
necessary manpower and/or skills to run a mailing, even to their
existing donors (see my quote above for a partial list of the stages and
costs involved). Rather than insisting that they reinvent the wheel and
learn all the skills, it may be *better business* for them to
concentrate on their recipients, and pay someone to handle the mailings
for them.

Example: If the enabler (mailing specialist) takes, say, an average of
$2.50 per letter sent (covering all costs), and sends out 1000 letters
to the existing donor base, then anything received by the organization
in excess of $2500 for the whole campaign is available for tzedakah.
(I'm talking of an organization that uses all volunteer labor.) Suppose
they receive a total of $20,000 for the campaign. This leaves them
$17,500 for distribution. If they were to try to do it themselves, they
may find that their "unprofessional efforts" (poor spelling, lateness of
the mailing before the chagim, poor mailing list maintenance, a letter
that doesn't "move" people to give) may generate only $10,000
(hypothetical) - which is better? Obviously, they need to look at the
costs vs. the benefits, and decide whether to work with a professional
mailing agency.

Rose Landowne wrote: I've heard that a good return on a direct mail
campaign is 1%.

That's true for a "cold" campaign, to people who have never given
before. The percentage is higher for directed mailings to an existing
donor base.

I stated above "unless some of the players are unscrupulous." There are
unscrupulous tzedakah "enablers" who take a percentage of the collection
*after* costs - in other words, they stand to lose nothing from the
deal, and make a lot if the campaign is successful. Or worse, they ask
for a flat fee to cover costs plus, and set that fee so high that the
net income to the organization is well below 50% of the total
contributions. There are call centers that insist that you have already
given to the organization that they are fronting for. There are the
organizations that say "we have *assessed* you for the sum of ..."

I don't have solutions, other than educating donors to watch out for
such practices, and to give to reputable (honest) organizations.

Shana Tova and Gmar Chatima Tova to all.

Perry Zamek
Jerusalem

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From: <wgewirtz@...> (William Gewirtz)
Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2007 01:13:08 +0000
Subject: Why 2 days RH

2 days RH is entirely different from other 2 day yomim Tovim.  Because
of an error as stated in the order of service, there was gezirah to
disallow witnessess that arrived very late in the afternoon.  Clearly,
given the manipulation practiced leading up to Tishrai, BD knew that the
day should be rosh chodesh and RH, were visbility not impaired with no
eidim showing up.  so when they decalred the arrival period over they
would be effectively declaring the next daty RH and that day chol.  Not
wanting to do that, they celebarted both days as Kodesh.

subequent history is a major machloket rishonim.

dr. william gewirtz

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End of Volume 55 Issue 73