Volume 56 Number 03
                    Produced: Fri Dec 21  5:13:02 EST 2007

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Bet Din
Convert as synagogue choirmaster
         [Jonathan Baker]
Convert as synagogue president (4)
         [Leonard Paul, Martin Stern, Daniel Geretz, Shimon Lebowitz]
The Frum Network (2)
         [Saul Lieberman, Chaim Shapiro]
Frum only, frum first (2)
         [Joel Rich, Bernard Raab]
Hashgacha of restaurant open on shabbat
         [Richard Schultz]


From: <rubin20@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 08:41:21 -0500
Subject: Re: Bet Din

> I have long been dismayed and upset over the bet din situation,
> particularly in New York.  Why is it that so many millions can be raised
> for yeshiva buildings and other causes, and no one creates an endowed
> bet din that allows the rabbis a guaranteed living without their having
> to custom-tailor their piskei din to suit their funders?
> I do understand that a dayan needs to feed his children, and thus cannot
> really blame those caught up in the current situation, but if they were
> independent, it would solve so many chilul-Hashen issues that it's hard
> to comprehend why this isn't on the top of every organization's project
> list.
> It would seem to be simple enough: Raise a large enough endowment to pay
> the salaries of a few rabbi's and a secretary or two, release them from
> fear of being terminated for any ruling, and voila! You'll have real,
> fair, and legitimate piskei din.  The amount involved would be less than
> the cost of a single new Boro-park yeshiva building, and the gain would
> be immense.  Not only the legitimacy of batei din would be improved, but
> the respect for the rabbinate, the actual usage by businesspeople, and
> the reduction in "heimishe scandals" that end up now in the secular
> courts.
> Nu? Somebody do it, please!
> Yossi Ginzberg

Somebody did. Bes Din Tedek U'Mishpat in down town Brooklyn is based on
this concept. Supported by a few benefactors, Dayanim receive a full
salary, and nothing for the actual Din Torah. Has some of the biggest
names in Chosen Mishpat in America on it. Number is 718-222-5252. In
addition, Bes Din Maysharim of Lakewood has a staff of professional
Dayanim who receive nothing for sitting on Din Torahs.


From: Jonathan Baker <jjbaker@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 11:29:42 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Convert as synagogue choirmaster

From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
> The term to be defined is "sherara". The Iggrot Moshe YD IV 26 has no

From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
> The basis of their diktat is "sh'roroh" which geirim are not supposed
> to exercise, so no convert kings.  in full apologetic mode, this might be

much as I fear to disagree with two such great internet personalities,
isn't the word 'serarah' as in 'sar'?  In fact, I just checked in
Jastrow, and yes it's serarah, not sherarah.

Sherarah sounds like singing, so might there be a problem with a convert
as Kapellmeister?

        name: jon baker              web: http://www.panix.com/~jjbaker
     address: <jjbaker@...>     blog: http://thanbook.blogspot.com


From: Leonard Paul <lenpaul@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 07:48:32 -0500
Subject: RE: Convert as synagogue president

I was surprised and deeply troubled to read about such a ruling, and I
cannot understand the rationale. I hold in high regard and esteem
converts whom I know personally. I admire how committed they are to
living Torah observant lives.

In answer to the question of what do you call converts, my answer is
that they are Jewish. When a new president takes office in our shul, my
first greeting is to say that I do not know whether to express
congratulations or sympathy, but I do want to say thank you. If someone
who is Jewish by choice has achieved the respect and admiration and
appreciation of fellow congregants that they would choose this person
president, and this person is willing to take on these responsibilities
and frustrations, I recommend words of appreciation and thanks.

Leonard Paul 

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 12:29:45 +0000
Subject: Re: Convert as synagogue president

On Mon, 17 Dec 2007, Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...> wrote:
> On the basis of the gemara in Yevamot 45b, Kiddushin 76b, and Yerushalmi
> Kiddushin 4:5 (on the prohibition of having a king not of Jewish stock)
> [see also Minchat Chinuch 498], the Rambam in Hilchot Melachim 1:4 rules
> that a convert can have no "sherara" [authority] over a Jew and this is
> also codified by the Beit Yosef TUR Yoreh Deah 269 and Beit Yosef TUR
> Choshen Mishpat 7.

and Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...> wrote:
> The basis of their diktat is "sh'roroh"

Is the word for authority not "serarah' with a sin, and not "sherarah"
with a shin, from the same root as "sar" meaning a prince?

Martin Stern

From: Daniel Geretz <danny@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 13:26:00 -0500
Subject: Convert as synagogue president

General question - how exactly do we define "sh'roroh"?
1. Power - ability to achieve certain ends.
2. Authority - legitimacy, right, and justification to exercise power.
3. Both 1 & 2.
4. Something else entirely.

A lot of what I might have to say on this issue depends on what
definition the term has.  I initially had thought it was #1, in which
case saying that a shul president is in a position of sh'roroh is a
joke.  I reconsidered, however, and think it might be #2, although not
sure how relevant #2 really is without #1.

From: Shimon Lebowitz <shimonl@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 22:38:13 +0200
Subject: Re: Convert as synagogue president

Just a comment on the meaning of "gabay":

> The term to be defined is "sherara". The Iggrot Moshe YD IV 26 has no
> problem with a convert being a rosh yeshiva nor does the Tzitz Eliezer
> XIX 47 on whether a convert can be a dayan.  The Encyclopedia Talmudit
> Volume on "gabay tzedaka" does indicate that a convert shouldn't be a
> gabay tzedaka (person responsible for disbursement of funds).

The disbursement of the funds is not so much a position of authority as
is the (possibly coerced) collection of those funds.

I believe that the word is actually derived from "goveh", to collect
money or take payment.

*** I shlepped myself to the Even Shoshan dictionary in the other room
and verified my guess: definition two (dating from chazal) is a tax
collector (definition 1 was modern, the guy who takes care of running
things in shul).

Shimon Lebowitz                           mailto:<shimonl@...>
Jerusalem, Israel            PGP: http://www.poboxes.com/shimonpgp


From: Saul Lieberman <saul.lieberman@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 14:22:29 +0200
Subject: The Frum Network

The Frum Network, by design, sends a message that the Frum take care of
their own first. It also sends a message to outsiders that they can
expect second class treatment, which will likely lead to suspicions of
less than ethical treatment. It may also reinforce some insiders'
tendency to less than ethical treatment.

From: <ChaimShapiro@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 08:57:04 EST
Subject: The Frum Network

   To answer Mr. Cohen's question,

> But, for Chaim I would ask this: If it is an incredible act of Chesed
> to utilize the services of the frum community to keep the money in the
> frum community, is it an incredible (or other) act of Chesed for a
> Reform or Conservative Jew to try first to use the services of a
> Reform or Conservative Jew, so that they can keep the money in the
> Reform community and thus, out of the hands of the Orthodox community?
> Don't we have enough external enemies?

I would fully support and be completely in favor of Conservative or
Reform Jews initiating a similar set of services to maximize the
professional relationships in their respective communities.  I would
warn you that if you intend to do so, there is a LOT more work involved
in doing so than it may appear.  Yes, I think that would be an
incredible act of Chesed within those communities.  Likewise, I would
support cities, subsets therein, school communities, etc encouraging
professionals to keep their business local as well.

With all due respect to Mr. Cohen, comments such as "Don't we have
enough external enemies?" do not enhance this discussion.  Encouraging
members of the Frum community to utilize other Frum business is not
intended to keep money out of the hands of anyone.  It is not intended
to drive a wedge between Jews or to highlight our differences.  It is
intended to generate more revenue in a community that desperately needs
such revenue by simply providing a forum that would allow professionals
who are already looking for outside help to find each other.

In response to Mr. Singer, I am not requesting that anyone spend MORE
money than they have to in order to keep their business in the Frum
community. However, one of the great features of the community I am
trying to create is the fact that connecting as many Frum professionals
as possible in what is a rapidly shrinking international marketplace,
will create a form of free market between Frum professionals, wherever
they may live across the globe.  Mr. Singer, 5 years ago, I never would
have thought a can (or bag) of gummy worms would be kosher.  But one can
certainly open them now.

I encourage the list to use the services of the FrumNetwork :
The Yahoo Listserve:  http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Frumnetwork/
and Avis List:  www.avislist.com

Chaim Shapiro


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 07:57:29 -0500
Subject: Frum only, frum first

> Pardon me apriori if I've told this story before -- but many years ago
> while enjoying a Shabbos in Richmond, VA at the Fabreigen Inn, two young
> chaddishe (not Lubavitch) men (late teens, early 20's) were at our
> table.  They mentioned buying Plony's potato chips, because plony was a
> big ba'al tzeduka -- vs. a popular brand (no issues of kashrut) that
> cost a nickel less -- because they wanted to support plony.  I asked
> them why didn't they just put the nickel in the tzedukah box and buy the
> popular brand -- cutting out the middle man.
> A frum first or frum only policy involves an opportunity cost -- that is
> it may cost you more money to adhere to this policy than to purchase in
> the "open market."  (Econ 101) --
> Carl

See Rambam hilchot matanot aniyim 10:7
Joel Rich

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 13:18:31 -0500
Subject: Frum only, frum first

>From: Carl Singer 
>Let's also look at the other side - there are now "Christian Yellow
>Pages" -- perhaps an advertising gimmick or perhaps a heartfelt attempt
>by someone to follow their religious preferences.  Is that
>discrimination?  What if Abe Cohen wants to advertise in the Christian
>Yellow Pages -- will he be allowed to?  If not, is he being
>discriminated against?

This is a perfect illustration with what's wrong with the "Frum
Firsters". We need to divide religiously and understand that is a
protected and precious liberty. But when we start dividing socially and
commercially as well, we become a splintered and divided society where
it is not necessary and is ultimately destructive of civil society. A
"frum" business needs to compete in a commercial environment and not
rely on special favors. How far is the Christian Yellow Pages from the
Nazi-instigated boycotts of Jewish businesses in Nazi Germany? I imagine
that they would reject the comparison, but if we examine the rationale,
how different is it really?

Bernie R.


From: Richard Schultz <schultr@...>
Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2007 13:12:44 +0200
Subject: Hashgacha of restaurant open on shabbat

In mail-jewish 56.01, Nachman Yaakov Ziskind <awacs@...> writes:

> I agree that it's not the place for me. But I wondered what kind of
> hashgacha would certify a restaurant open on shabbos? I have this
> vision of the mashgiach walking over after shabbos davening, passing
> through the crowds of customers on his way to the back to unlock the
> fridge.

While the particular restaurant mentioned is one that (at least when I
lived in the area in the mid-90s) had its kashrut frequently questioned,
it is possible both in principle and in practice for a restaurant to be
open on shabbat and still to have hashgacha.  The example that comes to
mind is Noah's Bagels, which before Noah sold out was a chain of kosher
bagel bakeries in the San Francisco Bay Area.  No one to my knowledge
questioned the hashgacha, which IIRC was from Chabad.  The way it worked
was that the business was owned jointly by a Jewish and a non-Jewish
partner, and the partnership agreement said that the business was owned
entirely by the non-Jewish partner on shabbat and holidays.  That
removed any problem of the Jewish partner benefitting from work done on

As for the hashgacha, the mashgiach is not required to do anything that
would be a violation of shabbat.  I'm not sure how any possible ma'arit
'ayin [i.e. the *appearance* that the mashgiach would be violating
shabbat by being in the facility on shabbat] issues were handled.  I
assume that the mashgiach entered through a service entrance and did not
enter the public areas of the bakery.

The actual halakhic issue that arose was that once a non-religious
family held their son's bar mitzvah at the local Orthodox synagogue, and
without bothering to check with the rabbi first, ordered bagels from
Noah's Bagels to be delivered to the synagogue on shabbat.  The rabbi
had no choice but to tell them that they could not serve the bagels,
which news, you can be sure, they were not happy to receive.

					Richard Schultz


End of Volume 56 Issue 3