Volume 56 Number 25
                    Produced: Tue Jan  8  4:27:10 EST 2008

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Characteristics of Frum Businesses (4)
         [Harry Weiss, Robert A. Book, Carl Singer, Bernard Raab]
Flowers and Shmittah (2)
         [Dov Bloom, David Riceman]
Late Sunrise
Sheva Brochos If One Hasn't Eaten Bread (2)
         [David E Cohen, Rabbi Wenger]
Zemanim on high
         [Michael Frankel]


From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2008 06:26:44 -0800
Subject: Characteristics of Frum Businesses

> From: <leah@...> (Leah S. R. Gordon)
> So you would think, except I have been to ample numbers of NYC kosher
> restaurants as well, with terrible service (often better food than we
> get in Boston, but service just as bad).  Also, NYC kosher restaurants
> are not very clean, to say the least.
> What I cannot understand is why even "upscale" kosher restaurants are so
> dismal in service.  I used to think that restaurants were mostly just
> like that, unless you went to a super-fancy place.  But then I went a
> couple of times to Friendly's (a northeastern US chain with hechshered
> ice-cream) for sodas/ice-cream and I could not believe what excellent
> service we had, even on a bill of maybe six dollars for four of us.  The
> hostess/waitress smiled at us, seated us promptly, gave us crayons for
> the kids, cheerfully brought extra napkins and water to drink...the
> bathroom was clean and well-lit and not locked...they gave us no trouble
> when we needed change for a $20 bill...just normal good service.  And
> woe that I almost just described it as "good regular goyish service".

I have been to various kosher restaurants.  In the past year I have
eaten in Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, N. Miami
Beach, Rockville & Silver Spring.

I did not normally eat in the upscale restaurants, but found the service
acceptable for the type of facility.  It is true there are very few
truly "upscale" restaurants, but that appears to be what the market will
support.  In Miami where I did go upscale both the food, service and
cleanliness were outsanding.

I did not find a problem with cleanliness elsewhere.  The worst place
for that, but I thought it was due to the massive of amount of people in
a fast food type place was Max's in Silver Spring, but the food made it
all worthwhile.

I also find myself in many cities without kosher restaurants quite
frequently and a thrilled just to have a place available.

From: Robert A. Book <rbook@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2008 13:02:00 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Characteristics of Frum Businesses

Batya Medad <ybmedad@...> writes:

> When I announced to my parents that I was going to be religious, keep
> Shabbat, eat Kosher, the only things we knew about, my father went
> livid. 
> "My daughter's not going to be a goniff!"
> "A goniff?  What are you talking about?"
> "When I started my career in the NY State Insurance Fund I checked
> businesses.  Every time I went into one owned by religious Jews, there
> were cheating and stealing." 
> So I promised my father that I'd stay honest and still keep Shabbat and
> eat kosher.

This story truly shows what a very serious Chillul Hashem it is to be
dishonest in business (while being visibly Jewish).  Indeed, if this
story doesn't show it, nothing will.

It should be clear that whatever the level of Shabbos and/or Kashrus
observance and/or davening practices of the owners of such business,
they are NOT actually "frum."  Honesty is at least as much part of being
shomer mitzvos as Shabbos, etc.

Therefore, one purchasing according to a "frum first" policy would be
well advised to avoid dishonest businesses owned by apparently-frum Jews
-- even more so that those owned by non-Jews, due to the level of
Chillul Hashem involved.

--Robert Book    
  Fairfax, VA

From: Carl Singer <csngr@...>
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2008 18:01:41 -0500
Subject: Characteristics of Frum Businesses

Quite and indictment below -- perhaps what is being described are the
characteristics of a business which has no competition (the only game in
town.)  Thus it doesn't apply only to frum businesses.

In communities where there is competition this doesn't seem to hold.  We
went to Teaneck last night for dinner -- received outstanding service at
clean, new restaurant, Smokey Joes.  On the other hand, a nearby
restaurant which I won't name went out of business several months ago --
and although I may feel for the owner -- truth be told it didn't stand
up to the local competition.


> From: <leah@...> (Leah S. R. Gordon)
> I don't know about anyone except myself, but I certainly think this
> holds water vis-a-vis restaurants and grocery stores.
> Without exception, in my experience, every kosher/Jewish grocery store
> has had higher prices, ruder service, dirtier floors, less-convenient
> hours, less parking, fewer carts/baskets, surlier cashiers, and a more
> "entitled" attitude than my local goyish supermarket.  Often (and how
> this escapes city code is beyond me) the aisles are too narrow for a
> stroller or wheelchair, to boot.  The *only* thing kosher markets have
> going for them is their selection, to the extent that they import
> certain hard-to-find items like Israeli Eshkoliot Drink or a wide kosher
> cheese/meat selection.
> And then let's talk about kosher restaurants, which only survive with
> their gas-station-cum-college-dorm ambience because they know that
> people like us have to go there or not go out to eat at all.  It was
> much better when we lived in the Los Angeles area, and I imagine there
> are exceptions in New York (though none I have patronized), but here in
> the Boston area we have a choice of rushed service, no service, rude
> service, slow service, or trying to make it into the city to the one
> decently-run place during limited hours.  To be fair, I have not listed
> the names of the places next to their rushed/no/rude/slow labels, and I
> will point out that I do not include Rubin's in that list, because it
> has been good as of late.
> --Leah S. R. Gordon

From: Bernard Raab <beraab@...>
Date: Sat, 05 Jan 2008 16:23:06 -0500
Subject: Characteristics of Frum Businesses

>From: (Leah S. R. Gordon)
[See above]

You have hit upon a cultural reality that appears to have a life
expectancy beyond any reasonable limit, but it is not related to
frumkeit. The earliest kosher restaurants in New York, and especially
the dairy restaurants which were acceptable to the frum community of the
day, were notorious for their surly waiters, which eventually became
part of the dining experience one was expected to enjoy. The explanation
which was ferquently offered by amatuer anthropologists was that these
waiters, mostly immigrants themselves serving immigrants, felt that the
idea of serving other Jews was beneath them. They thus showed their
contempt by insulting and otherwise demeaning their customers. Whatever
the reason, the behavior pattern was evidently set for all time, even
extending to non-Jews serving in kosher restaurants today.

That ancient explanation may actually carry some validity if one
believes that in Israel the idea of serving other Jews cannot carry the
same degree of shame, so that service tends to be more "normal".

b'tayavon--Bernie R.


From: Dov Bloom <dovb@...>
Date: Fri, 04 Jan 2008 12:48:09 +0300
Subject: Re: Flowers and Shmittah

The 30% Israeli flowers is an Urban legend with no basis in fact.

Halevai for Israels economy that it would be true.

From: David Riceman <driceman@...>
Date: Sat, 05 Jan 2008 18:40:47 -0500
Subject: Re: Flowers and Shmittah

> From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
> To clarify, as noted by a few people, I should have stated clearly that
> I was only talking about fragrant flowers. They are one of the exception
> cases in Shmittah, where the kedusha halachot hold, even though the item
> is not eaten.

Is there a source for this? I took a quick look over Shabbos, and found
no evidence confirming this, and two respectable sources (Tzitz Eliezer,
vol. 6, #33, paragraph 3, and Minhath Shlomoh (the 5746 edition), #51,
paragraph 23) which, at first glance, seem to disagree.

David Riceman


From: <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 10:48:17 +0200
Subject: Late Sunrise

H. Tatel in JM 56/24 stated that 1 6:52 sunrise is not as bad as a
Seattle 7:58 sunrise. Well, it also depends on the start time of work or
school etc. Try battling the Sunday morning traffic on a late sunrise
day and get to work at 8:00 (I failed today). That is the time offices
open and school starts.


From: David E Cohen <ddcohen@...>
Date: Sun, 6 Jan 2008 11:08:28 +0200
Subject: RE: Sheva Brochos If One Hasn't Eaten Bread

Immanuel Burton wrote:
> The blessing over wine during the week of Sheva Brochos, however, is
> recited at the end, which leads to me to believe that the Sheva
> Brochos are part of the benching, and not a stand-alone procedure.

The context of the Rambam's presentation in Hilkhot Berakhot 2:9-11
seems to support your assertion.


From: Rabbi Wenger <ewenger@...>
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2008 23:14:32 -0500
Subject: Re: Sheva Brochos If One Hasn't Eaten Bread

In response to the question posed by  Immanuel Burton 

> The blessing over wine during the week of Sheva Brochos, however, is
> recited at the end, which leads to me to believe that the Sheva
> Brochos are part of the benching, and not a stand-alone procedure.  I
> am therefore coming to the conclusion that it was incorrect to have
> offered the non-bread-eater the honour of reciting one of the Sheva
> Brochos.  Is my conclusion correct?

This is discussed in the Nitei Gavriel n Hilchos Nisuin Vol. 2 Perek
102:6.  He writes: [Regarding] one who did no eat with them [the
participants in the sheva Brochos meal], there are thse who say that he
he allowed to recite the Sheva Brochos, even if he did not eat anything
(and in his footnotes he cites that this is the minhag of Brisk), and
there are those who state that the one reciting Sheva brochos must have
eaten bread (and in his footntes he brings down that the Imrei emes of
Ger would not say Sheva brochos if he did not eat bread and likewise the
previous Sqverer Rebbe), and the custom is that he does say Sheva
Brochos, as long as he ate something, even if he did not eat bread (and
in the footnotes he brings this from the Debreciner who witnessed the
Satmer Rebbe conducting himself like this. Rabbi Zinner remarks also
that he has seen many Gedolim who ate some food -other than bread - and
did recite the Sheva Brochos).

I hope this clarifies the situation.

Eliezer Wenger


From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2008 10:52:58 -0500
Subject: re:  Zemanim on high

<From: Andy Goldfinger <Andy.Goldfinger@...>
> Regarding the times of sunset or sunrise in high or low places, there was
> some mention of Denver.  Please note that it is not the ABSOLUTE
> height of the location that causes a variation in the sunrise/sunset
> times, but the height RELATIVE to the surrounding terrain (except for a
> very small and negligible effect).  Hence, since Denver is surrounded by
> plains that are at about the same altitude (excluding the mountains to
> the west), there should be no difference between its zmanim and those at
> sea level.  

That is correct, but could use quantification.  Thus the surrounding
plateau needs to cover the distance to the horizon for sea level z'manim
to apply. (As andy says, with a negligible correction - at denver we're
at a different earth radius, which counts only a little).  So the
surrounding plateau needs to be something close to 3 miles (the horizon
for for average height people).

 But there is also a complementary observation at the other end of the
day which is, I think, more striking since it applies to a z'mon on
close-by hills as well.  There is a machloqes pos'qim as to whether one
should correct z'manim in general to sea level, or "subtract" close by
hills, which we needn't review just now.  This clearly applies to
sh'qioh where height makes a difference. But what sometimes gets lost,
is that the z'mon for tsais hakkokhovim should not in fact change at all
from sea level observation (assuming the first visible star is not right
down at horizon level, which it isn't).  I believe this m'tzius
sometimes gets overlooked - I have a memory of seeing a t'shuvoh by R'
Moshe which may have gotten this wrong, but I'd have to re-check that.

Mechy Frankel


End of Volume 56 Issue 25