Volume 56 Number 42
                    Produced: Thu Sep 18 22:02:12 EDT 2008

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

62 Cool YouTube Rosh HaShana Videos
         [Jacob Richman]
Blogging and e-lists - creating a virtual community
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]
Calculating pi
         [Bernard Katz]
Fish and Meat
         [Dr. Josh Backon]
fish and meat
The Frum Network
         [Chaim Shapiro]
Is this Judaism? Kabbalah?
         [Ari Trachtenberg]
Lamed Returns & WebYeshiva Blog
         [Jeffrey Saks]
A plurality of customs
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]
A plurality of local customs
         [Shoshana L. Boublil]
         [Harry Weiss]


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2008 17:56:27 +0300
Subject: 62 Cool YouTube Rosh HaShana Videos

Hi Everyone!

I created a list of 62 cool Rosh HaShana YouTube videos.
There is something for everyone.

The list includes:
Shana tova! Ma chadash, Tapuach Im Dvash Animation 
Happy New Year 5769 (Second Life) 
Shana Tova (Hebrew remix of muppets song) 
The Four Traditional Shofar Blasts 
Nasrallah's Happy New Year clip 
Rosh Hashanah Girl 
Shana Tova from Tijuana 
Rosh Hashana: Sticky 'n Sweet New Year 
Happy New Year for Jewish Mothers 
Head of the Year (Rosh HaShana Mix) 
Rosh Hashana Rap 
Prepare for Rosh Hashanah-Elul JewU
WebYeshiva: Blowing the Shofar in Elul 
Rosh HaShana Foods - Sephardi style 
Shana Tova Song - Parpar Nechmad (with Ofra Haza) 
Bashana Haba'ah - Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme 
Bashana Haba'a in Yiddish 
The Alexandria Kleztet - Bashana Haba'a (from Chile) 
Kol Ish - BaShana HaBa'ah 

  and many more.....

The address is:

Shana Tova - Have a Good Year!


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2008 20:38:06 +0300
Subject: Re: Blogging and e-lists - creating a virtual community

> From: Avi Feldblum <feldblum@...>
> [del] Today, there are more Jewish blogs out there than one can
> imagine or count. Is there still a place for mail-jewish?
> [del] with some blogs having a high percentage of anonymous or unknown
> id's responding, so there is little continuity in terms of community,

One of the dangers of the internet in general is that it opens your life
in ways one may not want.  In the general theme of things, blogs, forums
etc.  are places where you don't have to identify yourself, and there is
no way to know if the person you are conversing with is indeed a real
person, or just a nom du plume - and sometimes in the worst sense.  This
does not create a community.

Places like mail-jewish allow us to take advantage of the international
nature of the internet to create friendships that are not limited by
busfare or distance - while guarding us in the most basic way from
imposters and other dangers.

So, yes. I vote to continue mail-jewish.  It's a lovely community.

Shoshana L. Boublil


From: Bernard Katz <bkatz@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 11:12:10 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Calculating pi

Abraham Lebowitz writes:

> But the Rambam, in the Perush Hamishnayot on Eruvin wrote:
> "In relation to the diameter of a circle to its circumference, we will
> never attain this knowledge exactly, only approximately. This is not due
> to any lacking in our abilities but because of the nature of this
> number, and therefore they said.... [my rough translation].

The Rambam's comment suggests that there is an exact value but we are
unable to know it exactly. This seems to me a confusion: In the sense in
which there is an exact value of the ratio of the circumference of a
circle to its diameter, we are capable of knowing what it is; it is pi.
What we are incapable of knowing is which rational number this ratio is
equal to; but that's because there is no such number.

> The quote I gave is from a discussion of the square root of 2, in which
> the Rambam uses the value of pi as another example of an irrational
> number.  I seem to remember that somewhere the Rambam credits the Arab
> mathematicians with having proved this.

I don't believe that a rigorous proof that pi is irrational was given
until the 18th century (by Johann Lambert). But the Greek philosopher
Hippasus of Metapontum, who lived around 500 BCE and was a disciple of
Pythagoras, is usually credited with the discovery that the square root of
2 is irrational and, hence, that there are irrational numbers. What he
proved, in fact, is that the diagonal of a square does not have a common
unit of measurement with the sides of the square. This did not sit well
with his master, Pythagoras, who believed, as a kind of religious
doctrine, that all numbers could be expressed as the ratio of integers.
Despite the fact that he could find no fault in Hippasus's proof,
Pythagoras could not bring himself to accept that there are irrational
numbers. So (according to legend) he sentenced Hippasus to be drowned.

Bernard Katz


From: Dr. Josh Backon <backon@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 14:56:54 +0300
Subject: RE: Fish and Meat

>You cited several desultory pieces of literature on meat lipids and
>fish lipids and claimed there is some connection to psoriasis.  As a
>dermatologist I can tell you that psoriasis is a T cell mediated
>inflammatory disease and there is no evidence that lipid abnormalities
>in psoriasis patients represent anything more than an epiphenomenon -
>the old "true, true, and unrelated" (though some want to make an
>argument about effects on the barrier function of skin but it is purely
>speculative).  As a scientist I can tell you that pulling together a
>couple of random literature citations hardly constitutes proof of
>anything other than having access to Medline!

I don't want to make MAIL JEWISH look like a hospital residents'
"journal club" but because of the importance of the halachic issue of
eating fish with meat, all I suggest is for readers to access
http://scholar.google.com and key in: psoriasis dietary lipids

You'll get back over 5,500 literature citations.

PEYRUSH RASHI: T-cell signalling and the immune response **is** affected
by dietary lipids. Again we were discussing DIETARY lipids (fish oil
with stearic acid from beef).

Dr. Josh Backon
Hebrew University
Faculty of Medicine

From: <JoshHoff@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 12:56:58 EDT
Subject: fish and meat

> Do you still use a separate fork for fish and meat? This is based on
> faulty medicine.

I once asked my uncle,who was a professor of microbiology at NYU for 25
yrs., about this. He told me that he didn't know of any danger involved,
but he wouldn't be surprised if it is true, because, as he put it, 'we
shouldn't dismiss the wisdom of the ancients.'


From: <dagoobster@...> (Chaim Shapiro)
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 08:38:55 -0400
Subject: The Frum Network

I am happy to report that the Frum Network, an Orthodox Networking
organization that generated some real controversy on this list a few
months back, is flourishing.  There are now 750 members. A few months
ago, we established a Steering Committee to help take the network to the
next level.

I am including the link if you wish to join,


Chaim Shapiro


From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 09:59:26 -0400
Subject: Is this Judaism? Kabbalah?

> From: Shmuel Himelstein <himels@...>

> I recently read "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Kabbalah," by Rav
> Michael Laitman, with Collin Canright (sounds like a pseudonym, no?)
> There must be some context for these quotes ... they mostly seem
> absurd!  "There is no special time for prayer. The time to pray is
> when you are ready to do so. It makes no difference what time it is
> because there is no schedule of prayer in Kabbalah." (p. 181)

Trying to give the benefit of the dougt, this at least bears some
consistency to Pirkei Avot, which teaches not to make your prayer seem
like a fixed responsibility, and it is somewhat consistent with the
nature of prayer during Temple times.

> "From the Creator's point of view, there is no reward or punishment.
> He does not possess a desire that a human would act one way or
> another; He wants us only to enjoy ourselves as much as possible."
> (p. 191)

This sounds more like an attempt to sell Kabbalah as its own religion,
some strange variant of hedonism (according to these quotes).

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


From: Jeffrey Saks <atid@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 11:49:41 +0300
Subject: Lamed Returns & WebYeshiva Blog

I am pleased to announce that after a year-long hiatus, the LAMED blog is
once again active.
Visit http://www.lamed.blogspot.com  
Lamed is ATID's blog roundup of articles, resources, and commentary for
Jewish education. Lamed is updated a few times a week by our Director of
Research, Dr. Yoel Finkelman.

The WebYeshiva Blog - http://blog.webyeshiva.org - features daily divrei
Torah, mini-shiurim, and essays from WebYeshiva's faculty of teachers -
halakhah yomit videos with R. Chaim Brovender, Nach Insight Series with
R. Yitzchak Twersky, Machshavah and Aggadah columns by R. Yitzchak Blau,
Haftorah Podcast with Ilana Saks, and more.
A variety of Torah resources in video, audio, text - MP3s and podcasts,

Rabbi Jeffrey Saks
Director, ATID - Academy for Torah Initiatives and Directions
E-mail: <atid@...> | www.atid.org | www.WebYeshiva.org
GoogleTalk/Skype: jeffreysaks


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 09:07:19 +0300
Subject: Re: A plurality of customs

> From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
> Akiva Miller
>>For the record, my post did not suggest that this opinion should be
>>ignored, not because of the small number of authorities who hold that
>>way, nor for any other reason. My point was that it is unreasonable to
>>expect a typical teacher to be aware that the opinion exists.
> To Akiva's point -- one cannot expect a teacher to be aware of / teach
> myriad mihagim (some contradictory.)
> But what of tolerance and understanding that the minhag of the majority,
> or those minhagim of major groups are NOT the only valid minhagim.
> If a mature student asserts that the minhag of his community is X, then
> this should bear some weight and not be trivialized.

I would like to add to this issue.  In many schools, it was the custom
to use R' Gantzfried's kitzur as the source for teaching halacha to
girls.  This meant that any custom the Sephardi girls in the class had,
was ignored or considered "wrong".

When my daughters were in elementary school, I used to make a point of
making sure that they knew the Sephardi psika for preparations for
Pesach, and I would make a point of going to the teachers and telling
them that there was another perfectly halachic way to kasher glass (for
example) - and that is how most Sephardim pasken.

So, yes, nowadays, I would expect a teacher to be aware of multiple
opinions, and if he isn't - he should at least be adult enough to ask
the student if he could help by providing sources.

BTW, nowadays, in most schools in the Mamlachti Dati system, they use
Rav Chaim HaLevy's Kitzur, as it covers Ashkenaz, Sephard and Yeminite
(and sometimes mentions other possibilities).

Shoshana L. Boublil


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2008 20:38:06 +0300
Subject: Re: A plurality of local customs

> From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
> I was reading an interview of Rabbi Marc Angel in a recent edition of the
> Jewish Press.

> I wanted to hear opinions / discussion not re: any specific minhag or
> custom that differs - but regarding how we as a diverse observant
> community might best go forward with the understanding that there is
> (often?) more than one "correct" minhag.

Education and knowledge.

In the past, it was clear to everyone, that you followed the oral
traditions you were taught at home. That was the basis of everyone's
Torah U'Mitzvot.

For many reasons, things have shifted and instead of oral law, we base
our customs on books to the extent that if "everyone" says that "this"
book is the one to be followed, then we push aside our parents' customs
without further investigation.

It is this aspect that should be changed.  We should teach that yes,
there are different customs, and before dismissing one out-of-hand, do
some investigating.  Rabbis who are asked about such seemingly unique
customs - should be able to tell the student to investigate the matter,
and yes, help them do it.

There is a lot of oral custom that we have been losing over the past few 
decades.  We still have the chance to ask our elders about those customs, 
and we should do it before it's too late.

Shoshana L. Boublil


From: Harry Weiss <hjweiss@...>
Date: Thu, 18 Sep 2008 06:14:17 -0700
Subject: Podcasts

>> Podcast Question: While there has been some discussion of Jewish
>> blogs, I would like to open a discussion on Podcasts and other audio
>> available for the ipod.  What sites, programs, do people like best?
>> So far I have found Pardes.org has a good Parashat Hashavuah podcast
>> in English and Keshet has one that I can more-or-less understand in
>> Hebrew (the problem being my Hebrew not Keshet's quality).  What else
>> worth listening to is out there, in either English or Hebrew?  And not
>> just Parashat Hashavuah.  Thanks.

OU radio.  Link from OU.org  has numerous podcasts, including daf yomi, nach 
yomi, parasha divrei torah, Kashrut, humor and more. 


End of Volume 56 Issue 42