Volume 56 Number 52
                   Produced: Tue May 12  6:32:25 EDT 2009

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Birchat Hachamah
        [Ben Katz]
Diskin Orphan Home of Israel (4)
        [Firzah Houminer, Kenneth H. Ryesky, <meirman@...>, leah]
Internet Dangers
        [Batya Medad]
jewish blog posts Havel Havelim
        [Batya Medad]
Online Aruch Hashulchan, Orach Chaim Tefillah & progress on
        [Dovi Jacobs]
Question on Simchat Torah
        [Menashe Elyashiv]


From: Ben Katz <BKatz@...>
Date: Mon, 11 May 2009 22:04:35 -0500
Subject: Birchat Hachamah

Even though it won't occur again for 28 years, MJ gives me a place to
vent why birchat hachamah makes no sense.

1.  First of all, birchatr hachamah is recited on April 8th, the
suppossed Julian date for the Spring equinox in this century.  However,
as we hav eknown for centuries, the Julian calendar is incorrect.

2.  The majority opinion of Jewish tradition is that the world was
created in tekufat Tishray, not Tekufat Nissan.  Recall how often we say
hayom harat olam on Rosh hashanah.  So, if you were to say birchar
hachamah, it could just as well be in Tihray.

3.  MOST IMPORTANT is that the Jewish calendar itself, as currently
constituted, does not recognize the date of April 8th as the vernal
equinox, because Pesach cannot begin before the vernal equinox.  Next
year, pesach wil END before April 8th.

BTW, there were rare rabbis who agreed with these sentiments, but they
were downed out by the euphoria surrounding this occurrence.

Ben Z. Katz, M.D.
Professor of Pediatrics
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Children's Memorial Hospital


From: Firzah Houminer <tirzah@...>
Date: Tue, May 12, 2009 at 4:39 AM
Subject: Diskin Orphan Home of Israel

It's in Kiryat Moshe in Yerushalayim

From: Kenneth H. Ryesky <khresq@...>
Date: Mon, May 11, 2009 at 8:24 PM
Subject: Re: Diskin Orphan Home of Israel

     From: <Serinade@...>
     Is this actually in Israel, or in New York?  Thank you.

I have been a regular contributor to Diskin Orphan Home for more than 30

The Diskin Orphan Home is, in fact, in Israel.

Like many institutions in Israel, DOH has a fundraising affiliate in New

The reason for this is that [cutting through all of the dense verbosity
of the Internal Revenue Code] an individual generally may not claim a
charitable deduction for donations to foreign charities, while a domestic
charitable organization may, with certain conditions, make transfers to
foreign charitable beneficiaries.  Ergo, DOH has their man in Brooklyn
(who happens to be Rabbi Weintraub).

Unlike most tax returns, which are required to be kept confidential by
the IRS, the Form 990 of a tax-exempt organization is a matter of public
record.  Guidestar, itself a tax-exempt organization, cooperates with the
IRS to avail the Forms 990 to the public via its website [

Diskin Orphan Home's latest available Form 990 (2007) is can be accessed

My curbstone opinion (as an attorney who teaches graduate taxation
courses, and who formerly served as an attorney for the IRS):  Diskin
Orphan Home's New York office is certainly not the most inefficiently-run
charitable fundraising organization of its size.

-- Ken Ryesky
E-Mail: <khresq@...>

From: <meirman@...>
Date: Tue, May 12, 2009 at 4:30 AM
Subject: Diskin Orphan Home of Israel

In V56#49, Arla wrote:

     Diskin Orphan Home of Israel. Is this actually in Israel, or
     in New York? Thank you.

My father has a picture of the Diskin Orphanage, that he took in 1936.
In Yerushayim. He also included in his picture album what I would call
an artistic map of Yerushalayim, that he got there, with the big streets
marked, along with drawings of the kotel, quite a few buildings, etc..
One of them was the Diskin Orphanage, so it was easy for me to find the
building on my first visit. It's a very large building. Four or five
stories high, 200 feet long, 75 feet wide, semi-ornate outside walls,
many windows. I can look for the map and tell you exactly where it was,
if you wish. But by the time I got there, in 1990, it was called the
Diskin Yeshiva, and I hope that means we have many more yeshiva bochurs
than orphans. If the Diskin Ophanage still exists in smaller form, maybe
in one hallway of the yeshiva, I don't know. My goal was to replicate my
father's picture album 54 years later. (Since I was born when my father
was 55, I was about the same age he had been, 44, when he was there.) On
my second trip, in 2007, I stayed in the same hotel he had stayed in in
Haifa when he was there, 71 years earlier. It still looked the same,
still in good condition, but they had added two floors including a pretty
big swimming pool to the rear building. Hotel Har Carmel.. And the
centralized AM radio was still there but it wasn't connected anymore. I
think they had something called television. http://www.mount-carmel.co.il
Not quite as nice or as close to the top of Har Carmel as they make it
sound, but nice.

And Kol haKavod to Avi, for 20 great years and whatever else.


From: leah <leah25@...>
Date: Tue, May 12, 2009 at 3:37 AM
Subject: RE: Diskin Orphan Home of Israel

It is located in Givat Shaul in Jerusalem. When driving into the city
from Tel Aviv it is a huge building on the right at the first traffic
light (at some distance).

Leah Aharoni
AQText Translation Services
Email: <leah25@...>


From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, May 13, 2009 at 1:46 AM
Subject: Internet Dangers

I'm no "fanatic" but I'm worried about the kids using facebook, youtube
and sites like that to display/post/exchange family and personal photos.
You don't know what your child or grandchild may stumble upon or who may
"friend" them.  For videos, at least, there's WEJEW
http://wejew.com/profile/shilohmuse/ . I set up an account and there's
also a photo option on it.  It's also easy to transfer your youtube

The disadvantage there, which is also its advantage, is that there's no
instant posting.  Everything gets checked first.

It may be hard to wean yourself and your kids off of facebook and
youtube, but it may be a good idea.



From: Batya Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Wed, May 13, 2009 at 1:54 AM
Subject: jewish blog posts Havel Havelim

I'm hosting the next edition of Havel Havelim. It's a Jewish blog
(jblog) magazine which floats from blog to blog weekly. The deadline is
Friday. If you have anything from this week to contribute (maximum2-3),
please send via blog carnival, http://blogcarnival.com/bc/submit_43.html



From: Dovi Jacobs <dovijacobs@...>
Date: Tue, May 12, 2009 at 1:11 AM
Subject: Online Aruch Hashulchan, Orach Chaim Tefillah & progress on

This pre-Shavuos update is about new text and new features.

New Text:

1. Orach Chaim - Seder Hayom: Now complete from the very beginning to the
start of Hilchos Netilas Yadayim (simanim 1-157), including all of
Hilchos Tefillah.

2. Orach Chaim - Hilchos Shabbos: My co-contributor Netanel has finished
simanim 242-318 and 345-416, leaving him less than 30 simanim still to be
done to finish Hilchos Shabbos.

It is possible that Orach Chaim will be finished in its entirety, God
willing, by Rosh Hashanah.

Index to Orach Chaim: http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/AHS:OH
Index to Yoreh Deah: http://he.wikisource.org/wiki/AHS:YD

New Features:

1. Rambam: We have added the Rambam to Hebrew Wikisource, which
automatically changes many hundreds or thousands of links in the Aruch
Hashulchan from red to blue. Our Rambam includes direct links for every
perek to meforshim at Hebrewbooks.org and the version based on Yemenite
manuscripts at Mechon Mamre.

2. Stable Reviewed Versions of the text: Many people ask how texts can be
reliable in a wiki environment. The question is a valid one in principle
(although it works quite well in practice). In order to settle this
question entirely, a new extension to the wiki program called "Flagged
Reviews" has been added to Hebrew Wikisource. Every one of the hundreds
of complete simanim in the Aruch Hashulchan has been rated as proofread,
and the proofread version of each siman is the default. It is still
possible to edit and make corrections of course, but those corrections
will not go "live" for readers until they have been verified. Thus, the
chance of viewing a halakhic text whose integrity has been compromised
(whether by a malicious or well-meaning editor) has been reduced to
basically zero.

Please be makdish your learning of halachah from these texts in the
zechus of Israel's wounded and captive soldiers, for acheni kol beis
yisrael in poverty, sickness or distress (among them Rivkah bas Tirtsel),
and the strength and peace of all Israel.



From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Tue, May 12, 2009 at 1:45 AM
Subject: Question on Simchat Torah

OK, I know that this will seem out of date. But still I would like your
help: Does anyone know of places that do not call everybody for an aliya
on Simhat Tora. We do not, but I am trying to prove my point to some one
who does not believe me

This reminds my of an episode some 40 years ago. My greatgrandfather came
to us for Shavuot. as he rarely visited, on erev hag he prepared a new
succa for us. The unlearned kids nearby went home to tell their parents
that the holyday tomorrow is Succot, because the Rabbi is building his


End of Volume 56 Issue 52