Volume 56 Number 85 
      Produced: Mon, 29 Jun 2009 21:27:34 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

2 Cambridge notes 
    [Leah S. R. Gordon]
Adath Jeshuron 
    [Martin Stern]
Akru"t (2)
    [Shayna Kravetz  Martin Stern]
Ground rules for studying Torah 
    [Mordechai Horowitz]
How Many Halachic Jews Are There? 
    [David Olivestone]
Instructions for the Shaliach Tzibur 
    [Mark Goldenberg DDS]
kissing the Torah 
    [Alan Cooper]
New Israeli Educational Stamps Posted Online 
    [Jacob Richman]
Pragmatics of a Bet Din 
    [Carl Singer]
Rabbi Great Grandfather Search  
    [Leah Aharoni]
Real Burial Spots of Moshe and Aharon 
    [Stu Pilichowski]
Siddur Page Number Display Board? (2)
    [Yisrael Medad  David Ziants]
The acronym Akru"t 
    [Mark Symons]
Translation of Iggerot haRa'aya of Rav Kook zt"l, vol. I, letter 89 
    [Aryeh A. Frimer]
Women Rabbis 
    [Alexander Seinfeld]


From: Leah S. R. Gordon <leah@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 25,2009 at 08:01 PM
Subject: 2 Cambridge notes

Ruth S. asks re kosher groceries in Cambridge [Massachusetts] -
I doubt you will have much luck finding Empire chicken and the like at normal
grocery stores in Cambridge/Somerville, but the Trader Joe's in Cambridge does
often have kosher chicken and kosher wine and Tillamook kosher cheddar.
They used to also carry kosher mozzarella cheese but I haven't seen it
in a while (Cappellio?).  And perhaps sometimes there is a kosher
Monterey Jack.  None of those is chalav yisrael, if that is relevant
to you.

However, you don't have to go to Brookline/Newton to get kosher groceries.
The Shaws in Lexington and the Shaws and Stop-and-Shop in Waltham-Watertown
both have nice kosher sections, particularly around the chagim.  And regular
liquor stores in that area have lots of good OU wine choices, too.  I
mention this because parking, service, prices, etc. are much better
a bit off the beaten track, and simple to get to if you have a car.

Bernie R. asks re the Harvard Hillel Ortho page-display board.  It was
already failing (bits of color showed through on the wrong pages) when
I was an [MIT, visiting - but the visiting team still was allowed
to use it ha ha] undergrad 15+ years ago.  And now I haven't seen it in

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 28,2009 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Adath Jeshuron

On Fri, Jun 19,2009, Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...> wrote:
> Doesn't the United Kingdom have a Chief Rabbi?
> He could order people to refuse to perform weddings and other things
> for the people involved * or more probably, and more gently, let them
> know they are headed in that direction. Or are these people already
> independent of Rabbi Sachs' authority anyway?

Sammy's surmise is correct; the Adath Jeshuron has always been an
independent congregation and has never come under the jurisdiction of the
Chief Rabbi.

Martin Stern


From: Shayna Kravetz <skravetz@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 26,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Akru"t

In response to a note from Martin Stern:

> When I was in Budapest recently, I davened in the Beit Hamidrash of the
> Kazincy Utca shul where there is a notice above the amud ... which began
> "Betakanat bd"ts vakru"t ...," ... was not entirely clear to me.

Let me help you along the way; perhaps the acronym 
alef-quf-resh-vav-tet should stand for "anshei qehillot X v-Y", where 
X might be Russia or Rumania, which start with a resh.  The last word 
which starts with a tet leaves me puzzled.

Other suggestions?

Shabbat shalom.

Shayna in steamy Toronto


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 28,2009 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Akru"t

On Fri, Jun 26,2009, Daniel Wells <biuashur@...> wrote:

Subject: Akru"t

> Searching google for Kazincy Utca (Hungarian for Kazincy Street) I came
> across this link http://old.utcakereso.hu/map3/index.php?city=budapest
> I couldn't find an exact translation but I would guess 'ut' is streets and
> 'cakeres"o' is local (or perhaps search - a very similar word).

Daniel is correct that the word utca means a street but ut means a (larger)
road. However he has misparsed the word utcakereso (strictly the final
letter should be an o with two dots above it which is considered a distinct
letter in Hungarian) which is formed from utca (street) kereso (search) i.e.
he was given a link to a street search site.

Martin Stern


From: Mordechai Horowitz <mordechai@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 26,2009 at 12:01 AM
Subject: Ground rules for studying Torah

> I hesitate to challenge things because it seems there are certain ground  
> rules one must abide by when studying gemara, but I do find it frustrating 
> when the only answer is that one has to be at a certain level to understand  
> it.

A good Rabbi (and there aren't enough of those) will welcome question offered in
good faith in an attempt to learn Torah rather than ridicule it in the manner of

However your question on ground rules and needing to be on a certain level is an
important one.  And I would suggest that you consider it compared to area of
learning you feel more competent in.

Is my opinion on constitutional law as valid as Supreme Court Justice Scalia's.
 Are we equally competent in that area.  Is my knowledge of economics the same
as good as Nobel Prize winning Prof. Robert J. (Yisrael) Aumann of Hebrew

Is a 6 graders understanding of Biology the same as a College Professor's.  

We have no problem accepting different levels of understanding in secular
topics.  Why do we have the same problem when it comes to Torah?

But again keep learning, its the only way to get to level of knowledge you want.
 Have patience, I'm not there and expect it will take me another 10 years before
I really feel competent in my learning.   But still try and work at it every day.



From: David Olivestone <david@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 28,2009 at 01:01 PM
Subject: How Many Halachic Jews Are There?

Leah Aharoni  wrote that she had heard about a Charedi-sponsored study that
put the number of halachic Jews in the US at under 3 million.

I'm surprised that no one has yet pointed out that this number is so far
off-base as to be laughable.  Of course, it is understandable to want to
exaggerate your numbers somewhat so as to seem statistically and therefore
politically more significant, but three million is just an impossibility.
The total number of those identifying as Jews in the United States is
estimated at something over five million. Now, no one claims that the amount
of Orthodox Jews is more than 10% of that number, which puts the number of
Orthodox Jews at approximately 500,000. Note that that's people identifying
themselves as Orthodox, which makes it a very unreliable statistic. (How
many of them would qualify as halachic?  Its anyone's guess.) The UJC
report mentioned by Carl Singer does show that the percentage of children
identified as Orthodox is much higher, suggesting that our numbers will be
proportionally greater as the years go by.  But even taking this potential
growth into account, when you look at how tiny the Orthodox world actually
is proportion to the entire population of the United States, it should give
us all pause for reflection.

Just to take this a little further, suppose for the sake of argument that we
assume that half of the Orthodox Jews are Charedi, and half Modern Orthodox
(I know there's no way of knowing; I emphasize that this is just a guess for
the sake of argument), that would mean that the entire community of Modern
Orthodox Jews in America consists of only about a quarter of a million

Finally, just for fun, if we say that there are three to four people per
family, which makes about 60-70,000 modern Orthodox households, and if we
say that maybe half of those 60-70,000 families have a child of marriageable
age, that would mean that you could fit them all into Yankee Stadium one day
(with plenty of room to spare), and tell them that the person they will
marry is more than likely somewhere in that crowd. I'm not suggesting this
as an answer to the shidduch crisis, but just as one more way to
demonstrate how tiny a group we really are.

David Olivestone


From: Mark Goldenberg DDS <GOLDDDS@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 28,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Instructions for the Shaliach Tzibur

Carl Singer wrote:
> Martin Stern's post  re: the  shul in Budapest reminds me of a very
> intelligent practice I  once saw:  A laminated card with specific
> instructions for the  Shaliach Tzibur detailing the minhagim of this
> particular congregation ...
> It sure saves lots of  misunderstandings.

In our shul in Los Angeles, (Young Israel of Century City), the Shaliach  
Tzibbur's big Siddur has small annotations taped in on the appropriate spot with  
specific instructions as to the minhag of the shul.  That way, anyone who serves
as Chazzan, even if they have never davened in our shul, will follow the proper
minhag of our  congregation.  It is a simple and efficient way to avoid
confusion and embarrassment.
Mark Goldenberg DDS


From: Alan Cooper <amcooper@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 28,2009 at 07:01 PM
Subject: kissing the Torah

I'm looking for halakhic sources (affirming and otherwise) on the 
widespread custom in Ashkenazic synagogues of "kissing the Torah," by 
which I mean touching the Torah mantle during the haqafah 
[procession] with one's hand, prayer book, or tallit, and then 
kissing the hand, etc. that did the touching.  A fellow congregant 
asked me about it, and I realized that I knew more about Sephardic 
practice (perhaps better documented?) than about my own.  Daniel 
Sperber's discussion of kissing the tzitzit includes a learned and 
fascinating footnote on kissing mezuzahs and Torah scrolls (Minhagei 
Yisra'el, vol. 2, pp. 88-89, note 22).  The sources cited there 
mostly disparage the practice of touching the Torah and then kissing 
the hand, but they are predominantly Sephardic.  I also checked E. Z. 
Margaliyot's Sha'arei Ephraim, 10.4 (NY, 5735, pp. 127-128) and the 
commentaries there that provide both positive and negative 
views.  Finally, I wonder if there are Ashkenazic congregations that 
have limited the practice in one way or another.  More than once I've 
nearly been trampled by over-zealous Torah-kissers during a haqafah.

Alan Cooper


From: Jacob Richman <jrichman@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 25,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: New Israeli Educational Stamps Posted Online

Hi Everyone!

I scanned and posted on my website the new Israeli stamps 
that were issued in June 2009.
I included the stamp itself, the first day cover,
and an English and a Hebrew flyer about the stamp.

- Quality of the Environment

Global Warming
Solar Energy
Geothermal Energy

- The Dead Sea

- 50 Years - The International Harp Contest in Israel

- 18th Maccabiah

- Love

The new stamps are located at:

The top of the web page should display the date June 25, 2009.
If the page has an older date, hold the control key and press 
the F5 key to refresh your browser with the updated page.


Shabbat Shalom,


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 21,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Pragmatics of a Bet Din

One issue raised in Martin's postings deals with a Bet Din.

While accepting the caveat that for the most part the system does work -- it
seems we frequently hear of the Bet Din "system" failing.  Concerns include:

1 - someone not adhering to the decision of
2 - someone not accepting the authority of / refusing to go to
3 - "shopping" for a bet din and/or  an unfair venue
4 - people taking advantage of the system

I don't know how permissible it is to give specific examples -- so I won't.

Carl A. Singer


From: Leah Aharoni <leah25@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 26,2009 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Rabbi Great Grandfather Search 

The first stop for any Jewish genealogical enquiry is www.jewishgen.org.
Jewishgen provides databases, as well as methodology articles that will help
you in your search.

You may also want to post this question on their mailing list.

Good luck,

Leah Aharoni
Skype: leah.aharoni


From: Stu Pilichowski <cshmuel@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 28,2009 at 06:01 AM
Subject: Real Burial Spots of Moshe and Aharon

Rashi, Bamidbar 20:22 refers to three mountains:

1. Sinai - Torah
2. Nebo - Moshe's burial place
3. Hahor- Aharon's burial place

I always thought Moshe died at Har Nebo, but his burial place was kept from the
world so his burial place wouldn't turn into a place to worship him. So is his
burial place Nebo, but we simply aren't sure where the real Nebo is? (Today,
there's a church and lookout point in Jordan. Is that really not Nebo?) 

I always heard that the Mount Sinai that people visit really isn't Mount
Sinai.... is this true of Nebo as well?

People visit Aharon's burial place in Jordan near Petra. Is this also not really
his burial place?

Stuart Pilichowski 
Mevaseret Zion, Israel


From: Yisrael Medad <ybmedad@...>
Date: Thu, Jun 25,2009 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Siddur Page Number Display Board?

May I share a personal story on the issue of the Siddur Page Number Display Board?

In the early 1960s, Rabbi Pynchas Brener (now of Caracas, Chevez & all), was
once asked about the role of a Rabbi in synagogue.

Part of his answer touched on the tasks the Rabbi is called upon and one of
them, he noted, was announcing the page to which the congregants should be
holding their siddurim open.  He then added, with a smile, "Of course, even
Yisrael could tell us that the Aleinu prayer could be found on page X during
Shacharit, and Y during Mincha and Z during Aravit, but I would hope that it
would be to me you would turn to know exactly which prayer service we are
conducting, at the least".


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 28,2009 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Siddur Page Number Display Board?

Is putting digits together to form numbers the same as putting letters 
together to form words, with respect to the Shabbat prohibition of 

My understanding is that if there is a prohibition, then because the 
"string" of numbers is temporary, then this prohibition would maximum 
be Rabbinic.  Could the needs of the congregation supersede any such 
Rabbinic prohibition? Should one make it the business to have a 
mechanism where only ready made full page numbers are shown?

On the other hand maybe there is no (even Rabbinic) prohibition? See 
Sh'mirat Shabbat K'hilchata 16:23 where he makes a distinction between 
what (example that was presented when I went to a shiur on this) is the 
normal and the travel variety of the Scrabble game, where the normal is 
permitted because no letters are pegged in, but not the travel variety 
as the placing of the letters is more permanent. Are sliding/rotating 
letters/numbers considered pegged in?

This thread highlights that there is kind of a community that would need 
page numbers to be announced and a kind of a community like the majority 
of those in Israel that do not need this. Seeing that the former, 
sometimes labeled "mainstream", are either more establishment type or 
seeking ways towards outreach or attracting shul newcomers, I am 
wondering whether the latter are lacking because they do not feel a need 
to support such devices. On the other hand, certainly in the communities 
I belong to, if there is someone sitting in shul who seems to be "lost", 
regulars would certainly try and help by showing the page number, 
important parts of the prayer etc. and possibly even inviting the person 
(and his family) to their home if this is feasible.

There is also a new type of community in Israel that I think I heard 
about.  Often the services take place in the Matnas (sports and cultural 
centre) and lead by the Garin Torani (Tora nucleus) or local such like, 
and they explain the structure and elements of the tefilla as the 
service goes along.  I do not know whether the people in charge would 
have daverned (prayed) in a regular minyan before coming to this 
(allowing the more senior of the other attendees to be sha"tz), or 
whether they make this their Shabbat minyan.

This type of work is marvelous as it gives a proper educationally forum 
to attract Jews to their roots. Having a page number board here, I 
think, would be superfluous as everything is explained orally.

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Mon, Jun 29,2009 at 09:01 AM
Subject: The acronym Akru"t

Martin Stern wrote:
> When I was in Budapest recently, I davened in the Beit Hamidrash of the
> Kazincy Utca shul where there is a notice above the amud ... which began
> "Betakanat bd"ts vakru"t ...," ... was not entirely clear to me.

Perhaps Vakru"t is the name of the place?


From: Aryeh A. Frimer <frimea@...>
Date: Sun, Jun 28,2009 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Translation of Iggerot haRa'aya of Rav Kook zt"l, vol. I, letter 89

I am interested in the English Translation of Iggerot haRa'aya of Rav Kook zt"l,
vol. I, letter 89.  I understand that it is published in full in Tzvi Feldman,
Rav A. Y. Kook: Selected Letters (Maaleh Adumim, 1985).  Does anyone have it as
an electronic file? Would someone be so kind as to photocopy or scan a copy of
the relevant pages for me and send it to me?
        Much thanks in advance. 


From: Alexander Seinfeld <seinfeld@...>
Date: Fri, Jun 26,2009 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Women Rabbis

Rose Landowne <Roselandow@...> wrote:
> it is difficult to break through the red
> tape, without the title of "Rabbi".  I recognize that there are two
> issues here, one personal title, and one job title, but what
> suggestions might be made to solve the dilemma?

How about Rebbetzin?

1. its truthful 
2. its honorable 
3. when a bureaucrat asks what that means, she answers, a female rabbi

Could even have business cards made up. Rebbetzin Rose Landowne /
Congregation Beth Tefila has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

(P.S.  I'm not being facetious)


End of Volume 56 Issue 85