Volume 58 Number 38 
      Produced: Wed, 07 Jul 2010 21:13:32 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

certification of scotch whisky (3)
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz  Mark Steiner  Martin Stern]
    [Menashe Elyashiv]
fraud and Kosher (2)
    [Marshall Potter  Menashe Elyashiv]
halakhic times (2)
    [Dr. William Gewirtz  Sammy Finkelman]
kashrut of southern comfort 
    [Rav Semelman Shmouel]
Sephardic segregation (2)
    [Martin Stern  Janice Gelb]
Warsaw, Poland 
    [Art Werschulz]


From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 5,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: certification of scotch whisky

Immanuel Burton wrote:

> In Mail.Jewish v58n35 it was written:
>> I plead "not guilty." By "lesser standing," I was not referring to the
>> level of qualification, but to level of acceptance, and it is unquestionable
>> that in the US, where the largest kosher market for the product is located,
>> the OU is more widely accepted than the LBD.
> I'm afraid I don't see the distinction or understand this clarification. To
> start at a basic level, why should the LBD not be as widely accepted? The fact
> of the matter is that Glenmorangie is produced in a country with a local Beth
> Din, the LBD (as well as several other kashrus licensing authorities), and so
> should have the local hechsher on it. The argument presented in the above 
> quote seems to be saying that since the OU hechsher is more widely accepted 
> in the US it should have an OU hechsher rather than an LBD one. If that is 
> indeed the case, where should one draw the line? If a British couple get 
> married under the auspices of the LBD in the UK and then move to the USA, 
> should they have to get remarried under the auspices of an American 
> authority? Should British converts have to "re-convert" if they move to 
> America? Should LBD divorces not be accepted in the USA unless an American 
> get [religious bill of divorce] is also arranged? And why stop at the LBD? 
> Maybe all non-American kosher products imported into the USA should be 
> required to have an OU hechsher. Come to that, why an OU and not a different
> American hechsher?
> If there is nothing wrong with the LBD hechsher, then what's wrong with
> publicising the fact and educating people accordingly so that it will be
> accepted in the USA? If there is something wrong with the LBD hechsher, then
> please explain what. If the OU hechsher is more widely accepted than the LBD,
> then what is the LBD doing wrong? As a newcomer to Canada I am still getting
> used to the variety of kosher symbols on products, and if I see one that I do
> not recognise or which I haven't seen before I make suitable enquiries as to 
> its reliability, usually by first asking my Canadian wife.

The point being made is that the OU has a larger group of consumers
who will accept it without having to be "educated" about it than the
LBD does. For example, only the fact that I have read this thread
enables me to know that LBD stands for "London Beit Din" and that it
is an "acceptable" hasgacha (certification). Since there are so many
kashrus symbols, there are many that I would consider "good" that I do
not use solely because I do not have the time to try to memorize which
ones are or are not "acceptable". Similarly, I do not usually have the
time to call my local va'ad hakashrus (board of kosher supervisors) to
ask about a new symbol and try to describe it over the phone when I am
in the middle of shopping.

OU is used in this thread as an example because it is one of the most
well known and one of the easiest to recognize. Even many non-Jews will
look for it. For the purpose of this thread one can use the star k,
OK, Chaf K or similar organization.

   Sabba   -        -   Hillel
Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz 
From: Mark Steiner <marksa@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 5,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: certification of scotch whisky

Perets Mett asked me: 
> Where on earth do you get the idea that whisky contains 15% wine?  or even
> 1.5% wine?

I don't know the figure, and made no such claim, but I referred to a teshuva
of R. Moshe, of blessed memory, who says that wine is nullified if there is
less than 1 part in 6 (i.e. around 16%) wine.  It follows, then, that EVEN
whisky that has 15% wine is kosher according to that teshuva.  Nevertheless,
the teshuva should not be relied on to give such a drink an OU (or an LBD
for that matter).  The OU would not give a hechsher to whisky that has any
nonkosher wine whatever in any proportion.  I was just explaining why the OU
does not rely on R. Moshe's teshuva -- hypothetically, they would have to give
an OU to a drink that has a substantial proportion of wine.

Since I understand from mail-jewish and other sources, that certain scotch
whiskey is aged in sherry casks, we have the problem that the entire cask
must be regarded as being made of pure wine, a stringency usually applied in
these cases, since we don't know the real amount.  In that case, we usually
would NOT have 1 in 60.  The only way to allow such whisky is the opinion of
R. Moshe which allows up to 16 2/3 % wine in the whisky.

It is true that the Minchas Yitzhak (Dayyan Weiss z"l of Manchester and the
Eda Charedis) offered a different heter, namely, that the casks were not
used for 12 months before putting whisky in them.  I can't go into this
right now, but I seem to recall that R. Weiss put his money on R. Moshe's
heter, and didn't want to rely on the 12 month heter.

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 5,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: certification of scotch whisky

On Tue, Jun 29,2010, Perets Mett <p.mett@...> wrote:

> Mark Steiner wrote:
>> But do you expect the OU to give a hechsher to a beverage that has FIFTEEN
>> PERCENT nonkosher wine??
> Where on earth do you get the idea that whisky contains 15% wine?  or even
> 1.5% wine?

I think Mark and Perets may be talking at cross purposes. No whisky contains
wine as such, as Perets correctly observes, though some may be matured in sherry
casks which might be thought to affect the taste. I suspect that Mark was
referring to Southern Comfort, a whisky based liqueur that may contain other
substances beside whisky, which he suspects does contain wine.

Martin Stern


From: Menashe Elyashiv
Date: Tue, Jul 6,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Emmanuel

We lived there until 2000, we are in contact with people from there. Let 
me just say that there are 2 sides to a coin. The haraidi press did not 
tell the whole story.

The main problem in Emmanuel is that the place is a failure. It's sister 
cities have populations of 50000, Emmanuel has 5000. 

The founding company went bankrupt, and over the years the place became a refuge
city for all kinds of people, many families with problems. But in such a small
place, how many schools can there be? 

We left not because of security problems. Rather because of type of population
and because of the Slonim hassidim efforts to kick our boys out of the school.
OTOH, we were welcomed into Kiryat Sefer (AKA Moddin ilit) and the boys finished
school here without any problems


From: Marshall Potter <pottermr@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 5,2010 at 08:01 PM
Subject: fraud and Kosher

Eitan wanted the correct title for the book on the Kashrut Industry in New York.
I believe the title of the book is Fraud, Corruption, and Holiness: The
controversy over the supervision of Jewish dietary practice in New York City,
1881-1940 by Harold P. Gastwirt.  Published by Kennikat Press 1974. 

Marshall Potter

From: Menashe Elyashiv
Date: Wed, Jul 7,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: fraud and Kosher

In MJ 58/37 Eitan asked about

something like "Fraud, piety and politics" about the nasty early history 
of the kashrut industry in New York. ... if anyone knows the book, please post the
correct title.

Title:  Fraud, corruption, and holiness : the controversy over the supervision of 
Jewish dietary practice in New York City, 1881-1940
by Gastwirt, Harold P.(Port Washington, N.Y., Kennikat Press, c1974. viii+227 pp) 


From: Dr. William Gewirtz <wgewirtz@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 2,2010 at 10:01 AM
Subject: halakhic times

Perry Zamek wrote on variations of sunset times between different calendars:

> Is this because of different assumptions as to the time of halachic
> sunset, or is it the result of different calculation modes? Any ideas?

The reasons for the variances are: 

1) rounding methods, 

2) inaccuracy of some official sources by 1- 2 minutes assumed to always be
conservatively adjusted, 

3) adjustments for altitude/sea-level by as much as 3-4 minutes. the latter is
stated by some as a required adjustment versus clear proof from Shabbat 118b
that it is only a midat chassidut [personal stringency -MOD], something noted by
R. Moshe Feinstein ztl in Iggros Moshe


Shmuel Himelstein wrote on fasts:

> According to Tuketzhinsky, sunset on the 17th of Tammuz this year was at 
> 7:51 p.m. (making allowance for DST). That would mean that the fast should
> have ended at 8:08 p.m. Where, then, do the figure of 8:20 and 8:22 p.m.
> come from?

> I may add parenthetically that a very large number of synagogues in
> Jerusalem consider 17 minutes after sunset as late enough to recite
> the Torah-mandated Shema evening reading throughout the year.

27 minutes is the time after sunset when three medium stars are visible in the
summer in Israel. On Tisha B'av that is what R Tukatzinsky mandated. I will
check his Sefer Bein Hash'mashot if he mandates that time or an earlier time on
minor fasts.

I am suspicious of any non-season adjusted zman [time - MOD]: 27 needs to be
adjusted lower (about 3 minutes) in the spring/fall. The question to ask in
every instance, is "does the event require 3 medium stars (chashekha) or is some
slightly earlier point sufficient? Multiple earlier points exist; however, they are
impossible to establish accurately. Thus, many use 3 medium stars lechumrah [as
a stringency - MOD]. slight variances beyond that are similar to variations
around sunset discussed above.

From: Sammy Finkelman <sammy.finkelman@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 6,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: halakhic times

Dr Gewirtz wrote:
>> Second, 10.2 degrees for misheyakir [the time when a person can first
>> recognise an acquaintance] is the most stringent position except for
>> R. Feinstein ztl. I tend to favor 11.5 degrees.
> By stringent do you mean later in the day? A later time is more stringent
> for being able to put on Tallis and have it count (you have to wait longer)
> It looks like that's the only thing we use misheyaker for. I notice that
> the myzmanim calendar says only Talis.  Apparently even Tefillin uses a
> different earliest time than Tallis. I didn't realize this. What time
> applies? Alos Hashachar or Hanetz Hachamah, or whatever time you use for
> calculating the Zmanim of the day?

I suppose the reason for having this special earliest time for the tallis is
that you have to be able to see what you are doing because you are supposed
to *see* the tzttzis. (except that that was when the tzitzis had a thread of

For other things I think we use either Alos Hashchar (dawn) or Hanetz
Hachamah (sunrise)

There are two different opinions as to when is Alos Hashachar or dawn. The
later time is more lenient. It is more lenient for the latest time you could
still say the evening Shema or finish a Passover Seder (the time for the afikomen)
and have it count as being done properly, or the latest time you could eat
solid food before Shacharis or eat before a daytime fast if you planned it
that way.

It is also more lenient for how early is the latest time in the day that
anything can be done that has a latest time in the day to do it that is
before half the day (the later the day begins, the later one third or one
quarter of the day is done, if the time is also extended on the other end
and it goes in parallel)  But for that we have 3 times: Early Alos Hashchar,
later Alos Hashachar and Hanetz Hachamah.

> If you examine poskim in various locales and equate to a depression
> angle, you will observe a difference between poskim in the Middle East
> and Europe. The depression angle of most Middle Eastern poskim is greater
> than 11.5 degrees and that of most European poskim is less. One can easily
> conjecture as to why poskim differed by region.

You've now told me that my conjecture based on light levels is wrong and
that while times may differ, at any given angle the light perceived is the

The poskim were doing equal time periods, but that's a smaller angle further

> (Some poskim have suggested that now that we have the precision of
> depression angles and clocks, we need not wait for misheyakir (certainly
> in case of need.)

Well, another question is: Is misheyaker a personal matter that could
actually be different for different people, and it means when you perceive
that a new day is coming, or is it something absolute? Or maybe something in
between, like if several people are together it's the time when the first
one (if believed by the others) perceives the beginning of dawn?

Or would these poskim say the reason there is a difference between now and
the way it once was is only because we are commonly using artificial light
whenever we get up and there's no problem with not seeing the Tallis and
therefore the time is moved up because it has nothing really to do with

> I would guess that the formula in Prof Lev's Halakhic Times are the
> basis for the Internet calendars. The calendar you referenced (myzmanim)
> has the haskama [approbation --MOD] of R. Y Belsky, (a rebbe of mine in HS
> [high school --MOD] years back!)

You didn't explain what are Professor Lev's Halakhic times. Are they the
same as Myzmanim?

According to Mail-Jewish Volume 13 Number 10,  Professor (Zev or Ze'ev) Lev
is the founder the founder of Machon Lev (the main campus of the Jerusalem
College of Technology?) according to


...his name also might have been Professor Willy Low. Two different names
seem to be used there about the same person in the same paragraph. That this is
the same person seems to be confirmed by the current state of a Wikipedia article
about Ze'ev Lev, where it says he was named William Low when born in Vienna, 
but I couldn't find out anything anywhere about any halakhic time tables
connected with Professor Low or Lev.

> For those addicted to this topic, I will have two lengthy posts on
> zemanim [times --MOD] on the seforim blog in the next month or so.

That would be I presume http://seforim.blogspot.com


From: Rav Semelman Shmouel <semelman@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 6,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: kashrut of southern comfort

There is no kosher southern comfort with the old bottling.  In the new bottling,
southern comfort is kosher only with kashrut logo on the bottle.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 5,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Sephardic segregation

On Tue, Jun 29,2010, Stuart Wise wrote:
> ... to me the real, sad issue is that the
> Ashkenazim want to segregate because they are so insecure in their own
> ability to raise their kids that they fear that exposure to anything different
> immediately will undo all that they instilled in their children...

I fear Stuart is being a little unfair on the Slonimer chassidim in
Emmanuel. Their stream in the Beis Yaakov did not exclude Sephardi girls per
se, only those who did not come from families leading a lifestyle
incompatible with theirs. I think a much more major consideration than their
dress code stringencies was whether the other children, whether Sephardi or
Ashkenazi, had regular access to television in their homes. Even if some
programs might be innocuous, their fear was that, once introduced to its
delights, their daughters would progress to less wholesome material. They
would see this as akin to drug taking which is usually begun as a youthful
experiment but can lead to life-threatening addiction. They therefore want
to avoid it completely. Whether they are correct is not really relevant -
they are entitled to hold a view even if we might disagree with it and
conduct their lives as they see fit.

Martin Stern

From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 5,2010 at 07:01 PM
Subject: Sephardic segregation

Martin Stern wrote:
> Shmuel is correct here since about 30% of the chassidic
> stream were Sephardim, whereas 30% of the other were Ashkenazim, and no
> Sephardi girl who wished to join the chassidic stream was refused. This
> shows that all claims that this was a case of ethnic discrimination are
> unfounded.

Could you please provide your source for these figures?
> From what I have read, it seems that the absence from their homes of
> Television and Internet access were others.
> There may well have been other stringencies but I do not
> see why a chassidic school should not have its own more stringent religious
> criteria even if I do not accept the necessity for them. [snip]

Because they were receiving state funding? Because they accepted students but
then forced a separation between the students they deemed worthy and the
students they didn't?

Whatever the criteria, the fact remains that the students judged not religious
enough were not just put in separate classrooms. According to

  "The institution had been physically divided with separate entrances,
   separate teachers separate rooms, separate playgrounds and even 
   different uniforms for the two groups of girls."

And as I posted previously, from 

  "They built a wall in the middle of the schoolcorridor as well as a fence in
   the middle of the playground so there would be no contact between 
   the girls on either side. To prevent the girls from even making contact
   with each other through the fence, the hassidic parents covered it with 
   blue-and-white fabric."

"Separate but equal" is a concept that has been discredited for many years. If a
private school with private funding wants to have more stringent criteria for
the students they accept, that's one thing. However, if a school receives state
funding, they should not be allowed to have students attend a school but create
two distinct levels of students with no interaction permitted.

-- Janice


From: Art Werschulz <agw@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 5,2010 at 04:01 PM
Subject: Warsaw, Poland


I am supposed to be going to a conference next month in Warsaw, Poland.  I have
sent email to <warszawa@...>, but have gotten no response (the address
found at http://warszawa.jewish.org.pl).

If any of you have contact information, please let me know.  Thanks.

Art Werschulz  


End of Volume 58 Issue 38