Volume 58 Number 45 
      Produced: Sun, 01 Aug 2010 16:04:15 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

"Inclusive Orthodox" Congregations 
    [Mark Symons]
A liturgical query 
    [Martin Stern]
Don't say ASUR if you mean CHUMRA! 
    [Martin Stern]
Emmanuel school  (2)
    [Ira L. Jacobson]
rabbinical headcovering? 
    [Shoshana Ziskind]
Sephardic discrimination (3)
    [Janice Gelb  Martin Stern  Janice Gelb]


From: Mark Symons <msymons@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 1,2010 at 01:01 AM
Subject: "Inclusive Orthodox" Congregations

A relatively new phenomenon is the so-called "Inclusive Orthodox" or
"Egalitarian Orthodox" congregation, where women participate to a much
greater extent than in traditional "Orthodox" congregations. There are a few
of these that I know of in the world, including Melbourne, Australia.

In the one in Melbourne, called "Shira Hadasha" - largely modelled on the
one in Jerusalem of the same name - women share in the Leining and receive
Aliyot (other than Cohen and Levi); lead parts of the service other than
Shacharit or Musaf proper - eg Hotzaa and Hachnasa, An'im Z'mirot, Adon
Olam; do the calling-up and make misheberachs - all from their side of the
mechitza; but are not counted towards a Minyan. The format of the service is
otherwise "Orthodox" eg full Pesukei Dezimrah, full Chazarat HaShatz for
Shacharit and Musaf; standard orthodox ashkenaz nusach (except for in the
misheberach for the kahal, instead of saying "heim un'sheihem uv'neihem
uv'noteihem" they say "heim umishp'choteihem").  Many of those who attend
and are involved in running the congregation do observe Mitzvot like
Shabbat, Kashrut and Taharat Hamishpacha.

Now, I understand that some official Orthodox Rabbinical organisations do
not recognise such congregations as "Orthodox", and as far as I know, no
recognised Posek has come out publicly and said that this sort of
congregation is Halachicly acceptable; indeed, some Poskim (including Rav
Henkin if I'm not mistaken) clearly state that this sort of congregation is
Halachicly unacceptable.

Therefore, a question arises as to whether a man who acts as a Baal Koreh
or Baal Tefilla at a congregation like that, should not be allowed to also
act as a Baal Koreh or Baal Tefila in a "mainstream" Orthodox or "Modern
Orthodox" Shule (even if he himself observes Mitzvot such as Shabbat,
Kashrut and Taharat Hamishpacha).

Has anyone had (or knows of anyone who has had) such an experience ie if
they act as a Baal Koreh or Baal Tefilla at a congregation like that, of
being allowed or of not being allowed to also act as a Baal Koreh or Baal
Tefila in a "mainstream" Orthodox or "Modern Orthodox" Shule?

Would any of the "mainstream" Orthodox or "Modern Orthodox" Shule Rabbis on
this list allow such a person to also act as a Baal Koreh or Baal Tefila in
their own Shules?

Other comments?

Mark Symons


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 25,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: A liturgical query

On Shabbat we say, as part of the first berakhah before Kriat Shema in the
morning. 'Hakol Yodukha' which, in essence, is an expanded version of the
'Hameir La'arets' said on weekdays (Sefardim, unlike Ashkenazim, also say it
on a weekday Yom Tov).

In the Sefardi version (followed in this by the Nusach Sfard of the
Chassidim), the whole of 'Hameir La'arets' is said but in the Ashkenazi one
the verse "Mah rabu ma'asekha ..." is omitted.

Incidentally the Ashkenazi formulation must be quite ancient as it is found
in the 11th century Machzor Vitry compiled by R. Simchah of Vitry, a pupil
of Rashi. 

On the other hand the Kol Bo (s. 122), an anonymous Ashkenazi writer
probably of the 13th century school of Maharam Rottenburg, has the
intriguing comment that 'Hakol Yodukha' has 113 words. If one counts those
in the present-day Ashkenazi version one finds that it only has 104. The
missing verse has 10 words so, if it were included in his version, there is
a difference of only one. One might explain that small discrepancy if, as is
quite possible, the Kol Bos version omitted one word, probably the somewhat
meaningless 'Selah'.

Can anyone shed any light on this?

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Thu, Jul 22,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Don't say ASUR if you mean CHUMRA!

In Torah Tidbits, published by the OU in Yerushalayim, there is an
interesting observation in the issue for Va'etchanan under the heading

> The twin prohibitions of neither adding nor subtracting from the
> Torah, are mentioned in Va'etchanan and again in R'ei (where they are
> counted among the 613). The Vilna Gaon points out that the plural form
> is used one time and the singular form is used in the other case. This, he
> says, alludes to two different aspects of these prohibitions. It is forbidden
> to add to or subtract from a particular mitzva for example, one may not take 5
> species or 3 species on Sukkot for the fulfillment of the mitzva of "Lulav &
> Etrog". 

> Nor may one add or subtract to the total of the mitzvot.
> To treat a Rabbinic mitzva as a Torah law, or vice versa, would be an
> example of the other aspect of these prohibitions.
> The spirit of these prohibitions (if not the actual definitions) would include
> treating (and/or teaching) a CHUMRA as if it were required, or vice versa
> (claiming that something that is prohibited is "only" a chumra or custom).
> Aside from people who intentionally do this (very wrong), it is more common to
> find people doing it one way or the other inadvertently, either because of
> ignorance or because of a sincere (but slightly misguided) desire to enhance
> the observance of mitzvot. This is especially important for parents and
> teachers of young children.

> Dont say ASUR if you mean, strictly speaking it isnt actually forbidden, but
> it is considered a proper thing to abstain for doing such and such. It
> sounds more complicated, but it is more honest and therefore it is the
> more proper way to transmit Torah to your children and students.
> (Obviously, when a child is very young, you have to simplify matters.
> But don't forget to upgrade the child's level of understanding as he or she
> grows older.)

Perhaps this might prompt some discussion on mail-jewish.

Martin Stern


From: Akiva Miller <kennethgmiller@...>
Date: Sun, Jul 18,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Emmanuel school

I wrote:
> Some of the reports I've read describe the Emmanuel school as
> "Chinuch Atzmai", which is government-run. I've also read reports
> which describe it as "Bais Yaakov", which is a private school.
> I've even seen some articles which use both descriptions in the
> same article!

I want to thank the posters who have clarified this. It's been a long time - far
too long - since I lived in Israel, and I had forgotten that the "Chinuch
Atzmai" ("Independent Education") schools are a different group from the
"Mamlachti Dati" ("Government Religious") schools.

The fact that Chinuch Atzmai does accept government funding, while there are
other schools which do not, had confused me. In addition, I think that I had
*always* presumed Bais Yaakov to be in the "no government funding at all" group.

I had also forgotten the degree of independence which Chinuch Atzmai is supposed
to have. Thanks again.

Akiva Miller

From: Ira L. Jacobson <laser@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 19,2010 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Emmanuel school 

An amazing article from the Jerusalem Post of 
nine days ago.  Amazing because it is written by 
their most anti-Haredi anti-religious columnist, 
and it is 100 percent objective.

There is one other interesting thing there, 
too.  While some of the leading DL (religious 
Zionist) rabbanim called for their adherents to 
join the demonstrations, the typical behavior 
ensued.  The Haredim follow their rabbis' 
directives, while the DL people consider their 
rabbis' calls as annoying recommendations only.

The haredi world's new heroes

The article can be viewed on-line at 


Some extracts appear below:

After sitting in prison for refusing to send 
their daughters to a non-Hasidic school they 
consider religiously permissive, the 'Emmanuel 
prisoners' have become the heroes of the haredi world.

Their opponents were elements of the Shas 
(Sephardi haredi) party, the Education Ministry 
and the court, all of whom accused the men and 
their hassidic sponsors of being motivated by anti- Sephardi prejudice.

Yet during those 11 days, the Ashkenazi haredim - 
along with some Sephardi haredim - fought a 
nonviolent Jewish holy war, their massed, 
black-clothed rallies drawing tremendous media 
attention, and finally Shas gave in. The party's 
spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, reached an 
agreement with the religious authority behind the 
battle against the court petition, Rabbi Shmuel 
Barazovsky, admor of the Slonim Hassidim.

TO THE HAREDIM, who make up about 10 percent of 
the country's population, the fight in Emmanuel 
was over religious freedom, the right to educate 
their children as they see fit and the authority 
of their rabbis over that of Supreme Court 
justices. To Israelis at large, it was a fight to 
maintain Ashkenazi dominance - a misperception 
fed by the mainstream media - and to enforce the 
haredi minority's tyranny over the state.

Of the 35 fathers who sat in prison, 11 were 
Sephardim, says Krimalovski. Off the top of his 
head, he names 10 of them: "Ziv Cohen, Shimon 
Levy, Meir Elmaliah, Shmuel Naimi, Yitzhak Naimi, 
Amos Meirav, Rabbi Eliahu Biton, Hanoch Beit 
Ya'acov, Avraham Baruch and Menashe Alali, who 
changed his last name to Klein at the request of 
his in-laws, who didn't have a son to carry on 
the family name." He can't remember the 11th Sephardi father.



From: Shoshana Ziskind <shosh@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 27,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: rabbinical headcovering?


I just was given some old family photographs and one aspect was a little
intriguing. I've seen so many pictures of Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, with what I
always assumed to be a traditional rabbinical kippah and to my surprise, in a
couple of pictures one of my alter zeides is wearing what looks to be the same
type of kippah. My question is, can I assume he had a rabbinic background or is
that not enough to be able to make that assumption. Also, was it rare for women
from Russia around 100-120 years ago to cover their hair? My family was from
Bobroisk which is somewhere near Minsk. 

Here is a link to a picture of Rav Feinstein with this kippah:


Thank you in advance,

Shoshana Ziskind


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Tue, Jul 20,2010 at 08:01 PM
Subject: Sephardic discrimination

--- On Thu, 7/15/10, Mail-Jewish <mj@...> wrote:
Martin Stern <md.stern@...> wrote:
> In 2008, the Education Ministry appointed a former high official
> of the State Comptroller's Office, Mordechai Bass, to examine the 
> dispute, and he found that 27% of the pupils in the breakaway
> hassidic school were Sephardim. While criticizing the walled division
>  of Beit Ya'acov as illegal and improper, Bass also wrote that it was
>  done 'without the intent to discriminate between pupils on the basis
>  of ethnic background, and no such discrimination exists there in practice.'
<<rest of article snipped>>"
> The full article is available on line at:
> http://www.jpost.com/Features/MagazineFeatures/Article.aspx?id=180822

Thanks very much for your citation and this clarification. Although it does now 
appear that the two streams in the school were not based on ethnic grounds, I
still cannot see any justification for the extreme physical separation measures
and uniform differences imposed by the school, which had to have a negative
psychological effect on the students from less religious homes. (Despite
researching the subject, I'm still unclear about why the school had to admit
these students but then were permitted to impose these measures on them.)

-- Janice

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Jul 23,2010 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Sephardic discrimination

Meir Shinnar (MJ 58#42) wrote

> WRT Martin Stern's post on the Emanuel, he makes two points that seem
> to be made by quite a few, but I think are problematic.

> 1. Ethnic versus racial discrimination.
> There is the point that 25-30% of the kids in the separate track (and of the
> parents arrested) are Sephardic - so it isn't discrimination against
> Sephardim.
> It misses an essential point.  If one looks at a different type of
> discrimination (that should have sensitized us), antisemitism - it came
> in at least  two separate types - the Christian one - which
> discriminated against the Jews qua Jews - but allowed them to change
> into Christians - and the racial antisemitism - for which no such
> change was allowed.  There is good evidence that the discrimination is
> not the racial type of antisemitism - but there is also good evidence
> that it is quite similar to the Christian type of antisemitism -
> Sephardi kids were acceptable as long as they became Slonimer....

> This was not merely requirements of certain humrot in dress and
> exposure to outside culture - but other minhagim...- and this is
> therefore proof of bias - perhaps not on the basis of ethnic origin -
> but on the basis of ethnicity - - and clearly antisefardi bias...(you
> are welcome only if you become Ashkenazi...)

Meir is making a valid point and, if it is correct, should be condemned but,
from what I have read, the Sephardi girls were not expected to conform to
the specifically Slonim customs but only their rather more stringent
interpretation of halachic norms, something far more widely accepted by both
Sephardi and Ashkenazi chareidi groups.

> I would add that the erection of a wall makes any defense of the
> Slonimer track as not being discriminatory hard to make....

This was clearly unreasonable and was removed once an objection was made.
From what I have read this was admitted by their religious leadership.
Perhaps we should recognise that people can make mistakes and not continue
to condemn them once they admit this.

> 2)  The Slonimer have the right to conduct their lives as they see fit
> - and we should not interfere.

> Again, this right is one that is not (and should not be) unlimited,
> nor does the invocation that they follow their posek (religious
> authority ) - give them unlimited license.

> Even without the fact that we are talking about a state funded school
> - and therefore, yes, the Supreme Court does have power about the use
> of state funds - we do not give groups such unlimited powers,  e.g. the
> recent accusations against the cult of Elior Chen - who abused the
> children - few would argue that if Chen would claim that he was the
> group's religious authority, that would mean that we should say that
> his cult has the right to conduct their lives as they see fit....('my
> posek made me do it' is not a good defense..)

Here Meir is raising a 'straw man'. Nobody has accused the Slonimer parents
of criminal acts against any Sephardi girls only wishing to restrict those
whose lifestyle was inconsistent with theirs from attending the school. If
there were any hint of anything illegal, the courts would have a right to
interfere but this is primarily a matter of halachic standards which should
be of no concern to them.

To put the matter in context, would it be considered within the Supreme
Court's jurisdiction to insist that Sephardi kashrut licensing authorities
should refrain from certifying kitniot-containing foodstuffs for Pesach
because this discriminates against Ashkenazim or, conversely, that Ashkenazi
ones should not enforce the Sephardi chumras [stringencies] regarding bishul
akum [food cooked by a non-Jew] to avoid discrimination the other way.

Martin Stern

From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Mon, Jul 26,2010 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Sephardic discrimination

--- On Thu, 7/22/10, Martin Stern wrote:
> I regularly read, among other publications, the Jerusalem
> Post, the (London), Jewish Chronicle, the (London) Jewish News, the
> (Manchester) Jewish Telegraph, all not religiously orientated papers, and the 
> (NY) Jewish Press, the (London), Jewish Tribune and Hamodia, the latter two 
> being chareidi papers.
> I think this gives me a rather more varied range of opinions than the 
> Jerusalem Post and Ha'arets [cited by Janice Gelb], whose anti-chareidi 
> bias is well known.

Just wanted to point out that it seems odd logic to assume that someone citing
publications to illustrate a specific point or provide factual information reads
only those publications. I didn't think it was necessary to provide reading 
lists to prove bona fides for having an opinion on a given topic.


End of Volume 58 Issue 45