Volume 58 Number 97 
      Produced: Mon, 23 Aug 2010 11:00:08 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

To the males of this list - A woman's status as a Jew  
    [Meir Shinnar]
"Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality 
    [Joseph Kaplan]
Abnormal people and women too 
    [Charles (Chi) Halevi]
Being Jewish -- not just Orthodox 
    [Charles (Chi) Halevi]
Changing one's seat during availus 
    [Carl Singer]
Changing the World 
    [Stuart Pilichowski]
denial is not a river in Egypt 
    [Jeanette  Friedman]
    [Jeanette  Friedman]
Reish Lakish (2)
    [Shoshana L. Boublil  Martin Stern]
To the males of this list - A woman's status as a Jew (4)
    [Wendy Baker  Meir Shinnar]


From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 22,2010 at 09:01 PM
Subject:  To the males of this list - A woman's status as a Jew 

Ira Jacobson (Mail-jewish 58#92)
On Aug 22, 2010, at 5:32 AM, Mail-Jewish wrote:

> I think it would be fair to say that everyone here sympathizes with 
> Jeanette's unfortunate experience in marriage to a wife-beater, but 
> we do not let that experience shape our entire world view.  It is 
> understandable, perhaps, how someone who has lived through this just 
> might make this the basis for her daily life.

First, as a long time subscriber of mail jewish, I think one of the main
problems is that not everyone here sympathizes with Jeanette's unfortunate
experience, even if few are crass enough to say it explicitly.  Furthermore,
perhaps the problem is that we do not let her, AND SIMILAR, experiences, shape
our world view....

Again, what the solution is may be argued - and not everything is soluble .
However,  the fact that someone is not deeply influenced by such experiences
because they did not occur to him is, ultimately a failure (fairly widespread)
of Jewish education - and one that we as a community should not be comfortable
with. al chet shechatanu lefanecha..

Meir Shinnar


From: Joseph Kaplan <penkap@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: "Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality

Russell Hendel (v58n96) asks for comments on his argument that the Statement of Principles should have said that Judaism requires homosexuals to believe that they can "repent" and be "cured."  I'm no expert in this field but I have spoken to a frum expert who told me that there is no "cure" for a homosexual who has no bisexual tendencies.  He added that one cannot repent and be cured from homosexuality anymore that one can repent and be cured from being a quadriplegic.  It seems to me that the statement of Principles, in understanding that there are many experts who believe this, got it exactly right in not taking a position on an issue that is not within their expertise.  I don't know if it's within Russell's expertise, but even if it is, there are many who disagree.


From: Charles (Chi) Halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Abnormal people and women too

Jeanette Friedman wrote:

<<And when you create a Chillul Hashem by chaining women<<
I am quite sure that the average Western male and female would be aghast to
learn that women are almost never permitted to be witnesses in a bayt deen
(ecclesiastic court) -- and are lumped together with deaf peopel,
idiots/mentally handicapped people and children when it comes time to testify. 

Chi (Charles) Halevi


From: Charles (Chi) Halevi <c.halevi@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Being Jewish -- not just Orthodox

Ira L. Jacobson wrote: 

<<I am of course not Jeanette's poseq.  But, certainly, since she admitted years
ago on MJ that she no longer observes the mitzvot, how could she have any posek?<<

Hey, Sir Ira: Just because she does not observe Orthodoxy doen't by any stretch
mean she "no longer observes the mitzvot." Isn't tzdaka "charity") a mitzva?
Going out of your way to be kind to others who don't expect it? Fasting on Yom
Kippur not just b/c the Torah says to afflict ourselves, but b/c I viscerally,
physically and psychologically have more knowledge of poverty's hunger?

I'm ex-Telshe's high school, ex-Skokie Yeshiva (left before s'micha
(ordination), ex-Bar Ilan -- and ex-Orthodox. But there are many parts of
Judaism (not just "secular humanist Judaism") I do observe. And I have a frum
(Orthodox) friend who is a rabbi, and I occasionally ask him a theological
question. He tells me what g'dolim (sages) say about this or that, and I make up
my own mind.    
Let God judge among us. And our vocabulary\ies too. 


Yeshaya (Charles Chi) Halevi


From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Changing one's seat during availus

Yisrael Medad (MJ58#96) notes:

> no one mentioned that the seat change should be backwards, not forwards in
> the synagogue seating plan.

I would add that some also prescribe a minimal distance from their normal



From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 22,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Changing the World

Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...> wrote (MJ 58#93):

>My response is that to bring about change all we need to do is change
>ourselves. If each and every one of us monitors our own behavior to improve
>it, the impact on our surroundings will multiply the effort and bring about
>a change for the better.

"If we spent less time trying to make this world a better place to live in, 
and more time trying to make ourselves better persons to live with, 
the world would be a better place to live in. "

I don't remember who originally said this, but I think it's from Shmuel

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion


From: Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: denial is not a river in Egypt

Mordechai Horowitz wrote (MJ 58#96):
> Example: True story:  when a 10 year old boy commits suicide  after his
> chassidic classmates raped him because his mother was a  convert and his
> father was a returnee (a giyoret and a BT), then I  believe there is a
> deep, deep sickness in the community, esp. when the  kids who did it
> weren't properly treated or punished. Just think about  this:  the three
> perps who did this about 10 years ago had this  stuff buried by the
> shadchanim and are now "happily"  married.

What is your proof this occurred?<<
My proof is that I spoke to the Bobover Rebbitzen's sister, my cousin, the  
former Chumie Halberstam at the time the incident occurred who said they 
didn't  know what to do about it because they didn't want to ruin three more 
lives (as if the parents and the dead boy's lives hadn't been ruined 
already) and we had a discussion about how non-frum kids would be in Spofford
for what those three Bobover boys did because, outside of the frum community, 
when you do the crime, you do the time.
I then followed up with Hynes' office as to why these kids weren't properly 
punished and was told it was being handled by the community. I asked if 
they would be sent to Spofford. I was told no.
I then had a discussion with Judge Judy Scheindlin (yes, the famous  Judge 
Judy) about why the perpetrators were not sent to juvie, at the very  
least. She said it was because they were connected to a community and that  jail
is the last option so that judges look for ways to keep people out of jail 
even when they belong there. I also spoke to Moishe Hellman, president of 
Ohel about it, which is when I discovered how difficult the situation is in 
terms of finding money to treat all the victims of child sexual abuse in 
the community (each predator has hurt hundreds of children) and how 
perpetrators are housed in "half-way homes" and cannot always get treatment
because of lack of funds.
In our conversation, Chumie also asked my advice about a wife batterer who  
wanted kibud during davening, like being a chazzan, getting aliyot and 
psicha.  And it was decided he gets nothing until he cleaned up his act and 
went to counseling.
And further more, if Horowitz thinks I make this stuff up, he should have a 
chat with the ER doctors at Maimonides Medical Center and Coney Island 
Hospital,  as well as the head of pediatrics at Maimonides. There have been 
conferences about this in Borough Park sponsored by Jewish Family Services, 
and at the conference I attended, there were catalogues of incidents 
including husbands locking up food pantries and fridges so that their wives
don't get fat, incest, beatings, teachers throwing kids down the stairs or 
twisting their ears and knocking their teeth out ... there have been skull 
fractures, rapes, etc.
Unfortunately, the record speaks for itself. Denial is NOT a river in  
Egypt, no matter how many pairs of rose-tinted eyeglasses people want to wear.


From: Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: homosexuality

Russell wrote (MJ 58#96):  

> A pillar of Jewish thought is repentance. We require all homosexuals
> (whether in orientation or practice, whether exclusive or not) to BELIEVE
> that our religion holds that they CAN BE CURED in this world, that they can
> eventually MARRY and lead normal heterosexual lives. It is absolutely
> prohibited according to the Jewish viewpoint to state that anyone is doomed
> psychologically and cannot escape from their present state of action or
> orientation. We therefore encourage homosexuals to read and seek ideas that
> will alleviate them from this sin. HOWEVER,not withstanding the above: We do
> NOT REQUIRE homosexuals to see therapists or to subscribe to any existing
> therapy. We OPPOSE the view that the ACT of marriage in and of itself will
> cure them  <snip> However I agree with Avraham  that this belief of Judaism
> should not be used to ruin anyone's life

Homosexuality is not "curable" any more than a rapist can be cured or a 
pedophile can be cured (barring pre-frontal lobotomies and medical or  
physical castration to prevent certain acts) as there are still other ways to 
skin a cat, unfortunately because it's not the physical act -- it's  the 
compulsion for asserting power that needs control. And no, marriage doesn't 
"straighten" anyone out.  Bent is bent.


From: Shoshana L. Boublil <toramada@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Reish Lakish

Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...> wrote (MJ 58#96):

> I made a statement that Resh Lakish was a ... 

Making such a statement, knowing its connotations, has IMHO demeaned everything
you have ever written on Torah.

For as the G'mara says about Reish Lakish when he dies a Tzaddik -- "Nacha
Nafsho Shel Rabbi Shimon Ben Lakish" - The soul of Rabbi Shimon son of
Lakish has found it's rest. Also, it apparently escaped your studies that he
had rabbinic ancestors as he quotes them in the g'mara.

While you have taken these midrashim to horrible places, there are others
who have taken them to lofty places of Torah and being closer to Hashem.
While you are worried about bathing in the water, the Midrash is using the
story as a parable of learning Torah, where the value of Torah and it's
mitzvot and good deeds that spring from up are compared to water.

I would recommend that those who can read Hebrew read a different
interpretation of the relevant midrashim, one that elevates the soul and
teaches as Torah is supposed to teach:

Shoshana L. Boublil

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Reish Lakish

Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...> wrote (MJ 58#96):

> I made a statement that Resh Lakish was a homosexual. ...

> You never can prove such things: But the following may be of support: a)
> Homsexuality was common in the Roman underworld b) The physical discussions in
> the river about "looks" sound very peculiar between two naked men, c) if Resh
> Lakish did not threaten him sexually why would Rabbi Jochanan be SO insulted
> many years later as to want him dead.

I think the first sentence in this paragraph is crucial because the three
'facts' used by Russell would not appear to be anything like sufficient support
for his
hypothesis. If he cannot find any more convincing arguments than these, then
it would appear that he is unjustly maligning an Amora.

Martin Stern

From: Wendy Baker <wbaker@...>
Date: Sun, Aug 22,2010 at 03:01 PM
Subject: To the males of this list - A woman's status as a Jew

Shoshana Boublil wrote in MJ58:93:

> Somewhere along the  way, the women's path was lost. IMHO probably b/c it  
> wasn't fully documented, it was usually passed down from mother to daughter, 
> and we now have only remnants of it in the existing documentation of Judaica. 
> Let me be clear - it is not a different Torah - it is a question of 
> emphasis and practice, as I'll explain below. ...
> It takes a very short time from being taught the above and then being told
> that you get more reward when you do something you are obligated in doing
> than when you do something that you are not obligated to do - to want to
> scream to high heaven - what is going on here???!!!!
> To clarify matters and focus on what women's worship is all about, for
> example, I was married for many years before I first heard a Torah Thought
> which discussed how most of the melachot [labor] forbidden on Shabbat are
> connected to running a household, how the Cohen is the person who is in
> charge of running Hashem's household (the Beit HaMikdash) and women are the
> Cohen Gadol of their homes...

> There is much more out there, I've been researching this issue for years,
> and still discover new information all the time. But this information is not
> part of the standard curriculum that women are taught. Actually, this is not
> totally true. In the past several years in Israel, Bat Mitzvah programs have
> been focusing on these issues so there is a beginning of a change in this
> matter.
> A secondary aspect of this whole issue is connected to a topic I just wrote
> on earlier this morning (I don't know the order in which these posts will
> appear) on the question of public vs. private. To summarize, the modern
> world only values that which is public. ...

> So, when you combine the two issues, it becomes obvious that there are many
> women who will find active participation in a public minyan to be a
> necessary part of how they express their worship of Hashem.  In a world
> where only public behavior is acknowledged, and where women are taught that
> it is best to daven in a minyan, that prayer is more acceptable in this
> manner, then it is a short path to requesting to have a more active role in
> public prayer in the synagogue.

I really felt like copyig all of Shoshana's post, which touched me 
intensely.  Just two comment I wish to add:

1. It once occured to me that at Sinai we ALL heard the Torah, each in the 
way we could understand it.  Over time the men discussed what they had 
heard among themselves in groups and various kinds of learning circles, but 
the women did not have this opportunity.  As a result, the women's 
knowledge of what they heard was lost and all they later learned was what 
the men had remembered of what they (including their ancestors) heard
and subsiquently told the women.  We can't recover the lost knowledge, 
but it should be kept in mind.

2. One day, afer a Women's Tefilla Group shabbat morning prayer service, I 
asked one of the young women why she did not come, while her Mother did. 
She replied, "but Hashem doesn't hear the prayers of women."  This is what 
she had gathered from what she was being taought at school.  I assume it 
was a kind of stretch from the comment that Hashem always hears the prayer 
of a Minyan as well as the frequent ignoring of chatting in the girls' 
section in school Schacharit services while silence is enforced in the
boy's section.

In combination with Shoshana's comments, do you wonder at women's issues 
with some aspects of Orthodoox Judaism.

Wendy Baker

From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 12:01 AM
Subject: To the males of this list - A woman's status as a Jew 

Just for the record (about female exclusion from social positions) A subtle
point is being missed here

WOMEN COULD BE PROPHETS. Female Jewish prophets way outnumbered male prophets
(There were 300,000 female prophets in the wilderness who did NOT DIE -- it was
the conservative men who died).

Sin of Eve? Not in our tradition. #1) Abraham was told to follow Sarah's advice
(Rashi explains she had a higher degree of prophecy); #2) When Barak went to war
he sought the help of a female prophet; #3) When Mordechai tried to save the
Jewish community he also sought the help of a female prophet, Ester. #4) When
David wanted to murder Naval he was prevented by a female prophet.

Bottom line: In both quality and quantity Jewish female prophets surpassed men.
So the correct statement is NON PROPHETIC public positions could not be held by
women. In the olden times there was tremendous balance of power...women had a
lead on prophecy and men had a lead on social positions. PERHAPS Jewish law gave
the men this exclusiveness to make up for their inferior state.

AND EVEN TODAY: I am a member for life of AMIT a Jewish charitable organization
that is in charge of the Government network of religious schools (over 20,000
children in over 70 schools). We are in sore need for male members (If
interested visit www.amit-children.org).

Bottom line: Women have not been deprived of anything substantial; they run a
great deal. Although there is no SAMENESS there is EQUALITY.

Russell Jay Hendel; ph.d. asa http://www.Rashiyomi.com

From: Russell J Hendel <rjhendel@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 12:01 AM
Subject: To the males of this list - A woman's status as a Jew 

Marilyn (v58n81) speaks about the status of women>> The guilt implied
because of a woman (Eve and the apple from the Tree of Knowledge) way, way back
in time - if it did happen.   .... The talk of 'get her pregnant all the time' -
'we need lots of kids.'  Until her life is nothing compared to cries of endless
babies  ... That is - inhuman.>>

If Marilyn or one of her friends really feel this way my advice would be to
immediately get a divorce. I know about a dozen women in Baltimore with 6 - 13
kids. NONE of them feel that way. Though I don't like to make comments about
married women in public (or private) these women tend to be more attractive then
their counterparts with less children. Bottom line: Children SHOULD make a woman
happy, give her a sense of self esteem and a certain inner glow.

I wouldn't mind hearing more about this statement. I really would advocate that
anyone who feels like this should get a divorce. The fact that the kids are
young is irrelevant. You are hurting them more by staying in the marriage. Leah
named her son Simon (God hears (my anguish)) as a result of which Simon grew up
to be a criminal, severely hurting Joseph, breaking up the family, earning his
father's curse and as Rav Hirsch points out being the prime target of sexual
crimes by Moab (Simon's tribe lost 24000 more than any other tribe).

I really think the personal aspects of this statement should be discussed. And
just for the record: IT ALREADY is public.

Russell Jay Hendel; ph.d. asa http://www.Rashiyomi.com

From: Meir Shinnar <chidekel@...>
Date: Mon, Aug 23,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: To the males of this list - A woman's status as a Jew

Akiva Miller wrote (MJ 58#95):

> That precisely why my post also mentioned "having to say the full service at
> all, minyan or not", and "three times a day, on a specific schedule". Even men
> who do not see themselves as duty-bound to come regularly to minyan,  would (I
> expect) still feel duty-bound to say their prayers on their own, and while it 
> is easier than attending minyan, it is still inconvenient and time-consuming.

Most poskim have woman obligated to pray at least twice, if not three
times a day...  difference outside of shul is actually minimal (this
may not be widely practiced, but that is a different issue...)

> Very well put. Thank you. Indeed, I would jump at such an opportunity, but I 
> can imagine other men who would not. Unfortunately, when I think about the
> motivations of such men, the only one I can think of is a need to show off, 
> and that does not seem like an admirable trait in my view. But I do recognize 
> that people have different personalities; I guess it is my non-outgoing 
> nature which is making it hard for me to see the other viewpoint.
> In any case, my main point was not so much to complain about women who want
> these public roles, as it was to point out that there is an upside to being
> not-obligated.

There may be an upside to being not-obligated, but this is a somewhat
strange approach, I would say, if one truly believes gadol hametzuve
veose - (greater is he that is commanded and does than he who does
without being commanded ...), but women's issues do seem to bring
strange approaches, and one that one would never think of using in
other contexts (and I am talking here about the anti side...) -
However,  what Akiva continues to miss is the following:  Whether a
particular solution to the problem is appropriate or not may be
reasonably discussed.  However, what is highly problematic is his
continued insistence of speaking for those who have a problem -
claiming that their problem can't be real, or that they should look on
the "up side".  The rule that you can't judge someone until you are in
his place should be remembered.  People may agree or disagree with the
solution - but lack of recognition means both that one does not get a
vote, and that one should extend their viduy next month...

Meir Shinnar


End of Volume 58 Issue 97