Volume 59 Number 14 
      Produced: Thu, 02 Sep 2010 16:34:54 EDT

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

"Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality 
    [Joshua W. Burton]
Are they really FRUM? (2)
    [Carl Singer  Susan Kane]
Fixed seats in shul 
    [David Ziants]
    [Carl Singer]
Minhag Frankfurt 
    [Michael Frankel]
Welcoming visitors 
    [Jeanette  Friedman]
Women saying Kaddish 
    [Menashe Elyashiv]
Women's places 
    [Menashe Elyashiv]


From: Joshua W. Burton <joshua@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 2,2010 at 09:01 AM
Subject: "Statement of Principles" regarding homosexuality

Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...> writes (MJ 59#13):

> Those on the list who have actually read the stuff can confirm this,  
> but I was taught, by a professor who supposedly had not read the  
> material in the original, that medieval Arabic poetry glorified beautiful boys.
> (See also this article online: http://en.metapedia.org/wiki/Muslim_Pederasty)

Oy.  Before reading this, *please* read http://en.metapedia.org/wiki/ 
Jew, or (better) read just enough of it to understand what kind of a website
Metapedia is, and then close the tab and never go back there.



From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 2,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Are they really FRUM?

Orrin Tilevitz Orin  MJ(59,#13) in the on-going discussion on homosexuality

> First, I have personally known people who are described, by themselves or
> others, as Orthodox but who

> (1) go to the office on yom tov,

> (2) are married to non-Jews,

> (3) eat hard cheese dishes, cooked and served hot, in non-kosher
> restaurants, or

> (4) who are living with members of the opposite sex without the
> benefit of chupa, kiddushin, or even mikveh.

> Then there is the black-hatted black-hat yeshiva graduate who told a
> young lady I know that he didnt want to respect her no-negia pledge.

> Or the Orthodox rabbi, forced out of his pulpit when his extra-marital
> affair was disclosed. (He became a Conservative rabbi in another town).

> And we wont get into frum tax evaders, child abusers, etc.

> Selective observance is rampant in the Orthodox/frum community. I'd like
> to know specifically what they think the halacha requires, what rules they
> believe are binding, and the extent to which they intend to adhere to them.

This negative list of behaviors can be endless.   Religion is not a menu in
a Chinese Restaurant where we pick one from Column A, one from B .... to define
what "FRUM" (better yet "observant") means.

Interestingly we're dealing with both self-perception / self-description and
public perception ....

In summary we are dealing bad behavior by some who claim to be FRUM or are
labeled / perceived to be FRUM.  Some of this behavior is bain Adam L' Makom and
some bain Adam L'Chayvro -- and some may impact both categories.  I believe this
is a most important distinction.

Most sane and sensible people (I presume - I have no data) prefer to define
themselves in a consistently positive way and if they see "FRUM" as positive
they may define themselves as such even if they openly (or privately) violate
certain obvious prohibitions (lo ta'asehs).

Do I care?  Should we care?  Yes and no.

There is no blanket answer.

PUBLIC BEHAVIOR -- this is one that troubles me greatly.

For those of us who are in a minority (at work, in our community ....) or
globally -- I recall what my dear Mother said when Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey
Oswald -- "Why did it have to be a Jew?"   Do you cringe when a Jew (observant
or otherwise) -- or even someone with a Jewish sounding name -- does something bad?

When the front page story and picture in the New Jersey state-wide
newspaper shows a young Jew in a yarmulke being hauled off to court -- I
care! Maybe I shouldn't because his behavior doesn't reflect my behavior -- but I
am a realist. I've yet to see an article about a Presbyterian layman getting
arrested -- apparently being Presbyterian isn't important to the news reporter
-- but I have seen stories of "Ultra-Orthodox" Jews getting arrested.

Living in a heterogeneous community openly bad behavior bothers me.  When I
see a lady in a tichel driving the ubiquitous mini-van and she double parks on a
Main Street thus blocking all traffic, I am embarrassed -- am I over reacting? 
In general, I think "where are the police when you need them?"  Should I be
upset if this person gets a ticket -- a fellow Jew? How would I have reacted
differently is the driver was apparently non-Jewish (say wearing a Tzaylim?)

When someone's behavior is rude and inconsiderate and that someone is
wearing "the uniform" do I care -- even if it doesn't directly effect me.  By
"the uniform" I mean clothing readily associated with the observant community. 
As a tangent, when someone wears a military uniform I expect certain positive
behavior.  I expect what is known as "military courtesy" - saluting,
being addressed as "Sir", I expect him or her to behave in a manner that
brings honor to the uniform.   When some wears the "FRUM Uniform"  Why should I
expect any less than their behavior bringing honor - a kiddish HaShem?  Do I
have the right to such expectations?


When someone talks incessantly in shul, do I care?  Yes!  It disturbs me and
it sets a bad example for my children (OK - mine are B"H grown, so I'll say for
my grandchildren.)


If someone wishes to make chumrah's or kulahs for themselves -- how much
should we care? If someone leaves the radio on in the basement so they can catch
the Yankee's score during the world series -- I am not the one to judge (or
pasken.)   I'll let the Aybishter deal with this.

If someone deludes themselves eating treif and calling themselves FRUM -- Do
I care? And why?

If someone drives to shul (parks a few blocks away) -- now it becomes a
matter of halacha re: that someone getting kebudim.

If I'm looking for a kosher aide (witness) then level of observance IS very

When someone commits the terrible avayrah of not answering me when I say
"Good Shabbos" to them do I care -- obviously, I do.


If someone thinks they are superman (or superwoman, let's be fair here) and
thinks they can fly -- when I see them jump off of a rooftop my logical reaction
is to make sure I'm not in their landing zone. OK -- that's delusional behavior
-- perhaps an extreme example.

If someone in a leadership position (a Pulpit Rabbi or a School Principal)
misbehaves egregiously, say the pedophile or philanderer, should I have
rachmonis {pitty} and hope they are treated less harshly, because they are
identified as a FRUM Jew, or should I have more outrage and hope they (whoever
"they" is) throw book at him (or her).

To complete the cycle, let's also consider good behavior by those who are
not yet frum.  Someone who starts going to shul, stops eating in trief
restaurants, etc.   Should I encourage positive behavior or focus on
the "not yet FRUM" part.

Life is complicated -- and wonderful.


*Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.
Colonel, U.S. Army Retired
70 Howard Avenue
Passaic, NJ  07055-5328
see my website www.ProcessMakesPerfect.net

From: Susan Kane <suekane@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 2,2010 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Are they really FRUM?

In MJ 59#13 Orrin Tilevitz wrote:

> OK, good. So here is my problem. While I am willing to accept that  
> some people who call themselves frum or who outwardly appear to be frum
> and who are in such an arrangement will obey normative halacha, just as
> I am willing to accept that some homosexual couples obey normative halacha
> (as evidently Lisa does), I cannot assume that all, or even most, will.
> My skepticism has at least two sources.

I take all of your points and consider them well-reasoned.

To review -- many people who call themselves Orthodox or who attend  
Orthodox shuls are not strictly observant of normative halacha and  
sexual desires are some of the strongest desires we have as humans.

Therefore, it stands to reason that frum gay Jews are likely to be  
committing sins in private and it is very hard for you to give them  
the benefit of the doubt.

First, I'd like to return to the idea of celibacy and assert that it  
is possible for humans to choose this option -- even though it not  

We know that celibacy is violated by some Catholic priests but we do  
not know how often it is upheld.  I would submit that it is generally  

Celibacy is acknowledged as one of the most difficult aspect of being  
a priest.  Many noviates leave before taking their vows because they  
realize they cannot commit to celibacy.

Within the priesthood, it is understood that over the course of a  
priest's entire life, he might sin, but ongoing sexual abuse or  
consensual sexual relationships are *not* considered normative  
behavior.  The Catholic church creates many supports for its priests  
around celibacy and temptation.

I think that some of the most egregious cases of sexual abuse were  
committed by people who would have done this anyway.  Celibacy did not  
cause their sexual problems -- they chose the priesthood because they  
had sexual problems.

The problem with celibacy as an option for gay Jews is that it is  
profoundly un-Jewish.  Our tradition has no support for this way of  
life.  However, that does not mean that some gay frum Jews do not  
choose it and live it.

However, perhaps we should assume that the average person is not  
strong enough to be 100% celibate.  Where does that leave the frum  
community vis-a-vis its gay members?

First, let's acknowledge that the halachic issues are much more  
difficult in the case of men than in the case of women.

Lisa has studied this far more extensively than I have and she asserts  
(I think?) that there is a range of possible female sexual activity  
that is not "nashim ha-mesollelot".

For men, it seems to me that while a single sexual act is proscribed  
by the Torah, almost all other sexual activity has been limited by  
poskim as a fence around the act.  This leaves no area for sexual  
expression between men under normative halacha.

My sense (and someone can correct me if I'm wrong) is that those gay  
men who remain committed to Orthodoxy take one of three paths:

(1) They remain single and try to be celibate.  They may occasionally  
fail but they try to minimize this failure.  They do not maintain  
ongoing relationships with men.  Or, if they do, they mentally  
separate that person from the rest of their lives (the Orthodox part)  
and do not try to integrate them.

(1) comes at a high psychological cost at the individual level.

(2) They decide that celibacy is not Jewish.  They seek to live as  
integrated a life as possible.  They seek an Orthodox partner who will  
maintain a committed relationship with them and who will assist them  
in avoiding the most serious sexual sins.  These couples may engage in  
some sexual acts, which they recognize are forbidden under normative  
halacha, but they do not have anal sex.

People living option (2) must be hoping, I think, that someday a gedol  
ha-dor will find kulot for some sexual expression between men, while  
retaining the Torah prohibition on anal sex and perhaps other sexual  

Or perhaps they acknowledge that there is no solution for the halachic  
issue but that this is the best solution for their personal challenge  
and that the problem will be solved by Moshiach.

(3) They marry women and commit sins in private, often in risky ways,  
endangering their families, their marriages, their health, etc.

(3) is the most common option in the Orthodox world, particularly the  
Hareidi world.

What is confusing to me is that many people prefer options (1) and (3)  
to option (2).

I understand that public sins are worse than private ones.

But in my opinion, those who are living option (2) are living the most  
Jewish lives.  They are the most likely to be not-depressed,  
not-suicidal and fully observant of halacha outside of one specific  
area.  They are the most able to serve Hashem with joy.

They are the most Jewish because they have a bounded place for their  
sexuality.  It is there, but it does not take over their lives and it  
is bounded by restrictions from the Torah.

Those who are living option (2) are the *most like* heterosexual Jews.  
So it's very strange to me that (1) is okay and (3) is basically  
okay as long as no one finds out but (2) is a threat to the Jewish  
family and the social order.

I do understand that for many people on the list, (3) is the only  
option and the best option -- along with ongoing attempts to change.

But (3) comes at a very high cost -- HIV in the frum community,  
depression, suicide, failed marriages, use of prostitutes, sexual  
addiction, etc.

People living option (3) may look the most frum but they are living  
the least frum lives.  When they do sin, they sin without caution.   
They sin wildly because they are literally not themselves while  
sinning.  They damage other people while they sin.

I want people to recognize that when you preclude option (2), frum gay  
Jews who cannot realistically marry will end up with option (1) or (3).

They won't just disappear because you have made all public discourse  
about the subject go away.  They are still there, living among you,  
and living one of the options above.

I understand that Russell and David Tsohar disagree and feel that  
heterosexual marriage is an option for all and I respect their  
position.  I also cannot convince them so I simply encourage them to  
continue to learn about the issue from all directions.


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 2,2010 at 05:01 AM
Subject: Fixed seats in shul

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 59#11):

> David Ziants (MJ 59#10) and others discuss the payment structure in 
> their shuls.

> Having corresponded with David off-list, it seems there are two key 
> differences between things in his Israeli community and the U.S. 
> communities that I've lived in for the past many decades:
> ...
> (2) In David's shul he and his wife pay for year round seats. 
> Apparently, also, purchasing a year round seat may include adjacent 
> seats for one's children.

With permission of the moderator, I just need to set the record 
straight re Carl's assertion "In David's shul", which I am sure he put 
in by mistake. Is anyone from my neighbourhood or city following this 

If you read carefully my previous posting, I was saying the shul which I 
am a yearly member of, does not have all year round fixed seats.  Other 
shuls (one of which I have "weekday" membership) do have.



From: Carl Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 1,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Freeloaders

Martin Stern (MJ 59#12) continues on the theme of people who daven in shul
but do not contribute:

> This sort of thing is unfortunately all too common. One large shul near me
> has minyanim going on all day with up to 1000 men coming in all every day.
> Unfortunately the majority are not paid-up members, even though they use
> the facilities on a regular basis, and the shul suffers financially because
> of this.

With the exception of those who are destitute (and this can be handled
privately with the shul Rabbi or President) there is no excuse for "freeloaders"
-- yes, an unpleasant, harsh label. If one hasn't the funds, one might consider
staying after davening for an extra 5 minutes to help put siddurim away, etc.

A large shul here in Passaic, also a "minyan factory" with several minyanim,
put up flyers and then went around demanding $100 from regular attendees who
were not members. 

It was a bit of a strong arm tactic, but I believe it reflected the desperation
of those paying the shul's bills. The shul may be a not for profit, but the
utility company is not and the shul must pay to keep the lights on.


From: Michael Frankel <michaeljfrankel@...>
Date: Wed, Sep 1,2010 at 06:01 PM
Subject: Minhag Frankfurt

I've lost the bubble on citation but there have been a few en passant references
recently in this forum apparently conflating minhag Frankfurt with R. Shimshon
Refael Hirsch and Breuer's.  This is an error.  RSRH was something of an
innovator and (small-r) reformer (what - you thought choirs were an old
Frankfurter minhog?) and was specifically criticized by the old timers even
within his own q'hiloh for his lack of respect/deference for established minhag
Frankfurt.  Ironically enough, more of minhag Frankfurt was preserved in the
orthodox synagogues run under the auspices of the Grossgemeinde that RSRH so
zealously battled (again - much to the consternation and opposition of his very
own "separatist" q'hiloh.  Of course the great majority of his own congregants
opposed him and didn't "separate").

Mechy Frankel                                                                  



From: Jeanette  Friedman <FriedmanJ@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 2,2010 at 04:01 AM
Subject: Welcoming visitors

Sammy Finkleman wrote (MJ 59#13): 

> But these were funerals, weren't they, where they expected maybe many
> strangers to come? 

Actually I asked people about it, and they said that it happens at every 
service, people get assignments -- choir, announcements, ushers, and a whole 
bunch of titles I won't pretend to remember with responsibilities. I have 
also seen this happen on TV when people broadcast services ... not the 
welcoming, which is always done (ever see the black ladies dressed in white
going to church? they are ushers.)
As far as my  not going to shul, think about it. Baruch Lanner as shliach 
tzibur? As a pulpit  rabbi? Gays shouldn't get kibbudim, but guys who cheat 
on their wives or hit on their students retain their pulpits. Those "open"  
secrets .... how can these  "straight" rabbis go before the Aron Kodesh and give
a Yom Kippur  sermon? I can be my own shliach, I think.

Jeanette  Friedman 


From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 2,2010 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Women saying Kaddish

I came across this Zelda Schneersohn Mishkovsky (June 20, 1914 - April 30, 1984
the daughter of Sholom Shlomo and Rachel Schneersohn. Her father was the 
great-great grandson of the third Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel
Schneersohn, also known as the Tzemach Tzedek Her mother, Rachel Hen, was a
descendant of the Sephardic dynasty of Hen-Gracian The hebrew version says that
as an only daughter she said Kaddish after her father for a year. BTW, she was a
cousin of the late Rebbe, and like him, died childless. She was the daughter in
law of the Rosh Yeshiva, R. Mishkovsky


From: Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...>
Date: Thu, Sep 2,2010 at 02:01 PM
Subject: Women's places

In MJ 59#11 J. Kaplan wrote:

> Menashe Elyashiv <Menashe.Elyashiv@...> wrote (MJ 59#10):

>> BTW, last year, we were not able to open the womens section because we
>> received our new building on Erev Rosh Hashana afternoon. On Yom Kippur
>> towards Ne'ela, some non religious soldiers came with their female 
>> officer. I went outside to explain to her that even though no women came
>> this year,..."

> I found this BTW story interesting and am curious about a few things:

> 1. What was the community using for a shul before the new building? Did
> it have a place for women to daven?  If it did, could it not have been
> used for the Yomim Nora'im so women could daven with the community on
> those days as well?

> 2. What did the women of the community think about not being able to
> daven with the community on the Yomim Nora'im?

We were in a temporary building that had a women section. We had to remove 
it in order to build, because the area is small. So we relocated for a few 
months in the next door "shtiebel". Even thougth shtiebels do not have 
women sections, we did have a curtain that we could pull down for women 
that came before the shtiebel's usual late hours. My youngest son had his 
Bar Misvah there, but we start very early on Shabbat (it was in the 
summer, Shaharit started at 5:45). 

Because of our erev Rosh Hashana moving, it was impossible to have a women 
section. The women section was missing windows, steps, doors etc. So we 
had no choice. However, in our place, women rarely come to pray. For my son's
Shabbat Hatan the only lady that came was - his wife! We (myself & wife) are
older than most of the families. Most are young couples or slightly older with 
large families, so the women don't have a chance to get to prayers. My 
wife did not even think of going to pray with little children. Now she 
can, but our married daughter (3 kids , oldest is 3) said that she knows 
that for the next 15 years she will stay home. 

BTW, how many women asked me for a seat for Rosh Hashana this year? Up to 
today - 5. Of course, if a soldier, man or woman , comes, I will find them 
a place to sit


End of Volume 59 Issue 14