Volume 6 Number 42

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Hamentashen vs. Latkes was Re: purim appeal
         [Yossie Rubin]
Reviews of - Notes from a Sealed Room - by Robert Werman
         [Rob Slater]
Seoul and Honolulu
         [David Makowsky]
Strange Jewish Places
         [Tsiel Ohayon]


From: <jyr@...> (Yossie Rubin)
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 93 16:06 EST
Subject: Hamentashen vs. Latkes was Re: purim appeal

Henry Abramson (<abramson@...>) requests sources to
conclusively prove that Hamentashen are "more perfect" than Latkes.
While he may have been discussing the gastronomic benefits of the 2, I'm
going to concentrate on why Hamentashen have more value FROM A HALACHIK
point (i.e. "more kosher") than the Latke.

Though I would think this to be obvious to most people, I never-the-less
will provide the sources in the manner of Lo-zu-Af-zu [A line of
argument that builds up the arguments up to a final unstoppable
argument, Lit. "not only this - but even this"] as an exercise for
myself.  The reasoning behind my conclusions is left as an exercise for
the student.

	1.  You can only make 1 bracha on a Latke; while if you eat the
dough and filling separately, you can make 2 brachas [M'zonos and
Ha'etz].  We all know that 2 bracha's are better than 1.

	2.  The whole m'hus [essence] of the mitzvah of latkes is
something secondary to the actual latke - namely the oil.  Hamentashen
on the other hand has its m'hus tied into the actual hamentash - not
what it's cooked in!  Also, by baking the hamentash with a little oil
sprayed on the cookie sheet, you can even be m'kayim the mitzvah of
Chanukah on Purim!

	3.  You can make a m'zuman [quorum?] on the basis of a single
person eating hamentashen (it has to be of sufficient quantity that you
would wash and bentch on).  How is this?  (It surprised me too until I
figured out the answer).  The hamentash has 3 corners- which obviously
is in rememberance of the 3 Avos (Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov).  Now
if you're eating something in honor of them, don't you think that at
least 2 of them would answer when you bentshed?

And finally,
	4.  Even if you forget to say Al-Hamichya or Birchat Hamozon
[prayers to be said after eating] on a hamentash, you're absolved of any
wrongdoing.  The reason is straightforward (and follows the reasoning
stated before).  If you're eating something in honor of the 3 Avos, and
they're going to answer to your bentshing, don't you think that one of
them would make the Bracha for you if you forgot?  TRY AND DO THIS WITH

	This last heter came in handy last year when I was about to bite
into a hamentash and was perplexed of which corner to bite off first
(for those of you that remember, this has to do with the great "Do
hamentashen require tzitiz" debate [NOTE: The text of this debate is
available in postscript form on our archive server. Send the command :
get mail-jewish purim.ps to <listserv@...> to get it. Mod.]).
The obvious answer is that the corner corresponding to Avraham Avinu has
to be eaten by Shacharit, the corner corresponding to Yitzchak by
Minchah, etc.  Since I was waiting more than 72 minutes between bites, I
couldn't betsch.  Then I realized that each of the Avos must've said Al
Hamichyah for me.  So I just said Amen and continued drinking!

	On all the above, make sure NOT to contact your LOR to verify
the veracity of my statements.  Your mileage
may vary. :-)

	Chag Purim Sameyach,
		-Yossie (aka Joe) Rubin


From: <slater@...> (Rob Slater)
Date: Sun, 14 Feb 93 07:05:06 IST
Subject: Reviews of - Notes from a Sealed Room - by Robert Werman

[The following review came over the JEWSHNT mailing list. As both the
reviewer (Rob) and the Reviewee (Bob) are members of the this mailing
list, and as I was another of Bob's reciepients of his email messages
during the war, and as mentioned below, read them the first thing each
morning as I came in, I've taken the liberty to repost the message here.

        In case you missed it, last week's (Feb 5 1993) _Forward_ wrote
up a review of Bob Werman's book "Notes from a Sealed Room".  The review,
entitled "Memoirs of Life Behind a Gas Mask", was written by David Rodman
and appeared on page 11.

        Rodman reviewed the book quite favorably.  In the review he stated
that the most amazing thing about the diary entries was the matter-of-fact
tone.  Rodman further comments that Werman's book fills a gap between
impersonal, dry history text and the thoughts and feelings of those who
found themselves in the middle of the Gulf War.

        Rodman concludes, "Written on the spur of the moment, it contains
genuine insight into the mind set of ordinary Israelis suddenly forced to
come to grips with the fact that they were passive participants, and
potential victims, in a war in which their country was a peripheral

        Rodman's review is a bit to long for my "hunt and peck" fingers
to type in, but if there is interest and someone volunteers, I will fax or
mail the article to someone to type in.

        To Rodman's glowing review of Werman's book I wish to add my own.
I vividly remember sitting in my lab, CNN tuned in on the little TV we had,
reading Werman's entries.  They really added a personal dimension to
the "Made for TV" Gulf War.

        When I got my copy of the book, I quickly glanced through the
entries I had read when Werman posted them.  Then I moved on to the ones
that I missed and the ones Werman added for the book.  Finally, I went back
and read the ones I had once read late night on the third floor of the
University of Illinois' Digital Computer Lab.

        The scary thing was that as I reread the entries, I felt the same
fear and concern that I did when I first read them.  I kept hoping that the
air raid warnings that center around Werman's entries turn out to be false
alarms, even though I knew what the outcome would be.  The writing is just
that compelling.

        I recalled the privilege I felt by being one of the select few who
were able to probe an Israeli's mind while this terror was going on.  I
remember the fear I felt when the few times there were no entries.  And I
remember the emptiness I felt because I was not there to experience it

        Perhaps Werman's diary was my crutch.  I did not need to be in
Israel because Werman was concerned for me.  All I needed to do was to
tap into his mind in near real time on a nightly basis, and the next day I
could explain what it was probably like being in Israel.

        But this book serves more than just a nostalgia trip for those of
us lucky enough to have read Werman's entries as he wrote them.  They also
give us a different, personal, Jewish, and Israeli view to a war that was
fought far away from here.  It is one thing to study maps, memorize dates,
and learn names, it is quite another thing to "feel" history.

        Perhaps because Werman's book touches a nerve (no pun intended,
Werman is a neurologist) because it is a narrative history.  And while
narrative histories tend to be light on actual facts and figures, they tend
to make history more human.

        Werman's book will serve as an important reminder of what the war
was like for Israelis.  After all the facts are memorized and the dates
secured, his entries will serve to remind us of the human element of the
Scud attacks.  The only thing the book is missing is his autograph,
something I hope to collect on my next trip to Israel.

        When our children and their peers study the Gulf War, they will
hopefully want to know what it was like being in the middle of it all.
Werman's diary, hopefully, will be a source for their answers.

        "Notes from a Sealed Room: An Israeli View of the Gulf War" by
Robert Werman is published by the Southern Illinois University Press.  It
is listed in "Books in Print", so your local bookseller ought to be able to
order it for you if he does not have it in stock.

Kol tuv,

Rob Slater


From: David Makowsky <makowsky@...>
Date: Mon, 15 Feb 93 10:36:56 -0500
Subject: Seoul and Honolulu

Tsiel Ohayon wrote:

# There is a synagogue in Seoul. The problem is that it is located on the
# US army base in Itaewon (central Seoul). You need to show an id card to get
# in. If your father is there for shabbat and does carry because there is no
# eruv he will not be allowed in. I will try to get the Rabbi's phone number.

	When I was there on business a couple of years ago, I called ahead
and the Rabbi's wife met me at the gate and escorted me in.  I did
not have an id card.

	I also did not have the Rabbi's phone number.  I got it by first
calling the main base information number, than asked to be connected
to the chaplain's office.  They gave me the phone number.

	I noticed a couple of interesting things when I was there.  First,
many of the people at the synagogue were members of the French
diplomatic coprs.  It seemed as if the entire French embassy there was
Jewish.  Secondly, despite the fact that South Korea pays lip service
to the Arab boycott of Israel, Seoul is full of Israelis.

	One warning however.  Keeping kosher is a real pain.  However, the
rabbi is (or at least in 1990 was) able to get the military commisary
to stock kosher meet.  If you as politely, and make a nice donation,
you may be able to have the Rabbi get you some.



From: <ohayon@...> (Tsiel Ohayon)
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 93 15:37:55 -0500
Subject: Strange Jewish Places

> 1) the Corpus christi synagogue in Texas.
> 2) the Christ Church synagogue in New Zealand.

How about,

1) St Regis synagogue in Rochester N.Y.
[This is not the "real" name of the shul, which is Beth Hakaneset
Hachadash, I think. So it will not be on any mail from the shul etc.
However, it was located on St. Regis Drive, and everyone called it St
Regis. Mod.]

2) Notre Dame de Nazareth in Paris France.

Also I think that your 2nd location is Christchurch synagogue in New
Zealand, (not Christ Church) since Christchurch is the 3rd largest city
in New Zealand.


Tsiel:<ohayon@...>	   | If you do not receive this E-mail, please let me


End of Volume 6 Issue 42