Volume 6 Number 48

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

         [Avi Feldblum]
Brachot when visiting Israel
         [Nicolas Rebibo]
         [Joe Abeles]
Feld Update
         [Avi Feldblum]
Priestly blessing
         [Josh Klein]
         [Robert Gordon]


From: mljewish (Avi Feldblum)
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1993 00:05:23 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Administrivia

A few administrative notes:

First, I would like to thank all those who sent in contributions. Thanks
also to many of you for your notes of incouragement.

The Purim issues should be coming out soon, so if you have material,
please send it in. Make it easier on everyone and avoid last minute

There is an upgraded version of the listserv software now running on
nysernet. I don't know all of what this version does, but there are a
few things that will be of interest. The first is for those who may go
on vacation for a while, or will be away for some period of time and do
not want email accumulating in your mbox. You can send a message to the
listserv saying:

set mail-jewish mail postpone

When you get back, restart getting mail-jewish by sending the message:

set mail-jewish mail noack

A second new feature is the implementation of the conceal function. The
default for this list (and until this upgrade, the only thing available)
was an public list, with everyones name available to a review request.
If you wish to keep your subscription not visible to people doing a
review, you may send the following message to the listserv:

set mail-jewish conceal yes.

The last feature I want to mention is the alias ability. This is mainly
of importance to people for whom the address that is generated from the
headers of their email message do not correspond to the address to which
their mail is being sent. I can now set up an alias line for you so that
you can send messages to the listserv from that  that address, although
all mail to you will go via the address in the .subscribers file for
you. If this describes you, let me know and we can try this feature out.

As I learn more about what the upgrade is and how it affects you, I will
keep you informed.

Avi Feldblum
mail.jewish Moderator


From: rebibo%<cesar@...> (Nicolas Rebibo)
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 93 14:19:15 GMT
Subject: Brachot when visiting Israel

In v6n46 Ben Pashkoff wrote:
> (:-)) Personally I think that the best way is to make Aliya (bench
> gomeyl once for the plane trip), make a shechianu [] on being in Eretz
> Israel, have another child here, and make a gomeyl on this kid. (:-))

Are there any brachot or minhagim related to the arrival or departure
from Israel ? 

I once heard that some people were doing the "Bessamin" bracha on
leaving Israel because they were loosing their additional soul (?).

Nicolas Rebibo
Oce Graphics France
Internet: <rebibo@...>


From: <joe_abeles@...> (Joe Abeles)
Date: 23 Feb 1993 10:19:15 U
Subject: Converts

Questions for a friend:

Directed both to knowledgable people both originally Jewish and those
who may be converted persons:

The following questions have arisen regarding converts ("gairim") to
Judaism.  In this particular case I am discussing people neither of
whose parents are Jewish and were never adopted by Jewish parents.

(1) Part of the conversion process itself: What is the level of tsnius
(modesty) which can be observed during the process of immersion in the
mikvah, particularly in the case of a mature female convert?  Is one
witness required to look?  Are all required to look?  Must the observer
see both the initiation of the immersion (complete covering by the
water) as well as emergence from the water of a naked or near-naked

(2) How can one interact with a converted person (assuming one is
aware)?  Does halacha prevent one from even discussing the fact that an
individual is a convert either behind the person's back or in
discussions with the person.  Or, for the case of face-to-face
communication, is it like visiting a mourner with whom one is not
supposed to raise the issue (actually in that case it's not a great
analogy since no issue is supposed to be raised with a mourner) of the
person being a convert, but once the person raises the issue themself it
can be pursued?  Does the halacha based upon remembering that we were
"strangers in the land of Egypt, etc." require us to be absolutely deaf,
dumb, and blind to the fact that a person is a convert or can we
colloquially talk about it.  Or is that lashon hara?

(3) Is the converted person a Ba'al T'shuvah, or to what extent is the
halacha for Ba'alei Tshuva identical to or founded on similar principles
as that for a converted person? Does the converted person receive the
same (hypothetical) honor accorded to a Ba'al T'shuvah to the effect
that others "cannot stand in the place" occupied by a Ba'al Tshuvah?  Is
the converted person more in need of doing T'shuvah than others of
similar level of observance, etc., less, or same?

(4) What is the halacha regarding the relationship of converted persons
as such towards other Jews, specifically, e.g., is it permissible for a
converted person to conceal the fact that he/she is converted in
response to a direct question?  How about in response to a question
like, "where are your parents from?"

(5) What is the relationship, halachically, between a converted person
and his or her family?  Technically, are the parents still considered
parents?  This both for the purpose of, e.g., kibud av v'aim (honoring
father and mother -- responsibility for their upkeep and making sure
their needs are satisfied), and in colloquial usage are they permitted
to refer to their parents as such?

(6) What is the halachic responsibility of frum Jews towards converted
persons.  Are frum Jews allowed to consider the non-Jewish background of
a converted person under any circumstances at all?  Is a frum-from-birth
Jewish person permitted to consider that a converted person isn't
appropriate for them as a friend? or as a potential shidduch?

(7) What experiences have converted persons had such that they are
unhappy with their reception within the frum community or surprised that
things were not as they had anticipated?

(8) If a converted person decides after an Orthodox conversion to not be
shomer mitzvos, although having gone through the original process of
conversion apparently legitimately, is there any question regarding that
person's authenticity as a Jewish person, or that of their children?

(9) Is there any reason to think that one bais din might have better
success making kosher conversions than others because of the level of
piousness or learning or righteousness of it's rabbis?  Is there any
anecdotal evidence for this?  Alternatively, is there any precedent (or
justification) for a convert to be accorded greater acceptance or
respect based on which bais din did the conversion (assuming all are
recognized as Orthodox)?

(10) Is there a greater number of men or of women among converts to

(11) What are the factors which typically lead to converted persons
choosing Judaism, specifically Orthodoxy?

Please include specific references and bibliographies, if available.

Joe Abeles


From: mljewish (Avi Feldblum)
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1993 23:46:56 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Feld Update

Hello all,

I just spent an hour visiting with Avram Feld, who is spending the night
with his brother in law in Highland Park. Avram looks well, and sends
his warmest regards to all those on the list. He asks me to express to
you his thanks for your support of him and his brother over the last
several weeks. Here are where things stand currently. The main charge of
conspiracy to murder has been dropped. The bail has been reduced from
$500,000 each to $100,000 each. They think think the remaining charges
will be dropped within the month. Their passports were returned to them,
and they are permitted to return to Israel. Avram says he is looking
forward to getting back home to his wife and kids. Now that the Judge
has ordered the bail reduced, the next step is for the state to transfer
funds back to the lawyer. Once that occurs, hopefully next week, the
lawyer will begin paying back $800,000 of the loans that put up the bail
money. The remaining $200,000 will be returned, hopefully next month if
the remaining charges are dropped.

There are always interesting side stories that occur, and Avram told me
one. In one shul that raised some money, the gabbai sent a message from
his (the gabbai's) father that in his (the fathers) community, they had
prayed for the brothers and that they would be released just before Rosh
Chodesh Adar. This occurred one month prior to the beginning of Adar.
Where did this father live? In Iraq, in Shushan! And the Felds were
released on Friday immediatly before Rosh Chodesh Adar. 

As I mentioned in an earlier note there are a few loans which they do
nat have the needed information to return the loan. If anyone wired
money from AT&T FCU, please contact Ken at 908-572-3502. In addition, if
Jerry and Esther Friedman read this note, please call Ken.

Avi Feldblum
mail.jewish Moderator


From: Josh Klein <VTFRST@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 93 08:16 N
Subject: Priestly blessing

In the shul I grew up in near Boston, we duchened (kohanim blessed the
rest of the congregation) on yom tovim, except when they fell on
shabbat. I later heard that in some shuls (including, I think, one in
Teaneck), they duchen every shabbat, but only at musaf. In Bangkok,
believe it or not, they duchen every shabbat at shacharit and musaf. In
Israel, I've seen places where duchenen

is only done on shabbat and yom tov (musaf only), only on shabbat and yom tov
(shacharit and musaf), and every day (Rehovot, for example).
Does anyone know of a source or a coherent reason for these divergent customs?
Josh Klein VTFRST@Volcani


From: <U08383@...> (Robert Gordon)
Date: Mon, 22 Feb 1993 17:59:31 CST
Subject: Tefillin

Can anyone advise me as to the importance of having tefillin made from
behemot gassot (heavy animal such as a cow) as opposed to behemot dakot
(lighter animals)?  I am about to buy my son tefillin for his bar
mitzvah, and it is unclear to me just how important this hiddur mitzvah
(beautificaton of the mitzvah) is.

Robert Gordon


End of Volume 6 Issue 48