Volume 6 Number 96

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Learning in Hebrew (2)
         [Warren Burstein, lhsux)]
Orthodox communities - St. Louis
         [Ronald Greenberg]
Steinsaltz English translation (2)
         [Aaron Seidman, Michael Allen]
Yiddishkeit in Washington Heights
         [Bob Kosovsky]


From: <warren@...> (Warren Burstein)
Date: Sun, 18 Apr 93 04:50:48 -0400
Subject: Re: Learning in Hebrew

Yaakov Kayman (<yzkcu@...>) writes

>but the fact is that their opposition to secularist Zionists has, in
>many case, led to their throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Reminds me of the Purim poster in Israel one year saying that because
it's full of Zionism, one may not read Nach.

 |warren@      But the farmer
/ nysernet.org is hungry.

From: <lhsux@...> (lhsux))
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 93 08:56:40 -0400
Subject: Learning in Hebrew

I would just like to add another take on this issue.  We are, B"H, in
the process of forming a new Yeshive K'tana in the Highland Park-Edison
area and, of course, the question came up about the teaching of Ivrit,
both for the boys and the girls.  Should it be Ivrit b'Ivrit or Ivrit

A meeting was held with a godol from New York to discuss the issues
involved and to get a p'sak from him on what we should do, based on the
needs of our community (which would not necessarily be the same solution
as a cheder in, say Monsey, might receive).

His answer was that the girls should certainly learn Ivrit b'Ivrit.  As
for the boys, he felt that they should learn Ivrit b'Anglit because they
had too much else to learn to do the Ivrit b'Ivrit, so this is how the
school will be run, i.e., they will be struggling with Gemorah and that
will take up more time.

My problem with this is based on discussions I've had with other Rabbeim
who have said that the better the language is known, the easier the
Gemorrah is.  My previous rabbi spent a sabbatical in Israel when his
children were young.  They had to go to an Ulpan before they could go
into the regular yeshiva, but the experience they got with Hebrew made
the learning go much faster.  He said that in Israel, the yeshivas cover
ten times as many pages of Gemorrah in a year as do comparable yeshivas
in the US because the boys do not have to spend their time cracking
their heads over the language.  Once they learn to think in Ivrit, there
is much more a reading aspect to learning Gemorrah than a translating

On another topic, another question that was asked was about school on
Sunday.  He said certainly the boys had to go on Sunday to learn the
difference between Sunday and the rest of the week.  Then, he also added
that there was no reason why the girls shouldn't go on Sunday also!!!!


From: Ronald Greenberg <rig@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Apr 1993 17:24:00 -0400
Subject: Orthodox communities - St. Louis

  >better word for reasonably dati people. So can anyone give me info. on
  >the orthodox communities in
  >5. St. Louis (Washington University)

Well, it's been ten years since I got out of Washington University, but
I can tell you that it had some positive aspects.  The Hillel there is
very well endowed and we had two full-time Rabbis, a full-time
activities director, and two full-time secretaries along with librarian
and janitorial help.  The building is also excellent, including a
substantial auditorium and separate meat and milk kitchens.  There were
quite a number of people who participated in activities; generally the
peak was shabbos dinners at around 100 people.  There was a kosher meal
plan with meals prepared at Hillel and then served at the main
cafeteria, where they could be microwaved in their styrofoam boxes.

As far as Orthodox community, the situation was variable, and you really
must check on current information for this.  When I left the university,
the Orthodox group was somewhat weaker than when I got there.
Originally, there was an Orthodox minyan on shabbos morning every week;
when I left it was every other week.  But I think there are cycles all
the time, and it could be either much stronger or much weaker now.  (I
myself alternated between the Egalitarian and Orthodox minyanim at that
period of my life.)  The director is a Conservative Rabbi, James
Diamond; I think the Orthodox students were generally happy enough with
him as Hillel director.  The second Rabbi was a female Reform Rabbi
during and just after my time at WU.  (The one there when I arrived at
WU would surely have been a Conservative Rabbi if JTS was allowing it at
the time.)

There is a small Orthodox synagogue, Bais Abraham, very close to the
university; it was mostly geriatric.  If you're willing to walk 45
minutes or an hour from the university, you can get to the Young Israel
in University City.  My friends from WU, Jerry and Marcia Esrig are
members there.

You might try getting more information from Rabbi Diamond's son, Etan,
who does not seem to be a mail.jewish recipient.  His address is

Good luck.



From: Aaron Seidman <seidman@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 93 10:32:51 -0400
Subject: Steinsaltz English translation

  >does anybody actually learn from the English Steinsaltz?

Yes.  I have found it very helpful.  For those of us who did not have
the opportunity to learn Aramaic at a young age, it really helps to have
a translation as well as a pointed text.  (Vocabulary is not too
difficult, but the ability to acquire grammar declines markedly after
adolescence.)  I've attempted to use the Hebrew Steinsaltz as well, but,
frankly, I can follow the English commentary much more easily.

I used it initially in conjunction with a class, but I've since used
additional volumes on my own.

Aaron Seidman

From: <allen@...> (Michael Allen)
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 93 10:36:10 -0400
Subject: Steinsaltz English translation

Ben Svetitsky (<fnbenj@...>) asks:
      So, does anybody actually learn from the English Steinsaltz?
      (Disclaimer:  I am fond of the Hebrew Steinsaltz, I have even used it.)

      I also know that the Artscroll English translation is quite popular.
      Does it really help you get through a sugya?

I have not found the English Steinsaltz to be helpful as a primary
text.  I use his reference guide *all* the time.  Mostly I use:
1) short list of Aramaic words
2) a long section that explains many idioms (such as "hava amina")
3) about 3 or 4 pages of Roshei Tevot (invaluable)

I have found the ArtScroll to be extremely helpful in learning and
learning how to learn Talmud.  I have merited two siyumim, one on
Masechta Makkot, one on Masechta Megillah; which I did with the help
of cassette tapes (one per daf [folio]) from Torah Tapes.  I am now
working through Kiddushin on my own.  I am now getting to the point of
being able to struggle through much of the Aramaic before checking my
pronounciation and translation on the facing page.  I do all the
Rashi's (which are left untranslated, but are often refered to both
explicitly and implicitly).  Finally, I try to meet with a Rabbi at
least once a week to work on Tosefot.  I hope to be able to start on a
"regular" Shas after working through Kiddushin, as the ArtScroll does
not have the standard commentaries at the back.  My point is that
ArtScroll has been a tremendous help in getting up to the level of
even being able to approach the standard texts, and I am very grateful.


From: Bob Kosovsky <kos@...>
Date: Fri, 16 Apr 93 00:26:34 -0400
Subject: RE:  Yiddishkeit in Washington Heights

You ask for so many points, Henry, that I can only touch upon a few
concerning life in Washington Heights.

First of all, you call it "this dangerous area."  There is a high amount
of drug trafficking in the police area of Washington Heights, but most
of that is not located too close to Yeshiva University or in the
Yekkies' area (roughly 177--190 streets, between Broadway and Ft.
Washington Avenues).  But this is New York: ANYWHERE you go, you should
always know who or what is standing within a radius of 6-8 feet around
you (in addition to Hashem, of course).

During the summer months Yeshiva University (YU) clears out, and most of
the families on the other part of town go away for the summer.  So you
won't get a true sense of the community and some of the restaurants
might have curtailed hours.

RESTAURANTS: There are two across the street from YU between 186-187
Sts.  on Amsterdam Avenue - TIME OUT (Dairy - Pizza, etc.) and DELI
KASBAH - a student version of the restaurant located on the Upper West
Side (85th and Broadway).  They are serviceable.  But I would depend on
your own cooking.

FOOD STORES: BENNETT GROCERY (known affectionately as MONOKER'S after
the owner, Mel Monoker) has a very good selection of kosher items.  They
even have a stock of Gruenkern -- a German Jew's version of chulent ---
imported from Germany for those who can't forget the Heimatland.  Their
hours tend to be restrictive (rarely open after 6 on weekdays, never
after 12:30 on Sundays), and they usually go on vacation for at least a
week near Tishe B'Av.  Fortunately, some of the big stores carry quite a
lot of kosher food.  KEY FOOD on 187th and Broadway has a nice
selection, despite the Jewish Week's rating them one of the highest
priced stores for kosher food (not really).  Their hours are very good:
8 AM - 10 PM on weekdays.  When I first moved to the heights (9 years
ago) I was crushed to see that most stores closed at 6 PM.  Then -
Baruch Hashem - the Koreans moved in!  Now along 181 St and Ft.
Washington Avenue there are at least 3 of these grocery stores that are
open 24 hours every day of the week.  The one that stocks the most
kosher food is JIN'S at Ft. Washington at 181st -- they have a local
consultant from the neighborhood -- great for those late Melave Malkahs
(the newsstand next door gets the Sunday NY Times by about 9:30 Motzoai
Shabbos night).

BUTCHER: Long Island Glatt (what is he doing in Washington Heights?
He's a branch of the one on Long Island) - located near Cabrini and
181st is the single butcher.  Of course if you survive on Empire
chickens you won't need him.  But what he does have are those
Aufschnitzen -- custom made German-style cold cuts, again made to
satisfy those with an appetite inherited from Frankfurt-am-Main.  They
cost more than the usual but they really are a treat.  I won't even try
to transcribe the names they have for each one.

SHULS: I suppose whatever YU minyan there is left will suffice during
the week.  For Shabbos, the two main shuls are on the other side of
town: Breuer's -- the epitomy of German Jewry, and Mt. Sinai, whose
davening the members of Breuer's describe as "American."  YU people are
usually more comfortable at Mt. Sinai, but the more dictatorial elements
of Breuer's will be gone for the summer (alas, the choir will be gone
for the summer, too).  There are a good many stiebelach, but I'll leave
that for you to discover.

MIKVEH: Breuer's has a mikveh for women, the Dumbrover stiebel (187th
and Bennett) has one for men.

BEIS MEDRASH: If you're going to be staying near YU, the Riets beis
medrash is always open.  Breuer's has their own (190th and Bennett) but
most people leave by 10:30 PM).

Hope this gives you an introduction.  If you need more info, phone
numbers and such, don't hesitate to send a message.

Bob Kosovsky
Graduate Center -- Ph.D. Program in Music(student)/ City University of New York
New York Public Library -- Music Division
bitnet:   <kos@...>        internet: kos@cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu


End of Volume 6 Issue 96