Volume 62 Number 60 
      Produced: Thu, 07 Jan 16 22:09:52 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

After Action Reviews 
    [Carl A. Singer]
Anti-feminist Liturgy 
    [Dr Russell Jay Hendel]
Calling up for Aliyah or Hagba'ah 
    [Joel Rich]
Chazarat hashatz 
    [Martin Stern]
Duchening (blessing from cohanim) in Israel 
    [David Olivestone]
Professional cantors 
    [David Tzohar]
Selichot of Assarah beTevet (3)
    [Orrin Tilevitz  Martin Stern  David Ansbacher]
Shul etiquette 
    [Martin Stern]
Takanot Chazal 
    [Joel Rich]
There are times when it is difficult to be a Jew 
    [Chaim Casper]


From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Jan 1,2016 at 10:01 AM
Subject: After Action Reviews

After Action reviews are structured meetings attended by the principals involved
to discuss what went right, what went wrong and what needs improvement. They
identify areas where training / retraining is required and areas where so-called
SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) need to be revisited.

If you do a search on "Army After Action Reviews", you will be led to several
worthwhile resources, including tutorials, templates, etc.

Here's a link to a 35-slide PowerPoint overview of an AAR -- although geared
toward the military -- which you can adapt to your needs:


I wish to emphasize that surveys and questionnaires are NOT After Action Reviews
(AARs) -- they are simply a means of soliciting feedback. As noted, they can,
indeed, lead to loshen Horah - which I understand is NOT a dance.

*Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.Colonel, U.S. Army Retired
70 Howard Avenue
Passaic, NJ  07055-532


From: Dr Russell Jay Hendel <rashiyomi@...>
Date: Fri, Jan 1,2016 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Anti-feminist Liturgy

First: Hello to everyone! I did not realize that Mail-Jewish revived. The
notification came to an email account that I rarely monitor. My thanks to
Michael Poppers for letting me know about the revival.

I would like to address Martin Stern's question (MJ 62#58) (and Irwin Weiss's
response (MJ 62#59)) about anti-feminist liturgy. My response would be that
Judaism's conception of female equality and America's conception of female
equality are different. It is unfair to judge Judaism by American standards. It
is equally unfair to judge Judaism without knowing exactly what its position is.

So the purpose of this posting is simply to present Judaism's position on female
equality. I actually wrote an article on this in 2011. The article, "A Guideline
Checklist to Avoid Writer Bias in Social Science Instruction," presented at the
9th international conference on Education and Information Systems, Technologies
and Applications (EISTA 2011), may be accessed online at 


The curious thing is that I learned a lot of laudable attributes of Judaism's
position on women from a strong feminist, Tikva Frymer-Kensky.

We can summarize Judaism's view with two simple bullets. However, they should be
elaborated with 4 supplemental bullets:

* Judaism holds women equal in all civil and personal matters, including property
rights, nearness to God, and responsibility (derived from a Binyan Av in Baba
Kama 15)

* Judaism holds women unequal in positions based on "hierarchy," such as judges,
kings/leaders, priests.

This can be supplemented with four very strong supportive comments:

* (Frymer-Kensky) Women in the Bible are seen as prophets, composers, possessors
of great wealth (social power) and even as generals [her point is that Judaism
does not see women lacking in skills].

* I can augment this list with further examples. When the Talmud in Berachot
wished to learn the laws of Prayer, it did not do so from King David (male
leader) but rather from Chana (Berachot 31).

* Several women surpassed men in prophecy, religiosity or social sense (Sarah
over Abraham, Tziporah over Moses, Esther over Mordechai). My favorite example
is from the sexual intelligence sphere: Both Samson and Esther used, what in
modern lingo is called, sexual intelligence methods, to save the Jewish people.
I think it clear that Esther did a better job (she didn't get killed in the 

* To support Irwin Weiss' contention (MJ 62#59) that women were heads of
households, Frymer-Kensky brings in the wealthy woman in Judges 17.

Returning to Yekum Purkan: When it says "They, their wives and their children,"
they are referring to the social sphere where, as I have shown above, women are
not equal.

Thus the solution to the problem is not to change the prayers but to emphasize
the good aspects of women and encourage them. I will close with one modern
example. It is well known that the male establishment was opposed initially to
the Beth Yakov movement, schools for Jewish girls. The movement was established
because of a famous meeting where Sarah Schenirer cited to a recognized Rav, "It
is time to do for God, they have annulled your Torah," referring to the fact that
even if it was technically correct that girls should not learn, they had to do
it to salvage the Jewish people.

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.D., A.S.A;


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 31,2015 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Calling up for Aliyah or Hagba'ah

In doing some research I found that there are variant practices as to using
actual names for calling up to the Torah and for hagba'ah/gelilah.  Does anyone
have any information on the sources of either using or not using specific
individuals' names? I'm asking since there seems to be a difference in the
allowability or the propriety of calling up family members in succession
according to some poskim.

Joel Rich


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 3,2016 at 07:01 AM
Subject: Chazarat hashatz

According to Shulchan Arukh (O.C. 124.1), the shatz has to wait for a minyan
(or at least rov minyan, i.e. 6, NOT the majority of those present as some
mistakenly translate the term, which would be rov TZIBBUR) before beginning
chazarat hashatz.

If there are not yet 9 others able to answer amen then there is a possibility
that he is making berachot levatalah and some suggest that he should have in
mind that his recital should then be considered a voluntary prayer rather than
the statutory one.

My question is whether other people who happen to enter the shul, such as
meshullachim [charity collectors], can be counted for this purpose.

Martin Stern


From: David Olivestone <david@...>
Date: Sun, Jan 3,2016 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Duchening (blessing from cohanim) in Israel

Joel Rich asks (MJ 62#59) about duchening in Israeli shuls when the chazan is davening 
from the amud at the front.

This issue was recently discussed in my shul ("Yael" in the Bak'a neighborhood of 
Jerusalem), and it was suggested that anyone who felt he was being excluded from the 
birkat cohanim by davening at the front could choose instead to lead the davening from 
the bimah in the middle. So far, no one has chosen this option.

David Olivestone


From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 29,2015 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Professional cantors

Hayim  Snyder wrote (MJ 62#59) that he feels that professional chazzanim are
unnecessary and even detrimental and that, if one wants to hear chazzanut, one
should go to a concert. 

I disagree. One of my most uplifting religious experiences was when I was lucky
enough to attend services in the Jerusalem Great Synagogue and hear Chaim Adler
with a professional choir. His soaring rendition of Hallel (on Rosh Chodesh) was
so beautiful that I actually had a kind of hallucination and saw angels dancing
in my head.

Chazzanut is an art and like many art forms there are people who are moved by it
and there are others who don't like it. While I agree that there is a part of
tefillah that has to do with hitboddedut and meditation, there is another part
where praising Hashem is best achieved by joyous and rapturous song.

Let us not forget that the Levites in the Temple (may it be rebuilt speedily and
in our time) were professional singers who accompanied the service of korbanot.

David Tzohar


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 28,2015 at 10:01 PM
Subject: Selichot of Assarah beTevet

Joel Rich wrote (MJ 62#59):

> Due to the relatively late time of hanetz et al., the first minyan at a local 
> shul said slichot before the regular davening.  I'm wondering if anyone else 
> did this and, if yes, did they just say what they would have said after
> shmoneh esrai or did they say say ashrei et al.

The mega-shtiebel near where I live (orientation: yeshivish) does just this, and
not just for assara betevet; I haven't gotten there early enough to know
whether they preface it with ashrei.

Orrin Tilevitz
Brooklyn, NY

From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Dec 29,2015 at 09:01 AM
Subject: Selichot of Assarah beTevet

In reply to Joel Rich (MJ 62#59):

I have just returned from Eretz Yisrael and had the same experience with the
Vatikin minyan at the shul at which I was davenning in Yerushalayim.
Unfortunately nobody told me that this would be happening so I only found
out when I came in as they were finishing selichot so I cannot say what they

Incidentally the original minhag among Ashkenazim was to insert the selichot
in chazarat hashatz during selach lanu. This was the practice in Germany and
England but was changed in Eastern Europe probably because people were
worried about making a hefsek [interruption] in shemoneh esrei. According to
this minhag, the long litanies Kel chanun Shemekha, Aneinu Hashem aneinu and
Mi she'anah were omitted.

Martin Stern

From: David Ansbacher <dansbacher@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 30,2015 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Selichot of Assarah beTevet

In reply to Joel Rich (MJ 62 #59):

Why do most Minyonim not follow true Nusach Ashkenas and include any Taanis
Selichos in the Brochoh of Slach Lonu after the word Phoshonu as indicated in
the Roedelheim Siddur? This would maybe alleviate the problem of HoNetz.

David Ansbacher.


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Jan 5,2016 at 02:01 AM
Subject: Shul etiquette

In many shuls, some people, especially on busy weekday mornings, get rather
impatient and try to 'hurry' the sheliach tzibbur to begin chazarat hashatz even
before he has finished his own quiet shemoneh esrei. This is, of course, 
entirely incorrect. 

On the other hand, someone who knows he davens VERY slowly compared to most of
the rest of the minyan should never accept the 'job', let alone insist on
getting it,  even if he has yahrzeit - one should not cause tirkha detzibbura by
imposing one's own piety on others.

Martin Stern


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Mon, Jan 4,2016 at 01:01 PM
Subject: Takanot Chazal

Does anyone have any sources on the establishment of takanot [ordinances] by
Chazal? I'm specifically looking at two questions:

1) How often does the specific application turn on an individual's specific
circumstances? (e.g. a wealthy person might be allowed to pay a ransom but not a

2) How often did measures turn on the individual in question as opposed to "the
average Yossi"? (e.g. how do we determine for an individual if he has eaten
k'dei sviah [enough to be full]).

Joel Rich


From: Chaim Casper <surfflorist@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 21,2015 at 11:01 PM
Subject: There are times when it is difficult to be a Jew

If you subscribe to Facebook, you might have seen the following post.  Its
source (at least on Facebook) is an organization called Unchain My Heart 
(https://www.facebook.com/Unchain-My-Heart-1407786212860241/timeline) that works
to help obtain gittin (Jewish divorces) for women whose husbands won't give
those writs of divorce, preventing these wives from remarrying.  I reproduce it
here, typos and all:

Thankfully there are loopholes available to solve pressing issues in halacha.
     Can't charge interest? Heter Iska.
     Can't work the land on Shmita? Heter Mechira.
     Can't carry on shabbos? Eiruv Chatzeiros.
     Can't walk far on Shabbat? Eruv Tchumin.
     Can't enforce a loan after Shmta? Pruzbol.
     Can't own chametz on pesach? Mechirat Chametz (with a bonus Bitul),
     Can't cook on Yom Tov for Shabbat? Eruv Tavshilin.
     Promised to do something? Hatarat Nedarim.
     First born that has to fast on eer pesach? Siyum.
     Want to eat meat during the 9 days? Siyum.
     A woman wont agree to divorce her husband? Heter Meya Rabonim.
     A man wont give his wife a get? Sorry, there's nothing we can do. Halacha
     is Halacha.

I, for one, sympathize and support their mission.  But I ask you: can you think
of any cases where a person cannot do what he/she wants and there is no heter 
(permissive ruling) to allow this ("this", of course, being within the Orthodox 
sphere of observance)?  I could only think of the following:

(a) A cohen cannot marry a divorce or a convert; and
(b) A cohen cannot attend the funeral of a friend or a cousin, uncle/aunt or 

It's cases like those I mention here and the case of an agunah (where the
husband won't give the wife a get) that the Rav, Rabbi Joseph Dov Halevi
Soloveitchik, zt"l, referred to when he said that there are times that Judaism
demands we surrender to the Almighty.  He also said there were times that his
grandfather, Reb Chaim of Brisk (who is personally responsible for the way most
of us learn gemara today), reached the limit of his ability to permit something
and so he had to throw up his hands and say he couldn't do anything.  Rabbi
Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, used to rail against anyone who would say the Yiddish
expression, "Shver zu tzein a Yid" (it is difficult to be a Jew).  He would say
it is very easy to be a Jew.  Unchain My Heart would say instead the deck is
stacked only against women.  But the two cases I brought show there are times
that men are caught in "can't do" situation.  True, the cohen can continue to
live his life the way he wants to while the agunah is stuck forever.  Are there
other times where we cannot permit difficult human situations? 

B'virkat Torah,
Chaim Casper
North Miami Beach, FL


End of Volume 62 Issue 60