Volume 63 Number 26 
      Produced: Thu, 06 Apr 17 01:05:48 -0400

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Pesach message 
    [The Moderation Team]
Airbrushing women out of news photographs 
    [Carl A. Singer]
Are we right to move to the right? 
    [Carl A. Singer]
Malbish Arumim other than birkat hashachar 
    [David Ziants]
No pictures of women 
    [Martin Stern]
Press bias (Was Airbrushing women out of news photographs) 
    [Martin Stern]
Sexism and consent 
    [Martin Stern]
Transgender individuals and gittin 
    [Martin Stern]
When a Sefer Torah Falls 
    [David Ziants]


From: The Moderation Team
Date: Wed, Apr 5,2017 at 02:01 AM
Subject:  Pesach message

As this is probably the last digest before Pesach, the Moderation Team would
like to wish all Mail Jewish members a chag samei'ach vekasher. We look forward
to your submissions in the coming weeks and hope to send out the next digest as
soon after Pesach as possible.


From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 31,2017 at 08:01 AM
Subject: Airbrushing women out of news photographs

Barak Greenfield wrote (MJ 63#25):

> Carl A. Singer wrote (MJ 63#24):
>> Many government photos, for example those from the White House, are
>> shared with the legal stipulation that they not be altered.
> Does Carl have a source for this? I was unable to find any such stipulation
> online, and, since the images are in the public domain, I don't see how there
> could be any limitation on their use. In fact, if they were sufficiently
> altered, one might even be able to copyright the altered version as a
> derivative work.

Yes, I do have sources:

(1) The article below cites one such incident


(2) On Veterans Day 2016 I was photographed standing next to President Obama. 
All of us at the White House breakfast had individual photographs taken.
Below is the email that accompanied the link (which I have altered)
I have highlighted the relevant restriction.

> Greetings,
> The White House Photo Office has posted photos from the Veterans Day
> Breakfast Photo Line on a private Flickr site that can be accessed by
> clicking on the link provided here: 

> https://www.flickr.com/gp/whitehousephoto/xxxx

> *This link and these photos are for personal use only.*  Please do not
> share it. If you know someone who might be interested in receiving it,
> simply have them contact the photo office by calling (202) 456-xxxx
> <%28202%29%20456-6709>.
> To download the high-resolution version, click on the arrow in the lower
> right corner of the image and select the "Original" size. Photos are
> provided for personal use only so please adhere to the usage language
> included below.
> These photographs are provided by THE WHITE HOUSE as a courtesy and may be
> printed by the subject(s) in the photograph for personal use only. *These
> photographs may not be manipulated in any way* and may not otherwise be
> reproduced, disseminated or broadcast, without the written permission of
> the White House Photo Office. These photographs may not be used in any
> commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products,
> promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the
> President, the First Family, or the White House.
> If you have any questions, please email the photo office at (202) 456-xxxx
> <%28202%29%20456-6709>.
> *Best Regards,*
> *The White House Photo Office*

I am not an attorney and I don't play one on television (or radio) but I took
a business law course in 1966 (I think it was that year). I'll let attorneys add
their expertise, but basically photographs are owned by the individuals or
organizations which took them. They can be distributed with a usage license
which may stipulate restrictions such as further distribution or altering.

Additionally, Barak states that the images are in the public domain -- that
is often not the case.

BTW -- when I replied to the White House Photo Office thanking them for the
picture, I noted that the last time I got a letter from the White House
beginning with "Greetings" it was a draft notice.

Carl A. Singer, Ph.D.Colonel, U.S. Army Retired


From: Carl A. Singer <carl.singer@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 31,2017 at 10:01 AM
Subject: Are we right to move to the right?

Many recent posts bring me to this point:

More appropriately (but less catchy) is it appropriate to gravitate toward more
restrictive behavior?*

* Note, I've specifically chosen the word behavior rather than halachic

I'll stay off of my soapbox -- BUT put forward a few observations:

(1) Torah observant Jewry is, within its set of boundaries, quite diverse

(2) We live in a complex, highly interconnected world

(3) Many of us have access to learning resources beyond the reach of previous

(4) There is a strong tendency for the current to look at the past with a
jaundiced eye overflowing with value judgements

Let me posit a simple question:

Which is better?   For Reb Moishe to sit next to his wife at a dinner, or for
Reb Plony to sit at an all men's table while his wife sits at an all women's table.

"Better" -- is the crucial word here.

Carl Singer


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Sun, Apr 2,2017 at 11:01 AM
Subject: Malbish Arumim other than birkat hashachar

When would one say the beracha "malbish arumim" other than birkat hashachar [=
the morning blessings]?

I know we have the beracha "shehechiyanu" for a new piece of clothing, so is
there an opinion that says it should be this instead. (I feel I might have
learned once something on this in mesechet brachot but did not think it was
halacha l'ma'aseh [laws that are accepted to be followed today] - if I am wrong,
please correct me.)

As I was dusting my shelves, I was glancing through an old siddur with English
language translation (bar mitzva present to my grandfather in 1920), and there
is the instruction "on cleading news south" for this b'racha in the b'rachot
section towards the back. Even google cannot find this cryptic phrase at time of
writing this posting. So what does it mean?

Chag kasher v'same'ach.
David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 31,2017 at 01:01 AM
Subject: No pictures of women

Carl A. Singer wrote (MJ 63#25):

> The argument that women may be inappropriately dressed is not always relevant.
> I just received an invitation to a yeshiva dinner. Honorees include Mr. & Mrs.
> A, Rabbi & Rebbetzin B,  etc. In all cases despite the dual caption, the
> picture is only of the male (wearing a black suit & black hat, of course).
> Certainly we'd imagine that Mrs. A and Rebbetzin B were not excluded because
> of the way they dress.

I entirely agree with Carl on this - the current trend seems to have gone
completely over the top. Often even women's personal names, let alone their
pictures, are suppressed.

There is a local weekly simchah sheet here in Manchester which only mentions
the kallah (in engagement and wedding announcements) as 'bat ploni [the
daughter of so-and-so]'. I suppose this is derived from the wedding
invitations sent out by Lavan who did not want to disclose which of his
daughters was to marry ya'kov Avinu!

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 31,2017 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Press bias (Was Airbrushing women out of news photographs)

Irwin Weiss wrote (MJ 63#25):

> ... I just read about some arrests in Israel in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh,
> Betar Illit and Bnei Brak of 22 Haredi men who are accused of committing
> various sex crimes against women and minors.  According to the article, the
> men were being hidden from the local civil police and justice system by the
> Haredi authorities  (I recognize that not everything that one reads in the
> press is true).  

I think this last point is particularly important. The Israeli press is
notoriously biased. The secular press always identifies people as chareidi
even where it is irrelevant to the story and the vast majority of chareidim
abhor what the subject is alleged to have done - the recent gruesome
beheading in Tiveria being a typical example.

Similarly chareidim who refuse to serve in the IDF are routinely described
as 'draft dodgers' while left wingers in similar circumstances rarely get
reported and then only as either 'conscientious objectors' or 'unfit to
serve'. Not that the chareidi press is much better.

> Why the Haredi authorities ignore the rule that dina dmalchuta dina
> (the law of the land is the law) is beyond me.

Whether the rule of dina dmalchuta dina only applies to a non-Jewish state
or also one set up by Jews but not run on halachic principles is a matter of
halachic dispute - I suppose some chareidim in Israel must hold that it does

Even if it does apply, its scope is somewhat limited to matters of taxation
and public safety (obviously sex crimes come under the latter). In any case
there is no such thing as a monolithic chareidi community and not all
self-described chareidim in Israel reject the principle.

Certainly, many chareidim consider that many state policies to involve
'hidden agendas'. A typical one is army draft which some perceive as being
not primarily for the defence of the population but to 'integrate' young men
and women into (basically secular) Israeli society - analogous to Tsar
Nicholas's cantonist laws.

Before readers attack me, I am not expressing my personal opinion, only
describing that of a section of the chareidi population in Israel - whether
it be objectively correct or not. However, this perception is not completely
paranoid, given the way the policy was used to secularise immigrants from
the Middle East and North Africa in the early days of the state.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 31,2017 at 03:01 AM
Subject: Sexism and consent

Leah S. R. Gordon wrote (MJ 63#25):

> In response to the issue of women being airbrushed out of news stories, Ms.
> Susan Buxfield writes (MJ 63#24):
>> ...
>> Just recently several judges have made comments that many of the women who
>> get raped are drunk or are high on drugs have brought it upon themselves.
> http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4301558/Top-female-judge-issues-warnin
> g-drunken-women.html
> <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4301558/Top-female-judge-issues-warni
> ng-drunken-women.html>
> I read this article, and in fact the judge does not say anything like "brought
> it upon themselves" - what a horrible thing to accuse her of.  The judge sent
> the rapist to jail.
> 1. Rape is the fault of the rapist.  Full stop.
> 2. The judge in that case said that rapists sometimes gravitate toward women
> who
> are drunk or otherwise weakened, because they view these women as easier prey.
> 3. Victim-blaming for rape or murder or battery or armed robbery or any other
> violent crime, is an appalling practice, and I implore Susan to stop doing so
> immediately.  The appeal of victim-blaming is that one can then say, "ok, I
> won't do xyz and then I'll be safe" - this is false.
> http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/man-acquitted-rape-woman-not-sc
> ream-female-colleague-turin-court-diamante-minucci-a7648451.html
> ... 
> I don't know about law in Italy, where this story seems to have taken place -
> it got news coverage precisely because the verdict ("no scream" == consent)
> was considered so outrageous.

A similar case has hit the headlines recently in the UK, mainly because the
rape victim waived her right to anonymity in order to support the judge's
comments that women like herself who get drunk or high on drugs put
themselves at risk. A typical report can be found at:

> http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/28/rape-victim-says-judge-warned-women
> -drinking-heavily-right/

I think the distinction that has to be made, and which outrages the PC
brigade, is between culpability, which lies solely with the rapist, and
taking reasonable steps to secure one's safety of which getting drunk is not
the most appropriate course of action.

Martin Stern


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Fri, Mar 31,2017 at 01:01 AM
Subject: Transgender individuals and gittin

Orrin Tilevitz wrote (MJ 63#25):

> Is the solution to this problem for future cases, and perhaps all cases in
> which the male spouse is unable (or unwilling) to provide a get, a clause in
> the ketuba (or a prenup) that in such event -- as determined by Beth Din X in
> its sole authority -- Beth Din X is designated as a shaliach to convey a get?

I don't think this would work in practice since the husband would in any
case be able to retract his authorisation of the Beth Din's agency. There
may be other ways of structuring a prenup that might help but I doubt if
they would work in the case of transgender individuals who insist they are
now women.

Martin Stern


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Wed, Mar 29,2017 at 01:01 PM
Subject: When a Sefer Torah Falls

Yisrael Medad wrote (MJ 63#22):

> A Sefer Torah fell out of the Aron HaKodesh at our synagogue.
> ...
> The decision of the Rav was to fast one day and instructed that all those who
> saw it or heard the noise of it hitting the ground are to fast.
> ...
> I myself learned of this minhag to fast over a half-century ago.  However, 
> only in the case if the person actually saw the Torah fall to the ground.
> Has anybody either, read, or heard or even experienced this instance when the
> congregation members who did not see the fall but only heard it had to fast?

What I understood - although I do not have the source for this - is that the
person who dropped it had to fast 30 days (I would assume only at day time), but
a leniency was made because this is not something that most of us can follow
(Muslims seem to manage this, though, at their Ramadan).

The leniency is that the person is allowed to share the fast with others so that
30 days are covered, and this could also be with friends not in shul at the
time. Which people fast then is arbitrary, but from here came about the idea
that anyone who saw the Sepher drop should take a share in the fasting effort to
make sure that there are enough people. The Rav maybe felt that there were not
enough people who saw it to make up the 30, so he also instructed "heard it" so
it would be harder for a congregant to find an excuse of "not seeing".

In this case, the Sepher fell out, so the obligation I would imagine be on the
person who took away the other Sepher that caused this to slip.

I have a question: Is it necessary also to fast for a pasul sepher torah being

Also, it does not seem correct that the pasul sepher was being held in place by
a kosher sepher, so maybe a kappara (atonement) is needed for that (as well).

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


End of Volume 63 Issue 26