Volume 65 Number 12 
      Produced: Mon, 15 Nov 21 14:49:24 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Ben & Jerry's may lose US kashrut renewal over settler boycott  
    [Prof. L. Levine]
Don't Call It "Kristallmacht" 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
Hebrew Pronunciation (3)
    [David Ziants  Joseph I. Lauer  Arthur G Sapper]
Kristallnacht: An Historical Perspective 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
Shidduch Problems Past and Present 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
The Conservative Movement is no more - it has turned Reform 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
Wearing a Talit Gadol 
    [David Tzohar]


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Fri, Nov 12,2021 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Ben & Jerry's may lose US kashrut renewal over settler boycott 

The Kof-K can only break its contract with Ben & Jerry's if there is a violation
of the Jewish dietary laws and no such violation has occurred. However, The
Kof-K kosher certification agency may not renew Ben & Jerry's certificate if the
global ice cream company makes good on its plan to boycott West Bank settlements.

"We have told Ben & Jerry's that we do not know if we will be able to renew our
contract," Rabbi Daniel Senter, chief operating officer of the American-based
Kof-K that provides Kosher international certification, told The Jerusalem Post.
At issue is whether Ben & Jerry's in the US will continue to receive a kosher
certification once the Kof-K's contract with the Vermont-based ice cream company
ends in 2022.

See for more details:


This raises an important principle "Should kashrut certification only be
withheld where there is a violation of the Jewish dietary laws or should this be
used as a means to put pressure on companies for more general policy matters".

See https://www.gopusa.com/behind-the-story-ben-jerrys-boycott-israel/

for the background of why Ben and Jerry's wants this boycott.

Personally, I sincerely hope that the company loses its certification. What do
others think?



From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 10,2021 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Don't Call It "Kristallmacht"

It is by now increasingly obvious that the term Kristallnacht, co-opting a trope
of Nazi propaganda willfully designed to obfuscate its crimes, is woefully
inadequate. The word is a product of a Nazi media-management machine so subtle
and devious that its hold on the imagination persists long after fulfilling its
original cover-up mission.

Observers have long realized that unique to the program of genocide is that the
erasure of the crime is as inherent as the murder itself. The 'success' of the
deceitful nomenclature of Kristallnacht here is so complete that no other term
has been widely adopted to usurp its place.

One suggested alternative is the Russian 'pogrom,' from the word for thunder.
But it suffers from a myriad of inadequacies as well.

Pogroms in pre-revolutionary Russia, unlike Kristallnacht, rarely targeted
synagogues or featured the ritual desecration of the Torah; they did not
exclusively target Jews, occasionally centering on other ethnic groups like
Armenians, or political revolutionaries, and they were triggered by economic
dislocation as much as antisemitism.

And despite the best of intentions, the use of a term from Russian history to
make sense of events from the Holocaust could bear a surreptitious scent of
relativization, if not revisionism.

Rather than fine glass, the defining image recorded by most survivors was of
strewn bedding: the mattresses thrown out of windows, a violation of the
bedroom, that most intimate living space. Countless homes of Jews were
destroyed, some forcibly forfeited, along with the arson of 1000 synagogues.

The message was clear: You have no sanctuary, no safety. You have no home here.

See https://twnews.ch/il-news/don-t-call-it-kristallnacht for more.



From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 3,2021 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Hebrew Pronunciation

Frank Silbermann (MJ 65#11) wrote:

> ...
> But why keep one's traditional variant of Askenazi pronunciation when we do at
> least know the correct Askhenazi pronunciation?  (It's the pronunciation
> described in my Hebrew school textbooks.  You know, like vav with a dot above 
> is pronounces like the vowel in "go, show, Moe, blow" and vav with a dot to the
> left is pronounced like vowel in "boot, shoot, hoot, fruit."  We know it's the
> correct pronunciation because these books say that's how it's pronounced.  
> Also, in the English transliteration on the laminated sheet of the Torah  
> blessing when get an aliyah, for those so honored that are unfamiliar with the
> Aleph-Bet. )
> And, come to think of it, how did we know that this is the correct Ashkenazi
> pronunciation?

This doesn't help. Many of those brought up in America cannot pronounce an "o"
in their native American English accent like those brought up in England. This
maybe is why the kamatz in some older American siddurim and machzorim is
transliterated "aw" and not "o". This is definitely an issue for a kamatz kattan
- as according to everyone this should be a British short "o" (as in box) like
the queen says it <smile> .

David Ziants

From: Joseph I. Lauer <josephlauer@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 3,2021 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Hebrew Pronunciation

The text of the original Hebrew article by Rav Mordechai Breuer published in
Megadim (vol. 10, Shevat 5750 [1990]) under the title "Mikra'ot she-Yesh la-Hem
Hekhre'a" may be read at 


See pages 110-111 regarding the five-dot Zeicher.

Joseph I. Lauer
Brooklyn, New York

From: Arthur G Sapper <asherben@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 3,2021 at 06:17 PM
Subject: Hebrew Pronunciation

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 65#10):

> Perets Mett wrote (MJ 65#09):
>> Dalet rofui is pronounced like th in the English definite article 'the'.
> This explains why Shulchan Arukh Harav writes that one should extend the dalet
> rofui of echad in the first pasuk of the Shema much longer than the chet - 
> which is impossible if it is a plosive like the dalet dagush.
> Since he almost certainly pronounced it as a plosive, can anyone explain what 
> he meant?

The Shulchan Arukh Harav may simply have been passing on a view in the Bavli,
without necessarily understanding that plosives cannot be elongated at all, and
thus without quite understanding the implications of what was being said there
for Ashkenazim.  

"It has been taught: Symmachus says:  Whoever prolongs the word ehad has his
days and years prolonged.  R. Aha b. Jacob said: [He must dwell] on the daleth."
 (Berachoth 13b)

My view arguably coincides with the suggestion by Ben Katz that the Shulchan
Arukh Harav was not "aware of this change in pronunciation."

Art Sapper


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 9,2021 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Kristallnacht: An Historical Perspective

November 9 is the anniversary of Kristallnacht that took place on 9 November 1938.

I have placed RAV Shimon Schwab's article about Kristallnacht at:


Further information is available at:




Question: How could a people who were supposedly steeped in culture do this and
commit the innumerable atrocities that they committed during WW II? What does
this say about Western culture?



From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 15,2021 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Shidduch Problems Past and Present

We are all aware of today's Shidduch crisis. Many fine, religious, young women
often find it difficult to find a suitable Shidduch.  On the other hand, most
young, observant yeshiva men are often inundated with prospects. Today, when it
comes to Shidduchim , it is definitely a man's world. (Let me note that as far
as I know this not the case in certain Chassidic circles.)

However,  there was a time when it was yeshiva boys who had trouble finding a
suitable Shidduch.  This was the case during the first decades of the 20th century.

The following is from page 222 of the book To Rise Above, A Journey of Greatness
Against All Odds, The Amazing Life of HaRav Dov Cohen, zt'l.

"Finding suitable shidduchim was extremely difficult for a yeshivah bachur. In
those days, kollelim were non-existent - in Eretz Yisrael or in the Diaspora.
What, then, would a yeshivah bachur do after he got married? In Eastern Europe,
many newlyweds became rabbis of small towns, as these were positions that
allowed them to continue learning Torah. However, this option did not exist in
Eretz Yisrael.

"I remember how difficult it was even for Yitzchak Hutner, one of the best
bachurim in the (Chevron) yeshivah, to find a shidduch. He decided to go to
Lithuania, make his rounds among all the rabbanim there and talk to them in
learning - maybe he would find his shidduch that way. When he returned, he told
me stories about his trip."

Rav Hutner was born in 1906. In 1933, Rav Hutner married Masha Lipshitz in
Kobryn. She was born in Slutsk and raised in the United States.



From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 10,2021 at 06:17 PM
Subject: The Conservative Movement is no more - it has turned Reform

It has been reported that, in a first for Conservative movement, women rabbis tie
knot in same-sex wedding


The time is now long overdue for Jews who are Orthodox - or even just
traditional (called Mesorati in Israel), particularly in Israel where the
American Conservative and Reform leaders with dying congregations are trying to
change the fundamental connection between Judaism and the Jewish state - to
grasp two truths:

1. What is called "Conservative Judaism" today is "Reform Judaism". It is not
what it once was, and it never will go back. It no longer has any anchor or
mooring to the Torah or to Tradition. It also has almost no followers in the
USA. See:


2. Reform "Judaism" today is akin to Unitarian Christianity without a Messiah.
Today, in public declarations made by Reform's own leaders, more than half of
membership families of Reform temples are intermarried. With half or more of
their membership non-Jewish, what are they? It is collapsing before our eyes.


(page 9, Audacious Hospitality)

You may not know that in the 1920s when the Conservative and Reform movements
were on the ascendent,  many were predicting the demise of Orthodox Judaism. 
The situation for Orthodox Judaism was indeed bleak then.  However, look what
has happened.  Today Orthodoxy is vibrant and expanding and Conservative and
Reform are on the decline. While it is sadly true that some Orthodox youngsters
do go off the derech,  many, many more stay within the framework of Halacha and
some even become more observant than their parents.



From: David Tzohar <davidtzohar@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 15,2021 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Wearing a Talit Gadol

The vast majority of Orthodox Jews: Ashkenazim, Sefaradim, Chassidim and
Mitnagdim all wear the talit as cloak or cape. Draped over the head and
shoulders hanging down the back to calf length with the tzitzit close to the
floor.The two front corners are folded onto the shoulders so there are two
tzitzit in front and two in the back. The halachic source of this minhag is the
SHuLCHaN AruCH hilchot tzitzit 17-3 and see Mishnah Brurah and Biur Halacha who
point to the HaGaHoT Maimoniot as the earlier source who said one must be
"surrounded by the mitzvot".

There is however another Minhag, that of the Teimanim and some of the Litvaks
(This is my own familie"s minhag - my grandfather was from a shtetl on the
border of Lithuania and East Prussia on the Baltic sea). In this minhag the
talit is worn as a shawl drawn over the head and falling to the shoulders on
either  side. This of course is the minhag that was adopted by all non-Orthodox
denominations hence the English term "prayer shawl". 

The halachic source is the RamBaM in Sefer HaMitzvot 14 and Mishneh Torah
Hilchot Izitzit 3-9. The RaMBam does not mention the minhag of the Mechaber and
points out that the halachic required wrapping (ITuF) is foremost around the
head and this is what we make the blessing on. Of the 12 commentaries to the
RaMBam only 1(!) the HaGaHot Maimoniot mentions the minhag of the Mechaber. It
is also not mentioned in the Ro"sh the Ri"F or the Ra"N. This may be because
when wearing it as a shawl there is less chance that the tzitzit will drag on
the floor which is specifically prohibited. BToRaT HaSoD the Ari Hakadosh hints
that being surrounded by the mitzvot is properly to the left and right not front
and back. IMHO it is a great kushia on the Mechaber that he paskened according
to the HagaHoT MaiMoniot who is a solitary opinion among all the Rishonim and
early Acharonim.

There is an interesting footnote. There are geneticists who claim to have
discovered "The Aharonic Gene" ie a genetic marker that is found in all kohanim
throughout the world. The general occurrence is about 80%. But when kohanim from
Lithuania are compared with kohanim from Yemen it jumps to close to 100%! Could
this be a historical footprint of an otherwise unknown migration of Yemenite
Jews to southern Europe and from there around the 12th century to Lithuania?.
This might explain why davka Yemenites and Litvaks wear the "prayer shawl" going
with the RaMBaM against the Mechaber. This is of course only an educated
guess,but who knows?
David Tzohar


End of Volume 65 Issue 12