Volume 65 Number 15 
      Produced: Wed, 24 Nov 21 09:05:23 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Aveil davening on rosh chodesh (4)
    [Orrin Tilevitz  Yisrael Medad   Martin Stern  Stuart Pilichowski]
Ben & Jerry's may lose US kashrut renewal over settler boycott 
    [Leah Gordon]
Public Menorah lightings 
    [Martin Stern]
The Conservative Movement is no more - it has turned Reform (2)
    [Chaim Casper  Yisrael Medad]
    [Joel Rich]
Visitors at a minyan 
    [Mordechai Horowitz]


From: Orrin Tilevitz <tilevitzo@...>
Date: Sat, Nov 20,2021 at 07:17 PM
Subject: Aveil davening on rosh chodesh

Joel Rich asks (MJ 65#14):

> How widespread is the practice of having an aveil daven on rosh chodesh up to,
> but not including, yishtabach? What is halachically gained by this practice?
> (During a regular shacharit as well?)

In my limited experience I have not seen exactly this. At the Young Israel shul
I davened pre-pandemic (with a black-hat posek rabbi), the aveil would daven
everything but hallel (and musaf).

Any davening for the amud benefits the neshama of the deceased. In that same
shul, the rabbi would have an aveil who was not capable of davening beyond
yistashbach at least to daven through pesukei dezimra.

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 21,2021 at 02:17 AM
Subject: Aveil davening on rosh chodesh

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 65#14):

I do not know. In my place of regular worship, most avelim will daven all of
Shacharit, except for Hallel when someone steps up to substitute. Mussaf not.
There are some Ashkenazim that will not daven for the amud at all.

Yisrael Medad
From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 21,2021 at 06:17 AM
Subject: Aveil davening on rosh chodesh

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 65#14):

Though I have heard of such a minhag, I have never seen an aveil davening in the
morning on Rosh Chodesh, and very rarely at minchah.

At most shuls I have attended, they are not even allowed to daven at ma'ariv,
except for those that follow the minhag Ashkenaz (German) who allow it.

Martin Stern

From: Stuart Pilichowski <stupillow@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 21,2021 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Aveil davening on rosh chodesh

In response to Joel Rich (MJ 65#14):

I've seen the practice of the aveil being the one that leads the services as
often as possible. This affords a greater opportunity than even the recitation
of kaddish for the one who passed on to reach greater heights and atonement in
the next world. (Whatever all that means.)

This practice is inconsistent when the recitation by the chazan is of a happy
nature such as Hallel or Shabbat and Yom Tov services.

Stuart Pilichowski
Mevaseret Zion, Israel

Phone 972- 527-222-827


From: Leah Gordon <leahgordonmobile@...>
Date: Mon, Nov 22,2021 at 05:17 PM
Subject: Ben & Jerry's may lose US kashrut renewal over settler boycott

Regarding Ben & Jerry's and the threat to pull hashgacha, I think this is a
terrible idea for three reasons:

1. Many of us religious Zionists say that we are OK with reasoned critique of
the Israeli government, particularly by Jews, as long as there is no argument
against the State of Israel per se.  Therefore, it's not internally consistent
to object when B & J are attempting to do just that. I may not agree with their
particular decision, but they are not pulling out of Israel, just some of the
"territories," and they are not generally in favor of BDS or similar nonsense.

2. Kosher certification should be about the food.  Not the mixed dancing, or the
posters, or the style of the food (Bacos are OK but not Impossible Pork? 
Really?).  The more food is kosher, the more Jews eat kosher food. I know plenty
of semi-religious Jews who try to pick hechshered food if they have the option.

3. I think it's a real chillul hashem if the kof-K pulls its certification over
this.  The rest of the world isn't going to think, "Oh, maybe we were wrong and
the kof-K is right".  They will (rightly) think reasons (1) and (2) above, and
they may add a kind of dismissive attitude toward Orthodoxy as a whole.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 23,2021 at 07:17 AM
Subject: Public Menorah lightings

In the last few years, it has become quite common for making public Menorah
lightings in prominent places in cities. It is questionable whether one may
make a berachah on such lightings with most latter day poskim forbidding it.
For a detailed discussion by Rabbi Yair Hoffman see:


As he puts it "This article is going to be controversial, but if you need
confirmation of its content – it is suggested that you speak to your Posaik
about the underlying issues".

Any comments?

Martin Stern


From: Chaim Casper <info@...>
Date: Wed, Nov 17,2021 at 09:17 PM
Subject: The Conservative Movement is no more - it has turned Reform

I wish to add only a couple of points to my previous post (MJ 65#14): 
How many Orthodox Jews are there in the US? Professor Levine (off line) 
quoted an estimate by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs that there are
approximately 600,000 Orthodox Jews in the US. 
But an article in Haaretz points to a disagreement in the number of American 
According to the American Jewish Year Book 2019 and its editors/demographers,
Ira Sheskin and Arnold Dashefsky, there were 6.97 million Jews in the US which
would mean that more Jews live in the US than in Israel. 
According to demographer Sergio Della Pergola, there are 5.7 million, a much 
smaller number. 

According to Wikipedia ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Jews) quoting 
the Jewish Agency, in 2017 there were 5.3 million Jews in the US.

All three sources accept that 10% of the American Jewish community is Orthodox
(a percentage that I believe hasn't changed over the last 50 years). Thus, it
would appear that the range for Orthodox Jews in the US ranges from 530,000 to
almost 700,000. I said 500,000. 
Prof. Levine also wrote "I have news for you. Chabad never uses the word
Orthodox when it talks about itself". To which, my reaction is 'Could be - but
what did that renowned scholar of human and political experience, Lyndon B.
Johnson, say? "If it looks like a horse, sounds like a horse and smells like a
He commented further: 
"However, during Charles Shumer's recent visit to Kiryas Yoel he was told that
there are now 30,000 Jews living there!"

I saw the press reports of Sen. Shumer's visit to Kiryas Yoel and that he was
impressed by the number of Jews living there. 

But I drew his attention to the Lower East Side of Manhattan. There were how
many Jews living there 50, 75 and 100 years ago? And today? There are only a
fraction of the number of Jews there today that were there in the past. And this
experience is not unique. I am from Boston. The neighborhoods of Mattapan,
Chelsea, Dorchester and Roxbury were solidly Jewish in the first half of the
20th Century; today, they are empty of Jews. I used to live in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island in 1937 had 30,000 Jews; when I left in1987, that number had
dropped to 16,000. I first came to Miami Beach in 1976; there were 13 vibrant
Orthodox synagogues in what today is called "South Beach." Today, only a
diminished Habad community remains. Yiddish, which used to be the lingua franca,
is never heard. Where did all these Jews go? My rebbe, may he live long and be
well, told me that Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt"l, said to him in jest that
synagogues in the US should be built on wheels. That way, when the local
residents move to other communities, they can move the synagogue to that new
community! (I don't mean to downplay the serious halakhic issues involved of
abandoning a synagogue.) 

In other words, every Kiryas Yoel we have today is replacing a vibrant community
of yesterday that doesn't exist today. Those who are serious about their level
of religious observance moved to stronger communities or made aliyah. The others
died, assimilated or made aliyah. 

Yes, the batei medrash of Lakewod, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, etc. are 
full. But the Orthodox synagogues of the communities above and in Beverly, MA,
Lynn, MA, Millis, MA, Leominster, MA, Sarasota Springs, NY, Plattsburg, NY, etc
are all shuttered. We have our successes and we have our failures. 

B'virkat Torah and best wishes for a Hanukkah same'ach, 
Rabbi Chaim Casper 
North Miami Beach, FL 

From: Yisrael Medad  <yisrael.medad@...>
Date: Sun, Nov 21,2021 at 02:17 AM
Subject: The Conservative Movement is no more - it has turned Reform

Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 65#14):

> the first statistic I heard about the number of Orthodox Jews in the US back
> in the 1960s was that there were 500,000 Orthodox Jews in the US.  Today in
> 2021 there are (surprise!) 500,000 Orthodox Jews in the US.

I checked and found this:

"The 2013 survey by the Pew Research Center reported that Orthodox Jews make up
about 10 percent of the estimated 5.3 million Jewish adults (ages 18 and older)
in the United States, an increase of 2 percent since a similar study was done
ten years earlier. Although the population of adult Orthodox Jews is yet a small
minority of the U.S. Jewish population, and its overall growth has been limited,
a dramatic change is underway, the result of soaring Orthodox birthrates and a
steady decline in the non-Orthodox Jewish population. Roughly a quarter of
Orthodox Jewish adults are between the ages of 18 and 29, compared with 17
percent of Reform Jews and 13 percent of Conservative Jews, and Orthodox Jews
between 40 and 59 had an average of 4.1 children, compared with an average of
1.7 for other U.S. Jews in that age group. A 2012 study of the New York area
Jewish community by the UJA-Federation of New York confirms this trend. From
1991 to 2011, the fraction of Jewish households in the New York area that are
Orthodox rose from 13 to 20 percent, and from 2002 to 2011, the fraction of the
total Jewish population that are Orthodox grew from 27 to 32 percent. Of all
Jewish children living in the area in 2011, 64 percent lived in Orthodox

and from this May:

"Younger Jewish adults are much more likely than older Jews to identify as
Orthodox. Among Jews ages 18 to 29, 17% self-identify as Orthodox, compared with
just 3% of Jews 65 and older. And fully one-in-ten U.S. Jewish adults under the
age of 30 are Haredim, or ultra-Orthodox (11%), compared with 1% of Jews 65 and

"Meanwhile, the two branches of Judaism that long predominated in the U.S. have
less of a hold on young Jews than on their elders. Roughly four-in-ten Jewish
adults under 30 identify with either Reform (29%) or Conservative Judaism (8%),
compared with seven-in-ten Jews ages 65 and older.

"In other words, the youngest U.S. Jews count among their ranks both a
relatively large share of traditionally observant, Orthodox Jews and an even
larger group of people who see themselves as Jewish for cultural, ethnic or
family reasons but do not identify with 'Judaism as a religion' at all."

Are there more updated figures?

Yisrael Medad


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 23,2021 at 11:17 PM
Subject: Titanu

I always wondered what titanu (you let us wander) was doing at the end of the
vidui. Are we blaming HKB"H for our freely made decisions? When learning
Rambam's hilchot tshuva, it occurs to me saying that he can't make us do the
right thing, but he can answer our prayer to help us identify the right path for
us to go through with our own free will. Thoughts?

Joel Rich


From: Mordechai Horowitz<michaelh613@...>
Date: Sun, Oct 17,2021 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Visitors at a minyan

Carl Singer wrote (MJ 65#07):

> Our morning minyan has about 25 people (regulars). From time to time someone 
> who has a yahrzeit arrives, whom try to accommodate by giving him an aliyah 
> (Monday & Thursday).
> The concern is whether or not this individual should daven as sheliach tzibur.
> Our concern is "quality" and pace.  Our minyan is paced to END at a specific
> time so several of the balabatim can catch public transportation to work. 
> Thus, allowing a guest to daven potentially inconveniences many of our
> balabatim.
> Any suggestions -- halachic or social - as to how we should act

I have seen one shul handle the issue of keeping a shaliach tzibur on time by
simply having on his shtender the expected times to finish each section. This
way the Shatz knows when the minyan is expected to end and the pace to get
there. If someone falls behind a gabbai could quietly let them know that someone
is replacing them because of tircha detzibura.

Halachically, strangers have no right to demand to lead the minyan if the tzibbur
does not consent and has concerns about their ability to do so. Were you to make
such a rule that visitors cannot lead, simply put a notice up that only a shaliach
tzibbur dedicated and approved by the gabbai/rabbi may lead. Given how many
people do not know how to properly lead the davenning, having even community
members required to privately approach a gabbai/rabbi could prevent embarrassing



End of Volume 65 Issue 15