Volume 65 Number 19 
      Produced: Sun, 05 Dec 21 16:24:59 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Agudah Convention Holds Incredible Shidduch Crisis Panel 
    [Michael Poppers]
Assimilation is Killing the Jewish People 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
    [Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz]
Israel's Problem with Russian Immigrants 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
Kavod Sefer Torah 
    [Joel Rich]
Public Menorah lightings 
    [Menashe Elyashiv]
Second gentleman lights first candle at National Menorah ceremony 
    [Irwin Weiss]
Trouble in the Holyland 
    [Prof. L. Levine]


From: Michael Poppers <the65pops@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 1,2021 at 09:17 AM
Subject: Agudah Convention Holds Incredible Shidduch Crisis Panel

Joel Rich mentioned (MJ 65#18):

> Interestingly they didn't suggest boys marrying older girls (actually not a bad
> idea)

In my dating days, the average young lady was more mature than the average young
guy at the same physical age; and I had "first dates" with a few women who were
older than me and whom I would have wanted to continue seeing but who likely
considered me immature.  

In other words, physical age should not be at or near the top of the list of
criteria, but, all other matters being basically equal, the likelihood of a
successful match may be less when the lady is older [or even the same age - MOD]
than the guy than vice versa.


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Sun, Dec 5,2021 at 11:17 AM
Subject: Assimilation is Killing the Jewish People

The Jewish Reform movement has failed . It is up to the Orthodox to do a much
better job of bringing back our own. Opinion.

Jews have always been at the forefront of progressive ideas. This has made for a
creative and dynamic people. Unfortunately, it has also led to increasing rates
of assimilation and intermarriage.

According to the Pew Research Study of 2020 only 34% of US Jews said it was very
important that their grandchildren are Jewish. With "cancel culture" leading the
way and "wokism" as the new religion the rate of assimilation and intermarriage
in the United States is on its way up.

According to the Pew Study among US Jews who were married between 2010 and 2020,
61% intermarried. Among the Non-Orthodox and non-affiliated it was 72%. 98% of
Orthodox Jews said they were married to Jews.

In Europe 60% of Jewry has been lost to assimilation since WW 2. In Poland the
figure stands at 70%. In the former Soviet Union it reaches 90%. These are
shocking statistics.

Israel is far from immune.

In Israel there has been a 38% jump in intermarriage from 2011 to 2018. Recent
work by Dr. Netanel Fisher showed there are 85,000 intermarried couples in
Israel. The majority are Jewish men married to non-Jewish women from the former
Soviet Union. A total of 7% of marriages in Israel are among intermarried.

The story becomes even more disturbing when analyzing the number of Israelis who
migrated to America and subsequently intermarried. There are one million
Israelis living in the Diaspora. There are high assimilation rates among the
second generation. It is estimated that the rate of intermarriage among second
generation Israelis living in the United States is close to 75%.

See for more:


When I point out that all of the above is not good, I am making a huge
understatement. What do others think?



From: Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz <sabbahillel@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 1,2021 at 02:17 AM

Martin Stern wrote (MJ 65#18):

> In response to Prof. L. Levine (MJ 65#17):
> With hindsight, it was probably ill-advised for Ilana Smith and the other South
> Africans to travel to Israel from South Africa if it were classified as a "red"
> country though it was not clear to me whether the Israeli ban had been imposed
> before their departure.

According to the news report, the ban on travel was announced while they were on
the airplane. In an interview posted afterwards, Ilana Smith said that they
would not have travelled to Israel had the ban been announced earlier.

Hillel (Sabba) Markowitz


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Thu, Dec 2,2021 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Israel's Problem with Russian Immigrants

Most Russian people in Israel have full Israeli citizenship and are involved in
the country's economy on all levels. Now there is an effort to convert those
who are not Jewish according to Halacha. Lawmakers from Israel's ultra-Orthodox
parties harshly criticized Religious Services Minister Matan Kahana on Tuesday
over his planned conversion reform.

VINnews reports (2 Dec '21):

> The destruction and devastation of the Chief Rabbinate and Jewish religion
> that 'Religious Destruction Minister' Matan Kahana leads is unprecedented.
> The conversion system is the very soul of the Jewish people and harming it
> would lead to vast assimilation," said Shas Knesset member Yoav Ben-Tzur.
> ...
> As part of the proposed legislation, municipal rabbis will be able to
> establish conversion courts to allow them to act to convert tens of thousands
> of Israelis who are of Jewish descent but are not Jewish according to halacha
> (Jewish law).

See for more:


I do not understand the desire to convert non-Jewish Russian citizens of Israel
to Judaism.  There is no effort, as far as I know, to convert Christian citizens
of Israel to Judaism. Let the Russians be, and simply do not let them marry
Halachic Jews.

Also, how sincere will these conversions be given that almost all Russians were
raised without any affinity for Judaism.

What am I missing here?



From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 1,2021 at 12:17 AM
Subject: Kavod Sefer Torah

The Tzitz Eliezer (12:40) outlines (what I thought to be) normative psak in
kavod sefer torah, that people should go to kiss the sefer torah and not vice
versa. He calls upon the Rabbis to educate their communities who will be happy
to follow. So why is this not done? (In my opinion, this is more so in outside
minyanim where the sefer is on the table and then is walked around back to the

Joel Rich


From: Menashe Elyashiv <menely2@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 1,2021 at 01:17 AM
Subject: Public Menorah lightings

Martin Stern (MJ 65#18) asked why there was no menorah lit at minha gedolah. 

There is no need. The basis of public lighting is because the private house
lighting was moved from outside to inside. So we need a public lighting. Between
Minha and Arvit is the best time. It is also sort of a Zecher lamikdash. Also
relighting early in the morning. So, no lighting at early minha. 

BTW, public lighting on Friday should also be after minha close to shabbat. We
light after minha that ends at plag mamash, and then go home to light, and back
for kabbalat shabbat


From: Irwin Weiss <irwin@...>
Date: Tue, Nov 30,2021 at 04:17 PM
Subject: Second gentleman lights first candle at National Menorah ceremony

A comment on Prof. Levine's post on the topic Second gentleman lights first
candle at National Menorah ceremony (MJ 65#18):

I don't think the Chabad Rabbis approve of intermarriage or that the lighting of
this Menorah has anything to do with intermarriage.  The message which might get
out to the non-Jewish population of the US is that being Jewish and being an
American is normative.  It is ok to have a Jewish person in some sort of
official capacity (though of course, as the husband of the VP, Mr. Emhoff has no
power at all).

And, maybe to the population of non-observant Jews, it is a message that Jewish
observance is ok, and fun, and worthwhile. (Not so long ago, Mr. Emhoff, with
the assistance of a Rabbi, a hammer and a nail, affixed a Mezuzah to the door of
the VPs residence - a similar message to the general US population, and to
non-observant Jews who do not have a mezuzah on their doorposts.)

Intermarriage is, indeed, a major, major problem.  Its been a problem for a long
time.  See, Ezra, Chapter 9, verse 3.  But the custom has become to proudly
light your Menorah and to place it for all to see in the window of the house,
not hidden in some internal room.  So, Mr. Emhoff is practicing that minhag.    

Irwin Weiss
Baltimore, MD


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 1,2021 at 02:17 PM
Subject: Trouble in the Holyland

Some things are not so good right now within the Orthodox community in EY
according to VINnews (1 Dec '21).

> Recently, Gedolim have been speaking out against harmful behaviors that have
> become widespread, even among "Yeshivishe" families.
> Smartphones and devices are rampant, and even if they're "kosher" can be
> harmful and a huge waste of time. If they're not kosher, they can break up
> marriages and drive kids off the derech. Drinking at kiddushes, extravagant
> simchas, immodest attire - are all major issues. Even marijuana use is more
> widespread than anyone is willing to admit. Recently, there was a frum
> concert in which boys and girls engaged in inappropriate dancing, standing
> right near each other.

See for more about this:




The question that needs to be answered is, "Why do Orthodox young people do
such things?"

I think the education given today to young Orthodox men and women is seriously
lacking in preparing them to deal with the outside world.  Learning Gemara,
halacha, and the other standard topics is not enough to prepare one for today's

Let me give you a personal example.  About six months after my eldest
granddaughter enrolled in a Bais Yaakov high school, she complained, "All they
do is tell us how long our skirts and dresses have to be. Mine are long enough.
 Don't they have anything else to teach us?" Apparently, they did not.

Her father, my oldest son, responded to this by studying the writings of Rabbi
Samson Raphael Hirsch with her.  A few months after they began doing this, I
asked her what she thought of the writings of RSRH.  She responded, "Rabbi Hirsh
is wonderful!"

Rav Hirsch stressed that one need not reject the entire outside world. One must
fit it into the Torah where appropriate and not the other way around. I
sincerely doubt that this message is stressed in many Orthodox yeshivas and Bais



End of Volume 65 Issue 19