Volume 65 Number 21 
      Produced: Tue, 21 Dec 21 16:46:52 -0500

Subjects Discussed In This Issue:

Assimilation is killing the Jewish people 
    [Arthur G Sapper]
Ben & Jerry's may lose US kashrut renewal over settler boycott 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
Haredi yeshiva student discovers he's not Jewish  
    [Prof. L. Levine]
Is The Pope's White Skullcap a Yarmulkah? 
    [Martin Stern]
Israel's Problem with Russian Immigrants 
    [Arthur G Sapper]
Rav Chaim Kanievsky's daughter threatened by anti-vaxxers 
    [Prof. L. Levine]
Reality check (antisemitism) 
    [Leah Gordon]
Unorthodox Social Distancing 
    [Joel Rich]
Why is our Hebrew writing Ashurit and not the ancient Hebrew character 
    [David Ziants]


From: Arthur G Sapper <asherben@...>
Date: Sat, Dec 11,2021 at 08:17 PM
Subject: Assimilation is killing the Jewish people

In response to the various posts on this subject:

Yes, it is, and it is important to isolate those causes about which Jews can do
something.  We can never do anything about the inroads that scientism has made
into contemporary thought, or the attractiveness of the general society, or the
burdens of religious observance.

But there is one major factor that, if we are bold, we can do something about: 
The huge economic penalty that Jews - and all religious persons - pay for the
existence and support of public schools.  Not only are we economically coerced
into supporting public schools and sending our children there (where they learn
lessons diametrically opposed to those of Judaism and religion generally) but we
are hobbled in educating our children by the need to compete with our own tax
money in hiring teachers and building schools.

I am not merely advocating vouchers (though they would help, somewhat).  I am
advocating that Jews take a stand against the idea that education is a proper
function of government.  It is not.  Government has no business inculcating
anything into the minds of small children or incipient adults or anyone.  That
means Head Start, kindergarten, public elementary school, public high schools,
and public colleges and universities should be abolished and their buildings
sold off.

Others have made a strong case for the above proposition, and I will not repeat
it here.  But if any progress is to be made in halting assimilation, it will
start with weaning the American people away from the false proposition that
education is a proper function of government.   This struggle will take many,
many years but now would be a good time to start.  And a good place to start
would be in our own minds, then those of our friends, relatives and neighbors,
and then the society at large.

Art Sapper


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Wed, Dec 15,2021 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Ben & Jerry's may lose US kashrut renewal over settler boycott

Further to our recent discussions on whether kashrut supervision should be
withdrawn from Ben & Jerry's in view of its decision to withdraw sales from
territories beyond the Greeb line, the following was reported on Kosher Today:

> Several sources including the prestigious Israeli business publication Globes
> are reporting that the British multinational consumer goods company Unilever,
> may be ready to change course on its controversial Ben & Jerry's decision. The
> kashrus world has debated the wisdom of withholding hashgacha from Ben &
> Jerry's until it reverses its decision to bar sales of the ice cream products
> in Judea and Samaria. Unilever's share price has fallen about 12% over the past
> few months, since the dispute erupted in July, a much bigger fall than the
> share price of other major consumer goods companies.

See for more:


I believe that Jews have to stand up to antisemitism in any and all ways.  What
Ben and Jerry's threatened to do was antisemitism in my opinion. I do hope that
they reverse course and do this soon.



From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Fri, Dec 17,2021 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Haredi yeshiva student discovers he's not Jewish 

Israel National news reported:

> A student at a haredi yeshiva was found to have been born to a non-Jewish
> mother. The story was revealed when the young man began to look for a wife
> and his mother revealed to him that although his father is a Jew, she herself
> is a gentile from Ukraine who has not undergone any conversion, Kikar
> Hashabbat reported.
> ...
> The guy's rabbi immediately ran and told him he was actually a gentile and he
> needed a conversion. The guy broke down and ran away from the yeshiva to home
> and sat and cried. His rabbi came and asked him do you want to be a gentile
> or convert, and the guy answered, to be a gentile? To violate Shabbat? G-d
> forbid.

See for more:


Who knows how many other young people there are in Israel whose mothers were
allowed to come to Israel without checking if they were Jewish according to
Halacha?  And do you think that amongst the non-religious there will be much
real checking about the status of the mother when a young person wants to get
married?  I sincerely doubt this. Furthermore,  how was his father allowed to
marry his mother in Israel if she was not Jewish. (It may be that they married
before they came to Israel.)

Israel is going to end up with two nations - one that is halachically Jewish and
another whose Jewishness is questionable and may not be verifiable.  I believe
that about 300,000 immigrants from Russia have come to Israel. How many of them
are halachically Jewish is anyone's guess.



From: Martin Stern <md.stern@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 13,2021 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Is The Pope's White Skullcap a Yarmulkah?

At the end of his article in VINnews on the use of skullcaps by Roman Catholic


Rabbi Hoffman tells the following story:

My father z"l, once observed one of his grandsons placing his hand over the head
of his younger brother so that he could recite a bracha. He told the younger
grandson, "Amain, that was a beautiful bracha" and then directed himself to the
older grandson and said, "Now you repeat after me. Am I my brothers Kippah?"

Martin Stern


From: Arthur G Sapper <asherben@...>
Date: Sat, Dec 11,2021 at 09:17 PM
Subject: Israel's Problem with Russian Immigrants

Aren't Israel's problems with Russian immigrants and others who are 'zera
yisroel' traceable to a reaction to Reform that may no longer be justifiable?
See Marc Angel, "Conversion to Judaism:  Halakha, Hashkafa, and Historic
Challenge," Hakirah 25 (2009), available at 


Reform is dying and is no longer a significant force in Jewish life.  Jews
raised to be observant but who go off the derech do not become Reform; they just
assimilate (a tragedy in and of itself).

I would be interested in the views of others on the subject of whether a number
of our problems today are caused by reactions to Reform that, even if they were
justifiable in earlier years, are no longer justifiable today.

Art Sapper


From: Prof. L. Levine <llevine@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 20,2021 at 10:17 AM
Subject: Rav Chaim Kanievsky's daughter threatened by anti-vaxxers

VINnews reports:

> Members of the Kanievsky family continue to face threats and assaults over
> Maran Harav Chaim's support of Covid vaccines.
> This past week, Rebbetzin Leah Kolodetsky, Rav Chaim's daughter, was
> confronted, threatened, and verbally assaulted by a group of anti-vaxxers
> demanding to speak with her father.
> ...
> Amazingly, at one point Rav Chaim found out about the commotion, and asked to
> speak with the anti-vaxxers. He sat with them until 2 am, listening to their
> concerns and reading their records. He then discussed the claims extensively
> with doctors, and concluded that all the points they made against the
> vaccines were nonsense.

For further details see:


People often wonder why Jewish leaders do not speak out against the tactics of
anti-vaxers.  I believe one reason is because it will do no good.  These people
have the attitude that "My mind is made up, do not confuse me with the facts."

See "My Mind Is Made Up. Do Not Confuse Me With The Facts" (The Jewish Press,
August 25, 2004 pages 7 & 77.)


However, I was under the impression that Rav Chaim did not meet with women.



From: Leah Gordon <leahgordonmobile@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 13,2021 at 08:17 AM
Subject: Reality check (antisemitism)

What do you all think of this - is it antisemitic and should I report it to
airbnb.com if so?

My niece is having a bat mitzvah in a few weeks.  I looked on airbnb.com (a
peer-to-peer lodging site) for COVID reasons - I would prefer to stay only with
my husband and sons, but also where the windows can open (i.e. not a hotel).

Anyway, I found a promising property, and put in a query, "Hello, would you
please let me know if your property is walking distance from [name of
synagogue]?"  I got a reply, "not available" though, on the site, the property
is still available on those dates.

--Leah S. R. Gordon


From: Joel Rich <JRich@...>
Date: Sat, Dec 11,2021 at 12:17 PM
Subject: Unorthodox Social Distancing

Chaim Casper wrote (MJ 65#20):

> I was in shiur with the Rav, Rabbi Joseph D Soloveitchik, zt"l, when he said he
> knows of no valid hetter [permissive halakhic ruling] for inviting someone for
> Shabbat or Yom Tov dinner if you know they will drive to and/or from your place.

> On the other hand, the Lubavitch Rav/posek [NOT the Rebbe], Rabbi Zalman Shimon
> Dworkin, zt"l, ruled that if you offer them a place to stay before Shabbat but
> they choose to drive anyway, then you are free of any religious prohibition and
> the onus is on your guest.

FWIW R Moshe Feinstein was also reported to be strongly against the practice.
The lenient opinion seems to have been accepted in practice in the MO world.

Joel Rich.


From: David Ziants <dziants@...>
Date: Mon, Dec 20,2021 at 01:17 PM
Subject: Why is our Hebrew writing Ashurit and not the ancient Hebrew character

Why is our Hebrew writing that of K'tav Ashurit (Assyrian letters) and not of
the ancient Hebrew characters (which I will call here K'tav Ivri)? As a nation
who holds onto its traditions, why were we allowed to make this change and why
did Chazal endorse it?

The understanding is that originally all books of the Tanach were written in
K'tav Ivri, and only the Asseret haDibrot were always engraved in K'tav Ashurit.

My question is prompted from what is being learned today in Daf Yomi (Megilla
8b/9a), as the validity of writing in other languages, Tephillin and Mezuzot (in
the Mishneh) and the books of the Tanach (in the Gemara), is being discussed.

David Ziants
Ma'aleh Adumim, Israel


End of Volume 65 Issue 21