Volume 7 Number 41

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Birmingham, England
         [Malki Cymbalista]
         [Lon Eisenberg]
Dangerous tomatoes
         [Josh Klein]
Kosher food and Orthodox shuls in Kenosha WI?
Nahem on Tisha B'Av
         [Jeff Woolf]
Pig Tomatoes (2)
         [Mechael Kanovsky, Anthony Fiorino]
         [Jerry B Altzman]
Planning for the Shmita Year, 5754
         [Yosef Branse]
         [Mike Gerver]


From: Malki Cymbalista <VUMALKI@...>
Date: Sun, 16 May 93 03:32:55 -0400
Subject: Birmingham, England

I will be at Aston University in Birmingham, England at the end of July.
I would appreciate any information on shuls, kosher food facilities, etc.
Thank you very much.  Malki


From: <eisenbrg@...> (Lon Eisenberg)
Date: Mon, 17 May 93 01:56:04 -0400
Subject: Bridgeport

My friend and his son need a place to stay for the first Shabbat in June
in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  Please send me any information that would help
him; I'll forward it to him (he works in Israel Aircraft, where their
security does not allow email).


From: Josh Klein <VTFRST@...>
Date: Wed, 12 May 93 14:53 N
Subject: Dangerous tomatoes

Bob Werman pointed out that the tomato was considered unkosher in Poland
for several hundred years. Once again, as is the case with certain
kitniyot, we're dealing with a New World crop, so the issur was probably
based more on the 'newness' of the crop. However, the Solanaceae, of
which tomatoes and potatoes are prime examples, also contain some rather
poisonous plants, such as Deadly Nightshade. The poisons are usually
alkaloids, some of which are beneficial in medicine. Other poisons
include solanine, which is found in the green part of potatoes that have
been exposed to light. The tomato was considered deadly in England until
the mid-1800s,, when some courageous person (whose name I forget) stood
on a public platform, ate one, and disappointed the crowd by not dying
on the spot.
 As part of the discussion on genetic engineering, I'd like to pose an
"ever min ha'chai" question: most molecular biology methods rely on the
use of antigens, which are derived by injecting the material one wants
to study into a rabbit or goat, and then bleeding said animal to get the
immunobodies to the study material. The animals are 'used' over and
over, so it's not just getting blood from a dead animal. And yes, the
animals (especially the rabbits) do seem to suffer emotionally (they
squeak at the approach of the person who will collect the blood), even
if the cuts are superficial, kept clean of infection (obviously, we want
healthy animals without extraneous antibodies to disease), etc. SO: are
genetically engineered foods that originate with 'tza'ar ba'alei chaim'
kosher? For medical research I can see justification, but I'd be
interested in reactions to the food issue. The world will continue to
spin with one less tomato variety....

Josh Klein VTFRST@Volcani


From: <Mark.Kantrowitz@...>
Date: Mon, 17 May 93 16:55:24 -0400
Subject: Kosher food and Orthodox shuls in Kenosha WI?

I do not subscribe to this list, so please send replies to me at

What are the options for Kosher food and Orthodox shuls in Kenosha,
Wisconsin?  I'll be teaching at the training session for the US team to
the International Olympiad of Informatics, and at least one of the
students is also Orthodox.  The training session will be held at the
University of Wisconsin/Parkside.  Does UWP have a kosher kitchen? If
not, are there any kosher restaurants nearby? Is there a kosher grocery,
or a grocery store with a large number of kosher products? Also, is
there an orthodox shul within walking distance of UWP?



From: Jeff Woolf <JRWOOLF@...>
Date: Thu, 13 May 93 19:19:33 -0400
Subject: Nahem on Tisha B'Av

Can anyone help me with sources on the question of whether to emend the
bracha of Nahem on Tisha B'Av since now it's hard to say the city is
desolate...I know that the Rav zatzal was opposed and that there is a
rumor Rav Goren liked the idea while others were mixed. I need reports
and bibliographical citations. You can post them or e-mail privately to

                                                         Thank you
                                                               Jeff Woolf


From: <KANOVSKY@...> (Mechael Kanovsky)
Date: Wed, 12 May 93 20:14:13 -0400
Subject: Re: Pig Tomatoes

About porky tomatos,  This proccess has been happening naturaly for quite
some time. When a virus incorporates its DNA into the host cell (i.e. the
cell that it infects) and then sometimes the viral DNA exices itself from
the infected cells' DNA taking with it part of the cells DNA and then it
infects some other organism and in that way incorporating foreign DNA into
the new host. If I remember correctly this is what happens when the 
with the influenza virus when there is an epidemic. The virus has a big
mutation when it incorporates some DNA from its former hosts (ducks and
pigs) and then "looks" compleatly new to the human immune system. Sorry
for being a little heavy on the jargon.

mechael kanovsky.

From: Anthony Fiorino <fiorino@...>
Date: Fri, 14 May 93 14:31:02 -0400
Subject: Re: Pig Tomatoes

An issue raised by someone in discussion of the pig-tomato question,
which has not been raised yet on mail-jewish, is the potential problem
of kalayim (forbidden mixture).  I feel sure that a tomato with a pig
gene would be kosher, but would it be forbidden to make such a tomato?
(although once made, it could be eaten.)

In a sense, when one inserts a foreign gene into a species, one is
"creating" a new species of animal, plant, etc.  A question of interest
to the other molecular biologists out there -- is making transgenic mice

Eitan Fiorino


From: <jbaltz@...> (Jerry B Altzman)
Date: Wed, 12 May 93 15:44:55 -0400
Subject: re: Pigness

I'd bet that the reason most people think of pigs when they think of
non-kosher animals is for the simple reason that pigs are much more common as
food in these parts than camels, hyraces, and so forth! Nothing much more
profound than that...

jerry b. altzman   Entropy just isn't what it used to be      +1 212 650 5617
<jbaltz@...>    jbaltz@columbia.edu        (HEPNET) NEVIS::jbaltz


From: <JODY@...> (Yosef Branse)
Date: Thu, 13 May 93 07:11:31 -0400
Subject: Planning for the Shmita Year, 5754

This message may be of general interest, but is really directed towards
a relatively small segment of the list's Israeli readership.

In just a few months, the shmita year 5754 will be here. As many MJ
readers may know, the history of shmita observance since the resumption
of settlement in Israel has been full of complication and controversy,
revolving in large part around the acceptability of the "heter mechira"
(temporary sale of the land to non-Jews as a means of allowing
agricultural work to continue during shmita).

In Israel today, the "heter mechira" is largely accepted by the
religious community, but there are many who have continued to observe
shmita in all its stringency, with all that implies in terms of the
availability and quality of produce, as well as how it must be treated.

The upcoming shmita year promises to be quite a challenge. On the one
hand, the number of people who do not rely on the "heter mechira" has
grown, both through natural population increase and through additional
farmers and settlements opting for stricter observance. On the other
hand, the security situation in the West Bank and Gaza, which served as
a prime source of produce in the past, has deteriorated due to the
Intifada (which erupted just a few months after the end of the previous
shmita, 5747 - 1986/7), so that this source will be very problematic.

Advance planning will be necessary for those individuals and communities
who intend a strict observance of shmita, which brings me to my query.
As in 5747, I am involved in coordinating shmita-related activities for
my small community in Migdal ha-Emek. I would like to make contact with
other people in Israel willing to exchange information, ideas, contacts,
etc. I am particularly interested in reaching those in small localities
who, like myself, may not have the benefit of a city-wide Va'ad Shmita
(shmita committee).

I'm not calling for a new LISTSERV(ER) group; rather, I hope to get
together a small distribution list for trading information. (However, if
interest turns out to be much greater than I think it will be, perhaps a
separate list would be in order.)

I should stress that I am NOT soliciting discussion about the merits of
the "heter mechira," the halachot and hashkafot of shmita, historical
anecdotes, and other general topics, which properly belong here in
Mail-Jewish. My intent is very practical, "halacha le'ma'aseh," based on
the hope that I might glean some useful information from others in the
same situation, and perhaps have something of my own to offer.

Anyone interested can contact me at my Internet address,
<JODY@...> or by telephone at home, 06-546384.

Yosef Branse, Univ. of Haifa Library, <JODY@...>


From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
Date: Fri, 14 May 1993 1:51:04 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Shaving

Moshe Koppel's discussion of the Nodeh Beyehuda's opinion on shaving, in
v7n28, may be pertinent to story my grandmother told me that has always
mystified me. Although my grandmother a"h always said that her parents
were very frum, she also said that when she came to America as a young
child, and saw her father for the first time in two years, she didn't
recognize him at first because he had shaved off his beard; this was in
1899 or 1900. Since I assume that electric shavers were not invented at
that time, and since I assumed that shaving with an ordinary razor was
prohibited by all opinions, I thought that perhaps her parents were not
as frum as she thought, or that shaving was something that was
widespread among new immigrants, even those who were "Orthodox " in some
sociological sense. But from what Moshe Koppel said, it sounds as if
there were some opinions that allowed shaving even with an ordinary
razor. Is this true? Would these opinions have been held by anyone
around 1900?

Mike Gerver, <gerver@...>


End of Volume 7 Issue 41