Volume 8 Number 64

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Administrivia - Mazal Tov's
         [Avi Feldblum]
Abortion (2)
         [Leah S. Reingold, Robert A. Book]
Abortion Protesting (2)
         [Janice Gelb, David Kranz]


From: mljewish (Avi Feldblum)
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1993 07:16:23 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Administrivia - Mazal Tov's

FLASH NOTE: Something wiped out the mail-jewish .subscribers list on
Monday. When you read this, it will mean I have succeeded in restoring
the list. If you requested to drop the list, set postpone etc, you may
need to do so again, although I will try and do as much as I can from
this end. As things stand now, people who joined between July 19 and
about Aug 2 are missing from the list, and anyone who dropped after July
19 is back on. I'm pretty sure I can recover those that joined between
July 19 and July 28. My first priority will be to get this fixed up, and
then work on getting the issues out. Thanks for your patience. Now to
the issue I put together and sent out on Monday, which I did not get and
let me know that something was clearly wrong.

I would first like to extend a Mazal Tov to Fran (nee Storfer), a long
time member and contributer to our mailing list, and Harry Glazer on
their wedding yesterday. Several mailing list members were there
(including yours truly) and it was a beautifull event. Fran and Harry,
on behalf of the list I wish you all the very best!

I do consider the list to be a form of extended family, so if others on
the list have a Mazal Tov coming to them, if you let me know I will put
it here for the rest of the "family" to know.

As moderator, I'll stretch that a little bit. At the end of Augest /
near the middle of Ellul, my son Eliyahu will be reaching the age of Bar
Mitzvah. As you can imagine, he has heard quite a bit about this list. I
thought it might be a nice idea to give him a sort of "present" from the
list, in the following manner. Those that would like to, if you would
send him a picture postcard wishing him Mazal Tov I will put it together
in an album of mail-jewish greetings to him from around the world. I
trust I am not overstepping my bounds as moderator with this suggestion.

The address to send the card to is:

Eliyahu Feldblum
55 Cedar Ave
Highland Park, N.J. 08904

One last note on the content of this mailing. I am well aware that the
abortion issue is a major political issue in the USA currently. The
focus of any discussion on abortion on this list should be a
clarification on what the halakhot are concerning abortion, as well as
any halakhic and Jewish philosophic thoughts on the issues and even the
opposing groups. As claims have been put forward that each group is
anti-semitic, saying I think yes or no is not profitable. If you have
pointers to documents, feel free to post them to the group here, as I
think it is important to us as Jews to know those groups that are
clearly inimical to us. On the other hand, that there are individuals in
any group that are anti-semitic, I think we all know that any group of
reasonable size unfortunatly is likely to have several anti-semites as
part of it.

Avi Feldblum
mail.jewish Moderator


From: <leah@...> (Leah S. Reingold)
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 93 14:23:57 EDT
Subject: Re: Abortion

Mr. Bechhofer writes:

>Someone who recently protested vehemently against Jewish cooperation
>with Operation Rescue mentioned in passing that she had attended a
>"clinic defense." While the justification for assisting OR is lacking on
>Hashkafic grounds, IMHO it is clearly forbidden on Halachic grounds to
>assist goyim in what is, for them, certainly after the first 40 days, a
>capital crime.  By the way, one who kills a dying person (a "goses") has

I apologize for assuming that the readers of this list were aware of the
nature of clinic defenses; it seems as if they are not.  Please allow me
to explain the role of a clinic defender, so that any possible halakhic
objections can be clarified to me.

The primary role of a clinic defender is to arrive on the scene in front
of an abortion clinic earlier in the day than do the "Operation Rescue"
protesters, thereby ensuring that the pathway from the street to the
clinic door is kept safe for travel.  This task is no more than could
reasonably be expected of the police force--but since the police are
always over-extended, and are often politically motivated against
abortions, they cannot be relied upon to do this job.  Perhaps there is
another role demanded of clinic defenders; if so, it has never been made
apparent to me in any training or defense sessions.  This does not seem
to me to be contrary to halakha, especially considering certain facts
that I will explain in the following paragraphs.

It is true that defenses are often characterized by chants or slogans
that reflect the pro-choice position (while the "Operation Rescue"
people are busy praying or denouncing Jewish doctors across the street).
This is not mandatory, however, and I have never chanted anything

Furthermore, as a defender, I have no clue as to why any given person
has business in the abortion clinic, much less am I aware of such a
person's religion or state of pregnancy.  Many clinics provide
counseling, birth control, and prenatal services, and I have heard of
one young woman who was reassured by clinic defenders of her rights as
she walked by them into the building--to get her braces tightened at the
nearby orthodontist.

Some readers may be concerned that I would have had to violate shabbat
to defend a clinic, because most such demonstrations occur on Saturdays,
when "Operation Rescue" folk are neither at work nor at church.  I am
pleased to reassure anyone who might be concerned that I did no such
thing; I attended only defenses that occurred on Tuesdays last June in
the "Operation Rescue Tuesdays in June" attack on Boston in 1992.

Mr. Gerstman writes:

>than Halachah which is reason to be uncomfortable with them.  But,
>neither is the pro-choice view consistent with Halachah.  Abortion, for
>Jews, is not a capital offense.  But that doesn't make it Muttar either.

Please allow me to explain the pro-choice view, which is here
mis-represented.  Pro-choice is by no means pro-abortion.  People who
are truly pro-choice believe that women should not be forced by the
federal (or state or local) government to make any given decision
vis-a-vis a pregnancy.  Because we as religious Jews insist that rabbis
make such decisions, and that this issue cannot be decided in most
situations except on a case-by-case basis, we are by definition

One last point; Mr. Book writes:

>No one raised the issues of *ALL* abortions.  The only issue here is the
>type of abortions Operation Rescue was protesting; namely, abortion on
>demand for the sake of convenience.  It should be noted that Halacha

I was not aware that "Operation Rescue" protests only 'abortion on
demand for the sake of convenience.'  In fact, it seemed to me as a
clinic defender that they were protesting a good deal more than that,
including the existence of Jewish doctors, birth control, women who work
outside the home, and of course, any abortion whatsoever.  Some
"Operation Rescue" people do make an exception for women who have been
the victims of rape or incest, but this only serves to belie their
"pro-life" stance: since when is a fetus in these cases less a human
life than others?  Such exceptions prove only that the point of
"Operation Rescue" is that women should be punished for sexual conduct:
where a pregnancy results from something that is not her fault, these
hypocrites will allow destruction of what they allegedly consider to be
a life.  In their writings and speeches with which I am familiar, most
of the people in "Operation Rescue," most notably including those
associated with the Catholic Church, do NOT allow abortion to save the
life of the mother, because they believe that the fetus has as much
right to live as a born person, and if one of those two is certainly
going to die, then the baby is to be saved instead of the adult.
Perhaps Mr. Book has greater experience than I do with "Operation
Rescue" and their beliefs; if so, I welcome further comments so that I
will not continue in my mistaken thoughts.

Leah S. Reingold

From: <rbook@...> (Robert A. Book)
Date: Tue, 27 Jul 93 16:06:26 -0400
Subject: Abortion

Leah S. Reingold (<leah@...>) writes:

> I would like to add that "Operation Rescue" (and, indeed, most of the other
> similar groups in the U.S.) is an anti-semitic group, which has as one of
> its goals to get rid of Jewish doctors, whom they blame publicly for

Please document this.

> I hope with all of my heart that no self-respecting Jew would ally
> herself or himself with such a group.

The group they are usually opposing, Planned Parenthood, was founded
for the express purpose of reducing the population of Jews, Blacks,
and other "undesireables" by encourage them to engage in abortion and
other means of birth control.  This view is described in the book "My
Fight for Birth Control" (1931) by Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned
Parenthood.  The claim was that poor Jews who had immigrated from
Europe were ruining the fabric of society and the only way to reduce
their numbers (short of the solution Hitler pursued in Europe 10 years
later) was to reduce their numbers through abortion.  Since the
government woundn't pursue such a policy, the way to do this was to
use propoganda to convince the undesireables of the advantages of
"planned parenthood" and thus induce them to reduce their numbers

Judging by the position of most American Jews on the issue of
abortion, the effort seems to have been more successful than I would
have liked.

--Robert Book


From: <Janice.Gelb@...> (Janice Gelb)
Date: Wed, 28 Jul 93 21:22:11 -0400
Subject: Re: Abortion Protesting

In mail.jewish Vol. 8 #59 Digest, Robert Book writes:

> No one raised the issues of *ALL* abortions.  The only issue here is the
> type of abortions Operation Rescue was protesting; namely, abortion on
> demand for the sake of convenience.  

Operation Rescue does not only protest against "abortion on demand for
the sake of convenience," although this might be the type of abortion
they use to bolster their cause. They would like to make *all* abortions
illegal regardless of the circumstance. Their tactics-- physically
blocking the entrances to abortion clinics, harassing women who are
attending those clinics, and threatening the lives of doctors who
perform abortions--do not distinguish between types of abortions.

This is why many people who have a problem with some types of abortions
but would permit others (say, in cases of incest or rape, or where the
life of the mother is in danger), which is most of the people in the
U.S., find the OR movement, and certainly their tactics, unworthy of

Janice Gelb                  | (415) 336-7075     
<janiceg@...>   | "A silly message but mine own" (not Sun's!) 

From: David Kranz <kranz@...>
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 93 09:38:05 -0400
Subject: Abortion Protesting

While it is important to consider the halachic status of abortion we
must be very careful about how our thinking is expressed in political
action.  I will focus on the paragraph from Robert Book:

>No one is suggesting codifying Halacha into U.S. law.  Nevertheless, if
>we are to be "Or L'Goyim" ("a Light unto the Nations"), then it is
>incumbent upon us to attempt to create an ethical society wherever we
>may live, and wherever that may be possible.  Those of us who live in
>the U.S. or other democracies may find that the democratic process can
>be used as one tool among many to further this goal.  The separation of
>church and state is supposed to ensure that religion is not imposed on
>us by the state, not to require us to leave our religious convictions
>behind when we enter the voting booth.

The problem with this statement is that Operation Rescue and other
related groups *are* suggesting codifying "Christian Law as seen by
Them" into U.S.  law.  I have also attended a "clinic defense" but that
does not imply that I endorse every view of the clinic.  It simply means
that I do whatever I can to oppose attempts to codify religious beliefs
of a particular religion into U.S. law.  Then Jews can follow there own
laws.  While some Jews may see much common ground with fundamentalist
christian views on abortion, do they have so much common ground that
they wish to help in the next step towards making the U.S. a Christian
nation in law as well as actual fact?  Given that they do not picket the
homes of non-kosher Jews, one must ask how far to go in attempting to
convince others to behave as they should.  I think the answer in this
case is, as far as public demonstrations go: not far at all.

	David Kranz


End of Volume 8 Issue 64