Volume 9 Number 27
                       Produced: Mon Sep 20 21:04:05 1993

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Dinosaurs and Kashrut
         [Michael Allen]
         [Kibi Hofmann]
Jewish Roots
         [Henry Abramson]
Kosher in Ontario
         [David Sherman]
Playing with the law
         [Claire Austin]
sunrise and Sunset
         [Hayim Hendeles]
Women and Orthodox synagogues, vol 8 #92
         [Neil Parks]


From: Michael Allen <allen@...>
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 93 16:34:43 -0400
Subject: Re: Dinosaurs and Kashrut

>> From: <barryk@...> (Barry Kingsbury)

>> of evolution is accepted as scientific truth.  (What is argued in
>> scientific circles is the mechanisms by which evolution occurs;
>> there is no challenge to the underlying construct. None whatsoever.)

This statement highlights the distressing lack of critical thinking
among scientists rather than how good the evolutionary hypothesis is.
Evolution and Creation (as understood by the traditional sources) are
both internally consistent and mostly consistent with the available
data.  There is no rational way to choose between them without
broadening the scope of the question.

As to the question of dating techniques, they all extrapolate back past
the end of measured data.  To demonstrate the limitations of this
technique, measure the density of water at 10, 20, and 30 deg C, then
use your graph to predict the density of water at 105 deg C.  The fact
that you get the wrong answer is not a test of your faith, it is a
result of extrapolating past a discontinuity.  The creation of the
universe would represent a fairly significant discontinuity.

I am not able to detail the many untestable assumptions that go into all
the dating schemes.  I am somewhat more familiar with cosmology,
however, and I can point out some of the of unjustified and untestable
assertions upon which cosmology rests:

1) All physical constants have the same value everywhere in the universe.
2) All physical constants have always had the same value that they
   have now.
3) The earth does not occupy a unique place in the universe. (Even
   though there seems to be a dearth of planets in the universe.)
4) Even though all calculations of large distances and long times
   depend strongly on the details of the model one chooses for stellar
   and galactic evolution, and even though our stellar model is
   provably deficient; with all that the untestable conclusions are to
   be accepted as facts.

L'shana Tova,


From: Kibi Hofmann <hofmanna@...>
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 93 07:11:55 -0400
Subject: Re: Disasters

Eli Turkel writes:

>  I feel that Kibi is being overly optimistic. We know reasons for the
> destruction of the Temple only because they are mentioned in the Talmud.
> Even in this case they are general sins not groups of people. No where
> does it say that the Temple was destroyed because the Saducees were wicked.

Well, maybe it wasn't destroyed because of the Saducees...if the gemara gives
reasons then those are probably the right ones :-)

I think the heading "general sins" is what you are looking for when examining
a national disaster - what did you expect, a detailed list of the sins of
ten million individual Jews?

> For later events we don't have even this. There is no authoritative reason
> why Jews were massacred in the first crusade or by Chelminiski in 1648 
> etc, and I don't expect any real reasons to arise for the Holocaust until
> the Messiah arrives.

Actually, that is what I meant by the perspective of history. We have a long
enough history that even the crusades are relatively recent. I didn't want to
get embroiled in the actual sins issue, but if all the things that have
happened in the last 1900 or so years are part of golus then it may be that
the *general* reason for all of them is still sinas chinom (baseless hatred)
which the gemara says is the reason for the golus.

Wishing everyone a happy & healthy year filled with ahavas chinom (baseless
love) and peace


From: Henry Abramson <ABRAMSON@...>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 93 15:34:18 -0400
Subject: Jewish Roots

Gary Levin asks about how to find information about Jewish roots in Eastern
Europe, specifically Kolki, Poland.  An excellent English-language guide
to the Yizker-bikher, or memorial volumes, which were published about
thousands of Jewish communities is _From a Ruined Garden_  (sorry, the
names of the authors escape me).  See also Cohen's _Shtetl Finder_, which
provides limited information and references.

Henry Abramson


From: <dave@...> (David Sherman)
Date: Tue, 14 Sep 93 0:58:24 EDT
Subject: Re: Kosher in Ontario

> From: Gurion Hyman <Avi_J._Hyman@...>
> It is a provincial (state) law that anything implying (Kosher stamp,
> Jewish symbols, etc) that a product MAY be kosher must be certified by
> the Vaad Harabbonim (Orthodox) [Rabbinical Council - Ed.] of the
> province. In other words, if you falsely call some product kosher and
> it's not, you're not only breaking Jewish law, but breaking state law
> as well.

Let me provide some corrections here, because a lot of the detail is
wrong.  Caveat: I haven't looked up the law on this issue since I was in
law school over a decade ago; but I don't believe that anything has

First of all, it's a federal, not provincial, law, so it applies
throughout Canada.  It's a regulation that is part of the _Food and Drug
Regulations_ made under the _Food and Drugs Act_.  So it's in the same
jurisdiction as regulations controlling food packaging, labelling,
display and sale generally.

Second, THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT that the certification be provided by
the Vaad Harabbonim.  The requirement is that anything labelled as
kosher be Kosher according to Orthodox Jewish standards (I forget the
exact wording).

Now, it happens that the Jewish communities in Ontario (meaning mostly
Toronto) are well organized when it comes to kashrus; just about
everyone accepts the "COR" hashgacha, and there's no proliferation of
different hashgachas as happens elsewhere.  Similarly, the "MK" of the
Montreal Vaad is well regarded and strong, and in practice no
restaurant, butcher or bakery would try to open up in Toronto without
the COR or in Montreal without the MK.

But that doesn't mean that these hashgachas are recognized by the
federal regulation in any way.

When the regulation was first passed (in the early 1970's), several
"we're kosher but not strictly kosher" establishments were either
prosecuted or warned, and took down their signs alleging that they were
kosher.  The issue wasn't that they weren't under Congress; if it came
to a prosecution, the issue would be that, on the evidence, they were
not adhering to Orthodox standard of kashrus.  It's a straight
consumer-protection issue, much like any other kind of labelling.

The Regulation goes further than prohibiting someone from calling
themselves "kosher".  It prohibits the use of a Magen David or of any
Hebrew letters.  This was, I believe, in part a reaction to the butchers
that would put up "Bosor Bosor" instead of "Bosor Kosher"; in Hebrew, of
course, they're almost indistinguishable (beis-sin-resh vs.
kaph-shin-resh).  All the non-kosher places took down their Magen Davids
(M'ginei David?) and Hebrew lettering, and for years one never saw it on
non-kosher places.  Recently I've seen Israeli non-kosher restaurants
with Hebrew letters on their neon signs; I suspect that even if the
owners are informed of the regulation, they may believe that under the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which came into effect around
1982, their use of Hebrew letters is permitted under the "freedom of
expression" clause.  They may well be right (I don't profess to be an
expert on the Charter).

David Sherman


From: Claire Austin <CZCA@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 93 19:01:34 -0400
Subject: Playing with the law

Thought some m.-j. readers might be interested in the following:

I saw an interview on TV last night with the Catholic Archibishop
of Toronto.  Seems he's not very keen on "feminists" including the
nuns and laypeople in his Church.  It came to a head when he
banned women (including nuns) from distributing communion during
Mass.  A big demonstration ensued.  He explained his point of view
on the role of women in the Church, the authority of the Law, the
secular origins of feminism, the necessity of resisting change and
the importance of not giving in to the demands of feminists even if
in some things they might be justified.
In particular, he said, women should not participate in the Church
service and he cited Church Law on this.  When pushed by the interviewer
he said,

   "I could play with the law if I wanted to, but I don't want to."

Claire Austin


From: Hayim Hendeles <hayim@...>
Date: Mon, 6 Sep 93 11:48:46 -0700
Subject: Re sunrise and Sunset

	>>From: <GERVER@...> (Mike Gerver)
	>Warren Burstein asks in v8n65 how halachic times differ from
	>astronomical times of sunrise and sunset. This is discussed in
	>Chapter 9 of "Rabbinical Mathematics and Astronomy" by W. M.
	>Feldman (3rd edition, Hermon Press, 1978). One difference is
	>the effect of atmospheric refraction, which makes the sun
	>appear to be on the horizon when it is actually 35 minutes of
	>arc below the horizon. Since halachic sunrise and sunset occur
	>when the sun first appears or is last visible, rather than when
	>the center of the sun appears on the horizon, you have to add
	>16 minutes of arc (half of the diameter of the disk of the sun)
	>to make a total of 51 minutes of arc, i.e. halachic sunrise and
	>sunset occur when the center of the sun is actually 51 minutes
	>of arc below the horizon.

Mr. Gerver implies that halachik sunrise and sunset differs from
astronomical sunrise and sunset. Lest anyone ch"v misinterpret these
words, let me point out that "astronomical sunrise/sunset" has
absolutely nothing to do with when we observe sunrise/sunset.
Astronomical sunrise/sunset is a purely technical term, which is not of
general interest (due to atmospheric refraction, and the semi-diameter
of the Sun's disk).

The practical definition of sunrise/sunset, is fortunately, identical to
the Halachik definition. The U.S. Naval Observatory writes, on the back
of their ubiquitous "Tables of Sunrise and Sunset": "Sunrise and Sunset
are considered to occur when the upper edge of the disk of the Sun
appears to be exactly on the horizon."

For some reason, I have seen many people make this error, and I feel it
important to set the record straight.

	>Feldman also mentions different opinions on the duration of twilight,
	>and tentatively concludes that they all amount to different opinions
	>about how far below the horizon the sun has to be, i.e. according to a
	>given opinion, the sun has to be a certain number of degrees below the
	>horizon for twilight to be considered over, regardless of the time of
	>year of the latitude of the observer. The programs I have seen for

While the use of these mathematical formulae to calculate tzeit
hakochavim is quite prevalent (for the precise angle to use, consult
your LOR), one should never mention this topic without mentioning the
opinion of Rabbi Henkin zt"l, quoted in his approbation to Leo Levy's
"Jewish Chrononomy' (where he makes extensive use of these formulae):

(translation and errors are mine):
"... But one should not measure [these times] via angles, for these
 laws were not given to physicists and mathematicians. ..."

Hayim Hendeles


From: <aa640@...> (Neil Parks)
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 93 02:08:00 -0400
Subject: Women and Orthodox synagogues, vol 8 #92

>From: Freda Birnbaum <FBBIRNBA@...>

>  I have talked to female baalei teshuva who have
>told me that they have been made to feel more welcome in Presbyterian
>churches than in Orthodox synagogues.  What a shame on those synagogues.
>What a loss to everybody.

Please emphasize, "_those_ synagogues", as opposed to Orthodox
synagogues in general.  _Those_ synagogues must be doing something

I know several Orthodox shuls where those baalei tshuva would feel at

The shul that my mother belongs to in New Jersey has a very large and
active sisterhood.  Many of the sisterhood members are not shomrei
shabbos or "frum", but that shul is their "home" and they wouldn't leave
it for anything.  "Kal v'chomer" the ones that are "frum" aren't going
to leave either.

Here in Cleveland, at the shul where I'm on the board of directors, we
have several women on the board also, and we've had a female
vice-president.  The biggest complaint I hear from the women in this
shul is not that they feel left out of the rituals, but that they feel
the women do most of the fund-raising work and the men don't help out
enough in that department.

NEIL EDWARD PARKS       >INTERNET: <aa640@...>  OR
(Fidonet) 157/200 (PC Ohio)  
(PC Relay/RIME)  ->1869<-  in Common conf.  (PC Ohio)


End of Volume 9 Issue 27