|Volume 10 Number 66||Mon Dec 11 23:55:01 US/Pacific 2000|
From: Steffi Karp <email@example.com> Date: Sun Dec 10 21:30:49 US/Pacific 2000 Subject: Re: Homosexuals and Judaism Hi there. It seems my name is cropping up as a spokesperson for Reform Judaism. I'd like to clarify that although raised Reform, I'm a member of a Recon shul and our kids attend a Conservative religious school where there is a troop, and I was writing for myself, not for any of the movements. Most importantly, I brought up Rabbi Hillel in my original letter regarding Boy Scouts meeting in synagogues, and whether or not a group which discriminates against gay leaders should be allowed to meet in synagogues. In the 'don't do to others what you wouldn't want done to you' vein, Boy Scouts of America troops should not meet in synagogues. Under the auspices of Hillel's 'one who saves a single life, it is as if s/he saved the whole world'--(Please pardon the very loose translations)--then we have an obligation not to discriminate against troop members who could be at a crisis point in teen identity. Their social ousting from 'outing' has been responsible for too many teen suicides. I did not bring these issues forward in order to debate the merits of homosexual activity/lifestyle etc. Instead, I am simply acknowledging that there are gays in the world and that they are human and some are Jewish, and that, as Jews, we recognize a certain sanctity of life. If we ignore the fact that the Boy Scout troop which meets within our walls discriminates, then our inaction sanctions the discrimination and could cause death. Are our congregations listening?
From: Shoshana L. Boublil <firstname.lastname@example.org> Date: Sun Dec 10 21:30:24 US/Pacific 2000 Subject: Re: Jewish Marriage As Daniel stated so eloquently: >[Moderator's Note: Before this discussion gets off track (if it hasn't >already). Orthodoxy has never claimed to have equality; that's attempting to >judge Orthodoxy by current mores. Orthodoxy claims to have distinct roles for >each sex, and that each role is equally important (but not necessarily equal >in everything). Liberal Judaism is a polydoxy in that we accept different >expressions of Judaism. All we can ask is that each expression be internally >consistent. Like it or not, Orthodoxy is internally consistent with respect >to its treatment of gender. It is not what Reform might like, but then again, >it has never claimed to be.] I don't have much to add to this beyond that as long as men can't give birth to children -- there _are_ distinctions between men and women and guess what, Shelly -- the men and women involved did not have any choice in their being born men or women. The question IMHO is -- once you have the hand you were dealt (man or woman) what do you do with it now? Do you take advantage of what is unique about you and enhance it and use it to your advantage and to society's benefit? Or do you choose to ignore it and choose what your mind wants with no regard for the physical, mental and spiritual needs that exist simply b/c of what you were born with? Traditional Judaism went with "nature's" choice -- men and women are different. Therefore, while individuals may have special needs (compared with the majority) first you accomadate the needs of the majority, and then you solve the problems of the minority. Ilan raised the spectre of inheritance laws. When land had meaning beyond riches, different places and different cultures had different inheritance laws. In some places only the eldest son inherited the land, and the others were given funds or assets held separately from what was considered the family estate (England). In others where tribal boundaries were determined and tribal belonging was set by the male of the family (while nationhood was set by the female) -- then technically men inherited the land. But did/does that mean that women did not inherit? Yes -- and no. A father had an obligation to feed his daughters and supply them with the basic needs towards their marriage (the dowry). So basically, when a daughter got married she got her portion of the family estate while the father was still alive. The brothers had to wait till after his death. Even after the father died, if there were still unmarried daughters, funds for their living needs and dowry had to be set aside before the sons could divide the inheritance that was left. Unless a family was wealthy, I think the sons may have been left with little. BTW, the wife also had a lifetime right to live in her home, so while she didn't own it -- they couldn't sell it out from under her either. They also had to set aside funds for her needs before the sons could inherit anything that was left. So, yes, it was not equal at all, but there were checks and balances guided by reality and what was the best that could be done, and not by theories that at times can cause more harm than good. We should remember that with all our talk of the theory of equality, women in the U.S. still earn lower wages then men with the same C.V. and experience. The numbers of single-parent families under the poverty line where the single parent is female are far higher than when the single parent is male. These are facts. Modern life has no solution beyond proclaiming that women and men _should_ have equal opportunities. There is no solution as long as you don't accept that people are not inherently equal. Day care is still considered a "women's issue" despite years of "equality" in the States. So there are many ways to solve these problems, and we should realize that reality does not always conform to what we think it theoretically should. Shoshana L. Boublil
From: Awaskow@aol.com Date: Mon Dec 11 20:59:06 US/Pacific 2000 Subject: Joint Muslim/ Arab/ Jewish Call for Peace Dear Chevra, For almost two months, since shortly after Yom Kippur, I have been working with a group of Jews and Muslims, including several important American Muslim organizations, to agree on a joint call for peaceful action in the Middle East. As I'm sure you can imagine, the process was not easy; yet we have now agreed on the call. It is critical, on different grounds, of some of the actions of both the Govt of Israel and the Palestinian Authority. We are circulating it to be signed by American Jews, American Muslims, and Arab-Americans, including those of Christian faith. And then we intend it to be published as an ad in the New York Times or (if that costs too much) another leading American paper, So far as I know, such a joint statement at the national level is unprecedented. Shehekhianu!! So as not to invade the boundaries of this list, I am not including the text of the statement. If you think you may be interested in signing it, please write Tikvashalom@aol.com with "Joint Statement on Peace" in the subject line, and ask for the text. I hope that many of us on the list will feel drawn to join in this statement, and thus help to bring nearer the blessings of peace. Blessings of shalom and salaam, Arthur
From: Rebbezev@aol.com Date: Sun Dec 10 21:29:50 US/Pacific 2000 Subject: Re: Peace and Gentleness in the Jewish Tradition B"H Michael Pelletier writes about R. Aaron Shmuel Tamaret's statement, "Study the Torah in order to understand and fulfill it personally, not in order to twist and distort it and turn it into a permit to carry a rifle!" (from a d'var Torah delivered by R. Tamaret on Shabbat Hagadol, 1906: > This Rabbi's position is understandable, considering that he died years > before "Regulations Against Jews' Possession of Weapons" was enacted in > Germany, and prior to the wholesale destruction of Jewish civilization in > Europe. He had no frame of reference to conceive of the critical urgency of > each and every Jew being ready and able to fulfill the Clearly, Rabbi Tamaret lived before the Nazi era, but he was well aware of the history of anti-Jewish persecution by armed mobs and governments -- the Haidamaks, the Chmelnitzky massacres, all the persecutions which we have suffered through the centuries. And this particular d'var Torah was delivered during the time of the Tsarist persecutions and pogroms. He certainly had "a frame of reference." Shalom, R. Zev-Hayyim Feyer P.S. In reviewing this post before sending it out, I noticed that I speak of R. Tamaret having "lived," while Mr. Pelletier refers to his having "died." I wonder if there is any significance to the choice of words?
From: Michael Horowitz <email@example.com> Date: Mon Dec 11 20:57:53 US/Pacific 2000 Subject: Re: Resignation of Sheldon Zimmerman > [Moderator's Response: Although Mordechai probably intended this to be > sarcastic, I'll give a serious response. According to the article in the Los > Angeles Times: "[Zimmerman] will undergo counseling during a two-year > suspension of his rabbinical duties, according to a statement submitted by > the seminary." If you read the article, you'll see he did not resign from > the rabbinate, but from his duties as head of HUC. Suspended from "rabbinic > duties": this means he will not be the leader of a congregation, or serve in > the role of a rabbi. Mordechai writes, I am sorry the moderator chose to assume my question was sarcastic. It was not. Prior to this I had a quite favorable opinion of Sheldon Zimmerman. My mother in law had found him to be a very favorable influence on her life. The Orthodox movement has no method of suspending people from their Rabbinic duties. A person can be thrown out of a Rabbinical Association, but not all Orthodox synagogues require membership in one. (IE there is no one umbrella group such as CCAR for Orthodox Rabbis) In the Orthodox world is a up to the individual organization to decide whether or not to hire an individual Rabbi. My question was meant to find out if this suspension means that a Reform temple or institution would not be allowed hire him. Can he speak or write about Jewish issues. What mechanism does the movement use to decide to suspend someone from the Rabbinate? Has this been done before or is it a new policy created because of the seriousness of the situation? I would hope to be contacted in the future to clarify my post, before people assume I meant it as a slam. [Moderator's Apology: I apologize for misunderstanding your note. As you might expect, such situations do require sensitivity in discussion.]
From: KBob24@aol.com Date: Mon Dec 11 20:58:35 US/Pacific 2000 Subject: Sephardic & Ashkenazi Haftorot This is one of those "out of left field" questions: This time of a year there are a few shabbatot where there are both Ashkenazi and Sephardic haftorot alternatives associated with the parasha. Does anyone know the origin of this practice? Also, are there any general themes that distinguish one from the other? Thanks, Ken Bob
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