Avodah Mailing List

Volume 04 : Number 111

Friday, November 5 1999

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 19:23:10 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Shabbos Guests

In a message dated 11/4/99 6:50:10 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
csherer@netvision.net.il writes:

> Yes, I have. Not to mention the prospects of that child himself (who 
>  bli ayin hara is perfectly healthy to the extent that we have a 
>  pending shaila about changing our sig lines again!) ad meah 
>  v'esrim!

Amidst all the bashing it is nice to hear a Bsuroh Tova, may HKB"H keep him 
healthy and in the apopriate time send him a Zivug Oloh Yofeh.

Kol Tuv

Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 19:25:51 -0500
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
Reb Shlomo Carlebach and Carlebach minyanim

There are two articles in the Jerusalem Post.  First, about RCS
http://www.jpost.com/Features/Article-0.html and the second about Carlebach
minyanim http://www.jpost.com/Features/Article-1.html

Any comments?  (I'm an outsider but curious.)

Anybody ever try to make a special Carlebach minyan in a regular shul just
so that the shulgoers could see what it's like?  What were the reactions?

Kol tuv,

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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 20:08:01 EST
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: Reb Shlomo Carlebach and Carlebach minyanim

In a message dated 11/4/99 7:25:44 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
MFeldman@CM-P.COM writes:

 Anybody ever try to make a special Carlebach minyan in a regular shul just
 so that the shulgoers could see what it's like?  What were the reactions?
 Kol tuv,
Yes, some were into it but many were disturbed by the imposition on their 

Kol Tuv,
Joel Rich

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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 20:10:30 -0500
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>
RE: Shidduchim (was Re: Shabbos Guests)

 From: "Carl M. Sherer" <csherer@netvision.net.il>
> On 4 Nov 99, at 14:59, Moshe Feldman wrote:
> >Yet your
> > explanation really covers the RW--i.e., those who choose to be part
> > of the "shidduch" system.  That system includes background 
> checks and
> > people being set up by people in their parents' generation (and
> > needing parental approval to accept a date).
> I'm not sure you're correct about that. I know that in my own 
> experience, we were set up by a mutual friend and not by a 
> professional shadchan, and yet each of us checked the other out 
> independently. And I know of plenty of instances in the RW world 
> where shiduchim were made other than by professional 
> shadchonim.

I too checked out the people I dated, generally by calling one or two people
who knew them.  (I think many in the YU world do that.  BTW, I'm using YU
world here imperfectly to denote people who generally are "set up" by others
but do not go through the full-blown shidduch system.)However, I did not try
to track down all information about those people, or contact someone who had
done so.

While there are benefits in knowing all potential blemishes, it also may
create a problem when the mentality is that everything you do will be
reported by someone, who will tell someone else, . . .   This tends to blunt
originality & creativity, because such things might be misinterpreted by
someone who doesn't truly understand you.  

Also, if a friend is doing the setting-up and he knows of a minor blemish,
maybe he'll wait until the couple has met once before telling the info (if
he believes the blemish to be rather unimportant).  In contrast, in the
classic shidduch system, all info is found out from the very beginning and
some people never get a chance, especially because parents are involved (who
may care about status than the person himself).

To be fair, I'm basing myself on what people have told me.  The following
comes from a recent mail-jewish: <<On the other hand, the shidduch system
has serious problems itself.
Any hint of a problem and a person is dropped.  I know of people who hid
the fact that a sister had kidney stones out of fear that it would
prevent other siblings from getting married.  >>

Kol tuv,

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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 17:13:46 -0800 (PST)
From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
Re: Reb Shlomo Carlebach and Carlebach minyanim

--- Joelirich@aol.com wrote:
> MFeldman@CM-P.COM writes:
> << 
>  Anybody ever try to make a special Carlebach minyan in a regular
> shul just
>  so that the shulgoers could see what it's like?  What were the
> reactions?
>   >>
> Yes, some were into it but many were disturbed by the imposition on
> their 
> time.

So, you don't recommend it?

What about a modified version taking less time than the standard
Carlebach minyan?  Would that compromise the experience?

Kol tuv,


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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 20:35:22 EST
From: Joelirich@aol.com
Re: Reb Shlomo Carlebach and Carlebach minyanim

In a message dated 11/4/99 8:13:58 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
moshe_feldman@yahoo.com writes:

<<  some were into it but many were disturbed by the imposition on
 > their 
 > time.
 So, you don't recommend it?
 What about a modified version taking less time than the standard
 Carlebach minyan?  Would that compromise the experience?
Actually it was a compromise version (about 10 minutes extra).  The challenge 
is that when we run it separately most people who come are into it and love 
it but it's about 20% (my guess, I'll let you know after tomorrow night what 
the # is) of the davening population.  When we tried it unofficially (the 
gabbai asked a shanna bet boy who was in town for an engagement of a sibling 
to daven and he decided on his own to Carlebach it a bit) in the main minyan 
quite a few people just talked during the singing and it hurt the atmosphere.

BTW, your cite of the Post didn't work but I found the article by searching. 
This excerpt interested me:
"The Carlebach minyanim, according to Rosen, are part of a general trend in 
society toward mysticism and away from rationalism. Unlike Sephardi Jewry, 
which through Shas, Rabbi Kadourie and others, has turned toward a form of 
Hassidism, the national-religious movement has for the most part avoided this 
tendency. "

I'd like to think that our goal is to be completely rational and spiritual at 
the same time!

Kol Tuv,
Joel Rich

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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 20:36:47 -0500
From: j e rosenbaum <jerosenb@hcs.harvard.edu>
Re: Dichotomous lifestyle

> I'm not sure I can understand your heichi timtzi.  M'ma Nafshach:
> either the activity is contributing to your avodas hashem (directly or
> indirectly), and there is no dichotomy, or it is not (and may be
> possibly inappropriate in absolute terms too), and you should refrain
> from it.  The important variable is not so much what you are
> doing/reading/watching etc., as it is WHY you are doing it.

I think I agree --- I really enjoy reading the classical
existentialist/absurdist authors (Camus, Albee, etc.), whose worldviews 
are strikingly different from my own because they provide a better
argument for my worldview through what they lack than many works from
"my side."  

Most works of an opposite worldview pose no real danger to someone 
with a mature and developed outlook, though there are plenty of them
which simply aren't worth reading because they're badly written.


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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 15:45:02 -0500
From: richard_wolpoe@ibi.com
Friendly fundamentalists


This is a very useful distincion I have found to be true via my peronal 
experience. Sincere mainline enagelicals (eg the Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, 
Jerry Fallwell) They will not prey <pun?> upon sincere Jews who proudly maintain
their kesher to HKBHK via the Bris with Avrohom Yitzchok and Yaakov.  They 
respect that; they may try to get you into JC, but will back off when you 
demonstrate a firm commitment to mihnog avoseinu beyodeinu as your valid 
justifictaion in sticking to being Jewish...

OTOH, if one is a secular jew, a phony Jew, a lost Jew,a wishy-washy Jew, a 
self-hate Jew, thn Look out.  The evangelicqals will sniff this out and will see
themselves as bringing that Jew closer to G-d,(and in a certain sense they may 
be right!) They will see themselves as being called to fill in a G-dless void.  

Disclaimer: I am excluding Jews for J and other cults that are patently 

Rich Wolpoe

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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 21:11:10 -0500
From: "Feldman, Mark" <MFeldman@CM-P.COM>

See Friday's Ha'aretz for a rebuttal to the article I cited earlier this

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Date: Fri, 05 Nov 1999 13:50:29 +1100
From: SBA <sba@blaze.net.au>
Rav Mechel Feinstein

>>>How does Rav Michel feinstein fit into this picture. I was told he was
related to the Soloveitchik's twice, once through a blood relation
and once through his daughter's marriage.     -  Eli Turkel<<<<<

Rav Michel Feinstein is the son in law of Rav Velvel Soloveitchik ztl

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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 19:10:17 -0800 (PST)
From: harry maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: What is a Godol?

--- Steve Katz <katzco@sprintmail.com> wrote:
> As we have come back to revisit this topic, I would
> like to see some
> definitions of what is a Godol.
> Thanks and have an awesome day.
> steve

Here is an old list of mine which has been posted
before. For those who haven't seen it yet here it is:

Definition of a Gadol

1. High degree of intelligence 
2. Highest degree of Ahavas and Yiras Shamaim 
3. Highest degree of integrity...
4. A certain degree of humility
5. Complete knowledge of Shas and Rishonim 
6. Complete knowledge of  Shulchan Aruch and early
Achronim (i.e. Shach and Taz etc.) 
7. The ability to Paskin new Sheilos and to be
Mechadesh new "Torah" (with accomplishments in at
least one of these two areas) 
8. Working knowledge or high degree of familiarity
with secular disciplines 
9. Knowledge of current events, especially their
impact on Klal Israel 
10.  Acceptance of points 1 through 7 about such an
individual by a majority of his peers (i.e.  Roshei
Yeshiva and other Poskim) 

11.  To be "THE" Gadol Hador, one would need,
additionally, acceptance by the majority of Bnei Torah
as "THE" Gadol Hador.

Bnei Torah as defined in this context is: all sincere
members of the Torah world-left to right,  Y.U.  to 
Lakewood, Chasid  to Misnagid, Sefardi to Ashkenazi,
Students, Baleil Batim, Rabbis.  (I hope  I've covered

Things not included in this definition are:
1. Personality type 
2. Popularity of his political opinions 
3. Popularity of his teshuvos.
4. Acceptance by "only one segment" of Bnei Torah as a
Gadol Hador.

It might be argued that one might not find anyone
alive today that has all eleven qualifications, and
since every generation has it's Gedolim it becomes
necessary to eliminate or modify
one or more of the above mentioned requirements. 
Which one(s)? 

Again, please feel free to comment/criticize.  Also,
please feel free to nominate any contemporary
individual if you feel he fulfills or comes close to
fulfilling all these  requirements.

Do any of the "Gedolim" mentioned on this list thus
far qualify?  I don't think so.  A Talmud Chacham may
know all of Shas but may not be a posek or a
mechadesh.  He may be considered a leader in a
specific community but not outside that community. 
(see exception #4)

Lubavitch HAD such Gedolim.  The Rogatchover Goan, and
R. Zevin.  They were accepted outside the Lubavitch
community and therefore qualified. But today, outside
of Lubavitch who considers any of those mentioned so
far to be Gedolim.  If they are accepted and it is
only my ignorance of them then Mea Culpa,  I
apologioze for any slight to these individuals or
Lubavitch.  But if they are all Gedolim just to
Lubavitch, then I question the appelation. Please
understand that I am not trying to denigrate the
stature of the Talmidei Chachamim in Lubavitch. But a
Talmid Chacham is not neccesarily a Gadol. A Posek is
not necessarily a Gadol. Lest you think I recognize
only Litvishe Gedolim I assure you I recognize others
as well. Certainly many of the admorim of the recent
past were Gedolim.  (the Satmar Rebbe, The Gerrer
Rebbe, the Lubavitcher Rebbe,) and Sfardim (R. Ovadia
Yosef). I am sure there are many today as well and
they are recognized as such by organizations like
Agudah.  The only problem I have with the claim that
Lubavitch has Gedolim is that one never hears about

A list member (who insists that there are Lubavitcher
Gedolim today) indicated to me today that the only
reason Lubavitch doesn't talk about their Gedolim is
because the Rebbe worship has so overpowered the
movement that no one in Lubavitch is machshiv anything
accept the Rebbe and it wasn't like this in the past. 
I don't know that I agree with that.  The Rogatchover
Goan would have been a Gadol in any generation or

I personally don't think we have any Gedolim today of
the calibre of the previous generation.



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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 23:48:28 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>

From: Chana/Heather Luntz <Chana/Heather@luntz.demon.co.uk>
> Subject: Re: Shabbos Guests

> Some people on here have made comments (some perhaps half jokingly)
> that they have children to marry off, and hence cannot be seen to be
> espousing


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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 23:55:59 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>

From: Moshe Feldman <moshe_feldman@yahoo.com>
> Subject: Re: Shabbos Guests
> You say that the problem is across the spectrum.  Yet your
> explanation really covers the RW--i.e., those who choose to be part
> of the "shidduch" system.  That system includes background checks 

> In the YU world, people are more likely to be set up by friends. 
> They are not as worried about some minor detail which might slip out
> about them, because their friends will put things in perspective. 

	I don't think the RW/LW is that clear here,  but I don't want to go into
detail because.....

	I think Chana put it very well by comparing the two models to Rivka and
Rochel.  Certainly Rivka was asked for her consent at the very end of a
lengthy background check (which included an anonymous performance test,
which is,  I have heard,  back in vogue in certain circles) in which she
was not involved.  Yitzchok even less so.  Rochel and Yaakov, OTOH, were
a more "modern" situation,  keveyachol.  


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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 23:44:45 -0500
From: Gershon Dubin <gershon.dubin@juno.com>
Eliezer eved Avraham

>> From: Moshe and davida Nugiel <friars@aquanet.co.il>
> Subject: blurring distinctions

<< The objection is that It is not Eliezer to whom Avraham turned. We 
> only know it is Eliezer because of the Midrashic interpretation.
> I am very sensitive to this issue, but more from a pedagogical point 
> than a content point. If we decide on a consensus that this unnamed
person always working with Avraham is Eliezer, I don't think that it's
such a big deal.>>

	Big enough to call it fuzzy headed.  Be that as it may,  may I point you
and the other chaverim to a beautiful piece on Virtual Beit Midrash
(www.vbm-torah.org) by Rav Elchanan Samet in WHY he is not referred to by
name but as "avdo",  "zekan baiso hamosheil bechol asher lo",  "hoeved",
"adoni"  (by Rivka), "ho'ish", "bruch Hashem".   Furthermore, the titles
change without apparent reason.  Highly recommended.


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Date: Thu, 04 Nov 1999 23:53:00 EST
From: Kenneth G Miller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Yom Shekulo Shabbos

The recent talk about CDs, which do such a fine job of being surrogate
memories, has led me to write something that I've wondered for quite a
while. Our listowner has asked for more threads which can help us improve
our Avodah, and I hope this might take us in that direction.

It hardly needs to be said that our libraries of Torah on CD, and Torah
on Cassette, are worthless on Shabbos and Yom Tov, when many of us do a
considerable portion of our learning. More than that, I find that my
Shabbos learning is seriously hampered by the inability to take notes. I
find that a complicated sugya can be made much more manageable by jotting
down highlights and organizing them on a separate page. And this too is
assur on Shabbos.

We tolerate these difficulties on Shabbos, and then on Motzaei Shabbos --
to whatever extent our memories allow -- we'll look up that source on the
CD, or write down a summary of what we learn.

I wonder if "toleration" is the wrong attitude. Perhaps we should be
working harder to be free of these crutches.


In our benching on Shabbos, we ask Hashem to grant us "a day which is
entirely Shabbos." It's never been clear to me whether this refers to
Yemos Hamashiach, or to Olam Haba, but I've always suspected that the
reference includes some kind of issur melachah then. The menuchah of
Shabbos comes not merely from being freed of our *responsibility* to
manage the physical world, but from our not managing it *at* *all*.

The pleasures of that future world will be spiritual ones. Our CDs are
off limits on Shabbos. Seforim are allowed, but we may not write new
ones, taking notes while we learn. Today's Shabbos seems to train us for
the future, when we'll have nothing with us but our intellects and

Crutches indeed. Or maybe not. Are we relying on these artificial
learning aids too much? Am I wrong that our heter to publish Torah
Sheb'al Peh is the longest-lasting Horaas Shaah we've ever had? Shouldn't
we be trying harder (or at least trying a little) to get back to where
our Oral Torah is truly an oral one? What do others think?

Akiva Miller

PS: Yes, I know that the issur of writing down Torah Sheb'al Peh does not
forbid personal notes to help organize thoughts. But Shabbos does forbid
it. And my point is that *perhaps* we rely on these surrogate memories
too much today, even during the week.

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Free software, free e-mail, and free Internet access for a month!
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Date: Fri, 5 Nov 1999 00:46:23 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Yom Shekulo Shabbos

In a message dated 11/4/99 11:56:37 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
kennethgmiller@juno.com writes:

> In our benching on Shabbos, we ask Hashem to grant us "a day which is
>  entirely Shabbos." It's never been clear to me whether this refers to
>  Yemos Hamashiach, or to Olam Haba, but I've always suspected that the
>  reference includes some kind of issur melachah then.

See Rashi Rosh Hashana 31a, the MaHaRShA points to the Gemara in Eirchin 
(13b) that "Alei Osoir" refers to the Kinor of Olom Haboh, (vs. Yemos 
Hamoshiach of 8 Neemin).

Kol Tuv

Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Fri, 5 Nov 1999 09:17:16 +0200
From: "Shoshana L. Boublil" <toramada@netvision.net.il>
Re: large weddings

There has been a lot of discussion about the expense of weddings.  And while
it is true that many are very expensive -- many others just seem that way.

In Israel, especially among the Sephardim, the whole family is invited ---
that includes 4-5 generations in every direction (as long as they are on the
"family mailing list").  That means that before a family starts counting
invitees -- they already have a guest list of anything between 200-500
guests.  This is also besides the Chatan and Kallah's friends.  The
advantage is that you have a true Simha.

There are several ways to handle this:
1) less expensive portions allows to invite more people for less
2) It is customary that those that can afford it give checks to cover the
price of the meal they ate.  From my experience with other Simhas (my
daughters are still in Ulpana <g>) -- we covered 60%, and sometimes even
more of the Simha from these checks, besides the many, many presents that

There are probably other ways, and I'd like to share a story:
Friends of ours (from Kollel days) were getting married.  They had over
1,000 guests and no money.  So they had the wedding outdoors in the Yeshiva
grounds, the Yeshiva loaned them tables and benches and the use of the
kitchen -- and the women of the family came in a few days early and made all
the food themselves.  The had self-service so there were no waiters.

It was a wonderful wedding full of Simha, and I'm glad they invited
everyone.  And that is the important point -- that the day a woman accepts
her duties as a jewish woman should be a day to remember and a true Simha
for all.


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Date: Fri, 5 Nov 1999 11:24:30 +0200
From: "Mrs. Gila Atwood" <gatwood@netvision.net.il>
Re: Dichotomous lifestyle

> I specifically chose authors whose philosophy IS "far away" from Torah
> Hashkafa;" the point being that even with these sources one can enhance
one's avodas hashem.

There are several problems involved in using secular sources as means to
enhance avodas Hashem.  As you mentioned,  it's a matter of motive.
In the case of Jane Austen et al my primary motive was enrichment of my
daughter's English.  I choose books with strong moral/ethical content so
that we can discuss the events and values presented and show how they are
consonant with Torah values.  There is also a side benefit of pleasant
entertainment which keeps you reading the story.
This is also the essence of the Chassidic story- (here the source is purely
Jewish.)  The entertainment value of the story keeps you interested and
before you know it you've learned something profoundly spiritual.

When we get into the realm of entertainment for its own sake we find
ourselves on a dangerous slippery slope.  Granted, there are plenty movies
out there with profound messages and redeeming social value.  However, the
extraction of the good can often be used as an excuse, a rationalisation for
accepting the entertainment while at the same time we're exposing ourselves
to a lot of stuff which is clearly dissonant with Torah values-  varying
degrees of pritzus, nivul peh, violence etc.   We have to see the influences
for what they really are.

Ayn Rand was a very fine writer, (as is Steven King, Steven Donaldson and
others I now avoid like the plague)  and certainly inspired personal
achievement but in many other ways presented an attitude that was self
worshipping, immoral and included gemilus chasadim only in a very
begrudging, disdainful manner if at all.  (the Scandinavian philosopher who
sank the boats bringing relief to Europe for example- in "Atlas shrugged") .
We have more of a negative example here!

The whole meaning of "issur"  implies that, yes, there are G-dly sparks in
there, but they are bound up in tumah. It is not appropriate to try to
release them at this time if ever.

respectfully-  Mrs. G.A.

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Date: Fri, 5 Nov 1999 04:14:37 -0800 (PST)
From: harry maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Dichotomous lifestyle

--- "Mrs. Gila Atwood" <gatwood@netvision.net.il>
> > I specifically chose authors whose philosophy IS
> "far away" from Torah
> > Hashkafa;" the point being that even with these
> sources one can enhance
> one's avodas hashem.

Gee!  You guys are such spoil sports.  I really liked
Terminator Two.  Granted it didn't have the socially
redmeening value of say... Sar Wars, but, I really
enjoyed it.



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Date: Fri, 5 Nov 1999 5:40:37 -0600
From: david.nadoff@bfkpn.com
Conspicuous Consumption, Luxury, Etc.

HM wrote in v4#106:

>The best way for anyone to learn moderation is to see our
>role models practicing it....This is is what we should
>point to when trying to define moderation, not someone
>else's big wedding. That is his buisness and not ours to judge.

I wish I could agree, but the number of someone elses with big weddings
has given rise to some significant social problems in frum communities
that are the business of all of us. What we need from our g'dolim are
takonos that address the issue head on, not just their examples as role
models. [As an aside, Jordan's point in his post earlier this week is very
well taken - g'dolim must consider the economic and other side effects of
their takonos so that they don't inadvertantly just trade in one set of
problems for another.]  At your and Gershon Dubin's request, I'm in the
process getting permission to post R' Twesky's articles on this subject.
Perhaps we can discuss this further after they are posted.

Kol tuv,

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Date: Thu, 4 Nov 1999 18:43:47 EST
From: GDH48@aol.com



333 WEST WACKER    CHICAGO,ILLINOIS 60606-------312-332-4172

Currently, the organized Jewish community and its various philanthropic 
agencies are racing about in a frenzied fashion, forming task forces and blue 
ribbon commissions to study the problems of assimilation and intermarriage 
and their impact on Jewish continuity.  The answer to these and many other 
questions was given 4,000 years ago at Mount Sinai.  If we want Jewish 
continuity, it is our Biblical mandate to Jewishly educate our youth.  It is 
that simple.  The Torah dictates the obligation of v'shinantam l'vanecha.  It 
is recited  three times daily in the Shema.  It is a communal obligation to 
furnish affordable (or better yet, free) intensive Jewish education to all 
children who seek it, irrespective of  family financial status or stream of 
religious commitment.  

The American Jewish community is bifurcated into two camps.  Approximately 
80% of our children (about 800,000) get no intensive Jewish education, while 
approximately 20% (about 200,000) are in some form of yeshiva or day school 
setting. The current high cost of tuition has given rise to an unconscionable 
state of affairs. For those that are not in the system, the current high 
tuitions have created an economic barrier of entry.  Except for the wealthy 
or the extraordinarily committed,  young families cannot afford to pay the 
tuition or are not willing to make the necessary financial  sacrifices.  With 
tuition currently at $7,000 - $10,000  in after tax dollar per child, one can 
quickly calculate the devastating financial impact of having more than one 
child in school.  It is also absolutely predictable that the current tuitions 
being charged  will increase by double within the next seven years.  A 
community that does not educate its youth is doomed to extinction. 

For those 200,000 children that are in the day school environment, the price 
of familial strife and sacrifice is extraordinary.  Local rabbis across the 
country can attest to the terrible levels of tension that exist in day school 
families trying  to balance their stretched finances at the end of the month. 
 The schools are facing annual increases in scholarship requests,  while 
annual  tuitions are increasing exponentially.  The system is on the verge of 
financial collapse.  Teachers are not being paid on time or nearly enough.  
Quality teachers must go elsewhere because their families cannot live on the 
meager salaries currently provided by the day schools.  Each year the 
situation worsens and the hole keeps getting deeper.  In order to live within 
their fiscal constraints, many schools are increasing  class size to reduce 
per pupil educational costs.  The current crisis must be averted.  It is our 
duty.  The solution is more money.  It is outrageous that the wealthiest 
Jewish community in the history of the world is not  providing affordable 
Jewish education for all who seek it.
Operation Jewish Education/The 5% Mandate is a very straight forward and 
easily understood concept.  For 4,000 years Jewish communities have imposed 
upon themselves Kehillah taxes to fund essential communal services.  
Notwithstanding  that contemporary America is not an organized Kehillah and 
that the American Jewish Diaspora is  structured around voluntary 
associations, I still believe that a Kehillah tax can be implemented.  This 
mandate will be fulfilled if enough rabbis, lay leaders, literary figures, 
and notable personalities all recite in a unified choir that the marshaling 
of massive amounts of our  capital resources is a necessity to fulfill the 
Biblical mandate of educating our children.  We must create a "standard of 
normative behavior" that every Jew in the Diaspora  set aside and donate 5% 
of his assets either inter vivos or by will to any Jewish educational 
endowment fund of his choice.  Every Jew must share a piece of his worldly 
possessions for the next generation of children.  Everyone must give 
something, somewhere to someone.

How do we foster communal mores that will mandate this rigorous and demanding 
standard of behavior?  Answering this question with another analogous 
question helps  to provide additional insight and perspective.  When a man 
goes into a business meeting or a formal occasion, he puts on a necktie. Why? 
 It seems the placement of an extraneous piece of silk fabric tied in a 
precise knot hanging in a vertical direction is a most absurd and 
supercilious act.  Why do men do it?  Not only does the color and pattern of 
the necktie have to match the color and pattern of the shirt and suit, but it 
also must be the proper width.  Men purchase neckties in a certain width 
knowing full well that within two years that width will be unfashionable. 
Even though the necktie is perfectly fit, it will be replaced by another 
whose width is then considered acceptable.  Why?  Who dictates the width  of 
neckties, or even their very existence, as being a societal requirement?  
This may seem  a silly analogy, but I believe it is indicative of how 
individuals respond to perceived mandated standards of societal behavior.  If 
every pulpit rabbi, every religious leader,  every literary personality, 
every board president and every organizational trustee demanded that in order 
to save the Jewish people, every Jew must leave a portion of the bounty of 
the present for the children of the future, many people will comply.  Since 
we are dealing with the very essence of the continuity of the Jewish people 
and the fulfillment of the Biblical obligation, the 5% Mandate would be each 
person's final mitzvah on this earth. There are no atheists in foxholes (as 
you articulated in your manuscript), and every human being must reach a final 
settlement with his maker.  Leadership must clearly set the bar  of 
individual responsibility for funding essential communal services.  The 
mitzvah of sharing a portion of one's material gains in this world with the 
next generation of children is very compelling.  It must be clearly and 
forcefully articulated.  

The most successful campaign is one that is fueled by grass roots  
participation.  Operation Jewish Education/The 5% Mandate has furnished the 
initial momentum for a program that can succeed if leadership steps forward 
and leads.  Currently, hundreds of rabbinic and lay leaders representing 
constituencies and organizations of tens of thousands of Jews have signed 
Declarations of Leadership which affirm the 5% obligation, requiring every 
Jew to give to the day school or yeshiva endowment fund of their choice. To 
date, millions of dollars have been contributed to local endowments funds 
across the diaspora and many more millions have been pledged. Dr. Milton and 
Lois Shiffman have contributed $5 million to make Jewish day schools more 
accessible for Jewish children in Detroit. The Detroit Jewish Federation has 
agreed to match this donation and together this endowment will generate 
approximately $800,000 a year in scholarship aid. Dr. Michael Rosenzweig, 
President of the New Atlanta Jewish Community High School, has announced the 
receipt  from an anonymous donor of a $2,250,000 gift to establish an 
endowment fund. The Ida Crown High School in Chicago now has an endowment 
fund approaching $2,000,000. The Hillel Torah Day School in Skokie has 
recently received several hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and 
assignments of life insurance policies for its newly formed endowment fund. 
Many national leaders as well as the executive committee of the Rabbinical 
Council of America and the National Council of Young Israel, among others, 
have also endorsed this initiative.  If enough leaders repeat this statement 
often enough, to the point that it becomes a mantra of Jewish survival, it 
will become a reality.  If the Diaspora Jewish community can be made to 
understand that the very survival of the Jewish people hangs on each 
individual's participation, this will succeed.  Every individual understands 
that no one can take his material possessions with him to the world to come, 
and participation in this 5% mandate is a small economic price to pay for a 
final mitzvah.  The success or failure of this initiative is entirely in the 
control of each individual. 

The other important aspect of this mandate is that it achieve the 
universality of a "half shekel" tax,  which is applicable to both the poor 
and the wealthy.  The underlying premise  is that everyone must participate.  
Honor rolls must be published with the names of every individual who signs 
the Letter Of Intent to memorialize the performance of this final mitzvah of 
each individual's life.  These honor rolls will become living testimonials 
for posterity, recording each Jew's position as to this mitzvah.  It is a 
clear yes or no.  There is no wiggle room, fence sitting, or uncertainty.  
Since we have no sheriff to enforce this initiative, we must rely on other 
means of compliance.  The absence of one's name from this honor roll would 
create a sense of peer pressure and disapprobation that few individuals would 
care to experience. When this mandate becomes a reality, within a few short 
years there will be ample monies in endowment funds across the Diaspora so 
that every school can survive, just from the interest earned.  To fully 
appreciate the feasibility of this project, consider that Harvard University 
has approximately $14 billion in its endowment fund, which is the largest in 
the United States.  If the 5 million Jews of the Diaspora could, over time, 
match this capitalization on an aggregate basis for locally controlled funds 
across all the cities in the country, the interest generated by these 
endowment funds alone would fund every day school and yeshiva in perpetuity.  
This is doable, if leadership will unite and focus on solving this problem.

Each of the 14 Chicagoland day schools has now created its own endowment fund 
to provide the mechanism to fulfill its goals.  A separate umbrella fund, 
entitled the Jewish Day School Guaranty Trust Fund of Chicago, is managed by 
the Finance Committee of the Chicago Jewish Federation, which will distribute 
earned income to all day schools pro rata.  The underlying premise is that 
only a portion of the interest accrued will be distributed and the principal 
will never be invaded.  The stated goal for the Chicagoland initiative is to 
raise $300 million within the next 7-10 years.  (If 300 individuals 
designated $1 million life insurance policies or 3,000 individuals designated 
$100,000 life insurance policies, this alone would fulfill the $300 million 
goal.)  The income from these investments would be sufficient to fund day 
school education in Chicago in perpetuity. Hundreds of billboards have been 
erected in front of synagogues and day schools advertising Operation Jewish 
Education/The 5% Mandate.

Operation Jewish Education/The 5% Mandate is attempting to help day schools 
help themselves.  We are attempting to have every day school and every 
synagogue in the Diaspora open its own endowment fund.  We are encouraging 
each school to appoint seven members to its own fund's board of trustees, who 
would in turn have donated funds  managed by a professional independent money 
manager.  We are seeking to encourage each endowment fund to never spend more 
than the first 7% of annual earnings from its principal so that each fund 
will grow from retained earnings, in addition to ongoing contributions. We 
further are seeking to forge partnerships between day schools, federations 
and synagogues so that a myriad of endowment funds are established, enabling 
every Jew to give to the institution to which he feels the closest.

We must recognize that  leadership of day schools across the Diaspora is 
consumed with trying to figure out how to meet the payroll every month.  Day 
schools, with their very existence is in daily jeopardy, do not have the 
luxury of planning for the future.  In attempting to promote local 
implementation of Operation Jewish Education/The 5% Mandate, we are 
establishing regional offices nationally.  The staff in these offices will 
help local day schools' leadership help themselves.  The staff personnel will 
do no fund-raising.  It is important to clarify in every community that our 
initiative will not  take money out of the community to staff another 
organization.  The mission of each office will be clearly articulated as 

I.  Assist each local day school to establish its own endowment fund which 
will be supervised by an independent board of seven trustees (this will give 
each school the opportunity to bring back seven formerly active members of 
their parent body to be the guardians of that institution's endowment fund).  
These funds would be managed by independent professional money managers.  The 
Jewish Federation of each community should be willing to perform this 
function with no fee for services.

II. We are also asking every Jewish leader in the Diaspora to explain the 
nature of the crisis and its solution, "Operation Jewish Education/The 5% 
Mandate," to their own constituency and obtain pledges.

We must inculcate in all communities that "Operation Jewish Education/The 5% 
Mandate" is a Mitzvas Aseh - an affirmative obligation of every member of the 
community, the rich and the poor, the young and the elderly.  This is the 
"machtzit hashekel" (half shekel tax) of our generation.  It is every Jew's 
obligation to provide for the education of the next generation of young 

    A.  Have community rabbis and lay leaders sign the Declaration of 

    B.  Start a public relations campaign which includes:
        1.  Establishment of parent calling committees;
        2.  Mailings to parents and the general community;
        3.  Erection of billboards (sample layout available) in front of 
every           synagogue and school in the community;
        4.  Asking every community rabbi to speak from the pulpit about the 
5%          Mandate.

III.    Have each day school circulate individual Letters of Intent and 
obtain signatures from every member of the community.

The initial signature drive should start among the parents, then the 
grandparents, then the aunts and uncles and extended families, and then 
friends, utilizing the concept of concentric spheres of contact, starting 
with the most committed and gaining critical mass  to bring in the less 

Publish quarterly, in the Anglo-Jewish press, a list of names of everyone 
that has signed Letters of Intent and fulfilled their communal 
responsibility.  The publication of this list is an effective vehicle for 
creating communal accountability.

The national day school community is a powerful political force that has 
never been harnessed.  There are approximately 200,000 children in the day 
school system, which translates into a corresponding adult population of over 
1 million Jews.  This day school family includes parents, grandparents, aunts 
and uncles who are associated with all  religious streams of affiliation, all 
of whom are keenly concerned with solving this crisis.  This 1 million Jewish 
population constituency is already organized into a readily accessible army 
which can be broken down into easily contactable units.  Every day school has 
its own organizational hierarchy with a president and board of directors.  
The mailing list of each organizational constituency is the basis for a 
national grass roots contact list.  Our intent is to initiate the 
mobilization of all of these like-minded individuals that can change the 
course of events in the Diaspora.  If sufficient individuals say often enough 
that there is a 5% Mandate, it will become a reality.  That which must be 
done, will be done.  Over time, it will become a "standard of normative 

We must seize the moment for Klal Yisrael and devote our utmost efforts to 
promote the funding of these endowments and fulfillment of the obligation of 
v'shinantam l'vanecha.  We must stand and assume our responsibility and not 
squander this singular opportunity.

In the tradition of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Gamla, our leaders have declared that 
it is every Jew's obligation to act now for Jewish education and fulfill the 
mandate of this new concept in financial support for day schools, "lest Torah 
be lost to Klal Yisrael" ( Bava Basra 21a).

333 W. Wacker Dr., Suite 2750
Chicago, IL 60606
Fax: 312-332-2119

By George Hanus, Chairman

    Recognizing that intensive Jewish education is the essential guarantor of 
Jewish survival and continuity in the face of the pervasive cultural forces 
that foster rampant assimilation, intermarriage and other destructive trends 
among our people, our Rabbis and national Jewish  lay leadership have adopted 
a formal Declaration establishing: 


    Affirming the proposition that it is a fundamental obligation of the 
entire Jewish community and each individual Jew to provide intensive Jewish 
education to all who seek it, irrespective of family wealth, our leadership 
has unequivocally declared that:


    The Declaration therefore imposes upon each of us the sacred obligation 
to dedicate at least 5% of ones estate to any Jewish Day School Endowment 
Fund that one chooses, either by will or during ones lifetime.  A portion of 
the earnings of each such Fund will be applied to defray the extraordinarily 
high day school tuitions that are a serious entry barrier to nearly all but 
the most affluent and most committed young Jewish families, and threaten 
bankruptcy for many families currently in the system.  Our goal is to make 
day school tuition affordable, or better yet, absolutely free.

    If the current day school funding crisis is permitted to continue, we 
will witness in our lifetimes the substantial decimation of the Jewish 
population of the Diaspora.   On the other hand, if significant numbers of 
Jews fulfill the mitzvah of the 5% Mandate, perpetual endowment funds could 
well generate sufficient annual earnings to enable every Jewish child to 
attend the day school of his or her family's choice tuition-free.

    There is considerable precedent for the 5% Mandate in Jewish history and 
tradition.  Throughout our existence as a people, Jewish leadership has 
boldly risen to the challenges of crises that threaten our communal 
well-being or survival by mandating and implementing defensive measures.  In 
our day, our leaders are again acting in this time-honored tradition by 
imposing the 5% Mandate and declaring every Jew equally responsible to 
participate in the mitzvah of saving our people.   Jewish religious and lay 
leaders representing organizations with tens of thousands of constituents 
from around the country have signed the Declaration endorsing "Operation 
Jewish Education-The 5% Mandate".   This display of unity and concerted 
action is extraordinarily rare in our time.  We are currently in crisis.  We 
must now act.  If we don't, we only have ourselves to blame for the 

    The Honor Roll of Guardians of the Jewish Education Trust Funds   will be 
published annually in local community newspapers and school/synagogue 
newsletters which list the names of every individual who has signed the 
Declaration of Intent.  This will document for posterity the name of every 
Jew who is participating in this communal mandate by devoting a portion of 
today's  G-d given bounty to secure the future of our people.

    Please sign the attached DECLARATION OF INTENT and return it to the day 
school of your choice or to the National Jewish Day School Scholarship 
Committee, 333 West Wacker Drive, Suite 2750, Chicago, IL 60606.

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