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soc.culture.jewish FAQ: Miscellaneous and References (11/12)

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               Frequently Asked Questions on Soc.Culture.Jewish
                    Part 11: Miscellaneous and References
         [Last Change: $Date: 1996/07/11 21:57:39 $ $Revision: 1.7 $]
                    [Last Post: Sat Feb  7 11:07:11 US/Pacific 2004]

   The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer
   questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family
   of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the
   various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to
   accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In
   all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your
   local rabbi is a good place to start.
   [2][Got Questions?] Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your
   questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to
   [3] The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct
   your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you
   would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs
   questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at
   The deceased sages described within are of blessed memory, (assume a
   Z"L or ZT"L after their names) and the sages alive today should live
   to see long and good days (assume SHLITA). May Hashem grant complete
   recovery to the ill. Individual honorifics are omitted.
   The FAQ was produced by a committee and is a cooperative work. The
   contributors never standardized on transliteration scheme from Hebrew,
   Aramaic, Yiddish, or Ladino to English. As a result, the same original
   word might appear with a variety of spellings. This is complicated by
   the fact that there are regional variations in the pronunciation of
   Hebrew. In some places, the common spelling variations are mentioned;
   in others--not. We hope that this is not too confusing.
   In general, throughout this FAQ, North American (US/Canada) terms are
   used to refer to the movements of Judaism. Outside of North American,
   Reform is Progressive or Liberal Judaism; Conservative is Masorti or
   Neolog, and Orthodoxy is often just "Judaism". Even with this, there
   are differences in practice, position, and ritual between US/Canada
   Reform and other progressive/liberal movements (such as UK
   Progressive/ Liberal), and between US/Canada Conservative and the
   conservative/Masorti movement elsewhere. Where appropriate, these
   differences will be highlighted.
   The goal of the FAQ is to present a balanced view of Judaism; where a
   response is applicable to a particular movement only, this will be
   noted. Unless otherwise noted or implied by the text, all responses
   reflect the traditional viewpoint.
   This list should be used in conjunction with the Soc.Culture.Jewish
   [5]reading lists. Similar questions can be found in the books
   referenced in those lists.
   There are also numerous other Jewish FAQs available on the Internet
   that are not part of the SCJ FAQ/RL suite. An index to these may be
   found at [6]
   This FAQ is a volunteer effort. If you wish to support the maintenance
   of the FAQ, please see [7]Section 20, Question 99 for more
   Reproduction of this posting for commercial use is subject to
   restriction. See Part 1 for more details.

Subject: ORGANIZATION This portion of the FAQ contains answers to the following questions: Section 19. Miscellaneous 1. [8]I want to become more observant. Where do I start? 2. [9]Why is "shabbat" spelled sometimes shabbath, shabbath, shabbos, 3. [10]What are some common Hebrew and Yiddish phrases I see on S.C.J? 4. [11]What do all those abbreviations like Z"L mean? 5. [12]Is "shvartze" offensive? Is "goyim" offensive? 6. [13]What does "shiksa" and "shaygetz" mean? 7. [14]I am going to be in (name your city), where can I eat, stay for Shabbat? 8. [15]What do bagels, lox, pastrami, falafel, garlic pickles, kishka, and kasha have to do with being a Jew? 9. [16]What does Warren Burstein's signature mean? 10. [17]Who was the sixth Marx brother? 11. [18]Why do Hebrew clocks run clockwise, not counter-clockwise? 12. [19]I'm not Jewish. How do I show my love for the Jewish people? 13. [20]What is the origin of the word "kike"? 14. [21]What is the meaning of the part of the book of Ruth where the guy at the gate takes off his shoe? 15. [22]I'm a health care provider? What do I need to know for Jewish patients? 16. [23]What would be a good housewarming gift for a Jewish friend? 17. [24]What is the meaning and origin of the phrase B'shaah Tova? Section 20. References and Getting Connected 1. [8]I'd like to learn more? Do you have any books to recommend? 2. [9]What are the different hechsher symbols? 3. [10]Where can I find Jewish-oriented mailing lists? 4. [11]What are the good Jewish search engines? 5. [12]What are some good Jewish links on the WWW? 6. [13]Is S.C.J available via a Listserv or other e-mail means? 7. [14]What divrei Torah are posted to Usenet? 8. [15]Where can I find collected divrei Torah? 9. [16]What software is available for Hebrew applications? 10. [17]What other Jewish software is available? 11. [18]Are there any Jewish Libraries on the Internet? 12. [19]I'm interested in ordering books or music on the internet. Where should I look? 13. [20]Boy, you did a wonderful job on the FAQ? How do I show my appreciation?
Subject: Question 19.1: I want to become more observant. Where do I start? Answer: Coming from a background of nothing, the best thing you can do first is to find someone who is already observant with whom you are comfortable and discuss the issues involved. Join a directed study group designed for "Baalei Tshuva". It is impossible to be a practicing Jew (of any type) without the knowledge of what you are practicing. There are groups within many communities which are set up to do this. Examples include Chabad Lubavitch, Aish Hatorah seminars, and NCSY youth groups. Non-Orthodox Jews also do outreach, but in common parlance, baal teshuvah refers to someone who adopts Orthodox Judaism. The best advice is often to go slowly, decide what you are going to do, and don't let difficulties with particular levels of observance cause you to drop the whole matter. Find a sympathetic rabbi who will help and advise you. Avoid the "All or Nothing" syndrome. Most of all remember that you are not alone. If you scan the list of mailing lists in [5]Section 20.3, you'll even discover there are numerous Baal Teshuva electronic mailing lists (there is at least one on Shamash).
Subject: Question 19.2: Why is "shabbat" spelled sometimes shabbath, shabbath, shabbos, shabbes? Answer: The Hebrew word is as follows, and it's pronounced in various ways: ___ __ _ _ * | | . | | | | _| | __|_ |/_/ T -- "Shabbos" and "Shabbat" are examples. The final letter in the word is pronounced as "s" by Ashkenazis, as "t" by Sephardim, and as "th" by Yemenites and (according to some scholars) speakers of Hebrew around the year 3700. "Sabbath" is an anglicization of the Hebrew. Ephraimites may have been the actual source of this variant, as in Judges 12, it is reported that they were not able to pronounce the letter shin. It's all the same word, and the pronunciations are used interchangeably in this FAQ. Same with Kashrus/Kashrut/Kashruth.
Subject: Question 19.3: What are some common Hebrew and Yiddish phrases I see on SCJ? Answer: Most people are careful to translate their Hebrew and Yiddish, but a few are common enough that people don't bother. Credit goes to Meredith Warshaw for compiling much of the list below. [H] indicates Hebrew, [Y] indicates Yiddish. * Agunah (literal translation: chained). A woman who cannot remarry; usually because her husband refuses to give her a get (divorce), because there is no way to verify whether or not he is dead, or because he is incompetent to give a divorce (i.e., mentally ill). [H] * Assur Something prohibited. [H] * Averah (aveira) Sin, transgression of G-d's will [H] * Baal Tefillah Prayer leader [H] * Ba'al Teshuvah (literal translation: master of return) A penitent; a Jew who returns to a traditional observant Jewish lifestyle (also known by the acronym BT) [H] * B'chor Firstborn status [H] * Bamidbar (literal translation: in the desert) Numbers (4th book of the Torah) [H] * Bet Din Court of Jewish law [H] * Bikkur Cholim Visiting the ill or hospitalized [H] * Bracha (pl. brachot) Blessing [H] * B'reshit (literal translation: in the beginning) Genesis (1st book of the Torah) [H] * B'rit milah Covenant of circumcision [H] * B'shaah tova Congratulations to an expectent mother (literarily "in a good hour," means "at an auspicious time," i.e. may whatever time your child is born be a good time.") Also the correct response to announcement of a marriage engagement. In both cases, it is in anticipation of a "mazel tov" for something hoped for, that has not yet occurred. [H] * Chag sameach A happy holiday (used as a greeting) [H] * Chayav One who is obligated (chiyuv=obligation) [H] * Chazzan (hazzan) Cantor [H] * Cherem Excommunication (from cessation of aid, boycott) [H] * Cheshbon Hanefesh (Literal translation: accounting of the soul) Self-examination of your actions' merit, or accounting of your soul's good and bad aspects. [H] * Chevra Friends; comrades [H] * Chevra Kadisha (Literal translation: holy society) The group that prepares a body for burial. [H] * Chillul Hashem Desecration of the divine name [H] * Chok (pl. chukim) Law from the Torah deemed to be without a humanly-discernable rationale, e.g., the red heifer. [H] * Chometz (chametz, hametz) Leavened food, which is forbidden during Pesach [H] * Chumash The five books of the Torah, bound in one volume (not a scroll) [H] * Chumra Stringency -- custom of a community to observe more strictly [H] * "Dati/lo dati" Dati = religious, lo dati=not religious, as used in current Hebrew in Israel, but it is a black and white distinction, meaning Orthodox and not Orthodox. [H] * Daven Pray (from Yiddish, with a particular emotional sense) [H] * Derech Eretz Respectful, menschlich, considerate of others [H] * Din Law, judgment [H] * Drasha Interpretation of a Torah passage (often a creative interpretation) (from a root meaning "search") [H] * Dukhn Perform the kohen's blessing before the congregation [H] * D'var torah (pl. divrei torah) (Literal translation: word of Torah) A Torah discourse, homily or sermon [H] * D'varim (Literal translation: words, things) 5th book of the Torah (Deuteronomy) [H] * Emet Truth [H] * Emunah Faith [H] * Frum Observant (often with a right-wing Orthodox implication). Derived from the German/Yiddish word for "pious". [Y] * Gemara (Literal translation: learning, from the Aramaic) The later part of the Talmud, which expands upon the Mishna [H] * Get (pl. gittin) Document of divorce [H] * G'milut Chasadim Acts of loving kindess [H] * Hachamim (chachamim) Sages [H] * Haftarah The selection from the book of prophets read after the Torah reading. [H] * Halacha (Literal translation: path) Jewish law [H] * Halbanat Panim (literal translation: whitening the face) Causing someone to blanch by public embarrassment [H] * Hashgacha Ritual supervision, most often used in terms of kashrut/dietary laws, although it can also refer to spiritual or moral supervision as in a yeshiva or dormitory [H] * Heksher Kosher certification [H] * Hesed (chessed) Kindness [H] * Heter Permission (usually a rabbinic ruling that permits something) [H] * Hiddur Mitzvah Beautifying physical objects involved in a mitzvah, or otherwise adding to a mitzvah an esthetic sense [H] * Kabbalat ol Mitzvot (literal translation: acceptance of the yoke of the commandments) Acceptance of commandments as binding [H] * Kabbalat Shabbat Service welcoming the Sabbath [H] * Kavanah Intention, devotion, inner concentration during prayer [H] * Kevah Fixed; a fixed time; fixed words or prayer (often contrasted with kavanah, inner concertration during prayer) [H] * Kiddush Hashem Sanctification of the divine name; martyrdom [H] * Kiddushin Betrothal (for the purpose of marriage) [H] * Klal A general principle [H] * Klal Yisrael The Jewish community as a whole [H] * Koach Strength [H] * Kohelet The book of Ecclesiastes [H] * Kol Hakavod (literal translation: all honor) Used idiomatically to express praise or congratulations for an achievement [H] * Kol Isha The voice of a women (considered by the Rabbis of the Talmud to be distracting to men and thus lewd). [H] * Kol Tuv Everything good (may you be blessed with everything good) [H] * Kulot Leniencies [H] * K'vod Hatzibur The honor of the community [H] * L'shon Hara (Literal translation: "evil tongue") Defaming or badmouthing [H] * Leyn To read (usually to read Torah) [Y] * Maariv Evening; the evening prayer service [H] * Machmeer Stringent; one who observes a chumrah (stringency) [H] * Maftir The aliyah consisting of the last few lines of the Torah reading, or the person assigned that aliyah. The person assigned the maftir aliyah also chants Haftarah. [H] * Mamzer A person born from a prohibited union (i.e., from an incestuous or adulterous union) [H] * Mara d'atra (literal translation: master of the place) The local rabbi, whose decision carries the force of law in that locality [Aramaic] * Mashgichim Ritual supervisers of kashrut who watch/supervise on the premises for dietary supervision of ingedients, food preparation, serving, dishes and cutlery, etc. [H] * Mashiach (Moshiach) Messiah [H] * Mechitsa Division; a barrier separating men from women in the synagogue [H] * Midrash An interpretation; a story that fills in gaps in the Torah narrative, or answers questions about the narrative; (when capitalized) any of several volumes of such stories compiled by rabbis of the Talmudic era [H] * Mincha The afternoon prayer service [H] * Minhag Custom [H] * Minhag ha-makom Local custom [H] * Minyan Quorum of 10 needed for a public prayer service. In traditional synagogues, only men over the age of 13 are counted towards a minyan. Liberal (non-orthodox) congregations also include women over 12 in the count. [H] * Mishna (Capitalized) The early core of the Talmud, consisting primarily of case law decisions. (Not capitalized) one unit, typically a single sentence or short paragraph, in the Mishna. [H] * Mishpat (pl. mishpatim) Law from the Torah that can be rationalized [H] * Mitzvah Commandment; not "good deed" in Hebrew, but has come to mean that in Yiddish, especially among more secular people [H] * Mutar Permitted [H] * Ner tamid Eternal light [H] * Nigun (pl. nigunim) Wordless prayer melody, usually repeated many times over to create a spiritual mood [H] * "Nu?" This is an exclamation used in the same sense as "well" "eh" and "hey." [Y] It could be used in the Hebrew/Yiddish translation of any of the following: 1. Well, do you want the egg roll or the knish? 2. Hey! Stop throwing paper airplanes in class. 3. My experimental tofu-liver-garlic cholent tastes good, eh? 4. So, Becca, I hear you and Izzy went out last week. Well? 5. A rebuke (on small kids): "Nu, nu, nu, you spiled all the milk! 6. To express doubt: "I heard that Rabin met Asad. Nu." 7. When the news ain't new no more: (see #7; the change is in the tone of the "nu"). 8. As "come on": NU BEMET. 9. When one can't talk (i.e. in the middle of Shmone-Esre, after Netila before Hamotzi, etc.) * Olam ha-ba The world to come [H] * Parsha (N) The weekly Torah portion (pl. parshiot) [H] * Patur Something or someone who is exempt (from an obligation or a law) [H] * Pikuah Nefesh To save a life (usually in context of breaking Shabbat, etc.) [H] * Posek (pl. poskim) (N) The rabbi one consults for halachic decisions; an authority on Jewish Law [H] * Posken (V) To render an halachic ruling, usually one that clarifies the law in a specific case [H] * Psak (N) Decision, verdict [H] * R'chilut Gossip [H] * Ribono shel Olam Master of the universe [H] * Rosh Chodesh First day of the new Jewish month [H] * Ruach Spirit, wind [H] * Sedra The weekly Torah portion [H] * Shachrit Morning; the morning prayer service [H] * Shaliach Emmisary, appointed agent (male pl. sh'lichim, sh'lichei; fem. sing. sh'lichah; fem. pl. sh'lichot) [H] * Shaliach Tzibur The person leading services [H] * Sh'lom bayit Peace in the home [H] * Shekhinah (Literal translation: that which dwells) G-d's presence (often associated with feminine imagery, but not always) [H] * Shir Ha Shirim Song of Songs [H] * Sh'mot (Literal translation: names) The 2nd book of the Torah (Exodus) [H] * Shomer (pl. shomrim) Watchman, guardian [H] * Shomer shabbat Observant of the laws of Shabbat [H] * Shoresh Root of a word (all hebrew verbs have a 3-4 letter root that is the basis of conjugation. many other parts of speach (adj, nouns) are also derived from this same shoresh) [H] * Shtiebel A small synagogue [Y] * Sinat chinam Gratuitous hatred [H] * Taharah (pl. taharot) Ritual purity [H] * Takkanah (N) Correction; a rabbinic edict that supersedes the existing halachah (pl. takkanot) [H] * Tanach Acronym for Torah Nevi'im K'tuvim - Torah, Prophets, Writings) The three divisions of the Hebrew Bible [H] * Tana'im Sages of the Mishnaic period [H] * Tefila Prayer [H] * Teshuva Return, repentance [H] * T'hillim Psalms [H] * Tikkun Olam Correcting the world, repairing the world; an action promoting social justice [H] * Torah misinai (Definition: lit, Torah from Mount Sinai) Refers to the doctrine that the entire Torah, including the Oral Law, was given to Moses at Sinai. [H] * Tsniut Modesty [H] * Tzedakah Righteousness; used for charitable donations, though the root has a very different sense from the root of "charity." [H] * Vayikrah (Literal translation: "and He called") 3rd book of the Torah (Leviticus) [H] * Yahrzeit (literal translation: year-time) Anniversary of a death; a 24-hour candle lit to commemorate the death anniversary of a close relative, also lit on holy days when Yizkor (prayer of remembrance) is recited [Y] * Yasher koach (Literal translation: meaning unclear, but poss. "straight strength") Used idiomatically to express praise or thanks for serving in a religious or ceremonial role. Implies "may your stength continue, go on straight", i.e. "You done good! Do it many times more!" [H] * Yotzei (Literal translation: gone out) One who has properly fulfilled an obligation [H] NOTE on spelling/transliteration: Some people transliterate the letter "het" as "ch," and others as "h." (Better would be "h" with a dot under it, but that's not possible in email. This also ignores the linguists, who prefer "x.") Thus: "hag/chag sameah/sameach," "bikkur holim/cholim," etc. All the terms beginning with "ch" on the list are "het" words.
Subject: Question 19.4: What do all those abbreviations like Z"L mean? Answer: Those abbreviation are shorthand for common Hebrew phrases. Here are some of the most common ones: A"H (Alav (Male), Aleha (Female) Hashalom) + For any deceased Jew. + Translation: Peace Be Upon Him/Her + Sometimes written as PBUH, generally by Muslims. Admo"r (Adonainu, Morainu, VeRabbeinu) + Translation: Our Master, Our Teacher, and Our Rebbe + Honorific title given to scholarly leaders of a Jewish community, "R' Ploni Almoni, SHLITA, Admor of Chelm.") + This is usually a specifically Hassidic term. AMUSh (Ad Maia Veesrim Shana) + Translation: [He/She should live] for 120 years + Used for salutations in correspondence: "Dear Ploni AMU"Sh" B"H (Baruch Hashem) + Translation: Blessed be G-d (occasionally) (B'Ezras/Ezer Hashem) + Translation: With G-d's help (i.e. at top of papers, sometimes with an ayin following the beis) B"N (B'li Neder) + Translation: Without taking a vow + Used after a promise, since failure to fulfill a promise is a serious violation of Jewish law. For example, "I'll check that reference tomorrow, B"N." (i.e., if I forget, I don't want to be liable under Jewish law). BLA"H (B'li Ayin Hara) or (K'ain Ayin Hara) + Translation: "without the 'evil eye'" + Meaning: "I'm saying this without hubris" + Often pronounced Kanaina horo (Yiddish) BS"D (B'siyata d'shmaya) (Aramaic) + Translation: With the help of heaven (common) HY"D (Hashem Yikom Damo[am]) + For martyred Jews. + Translation: Hashem will avenge his[their] Blood IY"H, IYH (Im Yirtzeh Hashem) + Translation: If it be G-d's will (very common) + Used for referring to future actions: "I'll see you tomorrow IY"H." N"E (Nishmaso(male)/Nishmasa(Female) b'Eden) + Translation: His/Her soul should be in Eden/paradise R' (Rabbi) ShLIT"A (SHe'yikhye Lirot Yamim Tovim ve'Arukim) + Used for living prominent Jewish scholars. + Translation: That he/she should live to see good and full days (long life) YM"SH,Y'Sh,Y"ShU (Yemach Shmo Vezichro) + For deceased enemies of the Jewish people + Translation: May his name be wiped out (YH"SH, Y'Sh); May his name and memory be wiped out (Y'Shu) Z"L (Zichrono Livrocho) + For deceased prominent Jewish scholars. + Translation: Of Blessed Memory + Sometimes written as OBM ZT"L (Zecher Tzadik Livrocho) + For deceased prominent Jewish scholars. + Translation: The Memory of the Righteous is a Blessing
Subject: Question 19.5: Is "shvartze" offensive? Is "goyim" offensive? Answer: "Shvartze" is the neutral Yiddish term for "black", including the person. There are other derogatory terms--some borrowed from English. But there are Jews who can make "shvartze" offensive. However, even though the meaning of the term isn't offensive, that doesn't mean that the word hasn't acquired an offensive connotation over time. This is the case with "shvartze". Historically, it was used in a nonneutral way, regardless of its neutral meaning. In general, the term should be avoided. Note that "shvartze" is also used to describe strict observance. [From the black clothing often worn by the very observance. See [5]Section 11.1, question 6 for more details on this.] "Goy" [plural: goyim, adjective: goyishe] is the standard Hebrew term for non-Jew. Literally it is the Hebrew for "nation." Spoken aloud with a disgusted inflection, it's pejorative. So is the word 'Jew' in similar circumstances. Better to say "gentile" or "non-Jew" when writing in English for a multireligious audience, such as SCJ. In general, the use of judgemental or pejorative terms, even if no offense is intended, should be avoided. They only serve to incite anger and side-track the conversation. True conversation comes from being factual and appropriately neutral. In the phrase "shabbos goy"--a gentile who does things for Jews on Shabbos--it is neutral, yet when refusing to do something for someone by saying "I'm not your shabbos goy", it carries a derogatory tinge. Some also suggest avoiding the term "Marrano", which means "pig". Depending on the intended meaning, the terms "Sephardic" or "Crypto-Jew" are more appropriate.
Subject: Question 19.6: What does "shiksa" and "shaygetz" mean? How offensive are they? Answer: Shiksa and Shaygetz are the Yiddish derivative of the respective feminine and masculine Hebrew words for something unclean, dirty. The appellations are customarily applied to gentiles who do things inimical to Jewish interests, such as vandalizing Jewish buildings, robbing Jewish kids of their lunch money, or becoming romantically involved with Jews :-). The root is "sheketz", which refers to house rodents and lizards. They impart ritual impurity, and therefore the term lends itself to the same kind of idea. Some have taken to using the term to refer to Christian women in general. If Christians were using the term against Jews in English, they would be saying "Filthy Jews" or "Dirty Jews", and we Jews would rightly be offended. Hence, use of these terms should really be avoided; it is insulting and inappropriate, even if no bad intent was behind the usage. It is always better to use neutral, less pejorative (judgemental) terms, such as non-Jew or Christian. Note: In Israel, shaygetz is sometimes used to refer to a misbehaving child. Note: There are other words for non-Jewish women, "nachriah", and "goyah", that are more properly used in less judgemental situations.
Subject: Question 19.7: I am going to be in (name your city), where can I eat, stay for Shabbat? Answer: Go to your local library and request a telephone directory for that city. Look up "Synagogues-(your affiliation" and call them up. Ask to be directed to the Hospitality Committee, which is in charge of such arrangements. Alternatively, a short post to SCJ can get you up-to-date information about cities from their residents (and possibly an invitation to dinner and a friend at the service).
Subject: Question 19.8: What do bagels, lox, pastrami, falafel, garlic pickles, kishka, and kasha have to do with being a Jew? Answer: Those are foods popular in some cultures in which Jews lived, but have zero religious significance. They are sometimes called "Jewish foods" because of their popularity among Jews, and because they bring back memories of one's ancestors who ate similar foods. In Ashkenazi communities, Gefilte fish goes beyond being a food of the larger community adopted by the Jewish community. In these communities, there was a custom to have fish, wine, and meat on the Sabbath. On the Sabbath, one may not separate "bad from good" such as removing bones from fish. (Good from bad, i.e. fish from bone is OK...) To simplify matters, it became popular to serve ground fish from which bones were removed. Another Jewish dish is cholent, a stew left to simmer throughout Shabbos, because this a) avoids cooking on Shabbos b) reaffirms the belief in oral Torah, permitting the use of a fire lit before shabbos, as opposed to the Karaites, who rejected the oral Torah and didn't use fire on Shabbos. The cholent is then eaten for the Sabbath afternoon meal. One of the problems with Jewish cooking is that you can eat an entire meal, yet not even 72 hours later, you're hungry for more. (:-)
Subject: Question 19.9: What does Warren Burstein's signature mean? Answer: The original signature quote said "The world is a very strange carrot, but the farmer is not worried at all." This is a pun on R' Nachman of Braslav's saying "Kol Haolom Kulo Gesher (Gezer) Tzar (Zar) Meod Vehaikar (Aleph & Ayin diff) Lo Lephached Klal," which actually says "The whole world is like a very narrow bridge, and the main idea is not to be worried at all."
Subject: Question 19.10: Who was the sixth Marx brother? Answer: The sixth Marx brother Karl turned his comedic skills to literature. He wrote a spoof of an economic treatise which parodied the ponderous "scientific" tomes of his day. Unfortunately, people with no sense of humor took him seriously and attempted to carry out the philosophy he used in the book. It was as if the English had attempted to carry out Jonathan Swift's "A modest proposal" and the results were just as tragic. The last czar of the Russian Empire (Mikhail I of the House of Gorbachev) finally admitted this and abdicated, and there was much rejoicing. [For the humor-impaired, to quote Foghorn Leghorn, "the above was a joke, son."]
Subject: Question 19.11: Why do Hebrew clocks run clockwise, not counter- clockwise? Answer: Some do, but I wouldn't lose sleep over this question. FYI, the clock on the tower of the Prague Jewish Community Center uses Hebrew letters and runs counter-clockwise. Most clocks use Arabic numerals, another right-to-left language. The real question is why Roman numeral clocks don't go the other way. Note that the direction of the written language has nothing whatsoever to do with the way clocks run. The clock is a mechanical timepiece modeled on its predecessor, the sundial. North of the Tropic of Cancer, the sun affects the sundial in the following way: * Sun rises in the east: shadow falls in the west. * Sun, at noon, is south: shadow falls in the north. * Sun sets in the west: shadow falls in the east. The shadow moves in a W to N to E rotation, which is what we call "clockwise." When mechanical clocks were invented, this rotation was duplicated. Regardless of the direction of your written language, the clock hands move the wrong way half the time! South of the Tropic of Capricorn, a sundial moves counter-clockwise, and between the tropics, the motion of the shadow depends on the time of year. Had the clock been an invention of South American Indians or Southern Africans, "clockwise" would likely mean the opposite rotation.
Subject: Question 19.12: I'm not Jewish. How do I show my love for the Jewish people? Answer: Do: discourage anti-Jewish behavior, object to stereotyping, humbly follow the seven laws and behave morally, support the existence of Israel, support religious freedom and sensitivity to others' practices, be friendly to Jews, encourage your friends to do likewise. Don't: * Proselytize/witness/missionize to Jews. We are comitted to Judaism just as you are comitted to your religion. * Date or marry Jews without an intention to convert. The preservation of the Jewish people is strengthened when both partners are Jewish and have a comittment to raise their children Jewish. * Give ham/pork/shellfish to Jews. This shows a lack of respect for commonly known laws regarding Kosher food. * Force a Jew to work from Friday night to Saturday night or on Jewish holidays. This again shows a lack of respect for Jewish holy days. * Tell "JAP" jokes. This perpetuates an derogatory stereotype that has no truth.
Subject: Question 19.13: What is the origin of the word "kike"? Answer: There are many explanations: * One explanation is that the word kike originates from the word "keikl", in Yiddish, which means "circle". At Ellis Island, one of the main immigration checkin points, immigrants were intially grouped by religion and language in order to make it easier for them to communicate with each other and also to be identified more quickly by waiting relatives there to meet them. Christians were marked off with an 'X' which was likely really supposed to be a cross; Jews were marked with a circle which was really likely supposed to be the Star of David. It is easy to see how the staff could become sloppy at drawing these symbols as 'x' and 'o'. The word "keikl" was used by the Jews making fun of the poorly drawn star; they referred to each other as being 'circles'. Unfortunately, from this innocent usage, the term aquired a derogatory meaning. Robert L. Chapman's "American Slang" has a slight variation on the above. Rather than saying the circle was a mark made by the staff to symbolize the Star-of-David, the book says: "Jews who could not sign their names would make a circle." This suggests that it was Jews themselves who started using the circle- presumably to avoid the X which was reminiscent of a cross. * According to "Our Crowd", by Stephen Birmingham, the term kike was actually coined as a putdown by assimilated American German Jews for their Eastrern-European bretheren: "Because many Russian [Jewish] names ended in 'ki', they were called 'kikes'- a German Jewish contribution to the American vernacular. (Germans are also said to have invented the term "Bohunk", referring to Jews from Bohemia.)". Following this explanation, the name kike was deliberately coined to put-down Jews- but only a certain subset of Jews. The name then proceeded to be co-opted by Gentiles and used against all Jews in general. * Robert L. Chapman's "American Slang" also notes that the word could be a reference to "Ike", a nickname for Isaac. [Thanks to Andrew Nusbaum for bringing some of the alternate explanations to my attention.]
Subject: Question 19.14: What is the meaning of the part of the book of Ruth where the guy at the gate takes off his shoe? Answer: The question raised concerning the incident in the Book of Ruth 4:7 is an interesting one. This practice was formerly done in Israel in cases of redemption or exchange: to validate any transaction, one man would take off his sandal and hand it to the other. Apparently this was an early form of acquisition (kinyan) where the sign of agreement was made by the passing or transfer of an inanimate object. In some cases that was a shoe, a scarf, etc. The author of Ruth is describing this practice while seeming to suggest it is no longer the case. However we know that among Jews this practice or a form of it continued. The Talmud, the work of the rabbis, is filled with such examples. In the tractate Baba Mezia (46a) a transaction takes place in a granary through a scarf. This is in lieu of one who left his money at home! Even in our own day, the agreement made before a wedding (Tenaim) and a symbol of the agreement made in the document of betrothal is formalized by a "symbolic delivery" by, according to the Orthodox Rabbis' Manual, HAMADRIKH, "...letting the parties concerned hold a kerchief, that they will fulfill whatever is provided for in the tenaim." Here we see that an ancient custom continues in some form today. Such a practice can also be found in other cultures as well. The Rev Dr A. Cohen in his commentary on Ruth (Soncino Press) suggests, "The custom is also known among the Indians, the ancient Germans and the Arabs." Without trying to confuse the issue, the particular sandal practice has also been linked to the law in Deuteronomy 25:5. This is the obligation of a brother (Levir) to marry the wife of his deceased sibling. According to Deuteronomy, should he refuse, he is to go to the gate of the city and there the widow is to "pull off the sandal, spit in his face..." In Ruth, the rejecting kinsman is not a brother-in-law to Ruth, but he is described as her "redeemer." While most commentators reject the connection, it is unavoidable.
Subject: Question 19.15: I'm a health care provider? What do I need to know for Jewish patients? Answer: First, thanks for caring enough to ask the question. If you have a Jewish patient, you should first talk to them to find out what their concerns and needs are. These will differ based on the movement with which they affiliate. For example, progressive Jews (i.e., Reform and other liberal movements) may have less of a concern about Kosher food and some of the other laws concerning purity and modesty than traditional Jews. However, if you can't talk to them due to the medical situation, assume they are strictly traditional until you find out otherwise. The primary concern from your point of view will be food. Traditional Jews require strictly Kosher food. If your kitchen has the ability to supply such food, great. Note that some hospitals provide both a "regular Kosher" and a "strictly Kosher" diet. If a strictly Kosher diet is available, let the patient know about it. If they are not able to order their food, order from the strictly Kosher diet for them. If your hospital does not have Kosher food, DO NOT assume that Kosher-style food or any other food is acceptable. Instead, you may have to go out an purchase food for that patient. What you want to look for is food with "heckshers", or marks indicating that they are Kosher. The best known marks are a U in a circle ([5] or a K in a circle ([6] Kashrus Magazine ([7] has an excellent list of these marks. You want to aim for ready-to-eat food, so that you don't have to move it into a container to cook it. Your kitchen is likely not Kosher; cooking the food in a different container will make it non-Kosher. You will want to serve it in the original container, unopened if possible, so that the patient can see the hecksher. If possible, opt for food that doesn't require you to touch the food (i.e., frozen dinners for the oven are often preferable to those for the microwave, because for the microwave you have to puncture the wrappings). Serve the food with plastic utensils that have been individually wrapped, and let the patient break the wrappings. Basically, you want to assure the patent that you haven't touched the food. If you can't come up with anything with a hecksher, provide fruit, washed but otherwise untouched, with a plastic knife. Fruit is the one product that comes naturally in its own sealed package. Traditional male patients will have a need to pray. If they are mobile, and you can provide them with connections with other Jewish male adults in the hospital so that they can assemble a minyon (10 Jewish men), which will facilitate prayer. They should know the prayers by heart, if this is a concern to them. If your staff chaplin isn't familiar with Judaism, look up an Orthodox synagogue (alas, often under Churches in the Yellow Pages) and see if their rabbi can come over. If there are no Orthodox synagogues available, look for Conservative or Reform synagogues. This order is not intended to show any bias towards the movements. A traditional patient will likely be more comforatable with a traditional Rabbi, so that is the best first option. However, both Conservative and Reform rabbis have experience with working with all movements in hospital settings, and can either provide the necessary service, or have the contacts to find someone who can. Shabbat may or may not be a concern, depending on the state of the patient. In a hospital setting, most patients are stuck in bed, and most electrical appliances are necessary for life-saving. Don't ask the patient to turn on and off their lights; just leave them on from before Shabbat until after, or decide when you want them off. The same goes for other discretionary appliances, such as televisions. Don't ask the patient to carry things unless necessary for life (such as an IV). With respect to modesty: again, if the situation is life-threatening, do what you need to do. If the patient is conscious, ASK THE PATIENT. When providing gowns, ensure they provide appropriate coverage when in public situations (use two, if necessary). Lastly, with respect to purity. When dealing with patients of the opposite sex, avoid touching unless medically necessary. It is likely not a problem, but for traditional patients, it might be upsetting. Better safe than sorry. Finally, remember that Judaism places human life above all else. Thus, in a life-threatening situation, do what you need to do to save the life, even if that means violating Jewish law. However, if the situation isn't immediately threatening, then you should take Jewish law into consideration. For a general statement of principles guiding medical care, see [8] There is also some good information at [9] and [10]
Subject: Question 19.16: What would be a good housewarming gift for a Jewish friend? Answer: The nicest housewarning gift would be a mezuzah, which Jews affix to the doorpost. If you don't have a Judaica store near you, you can order one through Take a look at [5] You'll also need to get a mezuzah parchment, which they have available. If that option doesn't work, consider a good Jewish book, or a gift certificate for a Judaica store. Both would allow the family to start a good Jewish library. Lastly, if neither of those pan out, consider something nice for the house. If the family keeps Kosher, avoid getting items used for food, as you don't know if they could be made Kosher. However, other items, such as picture frames, plants, etc. are lovely. Of course, the best gift is your good wishes and the knowledge that you are a friend. The handmade stuff is nice as well: knowing they'll be tired, offer to take them to dinner at a restaurant of their choice :-)
Subject: Question 19.17: What is the meaning and origin of the phrase B'shaah Tova? Answer: B'shaah Tova can be translated to mean "in a propitious time", which implies that any type of positive occurance in life has a possibility of happening at any point in time that may be good or bad or anything in-between, and that a wish that it happens at a propitious, or "good" time has an impact on the event itself. This is also another way of saying Mazal Tov, which translates to mean ""Good Luck" or "May the Mazalos impact you (or this event) for the good." Most people who say Mazal tov usually mean to say "congratulations" or "I'm happy for you". However, "BeShah Tovah" and "Mazal Tov" have virtually the same meaning.
Subject: Question 20.1: I'd like to learn more? Do you have any books to recommend? Answer: Funny thing you should ask. I just happen to have a reading list for you. Seriously, there are quite a lot of excellent Jewish books. We have attempted to summarize these in the [5]S.C.J. Reading Lists ([6] These lists include information on [7]general Judaism, [8]traditional Judaism, [9]Jewish mysticism, [10]Reform/Progressive Judaism, [11]Conservative Judaism, [12]Reconstructionist Judaism, [13]Humanistic Judaism, [14]Chassidism, [15]Antisemitism, [16]Zionism, [17]Intermarriage and Conversion, and [18]Childrens Books.
Subject: Question 20.2: What are the different hechsher symbols? Answer: You'll have to keep informed. Note that in most states, "K" does not necessarily mean that the product has rabbinical supervision, so you can't rely on the simple K. Of course, many products with a "K" are kosher anyway, as are many unmarked products. The circled-U, circled-K, K-in-a-five-pointed-star, and k-in-a-letter-chaf are widely accepted nationally-known kosher symbols. Other accepted kosher symbols are only found in small local areas. In the Periodicals Reading List, you'll find a number of magazines focused on Kashrut. These magazines often publish information on who is behind the various hechshers. In particular, every year, Kashrus Magazine publishes an index to all the Kosher symbols and the people behind them. You can reach Kashrus Magazine on the net at (<[5]>).
Subject: Question 20.3: Where can I find Jewish-oriented mailing lists? Answer: My, how times have changed. When this FAQ was first written, there were a few general lists (the Global Jewish Information List, Mail.Jewish, Mail.Liberal-Judaism, and some Chabad lists). Since then, the Internet has exploded, and there are more lists then there are commandments in the Torah. Furthermore, the lists of lists, and their locations, change so frequently it is hard to keep up. First, some general comments: * Most lists operate using software such as listserv, listproc, or majordomo. With this software, you send a subscription address to a general list address, in a predefined format (for example, to subscribe to MLJ (mail.liberal-judaism), you send a message of the form "subscribe mlj yourfirstname yourlastname" to There is a different address you use for submissions to the list. * Some lists provide an easy to use web interface for subscription and unsubscription (to continue the example, for MLJ you would visit [5] Often, such an interface is easier to use. Having said that, here are some of the major places to find lists. * Shamash.Org. Shamash (the home of the SCJ FAQ) is a central information repository for the Jewish community. It provides a large number of mailing lists, including mail.jewish and mail.liberal-judaism (two of the oldest). A list of all Shamash lists may be found at [6] You can also send the command "lists" to [7] Listproc based. * Virtual Jerusalem. When the FAQ started, Virtual Jerusalem was called Jerusalem One, and was just beginning to host lists. Now Virtual Jerusalem, it is a major Jewish portal and a major home to Jewish lists. A list of all Virtual Jerusalem lists (combined with a subscription form) may be found at [8] * Egroups. Another major source of Jewish lists is the Egroups server, which provides people with an easy mechanism to set up lists. The list of Jewish Egroups lists may be found at [9] daism There are also some organizations that provide mailing lists focused primarily on teaching Torah. Some of these organizations include: * Chabad. Subscription information on the Chabad lists may be found at [10] * Project Genesis. Subscription information on Project Genesis lists may be found at [11] * Ohr Sameyach. The Ohr Samayech lists are managed by Virtual Jerusalem, and may be found at [12] * UTJ. The Union for Traditional Judaism sponsors quite a few lists. Information may be found at [13] You will also find that most of the congregational and rabbinic organizations have mailing lists, such as UAHC ([14], Jewish Theological Seminary ([15], and so forth. Another good way to find mailing lists is through a normal Internet meta-search engine (i.e., one that searches multiple indexes), such as [16] Try searching for "Jewish Mailing Lists". The Liszt server at [17] also provides a list of a few Jewish mailing lists. Another good source for mailing list info is The Directory of Jewish Electronic Services, which is part of the Global Jewish Information Network server at [18] The specific URL for the list of mailing lists is [19]
Subject: Question 20.4: What are the good Jewish search engines? Answer: There are quite a few, and the number is growing every day. The following are particularly recommended (in alphabetical order): * Golem ([5] "Golem - Jewish Hypersearch is a truly intelligent creature. As a matter of fact it may be the best Jewish search engine available on the internet." * HaReshima ([6] "Your Gateway to Jewish and Israel Internet Sites" * Jewishstar ([7] "The source for the Internet's Best Jewish and Israel Weblinks" * Maven ([8] "The Portal Directory to the Jewish World" * MishMash ([9] "Over 10,000 links to all things Jewish" * Nu? The JAFI Portal ([10] A search service of the Jewish Agency. * Zipple ([11] "The Jewish Supersite" If you have other specifically Jewish search engines to add to this list, please contact the FAQ maintainer at [12]
Subject: Question 20.5: What are some good Jewish links on the WWW? Answer: You couldn't have asked an easy question, could you. There are *lots*, and I mean *lots* of Jewish links. The FAQ used to contain a list of links, but keeping this list up-to-date grew increasingly difficult (we're talking about 25 pages of links!). Instead, here is a list of some of the best "central link" sites, from which you should be able to find other resources. * [5]Judaism and Jewish Resources World Wide Web Site. This site has over 400 links, including all major Jewish, Hebrew, and Israeli resources on the World Wide Web <[6]>. * [7]Conversion Web Site (<>). Dr. Lawrence J. Epstein, a member of the Joint Commission on Intermarriage of the Rabbinical Assembly/United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, and an author of a number of books, pamphlets and articles on conversion, has set up this web page for those seeking information on conversion to Judaism. Although Conservative Judaism is emphasized, USA addresses and phone numbers for obtaining information from the Orthodox (RCA), Reform and Reconstructionist movements are provided. * [8]Youth Movement Web Sites. Link Pages. <[9]> * [10]Jewish Feminist Website. A collection of pointers to Jewish Feminist Resources. (<[11]>) * [12]Orthodox Union. From here, you can get to numerous pages on Kashrut, including an article on [13]Thinking Kosher, a [14]primer on Kashrut, and [15]Kosher Talk, a jumping off point for accessing the OU Kashuth Databases. (<[16]>) * [17]JewishGen: The Official Home of Jewish Genealogy. If you are looking for Jewish Geneological Information, this is the place. There's too much here to describe succinctly. (<[18]>) * [19]SABRAnet -- Where Israel comes alive on the Internet. These pages provide links of news and information, as well as original text, images, chat, and multimedia features relating to the State of Israel. (<[20]>) * [21]Project Genesis: Torah on the Information Superhighway. The top of a series of pages dedicated to the learning of Torah, with extensive archives and links to other Jewish learning sites. Orthodox perspective. (<[22]>) * [23]Torah Study Opportunities on the Net. This page provides links to both Orthodox and Non-Orthodox locations on the Internet that support the study of Torah. This includes web sites, mailing lists, and pointers to archive of past study sessions. All pointers are extensively annotated. (<[24]>) * [25]AishDas Society. This is a group committed to the advancement of meaningful worship in the Orthodox Jewish community. This page provides a weekly publication of selected divrei Torah on the parashah from around the Internet (downloadable Microsoft Word document). It also provides a [26]Guide to Torah Study Opportunities on the net, limited to those with a traditional perspective. Orthodox perspective. Uses frames. (<[27]>) * [28]Global Jewish Information Network. A reference for all things Jewish on the Internet. Includes information on network tools, Hebrew in the net, libraries, Email lists, newsgroups, Jewish networking, and the Global Jewish Information Network. (<[29]>) * [30]Shamash: The Jewish Internet Consortium. A central point for Jewish Information from a large number of Jewish organizations. Also includes a large number of Jewish mailing list archives. (<[31]>) * [32]Virtual Jerusalem. Virtual Jerusalem is a user-friendly, regularly updated index of "neighborhoods" covering the full spectrum of Jewish and Israeli life, including arts and entertainment, science and technology, business and finance, religion, politics, travel, children and education. (< [33]>) * [34]Jewish America. A site with the goal of providing a link between those who seek and those who provide Torah / Traditional information, products, and services. (<[35]>) * [36]The Ultimate Jewish/Israel Link Launcher. A volunteer-prepared collection of over 4,601 links. (<[37]>) * [38]Jewish Euro Web Link. A comprehensive list of links to Jewish websites in Europe, currently more than sixty individual sites in 18 countries, ranging from newspapers to student groups to communal bodies, developed by the European Council of Jewish Communities (ECJC). (<[39]>) These sites are sponsored by different organizations, so they have different info and different flavors. They have Hebrew and English bible texts and commentaries, Jewish-oriented software, info on Israel and Judaism, and much, much more.
Subject: Question 20.6: Is SCJ available via a Listserv or other e-mail means? Answer: At one time, SCJ and S.C.Israel were once available as mailing lists through Shamash. However, they were discontinued by the Shamash staff about 10 days before Pesach in 1996. The reason for doing this was the disproportionate system load. These two lists had a tiny fraction of all Shamash subscribers (perhaps 1% or less) but, because of the huge amount of traffic on the newsgroups, took as much as half of all mailing-list processing time. Because other mailing lists with content specific to Shamash were being delayed by the high load on the system, these two lists were removed. With the growth of web access, and the decline (somewhat) of Usenet, there has been less interest in gatewaying News to Mail. However, you can get access to the groups via the web. Simply go to one of the websites that provide public news access, such as Google Groups ([5] or Mailandnews ([6] Note that you may not be able to post through these sites.
Subject: Question 20.7: What divrei Torah are posted to Usenet? Answer: There are too many to mention. Many of these used to be posted to soc.culture.jewish; it is difficult to determine from the current noise in the unmoderated newsgroup whether they are still being posted there. There are a large number of traditional D'vrei Torah being posted to [5]alt.religion.judaism.orthodox. The list changes so often, it cannot reasonably be maintained in the FAQ. There are also a number of mailing lists available that provide divrei Torah on a regular basis. Check the sites mentioned in the list of mailing lists (Section [6]20.3) for appropriate lists.
Subject: Question 20.8: Where can I find collected divrei Torah? Answer: One of the best sites for finding collected divrei Torah is the [5]Torah Study Opportunities on the 'Net ([6] maintained by Eric Simon. Although Eric is Reform, he has a love and an intense interest in traditional divrei Torah. This site collects together all Torah and Torah study opportunities available on the internet and by Email. It provides links to easily join Torah study email lists, provides links to collections of divrei Torah, provides a page of links of Torah study for children, and much more. The machine contains a [7]Torah discourse collection at the URL <[8]>, plus archives of various Jewish-interest mailing lists. Shamash also provides an [9]awesome index search, it is at: <[10]>. There should also be collections of D'vrei Torah at the sites known for originating such commentaries, such as [11] and [12] There is also a free Talmud study course being offered by the net by Rabbi Judith Z. Abrams, Ph.D. For more information, see [13], or write her at: [14]
Subject: Question 20.9: What software is available for Hebrew applications? Answer: There are numerous utilities. A good place to start is the [5]Hebrew Computing document on at [6] Another good place to start is to search on a meta-search engine such as [7] for "Hebrew Software" (or on one of the Jewish search engines). Some other sources are: * Davka Corporation. 7074 N.Western Ave, Chicago IL 60645, USA. Within the USA, the following toll-free number may be used: (800) 621-8227. The following numbers may be used anywhere: FAX (312) 262-9298; VOICE (312) 465-4070. [8] * LEV Software, Inc.; Hebrew Educational Software; 1-800-776-6538; [9] [10] * HebrewSoft. Hebrewsoft has a Hebrew English dictionary and a Hebrew tutor. Email: [11] Tel: + 972-4-8346756. [12] Jacob Richman also maintains a list of Hebrew Software at [13] If you have suggestions for software to add to this list, please contact the FAQ maintainer at [14]
Subject: Question 20.10: What other Jewish software is available? Answer: Again, this ia an area that has seen quick a bit of growth. There is now quite a bit of software available. One starting point for a search in this area is the [5]Shamash Web Page on computers (<[6]>), which provides a lot of information on different sources of software, and includes a searchable software archive. Another source are the Jewish Search Engines listed in [7]Section 20.4. You can also do a search for "Jewish Software" on a meta-search engine such as [8] Some other sources are the Jewish Mall ([9], Here are some additional references: * Davka ([10] A manufacturer of a wide variety of Jewish software. * Dor L'Dor Interactive Judaic Software ([11] Provides software for hands-on experiential learning of the Hebrew alphabet and prayers. * Lev Software ([12] A wide variety of Hebrew Software * The Jewish Software Center ([13] A distributing company distributing Jewish software from 13 manufacturers. * Torah Educational Software ([14] Israel's largest developer and distributor of Judaic educational software. Developer and Distributor for ArtScroll Stone Chumash... Bar Ilan University... Judaic Encyclopedia... Yad Vashem etc. * The Kabbalah Software Catalog. ([15] Kabbalah Software is a producer of high-quality, low-priced Judaic software, including Clip-Art, Print Shop products, Fonts, reference material, calendar programs, utilities, word processors, hebrew utilities, torah study materials, and educational software. * Right to Left Software. ([16] Manufacturers of Hebrew Software. * Torah Productions ([17] has two products to help students learn Torah and Talmud: + [18]Sedra Bytes (< >). This is a bible study program that includes each of the 54 traditional weekly study sections for the Five Books of Moses and 51 areas for broad conceptual browsing. The text of this Bible study program is 100% interactive. It can be modified and edited to suit the user's individual needs and religious perspective. With the appropriate software it can be used for desktop publishing and multimedia applications limited only by the user's skill and imagination. The books are beautifully illustrated with unique and original woodcuts that capture the essence and spirit of each book. + [19]The Torah La-Am Library (< >) This contains the complete set of 105 Sedra Byte books. It includes 54 traditional weekly study sections for the Five Books of Moses and 51 areas for broad conceptual browsing. The library includes an index of 500 subjects and topics and a powerful search engine. The library is non-denominational and therefore useful to a broad spectrum of people of many faiths and religious convictions. * Shamash [20]graphic images ([21] * Shamash: A wide variety of [22]Hebrew Fonts for a wide variety of platforms ([23] Another source is the software store at ([24]
Subject: Question 20.11: Are there any Jewish Libraries on the Internet? Answer: This question is yet another example of how the times have changed. When the FAQ stared, there were few libraries on the Internet; the few that were available were accessible only via telnet (terminal emulation) and VT100 emulation. Today, there are many libraries on the Internet: * University of Haifa Library ([5] * Hebrew University: Jewish National and University Library ([6] * Jewish Theological Seminary. ([7] * Jewish Public Library (Montreal CANADA) ([8] * New York Public Library, Jewish Division ([9] * Haifa Library. ([10] * Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles ([11] * Chabad Lubavitch Library. ([12] * Albert and Temmy Latner Jewish Public Library of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA. ([13] Princeton University maintains a list of Jewish Libraries at [14] Another source of information is the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) at [15]
Subject: Question 20.12: I'm interesting in ordering books or music on the internet. Where should I look? Answer: With the growth of the Internet, there are now many, many, many retailers of both secular and Jewish products on the Internet. This FAQ cannot claim to list them all; however, we can identify some of the largest ones. Note that the FAQ makes no claim as to the quality of any of these services. They are likely all good, but the FAQ can provide no guarantees. The line has blurred between book retailers and music retailers. In an effort to grow their business, many book retailers stock music and videos, and many music retailers stock books. Secular Services The following commercial concerns all provide a large selection of books and/or music, including a fair selection of Jewish books and/or music: * Amazon. [5] * Barnes and Noble. [6] * CDNow. [7] Jewish Retailers The following retailers all provide a large selection of Jewish books and/or Music: * Broders Rare and Used Books. [8] A good sources for the rare or used books, often not stocked by other retailers. * Jewishmall [9] A collection of online Jewish retailers * Jewishmusic.Com [10] Operated by Tara Publications. Stocks both books and music. * Judaism.Com. [11] Operated by US Judaica, formerly Pinsker's Bookstore in Pittsburgh PA. This concern is well known from their land-line number: 1-800-JUDAISM. * J. Levine Books and Judaica. [12] Based out of New York, NY. Sells books, media, and Judaica. * My Jewish Books. [13] An online discount Jewish bookstore. Orders are fulfilled by, and proceeds go to tzedakah. * Virtual Jerusalem Shops. [14] A collection of Judaica shops in a wide variety of categories. Publishers The following are publishers of Jewish Music or Jewish texts. You can often order directly from them. An additional source of Jewish Publishers is the Association of Jewish Book Publishers ([15] There is another list of publishers at [16] Additionally, almost all "mainstream" publishing houses, such as Simon and Schuster ([17], Macmillan Publishers ([18], Doubleday ([19], another division of Random House), Random House ([20], Harper Collins ([21], among others, all offer popular Judaica in their catalogs. Some good publishers that focus specifically on Judaica are: * Artscroll/Mesorah. [22] Publishers of timeless Jewish classics, including Talmud commentaries. * Jasob Aronson Inc. [23] Publishers of Judaica * Behrman House. [24] Behrman House is the leading publisher of Judaica and educational materials for Jewish religious schools in North America and in English-speaking countries around the world. * Ben-Simon Publications. [25] Publishes Jewish and family themed books. * CCAR Press. [26] Publishers of liturgical and reference material for the Reform movement. * Feldheim Publishers. [27] "Bringing you the finest in Torah Literature for the Entire Family" * Five Star Publications. [28] Various categories including kosher cookbooks, Holocaust memoirs, consumer-oriented (Profits of Death, an expose of the funeral industry) and children's books. * Jewish Lights Publishing. [29] Publishers of a large amount of contemporary Jewish thought and practice books, including Anita Diamont's stuff. * Jewish Publishing Society. [30] The oldest publisher of Jewish literature published in the English language. Since 1888, JPS has providing titles that further Jewish culture and education * Jonathan David Press. [31] A New York-based nonfiction trade book publisher that specializes in sports, biography, reference, and popular Judaica. The parent corporation, Jonathan David Co., Inc., markets and distributes Jonathan David publications throughout the world. In addition, it issues Judaica Book Guide, a mail-order catalog offering the very best in Judaica from the lists of all publishers at bargain prices. * Kehot Publishing. [32] The publishing arm of Chabad. * KTAV Publishing Company [33] Publisher of fine Jewish books and gifts, including prayer books, books for children and young adults, toys, games, school supplies and textbooks. KTAV also produces distinguished scholarly books on topics ranging from Biblical study to contemporary issues. * Milah Press. [34] Books on the holocaust, Hebrew language, and Zionism. * Pelican Publishing Company, Inc. [35] Publishes books of Jewish interest for all ages, including A Travel Guide to Jewish Europe, Passover Lite Kosher Cookbook, Kosher Cajun Cookbook, Kosher Creole Cookbook, Kosher Southern-Style Cookbook, Toby Belfer's Seder: A Passover Story Retold, Toby Belfer Never Had a Christmas Tree, and A Belfer Bar Mitzvah. * The Reconstructionist Press. [36] Publishing arm of the Reconstructionist movement. Publishes over fifty titles dealing with Reconstructionist philosophy, liturgy, education and current issues in daily Jewish life. The press also publishes and distributes the works of Mordecai M. Kaplan. * Schocken Books. [37] A division of Random House, Schocken is well known for publishing scholarly books on a wide variety of Jewish subjects. * SHJ Press. [38] The publishing arm of the Society for Humanistic Judaism movement. * Soncino Press. [39] Publishers of Judaic classic books. * SoundWrite. [40] The publisher of Jewish music for a large number of contemporary Jewish artists, including Debbie Friedman, Julie Silver, Rabbi Joe Black, and others. * Targum Press. [41] A major publisher of Jewish books. A subsidiary of Feldheim Publishers. * Torah Aura Productions. [42] Publishers of Jewish educational material. * Transcontinental Music. [43] The music publishing arm of the Reform Movement. * UAHC Press. [44] Publishers of a large amount of material dealing with the Reform movement. * USCJ Bookstore. [45] USCJ is the publisher of books for the Conservative movement.
Subject: I'm interesting in ordering books or music on the internet. Where should I look? There are a number of places on the internet from which books and music can be ordered. Books: * Pinsker's Bookstore [4]Home/Gopher Page available on (800) JUDAISM [1-800-583-2476] Pittsburgh PA * Judaica Emporium 3070 Broadway New York NY +1 212 662-7000 * Jewish Book Center of the Workmen's Circle 45 E 33rd New York NY +1 212 889-6800 x285 or 800-922-2558 * Levine Jewish Books and Judaica 5 W 30th New York NY +1 212 695-6888 * Bob and Bob Fine Jewish Gifts, Crafts, And Books 151 Forest Avenue Palo Alto, CA 94301 +1 415 329-9050 VOICE +1 415 329-8451 FAX EMAIL: [5] * Jason Aronson Inc. WWW Server: [6] Alternate WWW Server: [7] * Bubbe's Bookshelf P.O. Box 1455 Vienna, Va. 22183 +1 703 255-7028 VOICE/FAX EMAIL: [8] This bookstore specializes in filling want-lists for used, old, and out of print Judaica books. They have a large number of titles on-hand, and an active search service. Music: * Jewish Music On-Line URL [9]<> Orders: (800) 233-9494 FAX: (718) 261-3388
Subject: Question 20.99: Boy, you did a wonderful job on the FAQ? How do I show my appreciation? Answer: There are a number of ways you can support the FAQ: 1. Reduce the Noise. You can do your part to reduce the noise on the Jewish newsgroups by only posting articles that are on subject and contain significant content. Avoid responding to trolls, and try to answer questions fairly and impartially. 2. Help Complete The FAQ. Become part of the support team for questions sent to the FAQ; help develop new FAQ sections or complete/expand existing ones. Contact the FAQ maintainer at [5] for more information. 3. Provide Financial Support. In the past, the FAQ joked about dedicating questions in memory of people. But financial support for the maintenance of the FAQ is always appreciated. The FAQ is hosted by Shamash ([6], the master copy ([7] is maintained by the FAQ maintainer on Pacificnet ([8] Both of these providers have their fees. Additionally, there is the cost of the domain name. Donations to support maintenance are always appreciated; donations in excess of costs will be donated to Tzedakah. Contact the FAQ maintainer at [9] or [10] for more information.
Subject: How do I obtain copies of the FAQ? Answer: There are a number of different ways to obtain copies of the FAQ: * WWW. If you are reading this on Usenet, and would like to see an online, hyperlinked version, go visit [2] This is the "web" version of the FAQ; the version posted to Usenet is generated from the web version. Note that the version is a copy of the actual master version; if you want to access the master, visit [3] * Email. also provides an autoretriever that allows one to obtain a copy of the FAQ by return Email. To use the autoretriever, you send a retrieval request to [4] with the request in the body of the message. A more reliable way to retrieve these files is through the [5]FAQ autoretriever ([6] For the FAQ, the request has the form: send faq partname For the reading list, the request has the form: send rl partname "Partname" is replaced by the name of the part, as shown in the general index. The following is a short summary of the mapping to partnames for the FAQ: + [7]01-FAQ-intro: Section [8]1: Network and Newsgroup Information. + [9]02-Who-We-Are: Section [10]2: Who We Are + [11]03-Torah-Halacha: Sections [12]3, [13]4: Torah; Halachic Authority + [14]04-Observance: Sections [15]5, [16]6, [17]7, [18]8: Jewish Holidays; Jewish Dietary Law and Kashrut; Sabbath and Holiday Observance; Woman and Marriage + [19]05-Worship: Sections [20]9, [21]10, [22]11: Jewish Worship; Conversion, Intermarriage, and "Who is a Jew?"; Miscellaneous Practice Questions + [23]06-Jewish-Thought: Section [24]12: Jewish Thought + [25]07-Jews-As-Nation: Section [26]13: Jews as a Nation + [27]08-Israel: Section [28]14: Jews and Israel + [29]09-Antisemitism: Sections [30]15, [31]16, [32]17: Churban Europa (The Holocaust); Antisemitism and Rumors about Jews; Countering Missionaries + [33]10-Reform: Section [34]18: Reform/Progressive Judaism + [35]11-Miscellaneous: Sections [36]19, [37]20: Miscellaneous; References and Getting Connected + [38]12-Kids: Section [39]21: Jewish Childrearing Related Questions + [40]mail-order: Mail Order Judaica The following is a short summary of the mapping of partnames for the Reading Lists: + [41]general: Introduction and General. Includes book sources, starting points for beginners, starting points for non-Jewish readers, General Judaism, General Jewish Thought, General Jewish History, Contemporary Judaism, Noachide Laws, Torah and Torah Commentary, Talmud and Talmudic Commentary, Mishnah, Midrash, Halachic Codes, Becoming An Observant Jew, Women and Judaism, and Science and Judaism. + [42]traditional: Traditional Liturgy, Practice, Lifestyle, Holidays. Includes Traditional Liturgy; Traditional Philosophy and Ethics; Prayer; Traditional Practice; The Household; Life, Death, and In-Between; and The Cycle Of Holidays. + [43]mysticism: Kabbalah, Mysticism, and Messianism. Includes Academic and Religious treatments of Kabbalah, Sprituality, and the Jewish notion of the Messiah. + [44]reform: Reform/Progressive Judaism + [45]conservative: Conservative Judaism + [46]reconstructionist: Reconstructionist Judaism + [47]humanistic: Humanistic Judaism (Society for Humanistic Judaism) + [48]chasidism: Chassidism. Includes general information on historical chassidism, as well as specific information on Lubavitch (Chabad), Satmar, Breslaw (Breslov), and other approaches. + [49]zionism: Zionism. Includes Zionism and The Development Of Israel, The Founders, Zionistic Movements, and Judaism in Israel. + [50]antisemitism: Antisemitism. Includes sections on Antisemitism, What Led to The Holocaust, Medieval Oppression, Antisemitism Today (Including Dealing with Hate Groups), Judaism and Christianity, and Judaism, Freemasonry and other rumors. + [51]intermarriage: Intermarriage. Includes sections on "So You're Considering Intermarriage?", The Traditional Viewpoint, Conversion, and Coping With Life As An Intermarried. + [52]childrens: Books for Jewish Children. Includes sections on Birth and Naming, Raising a Child, Family Guidebooks, Upsheren, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Confirmation, Holiday Books for Children, Liturgy for Children, Bible and Torah for Children, Jewish History for Children, Jewish Theology for Children, Israel, Learning Hebrew, and Jewish Stories. Alternatively, you may send a message to [53] with the following line in the body of the message: send usenet/news.answers/judaism/(portionname) Where (portionname) is replaced by the appropriate subdirectory and filenames; for example, to get the first part of the reading list, one would say: send usenet/news.answers/judaism/reading-lists/general * Anonymous FTP: All portions of the FAQ and of the reading lists are archived on [54] and are available for anonymous FTP from the pub/usenet/news.answers/judaism/FAQ directory (URL [55] Similarly, the parts of the reading lists are stored in the pub/usenet/news.answers/judaism/reading-lists directory (URL: [56] ts). Note that the archived versions of the FAQ and reading lists are the posted versions; that is, they are each one large ASCII file.
Subject: Who Wrote the FAQ? Answer: The original version of the Frequently Asked Questions was developed by a committee consisting of Mike Allen, Jerry Altzman, Rabbi Charles Arian, Jacob Baltuch (Past Chair), Joseph Berry, Warren Burstein, Stewart Clamen, Daniel Faigin, Avi Feldblum, Rabbi Yaakov Feldman, Itzhak "Jeff" Finger, Gedaliah Friedenberg, Yechezkal Gutfreund, Art Kamlet, Joe Kansun, CAPT Kaye David, Alan Lustiger, Hillel Markowitz, Len Moskowitz, Colin Naturman, Aliza Panitz, Eliot Shimoff, Mark Steinberger, Steven Weintraub, Matthew Wiener, and headed by Robert Levene. The organization and structuring of the lists for posting purposes was done by [2]Daniel Faigin, who is currently maintaining the lists. Other contributors include Aaron Biterman, A. Engler Anderson, Ken Arromdee, Seymour Axelrod, Jonathan Baker, Josh Backon, Micha Berger, Steven M. Bergson, Eli Birnbaum, Shoshana L. Boublil, Kevin Brook, J. Burton, Harvey Cohen, Todd J.Dicker, Michael Dinowitz, Rabbi Jim Egolf, Sean Engelson, Mike Fessler, Menachem Glickman, Amitai Halevi, Walter Hellman, Per Hollander, Miriam Jerris, Robert D. Kaiser, Yosef Kazen, Rabbi Jay Lapidus, Mier Lehrer, Heather Luntz, David Maddison, Arnaldo Mandel, Ilana Manspeizer, Seth Ness, Chris Newport, Daniel Nomy, Jennifer Paquette, Andrew Poe, Alan Pfeffer, Jason Pyeron, Adam Reed, Seth Rosenthall,, David Sheen, Rabbi John Sherwood, Michael Sidlofsky, Michael Slifkin, Frank Smith, Michael Snider, Rabbi Arnold Steibel, Andy Tannenbaum,, Meredith Warshaw, Bill Wadlinger, Arel Weisberg, Dorothy Werner, and Art Werschulz, and the soc.culture.jewish.parenting board. Some material has been derived from other sources on the Internet, such as [3], [4], and [5] Comments and corrections are welcome; please address them to [6] A special thank you... Special thanks for her patience and understanding go to my wife, Karen, who put up with me hiding at the computer for the two months it took to complete the July/August 2000 remodel of the entire soc.culture.jewish FAQ and Reading Lists. If you think the effort was worth it, drop her a note c/o [7] ------------------------------------------------------------ -- Please mail additions or corrections to me at End of SCJ FAQ Part 11 (Miscellaneous) Digest ************************** -------

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