Welcome to the mail-jewish mailing list!

Purpose  |  Related Lists  |  Submissions | Subscription Donations | Back Issues  |  Ground Rules | Listproc

Purpose of the mailing list: Mail-Jewish Home

This mailing list was founded in 1986 for the purpose of discussing Jewish topics in general within an environment where the validity of Halakha and the Halakhic process is accepted, as well as for the discussion of topics of Halakha. The mailing list is open to everybody, but topics such as the validity of Torah, halakha etc are not accepted.

Mail-jewish has grown to be a quite active list, and you should expect to get about 10 to 20 mailings each week, (more or less depending on how busy I am and the volume of submissions). Each mailing is a digest of different submissions, usually between 250 and 300 lines in any given issue. In general, there will not be more than 4 issues sent out in any given day. The mail-jewish archives are available on shamash.org (see below for more info). I generally change volume number when we get to about issue 100.

Related Lists                                                           Top

Two lists that cover somewhat similar readerships to mail-jewish are Avodah and Areivim. Avoda was set up to deal with some of the more philosophical areas of Jewish thought. Areivim split off as the "higher noise" version for general conversation. These lists are managed by Micha Berger, a longtime member of our list. To subscribe, send the request:

subscribe Avodah or subscribe Areivim

to: majordomo@aishdas.org

<If people have other Jewish lists that they think are appropriate to list here, please let me know. Avi>

Submission of Articles:                                       Top

You are welcome to submit articles on whatever you'd like related to halakha or Judaism. Try to be gentle and tactful. If you want to post an article mail it to mljewish@shamash.org. In general, I will assume any email message sent to the above addresses is meant for inclusion in the mailing list. If it is a private message to me, and not for the list, please state so in your message. Anonymity will be preserved on request.

Cross posting between mail-jewish and other jewish mailing lists is discouraged. Publishing any portions of the mail-jewish digests on any other medium including other mailing lists without asking me or the originator of the article represents a breach of trust as many of the people who write in wish their privacy preserved. Please note that in todays world of
increasing electronic intercommunication, mail-jewish may be redistributed on local BBS and is available for reading through the World Wide Web

The preferred address that you can send things to is:


You can also reach me at:


Subscription Donation:                                                   Top

I am requesting a yearly subscription donation from readers of mail-jewish. I am modeling it somewhat like some museums, in that I am recommending a suggested subscription level, but you are free to choose what level of subscription you wish to contribute. The suggested subscription levels are (for US readers) $36.00 for employed individuals or families (i.e. if you have more than one person in your family on mail-jewish, only one subscription fee is requested), and $15.00 for students, under-employed etc. If you are just joining the list, I would suggest waiting a month and reading this list to see what this list is worth to you before making a decision. The simplist way is to use the Paypal link on the main page. This will allow you to pay via a credit card or a PayPal account, and will work (I think) from both within the US and outside the US. Other than Paypal, it does not appear to me to be practical to request this subscription fee from the non-US dollar based readers, due to the issues of converting the currency, etc.

Checks payable in US dollars may be made out to either "Avi Feldblum" or to "mail-jewish".

The address to send the contribution to is:
Avi Feldblum
919 N 24th Street
Allentown, PA 18104

Back Issues and Searching:                                Top

All the back issues of mail-jewish are available on the shamash archive area. On the main mail-jewish home page: http://www.mail-jewish.org there is a fully "html-ized" version of the list that is in my opinion the best way to view and search back issues (it is what I use all the time). There is also a link there for a search engine that only searches the mail-jewish archives. Listproc email retrieval from the archive area is also available and further described at the end of this message.

Mailing List Ground Rules:                                Top

Halakha  |   Flaming  |  Hebrew  |  Halakhic AuthoritySignatures  | EditingQuoting

1) Halakha

a)Submissions to the mailing list may not advocate actions which are clearly in violation of Halakha.

b) Discussions about whether it is appropriate in these modern times to follow Halakha is not a valid topic for discussion

c) It is the responsibility of the moderator to determine what the bounds of acceptable discussion are. The moderator may discuss borderline issues with some selected members of the list to help in making that decision.

2) Flaming

All members of the mailing list are strongly urged to keep the conversation focused on the topic of discussion, not on the people saying things. Flaming of any sort will result in automatic rejection of your submission.

3) Hebrew

All transliterations of hebrew words, except those that are "common", should also be translated. The members of the mailing list span a wide range of knowledge and background, and we would like things to be understood by all. Words such as Torah, Shabbat, Mitzvah fall in the catagory of "common". If you are unsure, it is better to err on the side of including the translation. If the translations are missing, the moderator will either supply the translation, clearly marking that the translation was added by the moderator, or will send the submission back to the submitter for translation.

4) Halakhic Authority

The mailing list is not a halakhic authority, and no discussions held on the mailing list should be relied upon in a situation where a p'sak halakha [specific halakhic decision] is called for. In such a situation, whether explicitly stated in the submission or not, the rule is: CYLCHA - Consult Your Local Competent Halakhic Authority, or more commonly put - CYLOR - Consult Your Local Orthodox Rabbi.

5) Signatures

I enforce the 4-line limit to signatures that is recommended in Usenet etiquette. If your signature is longer, I will edit it down to 4 lines. I will also edit out lines that do not carry information, e.g. adding a favorite quote to one's sig is popular, but will usually be removed before a submission goes out.


I will generally do minor editing of articles that are submitted, usually limited to fixing typo's that I see. If it requires anything
more than that, I will generally return it to you with a comment about what I would like to see fixed.

7) Quoting

When quoting previous submissions, please trim the quoted material to what is needed to make your contribution understandable. The standard convention in the email world, supported by many mail user agents is that the quoted material is prepended with an identifiable character, usually a "> ", i.e. here is how a quoted line might look:
> this is a quoted line
and here is my reply
Doing this, or something similar helps everyone read things more clearly.

Listproc:                                                                    Top

General Info  |  Join  |   Postpone  |  Signoff  | Change Address  |  Archive Material

General Info:

This mailing list is administered using the listproc on shamash.org. The listproc software can handle many administrative matters, such as joining or leaving the list, and requesting archived material. These requests can now be handled directly by email requests to the listproc address. Full documentation on the Shamash Listproc can be found on the main Shamash Web site.

The address for these administrative requests is:


NOTE: NOT mail-jewish@shamash.org

To get a copy of the user reference manual by email, send the message:
GET doc userman.txt
or for the user reference card:
GET doc user-ref.txt
to: listproc@shamash.org
You can also get a nicely formatted copy (in rtf format) of the above documents by replacing the .txt with .rtf in the above commands.

Here are some of the more common things you might want to do:

To join the list send a message to the above address which contains the line:

subscribe mail-jewish first_name last_name

where you put your name in the appropriate spot above.

If you are going to be unavailable for a while and do not want the mail piling up in your mailbox, you can set your subscription to POSTPONE. The way to do that is send the following message to the listproc address:

set mail-jewish mail postpone

when you return, you can reset your mail mode back by sending the message:

set mail-jewish mail noack

To leave the list, send a message to the above address which contains the line:

signoff mail-jewish

Change Address:
To change your email address, send a message to the above address which contains the line:

set mail-jewish <address> <password> <new-address>

where <address> is the current address, <password> is your password for the list, and <new-address> is the address you want to change it to.

Archive Material:
<At this point, I for everything later than volume 6, the Web server is in my opinion much more convienient to use. However, for those that prefer an email interface, listproc does offer that as well. >

To find out what is available from the archive server, send the following message:

index mail-jewish

To get a file in the main directory, send the message:

get mail-jewish file_name

The various volumes are located in subdirectories, to get, e.g. Volume 5 number 62, send the message:

get mail-jewish/volume5 v5n62

If you have WWW (Wold Wide Web) access, the mail-jewish home page is located at URL: http://www.mail-jewish.org. As mentioned below, at this point I am trying to keep that fully up to date, and there may be more available there than at the listproc archive.

If you have any problems, or the above either does not work for you or doesn't make sense, please send me email and I will try and help you.

Avi Feldblum
mail.jewish moderator