377 reputation
18
bio website zigzagworld.com
location Gaithersburg, MD
age 63
visits member for 2 years, 11 months
seen Apr 20 at 1:10

I've been a programmer for way too many years, starting by entering a program through front-panel switches on a PDP-8. (If you know what that's like, you've also been programming for too many years and we should have a beer some time.) My wife and I run a two-person company developing language learning and study apps for smart phones, as well as web-based learning activities with a game-like spin.


Dec
2
comment Where can I find a professionally typeset pdf siddur suitable for mobile viewing?
@mmdanziger - Yes, we handle all the kerning ourselves. A lot of work went into doing this efficiently in JS (it was originally in Java). The app continues to evolve (I updated the URL) and we expect to have the full version out by the end of the month (at the same updated URL).
Dec
2
revised Where can I find a professionally typeset pdf siddur suitable for mobile viewing?
updated url
Apr
22
answered Where can I find a professionally typeset pdf siddur suitable for mobile viewing?
Dec
21
awarded  Nice Question
Oct
18
comment Bad Jew or Good Gentile?
We are all b'nei adam. Who is this "someone else"?
Sep
30
comment Does 'Levi-' as half of a surname indicate a family of Levites?
Since names are patrilineal and Judaism is matrilineal, it's not at all unusual (in these days of fairly common intermarriage) for a non-Jew to be named Cohen. My understanding is that a non-Jew, even with a kohein father, converted to Judaism, he or she would be considered yisrael, not kohein.
Sep
24
comment What's so moving about Kol Nidrei
@AvrohomYitzchok - My understanding is that the Kol Nidre text is also quite relevant. When Spanish Jews were given the choice of exile, conversion, or death, many chose conversion. The Marranos understood the Kol Nidre formula ("All personal vows...let them all be relinquished and abandoned, null and void, neither firm nor established....") as a release from those forced vows.
Sep
24
comment What's so moving about Kol Nidrei
This is interesting. I've heard many people claim that the Kol Nidre melody is derived from Gregorian chant. However, Hugo Leichtentritt (Music of the Western Nations) and other musicologists present evidence and argue (convincingly, to me) that the opposite holds: medieval church musical forms--especially alleluia, graduale, and tractus of Gregorian chant--are derived directly from ancient Jewish psalmody and the Temple service.
Sep
24
comment What's so moving about Kol Nidrei
@msh210 - To be honest, it's something that I first heard of so long ago that I forgot where. Most likely, it was from the rabbi of the Sephardic congregation my family belonged to in Colombia in the late 1950s. (Forced conversion is a particularly emotional issue to Jews of Spanish descent because of the intensity of the Inquisition in Spain.) It's mentioned in the Wikipedia article on Kol Nidre.
Sep
24
answered What's so moving about Kol Nidrei
Sep
24
comment Will the real vertical bars (in Sh'ma) please stand up?
This agrees with the pointing in the Keter Yerushalayim, ArtScroll, and Koren Tanachs, as well as every tikkun I've seen. In my opinion, the editors of the ArtScroll siddur went a little overboard with guiding the reader on correct phrasing. It's particularly noticeable in opening pasuk of the Shema, where (in my edition) they have managed to indicate a pause between every word (either a comma or a pasek).
Sep
19
comment The dagesh in “elo-ha” means what?
@Fred - Nice article link. The Sephardic pronunciation sort of suggests that what was stolen is not the patach from the previous letter, but the letter that the patach belongs to. It also has a nice example of a he-mapiq that is not feminine possessive.
Sep
19
answered The dagesh in “elo-ha” means what?
Sep
19
comment The dagesh in “elo-ha” means what?
@Dan - The grammatical function of the mapik (which can occur with an alef as well as a he) is to indicate that the letter is a consonant. (The alternative is that the letter is matres lectionis indicating a particular vowel.) Whether a he-mapik indicates possessive is a matter of context. The Divine name yod-he, for instance, is always spelled with a mapik, possessive or not. (By the way, if the he has a patach, it is aH, with or without a mapik.)
Sep
10
awarded  Commentator
Sep
10
comment Is human flesh a kosher food?
@DoubleAA - By Genesis 9:3, humans were given permission to eat kol remes asher hu-chai ("every moving thing that lives", according to ArtScroll). Would that also include human flesh? Otherwise, there's a negative inference: all that humans may eat (kal va-chomer all that is kosher) is by explicit permission only.
Sep
5
comment Is there a problem with JPS?
Regarding halachah of translations, see this thread. I believe that the halachah is that (ancient) Greek (but no other translation) can be used for a sefer Torah. (However mezuzot and tefilin can only be in Hebrew.) Note also that the ancient Greek that can be used is usually considered a lost language. (See here.)
Sep
4
comment Did the priest ever cast out evil spirits?
Most of your citations describe worshiping demons, not demonic possession. The article on Dibbuk at the Jewish Virtual Library has some potentially relevant information.
Sep
2
accepted When do we start reciting Psalm 27?
Sep
2
comment When do we start reciting Psalm 27?
Is the tradition of starting from the first day of R"H Elul specific to Chabad?