Friday, May 10, 2002

Shabbat-O-Gram for May 10-11, Iyar 29, 5762

  Shabbat-O-Gram for May 10-11, Iyar 29, 5762

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut


The Web link for this week's Shabbat-O-Gram is The site is continually updated during the week with corrections and additions. Feel free to forward this link to your friends. People can subscribe to the weekly Shabbat-o-Gram at If you wish to unsubscribe, contact


SHABBAT SHALOM, Happy Mothers Day and Happy Jerusalem Day!


Photos from last week's fabulous dinner dance honoring Hazzan Sidney and Sandy Rabinowitz can now be seen online at


 JUST THE FACTS: Services and Such (N.B. 7 PM Fri night, outdoors)

Friday Night: Candles: 7:41: PM

Kabbalat Shabbat: 7:00 PM, OUTDOORS (weather permitting -- and looks like it will be fabulous), featuring Rabbi Andrea Cohen Kiener. We begin our season of outdoors services with a more meditative style.

Shabbat Shalom Service: 7:15 PM (in the lobby)

Shabbat Morning: ELDERS DAY AND FAMILY SERVICE. We honor Norma and Milton Mann as or Elders of the Year. Part of the service will be led by Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener in a more meditative style. Mazal tov to the Manns and thank you to Jack and Claire Steinberg for their ongoing sponsorship (and creative support) of this important annual event -- as well as the scrumptious lunch following services.


P'sukey d'zimra (psalms and meditations) 9:15 and Shacharit: 9:30, featuring our scholar in residence.

Torah Portion: Bamidbar

Read the Masorti commentary at JTS commentary is at: USCJ Torah Sparks can be found at UAHC Shabbat Table Talk discussions are at Other divrei Torah via the Torahnet home page: Test your Parasha I.Q.: CLAL's Torah commentary archive:

Children's Services: 10:30, in the chapel (grades 3 - 6) and downstairs in the Kindergarten room for younger grades. This week's jr. cong. is hosted by grade 4

Mincha - Havdalah: 7:00 PM

MAZAL TOV -- to Jennifer and Elizabeth Shepard, who will both become B'not Mitzvah this Shabbat afternoon!

Morning Minyan: Daily at 7:30, Sundays at 9:00

Coming Attractions…..

SHAVUOT SERVICES -- on Friday and Shabbat next week at the usual Shabbat starting times. Thursday night we'll join in celebration and study with other congregations at Temple Shalom in Greenwich (see below). Friday morning we'll have children's services with Nurit and at the conclusion of our main service, we'll follow our new tradition of unrolling a Torah scroll so that all of us, young and old, might "receive" the Torah again. The book of Ruth will also be read and discussed. Friday evening services will be at 7 next week, outdoors, weather permitting, and next Shabbat morning, the 2nd day of Shavuot, in addition to Yizkor prayers, we'll be celebrating an Adult Bat Mitzvah for several women who have been working very hard for an entire year leading to this event. It should be a most memorable Shavuot here next week.


Spiritual Journey on the Web: What's so Jewish About Mother's Day?

A man calls his mother in Florida. "Mom, how are you?"
"Not too good," says the mother. "I've been very weak."
The son says, "Why are you so weak?"
She says, "Because I haven't eaten in 38 days."
The man says, "That's terrible. Why haven't you eaten in 38 days?"
The mother answers, "Because I didn't want my mouth to be filled with food if you should call."

When I was growing up, I used to love the little satiric book by Dan Greenberg, "How to be a Jewish Mother." It contained the typical jokes about dominating, overprotective mothers and obedient, castrated sons. There's still lots of Jewish Mother jokes on the Web, such as those found at, "Jewish Mothers' Food Definitions,"$148?mode=day, "Jewish Mother Jokes," and more assorted jokes at and Here's a typical one:

A Jewish young man was seeing a psychiatrist for an eating and sleeping disorder. "I am so obsessed with my mother... As soon as I go to sleep, I start dreaming, and everyone in my dream turns into my mother. I wake up in such a state, all I can do is go downstairs and eat a piece of toast." The psychiatrist replies: "What, just one piece of toast, for a big boy like you?"

Some of the jokes are downright offensive, but many just seem dated. Or are they?. This week, Jewish Community Online ran a survey on this issue, asking: "With Mother's Day just around the corner, do you think that the stereotype of a Jewish mother is still valid? "(

As of Tuesday, the results were:

  • Oh you bet... and I have the mom to prove it. 42.55%
  • No. Today's Jewish moms are more laid back than earlier generations. 31.91%
  • That wasn't a Jewish was an IMMIGRANT stereotype. 25.53%

Of course, Jews didn't always stereotype their mothers negatively. When Rabbi Yosef heard his mother enter the room he would say, "I must stand up, for the glory of God enters." Rabbi Tarfon used to help his mother get into bed by bending down and allowing her to use his back as a step ladder (nowadays, most people prefer to tell their mothers to get OFF their backs). For Jews, it used to be that every day was mothers day.

In 1907, Anna Jarvis campaigned for a national day to honor mothers. It is said that she was at odds with her mother at the time (ah… the power of maternal guilt). Read about her at For Jews, the "patron saint" of maternal figures would have to be the matriarch Rachel, who stands watch over her children even in death, as in life. At, you can read how Rachel's Yahrzeit has been transformed into a national Mothers Day of sorts in Israel, especially among pre-schoolers (it occurs in the fall, on the 11th of Heshvan).

To read the fifth commandment is to understand that Mother's Day is indeed a daily occurrence for Jews -- or at least it should be. Sometimes it isn't easy to respect our moms. Take this Talmudic account, as related in a sermon by Rabbi Elan Adler of Baltimore (with whom I shared many great times when he lived here in Stamford):

The Talmud tells of Dama the son of Netina, who was once wearing a gold-embroidered silken cloak sitting among Roman nobles. It is clear that Dama ben Netina was highly regarded and respected. One day, his mother came to where he was sitting, tore off his elegant gown, struck him on the head, and spat repeatedly in his face. The Talmud says that with all this, he did not shame her. For he knew that the Torah demanded, "kabed et avicha v'et imecha," honor your father and your mother in all circumstances. The word "kabed" without vowels can also be read as "kaved", meaning a heavy load or burden. Sometimes, it is a heavy burden to respect our parents, especially when they are no longer capable, or when we don't see eye to eye with them. (find the rest of the sermon at

And indeed, there are also times when we can't honor our parents as much as we would like, specifically when they are abusive. Aish's Web site discusses these limits in an article found at

But, for the most part, mothers are due the highest respect and honor. As the saying goes, "God could not be everywhere, so God created mothers."







ON SHAVUOT (Next Friday and Saturday, May 17 and 18)

We can begin with Rabbi Barry Lerner’s Shavuot downloads (html or Adobe), at A wealth of materials can be found there. Or, how about CLAL’s experiment in distance pluralism, found at, their "National Unity Shavuot Web site." literally maps out the Jewish festivals for easy navigation. Click on Shavuot for quick explanations of key concepts, emphasizing the multi-layered nature of this festival:

The reading of the book of Ruth on this festival makes Shavuot of particular interest not only to women, but also to Jews by Choice and champions of outreach. Find a nice summary of the book (in dramatized form) at A d’var Torah on Ruth by Rabbi Richard Hirsh, at, makes the claim that Ruth’s wasn’t a religious conversion, per se, but an application for citizenship. Ruth, in effect, places identification with the Jewish people on a higher level than belief in the Jewish God. Affiliation comes before belief. The Jewish Outreach Institute sees Ruth as a paradigm for contemporary outreach efforts. Find out how at and also at JOI’s Shavuot Home Page is at

Shavuot has begun to take on new meaning for all branches of Judaism. You’ll find a gold mine of Shavuot links at, and some neat audio lectures from a modern Orthodox perspective at

Shavuot has made the greatest inroads in the liberal movements, although it still is not being taken as seriously as it should. In that way, it is the perfect Jewish match for the American Memorial Day, which has lost almost all of its meaning as a true Memorial Day. Between the aforementioned Ruth, the all-night study sessions, and the environmental, Zionist slant, this holiday is enjoying a renaissance. A good example is and its treatment of the Omer. Also see Art Waskow’s interpretation of the Ezekiels’s vision of the chariot, a classic text of Jewish mysticism and a haftorah for Shavuot. It’s at

Finally, take a Shavuot quiz and send a Shavuot card. You can find a card at, and the quiz at


ISRAEL AND THE WAR ON TERORRISM Daily alert Prepared for the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Comprehensive and helpful. "Saturday Night Live's" mock-ad slamming France. An elixir for those who are too angry at the French for words. -- send pizza to soldiers on the front lines. Really! (and a personal message too) The Ariga home page includes links to a collection of data on the formation of Israel since 1947, from a dovish perspective. Thanks to Mitzi Silverman for letting me know about it. It's important to see this conflict from all perspectives.

On April 24, 2002, Bill Bennett, Jack Kemp, and Jeane Kirkpatrick issued an open memorandum (attached below) about Israel and the Middle East. These 20 facts will help serve as a primer for those trying to understand the historical context of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East. Twenty facts about Israel and the Middle East:$517?print-friendly=true Good journalistic resource on Israel Cover story in New York Magazine on American Jews' current crisis -- excellent Sen. Joe Biden on Israel and Jenin: 'The Massacre that Wasn't";$sessionid$THP3KGIAAAN4JQFIQMGSFFOAVCBQWIV0?xml=/opinion/2002/05/04/do0402.xml&sSheet=/news/2002/05/04/ixnewstop.html No "Massacre" in Jenin -- from the Daily Telegraph (U.K.)


Yet More Evidence…

The IDF captured an anti-Semitic book titled "Zionazism - Fight it before it kills you". It was found in a residence maintained for Yasser Arafat in Bethlehem. The book’s author is a member of the Palestinian National Council and it carries a handwritten dedication to Dr. Yussuf Abdallah, a close associate of Arafat and head of his Presidential Guard.

The main points of this vile tract are summarized on the book’s cover:

1. The Jews of our times are not the descendants of Abraham or related to him.

2. The origin of today’s Jews is from various nations, religions and peoples, therefore the Jews are not our cousins.

3. The current Bible and Talmud are not god given.

4. A small number of Jews reached Palestine in the past. They lived east of Mt. Se’ir and later became extinct.

5. The God of the Jews (Jah-we) was created from an ancient volcano above the hills of Yemen. But what about Allah, praised be his Name, who is an answer to (Jah-we). [Note: meaning that there is only the Moslem Allah]

6. The temple was never built, neither in Jerusalem nor anywhere else.

7. Zionism is the Eighth Crusade. The Zionists are occupiers, crusaders and pirates who arrived from overseas, as planned by the imperialistic countries, notably the US.

8. Hitler never murdered nor incinerated Jews in gas chambers.

9. Relinquishing the liberation of Jerusalem constitutes great treachery.

10. Relinquishing the refugees right to return is even greater treachery.

11. The Zionazi settlement is a tumor (these are highly-developed and advanced military bases).

12. One of Zionism’s goals is to impose a degrading surrender on our people.

13. Some Arab leaders and some Palestinians conspired against the Palestinian problem.

14. Rabbi Ovadia Yossef suffers from a persecution complex, or from schizophrenia and a persecution and superiority complex. [Note: Rabbi Yossef is chief rabbi of the ultra-orthodox Shas movement]

The IDF website has scans of the book and additional information about it at this link:

Related to this, the Jerusalem Post reported that "Mein Kampf" is selling well in Palestinian areas and in Arab quarters of London.



The Salute to Israel Parade in Manhattan on Sunday drew 700-800,000 people, including marching bands and professionally designed floats ( About 600 protesters also showed up— representing about .0008 of total attendance. Yet The New York Times ran a front-page photo of an anti-Israel poster held by one of the protesters, suggesting to readers that there had been a huge ANTI-Israel parade! The ensuring article devotes more ink to the protesters than it does to the pro-Israel paraders themselves. Read the article at: Comments to: letters@nytimes.comThe Times did print a quasi retraction the following day:

"An article yesterday about a parade in Manhattan marking Israel's 54th anniversary reported that 100,000 people had registered to march and hundreds of thousands more lined Fifth Avenue in support. The article also said that anti-Israel protesters numbered in the hundreds.
A front-page photograph, however, showed the parade in the background, with anti-Israel protesters prominent in the foreground, holding a placard that read, "End Israeli Occupation of Palestine." Inside the newspaper, a photo of a pro-Israel marcher was outweighed by a larger picture of protesters, one waving a sign that likened Zionism to Nazism.
Although the editors' intent in each case was to note the presence of opposing sides, the effect was disproportionate. In fairness the total picture presentation should have better reflected The Times's reporting on the scope of the event, including the disparity in the turnouts."


Quote of the Week:


Response to yesterday’s Rishon Lezion suicide bombing,
which claimed 15 Israeli lives

"I came here, to the United States, to talk over the possibility of reformation of the Palestinian Authority, which is an essential condition for furthering the diplomatic process. There cannot be progress in diplomatic process with a corrupt terrorist entity. I came here…to talk about the chances for holding a regional conference to advance stability in the area. [Despite] our frank efforts to move in diplomatic channels, we today received further proof of the true intentions of the person who stands at the head of the P.A.

"He who calls for millions of martyrs is guilty. He who incites incessantly is guilty. He who finances terrorism is guilty. He who dispatches terror is guilty. Therefore, anyone who tries to extort the state of Israel to make concessions large or small via terror and intimidation ... and the sowing of fear, I say today: the state of Israel will not surrender. It will not surrender to blackmail.

"He who rises up to kill us, we will pre-empt it and kill him first. Israel will act, and with might. Israel will fight anyone who tries to wage fear through suicide terrorism. Israel will fight. Israel will triumph. And when victory comes, Israel will make peace.

"The operation (carried out by the IDF in recent weeks in the West Bank) has yielded tremendous achievements, but our work is not done. The battle continues and will continue until all those who believe that they can make gains through the use of terror will cease to exist--cease to exist.

"Israel will act the same as any democracy that protects itself. Israel will act like any other democracy which fights the forces of darkness. Israel will continue to uproot the terror infrastructure."

(Ha’aretz, May 8, 2002)







Celebrate Rosh Hodesh Sivan With Barb Moskow

And special guest Bonny Grosz

Monday, May 13 @7:30-9

In the Youth Lounge

For women only

Join us for an evening filled with study, prayer, thoughtful discussion, food

And much more


Don't Forget to Join us for our

Adult B'not Mitzvah Service on May 18, the Second Day of Shavuot!!!



House-Hunting Help Needed by the Temple

The Temple needs to rent a three-bedroom apartment or house as interim housing for Cantor Deborah Jacobson and her family, until the Hazzan's Parish House becomes available. The residence will be needed beginning June 15th for three or four months. Furnished preferred but not essential. If you know of any available rental housing for the June-October period please let the Temple office know so that the Hazzan Transition Committee can follow up on it. Your help is very much appreciated.



Friday Night Outdoor Services

weather permitting (otherwise we'll be indoors, but still at 7:00),

May 10, 2002 at 7:00 p.m., the first outdoor service will be led by

Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener



Eighth Annual Elders Day

Shabbat, May 11, 2002

Honoring Norma and Milton Mann,

featuring a special d'var Torah by Rabbi Andrea Cohen Keiner

Services begin at 9:30 a.m.

Congregational Family Luncheon to follow


Don't forget…May 19 
- "Hazzan: The Musical,"

Community Event to Honor Hazzan Sidney and Sandy Rabinowitz

Junior Choir Reunion! Friday, June 14, 2002

The Committee to Honor Hazzan & Sandy is looking for former Junior Choir singers to participate in the upcoming festivities! If your son or daughter ever participated in the Beth El Junior Choir, please call Roz Perlson (323-7328), Kathy Paseltiner (356-9735) or Carol Kalter (968-1075) to give his/her name, address and phone number.



Erev Shavuot at Temple Sholom in Greenwich, in Partnership with Greenwich Reform Synagogue, the Greenwich Beit Midrash and Temple Beth El of Stamford.

Begin your celebration of Shavuot, the Festival of Weeks, in a traditional way. Join Rabbi Hurvitz of Temple Sholom, Rabbi Richard Chapin of Greenwich Reform Synagogue, Rabbi Joshua Hammerman of Temple Beth El in Stamford, and Rabbi Eli Weinstock of the Greenwich Beit Midrash in an evening of study and preparation for the holiday.

7:00 PM Dairy Dinner (* optional), followed at 8 by a traditional/egalitarian Ma'ariv minyan OR Tefillah/ Prayer Workshop, then sessions (with plenty of nosh time) led by the rabbis through the evening, concluding at about 11.

Everyone is invited to attend. Please RSVP by May 10 to Carol Ann at 869-7191 ext. 100 (If you can only attend post-dinner, please let us still know that you are planning on attending.)

*The fee for the optional dinner is $10.00 per person. Please make your check payable to Temple Sholom and mail with the form below to 300 East Putnam Ave. Greenwich, Ct. 06830

If you cannot attend dinner, please join us for the remainder of the evening.





Israel and the Palestinians: What Next?

A lecture by Mitchell Kraus, former CBS News correspondent

Wed. May 22, at 1:00 PM

at the Harry Bennett Branch of the Ferguson Library

115 Vine Road

Registration recommended: call 964-1000 X292




Outreach to Young Jewish Singles

So, you’ve come to the Greater Stamford area and you are interested in the who’s who and the what’s what in the Jewish world. Well, you’ve come to the right place to find out. Through a grant provided by Michael Steinhardt, project SHA’AR was developed to provide information about and/or formulate welcoming Jewish educational, cultural and social programs that are geared to the interests of young Jewish singles. SHA’AR is your link to existing Jewish organizations in the Greater Stamford community.

SHA’AR will provide information about the existing Synagogues, so that you can find the one that fulfills your religious needs. A number of programming options will be available to fulfill your Jewish religious and educational desires. Additionally, SHA’AR can connect you to the popular Young Jewish Professionals singles group to accommodate your social interests.

Our program is unique, due to the fact that SHA’AR involves you in the development process of the project and that its coordinator is 26, single and can relate to and understand the needs of the young Jewish single.

For more information please contact Dan Rozett, Coordinator of SHA’AR, United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien.

203.321.1373 ext. 115 or



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