Friday, June 14, 2002

Shabbat-O-Gram for June 14-15, Tammuz 5762

  Shabbat-O-Gram for June 14-15, Tammuz 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 Previous Shabbat-O-Grams are archived at


SHABBAT SHALOMand happy FLADAand Fathers’ Day too! 


Our server will be down on Thursday (6/13 – and special mention in next week’s O Gram to the first person who tells me why that date has Jewish significance) and possibly Friday of this week.  Thank you for your patience! 


Special Refuah Shlayma wishes:

GET WELL SOON FRANK ROSNER!!!  The Minyan misses you!


JUST THE FACTS: Services and Such (N.B. 8 PM this Fri night, in the sanctuary)


Friday Night: Candles: 8:09 PM

Kabbalat Shabbat service8:00 PM, JUNIOR CHOIR REUNION –


Shabbat Shalom service for young families:  7:15, in the lobby (last one of the season!)


P'sukey d'zimra (psalms and meditations) 9:15 and Shacharit: 9:30

MAZAL TOV, to Jayme Ashkin, who becomes Bat Mitzvah this Shabbat morning.

MAZAL TOV to Daniel Lavender, who becomes Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat morning.

Children's Services: 10:30, in the chapel (grades 3 - 6) and downstairs in the Kindergarten room for younger grades. 



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:

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






NEW YORK – June 11, 2002 – In a show of solidarity with the people of Israel during a time of challenge in the Jewish homeland, synagogue leaders throughout North America will lead congregants in special prayers of unity this coming Shabbat, June 14-15, and in sermonic messages will underscore the importance of the Israel Emergency Campaign of United Jewish Communities (UJC) to the people of Israel.


“The centerpiece of Jewish synagogue life is worship,” said Rabbi Eric M. Lankin, D.Min., UJC Director of Religious and Educational Activities. “The most important vehicles to show support of Jews in crisis is prayer and tzedakah, meaning righteousness and charity. This special Shabbat will be an opportunity to express commitment to both of these critical Jewish values to help our people.”


Leading the Israel Emergency Campaign Shabbat effort are the 850 rabbis who are members of UJC’s Rabbinic Cabinet, a network of rabbis from all denominations.


“Parashat Korach, the Torah portion for this coming Shabbat, cites the contrast between real leadership and those who promote chaos,” said Rabbi Harold J. Berman, Chairman of the UJC Rabbinic Cabinet and leader of Congregation Tifereth Israel of Columbus, Ohio. “What is going on in Israel today is that there is a similar conflict between the forces of chaos and those who are trying to move towards a better life for everyone. This past year, we have seen a return to prayer as an expression of how we deal with a crisis.  The Israel Emergency Campaign Shabbat will be an opportunity to share the important message of Jewish solidarity and offer prayers recognizing that the crisis in Israel touches our lives in the Diaspora as well.”  


The Israel Emergency Campaign Shabbat is an expression of the North American Jewish community’s unwavering dedication to helping Israeli citizens during a time of distress and uncertainty, and is underscored by the tremendous response to the UJC Israel Emergency Campaign – “We Stand with Israel Now and Forever.” 


Since last fall, North American Jews and their friends have pledged $265 million to the campaign - $175 million since April alone.   Last month, representatives from the four major Jewish movements – Conservative, Orthodox, Reconstructionist and Reform – announced their endorsement of the UJC Israel Emergency Campaign and its commitment to the critical needs of the Israeli people.  





Spiritual Journey on the Web: Hatfields, McCoys and Korach

This week will be Solidarity Shabbat here in more ways than one.  You’ve already seen that this will be a special Shabbat set aside to demonstrate solidarity with Israel.  Our focus on supporting Israel cannot wane even as the programming year winds down and we begin to head out toward more relaxing outposts.  Israelis don’t have the option of hopping into the car and leaving the worries of the world behind them.  Everyone is impacted, including fifteen-year-old Hadar Hershkowitz, killed in the terror attack in Herzliya on Tuesday (heartbreaking photo:   She is the latest victim of the greatest blood feud of our time, the Fundamentalist Islamic War Against the Jews.

Our portion of Korach speaks of an internal blood feud, also resulting in great suffering “even for children and little ones (Num. 16:27).”  Rashi asks, “Why were innocent children drawn into a rebellion not of their making?  This teaches us the grievousness of strife,” he responds, that children are forced to suffer for their parents’ sins (see the full Rashi commentary for this portion at”  In Hadar’s case, she suffered because of the sins not of her parents but the entire world.  For her sake alone, we cannot rest.   Even while on the beach, our thoughts need to turn to Zion.

And why did the Korach rebellion occur?   Because of petty family jealousy.  Check divrei torah found at and for insight on this (see especially Bernard Lewis’ astute quote on medieval Arab disunity and how it relates to Korach).  Each of the protagonists of our portion had a different gripe against Moses’ leadership, each his own personal vendetta.  The Columbia Encyclopedia’s definition of “vendetta” ( helps us to understand the problem.  Korah and his cohorts felt betrayed by the other Levites and were quite jealous that Aaron and Co. were singled out for the priesthood.   In a world where blood feuds reigned (see also for a definition of “feud”), one family was pitted against another until a strong central government, stronger than any one family, could emerge.  Korach vs. Moses was the Hatfields vs. McCoys of its day ( --- for a timeline of that famous feud).

Because Dathan, Aviram, and Korach had such selfish agendas, their partnership was doomed to fail.  Even had they succeeded in defeating Moses, their revolutionary government would ultimately have collapsed, because they had no common ground, no higher vision, from which to forge a new leadership model.  They only had their petty, egocentric gripes.  The blood feud was all.


I said this is a Solidarity Shabbat in more ways than one.  It so happens that this week we will celebrate a Bar Mitzvah and a Bat Mitzvah at the same morning service.   “No big deal,” you say?  In fact, it is a big deal here, because our policy has always been to refrain from “doubling up” on Bar Mitzvahs without consent of the family.  The net effect is that the only “doubling up” that has occurred has been with siblings, cousins or very close friends, and even then only once in a blue moon. (What is a blue moon, anyway?  At, you’ll discover that it’s a second full moon in a single calendar month, something that will never occur in the Jewish calendar – for obvious reasons).  But in this case, we had two families who really didn’t know each other, where, because of scheduling difficulties, one of them needed to switch from their assigned date.  That family canvassed all our June Bar/Bat Mitzvah families and came across one willing to share their date.  To say that things have worked out is an understatement.   The families met officially for the first time in my office only a month ago, and within ten minutes, all the honors were distributed.  There hasn’t been such good will in a room since Robin Williams last tried out a Boston accent (  Not only will both B’nai Mitzvah students participate equally, and not only will each shine, but each will have taught us all a lesson in the wonder of sharing and the meaning of true solidarity; each will have seen just why the educational goal of Bar/Bat Mitzvah is for the student to become part of something bigger than him/her self.  It won’t be a matter of splitting the glory, but rather of soaking in that extra-special moment in front of twice as many people.

I know there are congregations (read: Bar Mitzvah mills) where the doubled-up student is made to feel small and the family insignificant.  That is a danger we must avoid.  But if I were to look over the roster and try to figure out which of our current class are least likely to end up in league with Korach, it is this weekend’s two guests of honor.  They’ve already learned that it doesn’t much matter how many aliyahs my family gets.   I think it was Moses (or was it Richard Dawson, original host of “Family Feud?”) who said, “Ask not how your shul can custom design your Bar Mitzvah service to suit your personal needs, but rather ask how you can utilize this once-in-a life cycle opportunity to teach your child that neither he nor his family reside at the center of the universe.”  Something like that.   Only with the emergence of a strong central government, bigger and stronger than the family unit, did the blood feuds cease in ancient Israel.  And only when we realize that a Bar/Bat Mitzvah is much, much bigger than a mere event in the life of one family, will the rite’s full impact be felt by all -- and bring true blessing to the world. 

Thanks to Jayme and Daniel, and their parents, Ellen and Warren Ashkin and Marti and Mark Lavender, I am hunting for good will no longer.  As we head toward even larger B’nai Mitzvah classes over the next several years, I hope other families, especially those with morning services in “peak” seasons, will step forward with the desire to share. 

Maybe twice in a blue moon will do.






HonestReporting commends London-based attorney, Trevor Asserson, and his research assistant, Elisheva Mironi for their exhaustive, groundbreaking

analysis of seven weeks of BBC News. Every day, they monitored BBC TV and radio, and the BBC website, as well as several “control” websites.  Asserson took it upon himself to “assess BBC’s adherence to its own guidelines, in particular with respect to its obligations of impartiality and accuracy.” He found that BBC fell consistently short, and showed a marked and consistent pro-Palestinian bias.  BBC, as you’ll recall, was the ignoble winner of the Dishonest Reporting “Award” 2001, for consistently fierce anti-Israel bias.


“Some of the breaches are in our view quite glaring,” Asserson wrote. “At times, by a mere selection or omission of facts, BBC provides a report

which portrays the very opposite of the truth. Frequently BBC reporting is misleading. At times it appears to invent material to suit its own bias.”

Asserson’s report lists specific examples of BBC violations of objectivity. The full text of BBC report can be read at:



Zionist Congress to Begin 6/17


A link has just been created on the MERCAZ USA website's splash-page ( to the new 34th World Zionist Congress website, where

you can learn about the history of the Zionist congresses and the issues facing the upcoming congress that starts on June 17th, including all the

resolutions that have been introduced.




Krauthammer on Messianism and Oslo -- and audio recording of Charles Krauthammer’s provocative indictment of Oslo given at Bar Ilan University this month:  "He Tarries: Jewish Messianism and the Oslo Peace"

A report on that lecture is at the Jerusalem Post site, at


What Should Israel be Telling the Media? - Bret Stephens (Jerusalem Post)

  • The territories are not "occupied" but disputed, and the presence of Israelis on them does not violate international law or the Geneva Convention.
  • The conflict is not a battle between Jews and Arabs, but between democrats and dictators. Arafat, far from being the champion of his "people," is just another garden-variety Arab despot foisted on a nation that deserves better.
  • The argument against terrorism must be placed in the context of an argument for the legitimacy of the State of Israel. That legitimacy is very much in doubt among too large a percentage of the Palestinian population, and the dispute over the territories is merely a proxy argument over this larger question.

Bret Stephens will be speaking at the JCC next Tuesday (see below)




Poll: Only 21% of Americans Follow International News Very Closely
Since 2000, there has been only a modest rise in the proportion of Americans who follow international news very closely - from 14% to 21%. Some 61% follow international news only when something important happens. (Pew Research Center)




For more on the Israel Emergency Campaign, click here:

And to donate online directly to the Israel Emergency Campaign, follow this link:

Of course, this weekend also features Father's Day. has articles about fathers and other types of everyday heroes:

On being a single father and keeping the faith:

Other thoughts on Father's Day:

Two pieces on "everyday heroes," Israeli citizens impacted by the Middle East crisis:



Useful References: ·  Twenty Facts about Israel ·  Myths & Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict


Going on vacation and you forgot your trusty prayer book?  See for a web-based transliterated Siddur.

A nice page of web links from a Washington area synagogue:


New Feature: “The Highest Level of Tzedakkah” -- TBE Job Shidduch

According to Maimonides, the highest level of tzedakkah is not to give money to another, but to provide that person with the means to earn a living on his/her own.  In these difficult economic times, many within our Beth El family find themselves “downsized” out of a job for the first time in many years.  It is incumbent upon us to help them.  It would be an honor to utilize the Shabbat-O-Gram for this kind of mitzvah.  If you are looking for employment right now and would like the help of the congregation, please e-mail me a brief paragraph describing your needs and qualifications.  Anyone with potential leads can then contact me and I will in turn forward to that person contact information. Everything will be handled in the strictest confidence.  I can personally vouch for any of the individuals whose particulars are featured here.

This week we have two announcements:

MARKETING PROFESSIONAL seeks challenging position. Has 15 years of marketing/advertising and communications experience and having spent the last 8 years working in Account Management roles, primarily at agencies. Role in serving clients involved everything from developing marketing strategies to the daily management of the account.  Prior to agency experience, was a freelance consultant primarily in the area of event marketing.

This week we are also looking for job contacts for a senior level professional with extensive experience in accounting, financial planning and credit and collections. Here is his personal request:

“I need to build my job search network real fast. Recently my company filed for bankruptcy, which was expected. As a result of the bankruptcy there was an additional 30% of the workforce let go including myself, which was not expected. Any suggestions or contacts would be appreciated.   At this point due to the minimal severance package (which is subject to approval of the bankruptcy court) I would be interested immediate opportunities in the areas of, finance, client services or human resources; even if it was on a consultancy basis.”

If you have any leads or wish to contact this person directly, contact me at



  Quotes of the Week: 

“…The urgent task is not to define the political horizon but the opposite: All talk of horizons, all conference preparations, all envoy missions, all time line preparations should simply stop. Because if they do not…the message is that the more Israelis are murdered, the more the world will run around looking for something to give the Palestinians so that they will stop…”—Editorial (Jer. Post, June 6)


“Many IDF officers agree that it would be better…to give up on isolated settlements and withdraw from certain areas. But I have not found a single senior officer with any influence on the decision-making process who thinks that we should do this in the current situation, because the Palestinians, and the Arabs in general, would interpret it as a military victory. In this context, the withdrawal from Lebanon is always mentioned…There are also Palestinian personalities who say it would be a mistake for Israel to implement a unilateral evacuation today, because such a step would strengthen the extremists and give great encouragement to Hamas…”—Military analyst Ze’ev Schiff (Ha’aretz, June 12)


In the 1990’s America slept and Israel dreamed. The U.S. awoke [after the terror attacks of September 11] and Israel awoke [after the start of Palestinian violence] in September 2000. Like the Israeli Left, the U.S. in the 1990s was intoxicated with the ideas that history had changed from military conflict to a world of markets and technology. September 11 abolished that illusion and taught us that there are ideological enemies who care nothing about economics…The idea that one can strike a real peace agreement with Arafat without a Sadat-like acceptance of the Jewish state is an illusion…”—Columnist Charles Krauthammer at a gathering in Jerusalem where he was presented with Bar-Ilan University’s annual Guardian of Zion Award (Jer. Post, June 11)









(an opportunity to support Israel)


SUNDAY, JUNE 23rd, 2002, 10:00 A.M. - 7:00 P.M.


at Congregation AGUDATH SHOLOM

350 Strawberry Hill Avenue


co-sponsored by Temple Beth El and other community organizations




Shifts available on Saturday night and Sunday

Call Linda Spilka at 968-2380, Agudath Sholom at 358-2200, or fax the UJF at 322-3277.





You are cordially invited to a lecture on

The Public Relations War on the Middle East:
Who's Winning and Why?


Bret Stephens

Editor-in-Chief of the Jerusalem Post

On Tuesday, June 18th @ 7:30PM
Jewish Community Center, Newfield Avenue at Vine Road in Stamford

This event is co-sponsored by the following institutions:
Anti-Defamation League 
: American Jewish Committee : Chavurat Aytz Chayim   : Congregation Agudath Sholom : Fellowship for Jewish Learning:
Greenwich Reform Temple 
: Jewish Community Center   : Temple Beth El : Temple Sholom of Greenwich : Temple Sinai :  
  UJA Federation of Greenwich : United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien :
United Jewish Appeal/Federation of Westport-Weston-Wilton-Norwalk 
 : Young Israel of Stamford  :

Bret Stephens is editor-in-chief of the Jerusalem Post, Israel's renowned English language daily. 

At 28 years old, Mr. Stephens is the youngest editor-in-chief in the paper's 70 year history.  Prior to joining the Post, Mr. Stephens was an editorial writer and editor for the Wall Street Journal in Brussels and New York. He has also worked at Commentary magazine.

Mr. Stephens was educated at the University of Chicago and the London School of Economics. He has written extensively on Middle East politics, as well as on the European Union. The son of a Mexican born father and an Italian born mother, he was raised in Mexico City.

Mr. Stephens is visiting the United States as part of the Anti-Defamation League’s Eugene Warner Middle East Lecture Series which was launched in 1985 to deepen and enrich understanding between the United States and Israel.  On this current tour, Mr. Stephens is visiting New York, Boston, New Jersey, Connecticut, Cleveland and Columbus.


Youth Activities….


                        FAMILY FUN DAY at the Bridgeport Bluefish Baseball

                                    DATE: Sunday, June 23rd

                                    COST: $15.00

                                    RSVP: to Marcie at 322-6901 ext.324 or e-mail with your # of tickets requested by

                                    THURSDAY, MAY 30TH.





WHO: Entering Grades 6-12 Teens from Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Western Massachusetts Regions

                                    DATES: August 20-25               

                                    WHERE: Camp Ramah in the Poconos

                                    watch your mail for more information, or contact Marcie at 322-6901 ext.324 or e-mail

                                    2002 Senior Class: watch your mail for staff application

                                    APPLICATIONS ARE ON THERE WAY!




Marcie B. Gelb

Programming & Youth Coordinator

Temple Beth El

350 Roxbury Road

Stamford, CT  06902

phone 203-322-6901, ext. 324

fax  203-322-0532






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



The Shabbat-O-Gram goes out weekly to hundreds of Beth El congregants and others. Feel free to forward it to your friends, and if you know of anyone who might wish to be included, please have them sign up at You can unsubscribe by contacting our office at

For more information on my synagogue, check out Beth El's Web site at To check out some previous spiritual cyber-journeys I have taken, see my book's site at


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