Shabbat-O-Gram for August 16-17, Elul 9, 5762
Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut
The Web link for this week's Shabbat-O-Gram is http://www.tbe.org/sog/020817.htm. 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 www.tbe.org. I also send out mailings to college students, Gen Xers and teens, so let us know if you wish to placed on any of those lists. If you wish to unsubscribe, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Previous Shabbat-O-Grams are archived at http://www.tbe.org/sog/.
Here’s a perfect link for Elul – and a refreshing pause for your day (thanks to Cantor Deborah and Jordan Jacobson for forwarding this): http://positivepause.com/
J SHABBAT SHALOM J
as we journey together through Elul, the month of reflection, teshuvah and anticipation…
IF YOU WOULD LIKE REFUA SHLAYMA WISHES OR MAZAL TOVS IN THE SHABBAT-O-GRAM, SIMPLY PASS THEM ALONG! ALSO, IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SPONSOR A SHABBAT-O-GRAM IN THE NAME OF A LOVED ONE, SEND A DONATION TO THE TEMPLE OFFICE AND WE’LL BE HAPPY TO OBLIGE. AND IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR EMPLOYMENT, PLEASE CONTACT ME TO SEE IF THE SHABBAT-O-GRAM MIGHT BE HELPFUL.
JUST THE FACTS: Services and Such (N.B. 7 PM Fri. night, OUTDOORS)
Friday Night: Candles: 7:33 PM
Kabbalat Shabbat – 7:00 PM (OUTDOORS, WEATHER PERMITTING – but if it’s in the 90’s again on Friday, we’ll be in the lobby, even if it doesn’t rain)
Services at 9:30 AM, in the sanctuary, children’s services at 10:30 AM
TORAH PORTION: Ki Tetze
Read the Masorti commentary at http://www.masorti.org/mason/torah/index.asp. JTS commentary is at: http://learn.jtsa.edu/topics/parashah/. USCJ Torah Sparks can be found at http://uscj.org/item20_467.html. UAHC Shabbat Table Talk discussions are at http://uahc.org/torah/exodus.shtml. Other divrei Torah via the Torahnet home page: http://uahcweb.org/torahnet/. Test your Parasha I.Q.: http://www.ou.org/jewishiq/parsha/default.htm. CLAL's Torah commentary archive: http://click.topica.com/maaaiRtaaRvQhbV2AtLb/. Nehama Liebowitz archives of parsha commentaries: http://www.torahcc.org/nechama/gilayonarchives.htm
Morning Minyan: Daily at 7:30, Sundays at 9:00
REMINDER – LABOR DAY MORNING, September 2, MORNING MINYAN WILL BE HELD AT 10:00 AM, IN THE SANCTUARY
Spiritual Journey on the Web: Jewish Business Ethics
With all the focus on business ethics lately, we don’t have to travel to Waco to learn the do’s and don’ts. We have only to look at our portion, Ki Tetze, and at the fundamentals of Jewish business ethics found there – and at a wealth of resources on the Web. First, read the whole portion, with all its amazing laws, at http://learn.jtsa.edu/topics/parashah/jpstext/kitetse.shtml, with a special focus on 25:13-16, at the end of Ki Tetze.
Now, consider how the prohibition of misleading the consumer through false weights and measures was expanded by Halacha into a system of principles of sound business practices. Look at http://www.torah.org/learning/halacha/classes/class229.html, for a quick summary of the relevant laws, then browse through this entire section of the Kitzur (abbreviated) Shulchan Arukch, by clicking onto previous and subsequent pages. This will help you to scratch the proverbial surface of this subject (and could exhaust your entire evening).
Now, take a look at this excerpt from a d’var Torah written by the President of the Rabbinical Assembly (and noted author and journalist), Rabbi Reuven Hammer:
….Another of the concerns of this week’s portion is honesty in business. An employer, for example, is commanded to pay the wages of a laborer “on the same day, before the sun sets, for he is needy and urgently depends on it; else he will cry to the Lord against you and you will incur guilt” (24:14). Even more remarkable is the command concerning just weights and measures. The substitution of incorrect weights must have been an extremely simple thing to do; how would the customer know the difference? Because of this the Torah’s warning against it is extremely severe - “...if you are to endure long on the soil that the Lord your God is giving you. For everyone who does those things, everyone who deals dishonestly is abhorrent to the Lord your God” (25:15-16). Very similar words are used in the Ten Commandments concerning honoring parents - “that you may long endure, and that you may fare well, in the land that the Lord your God is assigning to you” (Deuteronomy 5:16). This should not be dismissed as mere rhetoric or exaggeration. We are being told that our right to live in this land is contingent upon honest business practices. Financial crimes, often termed “white collar crimes,” are usually thought of as lesser crimes, as opposed to crimes against persons, but the Torah takes them seriously. Cheating is not to be tolerated. On the contrary, all of Jewish tradition, from the Torah on, has emphasized honesty in business. The true face of a human being can be seen in how business matters are conducted. That is also the test of one’s reverence for God or lack thereof. It is simple to mouth pieties, while observance of ritual commandments between ourselves and God can become routine and thus substitute for true piety. That is why the prophets spoke so frequently against worship unaccompanied by righteous conduct. Jeremiah, using phrases from Deuteronomy, spoke in the very Temple court, admonishing the worshippers that their attendance there and their offerings were abhorrent to God as long as they did not “execute justice between one man and another; if you do not oppress the stranger, the orphan and the widow” (7:5-6). Otherwise they were turning the Temple into “a den of thieves” (7:11). The psalmists took the same position. “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in His holy place? - He who has clean hands and a pure heart...” (Psalm 24:3-4). Entry to the Temple, they said, was prohibited to those who cheated their fellow human being. The Sages taught that when a person dies, the first question that is put before him in the Heavenly Tribunal is, “Did you conduct your business affairs honestly?” (Shabbat 31a). Thus it is encombent upon us, as a Jewish society, to enforce honesty in business, not to permit the exploitation the workers - foreign or domestic - false advertising or deceptive business practices of any sort. All of this stems from the basic concept in this week’s Torah portion that as a people that has experienced slavery and injustice - as a holy people - our task is to sanctify God through our actions toward others. This is the deepest meaning of being a religious Jew.
Here are some nice resources on the Web for each of us to follow up on this important topic:
http://www.besr.org/library/ -- “The Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility,” including provocative columns by “The Jewish Ethicist,” at
http://besr.org/ethicist/. This week’s question: Should I convince my friend to forgive and forget? But I especially like some of the prior questions, including: Can I take advantage of a discount if I'm not sure I'm entitled? And the ever popular: How do I relate to my seemingly pious neighbor's criminal acts? Great stuff for the month of Elul. Good job by Aish ha-Torah on this.
Your next “business” trip can take you to http://www.jewishbusiness.com/torah.html, JewishBusiness.com, an ambitious attempt to fuse spirituality and commercialism. The go to http://www.jabe.org/, the Jewish Association for Business Ethics. The selection of ethical dilemmas discussed there literally runs the gamut from A to Z, from Advertising that is misleading to Whistleblowing and Wiretapping (OK, A to W…). A wealth of material, delivered with a refreshing matter-of-factness rather than a “we’re the greatest ‘cuz we got the Torah” style). http://www.darchenoam.org/ethics/business/bus_home.htm, Darche Noam (“Ways of Pleasnatness,”) an Israeli based group dedicated to fostering Jewish values in the workplace, has a number of helpful articles and audio files. I looked at one on how and when it is justified to fire a worker. I wish some of our downsizing corporations would take a look at it.
Finally, scroll down at http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/economic/friedman/coursepa.htm#PAPERSDEALINGWITH%20JBE for a nice list of links to more sites on Jewish business ethics.
The Midrash Sifra Kedoshim, states: "...who freed you from the land of Egypt." I freed you from Egypt on the
condition that you accept the laws of honest measures. Hence anyone who acknowledges the mitzvot of honest measures acknowledges the Exodus from
Egypt, and anyone who denies the mitzvot of honest measures is like one who denies the Exodus from Egypt.”
Maimondies wrote: The punishment for dishonest measures is more severe than the punishment for forbidden sexual relations, for the latter is a sin against God only, the former against one’s fellow man [as well as God]. Whoever denies the binding character of the commandment relating to honest measures, denies in effect the Exodus from Egypt, which was the origin of all the commandments. But whoever accepts the commandment relating to honest measures thereby acknowledges the Exodus from Egypt, which rendered all the commandments possible." (Hilchot Genayva 7:12)
Clearly, honesty in our business dealings takes a high priority in Jewish life. How un-Shylockian of us! So why are so many of the perpetrators of corporate shenanigans Jewish?
Clearly we have a lot of educating to do.
REQUIRED READING AND ACTION ITEMS
LET’S BEGIN WITH A REAL PLEASANT THOUGHT TO GET YOUR DAY OFF ON THE RIGHT TRACK…. http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=197819&contrassID=2&subContrassID=1&sbSubContrassID=0 “If Attacked, Israel Might Nuke Iraq.” By Ze’ev Schiff from Ha’aretz. And then look at another Ha’aretz article about the unthinkable: http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=197734&displayTypeCd=1&sideCd=1&contrassID=2
IF YOU REALLY WANT SOMETHING PLEASANT, SEE THE “POSITIVE PAUSE” LINK AT THE TOP OF THIS SHABBAT-O-GRAM – YOU PROBABLY NEED IT AFTER READING THOSE HA’ARETZ PIECES.
THEN READ GEORGE WILL’S HAUNTING COLUMN IN THIS WEEK’S NEWSWEEK, AT http://www.msnbc.com/news/792488.asp?0dm=O17PO
After UN Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen announced in April that Israel's search for terrorists in Jenin was "horrifying beyond belief" and"morally repugnant," this week the United Nations issued its long-awaited follow-up report. The 42-page document has established that there was no massacre, and puts the Palestinian death toll at 52, more than half of them armed combatants. See the UN report at: http://www.un.org/peace/jenin/
Saddam Gives $120,000 to Families of Hebron "Martyrs"
Twelve Palestinian families from Hebron who lost sons in the intifada received $10,000 each as a personal gift from Iraqi President Saddam Hussein on Monday at a ceremony organized by the pro-Iraqi Arab Liberation Front, which turned into a pro-Saddam rally. Most of the dead men belonged to the armed wings of Fatah and Hamas. (Jerusalem Post)
http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/newscontent.php3?artid=6572 “Israel’s Image Slipping, New Surveys Reveal,” from the Jewish Week.
From Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:Palestinian Violence and Terrorism and The International War against Terrorism
When the UN General Assembly demanded an immediate end to Israeli incursions in the West Bank, U.S. Ambassador John Negroponte criticized the discussion, saying the debate should have begun with a rejection of terrorism. Send letters of appreciation to Negroponte: 799 UN Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10017-3505 or e-mail to email@example.com
Chicago’s Jewish community has created "Israel Advocacy: A College Student’s Handbook."
AIPAC Action Alert: Urge the President to approve the "emergency" designation of the $200 million for Israel's war on terrorism.
Israel Faxx – a great selection of links http://www.israelfaxx.com/links/themeindex.html
http://www.southernncsy.org/Acheinu.htm A prayer for our brethren: “Acheinu,” with downloaded music
CLAL's Best of the Web -- Something New Almost Every Day New! (A super new resource)
http://www.ujafedny.org/911remembrance/ -- New York UJA-Federation’s Site commemorating the anniversary of 9/11 – lots of excellent material
From Ha’aretz: Uri Shavit: “The Security Umbrella of Victory.” http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=195385&contrassID=2&subContrassID=4&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y
"The Catch-22 in which Israel finds itself in the current decade is the catch of withdrawal. On the one hand, if Israel does not withdraw within a few years from most of the occupied territories, it will cease to exist as a democratic-Jewish state. It would become a decaying state of injustice, in which one ethnic minority rules by force over another ethnic majority. On the other hand, if Israel withdraws in the near future under pressure of Palestinian violence, it is liable to bring upon itself in the worst possible wars.”
On the Editorial Page of the Wall Street Journal, BY ROBERT ASGHAR
White Americans unlearned hatred. So must Muslims.
This Ritual Life CLAL: Ending a Relationship (8-9-02) "A story is told: I can tell our relationship is ending. As the full force of our breaking up hits me, I pray: "Please, God, don’t let this end. Don’t take my love away from me." I say this aloud for half an hour, until my prayer begins to change. My face still stinging with tears, I pray: "Please God, show me the way."..."
Articles and Web sites on Elul – the month of spiritual preparation for the New Year, which begins today…
http://learn.jtsa.edu/topics/diduknow/jrpguide/12_part2.shtml, http://learn.jtsa.edu/topics/diduknow/jrpguide/12_part3.shtml -- Rabbi Isaac Klein’s (Conservative) Guide to Jewish Practice – on Elul
http://www.ou.org/chagim/elul/default.htm -- from the Orthodox Union
http://www.inner.org/times/elul/elul.htm -- a Kabbalistic approach
http://www.franion.com/StarElul_pages/week1.html -- material (excellent) from last year’s STAR project on Elul, in which our synagogue participated
Quote of the Week:
“With the recent terrorist bomb planted to kill young people at an Israeli university, terrorists reached an apogee, a purity of evil, simultaneously targeting youth and learning.” George Will, in Newsweek
(SUPPLEMENT TO THE SHABBAT-O-GRAM FROM OUR YOUTH DEPARTMENT)
ATTENTION GRADES 9-12 : Wanna go to DISNEY WORLD??
USY is heading south for the winter to Disney World for it's 2002 International Convention!! Sunday, December, 22 through Tuesday, December 31st. ONLY 14 SPACES LEFT FOR CONNECTICUT! SEND IN YOUR DEPOSITS TODAY TO SAVE YOUR SPOT!! Contact Regional Office at (860) 563-5531 for a form and additional information ASAP!! Please consider joining 1000 other USYers for this amazing convention!
***SPECIAL NOTE!! I am pleased to announce that two members of the congregation, Ariel and Julie Savransky, are already registered to attend this convention!!
REMEMBER, ONLY 14 SPACES ARE STILL AVAILABLE TO CONNECTICUT REGION USYers!!
I will be heading off to the Quad-Regional Kadima (Grades 6-8) and USY (Grades 9-12) Encampment next week at beautiful Camp Ramah in the Poconos. Attending will be 351 participants from parts of Massachussets, Conecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, D.C., and North Carolina!!! It is going to be an amazing week of fun and learning about the environment.
KADIMA (Grades 6-8) and USY (Grade 9-12) - Pool Party and Bar-B-Q Social!
Wednesday, August 28. At the home of the Behrend's, 172 Millbrook Road, Stamford. $10.00. 1:00-4:00 p.m. To register, or if you have questions, please call the Religious School Office at 322-6901, ext. 306.
Watch your mail for a calendar of events, as well as for Chapter Board Elections information (USYers - Grades 9-12).
Hope to see you soon!!
Marcie B. Gelb
Programming & Youth Coordinator
Temple Beth El
350 Roxbury Road
Stamford, CT 06902
phone 203-322-6901, ext. 324
HIGH HOLY DAYS USHERS NEEDED
The Men's Club is actively recruiting the ushers for this year's services.
Men, women and couples are needed to assist in traffic control at the Sanctuary doors and to help congregants find seats.
We probably won't get a chance to call everyone -- if you haven't heard from us yet please consider taking one or more 45 minute time slots over the High Holy Day services and calling us with your day/time preferences.
Please call or email Rich Cohen at 322-1131 or firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to reserve your slots.
MEN NEEDED FOR THE BIMAH AND SUKKAH INSTALLATION
The Men's Club will be donning their work gloves on Sunday, September first, starting at 8:30 AM to install the Bimah platforms for the High Holy Days and to erect the Sukkah frame outside the Religious School entrance. No special skills are needed for the assemblers, but some new jokes and the ability to tell them well are helpful skills for the folks coming down to give moral support and drink coffee. Dozens of people are needed for the following tasks:
- shlepping pieces from storage
- assembling and bolting the frames together
- arguing about how the pieces fit together
- drinking coffee and eating bagels
- setting up folding chairs in the social hall
- supervising and shmoozing the work crews
ALL KIDDING ASIDE, THESE ARE CRITICAL TASKS THAT MUST BE DONE DURING THE LABOR DAY WEEKEND AND WE WILL NEED A LOT OF VOLUNTEERS TO GET THEM DONE IN A FEW HOURS ON SUNDAY MORNING SEPTEMBER 1ST! IT'S NOT HARD WORK IF WE HAVE ENOUGH HANDS TO DO IT!
Welcome back to another fun-packed exciting year! I hope all of you had a great summer and looking forward to geting back into the swing of Temple Beth El's and Regional youth activities!
Israel: Democracy in the Face of Terrorism
DR. REUVEN HAZAN
Wednesday, August 21, 2002
at Congregation Agudath Sholom
301 Strawberry Hill Avenue, Stamford
Dr. Reuven Hazan, a ninth generation Israeli, is an outstanding political scientist, commentator and consultant. Dr. Hazan is the advisor to the Speaker of the Israeli parliament and a consultant for Israel political parties and top think tanks. As a faculty member of Hebrew University, his work focuses on the Israeli political system. Because of his expertise, he is a frequent commentator for Time and Newsweek, radio stations such as NPR and on most major television networks.
This event is coordinated by the Israel Task Force of the
United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien
Sponsors: American Jewish Committee : Anti-Defamation League : Chavurat Aytz Chayim :
Congregation Agudath Sholom : Fellowship for Jewish Learning : Jewish Community Center :
Temple Beth El : Temple Sinai : UJA Federation of Greenwich : United Jewish Appeal/Federation of Westport-Weston-Wilton-Norwalk : United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien : Young Israel of Stamford
Trembling with Hope:
A Contemporary Selichot Service
Selichot Evening at Beth El
Saturday, August 31
(the first Yahrzeit for 9/11/01)
8:30: Refreshments, followed by Havdalah, Discussion, Prayer, Song and Meditation;
Blending the traditional and the contemporary.
A PEAK BEYOND THE HIGH HOLY DAYS…
Sukkot: 1st Day – Sat., Sept. 21 – the service will be led entirely by congregants (what we now call our Ha’Minyan Service), followed by lunch…
Sukkot: 2nd Day – Sun., Sept. 22 – NEW, A family-friendly festival service (beginning at the family-friendly time of 10:00) in our main sanctuary, with extensive involvement by our Religious School classes and Bi-Cultural Students. Featuring a spectacular lulav and etrog parade (order your set NOW – the cost is $36). There will also be all kinds of special youth activities that are now in the works.
For Shmini Atzeret and Simhat Torah there are all sorts of surprises planned, and we’ll again have extensive involvement by our students (including teens), but one thing that I now can reveal: our special honorees on Simhat Torah morning (Sunday, Sept. 29) will be:
Hatan Torah (the last aliyah of the Torah); Frank Rosner (who two weeks later will be celebrating a very special birthday)
Kallat Bereisheet (the first aliyah of the new Torah): Jeannie Kasindorf (who one week earlier will have helped to coordinate the decorating of our fabulous sukkah).
CIRCLE THOSE DATES ON YOUR CALENDARS NOW!!
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 www.tbe.org. You can unsubscribe by contacting our office at email@example.com.