Shabbat-O-Gram for August 9-10, Elul 2, 5762
Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut
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J SHABBAT SHALOM J
and welcome to Elul, the month of reflection, teshuvah and anticipation
MAZAL TOV to Jeff and Lori Greenberg on the birth recently of Ivy Hope Greenberg (I saw a photo and she’s definitely verrry cute); and Mazal Tov also to grandparents Edwin and Marsha Greenberg and Uncle and Aunt Michael and Janice Greenberg!
A Refuah Shlayma (get well) wish to my son Daniel Hammerman, recovering (and recovering nicely, thank God) from a tonsillectomy Thursday (that’s today – so what am I doing here???). Mara and I thank everyone for your good wishes and the calls we’ve received. We knew Daniel was in good hands, surrounded by Beth El doctors and nurses throughout his stay.
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: 7:42 PM
Kabbalat Shabbat service (OUTDOORS, WEATHER PERMITTING): 7:00 PM
BRING ALL YOUR FRIENDS TO ONE OF OUR OPEN-HOUSE KABBALAT SHABBAT SERVICES AS WE CONTINUE TO WELCOME AND MEET OUR NEW CANTOR! WE’LL HAVE ADDITIONAL SPECIAL “OPEN HOUSE” SERVICES ON THE 23RD. BUT FEEL FREE TO COME MEET HER AT ANY TIME!
Services at 9:30 AM, in the sanctuary, children’s services at 10:30
TORAH PORTION: Shoftim
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/
Morning Minyan: Daily at 7:30, Sundays at 9:00
Spiritual Journey on the Web: Anguish, Amichai and Warfare
This week’s portion, Shoftim, contains the basis for the value system behind Jewish warfare. Judaism is not pacifist – hardly – but it does very much believe in war as a last resort and as viable only when it is moral. Am excellent and comprehensive summary of the Halachic position can be found at Jlaw.com, at http://www.jlaw.com/Articles/war1.html. It’s entitled Fighting the War and the Peace: Battlefield Ethics, Peace Talks, Treaties, and Pacifism in the Jewish Tradition, by Michael J. Broyde. Also see http://www.jcpa.org/jl/vp439.htm for related information on this subject. You can click on http://www.wcu.edu/as/philo/justwar.html to see a multi-cultural discussion of when war is just.
Maimonides included several laws of Warfare in his listing of the 613 commandments in the Torah, and he placed them “last by=ut not least.” To see them, scroll down to the bottom of http://www.jewfaq.org/613.htm.
And speaking of last but most definitely not least, look at Professor Reuven Kimelman’s detailed discussion at http://www2.bc.edu/~langerr/kimelman.htm.
It’s a complicated topic, one that I have spoken about frequently this past year (and will again, from a different perspective, this Shabbat). We need to understand it, but understanding, alas, will not help us to overcome the helplessness we all feel right now. The great poet Yehuda Amichai probably expresses that frustration better than anyone. See his poem, “I Want to Die in My Own Bed,” at http://www.ithl.org.il/amichai/poem1.html as one example, and “Temporary Poem of My Time,” at http://www.ithl.org.il/amichai/poem4.html. Check out the home page of this site. It’s very moving. Amichai ironically died just days before the current hostilities erupted. His quintessential human voice has become the “voice of Jacob” over these last two years, however, even in translation. These days, perhaps his most oft-cited poem is “The Diameter of the Bomb.” It is especially compelling after the Hebrew university bombing of last week, whose tremors were felt as far away as San Diego – and beyond. It’s at http://www.greatbooks.org/soul/sample.html:
The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters
and the diameter of its effective range about seven meters,
with four dead and eleven wounded.
And around these, in a larger circle
of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered
and one graveyard. But the young woman
who was buried in the city she came from,
at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers,
enlarges the circle considerably,
and the solitary man mourning her death
at the distant shores of a country far across the sea
includes the entire world in the circle.
And I won’t even mention the crying of orphans
that reaches up to the throne of God and
a circle with no end and no God.
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
REQUIRED READING AND ACTION ITEMS
http://avichai.birthrightisrael.com/featured_reading-on_my_mind_article.php?segment=194 Full text of article written last spring by Hebrew U. terror victim Marla Bennett, which I quoted extensively last Shabbat morning and was reprinted in the New York Times on Thursday
The Wall Street Journal: Review & Outlook: Jenin, the Real Story, August 5, 2002:
“Understanding Israel’s Lure,” Gary Rosenblatt - Editor and Publisher, Jewish Week: http://www.thejewishweek.com/top/editcolcontent.php3
Our Enemies the Saudis In a dispatch that reads like a Best of the Web Greatest Hits collection, the Washington Post's Thomas Ricks reports that "a briefing given last month to a top Pentagon advisory board described Saudi Arabia as an enemy of the United States":
Ha’aretz: “Secret CIA Visit Yields Security Plan”: http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=195756&contrassID=2&subContrassID=1&sbSubContrassID=0
Slow Learners--II: Members of the Washington Post editorial board join their counterparts at the New York Times in practicing moral equivalence befogged by meaningless disclaimers. Referring to Hamas massacres of Israelis and Americans, the Post writes:
It is not to shift the blame for these crimes that we note that they were entirely foreseeable reactions to the Israeli decision to assassinate a Hamas leader with a large bomb--an attack that also killed a number of civilians, several of them children. . . . So the cost of any operation designed to neutralize a major Hamas terrorist is not just the innocent Palestinian blood it might shed. The cost also, as a practical matter, involves Israelis whom Hamas will kill in response.
This is arrant nonsense. Shifting blame is exactly what the Post is doing, and they haven't even got the facts right. The Post imagines Hamas and Israel as children engaged in a schoolyard fight, in which provocation leads to escalation and an adult can bring peace by intervening with a stern "Break it up!" In fact, Hamas's leaders have made clear in both word and deed that Israel's mere existence is sufficient "provocation" for their barbaric attacks, and their goal is nothing less than genocide. As Arutz Sheva noted last week, Hamas spokesman Abdel Aziz Rantisi "said that terrorist attacks will continue until all Jews leave Israel."
Rumsfeld: In My View, the West Bank is Not "Occupied Territory"
The Arab states attacked Israel, lost, lost territories, and since then Israel has been trying to withdraw but has faced the refusal of the other side. (Maariv - Headline)
Secretary Rumsfeld at Pentagon Town Hall Meeting
"If you have a country that's a sliver and you can see three sides of it from a high hotel building, you've got to be careful what you give away and to whom you give it....There is no question but that the Palestinian Authority has been involved with terrorist activities, so that makes it a difficult interlocutor."
"My feeling about the so-called occupied territories is that there was a war, Israel urged neighboring countries not to get involved in it once it started, they all jumped in, and they lost a lot of real estate to Israel because Israel prevailed in that conflict. In the intervening period, they've made some settlements in various parts of the so-called occupied area, which was the result of a war, which they won." (U.S. Department of Defense)
Israeli Arab Prevents Massacre
On Monday, a homicide bomber exploded prematurely inside a car near the Umm el-Fahm junction. The driver of the car, Issam Dahdal, 30, of Upper Nazareth, was badly wounded in the explosion. Dahdal, a former IDF border policeman, may well have prevented the Palestinian terrorist from blowing himself up in a crowded spot in Afula. He said that as he was leaving the Umm el-Fahm gas station, he saw a man who wanted a lift. "He entered the back door of the car, grabbed me by the shirt, and shouted 'drive out of here.' I tried to talk to him, to understand what he wanted - then suddenly I heard a boom." (Jerusalem Post/Yediot Ahronot)
For an impassioned plea for all to step back from senseless death, from Yossi Sarid in Ha’aretz, Go to http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=195763&contrassID=2&subContrassID=4&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y&itemNo=195763.
What Do We Do Now? - Maj. Gen. (res.) Oren Shachor (Jerusalem Post)
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
Some Summer Reading Suggestions
Thank you to Ethel Norkin for these suggestions, adding onto the list I sent out in the last bulletin:
1) “The Sixteen Pleasures,” non-fiction, by Robert Hallanga
2) “Second Hand Smoke,” by Thane Rosenbaum
3) “The Gold of Exodus (non-fiction), by Howard Blum
Also, look out for a book that will be published next week – I just finished a review copy. It’s called “The New Rabbi,” by Stephen Fried, and it follows the search process as a large, prestigious Philadephia congregation seeks to hire a replacement for a long-time spiritual leader. It is written by a journalist with a personal hook…. let’s just say it is the most detailed inside look at congregational life and the modern Conservative rabbinate that’s ever been published. It will ruffle lots and lots of feathers -- and maybe even do a little good.
Quotes of the Week:
“In one of many interviews from his comfortable home in Gaza City, Hamas ‘spiritual’ leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin was asked by the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera why Hamas targets civilians, such as university students: ‘They are considered by us to be enemy soldiers.’ Asked whether bombing at Hebrew University was in response to Israelis killing of its top mastermind, Salah Shehadeh, Yassin responded, ‘We don’t operate that way. These are not acts of retribution. We do not struggle out of revenge, but rather to liberate our land.’ Finally, when asked whether Hamas would be satisfied with an Israeli withdrawal to its pre-June 1968 border, Yassin stated, ‘Israel was born in violence and it will die in violence. The Jews have no right to the land of Palestine.’”—Editorial (Jerusalem Post, Aug. 4)
“Is it asking too much for Israel’s victims to be treated with a modicum of respect? Is it unreasonable for our society to recognize its bereaved as heroes? One couple whose two sons, their only children, died during the Lebanon War wrote this in a Remembrance Day letter to the Ha’aretz newspaper earlier this year: ‘If one should ask: What heroism is there in being a bereaved parent--well, there is a ton, we would say. The heroism is to get up every morning and to go to work as if nothing happened. The heroism to accept invitations to weddings when you know you yourself will never make one.”—Frimet Roth, parent of Malki Roth, who lost her life in the Sbarro pizzeria bombing last August (Jer. Post, July 29)
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