Friday, June 27, 2003

SHABBAT-O-GRAM for June 27, 2003 and Sivan 27, 5763


June 27, 2003 and Sivan 27, 5763

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut

We forfeit three-fourths of ourselves in order to be like other people.
-  Arthur Schopenhauer




Previous Shabbat-O-Grams can be accessed directly from our web site (



My personal thanks to Rabbi Liz Rolle, who this weekend concludes her tenure as rabbi of Temple Sinai.  It was a great pleasure to work with such a wise and caring colleague.   I wish her and her family only the best of luck in all that they do, wherever they may be.  Her impact will always be felt.


I also thank and wish the best of luck to Rabbi Emily Korzenik, who concludes her many years as spiritual leader of the Fellowship for Jewish Learning.  Rabbi Korzenik has been an inspiration to me as a force for social justice in this community, and beyond.  I welcome Rabbi Korzenik’s successor, Rabbi Howard Handler, a superb rabbi and former classmate of mine at JTS.

Hazak V’amatz!




After this week, the Shabbat-O-Gram will be going on its summer hiatus (or is it chai-atus?  Or maybe a “hudna”), as I will be out of the office for parts of July and August.  When I am away, I will be monitoring e-mail on a sporadic basis and voice mail more often.  Feel free to leave messages for me, and to contact Mindy Rogoff in our office during business hours.  During non business hours, in the event of emergencies, leave messages for myself (322-6901 X307) and Cantor Jacobson (x303).




Next fall (beginning with Rosh Hashanah, Sept. 27), our Friday evening services will be shifting to 6:30 PM, every week.  We’re shifting to an earlier time in the hopes that it enable us to reach the broadest possible cross-section of our community: commuters who can come here right off the train, young families, singles of all ages, young couples, empty nesters, etc.  We’ll be rotating different styles, ranging from our popular “Family Friday” and “Friday Night Live” services to more meditative or thematic formats.  Some services will be more “right-brain” or “left-brain*” friendly, some more child friendly, but all will be stirring to the soul.  You’ll be hearing all about that later on.  Suffice to say that we are making the T.G.I.S. project a major priority for this fall.

So why am I mentioning this now?

Because one main factor in the new service time is that it will enable us to schedule leisurely dinners here afterwards.  We would like to do this OFTEN.  Shabbat dinners are a perfect way to bring people together in a relaxed, hassle-free setting, to turn our vast social hall into Zayde’s Living Room.  Ideally, we could run several a year for the congregation at large, and then, in addition, have others targeting specific age, demographic or special interest groups, ranging from prenatal parents to seniors to widowers, from tots to teens to returning college students, from cancer survivors to stamp collectors, and singles of all ages.  People could partake of our regular services then adjourn for dinner, perhaps bringing in speakers (I know of a rabbi who would just love to speak at these things), or maybe incorporating the idea of a late-night “rebbe’s tish,” so popular at our Shabbatons.  Last year our seventh grade class planned such a dinner and the results were spectacular.  Ideally, we should be running dinners for different groups here nearly every week, reaching out and reaching in to involve more and more people in the primal Jewish experience of Shabbat, a time when we shed pretense and become more fully human.  Everybody Loves Friday Night!

But to do this, we need your help.  We need people willing to help plan and promote these dinners.  You can volunteer to work on one for “your” group, or you can volunteer to help plan this entire exciting project.  Our religious school, youth department and sisterhood are already planning for a few dinners this coming year and will be able to advise you.  But we need more than what’s now on the table (so to speak).  It’s really not hard at all to do – we just need people willing to do it. Call a friend.  Work on it together.  All we need to do now is schedule it in. 

If you are interested in doin’ a dinner, let me know, at, or speak to another of our senior staff.  If we book it, they will come!

* For a nice definition of right brain and left brain, see





“Get the Scoop on Temple Beth El”


Friday, August 29 at 6:15 PM – Open House Friday Night Shabbat, with special oneg (outdoors, weather permitting; casual)

Saturday, September 13, at 9:30 AM – Open House Shabbat Morning, with an extended Kiddush

Saturday, September 20, at 6:30 PM – “Havdalah at the Beach,” at Cove Island Park – loads of fun for all ages

Sunday, September 21, at 9:30 AM – Spectacular Family Education program preparing us all for the High Holy Days





E-mail from the Front” 

Go to and scroll down to the most recent entries.






Friday Night

Candles: 8:11PM  (this is as late as it gets – it’s all downhill from here)

No Tot Shabbat -- but see Nurit weekly at children’s services on Shabbat mornings throughout the summer!

Kabbalat Shabbat Service: 7:00 PM, (outdoors, weather permitting – casual dress)

Shabbat Morning:

Service: 9:30 AM  -- Kahal (congregant led) service, followed by a scrumptious lunch

Children’s services: 10:30 AM

Torah Portion – Shelach (The incident of the spies – plus the origins of tzitzit)

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:  Nehama Liebowitz archives of parsha commentaries:  For a more Kabbalistic/Zionist/Orthodox perspective from Rav Kook, first Chief Rabbi of Israel, go to For some probing questions and meditations on key verses of the portion, with a liberal kabbalistic bent, go to To see the weekly commentary from Hillel, geared to college students and others, go to

Morning MinyanDaily at 7:30 AM, Friday, July 4 at 9:00 AM, Sundays at 9:00 AM in the chapel  



Spiritual Journey on the Web












The New York Jewish Population Study – and What it Means for Us


            For years we have been waiting on a solid demographic study of our Jewish community in greater Stamford.  We are still waiting, but some serious strategic planning is now being done here – I met with an outside expert this week who is laying the groundwork for significant strategic planning.  In the meantime, we now have some serious numbers to ponder, thanks to the efforts of our neighbors to the immediate west.


You may have read about the New York Jewish Population study, dome by the UJA-Federation of New York (see it at  The results were released last week and made splashy headlines everywhere, including the Times.  Read about it at:

City Milestone: Number of Jews Is Below Million, (New York Times - Jun 15, 2003), Study: Jewish population in New York drops under 1 million
Newsday - Jun 16, 2003), NY Reform, Conservative Numbers Down (Forward - Jun 18, 2003), Orthodox Buck Trend Of NYC ’ s Shrinking Jewish Population (Jewish Press, NY - Jun 18, 2003), Survey Finds Poverty Rate Among Jews Soars in NY (Forward - Jun 18, 2003), and Survey paints new picture (Jewish Telegraphic Agency - Jun 17, 2003)


            The main headline for New York was that the number of Jews, which had been as high as one quarter of the city’s population back in the heyday of the ‘50s, has fallen by 5% since 1991, dipping below one million for the first time in a century.  Especially in the outlying boroughs the Jewish numbers are growing increasingly elderly, unaffiliated and, to a small extent Orthodox.  The numbers of Reform and Conservative Jews have declined by up to 7%.  Some are now disputing these figures, saying that the Russian community was vastly undercounted.  But the predominant message we’re getting is that the sky is falling.  New York still boasts the largest Jewish population of city in the world, but you no longer have to be Jewish to love Levy’s rye, and to influence the city’s Democratic politics.

But there is a silver lining to these negative numbers, as I began to understand when I listened to an interview with New York Times reporter Joseph Berger at a fabulous new multi-media Web site called Isracast (go to, or to and look for it).  As he reported from both the data and his personal anecdotal experience, New York City’s loss has been Westchester’s gain.  Yes it is sad for all of those who grew up on the Grand Concourse to see what has happened to the once thriving Jewish communities of the Bronx, but Jews move on – our mobility is what’s kept us going for centuries – and synagogues in Westchester are thriving.  Westchester's Jewish population grew to 129,000 people in 2002, a 40 percent increase over 1991. See also: Westchester's Jewish community grows (Gannett Suburban New York Newspapers, NY -Jun 17, 2003)

            Although the survey doesn’t cover Fairfield County, the impact has certainly spilled over to here.  Some communities, such as Westport, have done their own studies.  Westport’s provides evidence that is rather obvious to the eye – the Jewish population has grown dramatically, especially the numbers of families with young children.  Congregations there and elsewhere in the county have seen dramatic growth over the past decade.  The growth may appear to have been less dramatic in Stamford, but it is impossible to know whether that is due to fewer New Yorkers moving here than elsewhere or just that lots of people simply are not on the radar screen of the established Jewish community.  There is anecdotal evidence suggesting that the latter is more likely to be true.  They are out there, people of all ages, with and without kids, endogamous or interfaith, straight and gay: it is our sacred challenge to find them.


            Demographic studies are expensive.  New York can afford them in part because one federation essentially coordinates planning for the entire region, including the suburbs.  Meanwhile, Fairfield County boasts no fewer than five separate Jewish federations.  It is nothing to boast about.  We’ve made great strides in countywide planning recently, especially with regard to the new Hebrew High School program, opening this fall. (called appropriately, “Kulanu” “all together”), which will impact teens from Greenwich to Westport and beyond (we even have a group of teens who will be coming from New Haven to be part of Kulanu this fall!!!).  We need more of that.  And we need a demographic study that tells us more about the impact of the New York numbers on us. 


            On a broader level, this demographic study teaches us that nothing is forever.  Great centers of Jewish life of the past centuries now lie in ruins, but there are always new ones to take their place.  Our mobility is our greatest strength.  So while some mourn the passing of what was, we need to focus on the potential of what might yet be.  It’s humbling to see what is happening elsewhere, but tremendously reassuring to witness the rebirth of Jewish life in new settings.  As I prepare to take my summer respite, and when I return to be taking on the presidency of the Stamford Board of Rabbis for my second go-round, I do so with the firm belief that this Fairfield County Jewish community and this congregation of ours contain the seeds of greatness.  And those seeds are sprouting.  If I didn’t believe this with all my heart, I wouldn’t still be here.  With the influx of our welcome new residents from New York and elsewhere, whom we welcome with open arms, we can do great things together.  We already are.







Here are some great Web sites for your summer dose of Jewish culture.  Try them out – only don’t get any sand in your computer! -- launched last month, part of a national effort to promote Jewish cultural literacy.  Billed as a “Gateway to Jewish Literature, Culture and Ideas.” -- promotes the latest in books of Jewish interest


Here’s what Nextbook had to say about the passing of Leon Uris this week:


Leon Uris, Author of Exodus and Other Bestsellers
A Marine who fought in World War II, Uris was sometimes dismissed by critics, but his popular novels mined themes of Jewish nationhood and identity. The best-selling Exodus aroused pride and passion in a generation of readers. For Miramax mogul Harvey Weinstein, who has been threatening to make his directing debut with an adaptation of Uris' Mila 18, the film of Exodus was the first time he saw "Jewish guys willing to kick ass." For Rabbi Leonid Feldman, who grew up in Minsk, it was the beginning of the end of Soviet life: ''My country, the most powerful nation in the world, is afraid of a book?'' Uris sold his archives to the University of Texas, reportedly because he rooted for the Longhorns.


Wondering what I’m reading?  Lots!  And you can be sure you’ll be hearing about some of it long about the 1st of Tishrei.






If July 4 Coincides with Shabbat…


This year, Independence Day falls next Friday, thereby coinciding with Shabbat, at sunset.  I’ve done some research to see what Jewish practices are in order, and came across a little known rabbinic source related to “Ethics of the Fathers,” called “Ethics of the Uncles.”  There I found the following, attributed to “Dod Sh’muel,” or “Sam, the Uncle.”  The relevant section is embedded in a chapter entitled, “DOD SHMUEL’S TOP TEN LISTS.”




1)      We begin the Shabbat with not 2, but 3 candles.  The third is to be lit by remote control from a safe vantage point at least 100 feet away.

2)    At the Sabbath meal, 2 hallot are served, each with apple pie filling.

3)    Cookouts are allowed, as long as the charcoals are lit before sunset and the food is prepared beforehand.  In other words, cookouts are not allowed.

4)    It is customary to sing Adon Olam, to the tune of “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

5)    When reciting the Amida, instead of facing Jerusalem, we face Washington D.C.  Or if Joe Lieberman is in town, we simply face him.

6)    When walking around with the Torah, it is customary for the cantor and rabbi to do a do-si-do with the president, singing “Turkey in the Straw.”

7)    At the beginning of the Torah reading, the Gabbai (sexton) shouts, “Play Ball” and the reader takes the yad (pointer) and tries to knock a knish out of the park.

8)    The popular Shabbat afternoon dish known as cholent, featuring simmering vegetables and chunks of meat, is pureed so that all the items blend together and then simmered in a melting pot.

9)    NASCAR runs the “Shabbat 500.”  Precisely at sundown, all the drivers get out of their cars and run for the finish line.

10) Finally, for one day of the year, Lubavitch Hasidim replace their furry streumels with red and white striped top hats, and then go around to Jews imploring, “We want YOU.”


(feel free to forward this to friends, with attribution – and hey, invite them to sign up for the Shabbat-O-Gram every week!)





Required Reading and Action Items 






A fine special section on Jewish Parenting is found in last week’s Jewish Week.  See the featured articles at 


To sign up for the “Daily Alert,” a source from which many of these articles are culled, go to the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.


Bush: Hamas Must Be Dismantled
Responding to a question about reports of a cease-fire by the Palestinians, President Bush said Wednesday, "I'll believe it when I see it, knowing the history of the terrorists in the Middle East. But the true test for Hamas and terrorist organizations is the complete dismantlement of their terrorist networks, their capacity to blow up the peace process....In order for there to be peace in the Middle East, we must see organizations such as Hamas dismantled, and then we'll have peace."
    "There are three parties involved directly in the territories there. There's the Israeli government. I believe the Israeli people want peace, and I believe their government when they say they want a peaceful state, living side by side with Israel. Secondly, there are the people of the Palestinian world who are tired of failed leadership, tired of terrorism destroying their hopes, tired of living in poverty, and they, too, want a peaceful state. And then there are the terrorists, like Hamas, who do not want a peaceful state, and they're willing to use terrorist means to destroy it. In order for there to be peace, Hamas must be dismantled." (White House)
    See also Bush Urges EU Leaders to End Hamas Support (London Times)


850,000 Jews Fled Arab States; $1 Billion in Property Confiscated, Study Finds
Newly discovered documents show Arab states orchestrated the persecution of their Jewish citizens after the creation of Israel, then kept more than US$1 billion in property belonging to the 850,000 who left, Canadian experts said Monday. The study argues that Jews who left Arab lands deserve equal redress and their plight should be recognized, as efforts to settle the Palestinian-Israeli conflict unfold. The new study was produced by the group Justice for Jews from Arab Countries (JJAC), whose honorary chairmen are Irwin Cotler, a Liberal MP, and Richard Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. (CanWest News)
    See also Report Charges Arabs with Jewish "Ethnic Cleansing"
(Jerusalem Post)


House Backs Israel's Response to Terror
The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a resolution 399-5, condemning attacks on Israel since the Aqaba Summit and saying Israel was justified in its forceful response to Palestinian attacks. The House on Wednesday also passed, by 412-0, a resolution expressing concern about the rise of anti-Semitism around the world. (AP/Newsday)
    See Text of House Resolution (Library of Congress/IMRA)


Children's Day in Palestine - Yossi Klein Halevi
Oslo's greatest irony is that it entrusted the education of a generation of Palestinians to Arafat, thereby ensuring that the Palestinian people would be far less prepared for reconciliation than it was before the process began. Young Palestinians in the Oslo era were educated to see Israel as illegitimate, Jews as demonic, and genocidal terrorism as a choice career option. To call that "incitement" is to understate the crime. Just recently Arafat told a group of Palestinian youth who'd come to see him on "Children's Day" that martyrdom was their highest national and religious calling. Only in Palestine does the nation's leader celebrate Children's Day by telling children to kill themselves. (Jerusalem Post)

The Peace Plan Show - Barry Rubin (Jerusalem Post)

  • Premise: Abu Mazen is providing an alternative Palestinian leadership that is ready to make peace.
    Fact: While Abu Mazen's intentions are good, he is helpless. He has no power over Fatah, the PLO, the PA, the security forces, or anything else.
  • Premise: The PA is talking seriously about ending the violence.
    Fact: The PA, through Arafat's men, is the main sponsor, paymaster, and inciter of terrorism on a daily basis.
  • Premise: Abu Mazen has a plan for transforming Hamas into a peaceful force.
    Fact: His plan is roughly the same one Arafat has been using since 1995: Offer Hamas participation in a coalition government and integration into the PA security forces. That would mean Hamas and Islamic Jihad people being given better guns and more training, which they would no doubt use to commit additional terrorist acts in the future.
  • Premise: Once Palestinians believe a Palestinian state will be created and the Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza will be ended, they will be ready to make a deal.
    Fact: This is the same idea that underpinned the failed Oslo process. Yet Palestinian leaders have convinced their people that compromise is cowardice, that the so-called right of return is more important than independence, and that they are in fact winning the war.
  • Premise: Israeli attacks on terrorists are counterproductive.
    Fact: Given the Palestinian determination to keep fighting, Israeli actions are the only things that can effectively reduce the level of successful terrorism.
  • Premise: The U.S. is in a position to advance a new peace process.
    Fact: The U.S. exercises no useful leverage on the Palestinians. It has shown no ability to strengthen Abu Mazen or gain a cessation of terrorism. It cannot even get its European allies to stop trying to build up Arafat and unconditionally subsidize the PA.

Traveling With Bad Companions - Martin Peretz
It was the British political historian David Pryce-Jones who, I think, first made the analogy between the old fellow travelers and the new, between those who romanticized the Soviets and those who now romanticize Palestinian (and Islamic) terrorism. Take, for example, the International Solidarity Movement, a nongovernmental organization ensconced in Gaza. The two British Muslims recruited by Hamas who blew up Mike's Place, a blues pub in Tel Aviv, moved in and out of Israel from the territories with remarkable ease, aided by ISM activists. Not surprisingly, Linda Gradstein, Jerusalem correspondent for NPR (now widely known as National Palestine Radio), is one of these. On "All Things Considered," she blithely characterized ISM as "committed to nonviolent resistance." (Los Angeles Times)



France Ignores Hamas Funding (TIME)
    The U.S. has lodged complaints that Paris is turning a blind eye to fund-raising in France by front organizations for Hamas.
    The U.S. also claims France is blocking EU efforts to restrict these front groups elsewhere.
    "There's a lot of intelligence to suggest that the French have become increasingly a conduit for funds to Hamas and that they're just not taking the steps that are necessary," said a State Department official.


Arafat Pays Al Aqsa Brigades with Libyan Money - Matthew Kalman (San Francisco Chronicle)
    Sources close to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat say he has raised $2.5 million from Libyan leader Moammar Khadafi to finance continued terror attacks against Israel.
    The Libyan money has been paid into bank accounts controlled by Arafat in Beirut and Cairo to underwrite the terror activities of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the paramilitary wing of Arafat's Fatah movement.
    Members of the Brigades confirmed last week that they were receiving funds from Arafat's office.
    Israeli and Palestinian officials say privately that the Arafat-Khadafi link is part of a series of secret diplomatic moves by Arafat designed to undermine reformist Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

Holding Syria Accountable - Claude Salhani (UPI)

  • Syria's opponents last week attained majority backing in the U.S. Senate, with 51 votes, to pass the Syria Accountability Act. The bill - S.982 - calls on Syria to halt its support of terrorism, end its occupation of Lebanon, stop its development of weapons of mass destruction, cease its illegal importation of Iraqi oil, and holds Syria accountable for its role in the Middle East. Syria will face a tough time," cautioned a Jordanian government official who called the political stance adopted by President Bashar Assad, "unreasonable."
  • Syria considers Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Hizballah as liberation movements. But according to well-informed Palestinian sources, the vast majority of suicide bombings carried out by Hamas and IJ are conceived and ordered from offices outside the territories, mainly in Damascus and Beirut.
  • Last May, Assad assured Secretary of State Powell that offices run by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and others in the Syrian capital had indeed been shut down. Yet, according to the Jordanian official, the offices remain open.

U.S.: "Hamas is Not a Legitimate Partner"
In a background briefing Monday on the U.S.-European Union Summit set for June 25 in Washington, a senior Bush administration official said: "Hamas has declared itself to be an enemy of the peace process. It has declared itself inalterably opposed to the roadmap. A leader of Hamas said publicly, I believe, that the Hamas objective was to kill every Jew in Palestine, a statement which has the benefit of being forthright and very clear. Its meaning cannot be mistaken. Hamas is not a legitimate partner. Hamas is a terrorist organization, as are all of its works." (State Department)

Saudi, Born and Bred - Ze'ev Schiff
It is not surprising that the publication of Dore Gold's book about Saudi Arabia and its link to international terror has generated so much interest and critical acclaim in the U.S. According to the press, the president even has a copy on his desk. The recent bombings in Riyadh and Casablanca, attributed to a new wave of al Qaeda terror, has refocused attention on the question of Saudi Arabia's real connection to these incidents. Gold, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and political advisor to the Netanyahu administration, wrote his Ph.D. on the history of Saudi Arabia. He will be featured as our Harold Hoffman Memorial lecturer this coming October.  Hatred's Kingdom is an English-language publication targeting an American readership, but Israelis will also find plenty to interest them, considering Saudi Arabia's reputation as a generous backer of Hamas, the mastermind of so many terrorist attacks in these parts. (Ha'aretz)

Help Abbas Succeed - Dennis Ross (Baltimore Sun)

  • Abbas must show he can deliver. Hamas is now trying to bolster its position and tie Abbas' hands in terms of acting against it later.
  • Arafat remains a serious impediment to change, seeking to subvert Abbas by making competing appointments in the security apparatus, requiring the regional commanders to answer to him and not to Abbas or Dahlan, and financing anti-Abbas leaflets. For Arafat, Abbas' success is his failure, proving that Arafat was the problem.
  • The Israeli threshold of patience is very low. No one questions Abbas' intentions, but Israeli officials fear he will retreat when facing internal resistance and are convinced he will act only if he knows the Israelis will otherwise.
  • Abbas - and our Arab partners - must know unmistakably that granting time for developing capabilities does not mean not assuming responsibilities now. At a minimum, incitement must stop and whatever is agreed about obligations in Gaza or Bethlehem must be fulfilled.
  • Israel has a duty to its citizens to go after "ticking bombs" if the Palestinians remain unable to do so.
  • The U.S. is not yet in the monitoring business. For that, there must be a clear standard of performance understood by both sides. That does not exist today, and Washington must create it.

Jordan, Israel, Palestinians Join Forces to Save Dead Sea (AFP/TerraDaily)
    Over the past three years the Dead Sea has decreased by three meters and the whole area is currently one third less than it was in the 1960s. In 50 years the Dead Sea could disappear.
    To contain the damage, Jordanian, Israeli, and Palestinian officials submitted a project to channel water through a canal from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, at the meeting in Aqaba, Jordan, of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
    "Building a canal will take seven to 10 years and by that time the level of the Dead Sea will have dropped by an additional eight meters, which is catastrophic for the shorelines, the coastal areas, and the groundwater resources," said Jordanian geology professor Elias Salameh. IsraCast is a Jerusalem-based multimedia broadcast and distribution network. Launched in the aftermath of the terrorist attack against Israelis in the port city of Netanya on the first night of Passover (March 2002), its purpose is to disseminate reliable and accurate information and provide the public throughout the world with an objective picture of events in the Middle East. Since its inception, IsraCast has forged strategic content partner relationships with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Bar-Ilan University; Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life; The International Christian Embassy, Jerusalem; The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO); The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), and JTA.

U.S.: Israel Has Met Loan Guarantee Conditions - Ran Dagoni (Globes)

.US. Micro-Managing Israeli-Arab Conflict - Aluf Benn (Ha'aretz)

  • A seasoned American official with years of experience in the Israeli-Arab conflict remarked recently that he could not recall a time when the U.S. had so "micro-managed" the Mideast political process as it was doing today.
  • Secretary of State Colin Powell told his hosts in Jerusalem on Friday that the close American supervision reflects President Bush's deep involvement in the peace process. Powell's visit will be followed next week by the arrival of National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. Special American envoy John Wolf has

In this issue of The Source Israel

* Basalt sculptor Dagan Shklovsky creates "touch me statues".

* Visit Israel's salt mining operation at Atlit

* Weather radar station in Latrun is used to detect flying birds -- a serious hazard for aircraft.

*Clowning around is more than ``just fun'' when Simchat Halev medical clowns visit patients in Israel's hospitals.

*Israeli flicks, books, food, dance in Caesaria, New York or Jerusalem.

*Discover Natural Israel with Michal Strutin


From  What Truly is a Hudna?


As U.S. Secretary of State Powell winds up his Mideast trip, Palestinian leaders appear on the verge of announcing a hudna.

The Associated Press declared that "the success of peacemaking may well hang on a legal concept dating to the birth of Islam: a hudna, or a truce of a fixed duration."

The New York Times added Monday that a hudna would constitute "a major breakthrough... out of 33 months of violence."

Would a hudna with Hamas really mark "the success of peacemaking," a "major breakthrough" toward a nonviolent future?

The answer lies in the historical meaning of the Muslim expression, Hamas' track record, and the terms of the road map itself.

Hudna has a distinct meaning to Islamic fundamentalists, well-versed in their history: The prophet Mohammad struck a legendary, ten-year hudna with the Quraysh tribe that controlled Mecca in the seventh century. Over the following two years, Mohammad rearmed and took advantage of a minor Quraysh infraction to break the hudna and launch the full conquest of Mecca, the holiest city in Islam.

When Yassir Arafat infamously invoked Mohammad's hudna in 1994 to describe his own Oslo commitments "on the road to Jerusalem," the implication was clear. As Mideast expert Daniel Pipes explained, Arafat was asserting to his Islamic brethren that he will, "when his circumstances change for the better, take advantage of some technicality to tear up existing accords and launch a military assault on Israel." Indeed, this is precisely what occurred in Sept. 2000 when Arafat & Co. launched a terror assault upon Israeli citizens.

As for Hamas, they have proven time and again their commitment to a tactical hudna — replenishing their strength during the quiet periods, then returning with increased deadliness. As recently documented by The Washington Institute, Hamas agreed to no less than ten ceasefires in the past ten years, and after every single one returned freshly armed for terror. Hundreds of Israeli citizens have paid for these hudnas with their lives.

Israeli leadership is convinced, therefore, that yet another hudna would jeopardize three years of painstaking IDF anti-terror work that has left Hamas and Islamic Jihad reeling. As IDF Major-General Amos Gilad said on Monday, "For us as a nation, it is forbidden to interest ourselves in this hudna, which is a threat to any kind of peace." Echoing Gilad's words is the road map itself, which calls for the PA to "arrest, disrupt, and restrain" terror leaders — not granting an opportunity for replenishing their strength.

Colin Powell reinforced this on Friday when labeling Hamas "an enemy of peace" and stating: "I am anxious to speak to Prime Minister Abbas about efforts they are making to bring violence under control, to end violence, not just through the means of having a cease-fire, but going beyond that ... to end violence and the capacity for violence."

*     *    *

Given the religious, historical and diplomatic facts regarding the actual meaning of hudna, it is disturbing to see the media nearly everywhere translate the term to English as "truce":

-- Fox News: "Palestinians Say Hamas Discussing Truce"

-- Hartford Courant: "Hamas Considers a Pragmatic Truce"

-- Anchorage Daily News: "Palestinian Officials See Hamas Truce On Horizon"

To a Western audience, "truce" suggests a Hamas commitment to peaceful resolution. This is, as we've seen, simply not the meaning of hudna.

Yet on Monday's major wires, Reuters casts Israel as the villain for rejecting a hudna: "Israel Pours Scorn on Truce With Militants."

Associated Press falsely presents the hudna as a fulfillment of the road map's demand to uproot terror:

"A truce is crucial for implementing a U.S.-backed peace plan, the 'road map' to Palestinian statehood by 2005. In the first stage, the Palestinians must dismantle militant groups, while Israel must gradually withdraw to positions held before the outbreak of fighting 33 months ago."

The road map to peace — and the memory of scores of terror victims — demand much more than hudna. HonestReporting encourages members to monitor their local media for accurate description of the term hudna, in its religious, historical and modern contexts.




Quotes of the Week 












“What is the point in speaking in rhetoric. Let’s be frank, we cannot destroy Israel. The practical solution is for us to have a state alongside Israel. When we build a Palestinian state, we will not need these militias; all the needs for attack will stop. Everything will change into a civil life. The [future Palestinian state] is not one that is to take the place of Israel.”—Unprecedented statement by one of Hamas’ top officials, Abu Shanab, in what might be the terror organization’s first public recognition of the State of Israel. [Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have reportedly agreed to a three-month cessation of attacks against Israelis, senior PA officials said.] (Jerusalem Post, CNN, June 25)


“In our quest for peace with the Palestinians…we are told that Israel is faced with only two options: either continue to rule over millions of Palestinians or cede them full sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Yet both options are unacceptable… The only reason our forces are deployed in PA cities…is to prevent the savage terror attacks being launched from these places… As for ceding full sovereignty…the empty swaths of disputed land, comprising the heart of the Jewish ancestral homeland, are vital for Israel’s security… But there is a third option…: The Palestinians would be given all the powers needed to govern themselves but none of the powers that could threaten Israel. Put simply, the solution is full self-government for the Palestinians with vital security powers retained by Israel.”—Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Washington Post, June 20)


“Dr. Condoleezza Rice is the most influential national security advisor in the U.S. administration since ‘Darling Henry’ Kissinger… Condoleezza is the first lady [in rank], and the first black woman to serve in the most serious post in the White House… Ms. Rice is conspicuous by her thinking, which follows the American ‘New Right’, which is conservative and messianic. She is the daughter of a black clergyman, who filled her head during her childhood with stories about the Holy Land… Next week Ms. Rice will be visiting Israel for the second time…in order to salvage the ‘brave’ and ‘moderate’ black [U.S. Secretary of State Colin] Powell from failure by salvaging the road map… Beware this ‘black spinster,’ we don’t want to say ‘the black widow’ out of respect for her femininity and her intelligence…”—Excerpted from an article which appeared in the PA’s June 22 edition of its daily Al Ayyam newspaper. (Palestinian Media Watch, June 23)






The Highest Level of Tzedakkah 





Our efforts to assist people in networking for jobs was the subject of the cover story in the CT Jewish Ledger last week.  Thanks to all of you who have helped this project to succeed and have made us an even more caring community. 


A member of our congregation owns a company that places lawyers, mostly on a temporary basis but sometimes in permanent positions as well.  If there is anyone in our congregation looking for attorney positions, let me know and I will forward that request to him.



Teacher/Mom/Kids' Cooking Instructor will baby-sit, cook a meal or fun dish with your kids, make a craft, play games or sport, capably drive to the park or other outing, and help with school work or tutor as desired. 324-6880 Stamford.



F/T or P/T

I bring vast experience in a variety of (The Discovery Channel - promotions, programming, marketing), publishing (marketing/sales), non-profit (membership and trade shows), healthcare (public affairs and conference planning) and small business management (founded own business providing wide range of support services to new/small businesses). Open to working on an as-needed or contract basis.

Please call Andrea: 918-1976 in Stamford.







UJC, JCPA to Launch National Advocacy Institute to Train 1,000 Pro-Israel Activists


The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) and United Jewish Communities (UJC) this week launched an ambitious Israel advocacy project to train 1,000 activists across the United States.


Through at least six regional workshops in "hub" cities, beginning Tuesday, June 17, in Chicago, the newly initiated UJC/JCPA Israel Advocacy Institute will present a strategic approach to Israel advocacy that addresses the needs of individual communities. Training seminar topics include: utilizing and responding to the mass media, advocating for Israel with elected officials and non-Jewish influentials, working with Hillel and other campus partners, and mobilizing communities for advocacy. 


Community leaders attending the workshops will strengthen their local advocacy programs by committing to play a leadership role in one of the areas addressed at the workshop. Among the many materials participants will receive at the workshops is a new comprehensive media manual, written expressly for the advocacy institute.


"The need for the organized Jewish community to engage in activities directed toward building U.S. government and public support for the security and survival of the State of Israel has never been greater," said Michael Bohnen, chair of JCPA.


"Tragically, terror against Israelis continues," said UJC Chair James S. Tisch. "By participating in this institute, Jewish leaders will strengthen their local advocacy efforts and directly help Israel in her quest for peace and security."


Nationally recognized experts in media relations, government relations and interfaith coalition building will lead the sessions. Hirsh Goodman, an internationally recognized expert on the Middle East who currently serves as senior research fellow at Tel Aviv University's Jaffee Center, offered the keynote address at the Chicago institute.  Besides Chicago, workshops will be conducted in San Francisco (August 24), Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Dallas. Dates in other regions are being determined in consultation with communities in each region.


Sara Schlossberg, a Jewish communal activist whose experience has included work in both the community relations field and at federations, is serving as the initiative's coordinator. For more information, contact her at 212.684.6950.



Attention incoming 8th graders and their families:  If you are interested in learning about the Solomon Schechter High School in White Plains as a High School option, check out their Web site at  The school and its beautiful campus are only a couple of years old and already it is growing rapidly – and attracting enough Stamford children to fill a bus.  Also, the school has received grants geared toward attracting students who did NOT go to a day school for grades K-8.  An open house will be held in October.



If there is interest in planning some singles programming for those 35 and up for next year, please contact me at  Some interest has been expressed. We’ll need people to help coordinate and plan these events, which could range from Shabbat dinners to more “secular” activities.





Stamford Hospital has recently implemented very strict policies regarding patient privacy.  Visiting clergy are no longer given unlimited access to the list of patients that are there, and patients’ names have been removed from public places around the nurses’ station and on the door of the room.  Therefore, it is more important than ever before that the synagogue be notified when you or a loved one is in the hospital.  The cantor and I do make regular “rounds” and we would love to visit any congregant; but unless we are notified, we will most likely not know that you or your loved one is there.  Help us help those you love by letting us know. 



















Time for a Joke…


Moses on His Walkie Talkie

Nine-year-old Joey was asked by his mother what he had learned at Sunday school.

"Well, Mom, our teacher told us how God sent Moses behind enemy lines on a rescue mission to lead the Israelites out of Egypt.

"When he got to the Red Sea, he had his engineers build a pontoon bridge and all the people walked across safely.

"Then he used his walkie-talkie to radio headquarters for reinforcements. They sent bombers to blow up the bridge and all the Israelites were saved."

"Now, Joey, is that really what your teacher taught you?" his mother asked.

"Well, no. But if I told it the way the teacher did, you'd never believe it!"




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   I also send out mailings to college students, Gen Xers and teens, so let us know if you wish to be placed on any of those lists.  If you wish to unsubscribe, contact