Friday, September 24, 2004

SHABBAT-O-GRAM for September 24, 2004 and Tishrei 10 5765


September 24, 2004 and Tishrei 10 5765

G’mar Hatima Tova

(May we be sealed for a good year),

and especially to YOU, Shawn Green!


If I have wronged you at all this year, even unknowingly,

please accept my heartfelt apologies…

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut

Shabbat Shalom

Send your friends and relatives the gift of Jewish awareness

a Shabbat-O-Gram each week, by signing them up at


Harold Hoffman Memorial Lecture – Tues. September 28 @ 7:30

David Makovsky will be our speaker…

David Makovsky is a senior fellow and director of the Project on the Middle East Peace Process at The Washington Institute. He is also an adjunct lecturer in Middle Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), a frequent guest on news shows on PBS, ABC, NPR, CNN – you name it! – and a contributing editor to U.S. News and World Report.  For more on Makovsky, see



“I am Jewish”

Thank you to all who have responded thus far with reflections on the phrase, “I am Jewish…”  Each one is so personal and inspiring.  They can be found at  I will be updating the site frequently, so please continue to send me your thoughts.

Thanks again.






Don’t forget to bring back your filled bags of food items

for Person to Person.  Also, thank you in advance for all your support of TBE’s many activities during our annual High Holiday Appeal. YOU are the ones who make this such a special place, a warm home for all who need us and a beacon for Jews throughout our region and far beyond.


Friday Evening (Kol Nidre) Candles: 6:29 PM  for candlelighting times, other Jewish calendar information, and to download a Jewish calendar to your PDA, click on

Kol Nidre begins at 6:15 PM promptly.  Please plan to get here early.

Yom Kippur Day

Service: 8:45 AM – 

Torah reading will begin at about 9:45 AM

Sermon: about 11:00.

Plan to get here as early as possible to avoid the rush.

Please read Agnon’s  “Tale of the Goat” before the service.  Find it at  To LISTEN to it being read, go to

Children’s services: 11:00 AM – 1 PM, including teen programming

Mincha: 4:30 PM

Yizkor – about 5:30, followed by Neilah,

Blessing of newborns, glowin’ Havdalah,

All culminating in the Shofar sounding at approximately 7:29.314159… (times are approximate only)



Morning Minyan: Sundays at 9:00 AM, Weekdays at 7:30 AM – IN THE CHAPEL

(there will be no early minyan on the first two days of Sukkot)


We usually, but not always have a minyan of ten at our morning services. If you have a yahrzeit coming up and wish to ensure that there will be at least ten present, drop the rabbi an email at and he will e-mail to the congregation a “Guaranteed Minyan” request.  Indicate the date of the yahrzeit and whether it would be OK to use your name in making that request.




Minyan Mastery


So you’ve decided to come to our morning minyan, on weekdays at 7:30 or Sundays at 9.  First of all, THANK YOU!  You are performing one of the most important “mitzvot” in all of Judaism – you are ‘BEING THERE.’  They say that so much of life is just showing up? Well, in fact, showing up is what it’s all about.  The service is fast – about a half hour on most days, 40 minutes on Monday and Thursday, when we read Torah.  It’s a great time to collect your thoughts and focus on the day ahead – plus you will almost certainly be giving someone needed comfort and companionship at a most difficult time, someone you might not even know.


Now you can become more comfortable with our minyan, and find out all about it at…




Spiritual Journey on the Web


“Pride of the Yankels

            Shawn Green’s decision not to play this Yom Kippur (at least as of this moment), while not quite as dramatic as Sandy Koufax’ gesture of not pitching in the World Series in 1965, is still a headline news in the Jewish world.  At a time when people are giving up their very lives because they are Jewish (and when has there been a time when that has not been happening?), giving up a silly baseball game or two might seem trivial, but that’s exactly the point.  Green is stating loud and clear, that despite the millions of dollars involved, despite the hype and hopes of the fans, and despite the fact that the Dodgers are only a half game ahead of their bitter rival, the Giants, he understands that in the scheme of things, it’s only a game.  And in this case, two games.  (At least the Red Sox and Yankees were smart enough to schedule Saturday’s game to begin AFTER sundown, a smart move, whether or not the Sox’ two Jewish players decide to play). 

            Here are some places to read the latest about Green:

            Shawn Green caught between faith and team (San Francisco Chronicle), VIEWPOINT: Slugger Set To Skip Game on Yom Kippur (the Forward), and (ESPN)

            Koufax’s recent bio, Sandy Koufax : A Lefty's Legacy is a super read, devoting an entire chapter to this incident and how it made Koufax an all-time Hebrew School immortal.  Undoubtedly, Green, also a Dodger, has been heavily influenced by the Lefty’s Legacy.

            So it’s all well and good for a baseball PLAYER to decide to forego his work for Yom Kippur.  But what about we fans?  In the past 24 hours, I’ve received the following joke from four people (and thank you to all who have done so!) – here it’s presented in its Yankee-centric version, although I’ve seen Red Sox-centric versions of it in the past:


You may not have noticed the problem facing area Jews this September.  The upcoming critical Red Sox - Yankees series at Fenway Park starts the same night as Kol Nidre, the solemnest time of the Jewish calendar.  This has put many local fans into a quandary.

A very distressed Yankee fan goes to his rabbi.  "Rabbi," he says, "I don't know what to do.  I know that tomorrow night is Kol Nidre, but the Red Sox are playing the Yankees and El Duque is  pitching."

The rabbi smiles.  "That's all right.  It's for nights like this that God invented VCRs."

"Really?" the man said, his face lighting up, "I can tape Kol Nidre?


            You can see how dated this joke is – it doesn’t even mention TiVo!  For a Sox fan, the greatest Yom Kippur crisis came in 1986, when Dave Henderson’s home run saved their season just before Kol Nidre began – and then the game went into extra innings.  Alan Dershowitz has written about how he brought a transistor radio into Harvard Hillel and how the ebb and flow of the game impacted the service.


            Check out the Israeli and soccer version of this same joke, with a British twist, in Ha’aetz, at

Sakhnin Diary / Loyalties, devotion and the fighting spirit .  It involves an Israeli soccer team from an Arab city, Sakhnin, representing the Jewish state in European championship competition.  The Sakhnin story is compelling on many levels, and I will be discussing them on Yom Kippur morning.



            This YK dilemma goes back to Hank Greenberg, whom you can read about at  He opted not to play on Yom Kippur and received a standing ovation when he walked into synagogue.  It’s not just about baseball, of course.  Yom Kippur has long been seen as the ultimate litmus test of Jewish loyalties. See the article immediately below this one to understand how Jews coped with the day during the Spanish Inquisition.  Kol Nidre was written in part to assure these Jews that their hidden Jewishness was well-understood.  Also, look at THE JUBILEE CALENDAR by Mikhael Bauer to see how this impacted ancient Jewish communities 2,000 years ago (the crucial part is way at the bottom) 


            It’s not just about baseball, and yet it is.  For, while it is “only” a game on one level, the true fan knows that, as has been written in the Bible (The Sporting News),  “Baseball is life. The rest is just details.”



Among the themes I’ve chosen for this year’s sermons has been (and will be) the ways Jews have responded when facing extreme situations, as well as the amazing return of those in far-flung Jewish communities (such as the Ethiopian Jews and Falash Mura).  The following fascinating essay comes from a professor at the Schechter Institute.  Enjoy…


 Look at the Holidays as Observed by Crypto-Jewish Women


By Renée Levine Melammed


Observance of Jewish holidays presented the crypto-Jewish women of Spain with a major challenge.  While a woman who had been born as a Jew (and then converted) still retained memories of her life as a Jewess, she who was born after the forced conversions of 1391 had to rely on information gleaned either from friends, from family members or from Jews, at least until their expulsion in 1492.  Once the Inquisition was established in 1478 and began actively functioning in 1481, any observance of Judaism became extremely dangerous, for one never knew who was a potential informer and thus lead to one's downfall; the Church would consider the observer to be a heretic who had to stand trial.


In the midst of  "the holidays", let us take a moment to consider this time of the year in the crypto-Jewish annual cycle.  Rosh Hashana, so central to the life of the modern Jew, was extremely difficult for the judaizer to observe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  One could not blow a shofar without attracting attention, and the truth is that relatively few books were in the possession of the judaizers, especially after 1492.  Without a proper prayer book or knowledge of Hebrew, the New Year celebration became a rare occurrence.  Once the Inquisition was established, attempts to congregate and celebrate on two consecutive days would have been extremely unwise.  As a result, there are very few references to Rosh Hashana in Inquisition trials.


On the other hand, Yom Kippur, coming on the tenth day of this High Holiday season, did not fall by the wayside.  The psychological need to repent played a significant role here as did the hope that this single day of observance would serve to cancel out the rest of the days of the year when it was impossible to observe properly.  One bold woman, Blanca Rodríguez of Guadalajara, even spent the entire day of the Ayuno Mayor ("Great Fast") with Jews.  In 1487 Beatriz González was accused in her trial of participating in numerous activities related to Yom Kippur; these included bathing, cutting her nails, wearing clean clothes, going barefoot, asking for forgiveness of others, "and some nights before the Great Fast, she went to the synagogue to pray, that which only the most devoted of Jews do."  Thus she attended the synagogue service during the pre-Yom Kippur period when the Selihot prayers or prayers of forgiveness are recited in the wee hours of the night.  It is interesting to note that the Jews in the synagogue did not object to the presence of a baptized Christian, albeit of Jewish heritage.


While today we are free to attend the Kol Nidre prayer on Yom Kippur eve, this was not the case for the crypto-Jews.  Nevertheless, Elvira López confessed in 1486 that she once went inside a synagogue to witness this service on the eve of Yom Kippur.  Later, in 1498, Inés Rodríguez was charged by the prosecution with celebrating "the Day of Atonement as being a major holiday and one of great devotion among the Jews; on the eve of the fast, she would go and went to the synagogue to hear the prayers that were prayed there by the Jews, believing that on this day they would be forgiven their sins, and that all that they requested of the Lord would be granted them as the Jews believe." 


Numerous conversas were accused of having fasted on Yom Kippur; the fast was easy to remember and to carry out, although it was not always easy to conceal, especially if there were servants afoot.  Some conversas were barefoot the entire day; others wore holiday clothes in its honor.  Many asked forgiveness of others on this day.  Charges by the prosecution might also specify that the crypto-Jewish woman waited for the stars to emerge before breaking her fast; many referred to breaking the fast with a meat meal that was sometimes communal and thus more risky.


The festival of Sukkot, the third in this succession of holidays, presented a serious problem for the crypto-Jew.  Building a sukkah or purchasing a lulav and etrog would be tantamount to publicly declaring one's rejection of the Church; these options were simply too dangerous for even the most pious judaizer.


 In the early years, a few conversos went out into the fields to build booths, but such bold actions soon desisted.  On the other hand, while Jews were still present on Spanish soil, some crypto-Jews took advantage of this opportunity and, for example, visited Jewish sukkah booths. 


Elvira Martínez of Toledo confessed in 1509 that she went to a booth by herself "not on account of the ceremony but rather in order to see the said booth and when I was there, they distributed refreshment and I believe that they gave me toasted chickpeas."  Beatriz González was accused of making booths at home and confessed to occasionally visiting the booths of Jews and eating fruit in them; she was not alone in this act, for other women also frequented their Jewish neighbors' booths where they were offered refreshments.      


During the festival of Sukkot, there seems to have been quite a bit of interaction between members of the two communities, who were often related to one another and living side by side.  According to the prosecutor at her trial, Elvira López "lent Jews clothing for the booths, essentially in order to honor and celebrate the Festival of the Booths of the Jews."  In her confession, the defendant admitted that she had lent cloth to the Jews for making or adorning the sukkah.  Similarly, in 1504, Juana Rodríguez "remembered well how she had lent a rug and a bordered sheet to a Jew so that he could make his booth, all of which I did in honor of, and in keeping with the law of the Jews, thinking that I would be saved by it." 


We assume that the sheet was used for a side or entrance to the booth while the rug was most likely placed on the floor.  Women were lending cloth as well as clothing and the wealthier conversas were even lending their jewelry to Jewish women as did Inés González in 1485.  This clearly implies a great deal of trust, for lending sheets is far easier to do than lending one's personal jewelry.  This is an example of a conversa who was helping her Jewish sister celebrate in the style that she would have done herself, had she been able to do so.  Crypto-Jewish life was fraught with danger, but these women were determined to observe what they could, and most managed at the very least, to fast on Yom Kippur.


Prof. Renée Levine Melammed is the Assistant Dean of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies and Coordinator of the school’s M.A. program in Jewish Studies and Women Studies. Levine Melammed has won two National Jewish Book Awards (2000) for her book, Heretics or Daughters of Israel: The Crypto-Jewish Women of Castile, in the fields of Best Research in Sephardic Studies and Best Research in Women’s Studies. Her most recent book, A Question of Identity: Iberian Conversos in Historical Perspective ,  has just been published by Oxford  University Press. Levine Melammed has been invited to  join the faculty of Yale University as a visiting scholar for the 2005-06 academic year.



Required Reading and Action Items


Israel's Unexpected Victory Over Terrorism - Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael B. Oren
Perhaps the greatest danger in fighting terrorism is the polarizing effect such a campaign can have - not just internationally, but domestically. To avoid this pitfall, a strong political consensus for military action is necessary. That means the president must actively reach out to domestic opposition. But American leaders must also heed Sharon's other lessons. That means an ability to endure criticism from abroad and even to risk international isolation, a willingness to define the war on terrorism as a total war, and a commitment to focus one's political agenda on winning, not on divisive or extraneous concerns. Fulfilling those conditions does not guarantee success. But it does make success possible - as Israel is, at great cost, showing the world. (New Republic)


Bin Laden's New Butchers - Martin Chulov
Al-Qaeda's strength now lies in the affiliates it has inspired - some directly and others in its name. Among this conglomerate are four people almost certain to shape the future of Global Jihad Inc.: Sheikh Abu Muhammed al-Maqdesi, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Sheikh Ahmad al-Zahrani, and Sheikh Abu Omar Seyf. Al-Maqdesi is a Palestinian who combined the extreme doctrines of Jihadi Salafiyyah and Wahhabism to create the severe Islamic teachings espoused by the insurgency in Iraq today and its supporters in the pan-Arab world. His teachings have inspired Afghanistan's former Taliban regime, bin Laden, and Islamists in Southeast Asia and Chechnya.
    Al-Zahrani is carrying forward the teachings of al-Maqdesi and a Saudi Islamic scholar Sheikh Yousef al-Ayeeri, the cleric and Saudi commander of al-Qaeda proper, who was shot dead in Riyadh in May last year. The rise of the Saudi-born al-Zahrani marks a shift of the younger generation of global Jihad scholars to Saudi hands. Another feared Saudi firebrand is Seyf, the man deemed to be the spiritual mentor behind the Chechen militants who killed more than 300 children and civilians in southern Russia. (The Australian)

Sharon Seeking Immediate Response to Palestinian Rockets
- Herb Keinon and Margot Dudkevitch (Jerusalem Post)

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday:

  • "It is forbidden to get to a situation where people become accustomed to a situation where they can fire on Israel without a response."
  • "If the source of fire is coming from a residential area, advance warning should be given and then we should respond."
  • Sharon said that nobody - in Israel or abroad - should get used to being able to fire on Israel with impunity.

How 9/11 was Commemorated on Arab and Iranian TV - Steven Stalinsky
On the third anniversary of 9/11, Arab and Iranian TV have been commemorating the attacks by airing shows with statements made by leading professors, religious leaders, government officials, and even Muslim-Americans stating that Arabs and Muslims were not involved and that the U.S. government or Jews are the true culprits. Syrian researcher Tayyeb Tizini, interviewed on Iran's al-Alam TV on August 16, claimed that an intifada against globalization had broken out, and that in order to thwart it America attacked itself on 9/11. (Jerusalem Post)


Iran Defies Demand of Nuke Watchdog Agency
Defying a key demand set by 35 nations, Iran announced Tuesday it has started converting raw uranium into the gas needed for enrichment, a process that can be used to make nuclear weapons. Iran's president, Mohammad Khatami, vowed his country will press ahead with its nuclear program even if it means a rupture with the UN watchdog agency and an end to inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities. "We've made our choice: Yes to peaceful nuclear technology, no to atomic weapons," Khatami said at a military parade in Tehran. (AP/ABC News)
    See also Iran's President: "We Will Not Give Up Our Nuclear Program" - Smadar Peri and Sefi Handler
Displayed at the parade were two Shihab-3 missiles - on one was written the word "Israel" and on the other "America." Meanwhile, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak revealed that North Korea already possesses 2-4 nuclear weapons. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew, 22 Sep 04)
    See also Israel Challenges Iran's Nuclear Ambitions
Israel admitted Tuesday that it is buying 500 "bunker-buster" bombs, which could be used to hit Iran's nuclear facilities. The BLU-109 bombs, which can penetrate more than 7ft of reinforced concrete, are among "smart" munitions being sold to Israel under America's military aid program. "This is not the sort of ordnance needed for the Palestinian front. Bunker busters could serve Israel against Iran, or possibly Syria," an Israeli source said. (Telegraph-UK)


Palestinian Media Running Scared - Khaled Abu Toameh
A Palestinian newspaper editor recently fled Ramallah together with his wife and children for one of the Gulf countries after receiving death threats from the Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Fatah. Before leaving, he received a letter with a bullet and a note: "Your fate will be like that of Nabil Amr," referring to the Palestinian legislator who was shot and seriously wounded several weeks ago in Ramallah after he appeared on an Arab television station and criticized Arafat's performance and the lack of democracy and transparency in the PA. The verbal and physical intimidation of Palestinian journalists, especially those who dare to report on issues that reflect negatively on Arafat and the PA, has almost become accepted practice in the West Bank and Gaza.
    The Palestinian Journalists Association, a body controlled by Arafat loyalists, has issued a directive banning Palestinian journalists from covering the internal strife. The majority of Palestinian journalists are complying with the new regulations. Many reporters working for Al-Jazeera and the foreign media live in Ramallah and Gaza City and are subjected to the same threats, so have begun toeing the line. Perhaps the international community doesn't even know that the Palestinian media is entirely controlled by Arafat and that many journalists are under threat. (Access/Middle East)

Alphabet Brings Iraq and Israel Together at UN (Reuters)
    Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom had a brief encounter on Tuesday at the UN General Assembly when their delegations took seats side-by-side because of alphabetical ordering.
    Shalom and Allawi shook hands and the Israeli minister said he told the Iraqi leader that he hoped for peace in the Middle East.

From Waste to Wonder: Steps to a Spiritual Ecology of Living 
"We live in a waste culture. Gangsters "waste" their rivals; partiers who drink too much alcohol get "wasted." A recent book by Kevin Bales identifies the shocking reality of the contemporary slave trade as the story of "disposable people." Another book, Wasted Lives, by sociologist Zygmunt Bauman (reviewed in this issue), explains how our present economic system makes classes of people-the poor, the unemployed, the elderly, the cultural "other"-into "human waste." We take for granted the idea that there always has been and always will be waste. Yet waste is in the eye of the waster. Waste is whatever we define as needing to be thrown "away." There is what we need, and then there is the other, the unnecessary, the waste. We define who we are by what we are not. We use waste to deny the reality of what we don't want to see and feel...."

By Natan Margalit (from Tikkun)

Faith, Divined -- What Do Believers Have in Common? 16 Reasons, Finds a Study on Religion
By Jennifer Huget (from Washington Post)

Getting From Is to Ought -- Why There is no Dichotomy Between "Facts" and "Values."
By Ric Machuga (from Books and Culture: A Christian Review)


Changing One's Fate - An Exercise for the Yamim Noraim
"Our tradition teaches that we can have a direct and active role in changing our fate for the coming year. While our desire to change our lives is particularly strong during the days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we can choose to make important changes all year long...."
By CLAL Faculty (from CLAL



Reuters Admits Appeasing Terrorists


Reuters' global managing editor acknowledges that Arab intimidation influences his agency's news coverage.

HonestReporting has repeatedly denounced media outlets' categorical refusal to call terrorists 'terrorists' in news reports (see our special report on this topic).

As Islamic terror continues to spread worldwide, one major news outlet decided that enough is enough ― it's time to call terrorism by its name. CanWest, owners of Canada's largest newspaper chain, recently implemented a new editorial policy to use the 'T-word' in reports on brutal terrorist acts and groups.

So when CanWest's National Post published a Reuters report on Sept. 14, they exercised their right to change this Reuters line that whitewashes Palestinian terror:

... the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, which has been involved in a four-year-old revolt against Israeli occupation in Gaza and the West Bank. (Jeffrey Heller, 9/13 'Sharon Faces Netanyahu Challenge')

to this, more accurate line:

... the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a terrorist group that has been involved in a four-year-old campaign of violence against Israel.

Reuters didn't like the adjustment, and took the unusual step of officially informing CanWest that if it intended to continue this practice, CanWest should remove Reuters' name from the byline. Why? The New York Times reported (emphasis added):

"Our editorial policy is that we don't use emotive words when labeling someone," said David A. Schlesinger, Reuters' global managing editor. "Any paper can change copy and do whatever they want. But if a paper wants to change our copy that way, we would be more comfortable if they remove the byline."

Mr. Schlesinger said he was concerned that changes like those made at CanWest could lead to "confusion" about what Reuters is reporting and possibly endanger its reporters in volatile areas or situations.

"My goal is to protect our reporters and protect our editorial integrity," he said.


[Schlesinger repeated this statement in a recent radio interview with CBC, when he described the 'serious consequences' if certain 'people in the Mideast' were to believe Reuters called such men 'terrorists.']

This is a stunning admission ―  Reuters' top international editor openly acknowledges that one of the main reasons his agency refuses to call terrorists 'terrorists' has nothing to do with editorial pursuit of objectivity, but rather is a response to intimidation from thugs and their supporters.

In every other news arena, western journalists pride themselves on bravely 'telling it as is,' regardless of their subjects' (potentially hostile) reactions. So why do editors at Reuters ― and, presumably, other news outlets ― bend over backwards to appease Islamic terrorists, using 'safe' language that deliberately minimizes their inhuman acts?

Scott Anderson, editor-in-chief of CanWest Publications, said that Reuters' policy 'undermine[s] journalistic principles,' and raised the key question: 'If you're couching language to protect people, are you telling the truth?'

An editorial in the Ottawa Citizen, one of CanWest's newspapers, spells out the issue in black and white:

Terrorism is a technical term. It describes a modus operandi, a tactic. We side with security professionals who define terrorism as the deliberate targeting of civilians in pursuit of a political goal. Those who bombed the nightclub in Bali were terrorists. Suicide bombers who strap explosives to their bodies and blow up people eating in a pizza parlour are terrorists. The men and women who took a school full of hostages in Beslan, Russia, and shot some of the children in the back as they tried to flee to safety were terrorists. We as journalists do not violate our impartiality by describing them as such.

Ironically, it is supposedly neutral terms like 'militant' that betray a bias, insofar as they have a sanitizing effect. Activists for various political causes can be 'militant,' but they don't take children hostage.

  *    *    *

The CanWest/Reuters affair is remarkably similar to CNN's Iraqi cover-up from last year, when CNN's top news executive admitted that CNN's knowledge of murder, torture, and planned assassinations in Saddam's Iraq was suppressed in order to maintain CNN's Baghdad bureau. We asked back then:

Now that this senior CNN executive has come clean, it leaves us wondering: In what other regions ruled by terrorist dictators do the media toe the party line so as to remain in good stead?

We now have our answer in the Palestinian region. Reuters admits to regulating their language to appease the terrorists ― and that's an open admission of pro-Palestinian bias.



(1) Send comments to Reuters:

(2) If your local paper uses Reuters wire stories for coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, bring Reuters' admission of non-objectivity to the attention of your local editor.

(3) Write a short letter to your local newspaper, citing Reuters' declaration that the goal of their soft language is to protect reporters, and recognizing the implication: Reuters is not providing unadulterated, independent coverage of stories like the Israeli-Arab conflict.

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.


Many of the above articles are linked to the “Daily Alert” presented by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs


Jewish and Israeli Links…


Online Texts Related to Jewish History – you will not believe how much is here.  All the primary sources “fit to print.”




Israel Defense Force,
Israel Government Gateway, links to Government Ministries,
Israel Knesset,
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Israel Prime Minister's Office,
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics,
Israel Tourism Ministry, North America,
Buy Israeli Products,,
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies,
Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies,
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs,
One Jerusalem,
Twenty Facts about Israel
Myths & Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Jerusalem Archaeological Park,


Israel Info Center - Israel Activism Portal,
US White House,
US State Department,
US Senate,
US House of Representatives,
THOMAS (search for US Legislation),
United Nations Watch,
Embassy of Israel - Washington, D.C.,

Media-Related Links:

Jerusalem Post,
Jewish Telegraphic Agency,
Ha'aretz English Edition,,
Independent Media Review and Analysis,
Maariv English Edition,
Middle East Media Research Institue (MEMRI),
Palestinian Media Watch,
Britain-Israel Communications and Research Centre,
Israel Insider,
Jewish World Review,
America's Voices in Israel,
@The Source Israel,




This past year, more North American Jews traveled to Israel than in any previous twelve month period.  By visiting, you bolster Israel’s spirit and economy, strengthen the bonds between the people of Israel and North America, and enjoy the vacation of a lifetime.


Our community is proud to participate in Project Go Israel, partnering with the Israel Ministry of Tourism and more than 1,500 communities across North America to promote travel to Israel.  We urge you to visit and let us know that you’ve decided to visit Israel during the coming year. You will be taking the first step towards an experience you’ll never forget, and will receive exclusive discounts, special offers, and unique trip planning resources.  CARDS WILL BE FOUND AT YOUR SEATS.


We hope to have a significant response from our community. Registering your intention to visit does great things for Israel’s morale, so we hope that this High Holiday season, you’ll visit the website above and register your pledge.





There is a possibility of our having a family trip to Israel this coming Feb.  If you have any interest at all, please let me know within the next few weeks. Check out new photos of out recent Israel trip at There is also a spectacular slide show of photos from our trip that was put together by Robbie Bailer.  It’s on a public web site at



ADL Launches “We Can’t Turn our Back on Sudan” Campaign



Hamden, Conn., Sept. 8, 2004 – The Anti-Defamation League’s Connecticut Regional Office announced today that it is launching a campaign to raise awareness about the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan and to generate aid for the region’s up to 2 million refugees.  Advertisements are to appear in newspapers across the State to call attention to the ongoing acts of genocide against black villagers in the region and to ask for contributions to provide humanitarian relief to the refugees, many of whom are in dire need of international assistance.


More than 50,000 people have reportedly been murdered and up to 2 million forced from their homes by Sudanese government-backed militias, who also have destroyed villages, razed crops and committed mass rapes. The U.N. Security Council has demanded that the government of Sudan take action to stop the killing and to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. The U.S. Agency for International Development estimates that more than 320,000 refugees may die of hunger, disease and exposure by year’s end if humanitarian relief efforts are not expanded.


David Waren, ADL Regional Director, issued the following statement:


There is an urgent need to respond to the atrocities committed in Darfur on a grassroots level.  ADL’s mission mandates that we combat ethnic cleansing and seek justice and fair treatment for all.  Observers have said Darfur has many parallels with Rwanda, where hundreds of thousands of people were murdered. This time, we cannot afford to turn a blind eye to crimes against humanity or claim afterwards that we did not know they were occurring. 


The advertisements were prepared for the Anti-Defamation League pro bono by the New York firm of Margeotes, Fertitta + Partners, a full-service advertising agency offering traditional and business-to-business advertising, interactive and direct marketing and public relations.




Tzedakkah Opportunity


From the USCJ  Re. Hurricane Relief


The recent Hurricanes (Charley, Frances, and Ivan) have caused billions of dollars in damages.  Several of our Conservative congregations have suffered extensive damage due to the last two Hurricanes.  Both the Hurricanes themselves and the resulting tornadoes and flooding have caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, which is not covered by insurance.  In some cases sanctuary windows were blown out allowing huge amounts of water to freely flow throughout the synagogue.  In addition, many individuals in our congregations have been temporarily unemployed due to the numerous business disruptions caused by the Hurricanes.


Our offices have received many phone calls from congregational leaders asking how they can help their sister congregations.  To help our Conservative Movement communities, United Synagogue has established a Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund.  We ask Conservative Jews to make a financial contribution that will help our communities affected by the Hurricanes. 


Credit card donations can be made online at and click on the link titled "Hurricane Relief."  When making a credit card donation you must specifically write in the "designation" box that the donation is for the Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund. 


Donations by check can be made payable to "USCJ" and indicate in the memo section that the donation is for the Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund.  Checks should be mailed to:  USCJ Hurricane Disaster Relief Fund; 121 Congressional Lane; Suite 210; Rockville, MD 20852.  In order to reduce administrative costs we will not send acknowledgement of the donation unless required by law or requested by the donor.


Thank you.


Mark Waldman

Director of Public Policy








Sunday September 26th, 1-3:30 Kesher Lunch and Game Day.  Play Silly games and register for Kesher. $7 per Keshernik.  RSVP by9/21


USY Sleep under the Stars in the Sukkah.  Saturday night, October 2 @ 8PM.  Pizza and $10 for USY Members, $12 for non-USY Members RSVP by 9/28


Sunday October 3rd, 5-7pm. Kadima Make your Own Pizza in the Hut and Registration.  $12 per Kadimanik. RSVP by 9/28.


For more Information about any program, to register your child, or to RSVP, contact Rachel Grossman, Youth Director, 203-322-6901 x324 or



 9 Day Trip to Israel for teen leaders!

December 26, 2004 – January 5, 2005

Stay with friends in Afula/Gilboa


10th and 11th graders are invited to apply for a select, outstanding leadership trip to Israel*

  • 2-3 nights/days in Jerusalem
  • 1 night/day in Tel Aviv
  • 1 night/day in the Galilee
  • 5 nights hosted by our friends of  Partnership 2000
  • Next year, see your Israeli friends in Connecticut


*Participation is by application only. Teens will be required a preparatory course at Kulanu’s Fall semester. This is a program of the CCJE of the United Jewish Federation, on behalf of the Southern New England Consortium (SNEC).


For more information please call Ilana De Laney, CCJE Director, at 203-321-1373 ext 114 or Email to


Do you want to connect with old and new Jewish friends?


Do you want to explore the Jewish heritage with amazing and talented teachers?  Then Kulanu is the place for you!  Kulanu meaning “All Together” is our successful, innovative program to intrigue and educate Jewish teens (grades 8-12) from the Greater Stamford, New Canaan, Greenwich, Norwalk, Westport and surrounding communities.  Kulanu gives you the flexibility to study Wednesday evenings and/ or Sunday mornings.  Kulanu is a program of the UJF of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien, supported by UJA/Federation of Greenwich, Jewish Community Endowment Foundation, area congregations, Jewish Community Center and private donors.  For more information, please call Gina Lewald-Fass, Kulanu Director (203) 321-1373 ext. 115 or email













WHEN: Monday, September 27th

From 9:30 a.m. - about noon when the job is done


WHERE: Person-to-Person

St. Luke’s Parish, 1864 Post Road, Darien, CT (203) 655-0048

(At the corner of the Post Road & Ring’s End Road, across from the Noroton Fire Department)


Please email Sue Greenwald- or call (203) 329-1662 if you are able to come or have any questions.


You are welcome for any period of time you can work-it’s flexible.





Shabbat, Oct. 2, immediately following services and kiddush

The entire congregation is corsdially invited.

Leave your car at the temple and walk on over!




Torah Fund


An exciting slide presentation is being planned for the Torah Fund plenary at Convention 2004, featuring Women's Leaguers and their children and grandchildren who have graduated from or who are students at JTS, Ziegler and the Schechter Institute, all programs supported by Torah Fund.


Any Women’s League member who has attended or whose children or grandchildren have attended these programs (currently or in the past) is invited to submit photos. We all want to kvell and reminisce and marvel at the men and women these institutions educate and train and the families that supported them.

Send the pictures to Carolyn Baron, Director, Torah Fund, Jewish Theological Seminary, 3080 Broadway, New York, NY 10027. Include the name and address of the Women's League member plus the student's/graduate's name, year of graduation, degree, relationship to the Women's League member, current occupation and email address. We also need a signed statement giving Women's League permission to use the picture. Make sure your community/rabbi/family plays a part in this wonderful photo showcase. Pictures must be received no later than October 1st. SEE YOU ON THE BIG SCREEN!?!



Time for a Joke




Thanks to Shelley Berman for this one:


The Lotus & the Mishpokkeh The Principles of Jewish Buddhism


 1.   Let your mind be as a floating cloud.

      Let your stillness be as the wooded glen.

      And sit up straight. You'll never meet the Buddha with such round shoulders.


 2.   There is no escaping karma.

      In a previous life, you never called, you never wrote, you never visited.

      And whose fault was that?


 3.   Wherever you go, there you are. Your luggage is another story.


4.      To practice Zen and the art of Jewish motorcycle maintenance, do the following:

     get rid of the motorcycle.

      What were you thinking?


 5.   Be aware of your body.

      Be aware of your perceptions.

      Keep in mind that not every physical sensation is a symptom of a terminal illness.


 6.   If there is no self, whose arthritis is this?


 7.    Breathe in.

       Breathe out.

       Breathe in.

       Breathe out.

       Forget this and  attaining Enlightenment will be the least of your problems.


 8.   The Tao has no expectations.

      The Tao demands nothing of others.

      The Tao does not speak.

      The Tao does not blame.

      The Tao does not take sides.

      The  Tao is not Jewish.


 9.   Drink tea and nourish life.

      With the first sip, joy.

      With the second, satisfaction.

      With the third, Danish.


 10.  The Buddha taught that one should practice loving kindness to all sentient beings.

      Still, would it kill you to find a nice sentient being who happens to be Jewish?


 11.  Be patient and achieve all things.

      Be impatient and achieve all things faster.


 12.  To Find the Buddha, look within.

      Deep inside you are ten thousand  flowers.

      Each flower blossoms ten thousand times.

      Each blossom has ten thousand petals.

      You might want to see a specialist.


 13.  Be here now.

      Be someplace else later.

      Is that so complicated?


 14.  Zen is not easy.

      It takes effort to attain nothingness.

      And then what do you have?




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


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, where you can also find some of my other writings and sermons. You can also check out my recent books, : Seeking God in Cyberspace and I Have Some Questions About God.  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