Friday, October 29, 2004

SHABBAT-O-GRAM for October 29, 2004 and HESHVAN 15 5765


October 29, 2004 and HESHVAN 15 5765

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


Don’t forget to turn back the clocks this weekend!   





What do you call a rockin’ Friday night service at Temple Beth El?




With Music!  Food!  Friends!

Led by Rabbi Hammerman and Cantor Jacobson

We bring the music and food…  You bring the friends…

Live music!  Coffee and dessert bar. 

Separate kids’ service for tots and siblings

Plug in THIS FRIDAY NIGHT, October 29th

It’s the Friday night service you’ve been waiting for…!

Thanks to Allen and Beverly Kezsbom for sponsoring this week’s Shabbat Unplugged



Storahtelling:  Renewing Ancient Stories

THIS Shabbat, Oct. 30, 2004

Services, Storahtelling and Lunch


Storahtelling is a fresh fusion of storytelling, Torah, contemporary performance art, and traditional ritual theater.  Founded in 1998, the New York City-based company consists of young artists and educators promoting an informed, inclusive, and dynamic Jewish culture.  Their primary focus is the revitalization of the Torah Service, Judaism’s oldest form of ritual storytelling.  By incorporating innovative translations, dramatic commentary, and live music into the weekly reading they reclaim the art of sacred Jewish storytelling and transform the Torah Service into modern ritual theater.


Here is the schedule for this very exciting morning…


9:30 – Regular services, including our full Torah and haftarah readings


10:30 – Storahtelling Ritual Theater Performance: “The Birth of Laughter” A simultaneous translation and dramatization of the weekly Torah portion.  There will be no Junior Congregation this morning (but Nurit’s service for younger children will be held) – all of our religious school and day school families are highly encouraged to attend this program instead.  This program will thrill young and old alike!


Noon – Lunch, including a talk back session, a Q and A with the Storahtelling cast members – we’ll hear the performers’ personal stories about why they do what they do.


At the conclusion of lunch, a bonus session: “Gained in Translation” – An interactive study session for those interested in acquiring a greater understanding of the ancient art of Torah translation and its contemporary relevance.  Using Judaic and literary theory and commentary, we will explore the possibilties offered by oral translation and dramatic interpretation of Hebrew texts.


Sponsored by Penny and Michael Horowitz in memory of Bessie Silver and Millie Reiss. Thank you also to Eileen Rosner and our Adult Education committee for organizing the lunch and to Jerome and Louise Berkman for sponsoring the lunch, in honor of the marriage of their daughter Adena to Daniel Conway.


Plans are coming together for another spectacular


TBE Israel Adventure

August 2005


If this is something you would like to consider, contact me at ASAP. 



THURSDAY, NOV. 18 AT 7:00 pm. 

It is essential that all interested families have representation at that meeting.


The Tour Organizer from Keshet Tours will be here to answer questions.

Check out Keshet’s new web site at





Friday Evening Candles: 5:36 PM.  for candlelighting times, other Jewish calendar information, and to download a Jewish calendar to your PDA, click on

Shabbat Unplugged: 7:30 PM in the sanctuary

Special Tot Shabbat at 7:15 PM, upstairs, in the chapel.

Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM -- STORAHTELLING

Children’s services: 10:30 AM (Nurit’s service only – all children of elementary school age are encouraged to join us at Storahtelling in the main sanctuary. 

Lunch will follow the service.

Torah Portion: Vayera Genesis 18:1 - 22:24

1: 18:1-5
2: 18:6-8
3: 18:9-14
4: 18:15-21
5: 18:22-26
6: 18:27-30
7: 18:31-33
maf: 18:31-33

Haftarah: II Kings 4:1 - 4:37

See a new weekly commentary now available from the UJC Rabbinic Cabinet, at  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:  World Zionist Organization Education page, including 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 or, for Kabbalistic commentaries from the Zohar itself, go to To see the weekly commentary from Hillel, geared to college students and others, go to For a Jewish Renewal and feminist approach go to .  For a comprehensive Orthodox viewpoint from the Israeli rabbi, Yaakov Fogelman, go to the Torah Outreach Program at


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


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


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



Spiritual Journey on the Web


The Akeda



The Akeda, the Binding of Isaac, has fascinated people of all faiths for centuries.  From a historical perspective, it’s significance has shifted over the generations.   Within the Bible itself, this incident receives surprisingly little play.  While the story is told quite dramatically in Gen. 22, it is not repeated anywhere else in the entire Bible.   Other elements of Abraham’s life are, but not this.  Yet by the time we get to the rabbinic period, the Akeda has taken on new significance, for Jews and early Christians as well, and then for Moslems, who debated whether it was Isaac or Ishmael who was brought up to the mountain. 


Here is an annotated list of Web sites looking at the Akeda from a variety of perspectives: “Speaking of Faith” public radio program – on Abraham.  from Rav Kook – Abraham as a champion of faith. -- The Akeda as an existential, rather than a moral tale.  Excellent -- links to images of Abraham and Isaac (see for a 6th centuty mosaic that is particularly striking) -- Akeda image from the ancient Bet Alpha synagogue in Israel. -- topographical look at Mount Moriah, site of the Akeda did it really happen? Sound and Spirit playlist -- nice bibliography Elie Wiesel on, among other things, the Akeda


Halloween and Judaism – The October Dilemma For me, the October dilemma consists of finding Halloween candy to pass out to trick-or-treaters that I will not eat, no matter how desperate or distraught I become.For my children, the challenge is creating peer- and parent-approved costumes that will also work for Purim. But for many Jewish parents, who associate the holiday with demons, death and wickedness - as well as with Christianity - Halloween is problematic.  We live in America, our kids go to public schools and Halloween is unavoidable.  How to skip Halloween so your children won’t hate you What various faith groups think of Halloween Halloween can remind Jews to Hallow God’s presence  Lots of Kabbala links (Judaism has its dark side too!) Abraham and the Addams Family (Really!)




Required Reading and Action Items


Jewish Voting Guides…


The following is an excerpt from Koach’s Guide to the Elections (for Jewish college students) at



Voting:  A Jewish Value?


We never hear about the rabbis of the Talmud voting.  And Moses certainly didn’t take a vote before leading the people out of slavery.  Still, the democratic value inherent to voting does find expression in Jewish tradition:


§         Not long after the Israelites leave Egypt, God calls for a census.  This count of the population reminds us of the significance of every individual.  In the nation being created, each person must be accounted for, as each person plays a vital role in the viability of the whole.  In the same way, each person in the United States plays some role in determining the future of the country as a whole.


§         The principle “you should go after the majority (Exodus 23:2) is understood by the rabbis to mean that the majority rules in legal disputes.  In one famous Talmudic story, a group of rabbis argue over a legal point. Even though a divine voice supports the lone opinion of one rabbi, the majority opinion wins.  Once the Torah has been transmitted to the Jewish people, the will of the people—understood as the majority opinion of the decision makers—determines the law.  (Talmud Bava Metzia 59b)


§         The concept of hiyyuv, or personal obligation, is the central theme of Jewish law.  We have obligations toward ourselves, toward God and toward others.  Living with this sense of obligation means approaching the world with a feeling of responsibility for what happens.  Voting is one way of acting on each of our individual obligations to make our part of the world a more just place. 


§         Jews were deeply involved in both the women’s suffrage movement of the 1920s and in the civil rights struggle of the 1960s, which, among other accomplishments, achieved the extension of the right to vote to African Americans.  Some early Jewish voting-rights advocates included Clara Lemlich who, in 1909, following the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, organized one of the most important strikes in American history and who then turned her energies to creating a working class women’s suffrage organization; and Gertrude Weil, a leader of the North Carolina Equal Suffrage League beginning in 1915 and a crusader for voting rights and election reform. A guide to religion in the 2004 elections


WHAT BUSH AND KERRY AGREE ON: HonestReporting on Campus (through its parent body IsraelActivism) has a collection of great hand-outs emphasizing that both George W. Bush and John Kerry consider support for Israel central to their political platforms. It's not too late to order the handouts in time for election day! Just email:


People of Faith Take Sides--and Explain Why
Pro-Arab Muslims for Bush. Pro-Israel Jews for Kerry. Pro-war witches for Bush. Pro-life Catholics for Kerry. Within every major faith group in America, heated and often counterintuitive arguments are raging about which candidate more closely reflects believers' values. More...

Did Creative Fans Break the Curse of the Bambino?
A New England group started an online prayer petition. A "spiritual psychopharmacologist" whipped up a beer-based potion in a black cauldron. A vegetarian decided to eat 20 hot dogs. In Boston and beyond, passionate Red Sox fans used quirky spiritual methods to reverse what they saw as their team's curse. Did their tongue-in-cheek "curse busters" lead to a World Series victory? More...


The Post-Arafat Scene - Barry Rubin (Jerusalem Post)


Will Arafat's Illness Affect Disengagement? - Tovah Lazaroff
Sharon's spokesman Ra'anan Gissin said, "For now, nothing is going to hinder disengagement....If indeed, as the result of developments there will arise a new leadership that will institute reforms and eradicate terrorism and stop incitement and fulfill its obligations under the road map, then we will reconsider [the disengagement plan]. We always preferred a bilateral agreement over a unilateral movement. We did it by default. We will have to gauge the new situation and then make our assessments," said Gissin. (Jerusalem Post)
    See also If Arafat Dies - There Will Be No Disengagement - Atila Shumpalvi
Some political observers predict that if Arafat dies, one direct result could be the shelving of the unilateral disengagement plan - on the assumption that a new partner may arise. (Yediot Ahronot-Hebrew)


Arafat's Condition May Effect Disengagement Plan - Amos Harel
The prime minister put the disengagement plan into play based on the assumption that there was no partner on the Palestinian side. If Arafat leaves the arena now, the basis of the process will change completely. Two developments may temper the extent of the violence in the event of Arafat's death: his decreased popularity in the territories (despite the fact that residents still see him as a symbol), and the fact that Israel was not portrayed as attempting to harm him.
    According to Brigadier General (res.) Shalom Harari, a senior military analyst of Palestinian affairs, the PLO's old guard is expected to take initial control of the leadership, but the key to the future will rest in the hands of those who lead the Palestinian security apparatus: Mohammed Dahlan, Jibril Rajoub, Tawfik Tirawi, and Mohammed al-Hindi. Harari expects that a more profound power struggle between the PLO and the Hamas will take place. "There will be two governments: the Fatah leadership against the Islamic organizations." (Ha'aretz)


Back on the Road Map? - Aluf Benn
Efforts to renew American involvement between Israel and the Palestinians will be significantly boosted with the passing of the man who has been described as the obstacle to any settlement or compromise. Without Arafat in the arena, pressure on Israel will mount to coordinate the withdrawal from Gaza and the northern West Bank with the PA. Sharon will try to stick to his plan and delay political dialogue with the PA until it becomes clear whether there is a stable leadership on the Palestinian side that both wants and is able to fight terrorism. (Ha'aretz)
    See also Good and Bad Scenarios - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz)


After Arafat, Upheaval - David Ignatius
For more than 30 years, Yasser Arafat has symbolized the Age of Immobilism in Arab politics. This week's news that Arafat is seriously ill is a reminder that Arabs are entering a new era. The icebergs that have frozen Arab political life are breaking up. I first interviewed Arafat in 1981 at his headquarters in Beirut. Summarizing that interview, I wrote that Arafat had learned an unfortunate lesson: "It is much easier to stand still than to try to move forward." That could be the epitaph for a whole generation of Arab leaders. With the connivance of the U.S., and with the permanent excuse of the Arab-Israeli conflict, they clung to the status quo year after year, decade after decade. (Washington Post)
    See also Middle East Movement - Editorial
For the Gaza withdrawal to jump-start the Bush road map, moderate Palestinians must be coaxed into setting up a responsible administration in the territory that will curb violence against Israelis both before and after the withdrawal and demonstrate a capacity for statehood. Arafat's illness might make that job more complicated in the short term, but if his departure from the scene proves permanent, a major opportunity will open. U.S. diplomacy will be needed to encourage the election of new Palestinian leaders, orchestrate support from other Arab and European governments, and stimulate fresh negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel. (Washington Post)


Arafat's Illness Highlights Absence of Clear Successor - Arnon Regular
There is no one, either in the PA or the PLO, who is clearly in line to serve as Arafat's replacement. There are currently numerous power centers in the territories, and all are expected to fight to succeed Arafat. (Ha'aretz)
    See also Everything is Up for Grabs - Danny Rubinstein
Without Arafat, it does not mean the Palestinian movement will become more moderate and serious. The opposite may even be the case, with all-out war erupting in the territories, which will strengthen the infrastructure of terrorism. Abu Mazen, 72, and Abu Ala, 68, are the candidates slated to succeed him in his two primary roles: Abu Mazen as chairman of the PLO's executive committee, and Abu Ala as head of the PA. (Ha'aretz)


The Day After Arafat - Amit Cohen
The death of Arafat, whether it takes place today or in a year, would constitute a severe crisis for the Palestinian people. Only after he is gone would they come to realize that he has no replacement. The veteran leadership will vanish together with Arafat. Its members' power stemmed from him, and many are identified with the corruption of the PA. Political figures like Abu Mazen or Abu Ala would not be able to replace Arafat since they do not have the support of the street or of Fatah's armed operatives. The young generation of the Tanzim and the al-Aksa Brigades is scattered among gangs, many controlled by Hizballah. The intermediate generation is essentially non-existent. Mohammad Dahlan or Marwan Barghouti could assume the leadership role, but that would be a far-fetched outcome.
    Israeli officials see two possible scenarios: One, in which the anarchy gains momentum and lasts for a long period of time, thereby dividing Palestinian territories into several areas with little connection between them, and, two, which is probably more realistic, a group of leaders emerges rather than one leader, which would include Fatah ground commanders, heads of security apparatuses, and politicians like Abu Mazen or Abu Ala. Without Arafat's presence, Hamas would feel more comfortable to establish its status. Yet Hamas is also suffering from a leadership vacuum after the elimination of its leaders. (Maariv International)


No Love for Arafat in Arab World - Zvi Bar'el
Arafat's isolation in Ramallah to a great extent kept the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from international, and especially Arab, involvement. Any public support Arafat got from the Arab world appeared to stem mainly from opposition to Israeli policy rather than any love for the Palestinian leader. After Palestinian officials began criticizing Arafat publicly, criticism followed in many Arab-language media outlets. Some even demanded Arafat's resignation or removal, while various surveys detailed his failings as a leader, as well as the failure of the intifada. (Ha'aretz)


He Failed His People and Ours - David Horovitz
Arafat certainly forced the fate of the Palestinians into the global consciousness. But his refusal to disavow terrorism has certainly thwarted their push for statehood. It was Arafat who, in his disinclination to confront Hamas and other terrorists, gradually destroyed the Israeli majority's Oslo optimism. The award of the Nobel Peace Prize a decade ago was testament to international hope and expectation, rather than confidence. He will be mourned by precious few, even of the Israelis who had wanted to see him as a peace partner. (Jerusalem Post)



Goodbye Gaza: Sharon is Challenging the Israelis and Palestinians - Editorial
Ariel Sharon is often presented outside of Israel as simply a belligerent and uncompromising political hawk and thus an obstacle to the Middle East peace process. That caricature has never been fair and has rarely been more misplaced than at the moment. It cannot be overstressed just how radical the Gaza withdrawal scheme is and the high price that Mr. Sharon has already paid for it. None of the Labor prime ministers since the 1967 war has dared to attempt to extract Israel from this territory.
    If the vote is carried, then international reaction should not be churlish. The open contempt for Israel has, alas, acquired a momentum that any concession of whatever substance is dismissed as a ruse or a cunning ploy to entrench authority over the Palestinian people. Political leaders should be willing to acknowledge publicly the scale of the political wager that Mr. Sharon has accepted. His critics have insisted that he would never pursue a pull-out - he is proving them wrong. (Times-UK)

Syria to UN: Drop Dead Again - Editorial
How seriously does Syrian dictator Bashar Assad take the UN Security Council? Not very. In response to Assad's disregarding one declaration with no backbone, the Security Council decided to pass another. And unsurprisingly, Assad's response was much the same. Unlike the first resolution, which required a report in 30 days, this one asks for Mr. Annan to report back in six months. In his report, Mr. Annan said it was time for foreign troops to leave Lebanon and end a "sad chapter in Lebanese history." Until the Security Council realizes that the threat of more paper reports and resolutions isn't what makes a dictator fold - it's the threat of force that does - Lebanon's story is only going to get sadder and sadder. (Wall Street Journal Europe-25Oct04)

Israel Remembers Yitzhak Rabin, 1922-1995 (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    At sundown on Tuesday, October 26, 2004 (12 Heshvan on the Jewish calendar), Israel marks the 9th anniversary of the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on November 4, 1995.

New Ben-Gurion Airport Terminal Opens - Zohar Blumenkrantz and Zafrir Rinat (Ha'aretz)
    Terminal 3, Ben-Gurion International Airport's new terminal, will begin operating on Tuesday.
    A new perimeter defense system around Terminal 3 incorporates electronic early-warning measures

Main Points of Gaza Disengagement Plan (AP/Washington Post)

Ariel Sharon’s moving speech to the Knesset regarding Gaza:  The Disengagement Plan - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (Prime Minister's Office)

Prime Minister Sharon addressed the Knesset on Monday prior to the vote on the disengagement plan, to be held Tuesday evening.

  • We are on the threshold of a difficult decision, the likes of which we have seldom faced.
  • This is a people who has courageously faced, and still faces the burden and terror of the ongoing war, which has continued from generation to generation; in which, as in a relay race, fathers pass the guns to their sons; in which the boundary between the frontline and the home front has long been erased.
  • I know the implications and impact of the Knesset's decision on the lives of thousands of Israelis who have lived in the Gaza Strip for many years, who were sent there on behalf of the governments of Israel, and who built homes there, planted trees and grew flowers, and who gave birth to sons and daughters who have not known any other home. I am well aware of the fact that I sent them and took part in this enterprise, and many of these people are my personal friends.
  • As much as I understand everything they are going through during these days and everything they will face as a result of the necessary decision to be made in the Knesset, I also believe in the necessity of taking the step of disengagement in these areas, with all the pain it entails, and I am determined to complete this mission.
  • I am firmly convinced and truly believe that this disengagement will strengthen Israel's hold over territory which is essential to our existence, and will be welcomed and appreciated by those near and far, reduce animosity, break through boycotts and sieges, and advance us along the path of peace with the Palestinians and our other neighbors.
  • As one who fought in all of Israel's wars, and learned from personal experience that without proper force we do not have a chance of surviving in this region - which does not show mercy towards the weak - I have also learned from experience that the sword alone cannot decide this bitter dispute in this land.
  • I have been told that the disengagement will be interpreted as a shameful withdrawal under pressure, and will increase the terror campaign, present Israel as weak, and will show our people as a nation unwilling to fight and to stand up for itself. I reject that statement outright. We have the strength to defend this country, and to strike at the enemy which seeks to destroy us.
  • The disengagement plan does not replace negotiations and is not meant to permanently freeze the situation which will be created. It is an essential and necessary step in a situation which currently does not enable genuine negotiations for peace. However, everything remains open for a future agreement, which will hopefully be achieved when this murderous terror ends, and our neighbors will realize that they cannot triumph over us in this land.


America is Key to a Gaza Pull-Out - Dennis Ross (Financial Times-UK)

Summary of Editorials from the Hebrew Press On the Gaza Disengagement Plan

Haaretz writes: "Today's Knesset vote on the disengagement from Gaza and the dismantling of settlements in the northern West Bank is nothing less than a historic moment in the Israelis' battle for their home. This is the battle for the limited, democratic, humanist, peace-loving Zionist home for which the founders of the state wished. Sharon is deserving of support and esteem for the disengagement initiative. Sharon, who realized his mistake regrettably late, is emerging as the courageous leader, who is heralding the sobriety. He, of all people, and perhaps only he, is capable of standing up to the ideological automaton that has risen up against its creator, and defeat it."

The Jerusalem Post writes: "This newspaper has, like much of the nation, been reluctantly supportive of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan. It is no one's first choice, certainly not ours. But our point today is not to instruct the Knesset how to vote but something more important: a plea to respect the results. In our system of government, we elect a Knesset to represent the people. It is the Knesset, not opinion polls and not the government, that ultimately has the responsibility to reject or affirm fundamental policies. Referenda are also legitimate mechanisms to do this in some countries, but Israel has no law providing for them. The lack of a referendum does not make the Knesset's decision any less legitimate. Assuming that his plan is affirmed by the Knesset today, the prime minister will still bear the burden of implementing it in a way that does not tear the country apart. But the true test of our democracy falls on all of us, and begins with accepting the full legitimacy of this, and all other, decisions of our sovereign parliament."

Yediot Aharonot says that most of the current tension is due to “the threats of those opponents of disengagement who are plotting to disrupt the proper workings of the rule of law.”

Yediot Aharonot, in its second editorial, discusses a possible scenario in which the government is unable to pass the 2005 budget by the end of March, which would force early elections in the early summer. Alternatively, the editors believe that if Prime Minister Sharon wins a referendum on disengagement, the plan could proceed as planned. In any case, the paper predicts that the national political scene will be highly unsettled in the foreseeable future.

Hatzofeh believes that "in a parliamentary regime, the prime minister is first among equals. He is not entitled to ignore the opinion of the majority that raised him to power. If the majority is not to his liking, he must return his mandate - and resign. It is unacceptable that a prime minister, who has lost a majority in the coalition that selected him for his high position, to exploit his position in order to establish a coalition with the left when the Likud conference that convened recently decided unequivocally against bringing the left wing parties into the coalition.” The editors accuse Prime Minister Sharon of browbeating his Likud opponents into submission but suggest that the Likud Knesset faction will balk at bringing Labor into the coalition. The paper believes that if Prime Minister Sharon does not consent to a referendum, there will be early elections.


Jewish and Israeli Links…




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,


Other Jewish Sites


The best Jewish kids' site on the Web is , with games, virtual tours and “J-Pod” downloads, kids of all ages will LOVE it. 


Another superb educational site is -- you can be a self-taught “maven” on all things Jewish!


See the contents of nearly the entire Babylonian Talmud, in translation at


A Jewish Guide to the Internet:


On Jewish Vegetarianism and Animal Rights: (hey, you KNEW I’d put this one in)


How many Jewish hockey players are there? (None right now…there’s a lockout).  Find out at


Glossary of Yiddish Expressions:  )Please be patient, this page is farshtopt with information)


You can find an online Hebrew dictionary at


Nice Jewish parenting site  Jewish Gates is an amazing site, filled with material on Jewish history, ritual and culture. Go straight to the linked index at and go to town!  The Jewish Super Site; a similar site is and my personal all-time favorite,


The sourcebook for Jewish history (all periods) can be found at

Online Texts Related to Jewish History.  All the primary sources “fit to print.”


Israel Campus Beat – to get all the latest information on Israel relevant to students on college campuses










Temple Beth El will have Spring Flowers in 2005 at the front entrance thanks to Ali, Brandon, Tyler, Mitch and Lisa Pomerance, who spent last Sunday morning beautifying our entrance area, as well as the following wonderful donors and volunteers:

Jeff Rutstein and Family

Matt, Alex and Brad Benjamin

Melanie, Robbie, and Hazel Katz

Zachary, Andrew and Scott Krowitz

The Benjamin Family donated and planted the beautiful evergreens at the front sign.

555 bulbs were planted! 





From our Adult Ed Department -- RSVP is required!!!!!!!!


Beyond Introduction to Judaism I & II 

 Rabbi Selilah Kalev


After 5000 years of Jewish history there is always more to learn!  Join us for this “Anything goes; what you have always wanted to know and were afraid to ask” class for a basic and broad survey of Judaism; its religion, culture and traditions.  As an ongoing series of three classes each, we will cover one topic at a time.  Please feel free to join us for one topic, or all of them.

I: Introduction to the Conservative Shabbat Service

Tues. evenings from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on November 9th, November 16th, and November 30th

(RSVPto by Nov.2nd)






Sisterhood Paid-Up Membership Brunch


Calling All Women!

Come join our own Dr. Fran Ginsburg

for  a discussion of women’s life passages

 “In Harmony with Your Hormones”


Sunday, October 31st from 10:00 a.m. - 12 noon

5765 is Sisterhood’s “Year of Health”


Dr. Ginsburg is head of Reproductive Endocrinology and Director of the Ob/Gyn Residency Programs at Stamford Hospital.


In memoriam

Rabbi Alex Goldman;

A personal tribute:



High Holiday Sermons

High Holiday sermons are now up on our web site at  Please feel free to forward them to others – and I would love to hear your feedback





at Border’s Book Store

High Ridge Road, Stamford, Connecticut


Meets monthly on the second Tuesday evening of the month.

7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.





Rabbi Joshua Hammerman - Temple Beth El

Rev. Douglas McArthur - First United Methodist Church

Dr. Behjat Syed - Stamford Islamic Center


Next session: November 9

Topic: Environmentalism and Animal Rights: The Responsibilities of Stewardship –

also, a primer of Ramadan



Lunch ‘n Learn:  “Hot Button Halacha”

Meets monthly on the second Wednesday of the month


What does Jewish law teach us about today's most controversial issues, including Gay Marriage, Tattooing and Body Piercing, Stem Cell Research, Assisted Suicide, Domestic Violence, Surrogate Parenting and Smoking in Public Places?  Recent opinions of the Conservative Movement's Committee of Law and Jewish Standards will be discussed.  Meets at:  Benjamin Gold, P.C., 350 Bedford Street 4th floor (parking is available behind the building).


Next session: November 10, 12:30- 1:30 p.m.

 Topic: Gay Marriage, Homosexuality and the Jewish Tradition





On Sunday, November 14 at 9:30 am at Temple Beth El, Dr. Marc Brettler, co-editor of the new Jewish Study Bible will speak on the recent publication of this important work. The Jewish Study Bible breaks exciting new ground in Jewish study of the Bible, for it is a full Bible with introductions, annotations and background, and interpretive essays that together provide the reader with a guide to the meaning of the biblical text and to the history of Jewish interpretation of it. It combines in one volume a guide to the meaning of the Bible in its historical contexts, and an overview of the engagement of the Jewish people with the Bible from biblical times to the present. It is the first study Bible of its kind, incorporating the history of interpretation into every part of the study materials, and providing a living experience of how biblical interpretation has developed over the course of 2,500 years. This program is co-sponsored with Temple Beth El and is free to JCC and Temple Beth El members.  The program is open to the general public for a six dollar fee.




CCJE of United Jewish Federation

In partnership with the JCC and the Board of Rabbis

Save the date



A Community Celebration of Jewish Learning


Saturday night, November 20, 2004

7:00 pm – 10:00 pm


at the Jewish Community Center (JCC)


Sample just a few of our classes…

The Jewish View of Human Sexuality

Kabbalah for Dummies

Organ Donations: A Jewish Perspective


For more information and reservation,

please call Ilana De Laney, at UJF at 321-1373, ext. 114



The Annual Louis J. Kuriansky Conference will be held Sunday, November 7, by the Center for Judaic & Middle Eastern Studies at UConn in Stamford,  The conference title:  "Among the Nations:  A Kaleidoscope of the Jewish Experience," will feature 3 renowned speakers, Dr. Hasia Diner on Jewish History in the US:  A Very Different "Galut" (diaspora); Dr. Gabriel Schoenfeld on The Return of European Anti-Semitism; and Dr. Richard E. Rubenstein on Jews and Muslims:  Causes of the Conflict & Prospects for Resolution.

Reservations can be made by calling the Center at 251-9525; the conference starts at 10 a.m. and continues until 3 p.m., lunch is included in the fee of $50.





October 30th-31st,  Hanefesh Regional USY 9th Grade, 10th grade, New Member overnight.  Applications are available in the Youth Lounge


Monday November 1 @ 6:30 -Tuesday November 2 @9AM  Kadima First Ever Election Day Sleepover.  Pizza, Ice Cream, Movies and More.  $5 for Kadima Members $10 for Non-Members.


USY Lunch and Learn: Tuesday November 2nd 12- 2:30.  Meat Lunch will be served.  $5 for USY Members $8 for Non-Members


Sunday, November 7th 2-5PM  Hanefesh Kadima Regional Kick-Off Fun Day at Smiles Entertainment Center in MilfordCT.  Applications are available in the Youth Lounge. 


Sunday, November 21nd.  Atid travels to Disney's Finding Nemo on Ice.  Bus leaves TBE at 1PM.  Ticket information is available in the Youth Lounge



Your children can be made "members" of Atid, Kesher, Kadima, and USY for $36 per child, for the school year.  As a member of the Temple Beth El Youth Group, they will receive free admission to many programs that takes place in the temple.  In addition, they will receive a discounted rate on most outside programs.  For teens in the Kadima or USY Program, becoming a member will enable you to attend Hanefesh Regional events and exciting activities with other teens from Connecticut and Western Massachusetts.  As a member, Temple Beth El will pay Regional and International dues on your behalf, and you will receive the International age-appropriate Magazines.  Joining the Temple Beth El Youth Group also entitles your child to the "official" TBE Youth Department light-up pen.  Let the TBE Youth Department light up your child's life- make them members TODAY!




Time for a Joke


For the best Political Humor of campaign 2004, click on




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