Friday, October 15, 2004

SHABBAT-O-GRAM for October 15, 2004 and HESHVAN 1 5765


October 15, 2004 and HESHVAN 1 5765

Rosh Hodesh Heshvan

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



In memoriam

Rabbi Alex Goldman;

A personal tribute:



High Holiday Sermons

My 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.



Quote of the week

“Noah – How long can you tread water??”

 (Scroll down to the bottom for Bill Cosby’s classic comedy routine)





Friday Evening Candles: 5:55 PM.  for candlelighting times, other Jewish calendar information, and to download a Jewish calendar to your PDA, click on

Kabbalat Shabbat: 6:30 PM in the chapel

Tot Shabbat at 6:45 PM, in the lobby – Thank you to this week’s Tot Shabbat sponsors, Nancy, Steve and Brett Mayer in honor of Brett's birthday.  Join them here this Friday – and bring your friends!

Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM

MAZAL TOV to Daniele Gold, who becomes Bat Mitzvah this Shabbat morning

Children’s services: 10:30 AM

Torah Portion: Noah Genesis 6:9 - 11:32 

Haftarah for Rosh Hodesh: Isaiah 66:1 - 66:24

1: 6:9-16
2: 6:17-19
3: 6:20-22
4: 7:1-9
5: 7:10-16
6: 7:17-24
7: 8:1-14
maftir for Rosh Hodesh -
 Numbers 28:9-15

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


Some Super Sites



From time to time I like to share with you some of my favorite and/or most useful Web links.  Take a look at some of these!  If you see a **** next to it, that means it is a designated Hammerman “must bookmark” site.


**** The best Jewish kids' site on the Web is , with games, vrtual 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.”






A Comfort to Ourselves, A Comfort to the World


Here’s a wonderful little d’var Torah on the portion of Noah, by Rabbi Brad Artson.  I like his title, but, with apologies to Pedro Martinez, I would entitle this essay,


“Who’s Your Daddy?”



We all know people who blame their every misfortune on their parents.  Long after their teen years are over, often into their thirties, forties, and beyond, they continue to lay their own problems and their personal shortcomings at their parents' doorsteps.

To some extent, there may well be justification for their disappointment.  None of us are perfect, and some of us have very little qualification for raising a child.  It is, after all, one of the few jobs for which there is no lengthy graduate school training, no job application and interview process, and no continuing education requirements along the way.  To become a gardener requires more preparation than parenting. 

Given our own imperfections, it is only natural to pass them along (with a few extras) to our children.  So blaming our parents for our own problems has its roots in the reality that our parents probably did stack the deck against us in some crucial ways. 

But the story doesn't end there.  While our parents may have, indeed, passed on their imperfections, most parents also try to do their best, to provide a reasonably stable environment in which their children can mature.  While they may not be ideal nurturers, most of the time they are good enough parents. 

In many cases, then, blaming parents is simply a way to dodge the responsibility of being an adult.  No longer is there some all-knowing person to clean up after our mess, to straighten out a problem we have created, or to soothe away our fears in the dark of a lonely night.  In a harsh world of competition and disappointment, we are very much on our own.  Small wonder that it is more comforting to continue to condemn the previous generation, since the act of accusing implies that we can still look to them to set things right. 

Rabbinic tradition offers an interesting alternative to this flight from responsibility.  The rabbis of Midrash Bereshit Rabbah noticed a strange sentence in this week's Torah portion, "This is the line of Noah: Noah...Shem, Ham, and Japheth."  Why, they wonder, in a verse that claims to list Noah's sons, does the Torah begin by repeating Noah's own name first?

The Midrash asks, and then answers its own question: "Surely Scripture should have written, 'These are the offspring of Noah: Shem, Etc.?'  It teaches, however, that he was a comfort to himself and a comfort to the world, a comfort to his parents and a comfort to his children..."

In other words, Noah took responsibility for parenting himself. 

No longer willing to cower in the shadow of his parent's supposed power or their failings, Noah knew that being an adult meant directing his own life, for better or for worse.  Guided by the voice of God and his own sacred traditions, Noah could not avoid making his own decisions, living his own life.  The Midrash reminds us that Noah became his own third (and final) parent. 

That same challenge faces all of us.  It wasn't so long ago that we were, ourselves, children.  The distance we have traveled, professionally, geographically, and emotionally, may seem so large as to be unreal.  Simultaneously, if may also feel that childhood was simply yesterday.  No longer able to count on our parents to generate the right answers, no longer able to solve our problems by shifting responsibility on to our forebears, we must turn to ourselves, consult with our hearts, and seek guidance from ourselves.  Just as Noah was "a comfort to himself" we, too, must learn to provide our own balance, wisdom, and direction. 

None of us need do our self-parenting alone.  Psalm 27 wisely observes, "Though my father and my mother leave me, the Lord will care for me."  No Jew is ever alone.  In the company of other Jews at prayer or at study, or while performing a mitzvah, we are always standing in the presence of God.  Holiness bursts into our lives through the deeds and words of our sacred tradition--guidance and companionship are but a mitzvah away. 

"A comfort to ourselves and a comfort to the world".  Like Noah, we too can learn to hear God's word in a world gone mad, and can learn to embody that calming wisdom in the path of our own lives, in the security of our own ark.            

There is no one to blame, and there is a great deal still to do 

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson is the Dean of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles, a rabbinical school for the heart, mind and soul.  He is the author of The Bedside Torah: Wisdom, Dreams, & Visions (McGraw Hill) and Jewish Answers to Real-Life Questions (Alef).


Required Reading and Action Items


The Battle for the Jewish Vote - Jonathan D. Sarna (Dr. Sarna will be our scholar-in-residence next April)
The bare-knuckled campaign for Jewish votes seems surprising. After all, Jews comprise less than 2% of the national population. Why then are both parties focused upon them? First, Jews are known for participating actively in civic affairs, with as many as 80% turning out at the polls. Second, Jews are geographically concentrated. Some 85% live in just 20 metropolitan areas critical to any presidential candidate's election.
    More than two-thirds of Al Gore's electoral votes four years ago came from eight of the nine states with the highest overall percentages of Jewish voters: New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Connecticut, California, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Without those states he would have lost the election by a landslide. Third, pundits believe that the Jewish vote is up for grabs. (Boston Globe)


Go to to see a fascinating Jewish perspective on the Kerry - Bush debate on outsourcing American jobs.


Beth Boyer informed me about this web site: Running for Israel – find out how you can support Israel through this project involving a runner in the NY marathon… 


U.S. Congress Backs Anti-Semitism Law
President Bush plans to sign the Global Anti-Semitism Awareness Act, passed by Congress last week, that would establish a State Department office to monitor anti-Semitism around the world, administration officials said Wednesday. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA), requires the State Department to document acts of physical violence against Jews, their property, cemeteries and places of worship abroad, as well as government responses to such acts. (Washington Times)


EU to Unveil Plan to Help Palestinian State
In a bid to step up its engagement in the region, the European Union is set to produce a plan for a Palestinian state based on 1967 borders. Spanish Foreign Minister Moratinos, a former EU envoy to the Middle East, said it is hoped the plan would be adopted in November at a meeting of EU leaders in Brussels. The EU is also said to be considering a police mission on the ground to help train Palestinian security services in the event of an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, in coordination with the Egyptian government. (EU Observer-Belgium)
    See also Blair to Make Mideast a "Personal Priority" After U.S. Election
British Prime Minister Blair pledged on Wednesday to make the Middle East "a personal priority" after the November 2 U.S. presidential election. (Jerusalem Post)
    See also EU Foreign Policy Chief Solana Concerned Disengagement Will Stop with Gaza (Jerusalem Post)


Is the Intifada Over? - Bret Stephens
For most Israelis, and for many Palestinians too, the violence seems to be in recession. How did things improve so dramatically for Palestinians and Israelis alike? Begin by recalling Israel's elimination, in late March, of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. The Israeli army has also incarcerated terror suspects in record numbers, which helped yield information for future arrests. Most importantly, the security fence has begun to make the Israeli heartland nearly impenetrable to Palestinian infiltrators. Taken together, these measures prove what a legion of diplomats, pundits, and reporters have striven to deny: that there is a military solution to the conflict. A sufficiently strong military response to terrorism does not simply feed a cycle of violence (although a weak military response does); rather, it speeds the killing to a conclusion. (Wall Street Journal, 14 Oct 04)


The War for Islam's Heart
With growing stridency, Muslim liberals are saying that it is high time for Muslims to act, to stop their faith from being hijacked and turned into a cult-like vehicle for a clash of civilizations. Their sense is that the violence of a radical minority is not merely ruining sympathy for just Muslim causes, it is beginning to threaten Muslims' peaceful coexistence with others everywhere. Three years ago, it was only Americans who asked Why Do They Hate Us? The same question is now being asked by Indonesians, Spaniards, Turks, Australians, Nepalese, French, Italians, Russians and others whose citizens have fallen victim to jihadist "vengeance." The puzzle is how so many Muslims could for so long remain oblivious to the extremism in their midst. (Economist-UK)


Palestinian Attacks Lead to Child Casualties - Margot Dudkevitch
10-year-old Ghadir Maheymar from Khan Yunis, who died Wednesday, was shot in the chest in her classroom at the UNWRA Al-Khalidiya primary school in southern Gaza. The IDF Spokesman said that several hours before the incident, Palestinians in Khan Yunis had fired three mortar shells at an IDF post at nearby Neveh Dekalim; soldiers returned fire at the source. Officials said that around the time Maheymar was shot, soldiers fired at Palestinians attempting to fire an additional mortar shell from a mosque located next to the school. Officials said that under no circumstances were soldiers targeting the school.
    "It is important to remember that the terrorists operate within the local civilian population. It is regretful that children are among the casualties, but one also shouldn't rule out the possibility that they were hit by Palestinian gunfire and not by soldiers in some of the incidents," one official said. (Jerusalem Post)


Ramadan Drama Documents Life of Hamas Bombmaker - Khaled Abu Toameh
A joint Palestinian-Syrian drama series telling the life of Hamas bombmaker Yehya Ayyash is poised to become the most popular show for tens of millions of Arab viewers during the holy month of Ramadan, which begins Friday. Ayyash, nicknamed "The Engineer," was responsible for suicide bombings that killed more than 100 Israelis between 1994 and 1996. He has since become a legend for Hamas and other Palestinian groups, with some comparing him to Salah Eddin, the heroic Muslim warrior who drove the Crusaders out of Jerusalem. Palestinian writer and literary critic Salah Al-Bardawil said the drama would serve as a model for young and ambitious people in the Arab world. (Jerusalem Post)


Bombing Attacks a Turning Point for Egypt - Megan K. Stack
"This is the most important attack we've seen - not only for Egypt but for the whole region - from the point of view of the war on terror and the stability of the region," said Diaa Rashwan, an expert on militant Islam at Egypt's Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. "Egypt is now damaged on many levels." Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Morocco all have suffered recent devastating strikes by Islamic militants, direct challenges to governments that have forged ties with the U.S. The attacks in Egypt, the most populous Arab country, have wounded the psychological epicenter of the Arab world.
    Analysts say the attacks also undermine Egyptian offers to control Palestinian militants in Gaza in the event of an Israeli withdrawal. "How can you protect the Israelis from Gaza when the Israelis were victims on Egyptian soil?" Rashwan said. "The Egyptians can't speak of any role in Gaza when they can't even protect themselves."
    For many Egyptians, any government cooperation with the Jewish state is baffling and unacceptable. "Everywhere there are those pushing the government to end the peace treaty and cancel the peace," said Egyptian government spokesman Taha Abdel Aleem. (Los Angeles Times)


Terrorists' Act Will Backfire - Frida Ghitis
For the terrorists who massacred dozens of tourists and workers in the Egyptian resort of Taba, weakening a government like Mubarak's, one that maintains relations with both the U.S. and Israel, had to stand near the top of their list of objectives. Killing Israelis is not exactly an unpopular activity in today's Middle East. Stopping potential killers brings much more scorn. Yet despite the political cost, there is little doubt that the Egyptian government will work to prevent another night of devastation. The Islamist ideology that fuels today's Muslim extremism was born from Muslim intellectuals in Egypt. Their ideological offspring assassinated Mubarak's predecessor, Anwar Sadat, and have tried to kill the current president more than once. (Miami Herald)


A Formative Attack - Dan Rabinowitz
I lived in Sinai from 1975 to 1979 as a guide in the local field school of the Society for the Protection of Nature. For me, as for many others, the peninsula, with its magical landscapes and its hospitable inhabitants, was for years a window of hope in a hostile Middle East. Sinai was a sanctuary for an entire generation - my generation. The very existence of a calm Arab space as the direct land continuation of Israel was both significant and reassuring. The association that will define Sinai for most of us in the near future was last Thursday. Cut off from magical sunrises, it is now associated to a nightmare. Even those whose resumes don't include the sunrise at Jebel Umm-Shumar or bathing in the Wishwashi cisterns lost the Sinai paradise this week. And at a time of crisis, when every minute determines life or death, the Egyptians were preoccupied with the question of sovereignty. (Ha'aretz)
    See also Mourning a Paradise Lost along Sinai's Coast - Daniel Ben-Tal (Jerusalem Post)


Islamic Europe? - Christopher Caldwell
On July 28, Princeton historian Bernard Lewis told the conservative Hamburg-based daily Die Welt that Europe would be Islamic by the end of this century "at the very latest." In the same interview, Lewis described the EU's break with the U.S. in terms of a "community of envy." ("Understandably, Europeans harbor some reservations about an America that has outstripped them. That's why Europeans can well understand the Muslims, who have similar feelings.") Asked whether the EU could serve as a global counterweight to the U.S., Lewis replied: "No." He saw only three countries as potential "global" players: definitely China and India, and possibly a revivified Russia. "Europe," he said, "will be part of the Arabic west, of the Maghreb."
    Bassam Tibi, a Syrian immigrant who is the most prominent moderate Muslim in Germany, wrote in Welt am Sonntag, "Either Islam gets Europeanized, or Europe gets Islamized." Tibi seemed to warn that Europe did not have the ability to reject Islam, or the opportunity to steer it. "The problem is not whether the majority of Europeans is Islamic," he added, "but rather which Islam - sharia Islam or Euro-Islam - is to dominate in Europe." (Weekly Standard)


Anti-Zionist Arab Books Criticized at Fair - Edward Wyatt (New York Times)
    At the Frankfurt Book Fair, several Arab publishers have attracted criticism and charges of anti-Semitism for their display of at least a dozen books with strong anti-Zionist themes.
    One book by the Dar Tlass publishing house of Damascus displayed a photograph of the World Trade Center exploding in flames, overlaid with a Star of David and a fingerprint.
    Another showed a Star of David covering the Statue of Liberty, which held a sword that dripped blood.
    After complaints from the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Frankfurt prosecutor's office said on Friday that it did not have sufficient information to open a formal investigation, in part because the texts of the books were in Arabic and had not yet been translated.

Who Needs a Jewish State? - Editorial
Some Palestinian leaders are abandoning the two-state solution - Israel and Palestine, side by side - in favor of a one-state solution: a single, secular state in which Jews and Arabs would live in democratic harmony. This idea is percolating through the Western intelligentsia and even into left-wing circles in Israel. The problem is that such a state would not be Jewish. The premise of Zionism - the premise of Israel - is that Jews need and deserve their own state. Israel must remain a Jewish state, and to do that and be a democracy as well, it must always have a Jewish majority.
    It took the Israelis decades to accept the idea of a Palestinian state next door. They saw it as a staging ground for conquest and elimination of the Jewish state. The "single-state" solution would achieve that same illegitimate goal by more decorous means. (Los Angeles Times)
    See also An Answer to the New Anti-Zionists: The Right of the Jewish People to a Sovereign State in Their Historic Homeland - Dore Gold and Jeff Helmreich (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

The New Anti-Semitism - Clifford D. May (Washington Times)

  • Last week, the New York Times gave Michael Tarazi, an American lawyer who advises the Palestine Liberation Organization, space on its Op-Ed Page ("Two Peoples, One State") to make this audacious argument: Having failed to eradicate Israel with tanks and terrorism, Palestinian leaders are now "being forced to consider a one-state solution."
  • And if Israelis refuse to willingly become a despised minority in their own country, ruled by people who have waged genocidal campaigns against them, that will demonstrate, Tarazi declares, "Christians and Muslims, the millions of Palestinians under occupation are not welcome in the Jewish state." "Not welcome." Imagine that. The nerve. The chutzpah.
  • As Tarazi well knows but neglects to mention, there is only one Jewish state on the planet. It's about the size of New Jersey. By contrast, there are 22 Arab nations and more than 50 predominantly Muslim countries, covering an area larger than the U.S. and Europe combined.
  • In these lands, Jews are, to varying degrees, conspicuously unwelcome. In Jordan, a relatively liberal country that has diplomatic relations with Israel, Jews are denied citizenship. In Saudi Arabia, no synagogue or church may be built.
  • Nor does Tarazi appear to recall that almost 15% of Israel's citizens are Muslims. They enjoy more rights and freedoms than Muslims elsewhere in the Middle East - including the right to free speech, to vote, and to worship as they choose.
  • But Tarazi believes he can convince "the international community" that if Israelis are unwilling to open their doors to millions of people who have been indoctrinated to believe butchering Jews is a form of "martyrdom," it is the Israelis who are the bigots and oppressors.
  • Tarazi is not sincere. He wants Gaza and the West Bank judenrein. And eventually he wants what is now Israel to become "jew-free" as well - by whatever means. He really isn't choosy.
  • In 2004, this is the form genocidal anti-Semitism takes. In the long run, anti-Semites seek a world free of Jews. In the short run, a world free of a Jewish state will do.
  • If they can disguise such extremism as a fight against bigotry, a "struggle for equal citizenship" and against "apartheid," and if they can push such boldly Orwellian propaganda on the pages of the New York Times, they would be crazy not to.

Palestinian Authority Support of Hamas Suicide Terrorism (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)
    Two weeks after the suicide bombing attack on the Dolphinarium discotheque in Tel Aviv on June 1, 2001, that killed 21 Israelis and wounded 83, mostly teenagers, the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Social Affairs granted the bomber's father $2,000.
    A German television channel reported that Arafat sent the father a letter commending his son's act and stating that it was a "wonderful model of heroism, manhood, and willingness for self-sacrifice."


Mossad Investigates al-Qaeda Links to Sinai Bombings - Uzi Mahnaimi (Times-UK)
    Prime Minister Sharon has ordered the Mossad, the foreign intelligence service, to make the hunt for al-Qaeda terrorists its main priority after last week's Red Sea attacks.
    "This time al-Qaeda hit our back yard," said a security source.
    Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the car bombing in November 2002 of an Israeli-owned hotel in Kenya that killed 14 people, including three Israelis.

No Political Progress Before the Elimination of Terrorism - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (Prime Minister's Office) From the prime minister's address Monday at the opening of the new Knesset session:

5 Out of 6 Science Nobel Prizewinners are Jews - Tom Tugend (Jerusalem Post) (and their mothers are sooo proud!)
    Five out of six of the 2004 science Nobel Laureates are Jews. Two are Israelis, three are Americans - two with close ties to Israel.


A Headless Intifada - Abdul Rahman Al-Rashid
In its early stages the intifada succeeded in putting Israel on the defensive, seen as confronting children with tanks. Palestinian organizations then hijacked the intifada, transforming it into one of those ordinary wars witnessed in various parts of the world. The intifada lost its innocence and glamour after the picture changed to armed Palestinians killing Israeli children. The Palestinians have proved they possess an ever-flowing supply of unflinching and fearless youth who are ready to die, and that they have a leadership that failed to gain politically from this vast human resource. The intifada is now drifting aimlessly without a leadership to harness its energy and to guide it to a safe port. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)


Israeli, Palestinian Water Experts Meet - David Rudge (Jerusalem Post)
    The second Israeli-Palestinian Conference on Water for Life in the Middle East opened on Sunday in Antalya, Turkey


Presbyterians Have Double Standard on State of Israel - A. James Rudin
The Presbyterian Church (USA) is facing a self-inflicted firestorm of criticism, much of it coming from the denomination's own clergy and lay leaders. This past summer the PCUSA's national policy-making body, the General Assembly, adopted a sweeping resolution calling for "phased selective divestment in multinational corporations operating in Israel." Singling out Israel for special punishment is an unfair policy, one that runs counter to the PCUSA's oft-proclaimed attempt to be a genuine voice of Christian conscience and reconciliation. Divestment aimed at Israel alone will discredit the Presbyterian Church and will not hasten peace between Israelis and Palestinians. The writer is the American Jewish Committee's senior interreligious adviser. (Charlotte Observer)


For those obsessed with the ALCS, Read about the Red Sox’ Jewish connection at


Planet with a Purpose?
Does Earth--and the life on it--have a biological "destiny"? Most Darwinist thinkers, like Professor Daniel Dennett, insist that evolution is purposeless. In an interview with science author Robert Wright, Dennett wrestles with natural selection, intelligent design, and the direction of evolution. More...

Bush vs. Kerry: Celestial Toss-up
As the presidential candidates campaign in swing states, an unlikely group is keeping an eye on election 2004: astrologers. They say it's much too close to call, but foresee surprises--even mayhem--this unpredictable political season. More...



From [View this article online]

On Oct. 12, Agence France-Presse (AFP) ― one of the world's 'big three' wire agencies ― opened its report on the IDF's Gaza operation with this:

Israel's massive military operation into the northern Gaza Strip shows no sign of a let-up after two deadly weeks that have seen 111 Palestinians killed, mainly children, and Qassam rockets still being fired into Israeli territory.

'Mainly children' killed? The New York Times reported a short time beforehand:

In 11 days of fighting in the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli forces have killed at least 90 Palestinians, including about 55 militants and 35 civilians, according to Palestinian hospital officials. The dead include 18 Palestinians who were 16 or younger, according to a count by The Associated Press.

So Palestinian and press sources had acknowledged that the vast majority of Palestinian dead were adults and/or 'militants' ― not, as AFP reported, children.  This is not an insignificant detail ― the inaccuracy pertains to a highly sensitive issue, and was erroneously reported in the first line of AFP's dispatch. As such, it sets a condemnatory tone regarding the entire IDF anti-terror operation in Gaza.

 Comments to AFP's Jerusalem bureau:
●  Comments to AFP news:
●  Or call AFP's Paris headquarters: (00-33) 140-414-646

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





Hello Dalai!


Video of the Dalai Lama's Dharma Talks
For the multiculturally inclined…
Tibet's leader-in-exile has inspired millions of people around the world with his teachings on compassion, peace, and religious harmony. Listen to his Dharma talks about war, organized religion, and more on exclusive Beliefnet web videos. More...



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,
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Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies,
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Israel Info Center - Israel Activism Portal,
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Media-Related Links:

Jerusalem Post,
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Ha'aretz English Edition,,
Independent Media Review and Analysis,
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Israel Insider,
Jewish World Review,
America's Voices in Israel,
@The Source Israel,




The Power of Ramah




By Rabbi Mitch Cohen, National Ramah Director


 “Sending my child to Camp Ramah was one of the best parenting decisions I ever made!”  This statement, characteristic of thousands of families from throughout North America, results from a surprisingly complex set of factors.  While just about everyone knows that Camp Ramah is the best place for fostering Jewish values and Jewish pride, a love for our tradition and a love for Israel, if you asked most camper parents, they are likely to talk more about their child’s boost in self-confidence, their development of new interests and skills in sports or the arts, and mostly, their child’s deep and enduring friendships with the most wonderful community of young people they can imagine!


It is surely satisfying to send your child to overnight summer camp at age 8, 10, or 12, and have them come back happy.  But it becomes an experience that “lasts a lifetime” when they insist on going back to develop leadership skills as high school students, and later during their university years, to work as staff members and gain invaluable training for any career they might choose.  Most importantly, children who get “hooked on Ramah” when young, often find that no matter what university they attend, or whichever city they choose to live in, they are instantly connected to a network of young alumni from Ramah camps who share their values, interests, and positive feelings toward Jewish life.


A summer camp is always stronger when a high percentage of its counselors were campers at that camp, as they will then share the same values as the campers.  With so many camps now importing summer staff from foreign countries, Ramah stands out as truly remarkable, as on average over 75% of our campers return to work as staff members.  This of course is no coincidence, as Ramah is all about community, for children, for young adults, and for their families.  This feeling of community, perhaps, is the number one reason why we have attracted so many families for over five decades, and why we continue to be the camp of choice for families from small towns and large cities, day schools and afternoon Hebrew schools, and a wide range of backgrounds. 

Ramah is the camping arm of Conservative Judaism. With seven overnight camps and five day camps throughout North America, our camping network now serves over 6,500 campers and over 1,500 university-aged staff members each summer.  At Ramah counselors and campers live and eat together, study and pray together, play ball and learn theater-arts together, and sail and go mountain biking together.  These experiences combine to powerfully influence young people in so many positive ways.  Our program focuses on the development of each young person’s self esteem, to the extent that every member of a Ramah camp is valued for whom he or she is.  And through our integrated system of formal and informal Jewish educational experiences, Ramah inspires young people to become more committed to Israel, and to Judaism as a way of life.

For all these reasons, Ramah has been described as the “crown jewel” of the Conservative Movement, the most effective setting for inspiring Jewish identity and commitment to Jewish communal life and Israel.

“I am firmly convinced that in terms of social import, in terms of lives affected, Ramah is the most important venture ever undertaken by the Seminary.” (Dr. Ismar Schorsch, Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary, addressing a gathering to celebrate Ramah’s fortieth anniversary.)

We encourage you to learn more about the Ramah camping movement.  Please contact Billy Mencow, Director of Camp Ramah in New England (781) 449-7090 x226 or  You can also reach us by visiting our National Ramah website at, by e-mailing us at  We look forward to welcoming you and your children to the Ramah family for an experience that will last a lifetime!





(Mishnah, Sanhedrin chapter 4)


Dear Friends and Family,


Many of you have met my cousins Andy and Terry Joseph during one of numerous times they have played parents to Michael and Sarah over a weekend. Terry had been a fixture at Davenport Ridge School last year as she volunteered once a week for the entire year, driving up to Stamford from New York City, to help out in Art class. As you may already know, my cousin Andy Joseph has been diagnosed with a rare blood disease, Myelodysplastic Syndrome(MDS.) Andy's only chance for survival is to have a bone marrow stem cell transplant. In order for a successful transplant to take place Andy needs to find a donor with a compatible tissue type match. Here's our dilemma; there are 5 million people in donor registries worldwide, but not one match for Andy. You would think he's extremely unlucky not to find a match out of all those people. Well, it turns out he is, and so are many of our Jewish friends and family. Why? Many Jews of Eastern European dissent had their bloodlines disrupted by the holocaust making this group one of the hardest to match.


Here's where your help is needed. We are coordinating several Bone Marrow Registry Drives over the next several weeks. The first will be held at Temple Sinai, Stamford this Sunday, October 17th, from 9am-2pm. We implore you to join the registry. The procedure to join requires determining if you are eligible (a medical questioneer,) filling out some forms, and taking a cotton swab sample from the inside of your cheek. If you wind up being a match, an additional blood test will be requested. The procedure for donating stem cells is much less invasive than it used to be and in most cases requires a day stay in a hospital while your healthy stem cells are washed from your blood and given to a needy recipient. And when you are done, you will have saved a life.


If you are interested in finding out more information go to or download the attached files  or call me. 203 253 2233


Thank you, and may all your family and friends be blessed with health and peace.


Jonathan and Judy Kinzler











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

Whip out that date book!  Plug in for October 29th

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



Storahtelling:  Renewing Ancient Stories

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 (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.



From our Adult Ed Department, two exciting new classes

Open to all – but 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

(RSVP by Nov.2nd)




The Great Jewish Thinker Series I & II

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman


Series I: “American Judaism 350: Passionate Progressive Judaism - the American Model”

This four-part seminar will focus on the ideas of some great American Jewish thinkers and how they have molded modern progressive thought and spirituality.  The focus will be on the philosophies of Abraham Joshua Heschel, Mordechai Kaplan, Arthur Green and Martin Buber.       


Thurs. evenings from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on: Oct.28th, Nov.4th, Nov.11th and Nov.18th (RSVP by Oct. 21st)





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.



Sit, Knit and Kibbitz


Where:   Temple Beth El

When:    Sunday, October 24th, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

How:      Instruction, Knitting Needles, Yarn and Light    Food will be provided

Why:      It’s fun!!!  Learn or refresh your skills.

Items can be donated to local charities


Cost:    $20 (includes all materials and food)


By reservation only, call TBE at 322-6901


by October 17th for October 24th session





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



Jewish Film Festival


Don't miss the Lower Fairfield County Jewish Film Festival which opens

this Saturday at the State Theater in Stamford. The opening film will be

“Shalom Ireland” and the film will be accompanied by Irish music, Irish

dancing  and a speaker about the film. Films continue all week long in

Stamford, Greenwich and Norwalk. Look for flyers that give exact

information. There are numerous family friendly films including one for

preschoolers on the first Sunday and a Fiddler on the Roof sing a long

on the second Sunday. There are also adult comedies and dramas.

Questions or need more information? Call Missy Sternlicht at the JCC, 322-7900.


The Federation has 20 tickets available to the 3rd Annual Jewish Film Festival of Lower Fairfield County.  The ticket is good for the film Yossi & Jagger, shown at the Garden Cinema in Norwalk on Sunday, October 24, 2004 at 5pm.  The Israel Task force of United Jewish Federation has sponsored this film.


The film is based on a true story and portrays the love affair of two male Israeli officers on a remote army base.  The film is 65 minutes and is in Hebrew with English subtitles.  Israel officer Captain Itay Klaz has been invited to attend.


Buy your ticket through UJF and avoid waiting in line!!  The ticket is available for $10.  Please call Dana at the UJF office 203.321.1373 x.108 or email if you are interested.  First come first served.



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



Stamford Bikur Cholim Presents:

 The Healing Power of Touch

An experiential and didactic Workshop for Improving our skills in visiting the sick and self care


Tuesday, October 26th, 7:30-8:30 PM

Taught by Anna Raimondi

 Traditional Reiki Master Teacher, Chios Master Teacher


Program will be held at the Jewish Community Center


Jewish Family Service, in conjunction with all of the local synagogues, has created a Bikur Cholim program through which we are training and supporting volunteers to visit Jewish residents in senior homes and facilities. Volunteers can commit to visiting on a regular basis (bi-weekly or monthly) or for one time holiday visits. If you would like to volunteer, we will find an opportunity that is convenient and meaningful for you. Please contact Sara Jamison at Jewish Family Service at 921-4161 ext 102. There is no charge for this program. Walk-ins Accepted.  RSVP Preferred.




Sunday, October 24th 1-3:30 pm- Kesher Happy Un-Birthday Party, Games, Pizza, Ice Cream, and Party Favors.  Silly Gift Swap- bring a wrapped silly gift with a value of under $5.  $10 for dues paying members of Kesher, $13 for non-members.


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

Bill Cosby’s “Noah”


One of my favorite all-time comedy routines is Bill Cosby’s “Noah.”  On this week when we read the portion of Noah, here is the transcript – of course it sounds much better than it reads – you can download it at


God: (standing on a chair behind Noah, he rings a bell once) NOAH.
Noah: (Looks up) Is someone calling me? (Shrugs and goes back to his work)
God: (Ding) NOAH!!
Noah: Who is that?
God: It's the Lord, Noah.
Noah: Right ... Where are ya? What do ya want? I've been good.
God: I want you to build an ark.
Noah: Right ... What's an ark?
God: Get some wood and build it 300 cubits by 80 cubits by 40 cubits.
Noah: Right ... What's a cubit?
God: Well never mind. Don't worry about that right now. After you build the ark, I want you to go out into the world and collect all
 the animals of the world, two by two, male and female, and put them into the ark.
Noah: Right ... Who is this really? What's going on? How come you want me to do all these weird things?
God: I'm going to destroy the world.
Noah: Right ... Am I on Candid Camera? How are you gonna do it?
God: I'm going to make it rain for a thousand days and drown them right out.
Noah: Right ... Listen, do this and you'll save water. Let it rain for forty days and forty nights and wait for the sewers to back up.
God: Right...
Narrator: So Noah began to build the ark. Of course his neighbors were not too happy about it. Can you imagine leaving for the office 
at 7 AM and seeing an ark?
Neighbor: (enters whistling, with brief case) Hey! You over there.
Noah: What do you want?
Neighbor: What is this thing?
Noah: It's an ark.
Neighbor: Uh huh, well you want to get it out of my driveway? I've gotta get to work. Hey listen, what's this thing for anyway?
Noah: I can't tell you, ha ha ha.
Neighbor: Can't you even give me a little hint?
Noah: You want a hint?
Neighbor: Yes, please.
Noah: Well, how long can you tread water? Ha ha ha
Neighbor: There's one in every neighborhood. (Shakes head and leaves)
Narrator: Well Noah finally got the ark built. Then he had the task of gathering all the animals two by two.
Noah: Hey, anybody know how to tell the difference between a male and a female mosquito? (Looking in a box) I told your rabbits 
before, only two!
(He puts box in boat) Whew, finally the last two animals are on board. Let's get this thing closed up before God asks me to do 
something else. I'm six hundred years old. I am getting too old for this sort of thing.
God: Noah!
Noah: I knew it. What do you want now?
God: You're going to have to take one of those hippos off and get another one.
Noah: Why?
God: 'Cause you got two males. You need a female.
Noah: I'm too tired to bring anything else on board. You change one of them.
God: Come on, you know I don't work like that.
Noah: But I'm sick and tired of this. I've been working all day everyday like crazy for months now, dawn to dusk. I'm tired of this.
God: Noah
Noah: Yeah?
God: how long can you tread water? Ha ha ha
Noah: Yeah, well I got news for you. You keep talking about this flood and I haven't seen a drop of rain. Meanwhile, the whole 
neighborhood is making fun of me. I told one of my friends I'd been talking to the Lord and he laughed so hard he wet his pants. Do you 
know I'm the only guy in town with an ark in his yard? People are picketing and calling the heath department, strangers walk up to me 
and say "How's it going, Tarzan?" I am sick and tired of all of this, you let me get a pregnant elephant . . . Do you give me an 
instruction book? . . . No!!! Here I am standing under the elephant and brrrrrrrrump! Right on top of me! I'm telling you, I've had 
enough. You're supposed to see all and know all, well have you seen the bottom of that ark? Who's going to clean up that mess? Not me, 
I tell you. I quit. I'm tired of this. I'm going to let the animals out and burn that ark down. I can't believe you made me do all this . . .
(God takes a watering can and begins to pour water on Noah's head) 
Noah: (continues) I can't believe the mess you got me in and . . . and . . . it's raining . . . This isn't just a shower is it? OK. All right, it's 
me and you Lord, me and you all the way. I'm with you Lord. Whatever you say....



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  

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