Friday, October 22, 2004

SHABBAT-O-GRAM for October 22, 2004 and HESHVAN 8 5765


October 22, 2004 and HESHVAN 8 5765

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut

Shabbat Shalom

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Mazal Tov to Harry Bennett who will be honored by the JCC and “POSH,” next Thursday evening







Several families have expressed interest in our putting together another spectacular TBE Israel Adventure

for next August.

If this is something you would like to consider, contact me at ASAP.  Israel is going to be filled with tourists at that time, as demand has increased dramatically – so hotels and flights need to be booked very soon. We will likely have a meeting with the tour planner in November. The tour will likely include a Bar/Bat Mitzvah affirmation service and celebration.




Friday Evening Candles: 5:45 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 lobby

Tot Shabbat at 6:45 PM, upstairs, in the chapel. Thank you to this week’s Tot Shabbat sponsors, the Freund family, in honor of the birthdays of Hannah and Charlotte.

 .  Join them here this Friday – and bring your friends!

Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM

MAZAL TOV to Katie Maimon, who becomes Bat Mitzvah this Shabbat morning

MAZAL TOV to Michael Handel and Marni Rudelman, who will celebrate their “Ufruf” this Shabbat morning

Children’s services: 10:30 AM

Torah Portion: Lech Lecha Genesis 12:1 - 17:27 – The Abraham cycle begins…

1: 12:1-3
2: 12:4-9
3: 12:10-13
4: 12:14-20
5: 13:1-4
6: 13:5-11
7: 13:12-18
maf: 13:16-18

Haftarah: Isaiah 40:27 - 41:16

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

Shabbat Mincha Havdalah: 5:15 PM

MAZAL TOV to Benjamin Villers, who becomes Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat afternoon

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 Red Sox – the jews of baseball


               To see why the Sox are the Jews of baseball, see an article in today’s Jerusalem Post: Keepers of the faith.  It gets far beyond the fact that the team has more Jews on the field than any other in baseball and that its boy wonder general manager, Theo Epstein, is a landsman from my home town of Brookline.

 As the article states, I'm not just talking about their major-league leading Jewish representation (outfielder Gabe Kapler, third baseman Kevin Youkilis, general manager Theo Epstein, and co-owner Tom Werner are all members of the tribe as well as the team). Or Jewish-themed rituals, such as erstwhile third-baseman Wade Boggs's drawing of the Hebrew word chai (life) in the batter's box before every at bat.   I mean in the galut (from the World Series, that is), the tsorris, and the nachas of the club.
A Jewish colleague of mine once remarked that he couldn’t t understand how anyone would root for the Red Sox over the Yankees. After all, the Yankees were the winners, the champions, the favorites. For my part, I wonder how could any Jew could not root for the Red Sox for the same reason.

The Jews are history's underdog. Similarly, the Red Sox are David to the Yankee Goliath. It's the Red Sox and their fans whose long history of suffering, error, and perseverance in the conviction that redemption will come mirrors that of the Jewish people. Signs at high-stakes Red Sox games even bear the slogans "Keep the Faith" and "We Believe."”

            Well, the Sox are history’s underdogs no more. Even if they still manage to blow the World Series, they’ve already slain the dragon.  The headline on a New York paper said it all yesterday: “Hell Freezes Over.”  “Up” has now officially been declared “down” and “down” is up.  The lion and lamb have taking a room together at the Waldorf.  The messiah has officially come – but don’t disturb her because she’s watching the Series. 


            Normally in this space I make my World Series prediction, based on Jewish sources.  But this year, I can’t possibly be objective. 


            Sure, I could go into the nuances of the color “red,” but that would apply to both the Sox and Cardinals.  “Red” is “Adom” in Hebrew, which was the alternative name for Esau, Jacob’s brother, because he was ruddy, and later became the name of the nation descended from Esau, the Edomites.  So one of both of these teams could be considered Esau-like.  And sure, I could talk about how Esau, the red one, was deemed subservient to Jacob, both in Rebecca’s vision and Isaac’s blessing, and a case can be made that the Red Sox are in fact Jacob.  What you may not know is that Jacob, who was born after Esau (i.e. had a worse regular season record), came out of the womb clutching Esau’s heel.  In fact the literal translation of Jacob IS “heel.”  And there is in fact one player in this series who is most notable for his injured heel…. Curt Schilling of the Red Sox.  Therefore, Esau, the Cardinals, who finished first in the regular season, will ultimately succumb to the guile of Jacob, the heel.


            And Jacob will be the one to receive the blessing from Isaac – their daddy.  Yes, the Sox did receive the blessing of their daddy, the Yankees, this week, both on the field, when the pennant winning moment was shared with the strains of Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York” on the Yankee Stadium infield – and in a congratulatory letter from none other than the Ultimate Daddy, George Steinbrenner, issued yesterday.


            So it is looking good – but no predictions.  Except for this:  The Sox will win.


            Oh, and this… a Cardinal infielder will make a horrific error that will cost them the Series.  You can call it a “Cardinal Sin.”  How do I know this?  Because the Curse (not that I believe in curses) has been reversed completely this week. Long-suffering Sox fans like myself couldn’t believe our eyes as we saw every indignity of the past eight decades being reversed, one at a time.  Think about it (and apologies for those who can’t recall these indignities as religiously as I do):


1)     Tony Clark's ground rule double in game 4, that just made it over the right field fence on a hop, costing the Yankees a crucial run.  In the classic playoff game of 1978, just a few feet away, Lou Pinella, blinded by the sun, reached out his glove and made a miraculous stop Jerry Remy’s hit... a few inches made all the difference. 

2)     Ed Armbrister (in the ’75 series) and Chuck Knobloch (in the ’99 ALCS) were involved in horrible calls that should have been reversed.  In this year’s 6th game, two game changing calls WERE reversed by the umpires, aiding the Red Sox’ cause.  Boston fans know that it was only after the famous “Tuck Rule” reversal that the Patriots were able to reverse their own curse.

3)     Being down 0-3 (in games), was actually a GOOD sign for the Sox.  Not only was it essential that the curse be broken in a manner in the most difficult way possible, but in all their most recent game 7 failures (’75, ’86, ’03) they had 3-0 leads in those games.  This time, the grand slam enabled them to bypass that fateful score, as they jumped from a 2-0 lead in game 7 to a 6-0 bulge.

4)     Their failures have been punctuated by unlikely game-winning home runs by infielders with “B” names (like the former pitcher “B”abe Ruth).  So we now go from....Bucky to Boone.. to Bellhorn, whose 3-run blast to the opposite field, steered by favorable wind currents (like Bucky’s hit in’78) was the difference in game 6! 

5)     The way Curt Schilling pitched so brilliantly with an injured ankle was strangely reminiscent of how a certain hall-of-fame fireballer handled Boston in the ’67 series, just months after suffering a broken leg.  Bob Gibson, also like Schilling, established his World Series credentials by beating the Yankees in a seventh game (Gibson in ’64 and Schilling in ’03).  And Bob Gibson was a St. Louis Cardinal.


            To break the Curse, the Sox HAD to go through New York, which takes care of the Yankees and even of the Met aspects of their sordid history.  And now, this World Series had to be against the Cardinals, who have beaten the Sox twice in prior fall classics, in ’46 and ’67.   But back to that error:  So far there has been no Buckner-like error (although the Angels committed a few major gaffes in the prior round), so I fully expect a major error (a Cardinal sin?) somewhere in the St Louis infield at a game-breaking moment.  Also, speed will have to be a factor.  In ’67, Lou Brock of the Cardinals decimated the Sox on the base paths…sort of like, well, the way Dave Roberts spooked the Yankees with his speed in games 4 and 5.


            As for those poor, damned Yankees, perhaps they are working on a curse of their own.  See the article below from the Wall Street Journal online:

               The Yankee Curse The Boston Red Sox beat the New York Yankees last night in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. The Sox will face either the Houston Astros or the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series. But the Yankees, who won the first three games in the series before going to lose four straight, had more runs in the series (45-41), which means the Sox may have a pennant, but they lack a mandate.

               The Yanks last won a World Series in 2000, defeating the New York Mets in five games. Since then it's been a series of disappointments:

  • 2001: Lost World Series to Arizona Diamondbacks in seven games.
  • 2002: Lost Division Series to Anaheim Angels in four.
  • 2003: Lost World Series to Florida Marlins in six.
  • 2004: Lost Championship Series to Red Sox in seven.

               What happened since the Yankees won their last World Series? New York elected Hillary Clinton, an Illinois native who had falsely declared herself a "lifelong Yankees fan," to the Senate. After this offense, it seems, even having the Republican Convention in New York was not enough to appease the baseball gods.


            Finally, to see where baseball is mentioned in the Bible, citing chapter and verse, check out his church site at  This one goes WAY beyond the standard “In the Big Inning.”


            And so, the fun begins.  And I apologize in advance if I will be impossible to live with for the next nine days.

Required Reading and Action Items


While we just missed having a Massachusetts vs. Texas World Series, we know that the REAL Fall Classic takes place in two weeks, on Election Day. Friday’s Jerusalem Post has an interesting and balanced analysis of Kerry and Bush as pertaining to Israel, written by the Post’s new editor, David Horovitz.  Find it at

Thanks to Anna Rosenberg for forwarding this disturbing article from a college campus

Israeli Missile Kills Hamas Weapons Maker
An Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Thursday night killed Adnan al-Ghoul, the No. 2 man in Hamas' armed wing and a leading weapons maker, who was responsible for some of the group's most powerful bombs and its homemade rockets. (New York Times)
    See also Targeted Terrorist Responsible for Manufacturing Hamas Weaponry
Al-Ghoul produced the explosive devices that were use in the terrorist attack on January 1995 in Beit Lid, and the explosive device that was used in the terrorist attack on March 1996 in Dizengoff Street, Tel Aviv. He joined the Palestinian preventive security service and enjoyed full immunity from the Palestinian security apparatus, operating in coordination with senior Palestinian security officials. (IDF)
    See also Palestinian Authority Support of Hamas Terrorism (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)
    See also Killing of Top Hamas Man Will Weaken Terror - Amos Harel and Arnon Regular
Defense officials told Army Radio on Friday that the killing of Al-Ghoul and his deputy, Imad Abbas, will seriously damage the terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip. Al-Ghoul had been involved in Palestinian terror groups for more than 20 years, and for years received wages from Palestinian security services. (Ha'aretz)
    See also The Founding Father of Hamas' Kassam Rocket Program (Jerusalem Post)

Palestinians Call for End to Armed Gangs - Khaled Abu Toameh
Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated in the West Bank city of Tulkarm Monday to demand that the PA put an end to armed gangs roaming the streets and terrorizing the population, following a shooting attack Sunday on the home of Tulkarm Mayor Mahmoud Jallad and the killing of two young men by armed gangsters. Residents said the city has been hit by a wave of armed robberies, burglaries, extortions, kidnappings, and physical attacks. (Jerusalem Post)
    See also Rival Palestinian Security Services Clash in Gaza
Six people were hurt in gunfights in Gaza City on Monday between officers of the PA's internal security service and military intelligence agents loyal to Yasser Arafat's cousin, Moussa Arafat. The deteriorating situation has raised the specter of total chaos in Gaza once Israeli troops and settlers withdraw next year. (Reuters)

Kansas Man Travels to Israel to Give Kidney to 10-Year-Old Jewish Boy (AP/Kansas City Star)
    Eric Swim was surfing on the Internet in June when he stumbled across the story of a 10-year-old Jewish boy from Israel who was in desperate need of a kidney transplant.
    Swim, 38, returned Sunday from Israel with one less kidney and the thanks of the many Israelis he met.
    "It's a humbling thing when a Holocaust survivor comes up to you and says 'you're a big hero,'" said Swim, who works in a Marysville, Kan., hospital.
    The organ recipient, Moshiko Sharon, who had waited for a compatible kidney donor for more than a year, is doing well.

Terrorism's Silent Partner at the UN - Joshua Muravchik (Los Angeles Times)  This month, the UN Security Council voted to condemn terrorism in a resolution introduced by Russia. But the convoluted text and the dealings behind the scenes that were necessary to secure agreement offer cold comfort to anyone who cares about winning the war against terrorism. Even after Beslan and after Madrid and after 9/11, the UN still cannot bring itself to oppose terrorism unequivocally because the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which comprises 56 of the UN's 191 members, defends terrorism as a right.

Israel Will Not Tolerate Rocket Attacks - Zeev Schiff (Ha'aretz)

  • It would be a mistake to think the IDF operation in Gaza ended because of diplomatic pressure on Israel. It ended because the IDF thought that it had exhausted its usefulness.
  • The IDF withdrawal is expected to prompt a renewed Palestinian debate over the logic of firing rockets at Israel and whether the price, in Palestinian lives and property, is not too high. According to IDF statistics, 138 Palestinians were killed during the operation, of whom about 80 were armed men involved in the fighting. Of these, about 50 belonged to Hamas.
  • The message to the Palestinians was that there are some things, like rockets being fired at its towns, that a state cannot tolerate. On this issue, there were no arguments from either Cairo or Washington.
  • But since deterrence is unlikely to provide a complete solution in Gaza, the IDF will continue surgical operations to destroy both the infrastructure for making Kassam rockets and the cells that launch them.
  • If this infrastructure is not destroyed, the launches will resume - and eventually spread to the West Bank.

Indoctrination of Palestinian Children (Palestinian Media Watch)
    View short indoctrination videos for children that promote violence as an ideal - as are broadcast several hours a day on Palestinian TV.
    Videos include frenzied "war dances," instructions to children to attack soldiers, teenagers calling for the killing of Jews, and children with weapons.

Majority of Teens - 67% - Think Faith in God Belongs in the White House
"The American Bible Society (ABS) today released a study finding that the majority (67%) of American teenagers think that God and/or faith in God belongs in the White House. Only 8% said it does not while 25% said "sometimes or depends on the situation." Midwest and Southern respondents were higher in agreement on this question than were those from the Northeast and West. Asked in the latest study if the President should pray before making important decisions, the majority (72%) was again in agreement...." By American Bible Society  (from PR Newswire)

Religion and Political Attitudes
"Ever wonder where Bible-believing, church-attending evangelical Protestants stand on taxing the rich to help the poor? Or whether Latino Catholics have grown more or less favorable toward legal abortion over the last 12 years? Or what single religious group has grown more negative toward gay rights during that period? For some time, the go-to guy for answers to such questions has been John C. Green, professor of political science at the University of Akron and director of its Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics. Recently, Professor Green released a report, "The American Religious Landscape and Political Attitudes: A Baseline for 2004." It stemmed from the Fourth Annual National Survey of Religion and Politics...." By Peter Steinfels  (from NY Times)

·  Jewish Leaders Deplore Presbyterian Meeting with Hizballah
Jewish organizations Wednesday sharply criticized a Presbyterian Church delegation for meeting in Lebanon with leaders of the terrorist group Hizballah. The American Jewish Committee said the Presbyterians had "lent legitimacy to what American government officials call the 'A-Team' of global terrorists" and delivered "a blow to peace efforts in the region." ADL director Abraham Foxman said he found it "irresponsible" and "deeply disturbing" that Presbyterian leaders would seek to meet "members of a terrorist organization that is directly responsible for attacks against both Americans and Israelis and that has repeatedly denounced America and Israel as enemies of Islam."
    Foxman also objected that Rev. Ronald Stone was quoted on Hizballah's satellite TV network as saying "relations and conversations with Islamic leaders are a lot easier than dealings and dialogue with Jewish leaders," and that "we treasure the precious words of Hizballah and your expression of good will towards the American people."  (AP/Washington Post)
    See also Syria Praises American Presbyterian Church
Priest Botrus Zaour, spiritual leader of the National Anglican Church in Damascus, Tuesday underlined the Arab countries' appreciation over the American Presbyterian Church's decision to boycott American establishments that deal with Israel. (SANA-Syria)
    See also Marketing Terrorism: Hizballah's Al-Manar TV Spreads Incitement and Hatred Across the Globe
Arab and Western countries including the U.S. are allowing satellite companies and corporations under their control or influence to spread Hizballah's messages of hatred and terrorism via its Al-Manar TV channel. Broadcasts preaching terrorism and anti-American, anti-Israeli, and anti-Semitic incitement are exported from the Middle East to the U.S. and to European countries where they are spread to Arab and Muslim communities.
    Two satellite companies - Arabsat (an inter-Arab company whose major shareholder is Saudi Arabia) and GlobeCast (a subsidiary of France Telecom, France's largest communications company) - put together Arabic channel packages that include Al-Manar, which are marketed and transmitted worldwide. The U.S. State Department has listed Hizballah as an international terrorist organization since 1997. (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)

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)

It is a War Crime for Terrorists to Hide Among Civilians - Alan Dershowitz (Jerusalem Post)

A Mild Sign of Hope in the Media? - Tom Gross (Jerusalem Post)

  • Is the international "media intifada" against Israel, like the intifada on the ground, beginning to run out of steam? To judge by the reporting of Israel's recent Gaza operation, this just might be the case. Overall, the reporting on the operation was not nearly as fierce, nor as bad, as it has been on several past occasions.
  • The media are presently preoccupied with the U.S. elections, and for the time being, Iraq has become the main focus of Mideast reporting.
  • The ferocious nature of terror attacks like those in Beslan and Madrid might finally have persuaded some European journalists to consider the possibility that Israel is justified in the steps it has taken to defend itself.
  • The recent beheadings perpetrated by hostage-takers in Iraq have, for the time being at least, given their fellow "militants" in Gaza a bad name.
  • However, experience suggests that this mild improvement in media comment and coverage is likely to prove only temporary.

Children Groomed in Hatred - Ed O'Loughlin
A Friday afternoon in Gaza City and 24 masked recruits of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a Palestinian militant group, is staging a passing out parade for its newest recruits. Out on the soccer field a masked fighter crawls to the halfway line, pushing a homemade bomb. When the masks come off, several of these would-be "fighters" are seen as barely 12 years old. "I want to be a fighter against the Jews," said Ahmed, 12. "The Israelis have no right to be on our territory. This territory is our own - all of Palestine, not just Gaza and the West Bank." Like all the young trainees, Ahmed wears a black T-shirt bearing the name of the PRC. It also shows a Kalashnikov rifle over a silhouette of Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque and the slogan, "Kill them where you find them."
    Nothing, apart from the suicide bombing of innocent civilians, has done more to tarnish the Palestinian cause in the eyes of the world than the use of teenagers as fighters/terrorists. Many Palestinians also complain of the crude bias and propaganda of the Arafat-controlled Palestinian Authority TV channels. Few still watch them. Instead, the most popular sources for news are now Arab satellite channels like Al Jazeera and Al Arabiya, Western sources like the BBC, and even Israeli Army Radio. (Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)

BBC Photo Journal: Israeli Who Survived Bomb Attack
"I heard a massive explosion. I remember trying to get up three times but couldn't. I remember looking at my shoulder and seeing a big block of concrete in it." BBC News looks at the life of a survivor of a suicide bomb attack in Israel. Elad Wafa, 27, was born in Ethiopia. On May 19, 2002, a Palestinian suicide bomber set off his explosives near Elad in Netany ajasthan to Host Israeli Women's Jeep Race (NewKerala-India)
    Rajasthan will host a nine-day racing competition for 45 Israeli women, involving off-the-road jeep races, navigational ventures, and testing of self-sustenance skills.
    The annual tournament, which aims to promote women's sports in Israel, has been held in Turkey, Ethiopia, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, and Thailand.
    "The race is always conducted in deserts, and Rajasthan, with its good scenery and cultural heritage, is an ideal spot," said Michal Gur Aryeh, spokeswoman for the competition.a, Israel. Elad suffered severe injuries and is now paralyzed from the lower back downwards. (BBC News)





Bret Stephens

Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2004


   I bought my wife a skirt and blouse at a Benetton outlet the other day--in Ramallah. I was shopping at the Plaza Mall, a gleaming, two-story affair, which opened about a year ago at a reported cost of $10.2 million, and which also boasts a sporting-goods store, an espresso bar, a burger joint called McChain's and an American-style supermarket...  Later that evening, I met up with some Israeli friends at a restaurant called Shakra, in downtown Jerusalem... Like every other restaurant here, there was a guard posted at the door. But inside, the atmosphere was loud and easy, and by midnight customers were standing on barstools--just slightly drunk--belting Joan Jett's "I Love Rock 'n' Roll."


   Of course Palestine is not the Plaza Mall, nor is Israel the bar at Shakra. Indeed, to watch the news from the region over the past two weeks is to see a rather different picture: of young Israeli children killed by Palestinian rocket fire; of heavy fighting in the Gaza Strip; of multiple coordinated terror attacks on Israeli targets in the Sinai.


   Yet for most Israelis, and for many Palestinians too, the violence of the intifada...seems to be in recession. Anyone who visits Jerusalem today will not see the ghost town it was in 2002, when Israel was absorbing an average of one suicide bombing a week. And anyone who visits Ramallah will find what is, by (non-Gulf state) Arab standards, a calm and economically prospering city, where the only Israeli-made ruin is the [PA] headquarters, deliberately kept that way as a monument of Arafatian agitprop.


   How did things improve so dramatically...? Begin by recalling Israel's assassination, in late March, of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. At the time, the action was all but universally condemned... "By granting Yassin the martyrdom he craved, the Israelis have provided a motive for new suicide attacks," went an editorial in the normally pro-Israel Daily Telegraph of London...


   Yet what followed for Israel were nearly six consecutive terror-free months. This wasn't because the Palestinian terror groups lacked for motivation to carry out attacks. It was because they lacked for means. The leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Yasser Arafat's own al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades had to spend their time figuring out how to survive, not on planning fresh attacks. The Israeli army incarcerated terror suspects in record numbers--some 6,000 now sit in Israeli prisons--which in turn helped yield information for future arrests. Most importantly, the security fence has begun to make the Israeli heartland nearly impenetrable to Palestinian infiltrators. (August's double suicide bombing in Beersheba happened precisely because there is still no security fence separating that town from the Palestinian city of Hebron, from where the bombers were dispatched.)


   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. This is true in two senses. First, 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. That makes it possible for Israelis and Palestinians to resume a semblance of normal life. Second, a military solution creates new practical realities, and new strategic understandings, from which previously elusive political opportunities may emerge.


   Look at Israel. Although the security fence is internationally seen as "Sharon's Wall," in his first two years in office the prime minister tacitly opposed the fence's construction for the simple reason that it implied some kind of border running through the supposedly indivisible Land of Israel. But the security fence's proven success has forced Ariel Sharon to alter his view: In today's world of asymmetrical conflict, Israel's security rests less on holding the geographic high ground than it does on physically separating Israelis from the hostile population in their midst. And once the goal becomes getting as many Israelis as possible to live on one side of the line, and as many Palestinians as possible to live on the other, then the dismantling of at least some of the settlements becomes necessary. The only real issue is how to evacuate these settlements without either provoking domestic Israeli unrest or sending a signal of weakness to the enemy--and, of course, how to win parliamentary approval for it.


   Now look at the Palestinian Authority. As most serious observers now acknowledge, this intifada...was a premeditated and opportunistic move by Yasser Arafat to reassert his revolutionary credentials among Palestinians while winning by force what few concessions Israel had left to offer after the debacle at Camp David. He failed on both counts. Israel turned its back on dovish Ehud Barak in favor of hawkish Mr. Sharon. And Palestinians, as well as Arabs generally, have turned their back on Arafat. "The PA under Mr. Arafat has started crumbling," wrote Ahmed Al-Jarallah in the Arab Times. "...Mr. Arafat should quit his position because he is the head of a corrupt authority... He has destroyed Palestine."


   Last summer, domestic discontent with Arafat nearly turned to outright revolt. This, too, was a direct and positive result of Israel's military policy: By locking up Arafat in his compound and making him look weak, he became weak. By weakening Arafat, while simultaneously decimating Hamas, it gave rise to a cohort of comparatively more pragmatic leaders ready to give up on this intifada the moment they can. Above all, by showing Palestinians that the suffering they inflicted was the suffering they incurred, it forced a quiet rethink about the utility of violence as a political tool.


   The larger question for Palestinians is where the cause of their national movement is headed: For 35 years, it has been synonymous with the person of Arafat; absent him, there isn't that much that binds a Gazan to a Jeninian save an overarching Arab identity and a mutual hatred of Israel. In the post-Arafat era, watch out for Palestinian politics to move in non-Palestinian directions: probably pan-Arab; possibly Islamist; hopefully, with a bit of statesmanship and a spell of calm, Western.


   As for Israel, these past four years have also brought its share of lessons. Tactically, Israeli security forces to suppress a massive terrorist-guerrilla insurgency... Strategically, a majority of Israelis concluded that while peace with this generation of Palestinian leaders is impossible, separation from them is essential. And morally, Israel learned that even the most fractious democracy can stand up to a prolonged terrorist assault, and choose not to yield.  It's a choice made easier when you know there is no alternative.


(Brett Stephens is a new member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board.)



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, 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.”


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














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

(RSVPto 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. 25th to






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

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



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 continues this week


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 Sunday. There are also adult comedies and dramas.

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


Our temple office has tickets for sale for the festival.  Call for details




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



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


See baseball in the Bible at



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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