Friday, October 1, 2004

SUKKOT-O-GRAM for October 1, 2004 and Tishrei 17 5765


October 1, 2004 and Tishrei 17 5765

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut

Shabbat Shalom

And Hag Sameach

Send your friends and relatives the gift of Jewish awareness

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





“I am Jewish”

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

Thanks again.







Shabbat, Oct. 2, immediately following services and kiddush (weather permitting)

The entire congregation is cordially invited.

Leave your car at the temple and walk on over!


We’ll be doing the services on Thurs. and Fri. “Family Style,” very informally, with kids having the chance to lead prayers and participate in discussions on various themes of the holiday.

Thank you to Jeannie Kasindorf and all who arranged for the purchase and decoration of our new Sukkah.  Come by and visit!  And feel free to use the Sukkah anytime for a family picnic, etc. (but please leave it as you found it!  This Sukkah belongs to all of us!)

Wednesday Evening – Candles: 6:20 PM

Thursday and Friday Morning – Festival Services at 9:30 AM – On Thursday, the Haftarah will be chanted by Max Lesser.  MAZAL TOV to him, as he became Bar Mitzvah just a few weeks ago.  Other students will also be participating in our main service. And any kids who come will be involved in some manner.

Children’s services with Nurit, at 10:30 both mornings

Friday Evening Candles: 6:17 PM.  for candlelighting times, other Jewish calendar information, and to download a Jewish calendar to your PDA, click on

Shabbat Eve/ Sukkot at 6:30 in the chapel (unless it is gorgeous out, then we’ll be able to squeeze in one last service outside, by the Sukkah)

Tot Shabbat at 6:45 PM, in the lobby – Thank you to this week’s Tot Shabbat sponsors, Rick and Darice Bailer.  Join them here this Friday – and bring your friends!

Shabbat Morning: Service: 9:30 AM –  includes reading of book of Ecclesiastes

MAZAL TOV to Travis Kahn, who becomes Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat morning/

Children’s services: 10:30 AM

Lulav and Etrog pick up on Wednesday afternoon (or at services on Thursday morning).  They are ready for pick-up in our meat kitchen.



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

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


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




Minyan Mastery


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


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




Spiritual Journey on the Web


Why do we sit in the Sukkah?

by Prof. David Golinkin


The holiday of Sukkot has been blessed with many beautiful laws and customs: the recitation of HallelUshpizin (welcoming our ancestors as honored guests), Hoshanot, the Simchat Bet Hasho’evah celebrations, reading the book of Kohelet, and, of course, blessing and waving the Arba’ah Minim – the four species. Yet, needless to say, the most basic mitzvah is that of dwelling in a sukkah. But why do we sit in the sukkah? The Torah itself gives two reasons, one agricultural and one historical.


1) The agricultural reason is found in two places in the Torah:

a. Exodus 23:16: “…and the Feast of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in the results of your work from the field”.

b. Deut. 16: 13, 15: “After the ingathering from your threshing floor and your vat, you shall hold the Feast of Booths for seven days…You shall hold a festival…in the place that the Lord will choose, for the Lord your God will bless all your crops and all your undertakings, and you shall have nothing but joy”.


 Thus, according to these verses, Sukkot is a holiday of thanksgiving for the harvest.


2) The historical reason is found in the book of Leviticus (23:42-43):

You shall live in booths seven days; all citizens in Israel shall live in booths. In order that future generations may know that I made the Israelite people live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt…

Thus, according to Leviticus, we sit in the sukkah in order to retain a historical link with our ancestors and to remember all that God did for us when we left Egypt.


These are the simple reasons given by the Torah for observing this holiday, but Jews are never satisfied with the simple reason for anything! A few verses in the bible were frequently expounded upon by later Jewish philosophers and rabbis. Sukkot is no exception.


3) Philo was a Hellenistic-Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria in the first century C.E. In his many works written in Greek, he gave allegorical interpretations to stories and commandments in the bible. In his book De Specialibus Legibus, On the Special Laws (2:204, 206-211), he adds a number of reasons to those mentioned above. He writes:

Another reason may be, that it should remind us of the long wanderings of our forefathers in the depths of the desert, when at every halting-place they spent many a year in tents. And indeed it is well in wealth to remember your poverty, in distinction your insignificance, in high offices your position as a commoner, in peace your dangers in war, on land the storms on sea, in cities the life of loneliness. For there is no pleasure greater than in high prosperity to call to mind old misfortunes. But besides giving pleasure, it is a considerable help in the practice of virtue. For people who having had both good and ill before their eyes have rejected the ill and are enjoying the good, necessarily fall into a grateful frame of mind and are urged to piety by the fear of a change to the reverse, and also therefore in thankfulness for their present blessings they honor God with songs and words of praise and beseech Him and propitiate Him with supplications that they may never repeat the experience of such evils.


Philo says two things: He says that it’s a pleasure for a prosperous person to remember the “bad old days”. But he goes one step further; he says that sitting in the sukkah reminds us how far we have come and leads us to praise and thank God for all the kindness He has bestowed upon us.


4) The Rashbam, R. Shemuel Ben Meir, lived in France in the twelfth century. He was one of Rashi’s brilliant grandsons and is known for his Talmud and bible commentaries. In his commentary to the verse from Leviticus quoted above (23:43), he gives still another reason for sitting in the sukkah:

Why do I command you to do this? …Do not say in your hearts, “My own power and the might of my own hand have won this wealth for me. Remember that it is the Lord your God who gives you the power to get wealth” (Deut. 8:17-18). Therefore, the people leave houses filled with good at the harvest season and they dwell in sukkot as a reminder that they had no property in the desert or homes to inhabit. This is why God designated Sukkot at the harvest season, so that a person’s heart should not grow haughty because of houses filled with everything good, lest they say: “Our hands made all of this wealth for us”.  


In simple English, the Rashbam is saying: the sukkah is a lesson in humility; it comes to prevent a swelled head. God commanded us to sit in the sukkah precisely at the harvest season when we are congratulating ourselves for our successful harvest and our fancy homes. The humble sukkah reminds us: everything you eat and everything you own comes from God.


The Rambam, incidentally, combines the reasons given by Philo and the Rashbam. In his Guide to the Perplexed (3:43), written in Judeo-Arabic in the year 1190, he says that sitting in the sukkah teaches man “to remember his evil days in his day of prosperity. He will thereby be induced to thank God repeatedly and to lead a modest and humble life”. Thus, according to Maimonides, the sukkah is meant to induce both a feeling of gratitude and a feeling of humility.


5) Rabbi Yitzhak Aboab lived in Spain in the fifteenth century. In his classic book of Jewish ethics, Menorat Hamaor, he gives still another explanation for sitting in the sukkah (Ner 3, Kelal 4, Part 6, Chapter 1, ed. Mossad Harav Kuk, p. 315):

When the Sages said in the Tractate of Sukkah (fol. 2a): “Go out from your permanent dwellings and live in a temporary dwelling”, they meant that the commandment to dwell in the sukkah teaches us that a man must not put his trust in the size or strength or conveniences of his house, even though it be filled with the best of everything; nor should he rely upon the help of any man, even though he be the lord of the land. But let him put his trust in Him whose word called the universe into being, for He alone is mighty and faithful, and He does not retract what He promises.


This explanation is the subtlest of all we have seen thus far. R. Yitzhak Aboab thinks that the main point of living in the sukkah for seven days is to increase our faith in God. When we live in a sturdy house, we are protected from the elements; rain and cold and heat do not harm us. As a result, we begin to have faith in our homes, not in God. Likewise, we tend to place all of our trust in men, especially influential rulers and leaders. By living in a flimsy sukkah for seven days, exposed once again to the elements, we realize that ultimately we must put our trust in God who rules over our houses, the elements, and all human rulers.


6) Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch was the leader of neo-Orthodoxy in Germany in the nineteenth century. In his book Horeb, he says that the sukkah is a symbol of universal peace and brotherhood, as we recite in the evening service on Shabbat and festivals: “ufeross aleinu sukkat shelomekha”, “spread over us Your sukkah of peace”. The term sukkah is used in this prayer to symbolize peace and brotherhood, which shall be based not on economic and political interests, but on a joint belief in one God (Horeb p. 126, quoted by Rabbi Isaac Klein, A Guide to Jewish Religious Practice, p. 159).


7) The last reason for sitting in the sukkah is my own, although I’m sure someone has said it before. By sitting in a flimsy sukkah, exposed to sun and wind (and in some places, rain and snow!), we are reminded of those less fortunate than ourselves. Precisely at harvest time when we thank God for the bounty he has given us, we must remember to share it with the poor and the hungry.


In summation, we have seen seven reasons for dwelling in the sukkah on sukkot:

1)    To thank God for a bountiful harvest;

2)    To remember how our ancestors lived when they left Egypt and how God helped them survive in the wilderness;

3)    To be reminded of “the bad old days” and thereby instill in us a sense of gratitude;

4)    To instill in us a sense of humility at a time of year when we are liable to feel haughty;

5)    To subject ourselves to the elements and thus strengthen our faith in God;

6)    As a symbol of peace and brotherhood;

7)    To subject ourselves to the whims of nature and thereby remember the poor in our season of joy.


And if you should ask me, what is the real reason for dwelling in the sukkah for seven days, I would immediately answer with the Talmudic phrase (Eruvin 13b) “Both these and those are the words of the living God”. Every one of these explanations can speak to us, but, “lo hamidrash hu ha’ikar ela ha’ma’se”, “more important than expounding the Torah, is observing it” (Avot 1:17). While sitting in the sukkah, every Jew will find his or her own religious, national or personal reason for observing this beautiful mitzvahHag sameach!


Prof. David Golinkin is the President of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem.

Feel free to reprint this article in its entirety. If you wish to abbreviate it, please contact Rabbi Golinkin at The opinions expressed here are the author’s and in no way reflect an official policy of the Schechter Institute. If you are interested in reading past issues of Insight Israel, please visit the Schechter Institute website at



On Sukkot


For Sukkot, check out How to build a sukkahHow to buy a lulav (palm branch) and etrog (citron)Themes & theology of sukkot, also at -- from the Jewish Theological Seminary – features for all ages - a different view of Sukkot customs (discussed here on the 1st day) - traditional perspective, background on the Sukkah and the 4 species - What is an etrog, really? - Sukkot through the ages.  Nice historical overview from WZO – indicating why Sukkot was known as the premier festival (simply known as THE festival) in ancient times.


Required Reading and Action Items



David Makovsky had much to tell us last night.  Over 350 braved the rain and wind to join us at the 20th Hoffman lecture.  To preview his upcoming book or to read some of his most recent monographs, as well as many others, go to .  Look in particular at their “Peace Watch” archives for this year, at


Thanks to Sheldon Katz for sending me this thought provoking article about one man’s Jewish journey.  I’m sure many will relate to his inner struggle.


A False Quiet in Jordan - Amir Oren
The deep waters in and around Jordan are liable to sweep the Hashemite regime into an existential struggle. President Bush's ambitious plan to implant democracy in an Arab state will, in the end, also reach the palace in Amman. According to Bush's logic, King Abdullah II must also eventually transfer the reins of government to the Palestinian majority.
    King Hussein died in February 1999, a few weeks after appointing Abdullah, his eldest son, as his successor in place of his brother Hassan - who had been slated to replace him for decades. A guest who joined Hassan for a trip through the streets of Amman last week discovered that the king's ousted uncle is deluged with waves of popular sympathy. In line for succession after Abdullah is his half-brother Prince Hamza, Hussein's son by his last wife, Queen Noor, rather than Abdullah's son, Prince Hassan, who is now 10. As Hassan grows older, the tension between him and Hamza will also grow. (Ha'aretz)


Are the Terrorists Failing? - David Ignatius
Looking at the gruesome images of beheadings and suicide bombings in Iraq, it's easy to think that the Islamic holy warriors are winning. But a new book by French Arabist Gilles Kepel, The War for Muslim Minds, argues that for all the mayhem the jihadists have caused, their movement is failing, and that the followers of Osama bin Laden have created chaos and destruction in the house of Islam. Their actions are killing far more Muslims than nonbelievers, and Kepel argues that the insurgents' brutal tactics in Iraq are increasingly alienating the Muslim masses. (Washington Post)


Know Thine Enemy - Michael Ledeen
We've misunderstood what the recent beheadings are all about. They are not using the beheadings as a technique to drive us out. The beheading films are recruitment tools. They've been around for a long time - "jihad" home movies, circulated mostly in North Africa to excite homicidal fanatics and lure them into the Islamist bands. A movement that draws its foot soldiers from people who dream of beheading one of us is clearly a barbarous phenomenon, one that puts the lie to the notion that our enemies in this terror war are human beings driven to desperation by misery and injustice. (National Review)


1,017 Israelis Killed, 5,600 Injured During Four Years of Intifada - Amir Buhbut (Maariv International)
    In the past four years, 1,017 Israelis have been killed by Palestinians, 70% of them civilians, according to data published by the Israel Security Agency on Monday.
    Nearly 5,600 Israelis were injured, 82% of them civilians.
    Palestinian terrorists perpetrated 13,730 shooting attacks and 138 suicide bombings.

The Withdrawal of Syrian Forces from Lebanon - Eyal Zisser
(Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies-Tel Aviv University)

  • Last week, Syria announced that it would redeploy its forces in Lebanon outside of Lebanese population centers in a signal to the international community, and especially the U.S., that Syria is responsive to voices from Washington demanding Syrian respect for Lebanese sovereignty.
  • For years, Syria has been constantly redeploying its forces and reducing the number posted in Lebanon, but even after this latest reduction, Syria will remain the ultimate overlord of Lebanon, using its intelligence and security agencies along with its claque of Lebanese collaborators.
  • The latest announcement is little more than a public relations exercise. Syria's presence in Lebanon is, first and foremost, an economic imperative. Syria earns hundreds of millions of dollars every month, primarily from the remittances of hundreds of thousands of Syrian workers who have flooded the Lebanese labor market, but also from the involvement of senior Syrian officials in the smuggling of drugs, weapons, and other goods.
  • Syria is not about to terminate its presence in Lebanon - or its backing for Hizballah. And since there seems to be no Lebanese element prepared to resist Syrian heg

Israel: Iran to Reach Nuclear "Point of No Return" by November - Peter Enav (AP/Miami Herald)
    Israel's national security adviser, Giora Eiland, told Maariv Monday that Iran will reach the "point of no return" in its nuclear weapons program by November rather than next year as Israeli military officials had said earlier.
    Israel would not be able to destroy Iran's nuclear installations with a single air strike as it did in Iraq in 1981 because they are scattered or hidden and intelligence is weak, Israeli and foreign analysts say.
    Cliff Kupchan, vice president of the Nixon Center in Washington and a former Clinton administration Iranian expert, said IAEA threats to impose sanctions on Iran are unrealistic because UN members, including those with fledging nuclear programs such as Brazil, would be reluctant to back them.
    Sanctions against Iranian oil production are also unlikely when world demand and prices are sky-highemony, only irresistible Western pressure or a major domestic crisis can bring about a real Syrian withdrawal.

State Department Reaction to Death of Hamas Leader in Syria
Deputy State Department Spokesman Adam Ereli said Monday, "What we do know is that there are terrorist organizations and terrorist individuals operating out of Syria with the support and connivance of the government of Syria, and that this is not in the interests of peace, and not...consistent with statements in favor of peace. So our view is that the best way to resolve this scourge or this problem is to provide no haven and no support for individuals who believe that violence, as opposed to negotiation, is the way to solve the problems - is the way to achieve peace, or to achieve an end to the conflict between Israelis and Arabs." (State Department)


Some Palestinians Losing Faith in the Intifada
When Abu Fahdi joined the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and took up arms against Israel, he thought he was serving his people. Now he believes he did them only harm. "We achieved nothing in all this time, and we lost so much," he said. Among Palestinians from all walks of life, there is a quiet but growing sentiment that their intifada, or uprising - which broke out four years ago - has largely failed as an armed struggle, and lost its character as a popular resistance movement. Moreover, many Palestinians fear that what has been, in effect, their military defeat at the hands of Israeli Prime Minister Sharon has left them without leverage to extract political and territorial concessions that would help lay the groundwork for their hoped-for state.
    For some time now, influential figures in Palestinian society - intellectuals, lawmakers, analysts, professionals, and well-regarded local officials - have been asserting that the violent confrontation with Israeli forces has reached a dead end and their people must look to the future. "We have witnessed the destruction of Palestinian society - its civil institutions, its economy, its infrastructure," said Zuhair Manasra, the governor of Bethlehem. "The result has been a complete disaster for the Palestinians, at all levels." (Los Angeles Times)


From Gaza to Harvard: The Politicization of Mental Health and the Education of Palestinian Children - Irwin J. Mansdorf
Reports on the status of Palestinian children's mental health and the nature of the Palestinian educational system purport to present data that implicates Israel as responsible for a lamentable state of affairs. Yet researchers generally do not acknowledge that the Palestinian Authority has had full control of the educational system since 1994. In reality, responsibility for the current state of affairs lies with the Palestinian Authority and with Palestinian terror organizations, both of whom promoted, funded, endorsed, and encouraged a culture of violence, hatred, incitement, and terror using children and students as its foot soldiers.
    A partnership project between Harvard Medical School and the Gaza Community Mental Health Center focuses on the effects of violence on the mental health and functioning of Palestinian children. The Palestinian researcher, Dr. Eyal El-Sarraj, is described as a "highly respected community psychiatrist." In an interview in Tikkun, Dr. El-Sarraj said: "I've asked myself: 'Are they evil by nature, these Jews? Or are they stupid, born mentally subnormal? Why are they doing this?' It's unbelievable. And I found after long, long thinking about it that they are not born evil. And they are not stupid. They are psycho-pathologically disturbed." This is from a man who heads a center that Harvard considers worthy of collaboration and funding. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


Syria Brokers Secret Deal to Send Atomic Scientists to Iran - Con Coughlin (Telegraph-UK)
    Syria's President Bashir al-Assad is in secret negotiations with Iran to secure a safe haven for a group of Iraqi nuclear scientists who were sent to Damascus before last year's war.
    About 12 middle-ranking Iraqi nuclear technicians and their families were transported to Syria before the collapse of Saddam's regime in cooperation with Syrian Military Security, headed by Arif Shawqat, Assad's brother-in-law.
    The Iraqis brought with them CDs crammed with research data on Saddam's nuclear program, and have been hidden away at a secret Syrian military installation where they have been conducting research on behalf of their hosts.
    American intelligence officials are concerned that Syria is secretly working on a number of WMD programs.
    They have also uncovered evidence that Damascus has acquired a number of gas centrifuges - probably from North Korea - that can be used to enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb.
    Under the terms of the deal Assad offered the Iranians, the Iraqi scientists would be transferred to Iran together with a small amount of essential materials, to assist Iranian scientists to develop a nuclear weapon.
    Assad wants the Iranians to agree to share the results of their atomic weapons research with Damascus.


Presbyterian Church Unmoved on Israel Divestment
The heads of several major U.S. Jewish organizations condemned the Presbyterian Church's decision to begin selective divestiture in companies operating in Israel, after a polite but tense meeting in New York Tuesday with church officials. "Holding something over the head of Israel to change its conduct, while holding nothing over the heads of the Palestinians to change their conduct...has caused utter dismay in the Jewish community," said Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism. "It is unbalanced, it is unwieldy, it will not work." The Institute on Religion and Democracy in Washington reported this week that mainline Protestant denominations devoted 37% of their human rights declarations over the past four years to criticism of Israel, far more than any other foreign country. (Washington Post)


Official Heading AIPAC Probe Linked to Anti-Semitism Case - Edwin Black (JTA)
    David Szady, the senior FBI counterintelligence official currently heading the controversial investigation of AIPAC, is well-known to senior Jewish communal officials, who assert he has targeted Jews in the past.
    Szady was involved in a well-publicized case involving a Jewish former CIA staff attorney, Adam Ciralsky, who sued the FBI, the CIA, and its top officials for religious discrimination.
    Szady headed the department that former CIA Director George Tenet admitted in 1999 was involved with "insensitive, unprofessional, and highly inappropriate" language regarding Ciralsky.
    He is identified in documents as the chief of the CIA's Counterespionage Group, known as CEG, which was accused of targeting Ciralsky for being Jewish and a supporter of Israel.
    One Jewish official stated that he knew of as many as 10 other CIA employees who had been harassed or pressured because of their Jewish background, but they were afraid to come forward.
    See also Growing Suspicion AIPAC Probe Driven by Improper Agenda (Maariv International)
    A Washington source familiar with the U.S. intelligence community has confirmed to Maariv that David Szady personally initiated and oversaw the AIPAC probe.


Sukkah of Light" in Jerusalem (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    The Jerusalem Municipality, together with the Israel Electric Company, have constructed a "Sukkah of Light" - the biggest and most illuminated sukkah (literally booth) in the world with 144,000 mini-light bulbs - in Jerusalem's Safra Square for the Sukkot holiday.


Cat Stevens Was Guest of Canadian Hamas Front - Stewart Bell (National Post-Canada)
    Yusuf Islam, the British singer formerly known as Cat Stevens, was the guest of honor at a Toronto fundraising dinner hosted by an organization that has since been identified by the Canadian government as a "front" for the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
    In a videotape of the 1998 event, Mr. Islam describes Israel as a "so-called new society" created by a "so-called religion" and urges the audience to donate to the Jerusalem Fund for Human Services.


DVD of American's Beheading is Hot Item in Gaza - Lamia Lahoud (Jerusalem Post)
    A new DVD featuring the recent beheading of an American in Iraq is apparently selling like hotcakes in video shops in Gaza.
    The clip starts with masked men reading the charges and justifying their actions based on Islam. When done, they hold up the severed head.


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


Jewish and Israeli Links…


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




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


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

Media-Related Links:

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




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


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


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





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



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



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


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


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


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


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












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


October 12, 2004

Church and State: Where do we Draw the Line? -- As the election approaches, these issues come into focus, with religious groups and religiosity itself so often a focus of the campaign.


This monthly multi-faith “conversation” is the only opportunity in this area where Christian, Jewish and Moslem religious leaders come together with participants to discuss what we all share: our faith, our questions, our common humanity.  This series is now in its third year and this past year's sessions included a passionate discussion of “The Passion” as well as conversations on Gay Marriage, the December holidays and the rituals of death and mourning.




Lunch ‘n Learn:  “Hot Button Halacha”

Meets monthly on the second Wednesday of the month beginning

October 13, 2004, 12:30- 1:30 p.m.


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.



Join us for a charged evening of spirited discussion at TBE...



Thursday, October 14, 2004 at 7:30 p.m.


Representing the CONSERVATIVE viewpoint: Rabbi Mark Ankorn of Congregation Shaare Zedek, NYC and representing the LIBERAL viewpoint:  Rabbi Matthew Gewirtz of Congregation Rodeph Shalom, NYC.


MODERATOR:  Tom Appelby, Channel 12 News Director & Co-Anchor.



EREV SIMCHAT TORAH - Thursday, October 7th at 6:30 p.m.


We thank Stephanie and Larry Sherman for generously repairing our Torahs in memory of Robert Malin and Mollie & Jack Malin.  The Torahs have been completed and returned to us and will be rededicated on Simchat Torah evening.







        On Erev Simchat Torah we will honor our PREMIERE YAD CLUB MEMBERS (those TBE teens who have read Torah at least once after becoming a Bar/Bat Mitzvah).

        We are honoring over 40 teens this year - a number of them have achieved our highest and 2nd highest level - reading 7 - 14 times within the Jewish calendar year.  They will be awarded special gifts funded by Jackie Tepper and David Robinov.



SIMCHAT TORAH - Friday, October 8th at 9:30 a.m.


Simchat Torah continues with more music, dancing and singing and an all-out celebration “TBE Style!”


This year we honor Steven Leiterstein with “Hattan Torah” and Carol Sander with “Kallat Bereshith.”


Steve and Susan Leiterstein have been active members of TBE for 15 years.  Steve sings in the Adult Choir and regularly leads services including serving as Baal Shacharit on the High Holy Days.  He has served on the Board of Trustees, the Men’s Club, and has co-chaired the Ritual Committee.  Steve has been instrumental in developing and leading our Kahal (congregant-led) Service.


Carol and Willy Sander have been active members of TBE for five years.  Carol is TBE’s volunteer extraordinaire placing weekly telephone calls to all members observing a yahrtzeit in the coming week, to invite them to observe at services with our TBE family.  Carol is also a vital member of our tireless, early-morning group of volunteers who put together our mailings getting the word out to you.  A student in our Adult B’nai Mitzvah Class, Carol looks forward to becoming a Bat Mitzvah on Shabbat, November 13, 2004.


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


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.


Saturday, October 30, 2004 at 9:30 a.m. Services, Storahtelling and Lunch

Sponsored by Penny and Michael Horowitz in memory of Bessie Silver and Millie Reiss.




There will be a coffee on October 14 at9:30 am

where you can learn about

Westchester Fairfield Hebrew Academy in Greenwich,

an egalitarian, traditional Jewish day school,

and meet Nora Anderson, the head of the school. 

It's at 60 Macarthur Lane (very close to TBE). 



Neshama Carlebach at the Ridgefield Playhouse

Concert for Darfur

Saturday, October 23rd, 8:00 P.M.


Neshama Carlebach, an international star of Jewish music -- and daughter of the legendary Shlomo Carlebach -- is performing at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, Connecticut in a benefit concert to raise money to help survivors of the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.  The concert is on Saturday, October 23rd at 8:00 p.m.  Tickets are $36.  To reserve tickets, call The Ridgefield Playhouse at (203) 438-5795 or visit





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


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


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




Time for a Joke


We give the answer, you give the question

A: Midrash
Q: What is a Middle East skin disease?

A: The Gaza Strip
Q: What is an Egyptian Belly Dance?

A: A classroom, a Passover ceremony, and a latke
Q: What are a cheder, a seder, and a tater?

A: Sofer
Q: On what do Jews recline on Passover?

A: Babylon
Q: What does the rabbi do during some sermons?

A: Filet Minyan
Q: What do you call steaks ordered by 10 Jews?

A: Kishka, sukkah, and circumcision
Q: What are a gut, a hut, and a cut?

And speaking of circumcisions: An enterprising Rabbi is offering circumcisions via the Internet. The service is to be called..."E-MOIL."




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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