November 12, 2004 and HESHVAN 29, 5765
Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut
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On this Veterans Day I finally had the opportunity to take my family into NYC to see “Golda’s Balcony,” which will be in NY for just a few more weeks before heading out to LA on tour. All I can say is, if you haven’t seen it – SEE IT! It is as riveting a one-person performance as I’ve ever witnessed. The entire history of the State of Israel comes alive through the personage its founding mother. You can review the reviews at http://www.goldasbalcony.com/. It was extra special to see the show today, on this day of renewed hope for an end to the stalemate, the end of the Arafat era. Tovah Feldshuh indicated as such when she spoke to the sellout audience at the conclusion of the show. It made me think about how Arafat was seen as the embodiment of the ideal of Palestine (the “father” figure), while Golda became our national Jewish icon. Not that Golda was perfect (far from it), but the contrast between the two is enlightening.
If by some odd chance Arafat ended up in some otherworldly proximity to Golda, Ben Gurion, Rabin, King Hussein and Sadat (all playing poker off in some celestial corner), I wonder whether any of them would pull up the extra chair. And I rather doubt that Rabin would offer his hand.
They’ve added a weekly Thursday matinee in order to accommodate more people who may not be so nocturnally inclined. Some excellent ticket bargains are also available (check Jewish newspapers for them). BTW, we caught up to some of our kids at NBC studios, visiting there with the JCC.
MAZAL TOV TO OUR ADULT B’NOT MITZVAH:
We’re expecting upwards of 450 people at services this Shabbat morning. GET HERE EARLY!
JUST THE FACTS
Friday Evening Candles: 4:20 PM EST. for candlelighting times, other Jewish calendar information, and to download a Jewish calendar to your PDA, click on http://www.hebcal.com/.
“Family Friday” Kabbalat Shabbat: 7:30 PM (note the special time) in the sanctuary.
For our 5th graders (Daled Class) dinner will begin at 6.
Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM – Adult B’not Mitzvah, followed by a luncheon provided by our nine honorees and their families
Children’s services: 10:30 AM
Torah Portion: Toldot Genesis 25:19 - 28:9 (the Jacob cycle begins)
Haftarah: Shabbat Machar Chodesh (special for the eve of a new month) I Samuel 20:18 - 20:42
See a new weekly commentary now available from the UJC Rabbinic Cabinet, at www.ujc.org/mekorchaim. Read the Masorti commentary at http://www.masorti.org/mason/torah/index.asp. JTS commentary is at: http://learn.jtsa.edu/topics/parashah/. USCJ Torah Sparks can be found at http://uscj.org/item20_467.html. UAHC Shabbat Table Talk discussions are at http://uahc.org/torah/exodus.shtml. Other divrei Torah via the Torahnet home page: http://uahcweb.org/torahnet/. Test your Parasha I.Q.: http://www.ou.org/jewishiq/parsha/default.htm. CLAL’s Torah commentary archive: http://click.topica.com/maaaiRtaaRvQhbV2AtLb/. World Zionist Organization Education page, including Nehama Liebowitz archives of parsha commentaries: http://www.moreshet.net/web/index.asp?f=1 For a more Kabbalistic/Zionist/Orthodox perspective from Rav Kook, first Chief Rabbi of Israel, go to http://www.geocities.com/m_yericho/ravkook/index.html. For some probing questions and meditations on key verses of the portion, with a liberal kabbalistic bent, go to http://www.jewishealing.com/learning.html or, for Kabbalistic commentaries from the Zohar itself, go to http://www.kabbalah.com/k/index.php/p=zohar/weekly/intro. To see the weekly commentary from Hillel, geared to college students and others, go to http://www.hillel.org/hillel/NewHille.nsf/FCB8259CA861AE57852567D30043BA26/DF7D129F15B3DF0885256AB80058E9C3?OpenDocument. For a Jewish Renewal and feminist approach go to http://rabbishefagold.hypermart.net/Torah1.html . For a comprehensive Orthodox viewpoint from the Israeli rabbi, Yaakov Fogelman, go to the Torah Outreach Program at http://israelvisit.co.il/top/previous.shtml.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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TBE Israel Adventure
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A PRELIMINARY PLANNING MEETING HAS BEEN SET FOR
NEXT THURSDAY, NOV. 18 AT 7:00 pm.
It is essential that all interested families have representation at that meeting, as we will make some decisions regarding the itinerary.
The Tour Organizer from Keshet Tours will be here to answer questions.
Check out Keshet’s new web site at http://www.keshetisrael.co.il
An Old Friend is now a New Commuter
Can you help her???
Lillian Wasserman is currently commuting from Larchmont and the drive is too stressful. She is an energetic senior, to say the least, a full time teacher at Bi-Cultural Day School, looking for a furnished room for Sunday night through Thursday night (five nights a week, sometimes only four). Limited budget, approximately 400 dollars a month. Would hardly be there except for late afternoons and evenings. Would not be there Friday or Saturday nights. Has a car which needs to be parked.
Would consider unfurnished. Ability to bring a small TV, microwave and small fridge if Kitchen isn't accessible.
Call at 914-833-0909.
Required Reading and Action Items
With the death of Yasser Arafat, media outlets are releasing a torrent of information on his life and times. While some reports are accurate, others distort the historical record. To enable subscribers to respond effectively at this time, HonestReporting has produced two original works:
2) A detailed biography of Arafat's life, chronicling his corruption and terror activities ― with a wealth of links to online sources. You are encouraged to use this biography to respond to distortions of Arafat's legacy in your local media outlets.
Observers are well aware that Yasser Arafat's passing could mark a significant watershed in Israeli-Palestinian relations. A key to moving forward is the acknowledgement that Arafat's violent and dictatorial methods were responsible for crippling the peace process. An accurate representation of his legacy, therefore, is the first step to a more hopeful future.
Arafat Pronounced Dead in Paris
Yasser Arafat, 75, died Thursday in Paris. The doctors treating him in France never said publicly what caused the illness that led to his death. His body will be flown to Cairo for a state funeral on Friday, and then will be buried at his headquarters compound in Ramallah. (Washington Post)
See also Experts: Doctors Won't Reveal Arafat's Illness
Zoning in on a diagnosis for Arafat should be a fairly straightforward task, medical experts say. Tests can diagnose the majority of diseases within 48 hours. Since no diagnosis has been revealed, the most likely explanation, experts say, is that doctors know what's wrong but aren't being allowed to disclose it. (AP/MSNBC)
Bush: Arafat's Death a Significant Moment in Palestinian History
President George Bush said: "The death of Yasser Arafat is a significant moment in Palestinian history. We express our condolences to the Palestinian people." (White House)
See also Blair: Arafat Led His People to Accept a Two-State Solution
British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that Arafat "led his people to an historic acceptance of the need for a two-state solution." (Guardian-UK)
See also Annan: Arafat Initiated the Peace of the Brave
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan described Arafat as "the man who initiated the peace of the brave," and called to continue on "the path of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital." (BBC)
See also Australian PM: History Will Judge Arafat Harshly
Australian Prime Minister John Howard said many people regard Arafat as a terrorist and it is hard to believe that he could not have done more to restrain militant Palestinian groups. "I think history will judge him very harshly." (ABC-Australia)
U.S. Sees No Dramatic Change After Arafat's Death
U.S. officials hope Arafat's death will offer a new chance for Middle East peace but said it depends on who replaces him, how much power they wield, and whether they have the legitimacy to strike a deal. U.S. officials played down the idea of any quick, dramatic change in their policy with the demise of the Palestinian leader whom the Bush administration viewed as a corrupt, untrustworthy failure and an obstacle to peace. "No matter how creative or how bold you want to be, as long as there continue to be suicide bombers blowing up buses in Israeli cities there's a limit to what can be accomplished,'' said one official. (Reuters/New York Times)
See also U.S. Seeks Election After Arafat's Death
The Bush administration has conveyed its strong support for elections within 60 days of Arafat's death as a way of ensuring a legitimate transfer of authority to new Palestinian leaders. (AP/Washington Post)
Palestinians Attack Settlement After Arafat Dies
Palestinian militants angry over Arafat's death on Thursday attacked Netzarim, a Jewish settlement in the Gaza Strip, in what they said signaled the start of a new round of clashes against Israel. The gunmen opened fire at the settlement, detonated a bomb, and attempted to fire a rocket-propelled grenade, an army spokeswoman said. Five gunmen had been hit in an exchange of fire, she said.
Abu Qusai, a spokesman for the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, said it held Israel responsible for Arafat's death, adding: "The next days will witness violent clashes with the Zionists everywhere." Sporadic stone-throwing clashes took place throughout the West Bank. (Reuters)
Sharon: No Immediate Gestures to PA - Aluf Benn and Arnon Regular
Prime Minister Sharon believes that Israel should not rush to offer gestures to the PA, but should wait until the new leadership has proven its ability to control the territory, government sources said Wednesday. If the new leadership appears stable and begins fighting terror, they said, Sharon would be willing to return to diplomatic negotiations. (Ha'aretz)
Israel: Arafat was the Obstacle to Peace - Gil Hoffman
Arafat was the obstacle to peace, Justice Minister Yosef Lapid said Thursday. "It is one of the tragedies of the world that he didn't understand that the terror that began here would spread to the entire world," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
Israeli Navy Thwarts Terror Attack by Sea
The Israeli Navy killed a Palestinian terrorist trying to infiltrate into Israel via the sea Tuesday night. The terrorist, wearing a diving suit and diving fins, was carrying an AK-47 assault rifle, an explosive device, four hand grenades, five magazines, and a knife. (IDF)
Child Wounded by Mortar in Gaza - Margot Dudkevitch
An Israeli child was lightly wounded by shrapnel when three mortar shells fell in Gush Katif Wednesday. On Tuesday in Nisanit in northern Gaza, three members of the Damari family were treated for shock after their house was hit directly. Liron Damari said that her husband was playing with their five-month-old daughter in the living room when the mortar shell smashed into the entrance of their house. (Jerusalem Post)
Why a Post-Arafat Palestine Will Mean More of the Same - Yossi Klein Halevi
The new Palestinian leadership that succeeds Arafat almost certainly won't deliver on Israel's nonnegotiable demands for renewing peace talks: disarming terrorists and dismantling their operational command. True, former Palestinian prime minister Abbas has called the intifada a tactical, if not a moral, mistake. But the post-Arafat PA won't disarm Hamas and Fatah's al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
The Oslo process failed because Palestinian society denies the legitimacy of a Jewish state in any borders. Beyond controlling terrorism, the real challenge of the post-Arafat era will be nurturing a changed Palestinian debate over Israel's legitimacy. So far, aside from tactical shifts, Arafat's heirs show little sign of withdrawing from maximalist Palestinian dreams. (Jewish World Review)
May He Rot in Peace - Editorial
The man who single-handedly wrecked peace prospects in the Middle East was long ago finished. With Arafat's death, the long wait for new Palestinian leadership is coming to an end. There will be no place at the table for a successor cut from the same cloth, and it will take time for a new Palestinian leadership to demonstrate that it has the strength and bona fides to merit a resumption of a peace process. Nothing would build trust better than halting the wave of terror that Arafat fomented. Arafat was just another terrorist, as well as a dictator and a thief who stole billions of dollars from his people. After decades of escaping one violent dispatch after another, Arafat's greatest achievement will simply be dying in bed. (New York Daily News)
Destructive Legacy - Editorial
Arafat was a destroyer, not a builder. He was the father of modern terrorism. Arafat leaves another legacy: the first society in history to have glorified suicide-murders on a national scale, starting from grade-school children. It remains to be seen how that society - brought up on the fantasy of "return," on the notion that every Israeli city is a "settlement," and on the idea that Israel exists entirely on "stolen Palestinian land" - will inculcate a nationalism that is not based on Israel's destruction.
It is widely alleged that Israel missed an opportunity with Arafat, since he was the only leader who could have permanently shut down the Palestinian war against Israel. The opposite is the case: it was only Arafat's charisma, status, and Herculean efforts that were able to keep the war with Israel alive. (Jerusalem Post)
Sharon Doesn't Fear Arafat's Passing - Martin Sieff
Political sources in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv say Sharon is confident that his warm, close ties with Washington will continue and that he is not anticipating any increased diplomatic pressure to give any new concessions to the Palestinians. Israeli officials say Bush officials continue to signal their appreciation that Sharon forced through his plan to evacuate Israeli settlements from the Gaza Strip next year, defying immense pressure and anger from his own ruling Likud Party to do so. The president's defining characteristic in diplomacy as well as domestic politics is fervent loyalty to those who have shown it to him and he puts Sharon now very much in that category, the Israelis believe.
Sharon's determination to push through approval for the Gaza withdrawal plan took a lot of the pressure off Bush to do something concrete in the area. The Palestinians are still a very long way from creating a credible and stable post-Arafat leadership that can woo concessions out of Washington. (UPI/Washington Times)
A Window of Opportunity - David Makovsky
Without major fanfare, Mahmoud Abbas is assuming his duties as head of the PLO in Arafat's absence. The U.S. challenge is to support Abbas without giving him a made-in-America "bear hug." The U.S. should also urge Israel to work with the post-Arafat PA as it plans its withdrawal in order to bolster the new leadership's legitimacy as well as revive the trust between these two peoples. Moreover, coordination is the best hope for Israel, for it does not want to revive the image of the hastily executed pullout from Lebanon in 2000, when the rejectionist Hizballah took credit for the Israeli exit. (San Francisco Chronicle)
Arafat's Last Threat to Israel - Daniel Pipes
There will be no successor to Arafat - he made sure of that. Instead, this is the moment of the gunmen. Militiamen grasping for land and treasure will dominate the Palestinian scene for months or years ahead. Persons familiar from past diplomacy or from television (Mahmoud Abbas, Ahmed Qurei, et al.) lack gunmen, and so will have limited relevance. Eventually, two strongmen will emerge with the ability to negotiate with the Israelis and Americans. The geographic division of the West Bank and Gaza, of only minor import until now, looms large upon Arafat's passing. Whoever rules in the one unit is unlikely to gain traction in the other, making the notion of a "Palestine" that much more difficult to promote.
Israel has been spared from U.S. pressure during the past three years only because Arafat continued to deploy the terrorism weapon. This grace period will come to an end once clever and powerful Palestinian leaders realize that by holding off the violence for a decent interval, they can rely on Israel's only major ally pressuring the Jewish state into making concessions. (FrontPageMagazine)
"Father" Bled His People Dry - Mark Dooley
No one who truly cares for the plight of the Palestinians should weep for a world without Arafat. Arafat has consistently turned advantage into loss by privileging vanity over pragmatism and terror over accommodation. Thanks to his corrupt and autocratic dictatorship, the hopes of a generation have been squandered. It is to Europe's great shame that it bankrolled his murderous outfit for so long. (Irish Sunday Independent, 7 Nov 04)
Arafat Never Abandoned Goal of Eliminating Israel - Michael C. Kotzin
Arafat's leadership repeatedly prevented Palestinians and Israelis from resolving their differences in a peace that would address the legitimate needs of both peoples. He time and again brought suffering to both Israelis and Palestinians and foiled American plans for bringing stability to the Middle East. The writer is executive vice president of the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. (Chicago Sun-Times)
Overcoming Arafat - Editorial (Wall Street Journal Europe, 10 Nov 04)
- After free and open elections to establish democratic legitimacy for those who the world will now rely on to forge a settlement with Israel, if one is to be had, a new Palestinian government must then unequivocally forswear the terror, corruption, and incitement of chaos that marked Arafat's reign.
- Arafat's successors would do well to start by dismantling the myriad overlapping and competing security services that both facilitated terror and provided Arafat with plausible deniability of his role in fomenting it.
- What the U.S. and Europe should avoid at all costs is a repeat of the fatal Oslo process, where Palestinian transgressions were not only overlooked but used as an argument to pressure Israel to make new concessions, supposedly to promote Palestinian "good will."
- With Arafat's demise, some Europeans will surely pressure Israel to again make one-sided concessions to encourage the emergence of a more "moderate" Palestinian leadership. President Bush would be ill-advised to follow this advice. The only hope for peace is a PA leadership that truly wants peace.
- The worst possible scenario would be for international pressure to force Israel to accept some bogus cease-fire with Hamas, the core Palestinian terrorist group that is bent on the destruction of the Jewish state. That would preclude Israel from striking at Hamas, which has been the only effective way it has had in dealing with that group.
- Subduing terrorist groups is the real key to Mideast peace. One can hope that Arafat's demise might turn out to be the best thing he has ever done for his people. For thousands of Palestinians and Israelis, though, it comes too late.
Yasser Arafat at the End of His Lies - Hillel Halkin
There is, in the world of diplomacy, only one type of leader with whom one must never negotiate under any circumstance - the leader who is a liar. It isn't a question of moral principle. It's a purely pragmatic question of utility. A terrorist who can be trusted to keep his word is a man you can do business with. It is impossible, though, to do business with a liar. There is no point in making agreements with someone who does not believe in the importance of keeping them.
This is a truth so simple and so obvious that it seems all but impossible to understand now how it could have eluded those who welcomed the disaster of Oslo with open arms 11 years ago. They thought that lying, like terrorism, was something that, if done up to a point for a purpose, could be after that point given up. They didn't realize that a man who has lied all his life will go on lying right up to his death. (New York Sun, 9 Nov 04)
A Juggler Par Excellence - Fouad Ajami
Arafat was the second Palestinian leader in a row to betray his people's hopes; the first was his distant relative, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem, who dominated Palestinian politics from the 1920s until the 1950s. Terror was the mufti's weapon. He turned away from reason and compromise, rejected the inescapable logic of partition, struck down his moderate rivals, and made his way to Berlin during the Second World War and bet on the Axis powers as redeemers of his people.
The world indulged Arafat, showered him with aid and money, and graciously offered him a place of prominence in the great diplomatic game. He could forever hoodwink the Europeans, who were all too willing to believe the legend of his moderation. It is idle to lament the historic opportunities wasted by this man. The fault lies not in a leader whose weaknesses were known the world over but in the illusions and the hopes invested in him by outsiders willing to be deluded. (U.S. News)
The End of the Right of Self-Defense? - Andrew C. McCarthy
The Israeli security barrier is a historically valid, palpably necessary, provably effective, and comparatively tame self-defense measure. The Israeli barrier, while both reactive and anticipatory, is also passive and non-lethal. It thus fits very comfortably within the ambit of legitimate self-defense under international law as either designed or practiced. For a judicial tribunal to have censured it bespeaks a profound corruption of its mission, and one with seismic implications for the future of international law. (Commentary)
Tired Assumptions About the Peace Process - Michael Gove (Times-UK)
- There is a widespread sense that a new opportunity exists to provide the Palestinian people and the Israelis with fresh hope for the future. But that fresh hope is compromised by the tired assumptions with which it is accompanied.
- The belief that America is to blame for neglecting to engage; the conviction that the President must display neutrality; the judgment that Ariel Sharon's current tactics are folly; and the idea that the peace process is the principal solution for the region's woes are almost totally wrong. These assumptions have underpinned the policies that were followed for 30 years in the Middle East, and they have been responsible for our current misery.
- The demand that Bush "re-engage" with the Middle East peace process springs from a misplaced faith that major conflicts can be resolved if only outside figures apply themselves to brokering negotiations. The truth about peace processes is that outside brokers can achieve something only if the parties to the conflict want out. And that wasn't the case with Arafat.
- George Bush could not remain impartial between a terrorist entity prosecuting a campaign that targeted innocents and a democracy defending itself, any more than a policeman can be even-handed between burglar and householder.
- Arafat was not the only Arab leader to blame his people's problems on the Jews, to prefer the romance of the liberation struggle to the hard work of democratic modernization, and to line his own pockets while his citizens scrabbled for survival.
- The root cause of violence, poverty, and division in the Middle East is not a failure to solve the peace process. The failure of the peace process stems from the continuing addiction of so many of the Arab world's leaders to fomenting violence, presiding over poverty, and indulging in the politics of division.
Two EXCELLENT sources of material on Israel, especially for middle school and high school students; the first is based on on the song by Hadag Hanahash: Stickers. Hadag Hanahash is Israel's hottest new hip-hop band. They are very popular in Israel and just recently completed a tour of college campuses in the US and were sold-out at nearly every concert. The second is a memorial site for Yitzhak Rabin; http://www.israelcentersf.org/culture/2004-2005/hadag-nahash.html and http://center.rabin.org/.
Jewish and Israeli Links…
THE MOTHERLODE OF ISRAEL-RELATED LINKS:
Israel Defense Force, www.idf.il
Israel Government Gateway, links to Government Ministries, www.info.gov.il/eng
Israel Knesset, www.knesset.gov.il
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, www.mfa.gov.il
Israel Prime Minister's Office, www.pmo.gov.il
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, www.cbs.gov.il/engindex.htm
Israel Tourism Ministry, North America, www.goisrael.com
Buy Israeli Products, www.israelexport.org, www.shopinisrael.com,
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, www.tau.ac.il/jcss
Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, www.besacenter.org
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, www.jcpa.org
One Jerusalem, www.onejerusalem.org
Twenty Facts about Israel
Myths & Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Jerusalem Archaeological Park, www.archpark.org.il
Israel Info Center - Israel Activism Portal, www.israelinfocenter.com/
US White House, www.whitehouse.gov
US State Department, www.state.gov
US Senate, www.senate.gov
US House of Representatives, www.house.gov
THOMAS (search for US Legislation), thomas.loc.gov
United Nations Watch, www.unwatch.org
Embassy of Israel - Washington, D.C., www.embassyofisrael.org
Jerusalem Post, www.jpost.com
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, www.jta.org
Ha'aretz English Edition, www.haaretzdaily.com
Independent Media Review and Analysis, www.imra.org.il
Maariv English Edition, www.maarivintl.com
Middle East Media Research Institue (MEMRI), www.memri.org
Palestinian Media Watch, www.pmw.org.il
Britain-Israel Communications and Research Centre,
Israel Insider, www.israelinsider.com
Jewish World Review, www.jewishworldreview.com
America's Voices in Israel, www.americasvoices.net
@The Source Israel, www.thesourceisrael.com
Other Jewish Sites
The best Jewish kids' site on the Web is http://www.babaganewz.com/ , with games, virtual tours and “J-Pod” downloads, kids of all ages will LOVE it.
Another superb educational site is www.myjewishlearning.com -- you can be a self-taught “maven” on all things Jewish!
See the contents of nearly the entire Babylonian Talmud, in translation at http://www.come-and-hear.com/tcontents.html
A Jewish Guide to the Internet: http://www.uscj.org/metny/bellmobj/jnet2.htm
On Jewish Vegetarianism and Animal Rights: http://jewishveg.com/schwartz/ (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 http://www.jewishsports.com/
You can find an online Hebrew dictionary at http://milon.morfix.co.il/
Nice Jewish parenting site http://jewishfamily.com/
http://www.jewishgates.com/main.asp Jewish Gates is an amazing site, filled with material on Jewish history, ritual and culture. Go straight to the linked index at http://www.jewishgates.com/fullindex.asp and go to town!
The sourcebook for Jewish history (all periods) can be found at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/jewish/jewishsbook.html
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
IN THE MIDST OF ALL ELSE THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON IN THE WORLD, THE CRISIS IN THE SUDAN HAS NOT GONE AWAY - IN FACT, IT HAS INTENSIFIED
Rabbinical Assembly Social Action committee statement on the
prepared by Marion Shulevitz; Leonard Gordon, Chair (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Shabbat Hanukkah has been designated as the Sabbath of Conscience on the issue in Sudan
The crisis in
humanitarian crisis in the world today.
Under cover of a decades-long civil war that has taken two million Sudanese lives, government-backed militias known as Janjaweed are engaging in campaigns to wipe out communities of African tribal farmers who live in
The brutal violence and killings have resulted in over 70,000 deaths and the displacement of as many as two million Darfurians. Almost one million civilians have fled their homes due to the escalation of violence; many have crossed the border into
On July 23 the U.S. Congress unanimously passed a resolution declaring the atrocities being committed in
As victims of the Holocaust, who know firsthand the consequences of silence and global indifference from the international community, the Jewish people cannot remain indifferent to the plight of those suffering genocide in our time. We have a particular moral responsibility to speak out and take action against this ethnic cleansing and genocide. We cannot let the lessons of the Holocaust go unheeded yet again. We must do all that we can to prevent or stop deliberate attempts to annihilate any people. We have an increased moral obligation to respond to crimes against humanity, regardless of the ethnicity or religion of the people being victimized. We learned these lessons during the Holocaust when too many people and nations stood by and did nothing.. We must respond while there is still time, and save as many lives as we can.
Since April, American Jewish World Service has been partnering with the few international organizations that have gained access to many of the people in
10 Ways to Help End the Crisis in
The Rabbinical Assembly, American Jewish World Service and the Save Darfur Coalition encourage you to take any or all of the following actions:
3. Organize and/or participate in demonstrations and candlelight vigils at the Sudan Embassy in
4. Make phone calls to your Senators and Representatives and ask them to take action.
5. Ask religious leaders to speak from the pulpit to inform and motivate congregants to take action.
6. Organize community events to raise awareness about the crisis on a college campus, at a JCC or at a Hillel.
7. Write letters to the editor and Op Ed pieces for your local papers. Call network and cable news stations to ask for more coverage about
8. Reach out to coalition partners (African-American and interfaith/humanitarian groups) to join forces in raising public awareness.
9. Speak to family and friends about the crisis and get them to take action.
10. Invite AJWS and other humanitarian experts who are working in the region to present at religious and civic institutions and community groups.
Now is the time to act on the core mitzvah of Tikkun Olam (healing the world) by responding to this crisis in
For more information and to take action, please go to The American Jewish World Service website, www.ajws.org.
"In a free society where terrible wrongs exist, some are guilty, all are responsible."
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
* Funds are being used to rehabilitate water sources, construct sanitation facilities, dispose of dead animals, and provide basic health care and other essential humanitarian services, including therapeutic feeding centers to care for the thousands of malnourished children.
By Barbara and Marvin Gold
(TBE members Barbara and Marvin Gold left for Israel last week. Here is a letter describing their arrival…)
November 3, '04
The limo driver, Aaron, had an unmistakable Hebrew accent. And would you believe, turns out Aaron was from Beersheva which he said had the best weather - hot and dry. We were still in New York, but our trip to Israel had already begun. Aaron advised cities and sites to visit while in Israel, and told us that without question, the weather would be much warmer than the web had listed. We later leaned that Aaron was correct about the high temperatures in Tel Aviv.
On the topic of safety, Aaron said, "It's more 'scary' on a highway than in Tel Aviv" After riding in a cab from the Tel Aviv airport to the hotel, I was sure Aaron must have meant an Israeli highway. Aaron advised, "Open your eyes; see whose next to you and that's it! "In New York," he said, "it's the same thing. You watch who is next to you or they rob you."
Aaron was also correct when he proudly told us about El Al security. "Now you will see how security SHOULD BE! When you come to El Al," he said, "they know more about you than you know yourself."
At check in, the El Al attendant questioned away. "What is your religion? Do you know Hebrew? Where and how many years did you study? Do you belong to a temple; what temple?" "Why are you going to Israel now? Do you have new electronics? How did your son send the camera? How was it packaged?" (With love, I thought to myself.)
I explained that we were joining my husband's sister and her husband who visit Israel every year. They also lived there and speak Hebrew well. And...we have family there - family that we have never met.
On board El Al, the flight attendant gathers a minyan. I wonder if this is done on other airlines that fly to Israel. Our neighbor on Marvin's right was returning from Chicago to her home in Israel. Both she and her husband were originally from NY; they studied in Israel and as she said, "fell in love with the country." 10 hours later, somwhat weary, and after eating every carb near me, the captain advises that we are about to land. Through the window across the aisle, I glimpse for the first time at the Tel Aviv sky line.
I hold tightly to Marvin's hand and for some reason that I cannot explain, my eyes water. The plane touches down and I can hardly believe that we are here in Israel.
Barbara & Marvin Gold
Spiritual Journey on the Web
(Here’s an article discussing an aspect of Jewish law that is extremely relevant to all who work in service professions, whose success depends upon the trust that people place in our discretion and confidentiality. Prof. David Golinkin is the President of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem. This article, complete with footnotes, can be found on the Schechter Website, www.schechter.edu).
To Tell or Not to Tell: Confidentiality vs. Disclosure in Jewish Law and Tradition
By Prof. David Golinkin
During the past few years, I have been confronted with the following real questions either via the media or as a posek (decisor of Jewish law):
A therapist knows that his patient Reuven is suicidal or wants to kill Shimon – should he inform the authorities?
A doctor knows that Reuven has epilepsy or bad vision – should he tell the Bureau of Motor Vehicles?
The authorities know that Reuven is a pedophile just released from prison – should they inform the neighbors?
A doctor knows that Reuven, who is about to marry Sarah, suffers from epilepsy, infertility or mental illness – should he tell Sarah?
May the Israeli army give confidential medical records to a Bet Din regarding a husband involved in a divorce?
An accountant knows that his boss is embezzling - should he tell the authorities?
A person knows confidential information and a court summons him to testify – should he?
Reuven discovers that his friend Shimon – a rabbi – is having an affair with a non-Jew. Should he tell Shimon’s wife who is also his friend when this may result not only in divorce but in Shimon losing his job?
Should the media publish the name and story of
- a rabbi who is being investigated by a rabbinical organization for sexual impropriety but no conclusion has been reached?
- a rabbi who has been accused of sexually abusing teenagers but is not currently under any investigation?
- a deceased rabbi who had a history of womanizing?
- a politician who is under investigation by the police for criminal activity but has not been charged?
- a politician who has an affair with his secretary?
- a presidential candidate’s military record 30 years after the fact
- a government minister who has stacked his ministry with hundreds of political appointments?
- an actor who is gay or has an illegitimate child?
-An Israeli politician or rabbi makes a speech to one hundred followers in which he says derogatory things about another party or about Arabs. Should the radio rebroadcast the clandestine tape of that speech dozens of times to hundreds of thousands of people?
The inherent tension in most of these questions is encapsulated in a famous verse in the Torah (Leviticus 19:16): “Do not go about as a talebearer among your people; do not stand idly by the blood of your fellow, I am the Lord”. As we shall see below, the first half of the verse commands us to be discreet and keep our mouths closed, while the second half commands us to reveal a confidence under certain circumstances.
A) Talebearing and Lashon Hara
As I have explained elsewhere (see Golinkin, Death and Life), our Sages expressed their opposition to talebearing and lashon hara in many passages in rabbinic literature. A good summary of these laws can be found Maimonides’s Mishneh Torah (De’ot 7:1-3):
Whoever spies on another person violates a prohibition, as it is said: “Do not go about as a talebearer among your people” (Lev. 19:16)…
Who is a talebearer? One who carries reports, and goes about from one person to another and says: “so-and-so said this”, “such-and- such have I heard about so-and-so”. Even if it is true, the talebearer destroys the world.
There is a still graver offense which is included within this prohibition, namely lashon hara, the evil tongue. This means talking disparagingly of anyone, even though what one says is true… A person with an evil tongue is one, who, sitting in company, says: “That person did such-and-such”, “so-and-so’s ancestors were so-and-so”, “I have heard such-and-such about him” – and then proceeds to say disparaging things…
The Sages say: “There are three offenses for which one is punished in this world and forfeits his portion in the World to Come: idolatry, incest and murder, but the evil tongue is equal to all three put together…The Sages also said: “The evil tongue slays three people: the speaker, the listener, and the one spoken about; and the listener will be punished worse than the speaker.
B) It is forbidden to reveal secrets
Aside from the prohibitions of talebearing and lashon hara, there are sources which prohibit the disclosure of secrets or confidential information or which require the permission of the person in question before that information may be revealed. Proverbs 11:13 says, “A base fellow gives away secrets, but a trustworthy soul keeps a confidence”. The Mishnah (Sanhedrin 3:7) uses this verse, as well as Leviticus 19:16, to teach that judges are not permitted to reveal their deliberations after a verdict is reached and this ruling was codified by the Rif (ed. Vilna, fol. 9a) and by Maimonides (Sanhedrin 22:7).
The Talmud (Sanhedrin 31a) adds a story about a student who revealed a secret from the House of Study 22 years after the fact. Rav Ami threw him out of the House of Study, saying: “This is a revealer of secrets!” (2) This source was followed by Rabbi Eliyahu ben Hayyim of Constantinople (1530-1610). He ruled in his responsa (Ra’anah, No. 111) that if one of the communal leaders reveals the secret deliberations of the City Council, he is disqualified from serving.
The next source has the most direct bearing on our cases. We read in the Babylonian Talmud (Yoma 4b):
How do we know that when a person tells something to his friend, the latter may not repeat it until the person says to him “go and say”? As it is written (Leviticus 1:1): “And God spoke to [Moses] from the Tent of Meeting to say…”
This source was codified by Rabbi Moses of Coucy (France, ca. 1236) and by Rabbi Abraham Gumbiner (Poland, 1637-1683) (3) and it means that one may not reveal a confidence without the express permission of the confider.
C) Embarrassing Someone in Public is Akin to Murder
We have learned in the Mishnah (Avot 3:11) that a person who embarrasses his fellow in public “has no place in the World to Come”. Furthermore, we have learned in a famous Talmudic passage (Bava Metzia 58b): “A Tanna taught before Rav Nahman bar Yitzhak: he who embarrasses his fellow in public, is it as if he had spilled his blood”. Maimonides codified these dicta in two different places in the Mishneh Torah (De’ot 6:8 and Teshuvah 3:14).
Judging from the three sets of prohibitions described above, it would seem that it is absolutely forbidden to print a negative story about a politician or to reveal a secret about a friend or a patient. This leads us to the second half of Leviticus 19:16 cited above.
A) “Do not stand idly by the blood of your fellow”
As we have seen, Maimonides bases his strict attitude towards talebearing on the first half of Leviticus 19:16. Nonetheless, he allows revealing a secret under certain circumstances, on the basis of the second half of that very same verse:
Whoever can save his fellow and does not, transgresses “do not stand idly by the blood of your fellow”. Therefore, if he sees his fellow drowning or robbers approaching him… and he can save him himself… or, if he heard that non-Jews or Jewish informers are plotting against his friend and setting him up and he did not tell his friend…and similar cases, he is transgressing what it says in the Torah “do not stand idly by the blood of your fellow” (Laws of Murder 1:14).
This passage was quoted and codified by the Tur and the Shulhan Arukh (Hoshen Mishpat 426:1). Furthermore, Maimonides said “and similar cases”, which comes to include cases similar to the ones cited by him.
In addition, Maimonides adds in his Sefer Hamitzvot (Negative Commandments, No. 297) that the commandment “do not stand idly by” applies to a person who sees his friend’s money in danger and he must prevent the loss by testifying in court (and see below).
These sources became the precedents for many modern rabbis who ruled that it is permissible to reveal or publicize a secret under certain circumstances in order to prevent harm or monetary loss to other people.
In the Hafetz Hayyim (Vilna, 1873), R. Yisrael Meir Hacohen established seven conditions for revealing to other people Reuven’s wrongdoing against Shimon (Hilkhot Lashon Hara 10:2 and cf. Hikhot Rekhilut 9:2):
1. That he saw the act himself or that the rumor was substantiated;
2. that he should not decide immediately that it was theft or the like;
3. that he should first rebuke the sinner in soft language in order that he should mend his ways;
4. that when he tells people, he should not exaggerate the magnitude of the sin;
5. that his intent in telling people is for the good;
6. that if he can find another way to do good without telling lashon hara, he should do so;
7. that he should not cause greater harm to the sinner by telling than if someone had testified against the sinner in court.
In his commentary Pithey Teshuvah to Orah Hayyim 156 (Vilna, 1875), Rabbi Yisrael Isser castigates those who avoid revealing secrets to their friends - which would save them from harm - because they are afraid of lashon hara. He gives a few examples similar to those of Maimonides and adds “so too regarding matchmaking, when the groom is a bad person and a crook or he is sickly and he wants to get married, [the bride must be told]”. R. Yisrael Isser was one of the first to allow one to reveal to a bride that her future husband is a crook or sickly.
In more recent times, many rabbis ruled (see the Bibliography, Section II) that a doctor should reveal a medical condition to a prospective bride or groom to prevent them from marrying a person who is sterile or who is suffering from a serious or fatal disease.
Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef and other rabbis ruled that a doctor must inform the Motor Vehicle Bureau that a patient has poor vision or epilepsy in order to prevent the patient from killing innocent drivers or pedestrians.
Rabbi Kushilevitz was asked about a Jewish accountant who discovers that Reuven, the head of his Jewish organization, is embezzling and “cooking the books”, and who warns Reuven that he will publicize the matter. He ruled that the accountant is allowed to publicize the matter and embarrass Reuven despite the prohibition of “embarrassing one’s fellow” if there is no other way to salvage the money, because the accountant is a shomer sakhar (paid trustee) of the organization.
B) “Do not place a stumbling block before the blind”
The Torah says: “Do not place a stumbling block before the blind” (Lev. 19:14), which the Sages interpreted in a broad fashion. Rabbi Mordechai Ya’acov Breisch adds on the basis of Mishneh Lamelekh to Maimonides (Kilayim 1:6) that if you do not reveal Reuven’s contagious or serious disease to his prospective bride you are “placing a stumbling block before the blind”.
C) Returning Lost Property
The Torah requires us to return the lost property of our fellow man (Deut. 22: 1-3). The Sages (Sanhedrin 73a) learned from this verse that you must “return a person’s lost body” i.e. prevent him from drowning in a river. Rabbi Yisrael Isser and Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg say that saving a person from marrying a sick person is akin to returning a person’s lost property or body.
D) The Mitzvah of Testifying
According to the Sifra (Kedoshim 4:8, ed. Weiss, fol. 89a), Maimonides (Edut 1:1), the Shulhan Arukh (Hoshen Mishpat 28:1) and Sefer Hahinuch (No. 244) it is a mitzvah to testify in a Jewish court of law. Therefore, if a Jew knows crucial testimony, he may not remain silent and he must testify in court.
E) A doctor may reveal a secret even if he promised not to tell
Rabbi Eliezer Waldenberg (Vol. 16, No. 4) goes one step further and says that a doctor is required to reveal a medical secret to the future husband or wife even if he promised not to tell. He bases himself on Rabbi Moshe Isserles who ruled (Yoreh Deah 239:7) that if Reuven swore not to reveal a secret to his friend which would save him from losing money, it does not take effect; how much the more-so should we ignore a promise to keep a secret if we can spare a future spouse pain and anguish.
IV) Practical Applications
Now we can return to the list of questions at the beginning of this article. Some of them are clearly forbidden for the three reasons listed above. For example, it is forbidden to publish gossip about a movie star or to reveal a politician’s affair with his intern or secretary. These stories seriously harm the person or people in question and do not save others from harm.
Some of them are clearly permissible or even required because of “you shall not stand idly by the blood of your fellow” and the other reasons cited. A doctor who knows that a patient is suicidal must reveal that information. A rabbi who knows that a groom has a fatal disease must tell the bride. An accountant who knows that his boss is embezzling and whose warnings have been ignored, must turn to the authorities. (4)
But, as the Hafetz Hayyim warned, we should not rush to print an accusation. If a rabbi is being investigated by a rabbinical organization for sexual impropriety, it is character assassination to publish prematurely. What if he is absolved? His reputation will have been ruined for naught. On the other hand, if a Jewish professional is accused by many of wrongdoing and his/her organization refuses to investigate, the newspaper may need to publish the charges just to force an investigation.
I would like to conclude with a very good suggestion as to how to decide when to publish and when to keep silent regarding the behavior of a politician. Rabbi Yitzchok Breitowitz quotes Rabbi Joseph Albo (Spain, 15th century), who asked as follows: Why did God punish King Saul (I Samuel 15) for allowing Agag the King of Amalek to live by taking away his kingship, whereas King David, who took Batsheva, another man’s wife, and sent her husband Uriah to certain death in battle, was spared (2 Samuel 11-12)?! Why the double standard? (5)
We will give one of Rabbi Albo’s answers: Saul’s offense was political; David’s was personal. Killing the Amalekites, who were a threat to Israel’s survival, was Saul’s responsibility as king. By contrast, David’s sin with Batsheva, although awful, had no impact on his ability to govern. In short, personal moral failures do not necessarily disqualify one from political leadership; misfeasance in the conduct of office does.
If a government minister gives out hundreds of civil service jobs to his political cronies, that “secret” should be revealed and thoroughly investigated. But if the President of the United States has an affair, that is absolutely none of our business.
THIS SUNDAY @9:30 AM – JEWISH BOOK MONTH SPEAKER – editor of new Study Bible
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.
Marc Zvi Brettler (editor) is the Dora Golding Professor of Biblical Studies and chair of the Department of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis University. He has taught at Brandeis University, Yale University, Wellesley College and Middlebury College. His most recent books are Biblical Hebrew for Students of Modern Israeli Hebrew, Reading the Book of Judges, and The Creation of History in Ancient Israel. He has appeared on the Television series "Mysteries of the Bible," and was heard on the National Public Radio show "All Things Considered."
Hanukkah Gifts for College Freshman and Sophomores
Our sisterhood wishes to send Hanukkah gifts for college freshman (and sophomores since last year we sent them an IOU because Hanukkah was during winter vacation). Please submit college freshman and sophomore addresses to Denise Greenman at Denise147@aol.com or phone: 329-8594. Please send both the snail mail and e-mail addresses, so we can be sure to include all students on our college e-mail list as well.
Enthusiastic and Energetic Volunteers Needed!!
To create a kosher keepsake Cook Book for our Beth El family and friends using our very own recipes.
Please join our cookbook team and bring your special ideas and talents to the team.
All are welcome!! No experience is necessary, just your interest in the project!
Call Beth Silver at 967-8852 or email: email@example.com if you are interested.
Profits will be donated to the kitchen/ballroom renovation projects.
Sponsored by the Temple Beth El Sisterhood.
Please join us for a kick-off meeting on Sunday, December 5th at
11:00 a.m. at the Synagogue. Stop by on your way if volunteering for Super Sunday or call to join the committee. Please call Beth, 967-8852, to R.S.V.P.
High Holiday Sermons
High Holiday sermons are now up on our web site at www.tbe.org. Please feel free to forward them to others – and I would love to hear your feedback
Hanukkah is just around the corner!
ARE YOU READY???
BOOKS are the PERFECT GIFT
for kids & adults of all ages!
Join us for the TBE
JEWISH BOOK FAIR
Sunday, November 21st
8:45 AM - 2:00 PM
(upstairs in the triple classroom)
All students will have a chance to browse during Religious School with their class. A schedule will be sent home so you can be there when your child visits the Book Fair… You can also, of course, check out the selection at drop-off and after pick-up!
Take advantage of this great opportunity to express your appreciation of our teachers by purchasing books on their wishlists!
All proceeds from the Book Fair will benefit the Temple Beth El Religious School!
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
This year, Super Sunday, our Annual Community Campaign, is December 5. When your phone rings please “pick it up” and give generously. The gift you pledge, no matter how big or small helps Jews in our own community, around the state, as well as abroad. Giving tzedakah is a mitzvah and to know you may help a child attend summer camp, provide lunch services to a senior, or help an Ethiopian family in Afula/Gilboa is a great feeling.
You are an integral part of making Super Sunday a success. Volunteers are still needed to make calls and to help with other tasks on that day. Please find volunteer application forms in the lobby or call the United Jewish Federation office. Thank you.
Kadima PB JAM: A Tzedakah Experience. Come make Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches to be donated to the Interfaith Nutrition Network in
Kesher goes Bowling: Sunday, November 28th, 2004 2:00pm-4:00pm. Meet at Rip Van Winkle Lanes- 701 Connecticut Ave, Norwalk. $10 for Members, $15 for non-members. RSVP is a MUST for this program by Monday, November 22nd.
USY Night at the Movies: Tuesday November 30th, 7:30-9:30 in the Youth Lounge. Come watch new releases on our NEW DVD Player!!!
MEMBERSHIP HAS IT'S PRIVLEDGES!
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
Time for a Joke
Thanks to Shelley Berman for suggesting these time-tested beauts…
During a service at an old synagogue in Eastern Europe, when the Shema prayer was said, half the congregants
stood up and half remained sitting. The half that was seated started yelling at those standing to sit down, and the ones standing yelled at the ones sitting to stand up.
The rabbi, learned as he was in the Law and commentaries, didn't know what to do. His congregation suggested that he
consult a housebound 98 year old man who was one of the original founders of their temple. The rabbi hoped the elderly man would be able to tell him what the actual temple tradition was, so he went to the nursing home with a representative of each faction of the congregation.
The one whose followers stood during Shema said to the old man, "Is the tradition to stand during this prayer?"
The old man answered, "No, that is not the tradition."
The one whose followers sat said, "Then the tradition is to sit during Shema!"
The old man answered, "No, that is not the tradition."
Then the rabbi said to the old man, "But the congregants fight all the time, yelling at each other
about whether they should sit or stand."
The old man interrupted, exclaiming, "THAT is the tradition!"
When young David was asked by his father to say the evening prayer, he realized he didn't have his head covered...so he asked his little brother Henry to rest a hand on his head until prayers were over. Henry grew impatient after a few minutes and removed his hand.
The father said, "This is important...put your hand back on his head!" to which Henry exclaimed, "What, am I my brother's kipah?"
Two Texans are sitting on a plane from Dallas and an old Jewish Texan is sitting between them.
The first Texan says, "My name is Roger. I own 250,000 acres. I have 1,000 head of cattle and they call my place The Jolly Roger."
The second Texan says, "My name is John. I own 350,000 acres. I have 5,000 head of cattle and they call my place Big John's."
They both look down at the Jewish man who says, "My name is Irving and I own only 300 acres."
Roger looks down at him and say, "300 Acres? What do you raise?"
"Nothing" Irving says.
"Well then, what do you call it?" Asked John.
Morris returns from a long business trip and finds out that his wife has been unfaithful during his time away.
"Who was it!!!???" he yells. "That alta kakker Goldstein?"
"No," replied his wife. "It wasn't Goldstein."
"Was it Feldman, that dirty old man?"
"No, not him."
"Aha! Then it must have been that idiot Rabinovich!"
"No, it wasn't Rabinovich either..."
Morris was now fuming. "What's the matter?" he cried. "None of my friends are good enough for you?"
A Doctor was addressing a large audience in Tampa.
"The material we put into our stomachs is enough to have killed most of us sitting here, years ago. Red meat is awful. Soft drinks corrode your stomach lining. Chinese food is loaded with MSG. High fat diets can be disastrous, and none of us realizes the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water.
"But there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all, and we all have eaten, or will eat. Would anyone care to guess what food causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?"
After several seconds of quiet, a small 75-year-old Jewish man in the front row,
raised his hand and said, "Vedding Cake?"
Doctor Bloom who was known for miraculous cures for arthritis had a waiting room full of people when a little old lady, completely bent over in half, shuffled in slowly, leaning on her cane. When her turn came, she went into the doctor's office, and, amazingly, emerged within half an hour walking completely erect with her head held high.
A woman in the waiting room who had seen all this walked up to the little old lady and said, "It's a miracle! You walked in bent in half and now you're walking erect. What did that doctor do?"
She answered, "Miracle, shmiracle . . . he gave me a longer cane."
Previous Shabbat-O-Grams can be accessed directly from our web site (www.tbe.org)