Friday, May 27, 2005

May 27, 2005 and Iyar 18, 5765


Shabbat – O – Gram


May 27, 2005 and Iyar 18, 5765


Lag B’Omer and Memorial Day Weekend


Rabbi Joshua HammermanTemple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut



Shabbat Shalom








And Mazal Tov to all our graduates from Kulanu and other institutions of higher learning!



Go to for photos of last week’s Tot Shabbat Outing at Cove Island Park and our tribute to Alberto Eyzaguirre on his 30 years of service to our congregation

Send your friends and relatives the gift of Jewish awareness -- a Shabbat-O-Gram each week,

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Contents of the Shabbat O Gram: (click to scroll down)


Just the Facts (service schedule)

The Rabid Rabbi

The Highest Level of Tzedakkah

Ask the Rabbi

Spiritual Journey on the Web

Required Reading and Action Items (links to key articles on Israel and Jewish life)

 Announcements (goings on in and around TBE)

Joke for the Week



Quote of the Week











 “One supports the poor of the gentiles as one does the poor of Israel; one visits the sick among the gentiles as one does the sick of Israel; one mourns and buries the dead of the gentiles as one does the dead of Israel; one comforts the mourners among the gentiles as one does those in Israel – for the sake of peace.”

Based on the Talmud (Gittin 61a)





Friday Evening

Candle lighting for Stamford, CT: 7:58 pm on Friday, 27 May 2005.  For candle lighting times, other Jewish calendar information, and to download a Jewish calendar to your PDA, click on


Tot Shabbat: 6:45 PM – in the chapel

Kabbalat Shabbat Service: 6:30 PM Outdoor services will begin this week, weather permitting! If it rains we’ll be in the lobby.  Mazal tov to Mike and Suzanne Reynolds on the naming of their daughter Ariella, at this service.

Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM – Mazal tov to Alison Pomerance who becomes Bat Mitzvah this Shabbat morning.  

Children’s services: 10:30 AM, including Jr. Congregation for grades 3-6 and Tot Shabbat Morning for the younger kids

Torah Portion:  Bechukotai - Leviticus 26:3 - 27:34 – the end of the book of Leviticus.  We end each book of the Torah with the declaration, “Hazak Hazak v’nithazek.” "Be strong, be strong and let us strengthen one another."

1: 26:3-5
2: 26:6-9
3: 26:10-46
4: 27:1-4
5: 27:5-8
6: 27:9-11
7: 27:12-15

Haftarah –  Jeremiah 16:19 - 17:14

See a weekly commentary from the UJC Rabbinic Cabinet, at  Read the Masorti commentary at  University of Judaism,  JTS commentary is at: USCJ Torah Sparks can be found at UAHC Shabbat Table Talk discussions are at Other divrei Torah via the Torahnet home page: Test your Parasha I.Q.:’s Torah commentary archive:  World Zionist Organization Education page, including Nehama Liebowitz archives of parsha commentaries: For a more Kabbalistic/Zionist/Orthodox perspective from Rav Kook, first Chief Rabbi of Israel, go to For some probing questions and meditations on key verses of the portion, with a liberal kabbalistic bent, go to or, for Kabbalistic commentaries from the Zohar itself, go to To see the weekly commentary from Hillel, geared to college students and others, go to For a Jewish Renewal and feminist approach go to .  For a comprehensive Orthodox viewpoint from the Israeli rabbi, Yaakov Fogelman, go to the Torah Outreach Program at  Guided meditations for each portion by Judith Abrams at

. For online Parsha quizzes from Pardes in Israel, go to


Rosner Minyan Maker

Pick a Day – or pick several – and join us for morning minyan.  Check our minyan calendar often to see which days need the most help.  If the day is colored red that means there is a yahrzeit scheduled for that day.  Also, feel free to e-mail me at to ensure a guaranteed minyan for that day, indicating the date of the yahrzeit and whether it would be OK to use your name in making that request.


Minyan On-Call List

We are in the midst of creating an on-call list for emergencies.  Here is how it will work:

1) At 7:40 if we are in need of one or two more for a minyan and if we have people present who are saying kaddish

2) We’ll have a list of approximately 20 who live within a 5-minute drive of the temple…

3) We rotate among those 20, so that no one person will be called excessively

4) We call until a tenth person is found.





Hospitality is essential to spiritual practice. It reminds you that you are part of a greater whole. . . .

Putting others first puts you in the midst of life without the illusion of being the center of life.
— Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro in Minyan

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


 Minyan Mastery


Now you can become more comfortable with the prayers of our morning service by heading to…



The Rabid Rabbi

NPR’S Record and Our Dilemma

It’s been clear for some time that National Public Radio has an anti-Israel bias.  This has been documented time and time again, and while there has been some improvement, thanks in large part to pressure from watchdog organizations like Camera, the improvement has not matched that seen in other major media outlets, including the New York Times (although, see Daniel Okrent's False Symmetry to discover how even the Times’ vaunted ex-ombudsman failed to completely clean up the mess).  See for Camera’s full assessment of NPR, most notably the May 19 press release regarding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting investigation.

Here is an excerpt from that release:

…Repeated studies of NPR's coverage of the Arab-Israeli conflict over the past five years have, for instance, revealed a disproportionate reliance on Arab and pro-Arab speakers. An in-depth study from the fall of 2000 found Arab and pro-Arab speakers were given almost twice as much air time as Israeli and pro-Israel speakers. Moreover, there were 41 programs in which only Arab or pro-Arab speakers were heard and just 24 devoted exclusively to Israeli or pro-Israel voices. Segments excluding any Israeli perspective often included extreme allegations against that country, including charges that Israel is a "Jim Crow" nation that should be done away with in its "apartheid" form.

Another study of two months in the summer of 2002 revealed the same sharp tilt. Again, serious allegations, including one-sided claims of Israeli brutality, were leveled in segments that excluded Israeli voices altogether.

Studies in 2003 confirmed the continuing pattern of bias. A close review of the period of January through March paralleled a supposed self-critique done by the network itself. These self-exonerating critiques posted on the NPR Web site consistently claim few if any problems in the coverage. Yet NPR omitted 40% of the relevant transcripts from their first survey and presented false data about their coverage, such as the claim that "Arab journalist Rami Khouri was interviewed twice." Actually, Khouri who is a network favorite and often a strident critic of Israel, was interviewed six times.

Bias has persisted on the network up to the present as CAMERA has continued to document in detail.

Now that the Bush Administration (and CPB) is examining NPR’s horrible record on Israel, one can’t help but sense that it is being used as a lever to attack the network’s entire record regarding its opposition to Bush policies.  See the New York Times article, and Salon’s piece, GOP now goes after NPR. The Jewish Week highlighted the dilemma (

“There are real risks here,” said an official with a major Jewish group. “This is going to be seen as an attempt at censoring the press. Do we want Jewish and pro-Israel organizations to be associated with that?  “The administration isn’t cracking down on NPR because it’s unfair to Israel; it’s cracking down because it doesn’t like the coverage of its policies. Our concerns could get lost in the backlash to that.”

On balance, NPR’s coverage on Israel has been so one-sided as to border on libelous (remember the Jenin “Massacre”).  But I am more reluctant to criticize their entire news operation, which I often find a better option than the rubbish that masquerades as news elsewhere.  The Middle East has proven to be the undoing of many a reputable news organization, for a number of reasons that have long been documented, e.g. the lack of a level playing field between a democracy with a free press (Israel) and an autocracy that threatens the lives of journalists (the P.A.) – for more background on this see this excellent article from “Global Journalist,”, headlined: “War of Words: In the hype of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the line between reality and propaganda can easily confuse even the most objective foreign correspondent.”

So this rabid rabbi is very happy that NPR’s bias is being exposed regarding their Middle East coverage – but I do believe that we have to be careful to distinguish that singlular hornet’s nest from the rest of their news content.


Flushing the Quran?


If you check this url you will see a despicable image – a photo of a sign outside a church in North Caroline, “The Koran needs to be flushed.”  Another article about this appears below.  I was alerted to this terrible act of intolerance by my friend, Dr. Behjat Syed, whom many of you have gotten to know through our dialogues at Borders.  I assured him that I would inform my congregation of this and forward the information on how each of us can respond (that information appears at the bottom of the article).  Behjat was extremely grateful, responding, “I'll notify our mosque that you're doing that and I'll take the liberty of expressing deep gratitude on behalf of all in our community.  Much thanks.”

Each of us has a role to play in fighting hatred, and “Love Your Neighbor” doesn’t just apply to those whose homes have mezuzahs.  As the rabbis wrote (a commentary based on Gittin 61a):

“One supports the poor of the gentiles as one does the poor of Israel; one visits the sick among the gentiles as one does the sick of Israel; one mourns and buries the dead of the gentiles as one does the dead of Israel; one comforts the mourners among the gentiles as one does those in Israel – for the sake of peace.”

As we commemorate Memorial Day, we mustn’t forget that those who gave their lives for our freedom came from a wide variety of backgrounds, professing many different faiths.

The only thing that needs to be flushed in this case is hatred itself.



CAIR urges Americans of all faiths to obtain and read free Quran

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 5/24/05) - A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on Americans of all faiths to respond to an anti-Muslim message displayed outside a North Carolina church by obtaining and reading a free copy of the Quran, Islam's revealed text.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says the a sign outside the Danieltown Baptist Church states, "The Koran needs to be flushed," an apparent reference to the recent controversy over allegations that U.S. military personnel desecrated a Quran by flushing it down a toilet.

SEE: "Church Sign Sparks Debate"

"Christians often ask themselves, 'What would Jesus do?'" said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "I don't think Jesus, who is loved by Muslims and mentioned frequently in the Quran, would use such hate-filled and divisive rhetoric." He called on Americans of all faiths to take advantage of CAIR's recent offer of a free Quran for anyone interested in learning the truth about Islam and Muslims.

CAIR's campaign, called "Explore the Quran," is designed as a positive response to the recent controversy over desecration of the Quran. To sponsor a free Quran, go to:

For more information about the campaign, or to sponsor a Quran by phone, call 1-800-78-ISLAM (1-800-784-7526).

[To hear CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad explain the significance of the Quran to Muslims, go to: Click on "Washington Journal" under the "C-SPAN Series" heading and then on "Washington Journal Entire Program (05/22/2005)." The segment featuring Awad begins at 2:20:45. (Twenty minutes into the third hour of the program.)]

Hooper added that while the church's pastor has the right to free speech, his actions harm Christian-Muslim relations and do damage to America's international image. He also called on mainstream religious and political leaders to repudiate the sign's bigoted message and urged church members to enter into dialogue with local Muslims.

CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

To read CAIR's Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to:



Ask the Rabbi


Friday is Lag B’Omer. What does Lag B’Omer have to do with the Simpsons?


If you are asking this question, clearly you have not yet accessed the “Homer Calendar.”  Yes, you too can count the “Homer!”  It’s at (with some highlights below), or Click here to get a printable Homer Calendar for the entire omer period. This site is so good that I’m even quoted there!



Jewish Life in Springfield

Rabbi, I forgot what day of the omer it is           











About Counting the Omer

Rabbi Krustofski - On the second day of Passover in ancient times, our ancestors brought the first sheaf of barley (amounting to a measure called "an omer") reaped that season as an offering to God. From that day, they began counting the 49 days to Shavuot, when they would celebrate the beginning of the wheat harvest by offering the loaves made of the first wheat. Even after the Temple was destroyed and offerings were no longer brought, they continued to count the days from Passover to Shavuot in accordance with the biblical injunction (Lev. 23:15).

In this way our ancestors linked Passover and Shavuot as occasions for thanking God for the fruits of the field. We, too, thank God for the renewal of life which nature proclaims at this season.

However, as Passover and Shavuot acquired historical significance, their linkage through the counting of the intervening days took on new meaning. Passover celebrates the liberation from Egypt, and Shavuot celebrates the receiving of Torah at Sinai. By counting the omer, we symbolically connect liberation with the idea of Torah.

Counting the omer is an exercise in the discipline of mindfulness. Counting each of the days of the omer reminds us that all of our days are numbered, and it is our responsibility to make each day count.

The Counting Ritual  (D'ohs and Donuts)

Each evening, while standing, one first recites the blessing for the mitzvah of counting, and then declares the number of days and weeks of the omer count. Traditionally, if one forgets to count at night (D'oh!), the count may be made the next day without a blessing. One then resumes the regular count that evening. If, however, one skips an entire day, then all further counting until Shavuot is done without the blessing (but see this).

"About Counting the Omer" adapted from the Reconstructionist prayerbook series, Kol Haneshamah, and the omer calendar of Kolot, the Center for Jewish Women's and Gender Studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College. For some interesting material on counting the omer, follow these links:

·         history: the evolution of the omer ritual, and how the Dead Sea Scrolls shed light on the ancient dispute over when to begin the omer count;

·         mysticism: how the kabbalists used the omer period for self examination; a daily meditative spiritual guide to the count from Rabbi Simon Jacobson; and Rabbi Jill Hammer identifies a biblical woman with the kabbalistic associations for each of the 49 days in an inspiring calendar on;

·         collections of orthodox commentaries on the omerou.orgtorah.orgOhr Somayach; and

·         each week of the poses 7 inspiring questions, principles, people or projects, challenging us to turn our spiritual ascent into meaningful action, while Rabbi Shai Gluskin started keeping an online omer journal in 2001;

·         art: read this survey with examples of exquisite omer art; check out Rabbi Mark Hurvitz' imaginative color meditation chart; Pauline Frankenberg has lovingly painted plants mentioned in the Bible for each day; and you can see and buy artistic omer counters herehere, and here;

·         hi-tech counters: a free program to keep track of the omer on your Palm organizer, another one for a Macintosh computer; and will text a reminder twice a day to your cell phone.



The Highest Level of Tzedakkah*


Employers: Please contact me directly at for more information on this superb candidate from our congregation:


Attention Astute Attorneys!

Anticipating Summer Staffing Shortages due to Travel, Maternity Leave, Turn-Over, Expansion?

Excellent, Experienced Attorney Available full-Time, part-Time, Temp or Perm.

Pre-Empt the Competition – Employ me first!

Favorable Terms.  Team Player.  Competent, Creative, Clever, Verbal.  Member TBENY Bar.



Also, the ADL is looking for a Development Director to lead the ADL fundraising campaign in Connecticut.  A job description is included below.  Let me know if you are interested.


The successful candidate will have a B.A. degree with 5 to 7 years' fundraising experience which includes campaign planning and development, major donor cultivation and solicitation and special events planning.  Willing to consider applicants with related skills from other professions. The applicant must have strong written and oral communication skills.  In addition, the applicant will need knowledge of and strong commitment to Jewish issues and the objectives of the Anti-Defamation League.


The responsibilities of the position include:


·        Planning, organizing and managing all ADL fundraising in the region served by the office

·        Developing strategies to encourage new gifts and enhance and increase current donor contributions.  Face to face solicitations. 

·        Coordinating corporate and professional dinners, special events and functions, community receptions, regional outreach and mail appeals

·        Working with staff and the Regional Director to stimulate effective leadership participation in fundraising

·        Initiating donor identification, tracking, cultivating and communicating to assure understanding, interest and involvement with ADL

·        Preparing annual fundraising goals and budgets in consultation with Regional Director, lay leadership and in coordination with National Development

·        Overseeing prospect and donor records, budget and fiscal controls and transmittal of funds


  To see all 8 levels of tzedakkah according to Maimonides, go to;  for a contemporary commentary, check out


Spiritual Journey on the Web


Judaism “to go”



          For many of our members who are constantly on-the-go, adult education is a noble but unattainable goal.  Now that problem has been solved by Jadio, the world's only Jewish streaming audio site, which provides anytime delivery of Jewish lectures and discussions authored by some of the world's most compelling and inspiring Jewish scholars.  According to the Jadio home page, “Jadio seeks to inspire Jews to lead more substantial Jewish lives through the powerful spoken insights of its lecturers. “


          It is easy to download any of the hundreds of lectures, interviews and discussions onto your computer or mp3 player.  And the people listed are a veritable who’s who of Jewish life, including many who have appeared here at Beth El, such as Harold Kushner, Dennis Prager, Abba Eban, Thomas Friedman, Steve Greenberg, Dennis Ross, and Cantor Debbie Kotchko, whose section includes blessings and prayers “to go.”


          For those looking to hear some stimulating streaming audio from their computers (or who wish to pay for the chance to download it to your portable player), I love the weekly public radio series “Speaking of Faith,” heard here on WNPR radio at 7 on Sunday mornings.  It’s at   Last week’s program on “Globalization and the Rise of Religion” was fascinating.  Archived recent programs include “The Tragedy of the Believer,” featuring Elie Wiesel and “Exodus, Cargo of Hidden Stories,” featuring noted Torah commentator Aviva Zornberg.  Then there is also “Sound and Spirit,”  ( which combines spiritual themes with poetry and music.  Recent programs included The Spirituality of Work,  The Lord is My Shepherd   and an award-winning episode, Surviving Survival


          Now, here’s the challenge.  We need to be able to take advantage of these new learning opportunities afforded by technology, but for Jews, an important part of learning is sharing that knowledge and bouncing the ideas off of others.  I would love to create some kind of ongoing “Judaism To Go” study group if there is interest.  It would be sort of like a book discussion group, only with mp3s, iPods instead of books.  If you would be interested in helping to form such a group, let me know.  Also, if you listen to any of these lectures or programs and would like to recommend it to others, please let me know that as well.  Maybe if we can find one that is especially stimulating and relevant, we can use it to launch the program.


          Adult ed questionnaires are going out with this month’s bulletin.  Please fill it out and return it when you get yours.  That way we can plan an adult ed program for next year designed to suit your needs.







 Temple Beth El of Stamford, CT

Israel Adventure

Led by Rabbi Joshua and Mara Hammerman


August 7-August 22, 2005


This unforgettable journey will have something for everyone:


·        Full children’s program with youth counselor

·        A glorious Shabbat in Jerusalem

·        Archeological dig in the Judean Hills

·        Relax at a five-star Dead Sea Spa

·        Guest speakers and meaningful encounters with Israelis from a wide variety of backgrounds

·        Western Wall Tunnels

·        Ba·        Wilderness Experience in the Negev

·        Exploring Tel Aviv and the mystical city of Safed

·        Visit to our sister city of Afula

·        Visit to an army base

·         Boat ride on the Kinneret and Kayaking on the Jordan




Required Reading and Action Items  by Rachel Ginsberg  Mishpacha Magazine  (Thanks to Sue Plutzer for forwarding this). Shalom Nagar sprung the gallows under Adolf Eichmann over 40 years ago. To this day the scene plays itself over and over in minute detail. For years, the details of arch-Nazi Eichmann's hanging by the State of Israel was shrouded in secrecy -- from his being given his last glass of wine, to the noose being placed around his neck, to his lifeless body being incinerated in a specially-designed oven and his ashes spread over the sea outside Israel's territorial waters. Most of those involved in Israel's first and only execution in 1962 are no longer living. But Nagar was "discovered" 12 years ago, when an Israeli radio station wanted to produce a 30th anniversary program of Eichmann's capture and hanging. After sifting through prison records and following tips from former prison employees, Nagar, "the short Yemenite guard" as he was remembered, was located and asked to reveal the memories he had stored away for so many years. At the time, Shalom Nagar, having retired from the Prisons Services, was living in Kiryat Arba and learning in kollel from dawn to midnight. …


Nobel Prize laureates urge end to boycott of Israeli universities,,SB111706499394043576-IVjgYNllaN4np2man2IcauDm5,00.html Israel's Unsettling Dilemma: Abandoned Assets Loom Large In Fulfilling Gaza Pullout's Promise By KARBY LEGGETT, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL May 26, 2005

ALEI SINAI, Gaza -- After living in the occupied Gaza Strip for 14 years, Tzori Ganish's family faces eviction from its home as Israel plans to pull its citizens and troops from the Palestinian territory. But rather than leave his six-bedroom house intact, Mr. Ganish wants it destroyed -- and if the Israeli government doesn't comply, he says he will take care of it himself: "I will turn this house into dust before I allow Palestinians to live in it."

In August, Israel expects to begin its withdrawal from Gaza, the first time it would dismantle settlements in Gaza or the West Bank since it captured those lands in 1967. Yet as the date approaches, Mr. Ganish's stance reflects a conundrum Israel faces: Should it destroy the homes of Gaza's 8,000-odd Jewish settlers, or leave them as an act of goodwill?

How Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon answers that question will affect more than just the homes, roads, schools, hospitals and businesses Israel built in Gaza at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. The resolution also will play a crucial role in determining whether the evacuation becomes a springboard to a new peace initiative or the onset of a lasting, hostile separation….


More Than the Koran - Suzanne Fields
Americans don't kill each other over burning the Bible, as reprehensible as Bible-burning would be, nor did any of us take to the streets to shout insults at Muslim "infidels" when Palestinian Muslims used pages from a Bible as toilet paper during the occupation of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, or when Islamic radicals beheaded Daniel Pearl, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, simply because he was a Jew. Many of the textbooks that Palestinian children use include Islamist messages that the United States and Israel must be destroyed because they are "the big and little Satans." Maps of the Middle East continue to omit Israel. Schools and communities continue to celebrate suicide bombers against both countries.
    By contrast, Israeli school children are taught positive images of Islam and Arab culture. The Center for Monitoring the Impact of Peace reviewed 360 Israeli textbooks and found them to focus on reconciliation, tolerance, and peace without instigation toward hatred. Israeli textbooks aim to educate against stereotypes of "evil" Arabs and "bad" Muslims. (Washington Times)

Amnesty's 2004 Report: Too Much Politics, Not Enough Credibility
Amnesty International's Annual Report for 2004, released on May 25, 2005, is a modest improvement, but continues to suffer from three fundamental weaknesses: 1) The limited credibility in its research and allegations regarding Israeli responses to terror; 2) The use of terms such as "war crimes" and "violation of international law" in an arbitrary and inconsistent manner; 3) The pervasive impact of ideological and political agendas that favor closed anti-democratic regimes over democracies, and replace universal human rights norms. At the same time, the current report devotes somewhat greater attention to systematic Palestinian violations of human rights, including the use of children by "armed groups," and is a step towards correcting the unbalanced allegations against Israel. (NGO Monitor)

What Drives Saudi Arabia to Persist in Terrorist Financing? Al-Jihad bi-al-Mal - Financial Jihad Against the Infidels - Lt. Col. Jonathan D. Halevi
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • The U.S. offensive against terrorism has succeeded in reducing the extent of global terrorism. However, under the surface, the financial channels that are the arteries of radical Islamic movements from Hamas to the Chechens continue to operate. U.S. pressure has managed to force Islamic financiers to alter their pattern of operations, but the substance of their support persists - in a financial jihad that backs the wider global jihad against the infidels.
  • Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states remain the most significant source of funds flowing to the Islamist movements. New documents found at "charitable foundations" linked to Hamas, as well as a careful examination of the Palestinian press, indicate a continuing flow of funds directly from official Saudi organizations to these foundations, which were declared by both Israel and the U.S. as terrorist organizations.
  • Palestinian Authority officials recently confirmed that Saudi Arabia continues to fund charitable foundations controlled by Hamas. The World Assembly for Muslim Youth (WAMY) and the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) are active in transferring these funds. Captured documents show that the Saudi charity al-Haramain transferred funds to the al-Quran and a-Sunna Society in Qalqilia in August 2003 - almost two months after President George W. Bush announced in a summit meeting in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, that he had assurances from Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Abdullah and other Arab leaders that they would halt all financial assistance to terrorist organizations.
  • In a later captured document, dated 8 February 2004, the Hamas-linked Idhna foundation in the Hebron area thanked al-Haramain for its assistance. The chairman of the al-Haramain administrative council was the Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, a member of the Saudi cabinet.
  • The financial support funneled to Hamas charitable societies under the heading of "humanitarian aid to the needy" is part of a financial jihad, subsidizing the military operations of the terrorist group. The Hamas civilian infrastructure is comprised of economic, educational, and social institutions that serve the terrorist wing. Intelligence services should devote more attention and resources to uncovering how terrorist organizations avoid international control mechanisms by operating through "innocent" front groups. Western financial institutions must not allow the transfer of funds that nourish the global jihad.

Israelis Flock to Meron for Lag B'Omer - Mati Wagner (Jerusalem Post)
    A quarter of a million Israelis are expected to visit the northern Galilee grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai in Meron on Thursday evening to commemorate the holiday of Lag B'Omer.

A Race Against Time in the Mideast - Dennis Ross
Unfortunately, at this point, Abbas has been able to deliver little of what was expected. While he has made some moves against corruption - treading carefully, given the opposition of the old guard of Fatah - he has not been able to produce much on employment or freedom of movement. Palestinians still give him the benefit of the doubt, but they are increasingly dissatisfied with the absence of real change. One sign of this is the increasing appeal of Hamas - perceived as clean and capable of delivering services.
    The international community acts as if a business-as-usual approach will suffice in providing the assistance that has been pledged. That could mean that by the time the money begins to appear, it will be Hamas, not the PA, making the calls on how it is spent. While the administration's assistance request has almost worked its way through Congress, there is little prospect that money from the U.S. will flow to labor-intensive projects before the elections.
    The Bush administration needs to call publicly, not privately, for the creation of a Gulf Cooperation Council fund of $1 billion for Palestinian development, to be available immediately to finance housing projects that are labor-intensive and for which there are existing Palestinian blueprints and contractors; provide the $240 million the PA would like to spend on social programs to compete with Hamas; and underwrite the cost of the pensions Abbas needs to pay to those he has retired from the security organizations. Oil revenue for the Persian Gulf oil states has increased by $58 billion in the past year. These countries should be more than capable of providing $1 billion for the Palestinians. (Washington Post)


Report: A Deal to Tame Hamas? - Roi Nahmias (Ynet News)
    U.S. and EU representatives have offered Hamas a deal to remove the group's name from the list of terror organizations in exchange for dismantling its military wing and stopping all aggression against Israel, al-Bayan in the United Arab Emirates reported Tuesday.


A Democratic Institution - Bernard Lewis
The Iraqis have made tremendous progress toward democracy, first by holding fair and contested elections, then by freely negotiating a series of compromise agreements to form a coalition government comprising diverse and even previously conflicting elements. In a country where freedom and compromise were equally unfamiliar, these are giant steps forward. But an important step still remains. The underlying assumption of the Iraqi parties seems to be that to be part of the political process one must somehow be part of the government. Failing that, one has no role in the political process, and one's only options are submission or resistance.
    This is a dangerous fallacy. There is another essential component of any democratic system, and that is an opposition. The task of a democratic opposition is to oppose the government, to strive to oust and replace it at the next election, and meanwhile to subject its policies to rigorous but fair scrutiny. The opposition must be real and free, with a genuine, equal chance of winning. Otherwise the democratic process is about as meaningful as a football match with only one team. The writer is emeritus professor at Princeton. (Wall Street Journal, 24May05)


Why Americans Support Israel
Americans don't strongly support Israel because of some super-powerful Jewish lobby or a devious press corps. It stems from atrocities committed by the Nazis and many others in past world history. Today, that same vitriolic hate and proclivity for violence is espoused by many Muslims. That is especially distasteful to Americans, when it is shouted with venomous emotion by Muslim religious leaders. And again, even more so when it seems to be emotionally embraced by "ordinary people" on the streets of the Middle East. Yes, there are grievances on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, but terrorism by car bombers, suicide bombers, and other murderers continue to make matters much worse.
    With each act of terrorism, the resolve of Americans to support Israel is dramatically strengthened. If Muslims want to be respected in America, they must speak up for what, in the eyes of most civilized people, makes sense: individual freedoms, respect for individuals and tolerance of varying opinions, disdain for terrorism - especially, those who involve themselves or support it in the name of Islam. - Name withheld by request (Letter to the Editor, Khaleej Times-Dubai)

Students Target Obstacles to College Studies in Israel - Manya A. Brachear (Chicago Tribune)
    Since September, U.S. college students across the country have been circulating petitions and lobbying university administrators to remove the barriers that prevent them from studying in Israel.
    Seven universities - including the University of Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Ohio State University - recently have reinstated their programs with the caveat that students must sign a waiver clearing their schools of any liability in case of violent unrest.
    Supporters of such changes say the groundswell of students who want to study in Israel reflects the determination of American college students not to let the threat of terrorism dictate their daily lives or educational pursuits

Appeasing the Terrorists Will Only Strengthen Them - Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (Prime Minister's Office)

Prime Minister Sharon told the AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington on Tuesday:

  • I came here from Jerusalem, the eternal, united, and undivided capital of the State of Israel and the Jewish people forever and ever.
  • The strength of U.S.-Israel relations is visible in the unprecedented bipartisan support Israel receives in the United States Congress and the public. We see eye to eye on strategic issues such as: the global war on terrorism, the need to reach a peaceful solution with the Palestinians according to the Roadmap, the threats to the stability of the Middle East from Syria, Lebanon, and Hizballah, and the dangers of a nuclear Iran.
  • The Roadmap is the only political plan for a peaceful solution with the Palestinians. The sequence of the Roadmap states that progress will be in stages in order to examine developments. It emphasizes that true peace will only be realized after full security is achieved and terrorism is eliminated.
  • We believe disengagement will increase Israel's security and reduce friction between the Palestinians and us. It will help advance our national strategic interests, promote our economy and prosperity, and advance the development of the Negev and the Galilee.
  • It is thanks to the disengagement that we can make certain that there will be no entry of Palestinian refugees into Israel. In addition, the major Israeli population centers in Judea and Samaria will remain an integral part of the State of Israel and will have territorial contiguity with Israel in any final status agreement.
  • In implementing the disengagement plan there is the potential of paving the way to the Roadmap. I call upon the leaders of the Palestinian Authority to meet the challenge and coordinate the disengagement with us. The successful coordination of the Disengagement Plan will allow us to embark on a new era of trust and build our relations with the Palestinian Authority.
  • In this pre-Roadmap phase - and we are still in the pre-Roadmap phase - we see great opportunities in the election of Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. We hope he will be able to lead his people and create a democratic law-abiding society that will build its institutions, undergo a broad reform process, fight terrorism, and dismantle the infrastructure and the terrorist organizations.
  • We will do our utmost to cooperate with the new Palestinian leadership and will take the needed measures to help Chairman Abbas. We are willing to help Chairman Abbas as much as we can, as long as we do not risk our security. That is the red line.
  • Until now, terrorist activities have not yet ceased. The smuggling of weapons and arms production continues, and there is no real prevention of terrorist actions. Progress towards the Roadmap can be achieved only after the terrorist organizations are dismantled. Appeasing the terrorists and engaging them into the Palestinian political system will only strengthen them.

Anti-Israeli and Anti-Semitic Hate Propaganda in Cartoons Published in Official PA Newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)

Anti-British Hate Propaganda on PA-Controlled TV - See Video (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies)

Israel 4th in Eurovision Song Contest - Ziv Cohen (Ynet News)
    Shiri Maimon, who represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest finals Saturday with "The Quiet that Remains," took fourth place.


Time Traveller


MYTH #180

“Supporters of Israel only criticize Arabs and never Israelis.”


Israel is not perfect. Even the most committed friends of Israel acknowledge that the government sometimes makes mistakes, and that it has not solved all the problems in its society. Supporters of Israel may not emphasize these faults, however, because there is no shortage of groups and individuals who are willing to do nothing but focus on Israel’s imperfections. The public usually has much less access to Israel’s side of the story of its conflict with the Arabs, or the positive aspects of its society.

Israelis themselves are their own harshest critics. If you want to read criticism of Israeli behavior, you do not need to seek out anti-Israel sources, you can pick up any Israeli newspaper and find no shortage of news and commentary critical of government policy. The rest of the world’s media provides constant attention to Israel and the coverage is far more likely to be unfavorable than complimentary.

Myths and Facts also pulls no punches when it comes to addressing Israel’s responsibilities for events and policies that tarnish its image, including Israel’s role in the Palestinian refugee problem, the massacre at Sabra and Shatila, and social and economic inequalities between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel.

Israel’s supporters believe Israel has a right to exist and that close relations between Israel and other nations in the world is in everyone’s best interest. When friends criticize Israel, it is because they want the country to be better. Israel’s detractors do not have that goal; they are more interested in delegitimizing the country, placing a wedge between Israel and its allies, and working toward its destruction.

Friends of Israel do not try to whitewash the truth, but they do try to put events in proper context. That is also our goal.

This article can be found at

Source: Myths & Facts Online -- A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell G. Bard,



Jewish and Israeli Links:


A great resource on all things Jewish:

The best Jewish site for Jewish learning:

Jewish Identity Databases



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 Education resources for all ages – wonderful collection


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

Media-Related Links:

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


Other Jewish Sites

Data JEM – an GEM for Jewish Education! Database for  Jewish educational materials:

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

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

See My Jewish Learning's Talmud section for great resources on the Talmud.

See Eliezer Siegal's Talmud Page for the best visual introduction to a page of Talmud anywhere.

A Jewish Guide to the Internet:

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

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

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

You can find an online Hebrew dictionary at

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

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

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

Links to all the Jewish newspapers that are fit to print:

Israel Campus Beat – to get all the latest information on Israel relevant to students on college campuses - the best place on the planet to find Jewish Jokes

Conservative Responsa (fascinating decisions related to applying Jewish Law to our times):

               U.S. (Committee for Law and Jerwish Standards):

               Israel (Masorti – Schechter Institute):

Superb booklet for visiting the sick and for healing in general:


Want to know the real story behind living in Israel? Not the politics, the conflict, the security fence or disengagement from Gaza, but what it's like for people going about their day to day lives in a country as full of cultural and social revolutions as Israel? Then welcome to ISRAEL21c's new blog - Israelity.






Davenning Resources – compiled in part by The Shefa Network: The Conservative Jewish Activist's Network (a forum for passionate Conservative Jews to reflect together as they increase creative energy within the Conservative Movement's environments in an effort to bring a healthy non-institutional perspective to the worlds of Conservative Jews).

Audio Siddur: an unbelievable collection of Davenning audio files by Rabbi Mark H. Zimmerman. A wonderful davenning resource created by Chavurat Kol Zimrah, with the intention of enabling individuals and communities to lead
and participate in their own exuberant and melodious Friday Night Services. The purpose of this site is to promote the proliferation of Nusach and to make a Nusach readily accessible to those who have a
desire to learn and a desire to deepen their Judaism. This site is a volunteer work in progress.

Davenning Files from the DC Minyan: Several MP3 files recorded (with the great help of Kehilat Hadar), that review the Friday night and Shabbat
morning davenning, as well as detailed instructions for service leaders.  We hope these will be valuable both to those who have led before and
would like to review, as well as to those who are learning to lead for the first time.

Ellie's Torah Trope Tutor will teach you the tunes for each of the Torah cantillation marks for Torah and Haftorah, Megillah and High Holiday
Torah reading.

Navigating the Bible II offers audio recordings of all Torah readings, complete with vocalized Hebrew text, a copy of the text without vocalization,
transliteration, and translation.


A phenomenal new Israel publication. It was created by a Canadian student organization. The majority of the publication is relevant for an American audience. I highly recommend printing the publication and distributing it.






Now, more than ever, Israel needs your support!


Let’s stand in solidarity with our friends, family and children to celebrate this beautiful country. 


Hop on the bus and come to the Salute to Israel Parade in NYC!


What do you need to know??

·       Sunday, June 5, 2005

·       Come to Stamford Jewish Community Center at 11:45 am for FREE TICKET drawing

·       Hop on the bus and travel together to NYC

·       Bus leaving PROMPTLY at 12:30 pm

·       March at 2:30 pm (viewing area available for those who can’t march)

·       March route is about 25-30 NYC blocks and takes about an hour

·       Bus returns to Stamford JCC around 6 pm

·       Cost is $18 includes t-shirt (while supplies last), transportation and snacks

·       Chance to win TWO FREE ROUND TRIP TICKETS TO ISRAEL (drawing takes place prior to leaving for NYC, you must be present to win)


Registration forms needed by May 31, 2005.


For more information, please contact Dana Horowitz at 203.321.1373 ext. 108 or at


Support Stamford Cancer Patients & Their Families.  Join the Temple Beth El team on Sunday June 5th for the 10th annual Bennett Cancer Center Walk & Run.  Call Nancy Rosenberg 325-8836 or Beth Silver 967-8852 for details.  All Welcome!  It’s a lot of fun for a great cause!  Walk or run at your own pace!


Joke for the Week





Go to  to find the Jewish secrets imbedded in your sign; insights like:


Pisces (Fish) - You'll be chopped to bits before you know it. Respond gracefully. Style tip: a little piece of carrot makes a lovely yarmulke.


Aries (Ram) - In the early fall someone will try to blow in your ear. Don't get too excited - a few weeks later you'll be dead. Easy come, easy go.


Gemini (Twins) - Stop kicking your mother. She has enough trouble with your clueless father. Advice for some of you: remember, red lentil soup isn't THAT good.



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