Friday, May 6, 2005

May 6, 2005 and Nisan 27, 5765


Shabbat – O – Gram

May 6, 2005 and Nisan 27, 5765


Rabbi Joshua HammermanTemple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut





Shabbat Shalom  




Happy Mother’s Day


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


Just the Facts (service schedule)

The Rabid Rabbi

Spiritual Journey on the Web

 Ask the Rabbi

 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











The Commanding Voice of Auschwitz


What does the Voice of Auschwitz command?

        Jews are forbidden to hand Hitler posthumous victories. They are commanded to survive as Jews, lest the Jewish people perish. They are commanded to remember the victims of Auschwitz lest their memory perish. They are forbidden to despair of man and his world, and to escape into either cynicism or otherworldliness, lest they cooperate in delivering the world over to the forces of Auschwitz. Finally,they are forbidden to despair of the God of Israel, lest Judaism perish. A secularist Jew cannot make himself believe by a mere act of will, nor can he be commanded to do so….And a religious Jew who has stayed with his God may be forced into new, possibly revolutionary relationships with Him. One possibility, however, is wholly unthinkable. A Jew may not respond to Hitler’s attempt to destroy Judaism by himself cooperating in its destruction. In ancient times, the unthinkable Jewish sin was idolatry. Today, it is to respond to Hitler by doing his work.


        For a Jew hearing the commanding Voice of Auschwitz the duty to remember and to tell the tale is not negotiable. It is holy. The religious Jew still possesses this word. The secularist Jew is commanded to restore it. A secular holiness, as it were, has forced itself into his vocabulary…


        Jews after Auschwitz represent all humanity when they affirm their Jewishness and deny the Nazi denial… The commanding Voice of Auschwitz singles Jews out; Jewish survival is a commandment which brooks no compromise. It was this Voice which was heard by the Jews of Israel in May and June 1967 when they refused to lie down and be slaughtered…


        For after Auschwitz, Jewish life is more sacred than Jewish death, were it even for the sanctification of the divine Name. The left-wing secularist Israeli journalist Amos Kenan writes: “After the death camps, we are left only one supreme value: existence.”


By the Jewish philosopher Emil Fackenheim, written in 1968:





Since it is still a bit chilly, outdoor services will not begin this week.  But as you enter our synagogue’s driveway stop for a moment to “smell the roses” – or tulips, as the case may be… The beautiful flowers you see were planted by Alison Pomerance and others, as part of Alison’s Mitzvah project.

Friday Evening

Candle lighting for Stamford, CT: 7:37pm on Friday, 6 May 2005.  For candle lighting times, other Jewish calendar information, and to download a Jewish calendar to your PDA, click on

Kabbalat Shabbat Service: 6:30 PM in the chapel

Tot Shabbat: 6:45 PM in the lobby. This Friday, May 6, Tot Shabbat will be hosted by Beth and Seth Kaplan and their children, Josh, Evan and Justin. Josh is a 2nd grader at Westover and attends TBE religious school.  Evan is in the pre-K program at Sara Walker and also attends TBE religious school.  Justin is in the 2's program at Sara Walker. The Kaplans are hosting in honor of Rabbi Kalev, Mrs. Bahar and Mrs. Bailer in appreciation of a terrific year of Hebrew school! We are looking for Tot Shabbat host families.  If you are interested, please contact Sheryl Young at  And mark your calendars for a Tot Shabbat outing celebrating Shabbat and Lag B’Omer, on May 20 at Cove Island Park.

Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM – Kahal Service (congregant-led), with lunch  - Thank you to David Hirshfield for delivering the d’var Torah on this, the anniversary of his Bar Mitzvah.

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

Torah Portion: Kedoshim - Leviticus 19:1 - 20:27

1: 19:1-4
2: 19:5-10
3: 19:11-14
4: 19:15-18
5: 19:19-22
6: 19:23-32
7: 19:33-37
maf: 19:35-37

Haftarah Amos 9:7 - 9:15

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.: CLAL’s Torah commentary archive:  World Zionist Organization Education page, including Nehama Liebowitz archives of parsha commentaries: For a more Kabbalistic/Zionist/Orthodox perspective from Rav Kook, first Chief Rabbi of Israel, go to For some probing questions and meditations on key verses of the portion, with a liberal kabbalistic bent, go to or, for Kabbalistic commentaries from the Zohar itself, go to To see the weekly commentary from Hillel, geared to college students and others, go to For a Jewish Renewal and feminist approach go to .  For a comprehensive Orthodox viewpoint from the Israeli rabbi, Yaakov Fogelman, go to the Torah Outreach Program at  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.


We’ve had a guaranteed minyan request for a yahrzeit for next Friday!!!!   Please go to the Rosner Minyan Maker to sign up!


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 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

Judaism, Connecticut and the Death Penalty


On Tuesday, May 10, at 6:01 PM, religious institutions in our area will be tolling bells for five minutes to protest the execution of Michael Ross. I will stand in the front lobby at that time, corresponding to the end of Religious School, and sound the shofar.  No matter how heinous Ross’ crimes, we only diminish ourselves by responding to violence with violence.  When you hear the bells on Tuesday, pause for a moment to remember Michael Ross, the families of his victims, and the people of the State of Connecticut.

Jewish law does include provisions for capital punishment, but it rarely if ever is utilized.  The principle is that human beings are created in God’s image – every life is of infinite value, so no compensation short of the taking of one’s life can adequately repay the debt for murder. But in practice, the rabbis understood the fallibility of human nature.  We are not God; we make mistakes – and even one mistake in a situation like this is one too many.  It was said that a Jewish court that put to death one person in 70 years was considered a “hanging Sanhedrin.” Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah says, One person in seventy years. Rabbi Tarffon and Rabbi Akiba say, if we had been in the Sanhedrin, no one would have ever been put to death. Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel says, they would have thereby increased the shedders of blood in Israel (Mishnah Makkot 1:10)."

While the last line indicates a belief that the death penalty, if carried out judiciously, can be a deterring factor, prevailing Jewish thought in every movement has followed the previous opinions, which either oppose the death penalty outright, or allow for it only in the most extreme -- once in seventy years -- of circumstances. Following this line of thinking, the major Jewish movements in the United States all have specific policy supporting either abolition of the death penalty, or a moratorium on its use.

A full treatment of this issue can be found at - from the Religious Action Center, an arm of the Reform movement. 

Here is the famous Mishna from Sanhedrin 4:5:

"How are witnesses inspired with awe in capital cases?" the Mishna begins. "They are brought in and admonished as follows: In case you may want to offer testimony that is only conjecture or hearsay or secondhand evidence, even from a person you consider trustworthy; or in the event you do not know that we shall test you by cross-examination and inquiry, then know that capital cases are not like monetary cases. In monetary cases, a man can make monetary restitution and be forgiven, but in capital cases both the blood of the man put to death and the blood of his [potential] descendants are on the witness's head until the end of time. For thus we find in the case of Cain, who killed his brother, that it is written: 'The bloods of your brother cry unto Me' (Genesis 4:10) — that is, his blood and the blood of his potential descendants.... Therefore was the first man, Adam, created alone, to teach us that whoever destroys a single life, the Bible considers it as if he destroyed an entire world. And whoever saves a single life, the Bible considers it as if he saved an entire world. Furthermore, only one man, Adam, was created for the sake of peace among men, so that no one should say to his fellow, 'My father was greater than yours.... Also, man [was created singly] to show the greatness of the Holy One, Blessed be He, for if a man strikes many coins from one mold, they all resemble one another, but the King of Kings, the Holy One, Blessed be He, made each man in the image of Adam, and yet not one of them resembles his fellow. Therefore every single person is obligated to say, 'The world was created for my sake"' (Mishna Sanhedrin 4:5). (One commentary notes, "How grave the responsibility, therefore, of corrupting myself by giving false evidence, and thus bringing [upon myself the moral guilt of [murdering] a whole world.")

"Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee"   --- John Donne

"To condemn someone to death is to surrender; it proves that you failed.  You are not able to change him, to change her; you have to kill him or her.  You surrender."  --- Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist Monk

"As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back from your evil ways."  Ezk 33:11



Spiritual Journey on the Web





          A few weeks ago, I wrote of how interdenominational Torah study is happening all over Israel, even within Orthodox institutions.  I expressed the hope that this might provide a model for us back here, for all age groups.   Our community is already a model for cooperation among liberal and more traditional groups.  We saw it in action on our own bima at this past Wednesday’s wonderful Yom Hashoah program.  It happens all the time at the Board of Rabbis.  Yet this subject appears to be strangely taboo in public discussion.  So, in the public interest, and in honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut, here are some sites to explore to expand your own Jewish horizons, places that will not only accept you as a Jew (most do that), but will accept that there can be a multiplicity of avenues toward Truth, and that, to quote Pirke Avot, “These and those are the words of the living God.”


A partial list of non-university venues for pluralistic Jewish study in Israel:

Shalom Hartman Institute

Meitar: The College for Judaism as Culture

Alma College

Yakar: Center for Tradition and Creativity

Panim: For Jewish Renaissance in Israel

Hiburim: Judaism and Humanism in Education

Institute of Secular Jewish Rites

Melitz: Committed to Jewish Unity

Ta Shma: Unique Approach to Study

Bina: Center for Jewish Identity and Culture

Kehilla (part of urban Kibbutz Tamuz)

Elul: Center of Culture and Learning

Pardes Institute for Jewish Studies

Beit Midrash/A Liberal Yeshiva

and -- last but not least, our own Conservative Yeshiva, which we’ll be visiting this summer…








 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

In honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut the Embassy is launching a new fully - animated game on the children's website:

User friendly information on Israel and Jewish history:

Yom Hashoah Coverage:

Torchlighters - Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day 2005
(Yad Vashem)

During the Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day official ceremony at Yad Vashem, six torches representing the six million murdered Jews were lit. The testimonies of two of the six torchlighters are presented here:

  • Malka Rosental: My mother turned herself over to the Germans in an effort to save my life. My father left me alone with a poor rural Polish family, the Kots. A Jewish child was found at a neighbor's home and the boy was murdered on the spot.
        The Kots dug a pit in the cowshed and placed a large barrel in it. There was straw, 2 blankets, and a doll belonging to their daughter. I lived for a year and a half in the barrel.
        The place was so peaceful, nothing happened to anyone there. They were only after me.
  • Mordechai Zeidel: After the Vilna ghetto was liquidated we arrived at Ponary. They chained our feet and took us straight to the pit. Our work consisted of taking the bodies out of the pits and burning them.
        We counted the victims in one pit. There were 25,000 of them. Some recognized their relatives, their wives, by their clothes.
        I can see the flames, my people being incinerated. I had no family left. I knew I had burned them all at Ponary. Ponary comes to visit me every night.

"Never Again Will We Find Ourselves Unprepared" - Prime Minister Sharon on Holocaust Remembrance Day (Prime Minister's Office)
    "Jews will never again exist in a world with no home, with no haven to run to, and no Jewish defense force to protect them."
     "Never again will we find ourselves unprepared."

327,000 Holocaust Survivors in Israel - Ruth Sinai
There are 327,000 Holocaust survivors living in Israel today, according to a new report commissioned by the government and written by Dr. Jenny Brodsky of the Brookdale Institute and demographer Prof. Sergio DellaPergola of Hebrew University. About half of the survivors reached Israel after 1990. (Ha'aretz)


A Survivor Returns to Auschwitz - Rosie DiManno
Even in the final days of the Third Reich when defeat was imminent there was a purposeful and uninterrupted resolve to eradicate all of European Jewry. "There were two wars going on at the same time," says Max Eisen, a 76-year-old Jew and resident of Toronto who somehow survived all this, returned now to Poland on the 60th anniversary of liberation, in the company of Canadian students and educators for whom he is a font of living memory. "There was the war being fought against the Allies. And there was the ideological war against the biological life of every single Jew. At the end, the Nazis didn't even have enough rolling stock to get supplies to their troops. But all day long, trains full of Jews kept pulling into Auschwitz."
    Moved to another labor camp, Eisen recalls, "I went outside one morning and there were no guards anywhere. Suddenly, this tank with a white star on it came crashing through the gates. There were black soldiers on top of the tank. It was the Americans. We were staring at them and they were staring at us. I don't know who was in more disbelief. I saw our horror in their eyes." (Toronto Star)


Interview with German Nurse Who Was in Hitler's Bunker - Luke Harding
Erna Flegel, 93, a German Red Cross nurse, describes being in Hitler's Berlin bunker during the final weeks of World War II. (Guardian-UK)
    See also 1945 U.S. Army Intelligence Report on German Nurse (

 "The Passion" by Mel Gibson: Enthusiastic Response in the Catholic World, Restrained Criticism by Jews - Sergio I. Minerbi
Mel Gibson's film "The Passion" aroused great interest among both Jews and Christians. The film's anti-Semitic content and violence were the major reasons for the wide attention it received. On 3 October 2004, Pope John Paul II beatified Ann-Catherine Emmerich, whose visions were the basis for the movie, thus indirectly giving his blessing to the film. Several Vatican personalities have claimed that the film is not anti-Semitic. Among Jewish organizations, the debate centered on whether one should criticize the film or avoid doing so, in order not to increase interest in the movie. (Jewish Political Studies Review)

Israel and Other

Hamas vs. America - Daniel Pipes
Before any whitewashing of Hamas - a likely electoral winner - proceeds, it bears noting that the organization has not just murdered hundreds of Israelis but also prepared itself for war with America. In 2003, Hamas declared President Bush "Islam's biggest enemy" and in 2004 it called him "the enemy of God, the enemy of Islam and Muslims." A 2004 press release announced Hamas considers the U.S as an enemy. "The U.S will face responsibility for its position as an accomplice with Israel." (New York Sun/Middle East Forum)

  Hate Indoctrination and Media Blindness - Andrea Levin
Current reports by monitoring agencies of a diminution of PA media incitement are mixed with counter-reports of new and virulent invective. None of the monitoring groups report change in religious and educational indoctrination. Mosques continue to incite, most recently stoking fears that Jewish radicals would attack Islamic holy sites on the Temple Mount. The incendiary sermons were in turn aired on PA television.
    Likewise, Palestinian schoolbooks remain a vehicle for teaching that Israel is illegitimate and will rightly be replaced by Palestine. No map in any book identifies the State of Israel within any boundary. Only Palestine appears, encompassing all of Israel. When the hatred is amplified continually by television, radio, religious teaching, political leaders, summer camps, public rallies, and neighborhood posters, what other outcome could be expected than the rejection of peaceful accommodation with IsraelThe writer is executive director of CAMERA, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. (Jerusalem Post)

Freedom and Justice in the Modern Middle East - Bernard Lewis (Foreign Affairs)

  • To speak of dictatorship as being the immemorial way of doing things in the Middle East is simply untrue. It shows ignorance of the Arab past, contempt for the Arab present, and unconcern for the Arab future.
  • The type of regime that was maintained by Saddam Hussein - and that continues to be maintained by some other rulers in the Muslim world - is modern, indeed recent, and very alien to the foundations of Islamic civilization.
  • The main threat to the development of democracy in Iraq and ultimately in other Arab and Muslim countries lies not in any inherent social quality or characteristic, but in the very determined efforts that are being made to ensure democracy's failure.
  • Most dangerous are the so-called Islamic fundamentalists, those for whom democracy is part of the greater evil emanating from the West, whether in the old-fashioned form of imperial domination or in the more modern form of cultural penetration.
  • An important element in the Sunni holy war is the rise and spread - and in some areas dominance - of Wahhabism.
  • The creation of a democratic political and social order in Iraq or elsewhere in the Middle East will not be easy. But it is possible, and there are increasing signs that it has already begun.

Bush Renews Sanctions Against Syria, Accuses It of "Supporting Terrorism"
President Bush on Thursday renewed economic sanctions on Syria implemented a year ago, saying its government still supports terrorism and is undermining efforts to stabilize Iraq. The measures include a ban on all U.S. exports to Syria except for food and medicine; no flights to and from the U.S.; authorization to the Treasury Department to freeze assets of Syrian citizens and entities involved in terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, the occupation of Lebanon, or terrorism in Iraq; and restrictions on banking relations between U.S. banks and the Syrian national bank. (AP/Washington Post)
    See also Syria Ignoring U.S. Requests on Terrorists
Syria has ignored U.S. demands to stop foreign fighters from crossing the border into Iraq and "terrorists" operating from Syrian territory, a top U.S. commander said. "We have provided Syrians with very specific information and asked them to help in securing the Iraq-Syrian borders to stop foreign fighters from crossing into Iraq," Gen. John Abizaid, commander of the U.S. forces in the Gulf, told the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai Al-Aam. "More importantly, we asked them to cooperate with us in chasing terrorists operating out of Syria, in addition to Iraqi Baathists present in Syria who are trying to organize military operations inside Iraq." "We have been very specific and clear in our demands. Unfortunately, all these demands fell on Syrian deaf ears, and they did not respond to any of it." (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

  Relief for AIPAC Despite Franklin Headlines - David Horovitz
The Israeli government Thursday issued a firm denial that it was recalling a diplomat linked to Pentagon analyst Larry Franklin, who has been charged with illegally passing "top-secret" U.S. defense information to AIPAC officials. However the diplomat in question, Naor Gilon, is understood to be finishing his three-year stint in Washington shortly. Gilon, the minister-counselor for political affairs at the embassy, is known to have met with Franklin, a specialist in Iranian and Middle Eastern affairs, in the routine course of his duties.
    The fact that two longtime AIPAC officials to whom Franklin allegedly passed his classified information are not named in the affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint against Franklin, and the fact that it specifies that the exchange of information was "verbal" - no documents are alleged to have changed hands - is said to be a source of relief to the pair themselves and to AIPAC, which is not mentioned in the affidavit. (Jerusalem Post)

Poll: Strong American Support For Israel Continues (Anti-Defamation League)
    The ADL 2005 Survey of American Attitudes Toward Israel and the Middle East, conducted March 18-25, reveals that Americans continue to strongly support Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    Americans sympathize more with Israel - 42% - than with the Palestinians - 13%.
    74% of Americans believe Israel is serious about reaching a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
    The Israeli government's favorable rating is at its highest in over a decade at 43% positive to 26% unfavorable.
    Almost twice as many Americans (42%) have a favorable impression of Ariel Sharon as have an unfavorable (22%), up 7% since 2003; 27% view Mahmoud Abbas favorably, as compared with 9% favorability for Arafat in 2003.

Sharansky's Message - Editorial
Sharansky's basic argument is that disengagement ought to be linked to democratization among the Palestinians and that failure to hinge it on fundamental reforms in fact undermines the likelihood of change and underpins terror. True democracy, as Sharansky often stresses, requires more than merely holding elections. The Arab world has plenty of elections - often with a single candidate, sometimes with a puppet challenger - but precious little true people-power. Saddam Hussein was "elected" by whopping landslides.
    Democracy must be inculcated as a sociocultural mind-set, accompanied by a genuinely free press, independent judiciary, incitement-free education, and a free market. Above all, there must be freedom from fear. All that is absent from the PA's ambit, where executions of those accused of helping Israel thwart terror atrocities were recently approved. Crucially for Israel's interests, only a truly free society can make a truly lasting peace. And so, as Sharansky is rightly saying, in order to give peace a chance, the cause of freedom next door should be placed high on our national agenda and pursued in earnest. (Jerusalem Post)


Why Gaza May Spell a New Start - Aaron David Miller
There is a real chance that the Gaza withdrawal could provide a new beginning for Israelis and Palestinians. Sharon does not believe in a conflict-ending deal on Jerusalem or refugees. But Sharon knows that only the Gaza withdrawal will have a chance to improve Israel's political and international position. Gone are the illusions of the Israeli public of a warm peace with the Arabs and Palestinians. Arafat's perfidy, the highs of the Camp David summit meeting, and the lows of a bloody intifada have converted the peace process from a religion for believers into a business proposition for pragmatists.
    The new consensus is driven not by sentimentality or ideology; it is driven by the reality that keeping the vast majority of the territories occupied in 1967 means losing a Jewish state and hope for the good life for themselves and their children. Israelis today have a credible Palestinian partner. The Gaza withdrawal offers Palestinians an end to Israel's occupation there and the opportunity to consolidate real economic and political authority. Economic support from the international community, the deployment of Egyptian forces to its border with Gaza, Israeli efforts to facilitate Palestinian economic life, Palestinian action against terror and violence, and a re-energized U.S. diplomacy will be critical to making it work. The writer served as an adviser on Arab-Israeli affairs to six U.S. secretaries of state. (International Herald Tribune)


Retreat from Gaza - Daniel Mandel
According to historian Michael Oren: ''The minute you pull out of Gaza you signal to the Arabs that you're in retreat. It's a huge victory for the Palestinians. Palestinians will have huge celebrations in Gaza. You think they'll sit down and talk after that?" Journalist Yossi Klein Halevi noted: ''The psychological implications are to reinforce the post-Lebanon withdrawal perception in the Arab world that we are a defeatist society and with enough pressure we'll simply withdraw."
    The terrorists will be the leading beneficiaries of a unilateral Israeli withdrawal, appearing vindicated in asserting that terrorism first and foremost is the way. Americans are fighting the same Islamist terrorist groups. The Bush administration should think twice about supporting policies that weaken its best Middle Eastern ally while emboldening the terrorists it is also fighting. The writer is associate director of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia. (Boston Globe)

Israel About to Take a Great Risk in the Name of Peace - Moshe Ram
Beginning in August, Israel will seek to create a new environment for pursuing a meaningful resolution of the conflict with our Palestinian neighbors. This plan entails the very painful process of uprooting Jewish communities in Gaza and northern Samaria that have existed for decades. Nevertheless, the Disengagement Plan, combined with the continued construction of the security fence, are essential to consolidate the Jewish population behind secure borders, leaving areas where there is an overwhelming Palestinian majority.
    After more than four years of Palestinian violence and terrorism resulting in the deaths of more than 1,000 Israelis and the serious injury of thousands more, the government of Israel takes the obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of its citizens extremely seriously. If the Palestinians continue to choose the path of violence, Israel will respond with appropriate but substantial force to make the Palestinians understand that violence will destroy their dreams for a better future. Despite the risks, the Israeli government and people are willing to pursue peace with all their might. The writer is Consul General of Israel to the Midwest. (Chicago Sun-Times)

The Bush Doctrine's Next Test - Victor Davis Hanson (Commentary)

  • The U.S. has given a free pass to three regimes that have long been regarded not as enemies but as key allies: EgyptSaudi Arabia, and Pakistan.
  • Egypt, the guardian of the Suez Canal and the cultural and ideological center of the Arab world, is also the incubator of many of its worst pathologies. Both the Muslim Brotherhood and Gamal Abdel Nasser's pan-Arabism grew out of the mosques, universities, and salons of Cairo, and today Egypt is among the world's premier exporters of anti-Semitic propaganda.
  • Pakistan possesses and helps spread nuclear weapons and their supporting technology. It has engaged in periodic atomic stand-offs with its neighbor, democratic India, and thousands of square miles on its western flanks remain de-facto terrorist badlands.
  • Saudi Arabia, sitting atop a quarter of the world's known oil reserves, is the benefactor of most of the virulent Wahhabism that proliferates in madrassas throughout the Middle East and has crept insidiously into the West. It is hard to find a terrorist arrested in Europe or in the U.S. who has not been indoctrinated by Saudi-sponsored teachings of hate or is not in thrall to the country's religious operatives.
  • Fifteen of the nineteen suicide hijackers on 9/11 were Saudis. Mohammed Atta, the tactical mastermind, was an Egyptian, an epitome of the anti-Americanism that, along with anti-Semitism, has made his country a spiritual locus of hatred for the West. If it seems natural that bin Laden should be a Saudi, it is no less natural that his sinister sidekick, Dr. Zawahiri, is an Egyptian.
  • Another Saudi, Ahmad Sayyid Ahmad al-Ghamdi, a medical student and son of a diplomat, blew up 22 Americans in MosulIraq, on December 21, 2004. Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a Saudi American with strong ties to his spiritual motherland, has been charged with planning to kill President Bush.
  • On November 5, 2004, 26 influential Saudi clerics subsidized by the royal family issued a fatwa demanding long-term jihad against U.S. forces in Iraq; the Muslim Scholars Association, composed of Sunni clerics strongly sympathetic to Saudi Wahhabism, has worked strenuously to undermine American reconstruction efforts. All this is no accident.

The writer is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

Surge in Tourism Brings Hope to Israel and the West Bank - Conal Urquhart (Guardian-UK)
    Israel and the Palestinian territories are optimistic about an upturn in tourism after Israeli hotels reported their best Passover holiday in ten years and some Palestinian hotels in Jerusalem and Bethlehem have more than doubled their occupancy rates



Broadcast to the nation by Prime Minister Ben-Gurion



Sabbath, 15 May 1948


The Arab invasion had begun and Israel had already lodged a complaint with the Security Council.

Something unique occurred yesterday in Israel, and only future generations will be able to evaluate the full historical significance of the event. It is now up to all of us, acting out of a sense of Jewish fraternity, to devote every ounce of our strength to building and defending the State of Israel, which still faces a titanic political and military struggle.


Now is not the time for boasting. Whatever we have achieved is the result of the efforts of earlier generations no less than those of our own. It is also the result of an unwavering fidelity to our precious heritage, the heritage of a small nation that has suffered much, but at the same time has won for itself a special place in the history of mankind because of its spirit, faith, and vision.


At this moment let us remember with love and appreciation the three generations of pioneers and defenders who paved the way for later achievements, the men who created Mikve Israel, Petah Tikva, Rishon LeZion, Zikhron Yacov, and Rosh Pina, as well as those who recently established settlements in the Negev desert and the Galilee hills; the founders of Hashomer and the Jewish Legion, as well as the men who are now locked in fierce battle from Dan to Beersheba. Many of these about whom I have spoken are no longer among the living, but their memory remains forever in our hearts and in the heart of the Jewish people.

I will mention only one great person of those who are still among us. Whether or not he holds an official position, and whether or not we agree with his ideas, he remains our leading figure; there is no other single person who has contributed so much to the political and settlement achievements of the Zionist movement. I refer, of course, to Dr. Chaim Weizmann.


The State of Israel was established yesterday and its Provisional Government has already turned to the nations of the world, great and small, in the East and in the West, announcing its existence and its desire to co-operate with the United Nations in the interests of international peace and progress. We have received unofficial reports that several countries have recognised the State of Israel. The first official recognition came from the government of the United States of America. We hope that other nations in the East and in the West soon will follow suit. We are in contact in this matter with all members of the United Nations and with the United Nations itself.


But we should not deceive ourselves by thinking that formal diplomatic recognition will solve all our problems. We have a long thorny path ahead of us. The day after the State of Israel was established, Tel Aviv was bombed by Egyptian planes. Our gunners brought down one of the planes. Its pilot was taken prisoner, and the plane added to our fledgling Air Force. We have also received reports that our country is being invaded from the north, east, and south by the regular armies of the neighbouring Arab States. We face a troubled and dangerous time. The Provisional Government has already complained to the Security Council about the aggression committed by members of the United Nations, and by Britain's ally, Trans-Jordan. It is inconceivable that the Security Council will ignore these wanton acts, which violate the peace, international law, and UN decisions. But we must never forget that our security ultimately depends on our own might.

It is the responsibility of each one of us, and of every municipal body, to take appropriate defensive measures, such as constructing air raid shelters, digging trenches, etc. We must concentrate in particular on building up a military striking force capable of repulsing and destroying enemy forces wherever they may be found.


Finally, we must prepare to receive our brethren from the far-flung corners of the Diaspora; from the camps of CyprusGermany, and Austria, as well as from all the other lands where the message of liberation has arrived. We will receive them with open arms and help them to strike roots here in the soil of the Homeland. The State of Israel calls on everyone to faithfully fulfil his duties in defence, construction, and immigrant absorption. Only in this way can we prove ourselves worthy of the hour.




This is a must-see site for anyone interested in Israel or Jewish education in general.  It bills itself as a “virtual community of Jewish educators dedicated to Israel education,” but it isn’t for educators alone.  (Of course, on the other hand, we ALL are Jewish educators as role models for our children).  While you’re there, you can find information and links for everything from news to the arts, and look especially at an important new report there, which can be downloaded in Adobe: It’s entitled, "Israel in the Age of Eminem: A Creative Brief for Israel Messaging."  The article explores how young American Jews are now relating to Israel, focusing on various advertising campaigns and why they have and have not worked.  The results are surprising, in some ways depressing and in others reassuring.  Definitely worth a read.




For the latest on the peace process, see our updated entry:  Keeping Track of the Road Map


“The disengagement plan is a trick to end the peace process and allow Israel to hold onto the West Bank.”


Prime Minister Sharon, as well as President Bush, have made it clear that the disengagement plan is consistent with the road map. Sharon has also repeatedly stated his acceptance of the establishment of a contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which would require the evacuation of additional communities in the West Bank.

Sharon's motives are being questioned despite the political risks he took in pursuing his plan. After all, few people inside or outside of Israel, would have predicted as recently as the year 2000 that the man considered the father of the settlement movement would defy much of his own party and evacuate Jews from their homes in the territories.

Moreover, the disengagement plan is not restricted to Gaza; it also involves the dismantling of four Jewish communities in Samaria (Ganim, Kadim, Homesh, Sa Nur) with a population of approximately 550. While the number of Jews being evacuated is small, the area that Israel will evacuate is actually larger than the entire Gaza Strip (Speech by Ambassador Dennis Ross, University of Michigan, March 13, 2005).

The Jews who live in the West Bank certainly do not believe the evacuation of Gaza is meant to solidify their position. On the contrary, the reason so many Jews in Judea and Samaria have been so virulently defending the rights of the 7,500-8,500 Jews living in Gaza is precisely because they see their removal as a precedent that will eventually be followed in the West Bank Sharon has only expressed commitments to retain the large settlement blocs that the overwhelming majority of Israelis agree should be incorporated into Israel, and many of the Jews living in smaller, isolated communities see the disengagement as the first step toward their eventual evacuation.

This article can be found at

Source: Myths & Facts Online -- A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell G. Bard, – College students: Sign up for Camera on Campus




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.


Come join a fascinating discussion with seven active duty Israeli Defense Force Officers on Israel's current political, military, economic and social climate. These captivating and impressive Officers will be visiting the community as part of the "Tzahal Shalom Program" sponsored by the Stamford Jewish Community Center. This inspiring session will be held on Wednesday May 11, 2005 from 11:00-12:00 P.M. at the Harry Bennett Branch Library Auditorium located at 115 Vine Road in Stamford. This opportunity is free and no reservation is necessary. For additional information please call Ilene Kirschner Madwed at 487-0945 or Jonathan Fass at 487-0958.



at Border’s Book Store

High Ridge RoadStamfordConnecticut


Meets monthly on the second Tuesday evening of the month.

7:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.





Rabbi Joshua Hammerman - Temple Beth El

Rev. Douglas McArthur - First United Methodist Church

Dr. Behjat Syed - Stamford Islamic Center



Living the “Good Life”

How do we define a “good” life”

The Role of Ethics, Reward and Punishment; This Life vs. the Afterlife



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




TUES, MAY 10, @ 7:30 pm


Join Rabbi Salilah Kalev for a new discussion group..a modern take on “Ask the Rabbi,” a stimulating evening of learning and conversation.  Each class will be based on questions that people bring – any questions – from custom to law, basic to complicated…it’s up to you!  Nosh will be provided!



“Hot Button Halacha”

Meets monthly on the second

Wednesday of the month

What does Jewish law teach us about today’s most controversial  issues, including Gay Marriage, Tattooing and Body Piercing, Stem Cell Research, Assisted Suicide, Domestic Violence, Surrogate Parenting and Smoking in Public Places?  Recent opinions of the Conservative Movement’s Committee of Law and Jewish Standards will be discussed.


May 11, 2005  12:30 - 1:30 p.m.



Are we allowed to give up parts of the Land of Israel?


Meets at:  Benjamin & Gold, P.C., 350 Bedford Street 4th floor.




2005 TBE Men’s Club Scholarships

Please let your graduating students and their friends know that these scholarships are available. 

The Men’s Club awards two scholarships annually.  Both are available to all Jewish students in the greater Stamford community. 

Applications are available at the Temple Beth El office and through the Stamford area high school offices.  Applications must be submitted to guidance counselors by May 6, 2005, and to the Scholarship Committee by May 20, 2005.

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

Why God Never Received Tenure at Any University


1.  He had only one major publication.

2.  It was in Hebrew

3.  It had no references.

4.  It wasn't published in a referred journal.

5.  Some doubt She wrote it Himself.

6.  He may have created the world, but what has She done since?

7.  The scientific community can't replicate His results.

8.  She never got permission from the ethics board to use human subjects.

9.  When one experiment went awry, He tried to cover it up by drowning the subjects.

10. She rarely came to class and just told students, "Read the Book."

11. Some say He had His son teach the class (this was not a Jewish source, obviously).

12. She expelled Her first two students.

13. His office hours were irregular and sometimes held on a mountaintop.

14. Although there were only 10 requirements, most students failed.

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

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