Friday, June 17, 2005

June 17, 2005 and Sivan 10, 5765


Shabbat – O – Gram



June 17, 2005 and Sivan 10, 5765



Rabbi Joshua HammermanTemple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut





Shabbat Shalom

And best of luck to Cantor Jacobson and family!




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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









Friday, June 17, 2005

7:30 p.m.


Join us for the final


of the season as we say farewell to

Cantor DeborahJordan, Maya and Shira Jacobson.


TBE’s Adult and Junior Choirs will perform!


Delicious Oneg Shabbat to follow…


Surprises for all!

Friday Evening

Candle lighting for Stamford, CT: Candle lighting: 8:11 pm on Friday, 17 June 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.  Tot Shabbat will be hosted by Stacey and Eliot Essenfeld and their children, Sam and Ethan.  Sam and Ethan both attend Sara Walker Nursery School





Shabbat Unplugged: 7:30 PM In the sanctuary, as we celebrate our years with Cantor Jacobson.

Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM – Mazal tov to Adam Shapiro and Melanie Katz, who become B’nai 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 PortionBeha’a’lotcha Numbers 8:1 - 12:16

1: 8:1-4
2: 8:5-9
3: 8:10-14
4: 8:15-22
5: 8:23-26
6: 9:1-8
7: 9:9-14

Haftarah – Zechariah 2:14 - 4:7

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 online Parsha quizzes from Pardes in Israel, go to Torah for Kids:


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

Teaching our Adults – and Learning from our Children

          As we begin to plan ahead for the upcoming year, one exciting byproduct of our new Hebrew School Sunday schedule is that it will present new opportunities for adults as well as for our children.  For those who have long since given up the carpool circuit, what we’ve done, essentially is gone to a three-hour single session on Sunday rather than two-hour split sessions.  In other words, on Sundays all our students will be here at the same time, rather than being split. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we will continue with split sessions.

          Because all of our students will be here at the same time, it will have a nice ripple effect on other Sunday morning activities, everything ranging from minyan to sisterhood and men’s club speakers to adult education.  Our adult education committee (chaired by Samantha Bernstein) will be doing its best to fill those hours with quality learning opportunities for all ages.

          If you look at the article Teach your adults well, you’ll see how Jewish adult education programs are bearing fruit, according to a new survey.  We’ve seen in our own community the success of Me’ah and more recently the Melton program, as adults are seeking new ways to become more familiar with our complex but beautiful traditions. 

Me'ah, which began in 1994 with 50 students in Greater Boston, now is offered in Baltimore, Cleveland, Rhode Island, Florida, New Jersey and New York, where the number of classes will grow from eight to 20 next September.  In separate conversations about Me'ah, its visionary creators, David Gordis, president of Hebrew College, and Barry Shrage, president of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston, sum up the key to the program's success in three words: quality, quality, quality.  Location is a close second, as the program is held conveniently in neighborhood synagogues and Jewish community centers.

Gordis and Shrage are touting the results of a recently released survey of Me'ah's Boston-area graduates, who are turning up in record-high numbers in leadership positions in their synagogues; some even started a Jewish day school.  Nearly two-thirds of the graduates say the program had a major or moderate impact on their involvement in Jewish communal life. Close to half report increasing their charitable giving to their synagogues and other Jewish causes.  "When we go around the country, we can now show how this does affect the community in terms of leadership roles in synagogues, in schools and in philanthropic giving," Gordis said in a recent interview. "All these are enhanced. It's that intersection between personal growth and change."  "This is the right moment in Jewish history because there's a huge longing for spirituality, community and a serious engagement with Judaism," Shrage said. "I believe adult education is up there with day schools as transformational opportunities." The survey results excited Allen Katzoff, who directs Hebrew College's Center for Adult Jewish Learning and who was responsible for the survey.  

Katzoff said the results, with their implications for Jewish leadership and knowledge, weren't surprising.  But "we didn't know the magnitude," he said. "This is the first time we have the hard data of the significant impact Me'ah has had on communities. The investment pays off with tremendous dividends. That's what we learned." Jack Wertheimer, provost of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York, said he admires the Me'ah program but would like to see a more sophisticated evaluation.”

          A key to Me’ah’s success in Boston is that it is held at synagogues, thereby enhancing the communal aspect for participants.  Congregants learning with other congregants form a deeper bond with their synagogue and together gain a greater understanding of Judaism and why synagogue membership is so important.  Boston’s Gordis and Shrage have long “gotten it,” in using community resources to build the vitality of the synagogue, understanding that to be a key to the growth of the community as a whole.

          Last fall our adult Bat Mitzvah class dazzled us with their commitment and passion.  This fall, we are thinking of beginning a new adult B’nai Mitzvah cycle along with other exciting learning opportunities for adults.  We can learn so much from one another.

          We can learn so much from our children as well.  Last week our 7th graders (Heh class) celebrated their advancing to the next stage of Jewish learning by presenting brief statements declaring what it means for them to be a Jew.  You might recall that my High Holidays sermons this past year revolved around that same theme, so this was a fitting culmination to the year’s theme.  Many of their statements are stunning, so I’ve included them all below.  The first one in particular helped me to understand just why I get up in the morning and do what I do.  I hope these statements help all of us to understand why it is so important to support a synagogue:

All my life I have been “half and half”.  Graduating from Hebrew School this year finally gives me a sense of belonging.  Though I have always celebrated both Jewish and Christian holidays, I have always felt a sort of connection towards Judaism.  I suppose it is because I see more meaning in the stories that explain these holidays.  When I was younger I used to stay with my grandma on Yom Kippur and she would take me to Temple.  I was never interested in going to Church.  This year I finally learned the meaning of this and many other holidays.  This means a lot to me because I finally feel like I belong.  I can finally relate to the Jewish history.  I can finally say, “I am a Jew and I am proud.”

Joelle Peikes


I am a Jew, proud and grateful.  As stated in the Siddur Haddash, page 131, Modim: “We thankfully acknowledge you, our God and God of our ancestors, God of all beings, our creator, Lord of all creation.  We utter blessings and thanks to Your greatness and holiness, for You have given us life and sustained us…”  Jonathan Arditti, a person otherwise unknown to the Jewish community, am a Jew and an important one at that, for I completely agree with the preceding prayer, and I continue to be thankful and follow Jewish traditions.

Jonathan Arditti


I am a Jew because even through all the tough and horrible times, we stayed strong and got through – I’m proud of that.  I am a Jew so I can eat brisket, baked potatoes and green beans on some holiday dinners.  I am a Jew so I can learn about our history and the blessings in the Torah.  I am a Jew so I can be different than most kids who are not.

Matt Arditti


I am proud to be a Jew because our ancestors were so strong and had faith through the Holocaust and wandering in the desert.  Today Jews keep our faith by observing the commandments and fighting for our homeland, Israel.  Today I keep my faith by going to Hebrew School and having a Bat Mitzvah.  I am so proud to be a Jew.

Sarah Benjamin


To me, being Jewish means being committed to my religion and to our people.  It also means showing support to Israel and Jews everywhere because our population is such a small percentage of the world’s population.  I like being Jewish because I enjoy the rituals – as well as the holidays with gifts.  I particularly enjoyed reading from the Torah at my Bar Mitzvah because it made me feel grown up.

Matthew Benjamin


I enjoy being a Jew because I am taught about the Holocaust, prayers, holidays, Golda Meir, and how Israel became a state.  I am grateful for all the teachers such as Mrs. Hammerman, Mrs. Elkies, Mrs. Shushan, Bonnie and Mrs. Morgenthaler, who made me believe that being Jewish is great.  Being Jewish makes me unique and different.  I thank my mom and dad who pushed Hebrew School.  It was worth it in the end.  I would like to thank Joelle for making Hebrew School more enjoyable.  I thank everyone else who helped me throughout my Jewish education!!!  I hope to continue my Jewish education in Kulanu.

Emma Cohen


I am a Jew because it is my heritage and it has been in my family for generations.  It goes a long way back and all of the history is interesting.  I am going to be honest, saying I am happy that my years of Hebrew School are over.  But I had a fun time during my time in Hebrew School.

Austin Dowdle



Why am I proud to be a Jew?  Well, Jews have come from all over the world.  I for one have a very diverse family.  My papa and his family were from Istanbul.  My great-grandma and dad’s family were all from Russia.  It really shows that one family can actually come together from totally different backgrounds.  So, I feel that with my background, you really can see the diversity in Judaism.

Chelsea Eisenberg


To be a Jew means a tremendous amount to me.  We have survived extremely rough times.  We fought slavery many years ago and were not accepted in many places.  Slaves struggled to fight for freedom day in and day out.  Today my family and I keep our Judaism alive like the slaves did in Egypt.  My family keeps Judaism by praying in Temple, going to Synagogue on holidays, and by getting a Bar or Bat Mitzvah.  I am proud to be accepted for being Jewish in the society today.

Dani Feinberg


Why am I proud to be a Jew?  It is pretty cool to be Jewish because Jews are the minority in America and the rest of the world.  At school, there are only 6 Jews, so it’s fun to teach my other friends how to write their name in Hebrew letters or to brag to them about how I get to have a Bat Mitzvah.  Also, a big part of life is to be an individual, and being Jewish is a head start in that direction.  Also, a lot of the kids don’t really know a lot about the Jewish religion, so it’s cool to be able to answer their questions or teach them how to play dreidel.  I am also proud to be Jewish.  Being Jewish means you have some kind of connection with Israel. My family also has strong connections with Israel so it’s cool to be able to say that I am Jewish and have family in Israel, too.  Israel is such a sacred, ole place that is filled with so much Jewish history.  I look forward to visiting Israel someday.

Marissa Friedman


I am a Jew because of the long traditions and I am proud to continue them.  It represents a challenge to extend these traditions – maybe I can be as zealous as I am about the Yankees.  Also, being a Jew who is observant takes a lot of effort, but the reward will be great.  I was at the Chabad House in Marseille for Passover, and it showed how dedicated people can be.  Finally, being a Jew makes a person unique, and being special is usually a good thing.  Also, my experience in France shows how hospitable most Jews are, and it just says so much that you can find a home for Passover in another country.

Josh Geller


Being Jewish is like the holiday Purim.  I like the Purim carnival because it’s fun to help with the carnival.  There is so much to do at the carnival.  You get candy when you help.

Zachary Gold


I am a Jew because I was raised Jewish.  I was raised to be a part of a long heritage.  I am part of a people who refused to give up and go with the crowd.  I have family who dies just because they were Jewish and that just makes me more proud to be a Jew.  Jews are strong and I grew up being a part of that.  That is what makes me a Jew.

Michelle Goldstein



I am proud to be a Jew because of all of the hardships that we have been through, and that our heritage and religion still exists today.  I am also proud to be Jewish because I like bring different from everyone else.  I also enjoy being Jewish because I have met many new friends from Hebrew School that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.  I like to be Jewish because I get to see all of my family on Jewish holidays, like Hanukkah.  Also, I like being Jewish because I like to go to services to see my friends have their Bar or Bat Mitzvahs.

Lee Gordon


Why am I a Jew?  An excellent question!  I am a Jew, not only because my parents are, but because I am a survivor.  Jews have survived centuries of anti-semitism and being sent out of places.  I am a 2nd generation survivor because my grandparents survived the Holocaust.  At the time, my mom’s parents lived in America (North) and my dad’s parents lived in England.  Even though neither of them had been in a concentration camp, my dad’s dad worked in the Navy, my Dad’s mom was a nurse, and my mom’s dad worked in the Air Force.  All of this has taught me to be a respectful survivor and to learn from the past occurrences.

Kate Hyman


I am a Jew because, like all other Jews, I am dedicated.  Jews have been strong since forever.  From the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 to the Pharaoh in Egypt, Jews have not changed and always have stayed strong.  How do you think I have stayed dedicated to American Idol and shopping for so long?

Alana Kasindorf


I am a Jew because we are different from the average person.  I am proud to be a Jew because it gives us a certain personality of being nice.  Anywhere you go, there we are.  I am proud to be a Jew because we have the best food!  (Latkes, Challah, Charoset, etc.)  We have been through everything imaginable and have survived.

Melanie Katz


Being a Jew is a very large part of my life.  I am proud to be Jewish because I think the practices of Judaism are interesting.  I am happy that I had a Bar Mitzvah, which was a big part of the Jewish traditions.  Judaism brings my family together for many holidays, such as Passover and Rosh Hashanah.  I learned a lot this year about the Holocaust and I think that it is good that I should know about what happened.  Compared to all of the other religions in the world, there are not that many of us, which makes us even more special.

Doug Kempner



I am proud to be a Jew because we are survivors.  We survived the Holocaust.  Also we are different.  We have different beliefs and traditions than any other religion.  I am proud because unlike others we know another language.  And I am proud because we have many religious celebrations that are fun and meaningful.  Celebrations such as Passover, where we search for the afikoman, or Hanukkah, when we give and receive many gifts.

Daniel Lazarus


I am a Jew because I learned to feed my dog before I fed myself, because Jews are kind to animals.  We Jew think of animals before ourselves.  This is what was taught to us in the Talmud, which I learned about in Hebrew School, making ma a proud Jew.

Delancey Litchman


If you looked up the word Judaism in the dictionary, the definition clearly would not express the true importance of being Jewish.  The Jewish religion is all about finding the silver lining in every cloud and making the best out of every situation.  We have pulled through the hardships and have been able to enrich the world with our experiences and life lessons.  Being Jewish is so important because I know that others can learn from a minority group of people.  I am proud of the Jewish culture and our traditions and I know they will live on forever.

Jaime Manela


I am proud to be a Jew because I can continue the Jewish tradition.  I will have my Bar Mitzvah and do what my forefathers have done.  Being Jewish allows me to pray to God along with a lot of other Jews and be connected with them.  I am also connected to my family because I usually see my extended family over the holidays.  Being Jewish also means surviving over the centuries when all hope was lost and the odds were against them.  I am very proud to be a Jew and I am looking forward to continuing the Jewish tradition.  Jews are also a different religion; we look different and do things differently than any other religion.  The Jewish people are very unique, and that makes us special.

David Markowitz


I am proud to be a Jew because we survived after the Holocaust.  We survived many other hardships, too.  That’s why I am so awesomely proud to be Jewish.  I also loved all the Shabbatons, where I got to dress up as a girl.

Todd Piskin


I am proud to be a Jew because we have different celebrations and we have them all during the year, so I am happy.  I am lucky because I know my own language and I can speak it and be proud.  I also like to remember how we survived the wars we fought in.  I am also proud that I am carrying on my families’ tradition of being Jewish.  I am one of the few people in my class who is Jewish and I am happy to share what I learned in Hebrew School, so I’m proud to be a Jew to be able to know that I know something that no one else knows.  I have also been to Israel and I am proud to have visited a historical place.  I also love the food that Jews eat, like Challah, Matzah Ball Soup, and Latkes.  Even though we can’t eat unkosher things, we still have other things to eat.  Jews have a lot of courage because we have struggled a lot and we are tough.  As you can see, I’m proud to be a Jew in different ways.

Alison Pomerance


Being Jewish to me means bringing family and friends together.  Some of the holidays that we gather for include Passover, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah.  On Passover, I see most of my relatives on the first night, which is in my house, and on the second night, which is in my cousin’s house, and on Hanukkah, we celebrate with family.  On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, I see my family and friends.  The importance of being Jewish is also found in the traditions and teachings of our religion, which helps give us the tools to be good people, to get along with others, and respect the rights and religions of others.  The warm and beautiful services, practices, and family traditions give a special quality to Judaism.  I will always be proud to be Jewish.

Gregory Rosenberg


I am a Jew because…I believe in what Jews believe in.  I was raised Jewish.  I am a survivor like the Jews.  We have survived a lot, courageously, which I do myself if there is a problem.

Michael Rosenfeld


I am Russian and in Old Russia Jews couldn’t be Jewish.  I am the only Bar Mitzvah in my generation.  Judaism didn’t die.  That is why being Jewish is so important to me.

Misha Schmidt


I am a Jew because of my family.  On the Jewish holidays we get together and enjoy each other’s company.  On these days we try not to fight with each other.  On Passover we sit at the Seder and every year we read the same lines from the same books that I can remember.  We each have a section where we read the same words.  Also, I am respected by others and I respect them.  I respect my mom the most because she takes me and Alana shopping every weekend!

Danielle Schwartz


I am proud to be Jewish because I feel that Jews are survivors.  They are survivors because no matter how many groups try to bring the Jews down they keep fighting for their beliefs and a homeland.  I also like that the Jewish people pass on beautiful traditions from generation to generation and share these important Jewish traditions with each other such as holidays, Shabbat and important services.  A Jewish practice is to always forgive and respect others and this make me proud to be Jewish and is something I will always try to do.

Adam Shapiro


I am proud to be Jewish because of Judaism’s long history, Jews’ ability to survive, and the great contribution to culture that Jews have made throughout history.  Judaism goes back over five thousand years and I am a part of that history.  Celebrating my Bar Mitzvah links me to the Jews that came before me over the centuries.  Throughout this history, Jews have survived many difficult periods in which they were discriminated against and thrown out of their homes.  Jews managed to always regroup and follow their traditions under difficult circumstances.  There are also great Jewish inventors, writers, and humanitarians.  Jews have contributed more than their share to the arts and sciences.  Examples include Albert Einstein and Stephen Spielberg.  I hope that I can live up to the history of our people.

Isaac Sterman


I am a Jew because Jews are survivors.  They survived the Holocaust and years of suffering.  Along with that, Jews have survived through years of freedom by passing on stories and traditions from generation to generation.  Keeping traditions alive keeps the light in all Jews’ hearts burning.

Sarah Warnock


Breaking News: Schorsch Stepping Down


Dear Friend,

Forty-five years ago my marriage to my wife Sally coincided with the weekly Torah portion of beha'alotekha, "When you (Aaron) mount the lamps, let the seven lamps give light at the front of the lampstand" (Numbers 8:2).  The passage deals with the kindling of the menorah in the Tabernacle.  On the odd verb "to mount" or to raiseRashi commented that Aaron "was to kindle until the flame would rise on its own."  Marriage is a rite of passage.  My father, who officiated at our wedding, offered Rashi's comment as his prayer to us that our combined flames would long burn brightly on their own.

Three children and eleven grandchildren later, I wish to announce my retirement as Chancellor of The Jewish Theological Seminary effective June, 30, 2006 during the week that we again read the Torah portion of beha'alotekha.  By that date, God willing, I will have completed a score of years in office and reached the biblical age of seventy.  I do so with more than a tinge of sadness, because throughout my tenure, I have found my work deeply fulfilling.  But I decided long ago to step down while still in top form.

The time, however, has come for me to return to the life of the mind.  During the past twenty years, I have planted many seeds that deserve to be tended and harvested.  My experiences as Chancellor have been expansive, provocative and richly fertilizing and I return to my study a wiser man.

As I leave office the Seminary's light burns brightly.  In its 120-year history, it has never been larger, stronger or more focused.  Imbued by a spirit of truthfulness and tradition, its world-class faculty attracts record numbers of students, who have access to the gamut of Jewish creativity housed in its incomparable library and Jewish Museum.  It is governed by an exceptionally prominent and philanthropic board of trustees and administered by a talented and devoted cohort of administrators.  Buttressed by a balanced budget, well managed portfolio and vigorous annual campaign, its endowment grows apace.

At the heart of this dynamic learning community beats a passion for serious Jewish education.  The core mission of the Seminary is to inspire and prepare the curators of the Jewish legacy who will staff the multiple venues of transmission throughout the Jewish community – rabbis and cantors with pedagogic skills, educators with textual competency and lay and professional leaders with a religious sensibility, and all of them with a command of Hebrew.  Hailing from a family of gifted educators, I have labored to make my heritage the agenda of the Seminary and the Conservative movement in the context of an open society.

My work has often given me a ringside seat at historic events in WashingtonJerusalemAmman and elsewhere.  But what I will cherish most is the intimate contact that I have enjoyed over the years with the men and women who support the Seminary loyally and generously.  Their respect for tradition, their ability to see the big picture and their unselfishness are the bedrock of the institution.  At the forefront of this group stands Gershon Kekst, the beloved chairman of the Seminary's board, who has served by my side for most of my Chancellorship.  His counsel, largess and leadership had everything to do with my success. May God bless them all.                                


      Ismar Schorsch  




Ask the Rabbi


Why do we pray in Hebrew?

Why is it necessary to have so much of our service in a language that most of the congregation does not understand? Doesn't our God listen to all languages including English?

That’s absolutely true – Jewish tradition encourages us to pray in a language we can understand, particularly in the recitation of the Sh’ma.  Our prayer books generally have good, modern English translations, and as most of you know, I love to provide ample English commentary to explain the service on many different levels.

But Hebrew has been the language of Jewish prayer for three millennia, and as such it is what all Jews share.  Wherever I go, whether or not I know the native language of that place, I can find a synagogue and pray with other Jews in our common language.  That’s why the use of Hebrew in prayer has been a priority of the Conservative movement since it was founded – and in fact the issue of the use of the vernacular in the service was one of the main reasons the movement was founded.  It is ironic that the Reform movement, which championed the use of the vernacular at that time, has now begin to bring back more Hebrew into their services as well.

Ultimately, Hebrew lends a feel of authenticity to the prayer experience.  The connection we feel is visceral and deep.  It gets beyond the simple rational level of understanding the literal meaning of the words we pray.  Even if we can’t understand every word, we “get it” on a much more substantial level.



Spiritual Journey on the Web


Jewish Healing and 25 Ways to Help Israel


…thanks to Judi Gladstein for this one:


BTW, here are The Ways…


1.       Speak Out and Influence the Media by Writing Opinion Letters

2.       Buy Israel

3.       Serve in the Israeli Intelligence Services

4.       Help Israel on Behalf of the Christian Zionist Community

5.       Volunteer for the Israel Defense Forces as a Non-Combat Volunteer (for people ages 18 to 80 -- Yes 80!)

6.       Serve in the Israel Defense Forces as a Combat Soldier (ages 18 to 23)

7.       Pray and Learn for the Nation of Israel

8.       Fight for Israel on College Campuses

9.       Study in Israel and Earn College Credit 

10.    Fight the Anti-Israel Economic Boycott by Supporting Targeted Companies

11.    Boycott Arab Oil at Your Local Gas Station

12.    Get the Israeli Side of Daily Events in the Middle East

13.    Write to Your Elected Official on Behalf of Israel

14.    Learn About Israel’s Greatest Accomplishments

15.    Learn the Israeli Side of the Middle East Conflict

16.    Discover What our Enemies are Saying About us and the Western World

17.    Support the Troops

18.    Join Pro-Israel Organizations

19.    Spiritual Activism - Perform Acts of Tsuva for the State of Israel

20.    Visit Israel for the First Time

21.    Keep Coming Back to Israel and Make Your Next Trip Even Better!

22.    Volunteer for Israel at Home and in Israel

23.    Donate to Israeli Charities

24.    Invest in Israel Bonds

25.    Make Aliyah



Also, check out, a new Israeli radio station, All For Peace Radio – read the Jpost article and see that, indeed, the Israeli left lives.


Also, a here’s a site for Jewish Healing…

Jewish healing is a discussion community for those interested in all aspects of Jewish healing and spirituality. You can join the discussion at  The essence of Jewish healing is based on the notion that healing and spirituality are synonymous; a spiritual life promotes healing We invite discussions on how Jewish meditation, prayer, Mitzvot and Torah can affect healing of mind, body and spirit. Those interested in energy healing will find kindred spirits who are eager to share their thoughts. By joining this group you can obtain all kinds of healing information for yourself, your family and members of our congregation.   The group also includes trained Jewish healers who are available to comment on any illness condition, physical or emotional. We invite all healthcare professionals—rabbis, doctors, nurses, holistic therapists, psychotherapists, chiropractors and all others who care about the welfare of others, to join in the discussions.


Required Reading and Action Items


Action Item: Head Start in Danger

From:   Ric Nadel, Chair, ADL Washington Affairs Committee

            Randi Pincus, Assistant Director, ADL Connecticut Regional Office


In the next two weeks, we expect that the House of Representatives will debate legislation reauthorizing the historic anti-poverty Head Start preschool education program.  At that time, an amendment is likely to be offered which would permit, for the first time, religious discrimination in hiring teachers and staff using federal funds.  The program serves close to one million disadvantaged preschool children in America.


On May 18, the House Education and the Workforce Committee approved the Head Start reauthorization legislation (H.R. 2123, the School Readiness Act) by a bipartisan, unanimous vote of 48-0 - retaining the existing civil rights and anti-discrimination provisions. 


Yet, the Committee Chairman, Representative John Boehner, with the support of the White House, has already announced that he intends to offer an amendment on the House floor to repeal these longstanding anti-discrimination provisions.  If Congress approves such an amendment, teachers and staff working at Head Start programs housed in religious organizations could immediately be fired because of their religion.


We need your help to defeat this disturbing and dangerous initiative to permit religious discrimination in the thousands of Head Start programs which operate throughout the nation in hundreds of communities, by calling and faxing members of the Connecticut Congressional delegation, urging them to oppose this Head Start amendment. 


Attached is a Legislative Backgrounder on the bill, which includes specific talking points against this amendment, and a letter that ADL sent to the Committee members on this amendment.  Members of the House of Representatives from Connecticut can be reached at:


Representative Nancy Johnson

Phone:  (202) 225-4476

            (860) 223-8412

Fax:      (202) 225-4488

            (860) 827-9009



Representative John Larson

Phone:  (202) 225-2265

            (860) 278-8888

Fax:      (202) 225-1031

            (860) 278-2111



Representative Rosa DeLauro

Phone:  (202) 225-3661

            (203) 562-3718

Fax:     (202) 225-4890

(203) 772 2260



Representative Christopher Shays

Phone:  (202) 225-5541

            (203) 579-5870

Fax:     (202) 225-9629

            (203) 579-0771



Representative Rob Simmons

Phone:  (202) 225-2076

            (860) 886-0139

Fax:      (202) 225-4977

            (860) 886-2974



Thank you for your help on this important matter.  Please feel free to contact Randi Pincus in the ADL Connecticut Regional Office if you have any questions or need more information.  Please also copy Randi on any correspondence you send to any of the Representatives, and let us know about any feedback or response you receive.  Thank you. 


Randi B. Pincus

Assistant Director

Connecticut Regional Office

Anti-Defamation League

1952 Whitney Avenue

HamdenCT 06517

Tel: (203) 288-6500, ext. 317

Fax:(203) 288-8010


May 18, 2005


Dear Representative:


On behalf of the Anti-Defamation League, we write to urge you to maintain the civil rights protections currently included in the School Readiness Act (H.R. 2123) – and to oppose any efforts to repeal these important provisions.  From our 92 years of day-to-day experience serving our constituents, ADL can testify that the more government and religion become entangled, the more troubling the environment becomes for each.


After mark-up by the Subcommittee on Education Reform, HR 2123 retains the nondiscrimination provision that has been included in Head Start legislation since 1981.  Head Start teachers and volunteers have benefited from this fundamental civil rights protection against employment discrimination since its enactment in the 97th Congress.  The provision received strong bipartisan support in both the House and Senate at the time of its passage, and was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan.  For twenty-four years, since the beginning of the Head Start program, the civil rights provision has worked well, allowing religious organizations to participate in the program while maintaining constitutional and civil rights standards.


We have great appreciation for the vital role religious institutions have historically played in addressing many of our nation’s most pressing social needs, as a critical complement to government-funded programs.  For decades, government-funded partnerships with religiously-affiliated organizations – such as Catholic Charities, Jewish Community Federations, and Lutheran Social Services – have helped to combat poverty and provided housing, education, and health care services for those in need.  These successful partnerships have provided excellent service to communities, largely unburdened by concerns over bureaucratic entanglements between government and religion.  Indeed, at the same time that safeguards have protected beneficiaries from unwanted and unconstitutional proselytizing during the receipt of government-funded services, they have also protected the integrity and sanctity of America’s religious institutions – whose traditional independence from government has contributed to the flourishing of religion in our country.


We urge you to oppose any attempt to remove civil rights protections from Head Start.  A change in current law to permit employment discrimination on the basis of religion will dramatically hurt the lofty objectives of this essential program.



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Hamas Reassessment - Ehud Ya'ari
Abu Mazen's decision to postpone Palestinian parliamentary elections means that Israel will carry out its disengagement plan without knowing the extent of Hamas's political strength in the future administration of Gaza, thus sparing Sharon the risk of appearing as if he is transferring territory - for absolutely nothing in return - straight into the hands of the camp that rejects the very principle of a peace deal.
    There is no guarantee that Fatah will use the time-out it has granted itself for a much-needed revamp. Nor is there any guarantee that the completion of the disengagement will strengthen Fatah's electorabilityHamas, together with the "popular army" it is hectically building in Gaza, is already operating as a governing authority, in tandem with the weakened PA. (Jerusalem Report)
    See also Terror and Democracy - Michael Hirsh and Dan Ephron
While U.S. officials insist they will have no dealings with Hamas, in private, the president has been gingerly laying out what one senior European official described as Bush's "theory of redemption." Administration officials have pointed to reform in groups like Sinn Fein - the political wing of the Irish Republican Army. After asking for clarification on Washington's current view of Hamas, "the president assured Prime Minister Sharon not only that there wouldn't be a change in policy towards Hamas but that the administration doesn't believe there

will be a peaceful Hamas," says Sharon adviser Zalman Shoval. (Newsweek)


In the Mullahs' Shadow - Shirin Ebadi and Muhammad Sahimi
Friday's Iranian presidential election, under the heavy hand of the Guardian Council, will not be free and fair because the Council controls who can stand. While the main reformist candidate, former Minister of Higher Education Mostafa Moeen, has been allowed to run, hardliners are exploiting many of the state's resources (including radio and television) to promote their candidates, while censoring many progressive positions of Dr. Moeen and attacking his supporters. The hardliners view victory in the upcoming elections as the final step in consolidating their grip on power, following last year's rigged parliamentary elections.
    The EU (and the U.S.) should declare unequivocally that foreign investment will be provided only if a truly democratic political system is established. The EU should make clear to Iran's hardliners that it will not expand its political and commercial relations with Iran (and is ready to curtail them, if necessary) unless Tehran undertakes meaningful reforms, including freeing political prisoners, allows true freedom of speech and the development of an independent press, and permits all political groups to participate in elections that are considered free and fair by the international community. (Wall Street Journal, 15June05)
    See also Not Our Man in Iran - Danielle Pletka
Rafsanjani is likely to return to the Iranian presidency, but he is a corrupt and power-hungry wheeler-dealer. (New York Times)
    See also The Upcoming Presidential Elections in Iran - Ayelet Savyon (MEMRI)

Visual Hate Messages in the PA Media - May 2005 - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch)
    Visual hate symbols and images de-humanizing Jews - and promoting their murder, denying Israel's existence, and anticipating its demise - continue to appear in the PA-controlled print and television media.  They include a dagger piercing the Star of David and maps claiming ownership to all of Israel.

Bush Suspends Moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem (Xinhuanet - China)
    President Bush on Wednesday announced his decision to suspend the process of moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem for six months, saying the decision was "necessary to protect the national security interests of the United States."
    Bush used the six-month waiver power he has under the 1995 law that calls for the move.

IDF: Palestinians Know Pullout Is Not a Victory - Roi Nahmias (Ynet News)
    A senior IDF official said in an interview published Wednesday that while, outwardly, the Palestinians may say the disengagement plan marks a victory for the path of terrorism, they understand this is not the case.
    "This plan, which hinges on separation between the two populations, will deliver a severe blow to terrorism by significantly minimizing (terrorists') ability to hit Israel's civilian population," he said.
    Despite Palestinian warnings of a third intifada, the officer said that even if they resort to violence, the Palestinians might soon find their capabilities are limited.
    "It would be very difficult to carry out attacks originating in the West Bank because of the security fence, and also because there are fewer Palestinians who are willing to support this," he said.
    While everyone is dealing with what appears to be a dramatic surge in Hamas strength against Fatah, "the general trend within the Palestinian arena is that the entire system is losing power, Hamas included....The difference is that Hamas is more successful than Fatah at hiding its weaknesses," the official said.


New Hot Water Geyser at Israeli Drilling Site - Tzafrir Rinat (Ha'aretz)
    A large reserve of hot water was discovered on Tuesday at a depth of over 1,000 meters by the Water Commission that was conducting drillings near Kibbutz Shamir in the north.
    The water, at the temperature of 45 to 47 degrees Celsius, contains high concentrations of sulfate, and burst out of the ground at a rate of 750 cubic meters per hour.


The Gathering Storm - Editorial (Jerusalem Post)

·         As attention is increasingly focused on the drama of disengagement, the unraveling of the Palestinian Authority is quietly proceeding apace.

·         The PA has implored the assorted militias to maintain calm so as not to interfere with disengagement, begging the question of what will happen after the Israeli withdrawal.

·         Smuggling of weaponry from Egypt to both the West Bank and Gaza is rampant, with every indication being that the terrorist groups are using a period they have defined as less than a cease-fire as an opportunity to rearm and regroup for the next round.

·         The hard fact is that Abbas is not only failing, but also that most trends are in the wrong direction: toward more rearmament, toward denial of previously accepted obligations, toward increasing power of terrorist groups, and away from creating conditions for true democratization through the rule of law.

·         The claim that Hamas would be worse cannot be allowed to absolve Abbas's PA of its minimal requirements and obligations. In fact, as in the time of Arafat, the worst situation is not Hamas control, but a PA that serves as a fig leaf for what is increasingly an anarchic terror state. The time to force the PA to confront terror is now.


ISRAEL: Myths and Facts


MYTH #183

"The British helped the Jews displace the native Arab population of Palestine."


Herbert Samuel, a British Jew who served as the first High Commissioner of Palestine, placed restrictions on Jewish immigration “in the ‘interests of the present population’ and the ‘ absorptive capacity’ of the country.” (Aharon Cohen, Israel and the Arab World, NY: Funk and Wagnalls, 1970, p. 172; Howard Sachar, A History of Israel: From the Rise of Zionism to Our Time, NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 1979, p. 146.) The influx of Jewish settlers was said to be forcing the Arab fellahin (native peasants) from their land. This was at a time when less than a million people lived in an area that now supports more than nine million.

The British actually limited the absorptive capacity of Palestine by partitioning the country.

In 1921, Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill severed nearly four-fifths of Palestine — some 35,000 square miles — to create a brand new Arab entity, Transjordan. As a consolation prize for the Hejaz and Arabia (which are both now Saudi Arabia) going to the Saud family, Churchill rewarded Sherif Hussein's son Abdullah for his contribution to the war against Turkey by installing him as Transjordan's emir.

The British went further and placed restrictions on Jewish land purchases in what remained of Palestine, contradicting the provision of the Mandate (Article 6) stating that “the Administration of Palestine...shall encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency...close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not acquired for public purposes.” By 1949, the British had allotted 87,500 acres of the 187,500 acres of cultivable land to Arabs and only 4,250 acres to Jews (Moshe Auman, “Land Ownership in Palestine 1880-1948,” in Michael Curtis, et al., The Palestinians, NJ: Transaction Books, 1975, p. 25).

Ultimately, the British admitted the argument about the absorptive capacity of the country was specious. The Peel Commission said: “The heavy immigration in the years 1933-36 would seem to show that the Jews have been able to enlarge the absorptive capacity of the country for Jews” (Palestine Royal Commission Report the Peel Report, London: 1937, p. 300).

This article can be found at

Source: Myths & Facts Online -- A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell G. Bard, To order a copy of the paperback edition of Myths and Facts, click HERE. Myths & Facts is also available in Spanish, German, French, Russian, Portuguese, Swedish, and Hebrew.

Dr. Bard is available for media interviews and speaking engagements on this and other topics.

You can help AICE continue this work by becoming a sponsor of the Jewish Virtual Library. Click here for more information.


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Media-Related Links:

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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.







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.







Joke for the Week


Four novice nuns were about to take their vows. 

Dressed in their white gowns, they came into the chapel with the Mother
Superior, and were about to undergo the ceremony to marry them to Jesus,
making them "brides of Christ."

Just as the ceremony was about to begin, four Hasidic Jews with
yarmulkes, long sideburns and long beards came in and sat in the front

The Mother Superior said to them, "I am honored that you would want to
share this experience with us, but do you mind if I ask you why you

One of the Jews replied, "We're from the groom's family."




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