Friday, June 3, 2005

June 3, 2005 and Iyar 25, 5765


Shabbat – O – Gram


(note the Playbill font in honor of the Tonys)


June 3, 2005 and Iyar 25, 5765


Happy Yom Yerushalyim (Monday)


Best of luck to our marchers in Sunday’s

Cancer Walk and Salute to Israel Parade.


And to the Lapine family in this weekend’s Tony Awards!


And Mazal Tov to our TBE graduates from the Bi-Cultural Day School!



Rabbi Joshua HammermanTemple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut



Shabbat Shalom










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

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

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


Just the Facts (service schedule)

The Rabid Rabbi

The Highest Level of Tzedakkah

Ask the Rabbi

Spiritual Journey on the Web

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

 Announcements (goings on in and around TBE)

Joke for the Week



Quote of the Week













What is a Congregation?

A congregation is a harbor into which an anchor is cast
At a moment of inevitable silence
Before or after a storm.

A congregation is a seashell
Where one can hide
When the soul sinks down into the depths of the ocean.

A congregation is a song, a prayer, a dream
Where the spirit can sail forth, heavenward bound.

A congregation is a voice that calls out,
To reach up to the heavens
It tries again and again to cause us to make the decision
Between indifference and activity.
Between spiritual improvement and oblivion.
Between kindness and sinfulness.

A congregation is togetherness from within.

A congregation is the place from where we are commanded to enact the most simple
and most difficult of all things — loving the other.


By Annabelle Hertziger-TanzerKehillat Har-El
Published in the Har-El Bulletin July-August 2004





Friday Evening

Candle lighting for Stamford, CT: Candle lighting: 8:03pm on Friday, 03 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 lobby


Kabbalat Shabbat Service: 6:30 PM Outdoor services, weather permitting.  Otherwise in the sanctuary.

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

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

Torah PortionBamidbar  Numbers 1:1 - 4:20

1: 1:1-4
2: 1:5-16
3: 1:17-19
4: 1:20-27
5: 1:28-35
6: 1:36-43
7: 1:44-54

Haftarah – Hosea 2:1 - 2:22

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

For online Parsha quizzes from Pardes in Israel, go to

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


The Gazan Exodus and Joseph’s Bones


Israel is set to begin its disengagement from Gaza in mid-August, immediately following Tisha b’Av. It was a good idea to move the date from late July, as it would have landed the pullout during the Three Weeks of mourning leading up to the fast.

Nothing is simple in this ancient land, where every breath is measured against events that occurred eons ago. For many Jews, the destructions and exiles commemorated on that fateful fast day are not historical curiosities but living events burning with contemporary resonance. So the prospect of Jews being evicted from Gaza and their homes turned to rubble in late July would only have fed into the apocalyptic overtones of the Three Weeks.

No matter what you do in Israel, you cannot escape the shadows of history. What Yehuda Amichai wrote about Jerusalem, calling it “the only city in the world where the right to vote is granted even to the dead,” is true of the entire land, even Gaza.

For it’s not only the ghosts of Josephus and Jeremiah who will hover to the surface as this hot Israeli summer approaches. Those who have been laid to rest most recently also will get a vote, especially if they’ve been buried in Gush Katif. Evacuating the living Israeli Gazans will be a snap compared to the more ominous task of relocating the dead ones.

Disengagement Authority Chairman Yonatan Bassi has offered burial plots in the area of Nitzan, within the Green Line, to the 47 families with relatives in Gaza’s Neve Dekalim cemetery.

Rabbi Yosef Elnekaveh, head of Neve Dekalim’s burial society, told The Jerusalem Post, “Right now we are praying that disengagement does not happen. If it becomes a reality, then we will deal with it.”

There has been much discussion as to whether to exhume the remains of settlers, many of whom died defending their right to remain there eternally. Israel has always vigorously pursued a policy of “no corpse left behind,” routinely swapping dozens of prisoners for the body of a single dead soldier, and the Israeli government is loath to leave behind 47 graves for Palestinian groups to desecrate or barter. Jewish law allows for the body to be exhumed only in exceptional situations, at least three of which apply in the case of Gaza: the unification of family plots; potential dangers for visitors; and the probability of vandalism.


Some suggest, however, that leaving the cemetery intact would be a fitting test for the Palestinians. If they can’t be counted on to respect the rights of the dead, then how will they ever be able to earn the trust of the living? For proof of this, we need go back no further than the fall of 2000 and the brutal desecration of Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus (the biblical Shechem), the first key indicator that this was not going to be your father’s intifada.

The fascinating saga of Joseph’s remains yields other insights into our current quandary. One of the strangest sidebars to the Exodus was the transport of those remains of that wandering, dreaming patriarch who had initiated Israel’s migration to Egypt centuries before. Here are some lessons we can take from the surrounding Midrash









Our protests evidently led the church that spoke of “flushing the Quran” to rethink its ways.  And the worldwide protest against the Brithis Academicd boycott of two Israeli universities also bore fruit.  Check out these links:



Pastor apologizes for sign

From staff reports

A Baptist pastor decided to apologize and take down a sign outside his church that suggested that the Muslim holy book should be put in a toilet.

In the face of national media attention and overwhelmingly negative response to his actions, including a critique from the head of the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee, Pastor Creighton Lovelace issued a written statement May 25, according to The Daily Courier and Baptist Press. He said in the statement that he "did not realize how people of the Muslim faith view the Koran - that devoted Muslims view it more highly than many in the U.S. view the Bible."

"Now I realize how offensive this is to them, and after praying about it, I have chosen to remove the sign," he said. "I apologize for posting that message and deeply regret that it has offended so many in the Muslim community."

The sign, outside Danieltown Baptist Church in Forest CityN.C., was an apparent reference to a Newsweek article that sparked riots causing at least 16 deaths, had said, "The Koran needs to be flushed!"

Although Lovelace stood his ground early in the week, saying he knew the sign would be offensive, Lovelace's statement on Wednesday said his intentions were to "exalt the Bible and its teaching."

"It was certainly not my intent to insult any people of faith, but instead to remind the people in this community of the preeminence of God's Word," he said.






Ask the Rabbi


What is Pirke Avot?

Pirke Avot, also known as “Ethics of the Fathers (or, gender-neutrally, “Ancestors,”) is part of the Talmud, but a unique literary unit unto itself.  It was composed in the first couple of centuries of the common era (and the rabbinic era) as a means of solidifying the rabbi’s influence over the people.  It is also an instruction manual for the rabbis themselves.  It contains some of the most well-known and significant values of Jewish life, including aphorisms like “If I am not for myself, who will be for me… and If not now, when?”  Each one is attributed to a rabbi of that time and a chain of tradition is established going all the way back to Moses at Sinai (that’s the part where the rabbis try to justify their role as natural leaders of the Jews) but focusing on the early rabbinic period itself, beginning with sages like the great Hillel.

It is customary to study chapters of Pirke Avot (which literally means “chapters of our ancestors”) during the period between Passover and Shavuot, as we prepare ourselves spiritually to receive the Torah.  A nice web site where this practice is being followed is the Reconstructionist Federation – see it at  This week’s commentary is based on chapter 4, verse 25,



"Elisha ben Avuyah taught: That which one learns in youth is like ink written on clean paper; that which one learns in old age is like ink written on blotted paper."

The questions raised there focus on the difference between knowledge and wisdom and the issue of how “wise” can we really be when we are young?  Here is the link to the Pirke Avot text online, from the Gutenberg Project, ( which seeks to make famous texts in the public domain accessible on the Internet (everything from the Bible to Alice in Wonderland):


Chapter 1
   Chapter 2
   Chapter 3
   Chapter 4



The Highest Level of Tzedakkah*


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


Attention Astute Attorneys!

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

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

Pre-Empt the Competition – Employ me first!

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



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


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


The responsibilities of the position include:


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Spiritual Journey on the Web


Sacred Connections


          From time to time I like to peruse synagogue websites.  Looking at websites of other synagogues can help us to assess our own situation, as well as to give us ideas for future programming.  It also gives us a chance to connect, in a cyber way to the Jewish world.  “Canaan Hora” - a weekly kids’ introduction to the parsha, which, if you go down the page to the bottom and click on “home,” leads you to the home site of  Beth Tzedec, a magnet Conservative shul in midtown Toronto.  This shul has some terrific programming, and they utilize their web site very effectively.  It is a real model for us.  There are many others out there.  I encourage you to explore synagogue sites and let us know which ones you recommend.  BTW, lots of people peruse our site and contact me complimenting it.  Synagogue site surfing is one of my favorite pastimes.


          Evidently I‘m not alone.  A retired hi-tech entrepreneur living in the US and Israel named Jeff Macklis has checked out 1,500 websites of progressive synagogues all over North America, in an attempt to match them up with liberal congregations in Israel.  His effort, known as “KBY – Kehillot B’Yachad” (Congregations Together) was described in a Ha’aretz article last week:


A grass-roots initiative aimed at forging personal connections between Diaspora Jews and Israelis active in Reform and Conservative synagogues here has been launched in recent weeks. The brainchild of retired high-tech entrepreneur, Jeff Macklis, the Kehilot B'Yahad (KBY-Congregations Together) campaign is currently contacting thousands of people throughout North America, in the hope of creating a network of financial support for some of the smaller Reform and Conservative communities across Israel, which have not enjoyed the same amount of overseas support as better-funded synagogues in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.  The project also aims to raise awareness regarding the Israeli government's discrimination against progressive Judaism.


          You can find his site at  The poem I’ve selected for my “Quote of the Week” (see above) comes from one of those Israeli synagogue’s websites.  There is much for us to learn from that poem – and from this effort to link us all together.  If you are looking to take on a meaningful community service project, this might be the one for you!  If you are interested in helping us to link into this project, let me know.



So – did you check out last week’s site –

If so, let us know what you recommend!


Jerusalem Day is this Monday


This is the anniversary of the reunification of the city in 1967.

Here are some Jerusalem Day links, collected by CAJE, for Jewish educators and for all of us!  Enjoy.





(Described BY Judi Gladstein as “Lego Land without the legos”)

Israel’s newest tourist hotspot!!!


…And here’s Judi’s travelogue from her recent trip to Israel.


You would not have thought this was Israel. A beautiful marina with very upscale boats docked in the harbor; surrounded by a number of al fresco restaurants; centered by a brand new shopping mall. As we approached our restaurant, the sirens started to wail. We stood still, as did everyone else: Eyes downcast, thoughts focused. It was the 11AM siren reminding us that this was Yom Ha Zikaron, Memorial Day here in Israel. There are not many Israelis who have not suffered a loss that was being remembered today.


Earlier that morning, on our way to the marina in Herzeliya, we were told that the long line of cars that appeared to be stopped by a traffic jam were in fact parked on the shoulder of the road.  Their passengers were at a nearby cemetery. Scenes like that could be seen all around Israel as Israelis remembered those who had fallen for their country. That is the uniqueness of Israel. They don’t glorify their dead soldiers. They mourn each one, and the whole country participates in the grief.


The night before, we were seated having dinner in a private home when the first siren went off at 7 PM. Our host and hostess stood, as we did. We returned to our meal but the evening had turned solemn. We later attended a community memorial service in nearby Pitah Tikvah. Since we are not Hebrew speakers, we could only sense the solemnity of the speaker, a poet, as he took us through evening; introducing music, songs, testimonies; all dedicated to the sacrifices of Israelis for their country.


Twenty –four hours later, it was Independence Day, Yom Ha Atzmaut.  The Israeli psyche was ready to leave its grief and rejoice in the life they have fostered and their many accomplishments of these last 57 years. We gravitated to the parks as did others.  It is a day for families to gather and picnic or bar-b-que. So many kids in strollers; there is a definite baby boom here in Israel. The older kids were batting each other with inflated hammer balloons, eating cotton candy and listening to a rock concert. It reminded me so much of our own July 4th celebrations, including a spectacular fireworks display.  And then there was this small display of Israeli folk dancing that erupted spontaneously. I can’t imagine Jewish men of Fairfield County joining the dance circle as these men did.


It was 10:30 PM when we drove down to Tel Aviv to meet some people at a club and it was 3:30 AM when we baby boomers left same club.


People ask us how we enjoyed our trip to Israel. It was fantastic as usual. But afterwards you need a vacation to recover from a vacation in Israel




 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

Trans-Israel Highway a Runaway Success - Sharon Kedmi (Ha'aretz)
    The Trans-Israel Highway company, which runs the country's only private toll road, makes NIS 150,000 a day, according to the financial statement released Tuesday by Derech Eretz, the concessionaire of the project.  The highway runs 86 kilometers from the Iron intersection in the north to the Sorek intersection in the south.

Sharon Emphasizes the 21st Century Israel - Larry Weinberg (Israel21c)
    Prime Minister Sharon told AIPAC last week about Israel's extraordinarily high number of high tech startups, its impressive number of engineers per capita, its agricultural innovations that feed hundreds of millions of people around the world, and the quality of the advanced medical research and care in Israel.
    The prime minister understands that if he talks only about the conflict, then Israel becomes defined by this.
    His comments about the 21st century Israel tells the world about an Israel that, despite the conflict, adds value to the world every day.

Israel Joins NATO Parliamentary Assembly - Nina Gilbert (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel was voted in as a member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly on Tuesday, after previously enjoying only observer status.
    See also PA Obtains Observer Status in NATO Assembly (PA Press Center)
    The North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Parliamentary Assembly has agreed to grant observer status to the Palestinian Authority.

  Ex-Shin Bet Chief: Targeted Interception Policy Led to Calm - Amos Harel
Avi Dichter, the recently retired chief of the Shin Bet domestic security service, said Tuesday that Israel's policy of targeting terror leaders led to the decision by armed Palestinian groups to declare a period of calm. "Senior Hamas leaders decided they were tired of seeing the sun only in pictures," Dichter told a conference on aerial warfare against terrorism in Herzliya. (Ha'aretz)
    See also Anti-Terror Air Operations in Gaza - Arieh O'Sullivan Commander of the Israel Air Force, Maj.-Gen. Eliezer Shkedy, told the conference, hosted by the Fisher Institute, that better accuracy of weapons had significantly reduced the number of innocent people being hurt in Israeli air attacks. "In the beginning of the conflict the proportion of unintended casualties was one to one. Now the proportion is 12 to one. That is, for every 12 terrorists we hit, only one uninvolved person is hit. This is a dramatic change morally and operationally," Shkedy said. According to Shkedy, the air force has virtually taken over the operations against terrorists in the Gaza Strip and is responsible for up to 80% of military actions there, though Palestinians could still fire Kassam rockets and mortars at will. (Jerusalem Post)

 HamasFatah Agree to Election Delay - Ali Waked
Palestinian groups meeting in Gaza on Monday agreed to delay general elections in the Palestinian Authority until after Israel carries out the disengagement plan. The elections, scheduled for July 17, are now expected towards the end of the year. The agreement is part of a series of understandings between Hamas and Fatah which included postponing a revote in local elections in several districts in Gaza set for Wednesday "until further notice." (Ynet News/Reuters-Ha'aretz)

 Israeli President Katsav Addresses German Parliament - Greer Fay Cashman
 an historic appearance in Berlin's restored Reichstag that is now the Bundestag, President Moshe Katsav on Tuesday addressed Germany's two houses of parliament in a special session marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Germany and Israel. "The Holocaust is the formulating event in the lives of both the Jewish and the German people," said Katsav, who emphasized that there is no forgiving and no forgetting. "There are still many Jews throughout the world who bear numbers on their arms. The emotional scars inflicted at that time have been passed on to second and third generations....The Jewish people continue to bear the pain and the agony."
    Katsav also made reference to the strong political, economic, and scientific relations that have developed between the two countries, and thanked Germany for what it has done to strengthen Israel. (Jerusalem Post)

Palestinian Farmers to Israeli Settlers in Gaza: Don't Leave - Miri Chason (Ynet News)
    Currently, some 3,000 Palestinians are employed in the Gaza settlement bloc of Gush Katif, most of them in agriculture.
    Mahmoud, 33, a Khan Yunis resident, said, "We hear in the news that in August they will leave Gush Katif, and we pray to God it won't happen." "If they do leave, there will be no food for my children."
    Mahmoud has been working at Ganei Tal for more than 18 years and said he is happy with the work and earns as much as three Gaza laborers.
    "There's no work in Gaza," he said, slamming the Palestinian Authority for its corruption.
    "Only PLO members, those who work for the government, will get everything (following the pullout)," he said.
    Mahmoud said he would be doing better had Israel refrained from signing agreements with Arafat.
    "Palestinians and Jews can live together, that's how it used to be," he said.
    "I don't believe in a man coming from Tunis, who comes here and runs the country. They sucked our blood."

The Bush-Abbas Meeting - Aluf Benn
At last Thursday's White House press conference with George Bush and Mahmoud Abbas, Bush promised that any change in the "green line" would be carried out with the mutual agreement of the sides, saying nothing about leaving the West Bank settlement blocs in Israel's possession. It is easy for Bush to mortgage the American position on the permanent borders, wrapping it in different packaging for Israelis and for Palestinians. In so doing, he demonstrates involvement and accomplishment, fending off charges that he has washed his hands of the conflict. But the permanent settlement talks are still far off, and it is doubtful they will come to fruition while he is still in office. (Ha'aretz)
    See also Deciphering the Bush-Abbas Press Conference - Robert Satloff
Bush's most provocative statement was his declaration to Abbas, "Changes to the 1949 Armistice lines must be mutually agreed." The administration apparently wanted to provide the Palestinians with something symbolically powerful yet practically innocuous, wording that went beyond previous U.S. policy.
    For years, Palestinians have wanted the U.S. publicly to accept the 1967 lines as the reference point for negotiations. In the arcane lexicon of Middle East diplomacy, by positing the1949 lines as the reference point, Bush granted the Palestinians more than they had asked for. In so doing, Bush inadvertently eroded the special status of UN Security Council Resolution 242, the central pillar of peace diplomacy since it was passed in 1967, which makes no reference to the armistice lines. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

Jihad Through History - Daniel Pipes
In his just-released book, Understanding Jihad, David Cook of Rice University dismisses the debate over the nature of jihad - whether it is a form of offensive warfare or a type of moral self-improvement. Cook dismisses as "laughable" John Esposito's contention that jihad refers to "the effort to lead a good life." Throughout history and at present, Cook definitively establishes, the term primarily means "warfare with spiritual significance." During his years in power, Muhammad engaged in an average of nine military campaigns a year, or one every five to six weeks; thus did jihad help define Islam from its very dawn. Conquering and humiliating non-Muslims was a main feature of the prophet's jihad.
    During the first several centuries of Islam, "the interpretation of jihad was unabashedly aggressive and expansive." After the conquests subsided, non-Muslims hardly threatened and Sufi notions of jihad as self-improvement developed in complement to the martial meaning. Nineteenth century "purification jihads" took place in several regions against fellow Muslims. The most radical and consequential of these was the Wahhabisjihad in Arabia, where they condemned most non-Wahhabi Muslims as infidels and waged jihad against them. (New York Sun)

10 Questions for Natan Sharansky - Matt Rees
Former Israeli cabinet minister Natan Sharansky said in an interview: "We are missing a historic opportunity, with a new Palestinian president, to link all contacts to progress toward democracy." "If the PA is not fighting Hamas as a terrorist organization, then Hamas keeps its weapons." Abbas "is giving more and more time to the terror groups to strengthen themselves, and he's not competing with them to create better welfare for his people." Sharon "is making a huge concession to Hamas by withdrawing from Gaza. It encourages Hamas and Hizballah and al-Qaeda." (TIME)

IDF Chief of Staff Ya'alon: Palestinian State "Will Try to Undermine Israel" - Ari Shavit (Ha'aretz)

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, who retires Wednesday after 38 years of military service, said in an interview:

·         The idea that a Palestinian state can be established by 2008, and will then produce stability, is "divorced from reality" and "dangerous," as any such state "will be a state that will try to undermine Israel."

·         Asked for his views on the concept of two states for two peoples, he said: "In the present reality, I see difficulty in producing a stable situation of end-of-conflict within that paradigm." A two-state solution, he continued, is simply "not relevant. It is a story that the Western world tells with Western eyes."

·         Asked about the current situation in the PA, Ya'alon responded: "For the Palestinians it is still convenient to maintain a gang-based reality rather than a state foundation."

·         "When [the PA] permits Hamas to take part in the elections without abandoning its firearms, is that democracy? It's gangs. Armed gangs playing at pretend democracy," he said.

·         "If Fatah continues to behave as it does now, Hamas will eventually take over the Gaza Strip," he added.

    See also Ya'alon: Israel Can Defend Itself If Golan Heights Are Returned Under Peace Accord
Asked whether he believed Israel could defend itself should it return the strategic Golan Heights plateau to Syria in any peace accord with Damascus, the outgoing Israeli army chief of staff, Moshe Ya'alon, told the pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat newspaper Tuesday: "Yes, that is correct." "But I insist on the word 'peace' and the need for a serious Syrian leadership in the peace process," he added. (AFP/Daily Star-Lebanon)

    See also Former Air Force Commander Dan Halutz Becomes New IDF Chief of Staff - Amos Harel (Ha'aretz);
    New IDF Chief Known as Big Thinker - Leslie Susser (JTA)





“Palestinians living under ‘occupation’ have the lowest standard of living in the Middle East.”


When Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip in 1967, officials took measures to improve the conditions that Palestinians had lived under during Jordan’s 19-year occupation of the West Bank, and Egypt’s occupation of Gaza. Universities were opened, Israeli agricultural innovations were shared, modern conveniences were introduced, and health care was significantly upgraded. More than 100,000 Palestinians were employed in Israel, and were paid the same wages as Israeli workers, which stimulated economic growth.

The rise in violence during the 1990s, and then the war instigated by Palestinian terrorists beginning in 2000, has taken a heavy toll on the Palestinian economy. To protect its citizens from suicide bombers and other terrorists, Israel was forced to take measures that had a deleterious impact on the economy in the Palestinian Authority. The most serious step was to limit the number of Palestinian workers entering Israel to reduce the risk of terrorists pretending to be workers slipping into the country. This raised the level of unemployment, which, in turn, had a negative spillover effect on the rest of the Palestinian economy.

Despite the collapse of the PA economy from the last five years of war, Palestinian Arabs are still better off than many of their neighbors. The most recent Human Development Report from the United Nations ranks the PA 102nd in terms of life expectancy, educational attainment and adjusted real income out of the 177 countries and territories in the world, placing it in the “medium human development” category along with most of the other Middle Eastern states (only the Gulf sheikdoms are ranked “high”). The PA is ranked just 12 places below Jordan and one behind Iran; it is rated ahead of Syria (#105), Algeria (#108), Egypt (#120), and Morocco (#125) (“Human Development Report 2004,” United Nations Development Programme, 2005).

Few Palestinians would trade places with Arabs in neighboring countries. Well, perhaps, with one exception. They might aspire to the standard of living in the country ranked 22nd by the UN – Israel.

This article can be found at




Jewish and Israeli Links:                                      



Support Israel by Shopping Israel!  


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.









June 13 - June 14, 2005


The festival of Shavuot begins on Sunday evening, June 12th.

Celebrate with us as we join Temple Sholom, at 300 East Putnam Avenue in Greenwich, for Tikkun Leil Shavuot - an evening of learning - beginning at 8:00 p.m.


Join Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

and Rabbi Mitch Hurvitz

for a discussion of this urgent topic

from a variety of perspectives:


The End of the Zionist Dream?

Studies on the Proposed Gaza Withdrawal


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Festival Evening Service                 8:15 p.m.


Led by Cantor Deborah Jacobson

and Cantor Ken Cohen



Study Sessions


Shavuot Service Schedule at Temple Beth El


Shavuot - First Day

Monday, June 13, 2005



We’ll have a pizza lunch on the first day IF I hear from enough of our families that they will be coming (especially from our day school students who will be off from school that day).  RSVP to and let me know whether you want a part in the service as well!


Services 9:30 a.m.

Jr. Congregation with Nurit 10:30 a.m.


Shavuot - Second Day

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


Services 9:30 a.m.

Jr. Congregation  with Nurit 10:30 a.m.



Shavuot services count toward Shabbat morning attendance credit!






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!


Joke for the Week

The First Jewish President

The Yaakov, the first Jew to be elected President calls his Mother: "Mama, I've won the elections. You've got to come to the swearing-in ceremony."

Mamma says, "I don't know, what would I wear?"

Yaakov says "Don't worry, I'll send you a dressmaker."

Momma reminds him, "Remember I only eat kosher food."

Yakkov responds, "Yes Mama, I am going to be the president. I can get you kosher food."

"But how will I get there?" asks Momma.

"I'll send a limo. says Yaakov. Please, just come mama."

Mamma says, "Ok, Ok, if it makes you happy."

The great day comes and Mama is seated between the Supreme Court Justices and the future Cabinet members. She nudges the gentleman on her right. "You see that boy, the one giving the speech? His brother's a doctor!"



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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