Friday, February 10, 2006

February 11, 2006 - Shevat 13, 5766


February 11, 2006 - Shevat 13, 5766



Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut




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WZO elections DEADLINE IS herE!

(see more below)



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


Just the Facts (service schedule)

The Rabid Rabbi (including E-mail from the Front)

Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunities

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 for the Week



“Fanatic, apocalyptic, totalitarian, the mullahs who rule Iran see their destiny as waging jihad and extending theocracy across the entire Middle East. Under no circumstances can such enemies be permitted to acquire nuclear weapons—or to doubt that we will do what we must to make sure that they don't.

 -- Jeff Jacoby The Boston Globe, January 25, 2006



Photos from last week’s World Wide Wrap

See lots more of them at








Shabbat Shira – the Sabbath of Song


Friday Evening 

Candle lighting for Stamford, CT: Candle lighting: 5:04pm on Friday, 10 February 2006.  Havdalah is at 6:08 on Saturday evening. For candle lighting times, other Jewish calendar information, and to download a Jewish calendar to your PDA, click on  To see the festivals of other faiths as well, go to


Kabbalat Shabbat: 7:30 PM – in the chapel


Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM – Mazal Tov to Chad Weissman, who becomes Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat Morning


Children’s services: 10:30

Torah Portion:  Beshallach – Exodus 13:17 - 17:16 The crossing of the Red Sea and the Song of the Sea

1: 14:15-20
2: 14:21-25
3: 14:26-15:21
4: 15:22-26
5: 15:27-16:3
6: 16:4-7
7: 16:8-10
maf: 16:8-10

Haftarah – Judges 4:4 - 5:31  The Song of Deborah

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




Morning Minyan: Weekdays at 7:30, Sundays at 9:30 AM



Winter Weather Advisory

Note that in the case of bad weather, weekday minyan does not take place when Stamford public schools are cancelled OR postponed.  On Sunday, minyan is cancelled if our Religious School sessions are cancelled. Friday evening and Shabbat morning’s main service is never officially cancelled, but do use your best judgment in deciding whether to come.  We will endeavor to get proper notification to WSTC radio regarding cancellations, but that may not always be possible for children’s services held on Shabbat.



The Rabid Rabbi



My Children are Drowning


It’s not been a particularly happy week in the world – and it’s been quite frightening locally.  Incidence of violence are intensifying in Europe and the Moslem world as result of the anti-Islamic cartoons published (see more on that below in the Web journeys section).  So now people have died as a result, and the violence shows no sign of abating.


And now, here in Stamford, we are all suffering from the violence that has infected our city and society as a whole.  I’ve attended several meetings of local officials and clergy, with the goal of sending a message to the entire community that we stand together in the face of fear and in the face of violence.  The faith community will be doing several things, including speaking to the topic this weekend at services, collecting our thoughts into a page that will be published this weekend in the Advocate; we’ll also going to the teens, in schools and on the streets (an activity I plan to be part of), to talk to them but most of all to listen and to try in any way that we can, to douse the fires of anger, hate and revenge.  And there will also be an interfaith service next Wednesday evening at Bethel AME Church (details just below), in the troubled West Side.  As the pastors went around the room to choose a date, it became clear that none of the proposed dates would enable all the religious leaders to attend.  Unfortunately, next Wednesday evening was not a time I could be there, but I do hope that many from our congregation will be.


I recall words I wrote years ago, when I preached from the same pulpit at Bethel AME:  Stamford can and must be a healing city, a place where all citizens feel sustained and nurtured in its midst.  We must be an organic city, not of disparate neighborhoods and conflicting groups, but a collage where the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts. We must reach heavenward, crying God’s tears, manifesting God’s kindness, and imprinting that kindness on every street corner, in every school and house of worship, in every skyscraper and neighborhood market, in every stone and girder.  We must make Stamford the oasis of tranquility that we know it can be – and we must accomplish that goal together.


At our next “Learning and Latte,” this Tues.  @ 7:30 at Borders my colleagues in interfaith dialogue will deal with our announced topic but also dwell on some of the issues underlying the tensions in Europe, the Moslem world and here at home. That is, after all, why “Learning and Latte” exists.


Among the legends of the crossing of the Red Sea, recounted this week in the Torah, is the one where God rebukes the angels, who were celebrating on High just as the Israelites were celebrating below.  “The works of My hands, My children, are drowning in the sea,” God cries, “and you would utter song in My presence?”  At the very moment of the triumph of good over evil, God recognizes that even that supreme victory cannot be complete when human beings are suffering. 


Irony abounds here, especially when we think that just over a week ago, hundreds of Egyptians actually did drown in the Red Sea, in that horrible ferry accident.  That midrash can be helpful here, in reminding us of our deep connection to all people, even people so different and so far away, in that we are all children of God.



My Children are Drowning” part II


          It’s been a real tough week for many of our kids.  Those in middle schools all are aware of the tragic death of a 7th grader resulting from a popular choking “game.”  I personally spoke with our upper Hebrew School classes this week, as well as Kulanu High School students, both to offer the comfort of a listening ear and to implore them to be responsible, not only for their own safety, but to look out for their friends as well.


          Having talked to the kids, I can only offer this very direct message to parents: they are closer to this than you might know.  Some have seen friends doing dangerous things and/or have been invited to participate themselves in risky behavior.  Talk to your kids about this.  It is so important.


And then there are the dangers to our children online, highlighted in recent news reports and in the attorney general’s new attacks on those networking sites.  Congregant Jeffrey Gold prepared this list of important links regarding popular online networking sites, including MySpace.  Please look at them – and then talk to your children again.



  1. and for educators
  2. MySpace Safety Tips
  3. MySpace Tips for Parents
  4. and cyberbullying
  5.  Advocate-2/4 Teen Web sites worry local parents
  6. Newsweek-1/27 'Predator's Playground'? - A Web safety expert offers tips for keeping teenagers and children safe on social-networking sites like
  7. Newsweek-12/26 The Guys


 Prepared presentations that can be used:

A video report about Internet social-networking concerns that has more impact then reading any web page: Your Kid's Cyber Secret




An Interfaith service expressing the religious communities’ stand against the recent violence in Stamford will be held on



at 8:00 p.m.


Fairfield Ave. in Stamford





In this time of transition and stress in Israel, with an ailing Prime Minister and an acting one, with the Palestinians sorting out implications of their political sea change and with Israeli elections at the end of March, we are renewing the dialogue between me and my sister Lisa, who lives in Mitzpeh Yericho and TBE congregant Jan Gaines, who lives much of the year in Netanya.  Those wishing to see last week’s exchange can find it at And if you want to respond, go to our bustling discussion forum at our web site, – your opinion is highly valued.


FYI – Amona is mentioned here – the scene of last week’s government action removing Jews from an illegal settlement.  The result was far more violent and the resistance far greater than anything experienced in Gaza last summer.  It has been topic #1 in Israel this week.

 Haaretz's Overview of Amona Evacuation Story
"At Wednesday's confrontation, some 3,000 settlers many of them teenagers faced off against thousands of soldiers and policemen during the three-and-a-half hour operation, which both sides agreed had been far worse than the disengagement from Gaza. Some 75 people were arrested...."






Dear JJ and family (including your "sog family")


The picture here is shifting all the time, and it is sometimes hard to get a focus on what is mere "reflection" and what is reality.


Again, I keep imagining little Toto pulling back the curtain to expose the stuff going on behind the scenes. There is something so ominous about what is happening that it is often difficult to hold on to the true reality and know that whatever G-d promised has, so far, happened just as promised. This is our focus and our "key" for filtering the information we receive.


Amona: This is Gush Qatif with the gloves pulled off. I suspect that this is the way things are going to be from now on; more and more persecution of dissenting voices, more "controls" on what remain of democratic processes. More push and shove, less due process. I send you a link which you might find relevant.


We gave up our satellite service after the High Holidays. We use the internet to keep in touch with the news, and after a few days of "cold turkey," we found that life is much, much better without the commercial and digital tv. We do indulge in a movie once in a while on the vcr. We hope, if Asher's work situation improves, to get a dvd, as well... I digress. It is interesting, however, that despite the Election Season, there is amazingly little propaganda on the media, and almost no broadsides out on the billboards and buses. This is very unusual; every other election I have participated in (I have been here 26 years now!), has been characterized by a blizzard of pamphlets and billboards. Kadima has yet to lay down a party platform, and is letting its "aktions" speak louder than words.... Needless to say, we are leery, at best, of their intentions. I will not interpret the reasons for the relatively thin and lackluster campaign. I am simply stating a fact.


As for the "wall," you assume, wrongly, that we are in favor of it. We never were. In light of the general atmosphere here of "giving' the bum's rush" to those living in villages in Yo"sh (Judea and Samaria), we will not be surprised at any scenario, including tipping off the PA that it is time to settle accounts with those pesky "settlers" living in Mitzpe Yericho; the army is now out of it, so have fun.... Oops, they sure were stupid to build their homes ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL....


Other than that, things are great; Adereth is growing beautifully, and we are tired, but happy. Asher is very busy using his time to both fix all the myriad things in the house and baby-proof it, and rustle up some work in home maintenance, which is one of his sidelines. He may be unemployed (as are almost half the adults we know these days!), but he is very far from idle!  I, myself cannot find enough hours in the day (Adereth does NOT like to nap!) to get my coursework done for my sabbatical courses, and at the same time have received a number of illustration commissions to keep me up after midnight, too!

I think that is all for now. Hope Ethan's birthday was fabulous!

Love to all of you; I love you, Josh!




I appreciated Jan Gaines’ take on things here; I think that there is no doubt that one's milieu affects how one perceives things, along with information gleaned along the way. I think she has a fine way of wording things, so that they become quite clear. At any rate, I look forward to her next contribution! J





Dear Josh and Lisa,

     Yes, the scene changes every day in this guessing game as to what is REALLY happening.  Like a kid's merry-go-round where you keep changing horses but somehow they all end up being the same horse in the end.


  I think the fallout from Amona is just starting to penetrate. After the initial horrified reactions and the litany of blame in all directions,  what is settling in is that 1. The parents never thought the police would be that brutal so sent their kids thinking it would be more like Gaza.


2. Big difference between Border Police and Tzahal/IDF.  The Border Police don't play nice!  They play really rough.  That's their job. If it had been army it would have been a different scene.


3.  Olmert may have thought he was setting an example so he wouldn't have to face this kind of thing with each evacuation, but it is beginning to backfire. He sent Livni off to Washington to say, "See, we can keep tearing down the illegal settlements, so make nice with us. What is our reward?" 


     I personally don't like and don't trust Olmert. We aren't seeing a lot of campaigning because maybe the general public is apathetic.  I'm sure it will start soon.  It already has in the press. I also am not so sure that Kadima will walk away with so many seats.  The more Olmert exposes himself, the more there's a sense of unease.  Sharon could get away with not tipping his hand because the public trusted him to put the country first.  There's no one in this hustling political scene who even comes close.


  As for Hamas, I feel like they are playing musical chairs with us. The longer the music goes on, the less we will know which moves they are making so that we can counter them and so each of our options is eliminated one by one until Hamas is sitting alone with a big green grin and we are on the sidelines wondering how it happened.


   But there's a little good news.  We've had fabulous rain for 2 whole days. I was up in the Golan yesterday visiting a lonesome army base (with the Friends of the IDF group) and it was coming in torrents. So at least we aren't hearing anymore

about boats carrying Turkish water in plastic containers to our shores. Maybe G-d is taking a little pity on his children.


   Lisa, I wish there was something encouraging I could say about your lovely Yishuv staying there forever.  But I can't.  Maybe once they get E 2 built and at least start the fence around Ma'ale Adumum,  there might be a way to snake up your hill with some kind of enclosure. But we have a long way to go before that happens.


   Kol Tuv.  Shabbat Shalom.  Jan Gaines



Dear Jan and Lisa,


            Lisa – how could you give up the satellite dish???  You had more stations than we’ve ever had over here.  I loved sitting in the midst of your biblical scenery last summer, with the sheep and camels and the 8,000 year old city several barren mountains away, and be able to click on ESPN, then to see stations from all over Europe.  It made me realize how Israel, which once upon a time was so isolated, has now become technologically more connected to the rest of the world than we are in America.  I always love to tell people that I got better cell reception on top of Masada (and called in from messages in Herod’s palace) than I get here in Stamford


Aliyah has become a far less isolating option for Americans – like moving to the next neighborhood in the global village.


But, despite their disappointment re. the dish, everyone here says hi – and Ethan thanks you for the birthday wishes.


            I can recall that, when Mara and I were in Jerusalem for the year while I was in rabbinical school, I finally got to see the Super Bowl three weeks after it was played, on a videotape smuggled in by a disparate American student at Hebrew U.  I actually paid to watch it (talk about desperate) and we had a great time.  Now Israelis see the Super Bowl live (albeit in predawn hours), so they could all marvel last week at the accuracy of my prediction (again).


            Several TBE families will be milling around the Promised Land over the coming few weeks, so tell Luz to keep a look out for smiling Stamford faces when she hangs out on the Midrachov.  There are even about half a dozen from the shul who will be enjoying the lavish Reich hotel as part of the BiCultural 8th grade trip.  Stop by and give them a hug for me.


have been surprised at the lack of partisan politicking this far as the elections approach, but I think that will change.  It’s partly result of the quickly shifting landscape.  It’s been too much for a single nation to digest, losing a Prime Minister – an event that still lacks finality, and all the changes in the neighborhood on top of it.


I never felt you were in favor of the security fence – and in fact recalled the special pride you had at being on the “other” side.  I was just speaking on behalf of the rest of the family in wishing you were enclosed.  Right, Mom?


Jan – happy to hear about the rain, although I’m right now praying for a few sunny days for the Ginsburgs, Greenwalds and others who will be over there.  When we were at the Kineret last summer, the water level had gotten so high that a number of trees by the shore were partially submerged!  The shoreline had moved out for so long that those trees had grown considerably. 


Well, that’s it from the SOG front for this week.  Keep us posted!








Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Projects


Beth El Cares


Sunday, April 30th 8:30am-1:30pm (before, during and after religious school)
Wanted: 125 adults looking to get involved in a short term project that will save lives. 
No lengthy commitment required.
We need at least 125 volunteers to make this blood drive a success.  
While the Red Cross provides the “beds” we need to put “arms in the beds”.  
We also need volunteers to staff a sign up table during religious school, 
make sign up phone calls, assist with registration, assist with information forms, 
and generally help during the blood drive.  
Don’t forget to sign yourself up to donate-we need 125 donors! 
Please call Cheryl Wolff (968-6361) to get involved.  
Religious School Book Sale: 
One Day Only: Sunday, March 26.  
Religious School Mitzvah Projects:
We are pleased to report that Grades K-3 have completed their annual class mitzvah projects.  
Depending on the grade, the children gave a Chanukkah concert at Brighton Gardens 
assisted living facility or made toiletry kits for the homeless. 
During the next few months the upper grades will participate in their class mitzvah projects:
Grade 4- Make pictures to cheer up the sick at Stamford Hospital 
Grade 5- Birthday closet
Grade 6- Temple/cemetery spring clean up
Watch for details!  Students in 7th grade perform individual mitzvah projects 
in conjunction with their Bar/Bat Mitzvah!
Please contact us if you have ideas for mitzvah projects 
or if you are working on a mitzvah project that you need help with.
Special Thanks:
To all who were involved in our holiday projects. 
In prior thank yous we may have left one out: 
Again this year Julie (5th) and Todd (8th) Piskin donated all their Halloween candy 
to St Lukes Lifeworks for the annual Chirstmas dinner prepared by TBE volunteers. 
Cathy Satz (968-9191;
Cheryl Wolff (968-6361;
BETH EL CARES co-chairs





Spiritual Journey on the Web


Hatred Unleashed - the Islamic Uproar


It is not with any sense of pride that I share with you a link so that you can see some of the anti-Islamic cartoons that have been the cause of all the rioting and killing throughout the world.  Find them at  There is no question in my mind that they are offensive, just as I am appalled by so many stereotypes that appear in print, especially in cartoons, that are, by nature, well, cartoons, caricatures, superficial representations (and equally often misrepresentations) of reality.


Our world is now too filled with violence (see the Rabid Rabbi, above) to accept such affronts, even in the name of a free press.  The press must be free AND RESPONSIBLE, and while I would never question their legal right to publish just about anything, they have a moral obligation not to cry “fire” in a crowded theater by enflaming passions of hate.


The idea of countering this damage with attacks on Jews is also appalling – but I’m not sure which bothers me more – that the Jews (and Holocaust) were singled out for reprisals or that it didn’t surprise anyone and that the world tacitly accepts and expects it.


A word about the Danes, who were, as we know, the only nation to stand up for the Jews during the Holocaust.  There is an irony to their being victimized now, and it behooves Jews everywhere to show support for Denmark in whatever way we can.


Now, I invite you to take a tour of the following rogues’ gallery of anti-Semitic cartoons and other propaganda from recent times and from today, much of it from the Arab world.  I’m not one for one-upsmanship with victimization, but I do wish that those so offended by the anti Moslem cartoons would check out what’s going on in their own backyards.


A much more complete listing of these links can be found at:



Collection of anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic postcards, activity of students (German)



Anti What?

Anti-Israeli or Anti-Jewish? Recent events, personal testimonials, etc.



Anti-Defamation League (ADL)

Fighting anti-Semitism, bigotry and extremism



Antisemitic Caricatures in the Egyptian Media

Anti-Semitic stereotypes continue to be prevalent in cartoons published in the Egyptian Media



Antisemitic Egyptian Cartoons

Anti-Israel propaganda in Arab media with anti-Semitic images, Jews as Nazis, etc.




Research resources



Antisemitism - Hatred of the Jewish People

Website of an Israeli student, with timeline, articles, etc.



Antisemitism - The Politicization of Prejudice in the Contemporary World

Anti-Semitism Conference, webcasts available



Antisemitism & Holocaust Denial

Contains articles on modern anti-Semitism and hate groups as well as rebuttals to holocaust denial



Antisemitism (WUJS)

Online handbook by WUJS



Anti-Semitism and Anti-Zionism

Documents related to anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism



Antisemitism and Xenophobia Today

AXT is an online country-by-country examination of the manifestations of racism, xenophobia and, especially, anti-Semitism



Antisemitism: An Assault on Human Rights

Excellent historical and thematic overview, in the context of the Durban conference



Bernard Lazare: Antisemitism, Its History and Causes

Lazare, the first defender of Dreyfus, conducted a major review of the history of antisemitism



Cartoons from Der Stuermer

Cartoons from the Nazi propaganda newspaper published by Julius Streicher



Cartoons from Die Brennessel

Brennessel was the Nazi humor magazine, published from 1931 to 1938. It was not very funny.






On Tu B’Shevat


Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for trees, falls on Monday and we’ll be having both a seder for adults on Sunday morning and one for the family in the afternoon.  A whole bunch of Tu B’Shevat links can be found at to see more information from Hillel on Tu B’Shevat Seders see

Some excellent Tu B’Shevat material can be found at the new super sitewww.myjewishlearning.comFour Kinds of Tu BishvatRabbinicKabbalistic (mystical), ZionistEcological.   The father of modern Zionism plants a tree in the land of IsraelRead More

On the Kabbalistic Seder

·        Part I: Nature as a Sacred Text

·        Part II: Evil Symbolized by Fruit

·        Part III: The Seder as Atonement for Sexual Impropriety


If you want to learn more about the Kabbalistic Tu B’Shevat Seder:


1) A new version of the text of P'ri Ets Hadar's blessing, the blessing from the very first published Tu B’shevat seder, dating back to the 17th or 16th century.  This is one of the most sweet and ecologically relevant texts in all of Jewish history: - also see lots of other Tu B’Shevat info at the web site of the Coalition of the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) at


2) A fascinating "Save-The-Trees" one-page flow chart, using color, simple graphics, and explanations relating each step to its world, Sefirah (Divine emanation), element and season.  You can provide the teaching texts and songs or use this as a guide with another haggadah.  The "One-Page Save-The-Trees Haggadah" also includes the endings for all the prayers we say before eating and smelling in transliteration, as well as the English for the "borei n'fashot" prayer after eating, which is the very sweetest, most compact, environmentally meaningful prayer in Judaism:


The Society for Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) has a Hebrew Web site (with nice pictures).  Go to see Israel’s version of National Geographic, filled with beautiful nature pictures (back issues available outside my office) at


If you want to see what the spirit of Tu B'Shevat is really about, year round, go to . Freedman, a century-old UJA camp, has been radically transformed. It's the home of the Teva Learning Center ( ); it's been greened, top to bottom; and it has launched a remarkable new program, ADAMAH, a fellowship which will offer a dozen Jewish twenty-something's a unique opportunity to live there for six months to study organic farming, Jewish environmental ethics, sustainability and intentional Jewish community.  You can also see our former scholar-in-residence Nigel Savage’s web site at


Finally, every Tu Bish'vat should involve a little activism for trees as well.  Here are 15 action items related to trees:


And why not combine Tu B’Shevat with Valentines Day this year – and read the old classic, “The Giving Tree” to a child – or to yourself. 






The God Questions, Part 3

(for part 1 see last week’s Shabbat O Gram)




1)    Does God understand Hebrew best?


God understands all languages equally, including sign language and body language.  Even computer language.  When we communicate in any form, when we make connections, to some degree God is present.  Hebrew helps Jews to experience God best because it connects us to so many things:

a)   to the Jewish people, past, present and future, all over the world;

b)  to our own grandparents and great grandparents, many of whom prayed these same exact prayers in Hebrew;

c)   to the State of Israel, our homeland, and all who live there;

d)   to language itself:  Hebrew letters are so old that they trace themselves back to the first forms of communication.  We can see these ancient letters on old coins and in museums.  Hebrew is a language so modern that it can spell Coca Cola, and so ancient that it brings us back to the beginnings of civilization.  It is a very special language indeed, one that brings us closer to God because it helps us to connect to so many others, and to ourselves.


2)   Is the Bible true?


Yes.  But that doesn’t mean that everything happened exactly as it is described there.  I believe in evolution, but that doesn’t make the Torah’s creation story untrue.  It teaches us some important lessons about people and God, about our relationship to the earth and the rest of the universe, about the importance of Shabbat and the relationship between men and women.  And although I believe that the Bible is “true,” I struggle with many passages in it and can’t always agree with what it says – but I’m not alone in that.  The ancient rabbis also disagreed with some things in the torah and reinterpreted them.


The Bible is true just as the fact that our being alive is true.  The Bible and life are both remarkable gifts.  The key is not proving that they are “true,” the key is what we do with these gifts to make the world better.


3)    Does God really make miracles?


What is a miracle?  I would define a miracle as something that makes someone say, “Oh my God!”  Therefore, for me, by definition, miracles have something to do with God.  Some miracles are done by God (a spectacular sunset, for instance), but the best miracles require the cooperation of people, things like the creation of a new baby or a new country.  Israel was the answer to the prayers of many generations, but it would never have been established without much human sacrifice.  So think of all the times you are so overcome that you just have to say, “My God!”  Most likely, you are witnessing a miracle.  And by the way, what about those times when we aren’t so amazed?  Maybe, if we thought about it, we would be.




Required Reading and Action Items



Dear Community Member:

We need your answer to one simple question: Have you been denied life insurance coverage or charged a higher premium based on past or future lawful travel to Israel or elsewhere.

ADL has received reports from individuals across the country whose applications for life insurance have been denied because of past or future travel plans to Israel, or any other country on the State Department warning list. The action taken by the insurance industry varies from application denial, charging higher premiums, and in one case an outright prohibition on travel to Israel. Both business and pleasure travel are affected. In fact, we have heard from rabbis, tourists, legislators and business leaders.  Our review of the issue indicates that the actions taken by insurers are not supported by a reliable statistical analysis of the risks associated with travel to Israel.

Legislation preventing the insurance industry from taking this type of action without a bona fide statistical analysis was recently passed in California and Washington.  New York Illinois, and Maryland have laws protecting applicants from being denied life insurance based on past lawful travel. Legislation is pending is several other states including Massachusetts.

Legal protection in Connecticut is now being considered that would protect residents from adverse action based upon past and future lawful travel.  To move forward we need to amass data about incidents involving Connecticut residents.

If you or someone you know in Connecticut has been denied life insurance coverage or charged a higher premium based on past or future lawful travel, please let us know via email to  

David Waren, Director Connecticut Regional Office, Anti-Defamation League

The Re'ut Institute


The Re'ut Institute launched a new website providing real-time updates and analyses of the strategic ramifications of Hamas' victory for  Israel.  The website may be reached through the link in the Re'ut Institute website: under the title "The Challenge of Dealing with Hamas".


Link to Hamas Website

Turn Up the Heat - Ze'ev Schiff
There is clearly no choice but to respond more forcefully to the launching of Kassam rockets on targets considered strategic in the Ashkelon area, or on Negev communities like Sderot, whether by firing on populated areas, by inserting military forces into the northern Gaza Strip, or by cutting off the electricity. (Ha'aretz)

Three Myths About the Iran Conflict - Mel Levine, Alex Turkeltaub, and Alex Gorbansky
While Iran holds the world's second-largest reserves of oil and gas and is the fourth-largest oil producer, it is in fact a net importer of refined oil products, including gasoline. Thus, sanctions that prevented Iran from importing gasoline could bring its economy to a grinding halt. Perhaps more important, the subsequent shortages would disproportionately affect President Ahmadinejad's political base, the urban underclass and lower-middle class, as well as the military.
    Russia has far more to fear from Iran's nuclear program in the long term than does the U.S. or EuropeIran's support of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism across the Middle East and Central Asia is a direct challenge to Russian interests in territories that are still considered by Moscow to be within its sphere of influence. (Washington Post)

In a Single Night - Edward N. Luttwak
There may be perfectly valid reasons to oppose an attack on Iran's nuclear sites, but let's not pretend that such an attack has no chance of success. In fact, the odds are rather good. The claim that to stop Iran's program all of its nuclear sites must be destroyed is simply wrong. It is enough to demolish a few critical installations in a single night to delay its program for years - and perhaps longer because it would become harder for Iran to buy the materials it bought when its efforts were still secret. Some of these installations may be thickly protected against air attack, but it seems that their architecture has not kept up with the performance of the latest penetration bombs.
    Destroyed items cannot be easily replaced by domestic production. More than 35% of Iran's gasoline must now be imported because the capacity of its foreign-built refineries cannot be expanded without components currently under U.S. embargo, and which the locals cannot copy. Aircraft regularly fall out of the sky because Iranians are unable to reverse-engineer spare parts. The writer is a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (Wall Street Journal, 8Feb06)

·  What the Cartoons Have Revealed - Martin Peretz
It seems that the Islamicists believe that they cannot simply disagree vehemently with those who offend them. They seem incapable of simply opposing. Killing - or threatening to kill - seems to be a reflex with enough of them to make militant Islam a danger. Yes, the Danes assert, minorities have rights. But majorities do also, and among them is the right to survive with their culture and norms not being under siege. The Europeans still have an attachment to their liberties, including their press liberties. The countries of Europe will not take instructions on how to run a civil politics or how to preserve their culture from those whose habits have not yet caught up with the Magna Carta or the Declaration of the Rights of Man. (New Republic)

·  Guardian Report on Israel and Apartheid Mistaken - Benjamin Pogrund
This week the Guardian published a two-part report about Israel and apartheid. I spent most of my life in South Africa, working as a journalist who specialized in exposing apartheid. Nearly three years ago I underwent an operation in a Jerusalem hospital. The surgeon was Jewish, the anaesthetist was Arab. The doctors and nurses who looked after me were Jews and Arabs. I lay in bed for a month and watched as they gave the same skilled care to other patients - half of whom were Arabs and half of whom were Jewish - all sharing the same wards, operating theaters, and bathrooms. After that experience I have difficulty understanding anyone who equates Israel with apartheid South Africa. What I saw in the Hadassah Mt. Scopus hospital was inconceivable in South AfricaThe writer was deputy editor of the Rand Daily Mail in Johannesburg. (Guardian-UK)

A Manifesto for Murder - Daniel Jonah Goldhagen (Los Angeles Times)

·        Much has been said about the Hamas charter's call for the destruction of Israel and the need for Hamas to renounce this goal as the condition for being granted international legitimacy, economic aid, and diplomatic recognition. But an examination of the charter reveals that Hamas is not just dedicated to the destruction of Israel. It shows Hamas to be governed by a Nazi-like genocidal orientation to Jews in general.

·        As a lifelong student of Nazism and its radical murderousness, I have always been extremely reluctant to use the epithet "Nazi" for other reprehensible, anti-Semitic, or genocidal movements. Whatever the other differences, the anti-Semitism and the murderous logic that form the principal content and rhetorical structure of this charter and this political party are unmistakably Nazi-like with regard to Jews.

·        Hamas' charter should not be dismissed as just words, and all that it contains would not be nullified even if Hamas, under pressure, renounced its goal to destroy Israel. Seldom in the modern world has a political party enshrined such hallucinatory hatred and overt murderousness against another people in its constitution, and more seldom still has such a party taken power.

·        The Nazi Party Program of 1920 also contained much anti-Semitism, but compared to Hamas' charter, its demonology and prescriptions were tame.

·        When political parties and political leaders speak the language of annihilation openly, we should take them at their word. The last 100 years have shown that those expressing murderous dreams, like Hitler, mean it.

The writer, a member of Harvard's Center for European Studies, is the author of Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust.





MERCAZ USA — Slate #9

VOTER REGISTRATION: Deadlines for voter registration are now approaching. Mail-in registration ends as of January 15th, while online registration continues to February 15th. If you have not yet registered to vote, go to Click "Register" to start online process. Click "Learn", scroll down to #8 to download and print out a mail-in form.

PAPER BALLOTS: A second mailing of paper ballots for those who registered after November 15th were mailed at the end of December while a third and final mailing will be going out in the third week of January. Those who register by January 15th and ask to receive a paper ballot (either initial ballot or duplicate/replacement ballot) will be included in this final mailing. Mail-in ballots must be returned to Election Services Corporation postmarked no later than February 28, 2006. Remember to place a stamp on the envelope and put only one ballot per envelope.

EMAIL BALLOTS: Voters who register online after January 15th or those who request a duplicate email ballot will be sent a ballot to the email address provided in their registration. The email ballot will arrive with the words "AMERICAN ZIONIST MOVEMENT" in the "FROM" line. The email address from which the ballot is sent is Email ballots are sent out "bulk", so depending on how your email account is set up, you may find your ballot in your Spam or Junk Mail folder.

CASTING AN EMAIL BALLOT: For the internet ballot to be counted, you need two sets of numbers: a 10-digit Election Validation Number, which is supplied by the American Zionist Movement and is indicated in the message accompanying the ballot, and one's Personal ID Number (the last 6-digits of the registrant's SSN or your DATE OF BIRTH, whichever number was provided at the time of registration). The deadline for casting a ballot is 12:00 midnight, PST, February 28, 2006.

QUESTIONS: Registration problems should be addressed to the American Zionist Movement at (888) 657-8850. Voting issues, including requests for an email ballot or changes of email address should be addressed to the AZM Help Line at or (866) 720-HELP (4357), 8:30 am - 5:30 pm, EST. Please allow up to 3 days for an answer.


Click here to read the MERCAZ Platform and Slate of Candidates.







Jewish and Israeli Links…


Online Texts Related to Jewish History – you will not believe how much is here.  All the primary sources “fit to print.”




Israel Defense Force,
Israel Government Gateway, links to Government Ministries,
Israel Knesset,
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Israel Prime Minister's
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 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!

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.”

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):





Davenning Resources – compiled by The Shefa Network: The Conservative Jewish Activist's Network

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.

 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.





Family Tu B'Shevat Seder and Dinner

Sunday, February 12th at 4:00 p.m.


Join TBE in Celebrating Our Own Version of Arbor Day – with Music, Learning, Fun and Food!


Family Tu B'Shevat Seder and Dinner - Sunday, February 12th at 4:00 p.m.

Join TBE in Celebrating Our Own Version of Arbor Day with Music, Learning, Fun and Food!  Learn How Nature Can be Divinely Inspired!

Sponsored by Temple Beth El Sisterhood



A Free Concert

 Featuring Pharaoh’s Daughter


February 12, 2006, 2:00 pm


 Hosted by Congregation Beth El of Norwalk


In celebration of Camp Ramah New England


Sponsored by The Olshansky and Singer Family funds


Supported by Local Area Synagogues and Day Schools (including TBE!)

Blending a psychedelic sensibility and a pan-Mediterranean sensuality, Basya Schechter leads her band, Pharaoh's Daughter, through swirling Hasidic chants, Mizrachi and Sephardi folk-rock, and spiritual stylings filtered through percussion, flute, strings and electronica.

Her sound has been cultivated by her Hasidic music background and a series of trips to the Middle East, Africa, IsraelEgypt, Central Africa, Turkey, Kurdistan and GreeceBasyaShe began retuning her guitar to sound like a cross between an Arabic oud and a Turkish saz, with harmonic minor melodies, and odd time signatures. With the many amazing musicians, named below and others as well she has recorded four albums, three with Pharaoh's Daughter and one instrumental exploration with Persian santur player, Alan Kushan. PD also appears on three Tzadik label compilations: Voices in the Wilderness, the 10 year of anniversary of Zorn's Masada compositions; a collection of Sasha Argov music; and, a Brazilian Jewish composer from earlier in the 20th century, Jacob Du Bandolim.

Pharaohs' Daughter has toured extensively through America, Eastern and Western Europe, as well as Greece and the UK. This past summer, Pharaoh's Daughter had the honor of debuting at Central Park's Summer Stage series in August 2004, and has played such prestigious stages as Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park, and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. When she's not touring or performing, Basya plays darbuka, riq and frame drum as part of the B'nai Jeshurun music ensemble that accompanies Friday night services.

Over the past two years, Basya was the recipient of numerous compositional and project grants from NYSCA (New York State Council of the Arts) American Composers Forum (for Trance, and multilayered sound and video installation collaboration with fillmaker Pearl Gluck) and the American Music Center. She hopes to record Pharaoh's Daughter's fifth album, Hagar, within the next year.




Heading North from New York & Stamford:
Take EXIT 16 and turn left at the traffic light onto East Avenue. Proceed straight ahead 0.5 mile through 3 more lights. Synagogue is on the right .

Heading South New Haven & Bridgeport:
Take EXIT 16 and turn right at the traffic light onto East Avenue. Proceed straight ahead 0.5 mile through 2 more lights. Synagogue is on the right.



Adult Education Classes




An Introductory Class for Dummies, Smarties…

and Those Who Don’t Know How to Ask

with Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

This week – Tu Beshvat Seder for Adults at 9:00



“Our Shared Stories: Central Figures in Religion as Portrayed in the Bible, Quran & other Sacred Texts.”

Next session:  Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Topic:  David and Solomon

Led by:  Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Rev. Douglas MacArthur, and Dr. Behjat Syed




with Rabbi Selilah Kalev

Meets weekly on Thursdays at 10:00 a.m.





a six-session series presented by

The Israel Task Force Education Committee of the

United Jewish Federation (UJF) of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien


In today’s fast-paced, information-driven world, many people are confused by  media reports and unclear about the issues confronting modern Israel.  This six-part series is designed to 1) help participants develop and expand their knowledge of Israel’s history, 2) discover Israel’s people, culture, and outstanding achievements, and 3) learn how to assess media reports and to separate fact from fiction.  Based on historical facts and perspective, the series provides evidence of Israel’s continual efforts for peace; and highlights Israel’s relationship with Palestinian Arabs from 1880 to the present.


Each session begins with a presentation followed by a discussion, and includes participant folders with maps, resources list, historical background, and more.


Meets weekly on the following Thursday evenings at 7:30 pm:


Series Topics

February 9:   Session Five: 1980-1994: Terrorism and Israel’s Quest for Peace

February 16: Session Six: 1995-Present:  Israel’s Quest for Peace Continues





with Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Sunday, March 12th

 at 11:00 a.m.

What is Kosher – and why???




with Rabbi Selilah Kalev

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 7:30 p.m.



TALMUD FOR EVERYONE with Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 11 AM



And set aside the weekend of March 3-5…




Sponsored by Penny & Michael Horowitz

In loving memory of Bessie Silver


We welcome






Friday, March 3, 2006


Kabbalat Shabbat begins at 6:30 p.m.


We will join hundreds of synagogues across the continent as they take part in an historic national Jewish event to celebrate what unites all Jews - SHABBAT!

Shabbat Across America Dinner at 7:15 p.m. 

Nurit Avigdor will have a special children’s program during the lecture


ALL are welcome!


Friday, March 3rd

Rabbi Telushkin will speak during dinner:

“The 21st Century: A Jewish Vision, One Day at a Time”

Sign up for Shabbat Across America


Shabbat, March 4th

Rabbi Telushkin will speak on:

“What Jewish Humor Tells Us about the Jews”

with question and answer period during lunch


Saturday, March 4th at 7:30 p.m.

at the home of Ron and Grecia Gross

Rabbi Telushkin will speak on:

“Jewish Literacy: How to Become a Knowledgeable Jew”

RSVP to our education office at


Sunday, March 5th at 10:00 a.m.

“You Shall Be Holy”

based on Rabbi Telushkin’s new book (being published THAT WEEK),

A Code of Jewish Ethics




and, on that Shabbat morning…


Dedication of a Plaque on Noah’s Ark

Remembering SHIRLEY FISH

beloved member of TBE and former Associate Principal of our Hebrew School for 20 years!

By the TBE Discussion Group


Joseph Telushkin, named by Talk Magazine (September, 1999) as one of the 50 best speakers in the United States, is the author of Jewish Literacy:  The Most Important Things to Know About the Jewish Religion, Its People and Its History.  The most widely selling book on Judaism of the past two decades, Jewish Literacy has been hailed by leading figures in all the major movements of Judaism, and was brought out in a new edition in 2001.  In March, 2006, Bell Tower/Crown is publishing the first volume of his monumental work, A Code of Jewish Ethics:  You Shall be Holy, a comprehensive presentation of Jewish teachings on the vital topic of personal character and integrity.


Telushkin’s 1997 book, Biblical Literacy:  The Most Important People, Events and Ideas of the Hebrew Bible, was chosen as a selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club.  The Book of Jewish Values: A Day by Day Guide to Ethical Living was published by Bell Tower/Crown Books in 2000, and was the subject of a PBS special that aired throughout the United States that December.  His book, The Golden Land, a museum--in-a-book, tells the story of the Jewish migrations to the United States. In August, 2003, Bell Tower/Crown Books published The Ten Commandments of Character:  Essential Advice for Living an Honorable, Ethical, Honest Life, and the same month, Touchstone/Simon and Schuster reissued a revised and expanded version of Why the Jews:  The Reason for Anti-Semitism, which Telushkin co-authored with Dennis Prager.  In 2004, Toby Press published his novel, Heaven’s Witness, co-written with Allen Estrin, a murder mystery which deals with the themes of reincarnation and life after death.  He and Mr. Estrin have recently completed a screenplay of the novel for a TV movie to air on CBS.





Jewish Family Service Begins Outreach

for its 2006 Annual Camp Scholarship Program



It’s that time of year!   JFS is once again accepting applications for its Annual Camp Scholarship Program.


This program was created through the generosity of Ben and Joan Zinbarg, who established a fund to assist families requiring financial help to send their children to a Jewish Camp.  They have been joined over the years by other generous donors who understand the impact of this unique Jewish experience. 


It is well known that a Jewish camp experience helps to strengthen youngsters’ Jewish identity and future involvement in the Jewish community.  It is an experience they never forget.  We at JFS are proud to be able to provide this wonderful opportunity.


This program is open to all Jewish children from the Greater StamfordDarien, New Canaan, Westport, Weston, Wilton and Norwalk area whose families require assistance.  Children must be entering first grade, or higher, in September to qualify.


Families wishing to apply should call Jewish Family Service at 203-921-4161 to request an application.  All applications must be submitted by April 1, 2006. 


Anyone interested in helping to support the Camp Scholarship Program should contact Matt Greenberg, Executive Director, at the above number. 




The next gift card (SCRIP) order is due this Sunday, February 9th in the Hebrew School Office by noon!  Thanks for supporting the Hebrew School by purchasing gift cards through this program!



Temple Beth El to Honor Past Presidents - Dancing Through the Years


On April 1, 2006, Temple Beth El will host its annual dinner dance where we will pay tribute to our past presidents.  This is not an April Fool’s Joke!  Come join us as we go "Dancing Through the Years” led by a band featuring music from the ‘70’s, 80’s and ‘90’s, and of course, the preceding decades. The festivities will start at 7:30 p.m.


The community is invited to join us as we express our gratitude for the commitment and achievements of these lay leaders, 14 men, and one brave woman in their midst, who have dedicated a minimum of two years of their lives to benefit Temple Beth El.  Of course, these two years do not include the work they did leading up to their tenure as presidents and their continued involvement with Temple Beth El since their presidencies ended. Temple Beth El past presidents and honorees are:


Gordon Brown, Rosalea Fisher, Al Golin, Fred Golove, Jack Greenberg,

Ron Gross, Marty IsraelHerb Kahan, Alan Kalter, Mark Lapine, Milton Mann,

Neil Perlman, Gerald Poch, Brian Rogol and Jack Wofsey


For more information, to purchase tickets to the dinner dance or to buy an ad in the commemorative journal, please contact Temple Beth El at 322-6901.



2006 Fairfield County Ct Jewish Little League

Registration and Sponsorship Forms are Now Posted on the League Website:

See the Website for More Details!

Just Posted to the site: the 2005 FCCJLL Yearbook in Full Color
See what last season looked like!!

Questions: Please contact league commissioner Seth Marlowe




JCC Maccabi Games

Athlete Tryouts Are Coming

Sign-up Time is Now!


Calling all teenage Jewish athletes and volunteers!


Now is the time to sign up for this coming summer’s 2006 Stamford JCC Maccabi Games.  Tryouts for team sports will be held in late January and early February.  Individual sports are on a signup basis.  Maccabi Games coaches are waiting to hear from you!


Don’t miss out on this amazing event and the chance to go for the gold (or silver or bronze!) in tennis, basketball, swimming, baseball, soccer, dance, ping pong and more!  If you’re not an athlete, join in the fun as a Star Reporter, a host family, or a volunteer.  1,000 Jewish teen athletes will be coming from all over the USIsrael and the world to participate in this great event combining sports with Jewish culture.


Save these dates, August 13-18, for the 2006 Stamford JCC Maccabi Games.  Ages 12 through 16 are eligible.


For more information, call or e-mail Jocelyn Sherman at 203-487-0996 or, or Maccabi Games Assistant Director Ernest Lamour at 203-487-0971 or






Jewish?  You’re Kidding!  


This is from Sue Plutzer – not really a joke, but some added fodder for Adam Sandler’s next Hanukkah song..



1.. Lillian Friedman married Cruz Rivera. They named their baby Geraldo Miguel Rivera.( Funny, it doesn't sound Jewish....) Since,
according to Jewish law, anyone born to a Jewish mother is Jewish, Geraldo Rivera is Jewish. As were, among others: Fiorella Laguardia,
Winston Churchill and Cary Grant, as explained below.

2. Fiorella Laguardia's mother's name was Jacobson. His father was not Jewish. Laguardia spoke seven languages - including Hebrew and
Yiddish - fluently.

3. Winston Churchill's mother's name was Jenny Jerome.


4. Cary Grant's mother, Elsie, was Jewish. His father, Elias Leach, was not. Grant's original name was Archibald Alexander Leach. (Robin
Leach is his first cousin).

5. Peter Sellers' mother, Margaret Marks, was Jewish. His father, Bill Sellers, was Protestant. Peter's real name is Richard Henry Sellers.

6. David Bowie's mother is Jewish, his father is not. One of Bowie's album covers discusses his Jewish ancestry. His real name: David
Stenton Haywood-Jones.

7. Robert DeNiro's mother is Jewish; his father is not.

8. Shari Belafonte's mother is Jewish. Her father, Harry, has a Jewish grandfather.

9. Olivia Newton-John's Jewish grandfather was a Nobel Prize winning physicist.

10. Harrison Ford's mother is Russian-Jewish, his father is rish-Catholic.


Fact: The first theatre to be used solely for the showing of motion pictures was built by a Jew (Adolf Zukor).
Fact: The first full-length sound picture, The Jazz Singer was produced by the Jewish Samuel L. Goldwyn &Louis B. Mayer (MGM).
Fact: A Jew (Dr. Abraham Waksman) coined the term antibiotics.
Fact: A Polish Jew (Casimir Funk) who pioneered a new field of medical research gave us a word now common in our language - vitamins.
Fact: The first successful operation for appendicitis was performed by a Jewish surgeon (Dr. Simon Baruch)
Fact: The doctor (Dr. Abraham Jacobi) hailed as America's father of pediatrics was a Jew.
Fact: Until a Jewish doctor (Dr. Siccary) showed differently, Americans believed the tomato was poisonous.
Fact: Jewish Levi "Levi's" Strauss (inventor of jeans) is the largest clothing retailer in the world.
Fact: In 1909, four Jews were among the 60 multi-cultural signers of the call to the National Action, which resulted in the creation of the NAACP.
Fact: A Jew (Emile Berliner) is the man who developed the modern-day phonograph. While Thomas Edison was working out a type of phonograph that used a cylinder as a record, Berliner invented a machine that would play a disc. The machine he patented was called the
gramophone, and the famous RCA trademark is a picture of a dog listening to "his master's voice" on Berliner's device. The gramaphone was superior to Edison's machine. In short, Emile Berliner made possible the modern record industry. His company was eventually absorbed by the Victor Talking Machine Company, now known as RCA.
Fact: Jewish Louis B. Mayer (MGM) created the idea for the Oscar.
Fact: European Jews are the founding fathers of all the Hollywood Studios.
Fact: Jews comprise a mere 1/4 of 1% (13 million) of the population (6 billion).
Fact: 99% of the world is non Jewish.
Fact: Three of greatest &most influential thinkers dominating the 20th century were Jewish - Einstein, Freud, Marx.
Fact: The most popular selling Christmas song ("White Christmas") was written by a Jew (Irving Berlin)
Fact: Of the 660 Nobel prizes from 1901-1990, 160 have been won by Jews. In the end, Jews win more Nobel prizes than any other
ethnicity. They win 40x more than should be expected of them, based upon their small population numbers.
Fact: A Jew (Dr. Jonas Salk) is the creator of the first Polio Vaccine.
Fact: Jews (Hayam Solomon &Isaac Moses) are responsible for creating the first modern-banking institutions.
Fact: Jews also created the first department stores of the 19th century: The Altmans, Gimbels, Kaufmanns, Lazaruses, Magnins, Mays, Strausses became leaders of major department stores. Julius Rosenwald revolutionized the way Americans purchased goods by improving Sears Roebuck's mail order merchandising. Hart, Schaffner, Marx, Kuppenheimer and Levi Strauss became household names in mens' clothing. (Let's not forget EJ Korvets - Eight Jewish Korean (war) Veterans.)
Fact: Jewish Marc Chagall (born SegalRussia) is one of the great 20th Century painters.
Fact: English-Jewish financiers such as Isaac Goldsmid, Nathan Rothschild, David Salomons, and Moses Montefiore, whose fortunes
helped England become an empire.
Fact: In 1918, Detroit, a Jew (Max Goldberg) opened the "first" commercial parking lot.
Fact: In 1910, a Jew (Louis Blaustein) and his son opened the "first" gas station, eventually founding AMOCO OIL. One of the richest oil families in the world.
Fact: A Jew (Dr. Albert Sabin) developed the first "oral polio vaccine."
Fact: A Jew (Steven Spielberg) is the most successful filmmaker since the advent of film.
Fact: A Jewish poet's (Emma Lazarus) famous poem, ."give me your tired ... your poor... your huddled masses," appears as the inscription on the Statue Of Liberty.
Fact: Jewish Harry Houdini (Weiss) is the father of Magic/Illusion.

Fact: Dr. Sigmund Freud (Jew) is the father of psychiatry.
Fact: Jewish Abraham is the father of the world's 3 major religions: Judaism, Christianity &Islam (ancestors of the Hebrew &Arabic
peoples). Jesus (formerly known as "sweet Jewish Jesus") is still worshipped by billions.
Fact: Jews are the oldest of any people on earth still around with their national identity and cultural heritage intact
Fact: George &Ira Gershwin &Irving Berlin (Jews) are three of the most prolific composers of the 20th century
Fact: Isadore &Nathan Straus (Jews) - "Abraham &Straus," eventually became sole owners of Macy's (world's largest department store) in 1896.
Fact: Dr. Paul "magic bullet" Ehrlich (Jew) - physician, Nobel Prize in 1908 for curing syphilis.
Fact: Armand Hammer (Jew) - "Arm &Hammer," physician &businessman who originated the largest trade between U.S. and Russia.
Fact: Louis Santanel (Jew) was the financier who provided the funds for Columbus' voyage to America.
Fact: Sherry Lansing (Jew) of Paramount Pictures, became the first woman president of a major Hollywood studio.
Fact: Flo Zigfield (Jew) of "Zigfield Follies," is the creator of American burlesque.
Fact: Jews were the brains behind the Confederacy: Maj. Adolph Proskauer led the unit at GettysburgJudah P. Benjamin held 4 cabinet positions: Attorney General, February 25 to September 17, 1861; Secretary of War, September 17, 1861, to March 18, 1862; acting Secretary of War,March 18 to 23, 1862; Secretary of State, March 18, 1862, until the end of the war) and was referred to as "the brains of the confederacy." Rabbi Max Michelbacher was a confidant and spiritual advisor to General Robert E. Lee. A great many Jews fought for the Confederacy, and the overwhelming were recent immigrants from Germany &E ast Europe who felt they were fighting for Democracy. They fought far out of proportion to their numbers


Previous Shabbat-O-Grams can be accessed directly from our web site (

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