Friday, February 17, 2006

Shabbat-O-Gram for Feb 18, 2006

February 18-25, 2006 - Shevat 20-27, 5766


(there will be no Shabbat-O-Gram next week)


Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut


Shabbat Shalom


Happy President’s Day





Send your friends and relatives the gift of Jewish awareness -- a Shabbat-O-Gram each week, by signing them up at   To be removed from this mailing list, sent e-mail request to  If you have signed up and are not receiving our e-mails, check your spam filter to make sure that TBE is not being “spammed out.”




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



Quotes for the Week


“To Bigotry No Sanction,
to Persecution No Assistance”

George Washington's Letter to the Jews of Newport Rhode Island  (1790)


“When a person is brought before the heavenly court for judgment

 the first question he is asked is whether he was honest in business.” –

Talmud Tractate Shabbat 31a


“A person who doesn't tell the's as if he worships idols” - 

Talmud Tractate Sanhedrin 92a




Friday Evening 

Candle lighting Candle lighting: 5:12pm on Friday, 17 February 2006  Havdalah is at 6:16 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: 6:30 PM – in the chapel


Tot Shabbat: 6:45 in the lobby - Tot Shabbat will be hosted this week by Karen and Scott Herckis and their children, Molly and Will.  Molly attends Sarah Walker Nursery School.  Thank you so much!


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


Children’s services: 10:30

Torah Portion:  Yitro – Exodus 18:1 - 20:23  The Ten Commandments

1: 18:1-12 (12 p'sukim)
2: 18:13-23 (11 p'sukim)
3: 18:24-27 (4 p'sukim)
4: 19:1-6 (6 p'sukim)
5: 19:7-19 (13 p'sukim)
6: 19:20-20:14 (20 p'sukim)
7: 20:15-23 (9 p'sukim)
maf20:19-23 (5 p'sukim)

Haftarah – Isaiah 6:1 - 7:6; 9:5 - 9:6

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:  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 delayed.  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





Stamford Jewry’s




I’m proud to announce that Temple Beth El has been selected as one of ten new pilot communities nationwide for the Synaplex™ program.  We will join about three dozen other congregations that have successfully implemented Synaplex over the past three years.  We will be the first to bring Synaplex to Lower Fairfield County.


 I am grateful to our Board, which last month voted overwhelmingly to endorse our participation.  I also appreciate the seed funding we’ve received from the Jewish Community Endowment Foundation and other donors, as this exciting project begins to take shape for an October launching.


Synaplex will benefit us in so many ways, ranging in marketing to volunteer development, membership recruitment and retention, fundraising, community building and of course, programming.  We’ll be using the resources of STAR (Synagogue Transformation and Renewal) which was created by the same philanthropic visionaries that have brought us Birthright Israel and have revived Hillels on college campuses all over the world.

This partnership has brought tremendous energy to all who the congregations that have come before us.


If you have any questions about Synaplex or just can’t wait to become involved, contact me or another senior staff member, or our co-chairs Judy Aronin and Adam Eitelberg.  Meanwhile, to tide you over, some quick answers to FAQs from the STAR website (



What is Synaplex™?

Synaplex™ is a community-building initiative that enables contemporary Jewish individuals and families to celebrate Jewish life through a menu of innovative options, in the realms of prayer, study and social and cultural programs all taking place throughout Shabbat in the synagogue.




Who developed Synaplex™?

Synaplex™ was developed by STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal), a philanthropic partnership of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation and the Samuel Bronfman Foundation with the goal of enriching American Jewish life in the 21st Century.






Who is participating in Synaplex™?

Currently, nearly 40 congregations across the country representing all denomination and non-denominational synagogues are participating in Synaplex™. View the current listing.




How might my congregation be different by participating in Synaplex™?

Synaplex™ congregations are known for innovative programs that deepen the participation of members and attract the unaffiliated. They use their volunteer talent more creatively than most and therefore bring in new energy into their community.  As a result, participating congregations have seen sustained increases in Shabbat attendance of about 50% on Shabbat morning and 80% on Shabbat evening.




What can congregants expect from becoming involved with Synaplex™?

Synaplex™ is about choice, connections, and community. Congregants and those who are currently unaffiliated are invited to make choices about the programs and activities in which they will participate. They may make connections with the people with whom they may already know and will also have an opportunity to create new connections. Participants truly become part of a caring community where their presence matters!



And last but certainly not least… What will a typical TBE Synaplex Shabbat look like?


There is no such thing as a typical Synaplex™ Shabbat. That’s the beauty of Synaplex™--we’ll be designing each one in a manner that best meets the needs of our community at that time.  Some congregations hold Synaplex™ on Friday evening, others on Saturday morning, while still others have it throughout Shabbat and conclude with havdalah and a post-Shabbat activity.  Over the course of the year (with approximately one Synaplex Shabbat per month, none conflicting with Bar/Bat Mitzvahs), we’ll do all of the above.  We’ll be taking the best of what we’ve done over the past few years – Shabbat Unplugged, Scholars in Residence and Congregational Shabbatons, for example, and bringing it all to the next level.


When people experience Synaplex™, they immediately feel the excitement as people settle in one space in the building (and sometimes move to another!). Families with young children are in the social hall enjoying a Shabbat Romp experience, for example, while the empty-nesters relax at the Candles and Quiet Conversation dinner.  The teens are in the youth lounge having dinner to be followed by a program and service-learning project. In the main sanctuary, congregants bring the weekly Torah portion to life through dramatic performance. In one room, individuals nourish their bodies and souls through Torah and Yoga, while in another; young adults connect socially while playing board games and drinking coffee and talking about the perils of Jdate.  One thing is certain: Shabbat in the synagogue is where it’s at, and people love being there.


What we do here will depend in large part on your suggestions and desires.  We’ll combine tradition with innovation and look for most meaningful ways to reach each person.  Over the coming months, we’ll be reaching out for your involvement. 







Your child looks at a photo of the Olympic cauldron and says,

“Why did they light that big Havdalah candle, Daddy?”




The Power of Positive Speaking



I’ve been talking a lot about the importance of dialogue lately, and I know my comments have resonated for many. With so much anger and antagonism out there, and violence we have to be extra cognizant of the impact of a single negative statement – even non verbal ones.  Body language can be just as lethal.


I received this on Valentines Day from Liza Elisha, who was the youth counselor for our last two groups in Israel.  She’s an amazing person, who always has a good word for everyone. So I was not surprised to get this from her.  It reminded me of the power of a simple compliment.  And so I hope each of us will ask, “When was the last time you gave out a completely unsolicited compliment, unaccompanied by a “but” or some request.


While these Internet forwards tend to take on a life of their own, and you might have received this months or even years ago, I felt it important to forward Liza’s message to everyone as my own belated (100 % Kosher) Valentine….


One day a teacher asked her students to list the names of the other students in the room on two sheets of paper, leaving a space between each name.

Then she told them to think of the nicest thing they could say about each of their classmates and write it down.

It took the remainder of the class period to finish their assignment, and as the students left the room, each one handed in the papers.

That Saturday, the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate sheet of paper, and listed what everyone else had said about that individual.

On Monday she gave each student his or her list. Before long, the entire class was smiling. "Really?" she heard whispered. "I never knew that I meant anything to anyone!" and, "I didn't know others liked me so much." were most of the comments.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. She never knew if they discussed them after class or with their parents, but it didn't matter. The exercise had accomplished its purpose. The students were happy with themselves and one another. That group of students moved on.

Several years later, one of the students was killed in Viet Nam and his teacher attended the funeral of that special student. She had never seen anyone in a military coffin before. He looked so handsome, so mature.

The church was packed with his friends. One by one those who loved him took a last walk by the coffin. The teacher was the last one to bless the coffin.

As she stood there, one of the soldiers who acted as pallbearer came up to her. "Were you Mark's math teacher?" he asked. She nodded: "yes." Then he said: "Mark talked about you a lot."

After the funeral, most of Mark's former classmates went together to a luncheon. Mark's mother and father were there, obviously waiting to speak with his teacher.

"We want to show you something," his father said, taking a wallet out of his pocket. "They found this on Mark when he was killed. We thought you might recognize it."

Opening the billfold, he carefully removed two worn pieces of notebook paper that had obviously been taped, folded and refolded many times. The teacher knew without looking that the papers were the ones on which she had listed all the good things each of Mark's classmates had said about him.

"Thank you so much for doing that," Mark's mother said. "As you can see, Mark treasured it."

All of Mark's former classmates started to gather around. Charlie smiled rather sheepishly and said, "I still have my list. It's in the top drawer of my desk at home."

Chuck's wife said, "Chuck asked me to put his in our wedding album."

"I have mine too," Marilyn said "It's in my diary."

Then Vicki, another classmate, reached into her pocketbook, took out her wallet and showed her worn and frazzled list to the group. "I carry this with me at all times," Vicki said and without batting an eyelash, she continued: "I think we all saved our lists."

That's when the teacher finally sat down and cried. She cried for Mark and for all his friends who would never see him again.

The density of people in society is so thick that we forget that life will end one day. And we don't know when that one day will be.

So please, tell the people you love and care for, that they are special and important. Tell them, before it is too late.

And One Way To Accomplish This Is: Forward this message on. If you do not send it, you will have, once again passed up the wonderful opportunity to do something nice and beautiful.

If you've received this, it is because someone cares for you and it means there is probably at least someone for whom you care.

If you're "too busy" to take those few minutes right now to forward this message on, would this be the VERY first time you didn't do that little thing that would make a difference in your relationships?

The more people that you send this to, the better you'll be at reaching out to those you care about.

Remember, you reap what you sow. What you put into the lives of others comes back into your own

May Your Day Be Blessed and As Special As You Are





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 prior exchanges can find them at the Shabbat-O-Gram archive at  And if you want to respond, go to our bustling discussion forum at our web site, – your opinion is highly valued.



This week, Lisa turns up the heat on the Amona incident, which she compares to Tiananmen Square.  I’ve had to edit it slightly because of space as well as the graphic and gruesome nature of some of the accusations, but the feelings come through loud and clear. 




Dear JJ,


We are reading news that is opening our eyes about the Amona "Tiananmen square" situation. I want to post you an excerpt from a mailing we received. You may check back if you want more source material, but this is what we have read;


 How long have I warned that when the war comes to Israel's "settlers," it will be vicious, cruel and fought largely by anti-Semitic troops imported into the country for the purpose of inflicting the kind of violence any moral Jew would find too appalling to enact?

Here is today's report about Amona last Wednesday:

One girl was picked up by a policeman and held up high against a wall, while the other policeman shoved his club up her vagina.

"How do I know it is true?" the young man telling the story echoed his mother's question. [I told her that I needed to know how the stories she told me yesterday were true, what the sources were.]

"Because my friend just came from her house. The girl is hysterical. She has locked herself in her bedroom. She won't come out, she's screaming and wailing, her family is hysterical, their friends can't find a way to comfort them, can't get her to come out or to talk to anybody.  She's screaming and won't come out.

2 boys lost an eye --
1 is being flown out of the country to try to save his eye. I'm not sure if he is one of the 2, or a 3rd boy.
4 girls have no womb anymore
40 serious head injuries
20 boys whose testicles were crushed so badly that they don't know if they can save them.
3 of those 20 for sure are permanently ruined, they will never be able to father children.

Just yesterday I read that the police who took part in the events in Amona, were not Jewish but Arab, Druze and non-Jewish Russians..."

I read it too. People were reading the nametags on the police uniforms and a lot of the names were Arab and Russian.

We were appalled, to say the least; however, we had been warned that this was in the making. We feel strongly that Olmert needs to be exposed as having extended the "coup d'etat" that Sharon staged, and initiating martial law. The atmosphere here is heavy, and many are frustrated.


I wanted to elaborate a bit on the "security" wall, also. When the route of the wall was first published, it hugged Ma'aleh Adumim and did not even come out as far east as K'far Adumim. Then it was amended to include K'far Adumim, and a lot of people made a fuss about the fact that it did not include our village. We were given promises, IN WRITING, that the route would include our village. This was shortly before Sharon announced the "disengagement," and then they reneged on their promises, left and right. Our village was included in the dumpees. HOWEVER, what is interesting, is that every amendment that they have made has put us in a MORE vulnerable position (please refer to the letter by Naomi Ragen which I sent to you last week). Strategically, to cut us off, is to cut off the clearest and most inaccessible (by the enemy), view of Jericho. Evidence of this is the elaborate bunker system that was in place here by the Jordanians prior to 1967; lots of it still can be seen!  It is  to place the crucial ancient "Roman road" leading out of Jericho in the enemy's hands. We also know that the wall is going to turn the main arteries for Gush Etzion into a shooting gallery for the enemy.


Have your readers already forgotten that Hamas is now in power, de facto and de jure? Have they been lulled by C. Rice's doublespeak into thinking that they are a tractable partner for "peace?" I think that a major effort is being pulled off to help use the media to erase or delete the memory of their intractable and bellicose stance. I am concerned that the facts will not be accessible to people very soon, and that the few that are out there will be contradicted by spin and doublespeak.


As for the government, their biggest threat, the one that they pull all the stops for, is the teenage kids who are enraged by the theft of Jewish land and sovereignty. They are using grossly punitive measures to attempt to cow them. I promise that it will boomerang. Even Hamas wants more attention than they are getting since the Jews are so busy oppressing the Jews, and will do what it needs to do to assure that it will get it. All malicious eyes are on what is called the "hilltop youth."


We are fine! It is a bit discouraging that Asher is not able to find more work, but we are doing what we can. He has occasional jobs and is never idle in the house!  Adereth today celebrated 10 months since she was born, and tomorrow is your birthday!  So, Happy birthday, Josh! I hope that this one is very meaningful.  I hope you find it in your heart to pull your family, and all your congregants' families OUT OF THERE, so that they may build this land, which sorely needs the love and support of its children!


Love and hugs; many happy returns (literally!),




Dear Lisa,

What is happening now in your neighborhood is something that we feared would happen last summer in Gaza.  We were lulled into complacency by the surface success of that venture.  The current situation is explained well in the article below by Gershom Gorenberg: “The sanctity of settlement and the sanctity of working with other Jews no longer fit together.”  In other words, the state has become the enemy to a small but ideologically charged group.  When Israeli politicians known for decades for being on the right of the spectrum are now being called Nazis and illegitimate we have the beginnings of a secession movement.  Civil War is not unthinkable.  That is a scary thing.


I do want our readers to feel the fear and anger that is so palpable in your words.  We are not getting the full story if we don’t see what is happening to the real people who live out there.  Most of all, even more than the frustration, I hear your sense of isolation.  My view is very different: at last Israel has an honest-to-goodness centrist party aiming for the middle rather than the electrified poles of society.  We need the hilltop youth to become active participants in that society and not lightning rods for confrontation.  Whatever side of the fence you are on, I want to see you as a citizen of the State of Israel, the democratic Jewish state, and part of the Jewish people.  I want you to see yourself in that manner as well, without having to demonize the government you’ve elected.


It does little good to argue as to the extent of the violence employed – by either side – at Amona.  But the pogrom described in your dispatches doesn’t jive with so many accounts coming from other sources, nor does it make inherent sense for Israeli police, Jewish or otherwise, to commit rampant intentional, Nazi-like atrocities.  I trust that the truth will come out in time.  But just at the time Israel most needs to be coming together to confront numerous external dangers, that’s not happening.  We Jews don’t have a good history of holding on to our statehood when we’re engaged in civil wars. 


I do hope that no one decides to forgo the electoral process (wouldn’t it be ironic, just as Hamas begins to enter elections, for the Israeli far right to opt out) for more confrontational means.  With the multitudes of Israelis against unauthorized, surreptitious building on these “hilltops,” why are they so automatically wrong?  They aren’t all ostriches.  As Gorenberg understands, the real fight right now is taking place within Israeli Orthodoxy – and particularly the settler movement itself.


Thanks for the b-day wishes.  It was very nice.  I’m on vacation next week (not!), with a heavy emphasis on Bar Mitzvah preparations for Dan, who’s just doing great.  I’ve met with all the April B’nai Mitzvah families – except for my own, so it’s time to get to it.  Dan also wants to work on his d’var Torah in my office, just like all the other kids.   So I guess Mara will have to call to schedule an appointment. 


I’m trying to get through this letter without telling a Dick Cheney joke…and it’s getting real difficult, so I’ll have to sign off.

Anyway, we miss you and hope things stay peaceful. 


Love to you and all



Religious Zionists Facing Deep Rifts After Evacuation of Amona Outpost


The Amona showdown has generated a new wave of media discussion of a divorce between "the religious Zionist public" and secular Israel. Most religious Zionists, it's true, are right of center politically. Most, though not all, opposed the Gaza pullout. That said, most still see the state, army service and secular education as assumed parts of life.


But there is a religious Zionist crisis, or two overlapping ones. One crack runs through the intensely ideological minority that has dominated the politics and education of the Orthodox Zionist community for at least three decades, and that includes prominent rabbis, politicians and settlement activists. Another crack runs between generations.


The activists' ideology was adapted from the ideas of pre-state rabbinic sage Avraham Yitzhak Hacohen Kook, who asserted that secular Zionists were fulfilling God's plan.  His son, Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, took that idea a step further and labeled the establishment of Israel and the conquests of the Six-Day War as leaps toward the Messianic age; he became the mentor of the Orthodox settlement movement, which he saw as another step in the divine plan.


For such believers, the Gaza disengagement came as an earthquake, revealing a structural weakness in their beliefs: the state and the secular majority — even the secular right — have stopped playing their assigned role. The sanctity of settlement and the sanctity of working with other Jews no longer fit together.


The demolition at Amona last week redoubled the shock. At issue, rather than a score of settlements in Gaza, were nine houses, built at the edge of an unauthorized settlement near Ramallah on private Palestinian land. Under the pressure of a lawsuit filed by Peace Now, the government had committed itself to implementing demolition orders. Olmert chose to keep that commitment.


But for several thousand young people, mobilized by the settlement council, trying to stop the demolition represented an opportunity to erase the "shame" of the relatively peaceful evacuation last summer, and to show the price of further disengagement. The army failed to keep them out of Amona, and the police assigned to the demolition showed that last summer's ultra-restrained crowd control methods were a fluke.


What happened instead was the most violent clash in recent memory between the settlers and the authorities. The police, held back for hours by last-minute legal wrangling, showered with stones and cursed as "Nazis," pushed their way to the houses with baton blows, some rendered from horseback. More than 200 police and demonstrators were injured. Settler leaders, placing the onus for confrontation entirely on the government, are now demanding a state commission of inquiry.


Yet Amona's practical significance is still unclear. In a television interview February 7, Olmert said that if he is reelected on March 28, his goal is "to separate from most of the Palestinian population" by withdrawing from large parts of the West Bank. Three large settlement blocs, he said, would remain part of Israel — Ma'aleh Adumim east of Jerusalem, the Etzion area south of the capital, and the Ariel sector in the northern West Bank. That implies evacuating many other settlements, and not just tiny outposts like Amona. Meanwhile, though, Interior Ministry figures show that the West Bank settler population grew by more than 6,000 in the second half of 2005. The age of settlement isn't over, but its future is cloudy.


The alienation among ideological settlers is palpable. The slogan "Olmert Is Bad for the Jews" plays on a semantic shift noticeable in settler circles since last summer, in which "Jews" means those faithful to land and Torah, as opposed to "Israelis." There is an exclusive claim to legitimacy, but also a hint of defeat, in this formulation, since "Israelis" vastly outnumber "Jews." The refrain by young people at Sunday's rally in Jerusalem, that Olmert went ahead with the Amona demolition "just to get votes," is an admission that settlers have lost the public.


"Good and evil always struggle," said one 25-year-old yeshiva student at the rally, turning the alienation into theology. During galut, or exile, he said, "evil dominates. We're trying to silence it." The sentiment, voiced by other settler ideologues as well, carries startling echoes of the classic ultra-Orthodox retort to religious Zionism: that even in the Land of Israel, religious Jews are in exile under secular rule. At the same time, the student insisted the current crisis constituted "birth pains" of impending redemption. In contrast to Kook's Zionism, secular Jews have become the roadblock to salvation, not the unwitting fellow travelers in getting there.


Religious Zionism "is in a huge storm," said Rabbi Yuval Cherlow, the 48-year-old head of a yeshivah in Petah Tikvah that combines study and army service. Cherlow, considered a moderate among right-wing rabbis, said in an interview that what concerns him most at the moment is not ideology but the danger that "we are raising an anarchistic generation. They hate everyone —? the institutions of the state of Israel, the army... It continues with the collapse of rabbinic authority, and parental authority, and the final stop is hating themselves." The older generation, he said, is more tied to the state.


What Cherlow did not say is that some members of the older generation have repeatedly recruited youth for confrontations with authorities — and now have lost control.


The most radical of the pro-settler youth feel spurned by secular Israel, including erstwhile right-wing allies like Ehud Olmert. Most members of their own community are learning to accept that some land will be given up. The Yesha ("salvation") Council has become the Pesha ("crime") Council, even as it continues to defend them. The police batons at Amona added the potent flavor of victimhood. Precisely when a protest movement loses mass support, some of the angry and disappointed turn violent. The anger, not the numbers, is where the danger lies.




Some follow-up news…

Abbi Sharofsky, the JTS student who visited us a couple of weeks ago for JTS weekend was admitted into the Rabbinical program the following week.  Must have been our home cooking (combined with her talent).  She thanks us for our hospitality.


Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Projects



Beth El Cares
Cathy Satz (968-9191;
Cheryl Wolff (968-6361;
BETH EL CARES co-chairs



Locks of Love




Hannah and Charlotte Kriftcher are our latest donors to “Locks of Love”

We are so proud of them!  Check out more photos at



Ending the Violence – Engaging the Teens


"Chess makes kids (look, feel, think, act, and become) smart"


Carol Henderson, the “Chess Lady of Stamford” is continually seeking to meet other adult chess enthusiasts and will help organize supervised chess meets for youth in churches and community centers. She can be reached at







I've just returned from another visit to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Steve Richer, the president of Congregation Beth Israel in Biloxi, Mississippi, and past president Lori Beth Susman, past-president took me on a tour of the town and the surrounding communities. On the positive side, the Jewish community is progressing nicely. Congregation Beth Israel holds weekly Shabbat services in a church social hall; it also uses that space for meetings and children's classes The congregation's building committee is actively involved in gathering all the information its members will need to decide whether to rebuild on its current site or to move to safer ground north of Interstate 10. One of the synagogue's member families has graciously offered to donate land to the congregation, should it decide that a move is in its best interest.


Most of the members of Congregation Beth Israel are getting on with their lives. Steve Richer is still living in a trailer and trying to find licensed contractors to repair his home. Wayne and Lorraine Lutz are still living in their store in D'Iberville, while they, too, await the repairs they need to make their house habitable. Rayanne Weiss, whose home was reduced to a pile of rubble, has managed to sell her old property and move into a new house. You may recall from the report of my first visit to Biloxi that Rayanne and her husband lost almost everything they own to Katrina. They were able to salvage a few family photographs, which a local photo studio is trying to restore for them. Rayanne did tell me that they found their wedding videotape, which had been soaked in the storm. Rayanne and her husband both work for one of the local television stations and were fortunate that a technician there was able to digitize the images from the videotape onto a DVD. Rayanne told me that despite their losses, they consider themselves very lucky. They're both alive, and they now have a new, fully furnished home. Their spirit is representative of everyone I spoke with in Mississippi. Whatever their situation, they feel fortunate, even blessed. Many of the people on the Mississippi Gulf Coast who lost everything were not as fortunate as the Weisses.


Much of the beachfront area in Biloxi proper is being rebuilt. A few hotels and three casinos already have reopened, and the casinos report that their business is booming. Several of the casinos that were destroyed are being rebuilt and many more are projected along Biloxi's coast. In addition, several developers are beginning plans for high-rise condominium complexes along this beautiful stretch of coastline.


Unfortunately, however, the situation to the west of Biloxi is grim. As you drive west on US 90, which runs along the Gulf beaches, you see nothing but devastation. The CSX railroad tracks run parallel to US 90 about a quarter of a mile north of the highway. Virtually everything between the road and the tracks for nearly 75 miles is either completely leveled or falling down and uninhabitable. The area looks like it has been hit by a bomb. The beach looks like photos of the Normandy beaches after the D-Day invasion. The stately old mansions that lined US 90 facing the Gulf are gone. Entire neighborhoods have been wiped out. Altogether, some 65,000 buildings have been destroyed or are uninhabitable. In some cases, where homes are still standing but uninhabitable, residents have been able to get travel trailers and are living in them. However, some sections of Long Beach and Pas Christian will be without water and power for at least a year. For these people, living on their property in a trailer is not an option.


After driving several miles through this devastation, I asked, "Where are all the people who used to live here?" Steve said that many are living with nearby relatives or in tent cities. Some simply have moved away.


A huge tent and several tractor-trailers stand in a parking lot next to the shell of a Super Wal-Mart alongside US 90. The parking lot serves as a distribution point and a soup kitchen for people who have lost their homes. Nearly six months after the storm, people are still living in tents, getting their groceries from distribution points, and eating their meals in a soup kitchen. But when you drive through what was once downtown Long Beach, you see words painted on the remains of a dive shop, words that sum up the spirit of those who live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In bright red letters the sign reads, "It ain't over. We will be back!"







Spiritual Journey on the Web


“I Cannot Tell a Lie”


In honor of President's Day weekend and the birthdays of our two most truthful political leaders, a Web Pilgrimage on the subject of honesty.  I used to say that I prefer that our politicians be “straight shooters,” but given what happened last weekend with the Vice President, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad for a shot to miss once in a while.  But still, we look for integrity in all our leaders.


It is fitting that on this weekend when we celebrate our first President, the original G.W., he of the cherry tree, and our 16th, Honest Abe himself, we also read the Ten Commandments, including that final one instructing us not to bear false witness.  The ancient sages understood that civilization can be sustained only when it rests on a foundation of honesty and trust.  They also understood that truthfulness is not inherited through genetics, but through conscious parental modeling.  Take this amusing Talmudic story (Yevamot 63a) for example:  The sage Rav had an interesting marriage.  Whatever he asked his wife for, she gave him the opposite.  So when he asked for lentils, she would cook peas, and when he asked for peas, she would cook lentils.  Maybe Rav should have learned his own way around the kitchen, but that's another story.

Rav's son Hiyyah watched these shenanigans going on all his life, so when he grew up he figured out how to beat the system.  When Rav would tell his son to inform Mom that he wished to have peas for dinner, Hiyyah would tell his mother, "Dad wants lentils."  She would prepare peas and everyone would be happy.  One day Rav commented to his son, "Your mother has improved!"  To which Hiyyah responded ,"Dad, I cannot tell a lie, I chopped it down." Wait...wrong story.  Hiyyah replied, "Dad I cannot tell a lie, I told a lie.  In fact I've been telling them for some time.  I reversed your messages."

Now, as they say on TV, YOU MAKE THE CALL!

As Hiyyah's parent, would you: a) appreciate Hiyyah's attempt to maintain Shalom Bayit,"peace in the home," (or in this case, peas in the home) with manipulations that one might easily call harmless "white lies?";  or b) would honesty take precedence over tact in this case?

Well, the answer here is "b," although in other cases "a" might have been the choice.  But when we are dealing with teaching a child, we need to remember the old saying that "people who tell too many white lies can become colorblind."  The Talmud (Sukkah 46b) instructs us never to promise a child something and then fail to deliver, because as a result, the child will learn to lie.  From this, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, our scholar in residence on March 3-5, suggests that the Talmud is also telling us never to have our kids answer an unwanted phone call and say, "Daddy's not home" when Daddy is standing right there, and certainly never to lie about a child's age when buying tickets in a movie theater, in order to take advantage of a cheaper ticket price.

Rav thanked Hiyyah for his consideration but instructed him to be truthful from then on.  In almost every case, and especially where children are watching, honesty is the best policy.  Something to think about while filling out our tax forms.


Some websites on the topic of honesty in Jewish and other religious traditions:

Business Ethics Center of Jerusalem logo  - includes the column The Jewish Ethicist.  Also see there the Global Integrity Network, an international network of Jewish individuals and professional who have come together to share and harness their interest and passion for promoting integrity and ethical values in the life and the workplace. See also The Jewish Ethicist Q&A: How much should I tell a date?  


Also see - In all honesty … a culture of lies: It is one of the few points all world religions agree on: Lying is wrong. For Christians and Jews, lying is prohibited by the Ten Commandments - "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." To Muslims, lying is "very hateful" to God. Buddhists teach one should "utter the truth." Zoroastrians learn that lying "destroys the holy order." So how is it that in the United States, the most religiously observant of industrialized nations, lying is so pervasive some scholars have called America's a "culture of dishonesty"? Martha Stewart was convicted of lying to investigators, CEOs of several major corporations face fraud charges, Pete Rose admits he bet on baseball after 14 years of denying it, and the presidential contenders regularly raise questions of truth. (See more examples.)


And see – an interesting dialogue on religion and honesty.








The God Questions, Part 4



1)     Why is there so much bad in a world created by a good God?


Maybe it has something to do with the Humpty Dumpty theory that God, and holiness, are shattered, and we have to put the pieces together again to make the world totally good.  But I’m not so sure that “good” and “bad” can be so easily defined.  Sometimes it is easy, like with Haman in the Purim story.  But even there, if it weren’t for the evil Haman and his sinister plot, Purim would never have been invented!  And without the evil Pharaoh, not only would we have never had Matzah balls and the Afikoman, we probably wouldn’t have gotten the Torah.  And even if we had gotten the Torah, its central message (about being nice to strangers because we were slaves in Egypt) would have been missing.  Without bad pizza, how could we ever learn to appreciate food pizza?  The same goes for bad people.


2)    Does God punish people?


Usually the punishment is a direct result of the “crime” committed, and in a sense, it comes from God.  If a person “steals” by, say, cheating on a test, s/he might be caught and punished by the teacher.  S/he will also not learn the material and lose out on important lessons.  But the biggest punishment of all is that s/he’ll feel worse about him or herself and be less likely to trust others.  When a person breaks the law, it’s because s/he feels he can’t succeed within the law.  That’s sad.  What’s even sadder is that with every such crime, he begins to trust others less and less, figuring that if he does it, others must be doing it too.  If you add up the numerical value of the Hebrew letters spelling out God’s name, it equals the words “Ehad” (One) + “Ahava” (Love).  When we feel less attached to others, less “one” with them, when there is less trust and love between people, then God is less present between them.


3)    Where do people go when they die?


When you shout into an echoing canyon, and your voice comes back at you, at first loud and clear, and then less so, what happens to it in the end?  Does it continue to bounce back and forth forever, just a little softer each time?  In some ways, our lives are like that.  Except that once we’ve shouted into the canyon, by pouring all our life’s deeds, our love and our tears, into that one cry, the echo doesn’t necessarily get softer and softer with the passing of time.  Sometimes the echo gets louder over the years.  Look at Moses’ echo!  Sometimes a person’s life, the accumulation of his deeds, appears to be forgotten for eternity, but then a ripple effect is felt, in some form, generations later.  My father dies twenty years ago, when I was a young man, and recently I discovered his name on the Internet!  A person I never met was paying tribute to my Dad on that person’s website!  It was like my father had come back to life.  The things we do in our lives, the things we say, and the ways we show we care:  these things live on, in some form, forever.






Required Reading and Action Items Bonfire of the Pieties
Islam prohibits neither images of Muhammad nor jokes about religion. (Journal Online) - cartoonists respond to the recent controversy – Falash Mura wait to immigrate: ADDIS ABABAEthiopia, Feb. 14 (JTA) -- Just outside the gates of the Jewish aid compound in this city, a shantytown of decrepit tin shacks, overcrowded homes and debris-filled byways beckon the reticent visitor. Barefoot children stumble amid the flotsam, part of the milieu of stray dogs, mule-drawn carts and mendicants that comprise the dusty street scene in this part of Addis Ababa….

Hamas Sworn In - Israel to Cut Off Funds - Ronny Sofer
The Palestinian parliament with a Hamas majority will be sworn in this Saturday. Indications are that Israel won't declare a total cessation of contacts with the PA, but will cut off funds. International funding will still be permitted to reach Palestinian civilians in order to prevent Iranian money from filling the vacuum. (Ynet News)

 Jordan Invites Hamas for First Visit Since 1999 Expulsion
Jordan, which has moderated its stance toward the Palestinian terror group Hamas since its election win, said on Wednesday it invited Hamas leaders to make their first visit since the kingdom expelled them in 1999. The delegation will be led by Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal, who had been expelled from Jordan after being accused of illegal activities. (Reuters/Ynet News)
    See also Hamas Delegation Visits Turkey for Talks
A delegation led by Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal arrived in Turkey on Thursday for talks, the first visit by senior members of the militant Islamist organization to a non-Arab country since it won a Jan. 25 election. The Hamas trip to Turkey - like its planned visit to Moscow - challenges the campaign of the U.S. and Israel to isolate the group to force it to give up violence and recognize the Jewish state. (Reuters)

Hamas Video: We Will Drink the Blood of the Jews - Nadav Shragai
The Hamas website this week presented the parting video messages of two Hamas suicide terrorists, according to Palestinian Media Watch. The first said: "We are a nation that drinks blood, and we know that there is no blood better than the blood of Jews. We will not leave you alone until we have quenched our thirst with your blood, and our children's thirst with your blood." The second said: "We will destroy you, blow you up, take revenge against you, [and] purify the land of you, pigs that have defiled our country." (Ha'aretz)
    View the Video (Palestinian Media Watch)

  A Religious-Cultural Conflict of the Darkest Kind - Ari Shavit
While the fundamentalists may still be a minority in Palestinian society, this minority is now in power and represents the Palestinian people. While some of its leaders are characterized by tactical pragmatism, Hamas does not and will not recognize Israel's right to exist. Until further notice, we are up against a Palestinian neighbor whose countenance has changed beyond recognition; and he is telling us to go, to cease to exist. It is hard for us to contemplate the possibility that truly, deep down, there is no one to talk to. It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that now, when we have finally accepted the idea of two states, the Palestinians are rejecting it. (Ha'aretz)

·  For Islamists Only God's Word Counts - Abdel Monem Said Aly
Tension on the Palestinian-Israeli front is only one small part of the much deeper strategic transformation that is taking shape in the Middle East, of which the Hamas victory is only one manifestation. In fact, Hamas' ascent to primacy in the Palestinian Legislative Council has contributed to a series of similar changes in the region that extends from Tehran to Cairo.
    It began in Iran when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won the Iranian presidential elections and completed the conservative fundamentalist hold on Iranian institutions and politics. Not much later the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt achieved an impressive electoral and political victory in the 2005 parliamentary elections. The Brotherhood gained 88 seats, or 20% of all seats, up from 17 seats or 4% in 2000. Similar developments are taking place in SyriaJordan, and Lebanon, where Hizballah and versions of the Muslim Brotherhood are politically consolidating their status on the ground or underground.
    In time, Iran will seek to build the new front of "Momanaa" - a modern-day copy of the Rejection and Steadfastness Front of the 1980s, but this time in religious garb and featuring aggressive policies. The writer is director of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. (Daily Star-Lebanon)

·  Sharon's Legacy and Hamas - Henry A. Kissinger
The so-called peace process has assumed a reciprocal willingness to compromise. But traditional diplomacy works most effectively when there is a general agreement on goals; a minimum condition is that both sides accept each other's legitimacy, that the right of the parties to exist is taken for granted. Such a reciprocal commitment has been lacking between Israel and the Palestinians.
    The emergence of Hamas as the dominant faction in Palestine should not be treated as a radical new departure. Hamas represents the mind-set that prevented the full recognition of Israel's legitimacy by the PLO for all these decades; kept Arafat from accepting partition of Palestine at Camp David in 2000; produced two intifadas and consistently supported terrorism, on occasion explicitly, always tacitly. (International Herald Tribune)




MYTH #208

Israel is responsible for disparaging cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.”


Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed that the cartoons first published in Denmark, which have sparked widespread Muslim protests, were part of a “conspiracy by Zionists who were angry because of the victory of Hamas” (Al Bawaba, February 7, 2006).


Sometimes the myths propagated by Arabs and Muslims are so outrageous and ridiculous that it would seem to be a waste of time to respond. This is one of those instances. Unfortunately, history has proven that one cannot underestimate the capacity of people to believe even the most absurd charges when they are applied to Israel. After all, large numbers of Muslims still believe that Israel was responsible for the atrocities committed on 9/11.


The cartoons, of course, haven’t anything to do with Israel. They were solicited by a Danish publication, Jyllands-Posten, and have subsequently been reprinted widely. In fact, one blogger posted images from an Egyptian newspaper that published the cartoons (Jyllands Posten Muhammed Cartoons).


In a juvenile and bizarre effort to retaliate for what they consider an affront to IslamIran is now soliciting cartoons lampooning the Holocaust. This really is nothing new as Iran and other Muslim nations routinely publish vile anti-Semiticcartoons

 in their state-controlled media. Sensitivity and tolerance are a one-way street in those countries.

This article can be found at

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

To order a copy of the paperback edition of Myths and Facts, click HERE. Myths & Facts is also available in Spanish, German, French, Russian, Portuguese, Swedish, and Hebrew.

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


Temple Beth El



Sponsored by Penny & Michael Horowitz

In loving memory of Bessie Silver

We welcome




Friday, March 3, 2006

Kabbalat Shabbat Service 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.  (registration form below)

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

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

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


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.



Please return this form with your payment to the Hebrew School Office by Friday, February 24th:

 TEMPLE BETH EL, 350 Roxbury Road, Stamford, CT  06902

FAMILY NAME __________________________________________               PHONE # ________________________________________

Names of adults: 

________________________________________________________    _______________________________________________________

________________________________________________________    _______________________________________________________

Names & ages of children over 3                                                                                       Names & ages of children under 3

____________________________________________ AGE:_______    ___________________________________________AGE: ______

____________________________________________AGE: _______    ___________________________________________AGE: ______

____________________________________________AGE: _______    ___________________________________________AGE: ______

# Adults: ____________________ @ $18.00 each = $______________


# Children: __________________ @ $10.00 each = $______________


TOTAL AMOUNT ENCLOSED: $__________________________

Can you help set up? _________ Serve? _________ Clean up? _____________

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, March 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Topic:  Mary Magdeline and Esther

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.


with Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Sunday, March 12th

 at 11:00 a.m.

What is Kosher – and why???


with Rabbi Selilah Kalev

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 Stamford, Darien, 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. 

More Good News,


Stamford Kosher Activists Committee is pleased to announce a "new & improved" stocked kosher dairy dept. at the new Shop Rite (Commerce St.), starting the end of next week.


Items will include :


Various Miller's Brand Line of Hard Cheeses :

108 Slice Brick American (Yellow & White)

Plus Individual Wrapped Packages

Shredded Variety

Muenster Blue Pack & Sliced Orange Rind

Swiss Green Pack

Monterey Jack

Goat Cheese


Cheddar Stick

Mozzarella Sticks

Eventually Emeck & Tenuva Israeli Quality Line


J&J  Brand Cholov Yisroel Soft Cheese Line Including :

Yogurt, Cottage Cheese, Sour Cream, Whipped Cream Cheese


Lastly Ahava brand :

Regular & 2% Only New Square Milk (1/2 gallon sizes)

Plus Regular New Square Orange Juice and the popular Passion Fruit, Strawberry, Orange Juice Blend.


Discussions are continuing at both Shop Rite and Stop & Shop (Ridgeway) for what we hope will be a wide and varied expanded Passover Section for all your Passover needs.


Stay Tuned.


Eat and Enjoy,


Shabbat Shalom,


Avi Greif


Stamford Kosher Activists Committee

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 Israel, Herb 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.

The Jewish Heritage Video Collection

comprises over 200 video tapes, covering such topics as:








For more information, please call Ilana De Laney or Sandy Golove, 321- 1373, ext. 107.

Sponsored by the Community Commission for Jewish Education, UJF

Stamford 2006 JCC Maccabi Games


Team Sports Tryout Schedule



Athletes are required to attend 2 out of the 3 tryouts.  You must reserve your tryout spot

by contacting Nancy Schiffman at (203)487-0970 or


Boys Basketball 13/14:                                                           Boys Basketball 15/16:


                                                                                                      Sunday, February 26 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm

Saturday, January 14 from 8:00 – 9:30 pm         Tuesday, March 7 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm

Tuesday, January 17 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm          Sunday, March 12 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm

NEW    Saturday, March 18 from 8:00 – 9:30 pm

NEW    Sunday, March 19 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm                 


Girls Basketball 13/14:                                           Girls Basketball 15/16:


Tuesday, February 28 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm       Sunday, January 15 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm

Saturday, March 4 from 8:00 – 9:30 pm                   Saturday, January 28 from 8:00 – 9:30 pm

Sunday, March 5 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm                     Sunday, February 26 from 7:30 – 9:00 pm

                                                                               NEW    Saturday, March 11 from 7:00 – 8:00 pm

                                                                              NEW     Sunday, March 19 from 7:30 – 9:00 pm   


Boys Baseball 13/14:                                                                  Boys Baseball 15/16:

Saturday, January 21 from 8:00 – 9:30 pm              Sunday, January 15 from 7:30 – 9:00 pm

Sunday, January 29 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm                 Sunday, January 29 from 7:30 – 9:00 pm

NEW    Sunday, February 12 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm *                 Sunday, February 12 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm *

Saturday, March 4 from 7:00 – 8:30 pm *                NEW Saturday, March 4 from 7:00 – 8:30pm *

* one batting practice mandatory - held at                      * one batting practice mandatory - held at

                  Integrated Sports Training                                       Integrated Sports Training

             25 Van Zant St. #3B, Norwalk, CT                          25 Van Zant St. #3B, Norwalk, CT


Boys Soccer 13/14:                                                  Boys Soccer 15/16:


Sunday, February 12 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm        Tuesday, January 24 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm

Sunday, February 19 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm                Saturday, February 4 from 8:00 – 9:30 pm

Tuesday, March 14 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm                  Sunday, February 12 from 7:30 – 9:00 pm


Girls Soccer 13/14:                                                  Girls Soccer 15/16:


Tuesday, January 31 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm        Saturday, February 11 from 8:00 – 9:30 pm

Saturday, March 11 from 8:00 – 9:30 pm                 Tuesday, February 14 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm

Sunday, March 12 from 7:30 – 9:00 pm                   Sunday, March 5 from 7:30 – 9:00 pm


Girls Volleyball 13-16: To Be Announced


All tryouts will be held at the JCC gymnasium except where indicated. 

$100 deposit is required prior to participating in team tryouts. Please submit with completed registration from enclosed.

Any deposits made for athletes intending to play on a team, and subsequently not selected, will have the option of a full refund.

Registration does not guarantee selection for a team sport.  Coaches will determine team rosters and athletes will be notified of selection. 

Tryout schedule is subject to change.  Please go to to confirm dates and times.


There are no tryouts for individual sports (tennis, golf, swimming, table tennis, bowling, dance and star reporter).  Registration and payment for individual sports are currently being accepted.  Spaces are reserved on a first come first serve basis.  All individual sport athletes are encouraged to register as soon as possible to guarantee your spot.


All deposits are fully refundable until February 1, 2006. 

Payment in full is required by March 15, 2006.


After February 1st, deposits and the balance of paid fees are non refundable (except in cases noted above). 


For complete registration information, please contact Nancy Schiffman at

(203)487-0970 or

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


My grandfather always said, "Don't watch your money; watch your health."

So one day while I was watching my health, someone stole my money.

It was my grandfather.

(Jackie Mason)


You’ll recall that last week I included some fascinating bits of “who is Jewish” trivia.  Well, not to be outdone, Pamela Marcus got this from her stepfather, who must really be one of the all-time “Who is Jewish” trivia mavens!  I include it with his permission.



I could not let pass the email you sent to me entitled "Interesting Jewish Information or Trivia" without some reactions and remarks of my own. The originator of this email overlooked some truly tremendous Jewish contributors to the world. He also included a number of errors that should be eliminated.


The subject is a fascinating one. If you are interested, read (or have your kids read) "Jews, God and History" by Max Dimont which summarizes Jewish contributions over four thousand years throughout the entire world. It is a fascinating read and compares each phase or stage with parallel non-Jewish history. There are many books dealing with the Who's Who in American Jewry and Google undoubtedly has tremendous material. As Jews, it is a subject with which we should be familiar and proud.


Some great Jews that have been overlooked in the email are Felix Frankfurter, Chief Justice, Supreme Court, Henry Morgenthau, Secty of the Treasury under Roosevelt, Herbert Lehman, three term NY State Governor. Many of the true founders of Wall Street were Jewish such as Loeb, Lehman, Otto Schiff (also founded The Metropolitan Opera company and house and his family founded to the N Y Post and, altho not financiers, the founders of The N Y Times are still running the paper after l25 years), the Klingensteins (also founded Mt. Sinai Hospital) Adolphe Lewissohn (a founder of Jewish Philanthropies), Bear Stearns, a major investment firm for over 100 years and the only such firm that has not merged, been taken over or dropped.


How about inventors like Singer (sewing machines) and David Sarnoff, founder of RCA and the telegraph system or in entertainment, one of the world's greatest actresses, Sara Bernhardt or world class entertainers like Al Jolson or Fannie Brice or the world's greatest comedian, Charlie Chaplin?  Shouldn't they all be included?  How Robert Morris who literally financed George Washington and the American Revolution or so many world class sculptors, painters. artists, playwrights, writers, doctors, musicians, both classical and popular plus thousands more. I am only pulling up a few people from the top of my head.


The writer made certain mistakes in his compendium. Churchill's mother, Jenny Jerome, was definitely not Jewish. She was from a family of American socialites in the 19th century. Jerome Avenue (Bronx) was named after the family. In addition to his list of mixed parented actors, Paul Newman should go on that list. Do we count  Elizabeth Taylor and Sammy Davis, Jr who both converted to Judaism?


There are also scads of Jewish athletes who should be mentioned, both amateur and professional. Barney Ross was Welterweight and Middleweight Champion of the World and was deemed the best fighter ever, pound for pound, long before Sugar Ray Robinson. Benny Leonard was also a world boxing champion. (Jews are not supposed to be fighters?) There are Jewish athletes all throughout the pros, great ones like Hank Greenberg, Sandy Koufax and Sid Luckman. In tennis alone, a sport close to you, there were champions Dick Savitt, Herb Flam, Vic Sexias, Sid Schwartz and Aaron Krickstein.  Krickstein's granddaughter is Morgan Pressel, an 18 year old golf phenom who just turned pro. She won the U S Amateur and was 2nd in the U S Open last year as a 17 year old amateur. Unbelievable accomplishments! (Michelle Wie, the darling of the press, has yet to come close.)


Going on with the errors in the email. there is no such thing as E J Korvets as far as I know. There was an E J Korvette, a Jew, who founded the first big discount chain in America after WW II, long before the imitating discounters that exist today. Also, Ira Gershwin was a lyricist, not a composer. There were so many more great composers and lyricists of that era such as Jerome Kern, Rodgers and Hart, Oscar Hammerstein,

Jule Styne, Sammy Kahn, etc, etc.


There is no doubt that Jews have made great contributions to our country and to our world, far out of proportion to the tiny percentage of the population that we occupy. The world is a better place because of it. Obviously, I am proud to be a member of the tribe, so to speak, and I hope you and your family feel the same. By and large, all of these contributions have been given generously, willingly and modestly for the most part. Jews basically prefer and have preferred a low profile, probably because this teeny group of people have already aroused the world's envy and jealousy and ultimately, it's hatred.


In 1897, Mark Twain wrote an article for Harper's Magazine title "About Jews". In the article, he compares the Jews to the great civilizations such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks and Romans -- all of whom "made a vast noise and are gone. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of.......His importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.......His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all ages; and he has done it with his hands tied behind him.......The Jew has seen them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?"



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