Saturday, March 11, 2006

March 11, 2006 – Adar 11, 5766





March 11, 2006 – Adar 11, 5766



Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut



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.”



Mazal tov to dr Hazzan Rabinowitz! 

 I had the pleasure of attending the convocation at JTS on Thursday where he and 31 other cantors received honorary doctorates for their service to the jewish community.  Past president fred and sandy golove and I had the honor of representing our congregation at this auspicious event!



Contents of the Shabbat O Gram:

(Click to scroll down)


Just the Facts (service schedule)

The Rabid Rabbi

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


"There is no “us and them.”  There’s only us.”


From my comments made at last Tuesday’s board meeting





If you have yet to RSVP for Dan’s Bar Mitzvah on 4/22, please do so at

We want to be sure to get accurate numbers to the caterer.


The Hammermans


Friday Evening 




‘Jazzy’ Shabbat Service Offers Fun for Jews of All Ages
from Stamford And Its Surrounding Communities…

Follows on the Heels of January’s Successful Event,
Which Brought Together Over 250 Inspired Worshipers


Candle lighting Candle lighting: 5:37pm on Friday March 12, 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: 7:30 PM – in the sanctuary





Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM – Mazal tov to Abby Leibowitz, who will become bat mitzvah this Shabbat morning!


Children’s services: 10:30

Torah Portion:  Tetzave - Exodus 27:20 - 30:10

1: 26:1-3
2: 26:4-6
3: 26:7-11
4: 26:12-14
5: 26:15-21
6: 26:22-25
7: 26:26-30
maf: 26:26-30

Haftarah – I Kings 5:26 - 6:13

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:

Mincha – Ma’ariv – Havdalah: 5:15 PM – Mazal Tov to Lauren Dubinsky, who will become Bat Mitzvah this Shabbat afternoon!




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.


PURIM schedule

Monday, March 13

6:00 PM Family Megilla reading, costume parade, goodies, and introducing TBE THUNDERSTIX!

7:00 – 8:30: Our SPECTACULAR carnival, put together by our USY and Kadima groups

For all ages!!!

We will be selling for this event which will give unlimited entrance to all the attractions and sand art for each child


In advance:

$15 per child and $40 for a family package of three or more

At the door:

$18 per child and $45 for a family package of three or more

The adults are invited to our Caribbean Lounge for flavored coffee and dessert while the kids are playing


8:00 PM – Full Megilla reading in sanctuary

9:00 – “Beth El Apprentice”

Original Purim “spiel” featuring our TBE Teens and the irrepressible Donald Shlump


COME IN COSTUME!!!! (kids and adults)







The Rabid Rabbi




Here’s the official press release from the Rabbinical Assembly regarding yesterday’s non-decision on the landmark issue.  My take?  I feel badly for those looking for a quick resolution, but I’d much rather it be done right – that the documents reflect logical, halachic thinking, than that there be a “rush” to judgment.  These rulings will be studied for generations.  The press release is below…



Rabbinical Assembly Committee on Jewish Law and Standards

Moves Vote on Papers Concerning Human Sexuality to Dec. Meeting

Reaffirms Inclusive Approach to Gays in Conservative Jewish Life

No Change in Current Ruling on Sexual Behavior



New York, NY, March 8, 2006 – Following an “intense yet respectful” two-day closed meeting, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) of the Rabbinical Assembly, the central halakhic authority for the Conservative movement, the committee moved to schedule a vote for its December 2006 meeting on papers that were drafted by committee members on the movement’s current ruling concerning homosexuality, due to the need for “extensive” revisions to the papers by their authors.


At the same time, the committee reaffirmed a statement enforcing the movement’s inclusive approach to gays in Jewish life. The statement appears below.


Rabbi Kassel Abelson, chairman of the CJLS, will be briefing the members of the Rabbinical Assembly on the proceedings of the meeting at the upcoming RA Convention in Mexico City, March 19-23.  The convention is open to members of the press.


The Conservative movement is concerned with maintaining its bonds to Jewish tradition and halakhic integrity even as it undertakes a topic of great social relevance and controversy. The CJLS has met several times over the past three years in consideration of this matter. Four papers by leading scholars of the movement were presented at this month’s meeting. This is the second time in which teshuvot, responsa on various aspects of the issue, were presented.


“It was an intense yet respectful meeting in which we looked at many dimensions of the issue,” reported Rabbi Joel Meyers, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, in the wake of the meeting. “The committee members expressed their opinions in a passionate and forthright manner. Due to the extensive revisions that the authors of the various teshuvot now need to make, we will be meeting next on this matter in December.”


In addition to its March and December meetings, the CJLS also typically meets in June and September.


Although there are a range of views currently held by members of the Committee, the spirit of the latest discussions was one that seeks to involve gay and lesbian Jews in Conservative Jewish communities in much fuller ways, obliging them to religious and communal responsibilities, and extending to them membership and leadership rights to the greatest extent permitted by halakhah (Jewish law).


At the conclusion of its meeting, the CJLS affirmed a four-point Statement for the Conservative Community, which was originally drafted at the conclusion of last year’s meeting. It reads as follows:


  • At the heart of the Torah is the concept of holiness (kedushah) expressed in its command, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord am holy.” Flowing from this declaration are policies regulating the spiritual, ritual, social and sexual lives of Jews. Kiddushin, the sanctification of love in heterosexual marriage, is a centerpiece of Jewish life.


  • For a variety of reasons, the Jewish ideal of heterosexual marriage is unrealistic for some Jews. We emphatically recognize the human dignity (k’vod habriot) of all such individuals, and invite them to participate within our religious communities.


  • Recalling the Torah’s command, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself, I am the Lord,” we rededicate our movement to making its congregations and educational institutions inclusive and welcoming of all Jews regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation.


  • The parameters of sexual conduct for gay and lesbian Jews, their eligibility for admission to rabbinical and cantorial school, and commitment ceremonies remain the subject of a lively debate within the ongoing deliberations of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards.


The CJLS last reviewed the issue in 1992, when it emphasized the acceptance of gays and lesbians within congregational life yet upheld the biblical injunction against homosexual behavior. The process will resume at future meetings of the committee.


The CJLS is the sole body empowered to deal with, and rule on halakhic issues within the Conservative movement. Chaired by Rabbi Abelson, it is composed of 25 rabbis and 6 non-rabbinical members who are non-voting and who serve on a rotating basis for a period of at least 5 years. A list of committee members is appended to this release.


The Rabbinical Assembly, founded in 1901, is the international association of Conservative rabbis. The Assembly actively promotes the cause of Conservative Judaism, publishes learned texts, prayer books and works of Jewish interest, and administers the work of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards for the Conservative movement.


The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards has been functioning since 1927 as a guide for the Conservative Movement in matters of Jewish law.




Here’s a letter from the President of the Rabbinical Assembly to rabbis – I’ve been given permission to disseminate it to you… (apologies for some of the technical jargon)


Shalom Hevre,


In light of recent developments within the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) and some spirited discussion among our members, I think a few observations are in order.  Let me begin by assuring you that although I am writing to the RA membership exclusively, this letter may be shared with your constituencies or other interested parties.  Nothing in this letter will be violating any confidences nor will its use elsewhere be such a violation.


The chair of our CJLS, our good colleague Rabbi Kass Abelson, invited me to address the committee and I did.  As an ex officio member of the CJLS, I am also privy to the teshuvot under consideration at any given time.  I have thus had the zekhut of studying the work of our CJLS colleagues and this past Tuesday, I had the added privilege of witnessing the committee at work.  To see the committee at work is more than impressive.  Whether one agrees or not with any given teshuvah, the way in which our colleagues struggle to maintain the halakhic integrity of the movement while addressing the pressing needs of the day is nothing short of inspirational.  These are teshuvot that are well argued, in some cases bold, creative, always candid, and at times sobering.


What makes it even more impressive is that these teshuvot are only drafts.  Before the CJLS votes on a given teshuvah, all committee members are given an opportunity to comment on the teshuvah, pointing to its strengths and weaknesses, its ambiguities, its errors, arguments that might require further elaboration, etc.  In other words, the teshuvot are far from final form which is why they are not made public to you or to the press.  Just as we would not want a rough draft of a sermon or article distributed at large, so too these teshuvot are confidential until such time that they can be deemed completed.  That is when a vote on the teshuvah takes place and subsequently, the teshuvah made public.


What happened this week is that the teshuvot were reviewed and critiqued.  The authors must now rework the teshuvot, crafting what may be their final form and thus preparing them for eventual adoption or rejection by a subsequent CJLS vote. 


And so, although much work took place, there has been nothing to report to you other than the CJLS is hard at work, as it usually is.  This may come as a disappointment to those who had hoped that the CJLS would finally resolve debate over homosexuality.  This certainly has come as a disappointment to the media which was chomping at the bit for a scoop.  The news this week was far less compelling than any of these groups had hoped for.  And quite frankly, having read the press, I don’t see the substance of what has been reported to you.  The articles have struck me as much ado about nothing.


I don’t want to speculate as to why some go to the press and speak confidentially.  I share your anger and frustration when reports appear in the media and touch on issues that have not been brought to you first.  Such reports are typically incomplete, biased, and more often than not, designed to embarrass.  Be that as it may, people with a cause, colleagues and laypeople alike, will continue to strike out on their own, particularly if they perceive their mission to be just and urgent. 


Having said all that, let me explain the matter of the 80% vote which our Executive Council has deliberated on in the past.  Our constitution says precious little about the workings of the CJLS.  It is, from that perspective, a true Torah shebikhtav.  Over the years, the CJLS has recorded a host of internal operating procedures in order to assure consistency in deliberations and voting from one administration to the next (a Torah shebe’al Peh , if you will).   It is a rather extensive guide which the committee sends to the Executive Council for review and approval.  It is also available to any RA member on request, but has never been deemed so essential that it be mailed to the entire RA.


The committee itself recognized that teshuvot which are oker davar min haTorah are of such seriousness that they ought to be adopted on the basis of a majority that exceeds six votes.  Their internal paper suggested a threshold of 11 or 12 votes.  The Executive Council, in reviewing that recommendation, noted that the same internal procedures call for an 80% supermajority to overturn a previously adopted teshuvah.  The Executive Council did not miss the irony of making oker davar min haTorah easier than overturning a previously adopted teshuvah of the CJLS.  It thus voted that the same threshold for overturning a previously adopted teshuvah be applied to akirat davar min haTorah.   Such a supermajority would further protect the integrity of the CJLS in reassuring all that extraordinary decisions such as takkanot or gezeirot are promulgated only on the basis of overwhelming consensus.  The Executive Council deliberated on that, voted on that, and adopted it by a wide majority.


Has the Executive Council acted presumptuously or, has veShalom, in violation of the constitution?  I don’t think so.   The Executive Council, a representative body, works hard to reflect the will of the membership.  I believe it has.


Hevre, the RA is 100 years old, but our rabbinic forebears go back centuries.  We represent an approach to life that encourages debate and respectful mahloket.  For centuries, colleagues of good will have disagreed over many matters.  And we never shrink form a good debate or disagreement.  A challenge is something we embrace for that is the essence of great leadership. 


I look forward to seeing you in Mexico!  Adios, amigos!




Rafi Rank

President, The Rabbinical Assembly


Report from Israel – Ruth Ginsburg


Well a week ago I moved from Migdal Haemek to Jerusalem.... there a little different.  WE live literally in the Center of the city in Kikar Zion.  It is amazing. I am here doing a three week study course at a pluralistic program, and it is amazing. I have never really experienced Pluralistic Judaism and I love it.  For the first week we started off with a bang, talking about G-d! Now I am very confused and figuring out what my own ideas are, I'll let you know when I figure it out.   (But my new thing is my relationship to G-d as the Bus Driver of my life.. let me know if you want to know more about this.) My elective was women in Judaism and wow... it is pretty much what I expected but it is interesting to read this.  And for an hour a day we do Jewish art.  Very interesting.  The first day we arrived in Jerusalem we got a list of everything that is going on for every day we will be here, and my roommate from Beer Sheva and I decided that we are going to take advantage and do something every day. Sunday night, we went to Israeli dance, the average age was 75 but it was fun and they invited us to their Purim party so we have to think of a great costume.  Monday was my friends birthday so we went out. Tuesday night I went to a protest about women receiving gets( Jewish divorces) in Israel. Right now the man has to consent to an Orthodox divorce in order for it to occur... lots of problems arise with that and so we were there to support the cause to change the requirements of gets in Israel. Wednesday night I went to Ballroom dance class... so fun!  Again the average age was 80... This Shabbat we have a Shabbaton with the other half of our group in Pardes (yeshiva) for the three-week part.  Jerusalem is amazing, there is such a energy here.. (Mom and Dad don't read this)  The first day I was here I got a bus pass, so I can go on any bus... very convenient. (Okay you can read again>). It is Friday morning and the excitement of Shabbat is everywhere.  I am off to the Shuk.. where it is a free for all, everyone for themselves when getting the best price on vegetables...


I love it!

Shabbat Shalom













Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Projects




Beth El Cares
Cathy Satz (968-9191;
Cheryl Wolff (968-6361;
BETH EL CARES co-chairs
Blood Drive
Give the Gift of Life! Get involved in a short term mitzvah project that will save lives.  Who benefits from these blood donations? People who are born prematurely, people with auto-immune and other blood disorders, people involved in accidents… Many people, including temple members, have received blood transfusions in the past and some people need regular blood transfusions.  
On Sunday, April 30th between 8:30 am and 1:30 pm we need 125 healthy adults who are at least 17 years old, weigh at least 110 pounds and have not given blood since the beginning of March.  The Red Cross will provide the “beds”; we need to put “arms in the beds”.  Color War points will be awarded to your child’s color war team!
Contact Cheryl Wolff to schedule your donation time or to volunteer to help.  


Lock of Love

As promised, Beth El Cares will be hosting another group donation for children and teens to cut their hair for “Locks of Love”.  If your hair is 10” or longer (in a ponytail), mark Sunday May 7 on your calendar. Guy Sasson & Company will be coming to Temple Beth El to start haircuts at 12:00 noon (right after Religious School). Advance sign-up is required.  Mother and daughter teams will be accepted! Rebecca and Cathy Satz are hopeful they’ll both have their 10” by then-they’re close!


Contact Cathy Satz to schedule your appointment.


Beth El Cares Shabbat

We hope you can join us at Shabbat morning services on Saturday April 15, when we will be hosting a panel discussion regarding Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.  We will feature at least two panelists, Gabi Birkner, staff writer for the Jewish Week who has been to the south several times since Hurricane Katrina and has written some moving reports and Rosaline Feinstein, congregant, who has also written a moving report detailing her recent visit to the south. The panel may also include some students who recently spent a few days performing mitzvah projects in New Orleans with the JCC.



Rally to Stop Genocide

Sunday, April 30th

2:00 - 4:00

(Group will gather beginning at 1:00)

The Mall WashingtonDC


Carl Weinberg is working with Beth El Cares to organize a group from Stamford to attend this rally.  For more information about the rally and other Darfur initiatives, contact Carl at 539-5560 (day), 322-8675 (evenings) or




Spiritual Journey on the Web

The Gods of Business: Five Global Views
by Prabhu Guptara

Prabhu Guptara's slide presentation, "The Gods of Business: Five Global Views," describes how Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Atheism can provide ethical insights into conducting business in a global culture.




Purim is one of the most joyous and fun holidays on the Jewish calendar. It commemorates a time when the Jewish people living in Persia were saved from extermination. [more from Judaism 101...]


Also see the wealth of material at and take the Purim  Quiz at


A Purim Multi-Media presentation:


And what’s Purim without a little humor??? ….


Check out and take a look at Halachah Mi-Disney, which answer’s the pressing question, “Can mice serve as prayer leaders?”








Strangely, no one had any questions for the rabbi this week!


Required Reading and Action Items


·  Former IDF Chief of Staff: There Is a Military Option for Iran - Yitzhak Benhorin
Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon told the Hudson Institute in Washington that Israel has a military option against Iran, and that the use of such an option could significantly damage Iran's nuclear program and set it back a number of years. However, Yaalon said Iran is expected to respond with Shihab missiles, as well as missiles from Lebanon and Kassam rockets from the territories. "There will be a need to attack a few dozen sites. The air forces of Israel, the United States, and Europe can carry this out," he said. He added that Iran "would have nuclear technology within a year and a half, and will have the bomb within 3-5 years."
    "Israel has the ability to disrupt the Iranian air defense system. Israel can strike Iran through a number of ways, not only though an aerial attack." "Just as we succeed in striking a lone terrorist, we can also strike a nuclear site without causing major damage to the environment and harming innocents."  (Ynet News)
    See also Responding to the Iranian Threat - David Horovitz
Former Pentagon adviser Richard Perle, now a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told the AIPAC conference in Washington on Monday that, while he hoped it wouldn't come to this, Iran's prime nuclear facilities could be devastated on a single night, in a single strike, by a small fleet of U.S. B-2 bombers. (Jerusalem Post)


·  Six Suicide Bombings in Jerusalem Foiled in 2005 - Jonathan Lis
Israeli security forces foiled six suicide terror bombings in Jerusalem in 2005, Jerusalem District police commander Ilan Franco said Thursday. Two of the bombings were foiled once the terrorists had already infiltrated the city. (Ha'aretz)


·  Palestinian Rocket Attacks from West Bank Expected - Margot Dudkevitch
The fear that West Bank terror groups will eventually succeed in manufacturing Kassam rockets that will threaten the heart of Israel is a real one, Haruv Battalion commander Lt.-Col. Arik Hen said Thursday. Since disengagement, terror organizations in the Gaza Strip have intensified their attempts to transfer knowledge, funds, and directives to those operating in the West Bank, he said.
    "Until now we have witnessed preliminary attempts by terrorists to build rockets, but I would like to remind you that that is how it started in Gaza. The first rocket had a 500-meter range and the second reached a kilometer, and from there it progressed," he said. Once the terror groups attain the capability, it will force the army to change its deployment and adopt a different strategy, and possibly intensify its presence in West Bank cities, Hen said. "It is a situation that we will be unable to accept." (Jerusalem Post)

Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S.UK, and Israel):

·  A Sunni-Shia Rift - Martin Peretz
Hamas is weaved of the Muslim Brotherhood cloth. But hatred can bring Israel-haters together opportunistically. Even before Fatah's humiliating defeat in the Palestinian elections, Shia help had been trickling into Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and also to the "Marxist" factions of the revolution. But it is difficult to imagine a stable alliance between Sunni extremists and the perfervid Shia in Lebanon and Iran. The blood between them is not very rich. Too much of it has been shed. Still, Hamas seems to assume that it will be drawing on a substantial bank account in Tehran. Will Hamas allow itself to become as dependent and pliant as the optometrist in Damascus? The Sunni-Shia rift is very deep, and even hatred of the Jews will not bridge it in the long run. (New Republic)


·  Iran and the West: Who Needs Whom? - Gil Feiler
Iran is the second-largest oil producer in OPEC, holding about 10% of the world's crude oil reserves. Iran is second only to Russia in natural gas reserves. The ability of China and India to manufacture cheap goods and services is dependent on affordable Iranian oil. Any severe disruption to Iran's economy would have significant economic repercussions on the Chinese and Indian economies. Thus, China and India are sure to protect Iran against any Western attempt to impose sanctions.
    On the other hand, Iran is neither an economic nor a military superpower. International sanctions would hamper Iranian technological progress, and its oil industry is not in good shape. In fact, Iran is a net importer of refined oil products, including gasoline. Oil wealth by itself cannot guarantee Iran's 70 million citizens a high standard of living without developing downstream industries. Iran's other allies certainly cannot compensate for decreased European investment. (Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies/Bar-Ilan University)


·  Iranians Concerned of World Reaction to Nuclear Program
Menashe Amir, an Iranian affairs expert from Israel Radio's Persian broadcasts, discussed what he is hearing from Iranian listeners on Israel Radio Tuesday: "Iran is really afraid of its case being brought before the Security Council. Iran is afraid that this will become a snowball that will continually grow and that will place the current government in danger and lead to sanctions on Iran." "All Iranians want to have a nuclear bomb...but many have said not under this type of government....They fear that a nuclear bomb will give this brutal government a certificate of security."
    "I would not say that the Iranians chose Ahmadinejad. Those elections were planned and their outcome was determined ahead of time. And certainly Ahmadinejad does not represent the Iranians. He represents the governing authority." "I hear this from people who listen to Voice of Israel Radio in Persian, who call in to the station and have expressed their opinions that they don't want nuclear bombs under the leadership of Ahmadinejad." (


·  A Human Rights Sham - Editorial
The UN Human Rights Commission is set to begin its annual meeting in Geneva next Monday, drawing together some of the most oppressive nations on Earth. No, not to haul them up on charges. They'll be welcomed as members of the commission. (Chicago Tribune)


·  Mubarak's Son Climbs Party Ranks as Country's Leaders Undercut His Rivals - Daniel Williams
The son of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and a group of close associates have moved into key political positions. Last month, Gamal Mubarak was named one of three deputy secretaries general of the governing National Democratic Party, whose grass-roots organization underpins his father's rule, and 20 of his associates took other high-ranking posts in the party. Mubarak had served as head of the party's policies committee, which helped fashion economic reforms. Political observers saw in the move a shift toward putting the NDP at the service of the president's son. (Washington Post)
    See also Egypt's Brotherhood Discovers Cost of Free Speech - Christine Spola
The Muslim Brotherhood, with sizable numbers in parliament for the first time, is exercising free speech so freely that some of its activists are being locked up. The Brotherhood in Egypt is a strain of Islamist politics intent on presenting itself as a mainstream political alternative. Last week Egyptian security forces arrested 15 Brotherhood members - none members of parliament - in what analysts and Brotherhood leaders have described as political retaliation for talk about government corruption and ineptitude.
    The Brotherhood and Hamas are brethren in Islamist politics, and Brotherhood leaders support Hamas' fight against Israel. Recently, leaders in Cairo pledged to raise money to help the new Hamas government. (Chicago Tribune)


·  The Kurd Card - Charles Krauthammer
In an important political development, the Kurds in Iraq have switched sides. In the first parliament, they allied themselves with the Shiite slate to produce the current Shiite-dominated government. Now the Kurds have joined with the opposition Sunni and secular parties to oppose the Shiite bloc. The result is two large competing coalitions: (a) the Kurd-Sunni-secular bloc, which controls about 140 seats in the 275-seat parliament, and (b) the Shiite bloc, which itself is a coalition of seven not-always-friendly parties and controls 130 seats. (Washington Post)


·  Europe: Choosing Between Israel and the Arabs - Interview with Avi Pazner
When the EU has to chose between its Arab interests and its Israeli ones, it clearly favors the Arab side. In 1973 the Arabs frightened the Europeans with the major oil embargo during the Yom Kippur War. Europe realized how dependent it was on the Arab world. Europe today wants peace and quiet, and does not want anything to interfere. The depth of ignorance in Europe creates misconceived ideas about Israel's aims and policies. Avi Pazner is a former Israeli ambassador to Italy and France. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Weekend Features

·  Al-Qaeda Sympathizers Creating Internet Communities - Kasie Hunt
Al-Qaeda sympathizers are using Orkut, a popular, worldwide Internet service owned by Google, to rally support for bin Laden, share videos and Web links promoting terrorism, and recruit non-Arabic-speaking Westerners, according to terrorism experts. On Orkut, at least 10 communities are devoted to praising bin Laden, al-Qaeda, or jihad against the U.S. The largest bin Laden community has more than 2,000 members. Visitors to the sites can find videos of attacks, see pictures of dead U.S. soldiers, and read an English translation of the Iraq-based wing of al-Qaeda's latest communique before it is available in English anywhere else, says Rita Katz, director of the SITE Institute in Washington.
    "You are creating what I call a virtual community of hatred and seeding these ideas very early," says Jerrold Post, director of the political psychology program at George Washington University in WashingtonD.C. However, Bruce Hoffman, director of the RAND Institute's counterterrorism center, says, "The jihadists are already using the Internet. The real issue is how we counter these messages of hate and radicalism." (USA Today)


·  Israeli Anti-Terror Training Aids U.S. Security - Tom Lochner
A make-believe suicide bomber stood amid an imaginary crowd of commuters, poised to "detonate" his weapon and sow tragedy and terror, when a BART police SWAT team officer sneaked up from behind and yanked his legs out from under him. Then the counterterrorism officer straddled his back and pinned his arms outward, preventing the hands from setting off the charge. After last year's bombings of London's transit system and the previous year's bombings of Madrid's commuter trains, BART ratcheted up its counterterrorism training, said BART spokesman Jim Allison.
    "Weaponless takedown," the title of a demonstration for the news media, came on the last day of a four-day seminar for the 18-member BART SWAT team conducted by Los Angeles native Aaron Cohen, who said he served in a counterterrorist unit with the Israel Defense Forces. Today, Cohen runs IMS Security, an anti-terrorist institute that he said has consulted for U.S. government agencies.
    Reporters were not privy to all that went on during the four-day class. "We're selective about what we tell the media," said Sgt. Paul Garcia. "We don't want it to become training material for our opponents." Cohen also taught about "red flags" that can give away a bomber, such as profuse sweating, white knuckles (from gripping a package hard), clothing that does not match the season, a glazed look, and avoidance of security measures or personnel. (Contra Costa Times)

·  Nazis Back in Berlin - Roger Boyes
Swastikas fluttered over Berlin Monday, German soldiers raised stiff arms in the Hitler salute, and hundreds of bedraggled spectators shouted approval as the Nazi leader delivered a faltering speech. Nazi symbols and Hitler salutes are banned in Germany, yet the Finance Ministry - once Hermann Goering's Luftwaffe headquarters - was draped in huge red and black swastikas. "My God," said Benny Zimmerman, a tourist from St. Louis, "They're back!" Dani Levi, an Israeli director, was attempting to recapture the atmosphere of Nazi Germany for a new comedy about Adolf Hitler. "The film is to be called 'Mein Fuhrer,'" said a spokeswoman for Levi. (Times-UK)


Iran Military Options Open - Interview with Martin Indyk by Tony Jones (ABC-Australia)

Martin Indyk served as assistant secretary of state and was Bill Clinton's Middle East advisor at the National Security Council. He is currently director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

  • Q: The U.S. frequently says that Iran will not be allowed to build nuclear weapons. Do you honestly believe that there is a military option on the table along with all the other options?
    Indyk: "Of course there is. It's not a good option, it's not a simple option to take out perhaps 37 Iranian hardened facilities that are located in built-up areas. Civilian populations would be affected by that, but I think more important than all of that is the kinds of things that Iran can do in retaliation that could severely complicate America's other positions in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq."
  • "The Iranians have been for many years now building up cards that they can play in confrontation with what they refer to as 'the great Satan, the United States.' They have seen the United States as a threat to their ambitions in the region and that is why they have, first of all, built a position of influence in Lebanon through Hizballah, which, by the way, also has an international infrastructure of terrorism that's sitting on the shelf and can be mobilized."
  • "They have gone to great pains to take control of a Palestinian card through direct control of Palestine Islamic Jihad - the terrorist organization that's been responsible for all the terrorist acts in the last year or so - and also through their relationship with Hamas, which is now going to take over the government in Palestinian areas."
  • "They also have a card now that they have built after we toppled Saddam Hussein in Iraq, particularly in southern Iraq, where they have control over the Moqtada Sadr militia....The Iranians have built up this sphere of influence in Iraq which they can use, by the way, with Hizballah people from Lebanon to cause, I think, considerable damage to American forces there if they so choose."
  • "The Israelis see this as an existential threat. They have been preparing for the possibility that Iran will have nuclear weapons for the last 20 years, so to say that they don't have a military option is, I think, an illusion. They have, I think, already built a military option."
  • Q: You mean the technical military ability to destroy bunkered facilities?
    Indyk: "To attempt to destroy bunkered facilities. But, will they succeed? Will they get them all? Do they know where all of them are? These are very big question marks and, of course, they would much prefer that the United States do it because the United States has a much greater capability than Israel has. But to imagine that the Jewish state, whose leaders have sworn that the Jewish Commonwealth will never be destroyed again, will sit back and hope that somebody else will take care of an existential threat is simply not facing the reality of their situation."





MYTH #211

"The PA is entitled to international aid because Hamas was democratically elected and the Palestinian people should not be made to suffer because Israel doesn’t like the election outcome."


Billions of dollars of aid have flowed to the Palestinian Authority (PA) over the last 13 years despite the fact that most of it was siphoned off by corrupt officials and very little has actually reached the people. Now the PA is led by a party that pledged to fight corruption, but it also promises to continue to use terror as a means of achieving the objective of destroying Israel. Why does anyone believe the United States or any other country has an obligation to underwrite terrorism and programs for genocide?

The New York Times noted:

America cannot bankroll a Hamas government that preaches and practices terrorism, denies that Israel has any right to exist, and refuses to abide by peace agreements signed by previous Palestinian governments....the United States would make a resounding diplomatic and moral point by cutting off aid. It would demonstrate in the clearest possible terms that the American people are not prepared to support governments, elected or unelected, that proclaim the annihilation of other nations as their goal and embrace terrorism as an acceptable tactic for achieving it (New York Times, March 4, 2006).

It is true that the PA has financial problems, but that is not the rest of the world’s responsibility. Had the PA not misspent the billions it had received already from international donors, it would not be in this predicament. Moreover, as the Times editorialized, “Continuing United States subsidies while Hamas is in power will not move the region one step closer to a fair and sustainable peace.”

The Times and others are wrong in suggesting that Israel be pressured to pay tax and customs funds to the PA. What other government would give money to an authority that is calling for its destruction? Can you imagine the Israeli prime minister speaking to his Hamas counterpart: “We are very upset that you say that you are committed to destroying our nation, and we’re disturbed that you are launching terrorist attacks against us each day, but here’s the money we owe you. Don’t spend it all on one suicide bomb.”

The Palestinian people aren’t going to starve. Even if the United States, Israel, and other Western nations were threatening to withhold all aid until Hamas either is driven from power or completely reforms and renounces its covenantIran and other nations will provide the minimum required to sustain the Palestinians, a group which already receives substantially more aid than far needier populations around the globe. And the United States and others are not even talking about cutting off all aid; they all say they will continue to provide humanitarian funds.

The Palestinian people will blame the world for their predicament, as they have for the last 58 years, but perhaps a cutoff of some aid will be the consequence that finally teaches them the lesson that the path to statehood requires them to make a different choice – peace over violence.

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.













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 – Jewish Values: Tzedakkah and Gmilut Hasadim



“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 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. 





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.




"Five Rabbis, Four Questions: (and then some):

A Pre-Pesach Pow-wow With Stamford's Board of Rabbis"


The Stamford Board of Rabbis will host a panel discussion about the themes of Passover on Wed., April 5 at Temple Beth El, 350 Roxbury Rd at 7:00 PM.   In an informal, participatory setting, the rabbis will discuss the ins and outs of the Haggadah, the ritual items on the seder plate, Jewish concepts of freedom and tips for a great family Seder, along with other questions. 


The Board of Rabbis, currently chaired by Rabbi Ira Ebbin, meets monthly, serving important leadership functions in the community, including advocacy, education and community building.  Programs such as these are especially helpful in promoting Jewish awareness in a spirit of communal solidarity. 


The panel, featuring Rabbis Ira Ebbin, Marc Disick, Daniel Cohen, Phil Schechter and Joshua Hammerman, will be moderated by Ilana De Laney, the community's director of education.  The event is co-sponsored by the Community Commission of Jewish Education of the United Jewish Federation, along with the Board of Rabbis.  The program is free and open to the public. 


Sisterhood is inviting you to a Ladies’ Nite Out!

Thursday, April 6, 2006

At Temple Beth El

7:00 Shopping Bazaar opens
7:30 Fashion Show begins

See the latest fashions from



Designer clothes at off-prices

Join us for a fun-filled evening!

Enjoy shopping at our Spring shopping bazaar.

Sample dairy desserts from the new soon-to-be-released Sisterhood Cookbook – “From Our Table to Yours.”

 Preparations by Dr. Fran Ginsburg and her team of Sisterhood chefs!


View the latest fashions modeled by our very own Sisterhood members:  Marlyn Agatstein, Amy Fishkow Benjamin, Rachel Benjamin, Sarah Benjamin, Alana Kasindorf, Jeannie Kasindorf, Jodi Maxner, Sue Shapiro, and Mia Weinstein
Hair by Guy Sasson and Makeup by Sue Berkoff

New and Fabulous Silent Auction plus our favorite Raffle prizes (1/$5 and 5/$20).

RSVP by March 31, 2006

Patron               $20 ($25 door)               Make checks payable to Sisterhood and send to:
Non-member     $25                                 Eileen H. Rosner, c/o Temple Beth El
Sponsor             $36                                 350 Roxbury Road, Stamford, CT 06902
Benefactor        $54
Prepaid Raffles (1/$5 and 5/$20)


Mindy Fishman         Maureen Leffand
203.594.9171            203.569.7024





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




Too young for the JCC Maccabi experience but want to GET IN THE GAMES? Join Jr. Maccabi!  Jewish kids between the ages of 9-11 (by 7/30/06) are invited to join us for special events throughout the year.  In addition, each participant will get a JCC Jr. Maccabi T-shirt and will march in the Parade of Athletes at the Stamford 2006 JCC Maccabi Games Opening Ceremonies on Sunday, August 13 at the Arena at Harbor Yard.  For more information, contact Melissa Glazer at 487-0973 or Fee: $36 JCC Members / $50 Non-members


Join us for our Hip Hop Dance Party and Sleep-over with DJ Dave (from Tim and Dave) on Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 pm – 9am Sunday, March 5.  Fee: $50





An American tourist was riding in a taxi in Israel.


As the taxi approached a red light, the tourist was shocked to see the

driver drive straight through without even slowing down.  Surprised as he

was, he didn't say anything, feeling himself a 'guest' and not wanting to

make waves.


The trip continued without event until the next intersection.


This time the light was green and, to the American's dismay, the cab

driver brought the vehicle to a grinding halt.


Unable to contain his astonishment, he turns to the driver.  "Listen", he

says, "When you went through the red light, I didn't say anything.  But

why on earth are you stopping at a green light?"  The Israeli driver looks

at the American as if he was deranged.  "Are you crazy?!" he shouts.  "The

other guy has a red light!  Do you want to get us killed?!"




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

To be removed from this mailing list, send an e-mail request to


No comments: