Saturday, March 18, 2006

March 18, 2006 – Adar 18, 5766





March 18, 2006 – Adar 18, 5766



Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut



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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



Purim at TBE



More photos are at


At our website you’ll also find my complete Passover “Guide for the Perplexed” and a downloadable Sale of Hametz form



Quotes for the Week


 “When Adar arrives, we increase our joy."

(Talmud Ta'anit 29a)


The gematria (numerical value) Heb. b'simcha, is the same as that of 'year' [Heb. shanah]

This means that the joy that a person is inspired to have at this time will be a source

from which he can draw upon himself joy for the whole year. And so it should be God’s will.

                                                       (Rebbe Avraham Yehoshua Heschel of Apt.)






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 

Candle lighting Candle lighting: 5:44pm on Friday, 17 March 2006 - Havdalah is at 6:46 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 Jeannette and Mike Timmons and their children, Liam and Forrest, in honor of grandparents Wendy and Bob Levine.  Liam and Forrest both attend  Westover School.


Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM – Mazal tov to Peri Shapiro, who will become bat mitzvah this Shabbat morning!  Mazal tov also to Ari Tannenbaum and Rachelle Lipschultz, whose ufruf will take place at this service.


Children’s services: 10:30

Torah Portion:  Ki Tisa/ Shabbat Parah - Exodus 27:20 - 30:10

1: 31:18-32:6
2: 32:7-11
3: 32:12-14
4: 32:15-24
5: 32:25-29
6: 32:30-33:6
7: 33:7-11
mafNumbers 19:1-22

Haftarah – Shabbat Parah / Ezekiel 36:16 - 36:38

See a weekly commentary from the UJC Rabbinic Cabinet, at  Read the Masorti commentary at  University of Judaism,  JTS commentary is at: Torah Sparks can be found at Shabbat Table Talk discussions are at divrei Torah via the Torahnet home page: 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 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 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 Julie Alswanger, who will become Bat Mitzvah this Shabbat afternoon!




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





The Rabid Rabbi




(This was distributed nationally by the JTA several weeks ago – it formed the basis for my sermon last Shabbat)


Is the ‘Wicked Man’ Just Misunderstood?

by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Jewish Telegraphic Agency






STAMFORD (JTA) -- Last month I took my family to see the Broadway musical "Wicked," a recasting of the "Wizard of Oz" where all the supposedly good people turn out to be self-centered and the Wicked Witch is revealed to be a sensitive iconoclast battling a malicious smear campaign.

Such moral ambiguity has a home in Judaism, which revels in the hidden complexities of life. The Bible paints few of our heroes in bold, simplistic strokes. Arguably, Judaism's most towering figures, Moses and David, are among the most flawed. There are no "happily ever afters" to be found. No one is purely good, nor is anyone entirely evil.

Except for one. Oz had the Wicked Witch, and we have our Wicked, Wicked Man: Haman. Jews are expected to have sympathy for just about every enemy, with the exception of Haman.

Admit it. Don't you feel just a little uncomfortable on Purim night, beating the tar out of Haman, shouting him down, cheering ecstatically at his demise? Doesn't it bother you just a little bit that the same tradition that encourages us to spill drops of wine at the seder in memory of suffering Egyptian slave drivers also encourages us to drink ourselves silly while hanging Haman and drowning out the very mention of his name?

With Haman being painted with cartoonish evil clarity, however, the Talmud throws us another zinger, calling upon us to imbibe on Purim not to ignite more anger, but to create a very wicked-like confusion, according to one interpretation. We are to drink until we cannot tell the difference between "Cursed be Haman" and "Blessed be Mordechai." This custom seems to undercut the Bible's assertion that Haman, simply by virtue of his Amalekite roots, as well as his own deeds, IS the pure embodiment of evil. It introduces the possibility of moral ambiguity, or worse, a moral equivalence between Haman's intentions and those of his accusers.

If the book of Esther were to be rewritten the way "Wicked" recasts Oz, it would make for a great Purimspiel. Essentially, the inverse story of Haman would begin at birth, where his parents reject him. As a child, the neighborhood bullies beat him up, poking fun at his three-cornered hat given to him by Mordechai, the Big Man on Campus, as a prank. "Tri-corner is this year's kaffiyeh," Mordechai tells him. Haman then wallows in self-pity with a show-stopping number entitled, "My Life Is Bad Noose." He hopes against hope that some day maybe he will make it so big "that they'll name a pastry after me."

Finally, he is granted an audience with the king, but he is forced to wait outside for hours on end. "Why does the king leave me hanging?" Haman laments. While he is waiting, he overhears Mordechai plotting against the king. The plan is to place Esther on the throne and force all the royal subjects to become life members of Hadassah.

Mordy also plots to create a diversionary smokescreen by accusing Haman of scheming to annihilate the Jews. The plan works to perfection and the "wicked" Haman is hanged. But it turns out that Haman gets wind of the plot, substitutes a scarecrow effigy at the last minute and while the scarecrow swings, Haman escapes to Hollywood to produce morally ambiguous movies for Steven Spielberg.

Jewish tradition teaches us that no human being is either totally evil or completely good. Spielberg has been maligned for his recent film ``Munich" because he meddled in the moral complexities of our contemporary Purim saga involving Israeli good guys and terrorism's evildoers. Spielberg's attempt to break through the caricatures is refreshing and commendable in this polarized world, as long as the terrorism itself is not minimized or justified.

The key here is not the evildoer; it is the evil deed. When we are instructed to blot out the name of Amalek, Haman's infamous ancestor, it is because of what they did to the weak and defenseless with their rear-guard attack on Israel in the wilderness, not because Amalek was inherently evil. A person cannot be entirely depraved -- but a deed can.

To a degree, we need Amalek. Imagine Superman without Lex Luthor or the Red Sox without the Yankees.

We define ourselves according to those we hate. We measure ourselves by the Other. It is an eternal dance with Amalek that galvanizes us. As King Saul discovered, there was something inside him that wouldn't allow him to destroy Amalek completely, even when he had the chance. Without the Other, we can't be The One.

We read in Genesis 36 that Amalek was, after all, the great-great grandson of Abraham. Amalek is first mentioned during one of those long, seemingly innocuous genealogical listings that are found routinely in Genesis. For the most part the names found in these listings are of nominal literary interest, but not here.

Amalek, ancestor to an outcast nation, was the son of an outcast who was the daughter-in-law of another outcast. His is the story of the ultimate outsider - one that most Jews would recognize as being very similar to our own. Amalek, the great-great grandson of Abraham, is us. And so is Haman.

Am I being too forgiving of Judaism's Wicked Wicked Man? Not at all. I'll be out there on Purim night, raising a ruckus like everyone else. But I'll do so with the understanding that book of Esther is only part of a long and complex story whose end has yet to be written.


What is Shabbat Parah? (from

"This is the decree of the Torah, which Hashem has commanded, saying: Speak to the Children of Israel, and they shall take to you a completely red cow, which is without blemish, and upon which a yoke has not come." (BaMidbar 19:2)

This is an example of Law of the Torah, which is considered completely above human comprehension.  The paradox is that those who are involved in the preparation of the ashes of the cow become ritually impure, while the sprinkling of water with those ashes is used to remove contamination! It is an example of a Law, which must be accepted on faith alone.

On the Shabbat after Purim, two Torah Scrolls are removed from the Ark. The Sidrah of the week is read from the first, and from the second, the chapter of Parah Adumah, the Red Cow (or Red Heifer), is read. It gives the procedure through which people can purify themselves from the contamination caused by a human corpse.

The reading of this chapter was instituted for this time of the year because Jews were required to purify themselves before coming to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage festival of Passover.

The Haftarah read on the Sabbath of Parashat Parah contains the verse, "And I shall sprinkle pure water upon you, that you be cleansed. From all your contamination and from all your filth will cleanse you" (Ezekiel 36:25). There are other parallels in the Haftarah between the concepts of sin represented by contamination, and atonement represented by purity.

This idea is discussed in the commentary to the ArtScroll Ezekiel (pp.534-5), as follows: Freedom of will in moral matters is the first and irreplaceable condition for living one's life on the higher plane demanded by the Torah. Belief in man's freedom of action, however, is endangered by the fact that man cannot avoid death and that he is subject to the superficial limitations imposed by the forces of nature.

This belief is particularly shaken by the sight of a dead human being. If the whole human being has succumbed to death, been overpowered by physical forces - If man, like all other organic beings, cannot escape the spell of an overpowering force - then there is no room for the moral "you shall" next to the physical "you must." Moral freedom of will would then be an illusion, and the Divine law of morality with its demand for total free-willed devotion to the illuminating, purifying fire of its sanctuary would be incomprehensible. (R'Hirsch, Numbers 19:22)

Thus, sin is related not only to death, but also to contamination, which is closely associated with death. Because the sinner is shackled by his desires, he loses spiritual control of actions. He is swept along by the physical lusts that have overpowered his spiritual self. Thus, the most meaningful part of life, the spiritual, has been killed. For this reason, when G-d forgives man's sin and grants him a new heart and a new spirit, He is imbuing him with purity, the state of mind in which man is the sole master of his actions.

A living (and therefore a pure) person uses his body as he wills; it is his tool to use as he sees fit. The regenerate sinner, upon returning to the state of purity, joins once more the state of the living - and the free. (Chazon HaMikra)


Action Item






ADL, JFACT, the Pakistani American Association of Connecticut and others are working to change that likelihood in the Connecticut legislature.


Please contact your State Senator and Representative by letter or phone today and ask them to Support SB 259 "An Act Prohibiting Discrimination in Life Insurance Based on Lawful Travel Destinations."   The language of the bill is included below.  


You can find your state legislators here:  While emails are OK, the best contact is via letter or phone call. 


Talking Points:


·         Currently, denials are not being made based on life expectancy or risk.

Travel to Israel is safe.  Business Week noted that there were 17 homicides per 100,000 people in the U.S. in 2002, compared with just 11 in Israel.  Being in Israel is safer than living in the United States (see attached article).

·         Denials are made for entire countries when travel warnings may pertain to limited areas or circumstances.

Insurers are currently not making actual, quantitative risk assessment, but merely citing a State Department list of countries with cautionary warnings for travelers.  If travel to Israel or any other country could be demonstrated actuarially to yield unusual risk, we don't dispute that insurers should have discretion to deny applications or charge higher premiums and the proposed legislation so provides. 

·         The current practice of discriminating based on travel to Israel will have the effect of preventing legislators, businesspeople, religious leaders and others from traveling to one of America's closest allies.


Please let us know once you have made contact with your legislators and consider sharing any response you receive.




Proposed Substitute Bill No 259


No life insurance company doing business in this state may deny or refuse to accept an application for life insurance, refuse to renew, cancel, restrict or otherwise terminate a policy of life insurance, or make any distinction or discrimination between persons as to the premiums or rates charged for policies of life insurance, on the basis of any past or future lawful travel destination of the applicant or insured, except that such company may deny such application or charge a different premium or rate for coverage under such policy based on a specific lawful travel destination where the denial or rate differential is based on sound actuarial principles or is related to actual or reasonably anticipated experience.



Proposed bill would fight insurance discrimination based on travel to Israel

By Stacey Dresner  - CT Jewish Ledger

Last year, Stephen Barshay of West Hartford attempted to secure a new life insurance policy in hopes of reducing the premiums of two of his existing life insurance policies.

Barshay, 54, the married father of four, underwent a physical and was determined to be in good health.

In his insurance application, Barshay, a Fellow Scientist with Westinghouse Electric Co., was asked if he had plans to travel outside the U.S. in the next 12 months, and he replied that he and his family were thinking about going to Israel for two weeks this summer.

After weeks of review, Barshay received a letter from his insurance company in January that said that they could not offer him the insurance due to his "planned foreign travel."

Barshay was one of several members of the Connecticut Jewish community who testified last week before the Connecticut General Assembly in support of Bill No. 259, "An Act Prohibiting Discrimination in Life Insurance Based on Lawful Travel Destinations."

If passed, the bill would make sure that insurance companies doing business in Connecticut would not be able to "refuse to renew, cancel, restrict, or otherwise terminate a policy of life insurance, or make any distinction or discrimination between persons as to the premiums or rates...on the basis of any past or future lawful travel destination ..."

Also giving testimony in support of this bill were representatives of the Anti-Defamation League's Connecticut Regional office, and president of the Connecticut Chapter of Pakistani American Public Affairs Committee, some of whose members have been denied life insurance due to travel to that country.

The U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning for 12 countries, including Israel and Pakistan. But David Waren, Regional Director of the ADL, said that life insurance companies should not be discriminating against people based on their future travel plans.

"We have heard from people from all over Connecticut whose applications for life insurance have been denied simply because of past or future travel to Israel, without any evidence of increased risk," said David Waren. "This practice impacts everyone from tourists and business leaders, to students studying abroad."

Subhead: Denied benefits

Stephen Barshay was dismayed enough after his experience with his life insurance company that he testified before the General Assembly last week.

"After recovering from my shock, [at being denied] I called the underwriter to ask if there was any room for negotiation," said Barshay during his testimony. "The underwriter replied that if I would amend my application with a statement that I would not travel outside the U.S. in the next 12 months, the application could be approved."

Barshay is not the only Connecticut resident to be denied life insurance coverage because of travel to Israel - several members of the Jewish community, as well as individuals seeking to travel to countries like Pakistan are also being denied.

Audrey Lichter of West Hartford, executive director of Yachad, the Greater Hartford Jewish Community High School, also testified before the state senate.

When her husband Arlen, a physician, purchased new life insurance policies two years ago, he was told that if he died in certain countries - including Israel and even of natural causes - that he would be ineligible for death benefits. He had also had to cancel other previous life insurance policies as a condition of his new coverage.

The travel condition "was not only shocking to us but was also considerably disruptive since my husband had plans to visit our daughter who was studying in Israel at the time," Audrey Lichter said in her testimony. "Due to the restrictions on the life insurance policy, he was forced to meet her in France instead of Israel... This extra trip added considerable expense for our family, since it meant flying our daughter to Paris, acquiring two hotel rooms, and all that goes into a visit overseas."

Waren said that the bill would insure that insurance companies decide whether to cover individuals based on sound actuarial principles.

According to an ADL fact sheet, research has shown that travel to Israel is "four times safer than living in the U.S."

"The Connecticut bill allows insurance companies to do what they do best, assess risk based on bona fide statistical data," Waren said. "The practice of denying coverage with no backing up the decision is wrong."

As for Barshay, he and his family are still hoping to make it to Israel sometime in the future. But the effects of his denied insurance coverage could potentially affect his job with Westinghouse Electric Co. in Windsor, since his work includes assignments at secure installations requiring background checks.

"My family and I are still considering our travel plans, with the additional cost of my current life insurance now figured into the travel budget," Barshay said. "I also realize that, on any future insurance application, and on my work-related background checks, I may have to explain why I was turned down for life insurance in 2006."

Comments? Email




From the Alban Institute (a think tank for congregations):

Discovering Your Core




by Fredric M. Roberts


Before a church commits itself to a major program for change, it needs to know what it’s changing. History counts! Visioning the future, a popular exercise in many congregations, is important. There is a great deal of truth in the oft-repeated stricture from a well-known church consultant: “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” But such a focus on change, on the future, can lead to a dangerous neglect of a more basic principle: If you don’t know who you are, you can’t know what you can become.

Many faces become familiar at Sunday worship. But there are a smaller number of people with whom we became much better acquainted. These are the folks most likely to be at committee and circle meetings, Bible studies, prayer breakfasts, and potlucks. These are also the people who give the unique flavor or tone to each church. These are the people that prospective members are most likely to meet. And when peripheral members find themselves becoming interested in heavier involvement, these are the people to whom they are most likely to turn. They are also those with whom the pastoral staff spends most of its time.


Knowing something about these people remains pivotal for understanding how your church responds to those proposals for change that comprise a significant part of mainline Protestant church life.


Click here to continue reading “Discovering Your Core.”













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 acceptedRebecca 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


From E-Masorti

The Conservative Movement in Israel
e-masorti is produced by the Development Department of the Masorti Movement in Israel.
Web:    E-mail:

Spring is Here- a Dvar Torah

In Shmot 13:4 it says: "You go free on this day, in the month of Aviv."  Rashi, on this verse, poses the following question:  Why do we need to know that it is Spring?  In other words, what does it add to the story?  Wouldn't we know anyway, just by reading in which month they went out?  The answer, he explains, is:  It shows how God cares for us.  God took us out of Egypt not in the heat of the summer, and not in cold of winter or in the rainy season; rather, God took us out in perfect weather.  I would add that God planned the exodus in good weather so that we couldn't use it as an excuse to hit the "restart" button and not leave Egypt.  God had seen all the "bugs" and viruses that had taken hold of the Israelites over the centuries and didn't want to give them any excuse for not leaving.  

And there is a lesson in that for us as well.  In the very statement, "You go free on this day, in the month of Aviv," there is a command to look at life with a sense of renewed wonderment; as they say in Latin, "Primavera," a new beginning.  There are no excuses to tie us down to the mistakes of the past year.   It is our chance to hit restart and be rid of all the "bugs" and viruses we have collected over the year.  In the Spring we cannot use the excuse of the season being too hot or too cold as we head down a new path in life.

Rabbi Ari Burzstein
Kehillat Moriah, Haifa & Chairperson, Masorti Movement Education Committee







Eight Possible Ways in Which Prayer May “Work”


Compiled by Rabbi Amy Eilberg -- (borrowed from Acts of Lovingkindness:  A Training Manual for Bikkur Holim by Rabbi Nancy Flam, Janet Offel, and Rabbi Amy Eilberg, a resource compiled by the National Center for Jewish Healing)


A.  Prayer may “work” in that one may have asked God for something which indeed came about.


B.  Prayer may “work” by invoking a greater sense of God’s presence.


C.  Prayer may “work” by way of distraction, momentarily pulling the one who is ill out of his or her pain and suffering into a place of beauty or transcendence.


D.  Prayer may “work” by way of focusing more deeply on the pain or discomfort in the suffering person’s life; in this way, prayer can be deeply grounding and clarifying.


(These last two examples may be compared to different techniques in childbirth preparation:  one technique, Lamaze, uses distraction, while the Bradley method helps women to enter the pain more deeply and wholly.)


E.  Prayer may “work” by quieting or centering the self.


F.  Prayer may “work” by significantly connecting the one praying or being prayed for with Jewish community and tradition.


G.  Prayer may “work” by helping the one praying or being prayed for to connect to a deep level of the self which is already healed and whole, reminding the person of his or her essential wholeness.  Music, for instance, often has the capacity to put us in touch with that deep place of essential wholeness.


H.  Prayer may “work” in focusing the pray-er on the blessings in his or her life, enabling him or her to magnify his or her sense of gratitude.




Required Reading and Action Items


Hamas in Power – an update from the Israeli consulate


First 'Jericho Effect' poll: Kadima at 43 seats, Likud shows gains


Walls of Jericho - Editorial
When Israel broke into the PA prison at Jericho and seized the Palestinian Arab terrorists who killed tourism minister Rehavam ZeeviJerusalem sent an important signal at a time when the new Hamas government is going to be testing the West at every turnIt says that Israel is not going to forget, is not going to be trifled with, and is going to see that justice is done.
    It was an aberration of justice in the first place that the terrorists were being held in a PA prison. These terrorists had escaped Israeli justice as part of a 2002 agreement that allowed the terrorists, then being shielded by Arafat in his Ramallah compound, to be transferred to the prison rather than face Israeli justice. The terrorists had virtual freedom within the jail compound, with the jail only really serving to protect them from Israeli troops. (New York Sun)


Palestinian Anarchy - Editorial
Do Palestinians want to make themselves pariahsTheir Jan. 25 election of a Hamas government devoted to Israel's destruction shocked even long-time friends. Now Palestinian mobs have vented their rage at Israel by seizing foreigners, including a Canadian, shooting up American and EU missions, and forcing diplomats and aid workers to flee for their lives. This is madness.
    How can aid be delivered if donors are treated like targets? During moments of crisis, Palestinians must learn to distinguish their friends from their foes. (Toronto Star)


Human Rights Botch - Editorial
The UN is set to finally abolish its sorry excuse for a human-rights body - the Human Rights Commission - whose members have included such paragons of political virtue as CubaLibya, and SudanBut the replacement - a "Human Rights Council" - is no improvement. In fact, it's worse. The new provisions are designed to look like reform, but they'll only tighten the control of the body by Third World human-rights violators. The "reform" plan skews the council's membership against Western nations and in favor of the Third World despots. Indeed, America itself would surely become a major target of the council.
    America's outspoken UN ambassador, John Bolton, makes no bones about Washington's position on this absurd notion of reform: "We're not going to put lipstick on a caterpillar and call it a butterfly." (New York Post)


The Mullah-Hamas Axis - Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen
"We are continuing in Khomeini's path," Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal declared on March 1, 2006, while in Iran, emphasizing that Hamas is the spiritual offspring of the Ayatollah KhomeiniOn March 2, Ramallah residents were surprised to find pamphlets widely distributed, declaring the establishment of the first "Shiite Islamic Supreme Council" in Palestine, to act as Iran's Palestinian arm as "the cornerstone of the global Islamic plan to establish the Caliphate, with holy Jerusalem as its capital." Islamic Jihad terrorist Muhamad Gawanmeh, who heads the new council, said, "We are part of the Iranian Islamic project in the Middle East." (FrontPageMagazine)


Dutch Get Tougher on Terror - Lorenzo Vidino
On Friday a court in Amsterdam convicted nine of the 14 alleged terrorists in the so-called "Hofstad group," the terrorist cell that planned various attacks throughout the Netherlands between 2003 and 2005A key member of the group, Mohammed Bouyeri, had ritualistically killed Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in November 2004.
    Voices throughout the political spectrum have found an unprecedented determination and pride in reaffirming basic Dutch values of tolerance and democracy. "We were tolerant to the intolerants and we only got intolerance back," said Dutch politician Geert Wilders. The fact that major cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam will be Muslim-majority within a decade only adds urgency to the issue. (Washington Times)




Information on events in

From the Israeli Consulate

In light of this week’s events in Jericho, about which you can read by clicking on the links below, we would like to bring to your attention information on the six prisoners (five of whom were involved in the assassination of Minister Rehavam Ze'evi), whose imminent release by the P.A. served as the impetus for today's' IDF operation.

IDF , Haaretz , Jerusalem Post , YNET , MFA

Background Information on Senior Prisoners in Jericho
In January-February 2002, in the wake of the assassination of Minister Rehavam Ze’evi, the Palestinian Authority arrested five members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and placed them in custody at the Mukat’a in Ramallah. In May 2002, under the context of an international agreement, the five were transferred to the P.A. prison in Jericho, where they were imprisoned under American and British supervision. The five arrested in 2002 consist of two of the leaders of the PFLP: Ahmed Sa’adat, Director of the PFLP, and Ahed Ghoulmi, Commander of the ‘Legion of Abu Ali Mustafa’, the military wing of the PFLP in the West Bank; and the three members who were involved in the assassination of Rehavam Ze’eviMajdi Rimawi, Basel al Amar, and Hamdi Qur’an. 2002 also saw the arrest of Fuad Shobaki, who was responsible for large scale weapons smuggling into the P.A., including the smuggling of the ‘Karin A’; Shobaki was imprisoned in Jericho together with the members of the PFLP under the terms of the same international agreement.
During the length of their incarceration in Jericho, Ahmed Sa’adat and Ahed Ghoulmi continued to conduct and direct the PFLP from within the prison walls. Their location in prison became a site of pilgrimage for members of the PFLP and others identifying with the two. These visits provided an opportunity to recruit individuals to the organization, carry out ideological indoctrination, and give out orders for activity in the field.

Ahmed Sa’adat Yousef A-Rasul
Served as Director of the PFLP during the assassination of Minister Ze’evi
Originally from Al Birah, born 1953. Sa’adat was arrested six times from 1976 until the end of 1993, and beginning 1994 became ‘wanted’ because of militant activity.
In December 1996, Sa’adat dispatched a terrorist cell made up of Ramallah-based PFLP members that fired from their moving car at another car containing an Israeli family, in the Ramallah area. The results of the attack were the deaths of a mother and son, with three more children injured.
Sa’adat served as the commander of the military wing of the PFLP until the death of PFLP Director Abu Ali Mustafa on August 27, 2001. At that point, Sa’adat became the Director.
In his position overseeing military operations and terrorist attacks, members of the PFLP carried out the following major terrorist attacks:
1. February 2001 – Placing a car bomb in the Meah She’arim neighborhood of Jerusalem, 10 Israelis injured.
2. April 2001 – Placing a car bomb in an industrial zone in Or Yehuda. 8 Israelis injured.
3. May 2001 – Placing a car bomb in central Jerusalem in the Russian Compound neighborhood. 5 Israelis injured.
4. June 2001 – Bomb attack in the industrial zone in Atarot.
5. July 2001 – Placing 2 car bombs in Yehud. 6 Israelis injured.
6. July 2001 – Placing a bomb inside a watermelon, on a bus headed for the Malha mall in Jerusalem.
After being selected as Director of the PFLP, Sa’adat continued to emphasize his and the PFLP’s commitment to continue carrying out terrorist attacks, without any regard or attention paid to agreements between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. On October 17, 2001, the organization carried out the assassination of Minister Rehavam Ze’evi in the Hyatt Hotel in Jerusalem.
In the last elections of January 25, 2006, Sa’adat was elected a member of the Palestinian parliament, on the slate of the PFLP. Since the elections, Sa’adat and other top officials of the PFLP have been negotiating intensively with Hamas regarding joining the Hamas government. The disputes between Hamas and the PFLP are based in a different approach to the Palestinian ‘street’, but the two sides are of the same mind regarding their relations with the State of Israel and the continuation of the armed struggle.

Ahed Yousef Musa Ghoulmi
Chief Planner of the assassination of Minister Ze’evi
Born in 1968, originally from Ramallah, a veteran of the PFLP, who was before his arrest wanted because of his militant record, in which context he recruited and trained members to carry out terrorist attacks. Starting in October 2000, Ghoulmi served as a senior commander in the military wing of the PFLP, responsible for briefing and directing cells that carried out attacks in RamallahShechem, and Jerusalem.
Since January 2001, Ghoulmi was directly responsible for a number of bombing attacks, including those in Yehud and Jerusalem, mentioned above.
Since the death of Abu Ali Mustafa, Ghoulmi has served as the head of the military branch of the PFLP, replacing Ahmed Sa’adat. He served as a chief planner in the assassination of Minister Rehavam Ze’evi, and after the assassination fled to Shechem, from where he took part in the planning of the suicide bombing of a pizzeria in the industrial zone of Karnei Shomron, in which a boy and girl were killed and 30 others injured.
Ghoulmi is also directly connected to a number of other terrorist attacks carried out by members of the PFLP, including:
1. October 1993 – the murder of two Israeli hikers in Wadi Kelt.
2. March 1993 – the murder of an Israeli in Jerusalem.

Majdi Hazin Yousef Rahima/Rimawi

Commander of the terrorist cell that assassinated Minister Ze’evi
Born 1965, originally from Ramallah, a senior member of the PFLP. During 2001 he worked alongside Ahed Ghoulmi, and was involved in sending a number of car bombs to Jerusalem and YehudMajdi sent those who carried out the attack in Yehud, and armed them with the bombs which they then placed in cars in Yehud. As was said, 6 Israelis were injured in the attack.
Majdi served as the direct commander who recruited, activated, and sent the cell that assassinated Minister Rehavam Ze’evi.

Hamdi Qur’an

One of the assassins of Minister Ze’evi
Born 1974, originally from Al Bireh/Ramallah, recruited to the PFLP at the beginning of October 2000 by Majdi Rimawi, who taught him to carry out terrorist attacks in Israel. In July 2001 he received bombs from Majdi, which he then placed in a parked car in Yehud, causing the injury of 6 civilians.
On October 17th 2001, at the order of Majdi Rimawi and Ahed Ghoulmi, he and Basel Al Amar departed for the Hyatt Hotel in Jerusalem, and set an ambush for Minister Ze’evi at the entrance to his hotel room. Qur’an was the one who pulled the trigger and shot the Minister three times.

Basel A-Rahman Ahmad Al Amar

Member of the cell that assassinated Minister Ze’evi
Born 1976, originally from Beit Rima, a member of the PFLP for several years. Amar acted as the guard and alert at the entrance to the stairwell of the hotel at the time when Qur’an shot Minister Ze’evi, as the minister entered his room.

Fuad hajdi Mahmud Shobaki

Involved in the attempted smuggling of weapons into the Palestinian Authority on the ship ‘Karin A’.
Born 1942, originally from the Gaza Strip. Until September 2001 held VIP identification since his formal position was as the one responsible for the financial matters of P.A. general security forces.
In the context of his position, he was directly responsible for and involved in the activation and funding of cells to carry out terrorist attacks, purchase weapons and ammunition – including weapons from different countries – and smuggling those into autonomous regions of the P.A. Among his other activities, he was involved in the attempted smuggling of weapons on the ‘Karin A’ ship. Shobaki was imprisoned in the Jericho prison along with the PFLP members, under the same agreement of international surveillance.



MYTH #212

"Saudi Arabia has ended its boycott of Israel."


In late 2005, Saudi Arabia was required to cease its boycott of Israel as a condition of joining the World Trade Organization (WTO). After initially saying that it would do so, the government subsequently announced it would maintain its first-degree boycott of Israeli products. The government said it agreed to lift the second and third degree boycott in accordance with an earlier Gulf Cooperation Council decision decision rather than the demands of the WTO (Trade Information Center, International Trade Administration; Arab News, December 31, 2005).

Saudi Arabia continues, however, to prohibit entry to products made in Israel or to foreign-made goods containing Israeli components and plans to host a major international conference aimed at promoting the boycott. Liaison officers from regional offices responsible for coordinating the boycott are to meet in Jidda from March 13 to 15, 2006. The Organization for the Islamic Conference’s (OIC) Islamic Office for the Boycott of Israel is based in Jidda and the head of the office is a former Saudi diplomat (Washington Times, March 9, 2006; Jerusalem Post, March 7, 2006).

In hearings in February 2006 before the Senate Finance Committee, U.S. trade representative Rob Portman insisted that the Saudis “have a responsibility to treat Israel as any other member of the WTO” and added that the U.S. had received assurance “they will abide by their WTO commitments” (Jerusalem Post, March 7, 2006).

This article can be found at

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






Adult Ed this Sunday


9:00 “Judaism for Everyone”

Topic: Jewish Values – Business and Medical Ethics



10:00 Pirke Avot, with Rabbi Kalev



11:00 (New class): Psalms and Visions: Exploring the Poetry of our People

A close look at some of the psalms in comparison to some of the great visionary works of other eras

This class will meet twice, on March 19 and 26






First Ever! Sisterhood Cookbook


Available in September 2006


Delicious Recipes! Kosher! Family Favorites!


Please help to defray the costs

\be a sponsor, place an ad, order your copies now ($18 each).


**Proceeds to fund kitchen renovation and other TBE capital improvements**


**Call Beth Silver 967-8852 for information**








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





Thanks to Claudia Lubin-Esposito for forwarding this one


A Jewish man buys a home in Beverly HillsCalifornia. He brings in a local workman to decorate the place. When the job is finished, the homeowner is delighted but realizes that he's forgotten to put mezuzahs on the doors.


goes out and buys 50 mezuzahs and asks the decorator to place them on the right hand side of each door except bathrooms and kitchens. He's really worried that the decorator will chip the paint work or won't put them up correctly. However, when he comes back a few hours later, he sees that the job has been carried out to his entire satisfaction. He's so pleased that he gives the decorator a bonus.


As the decorator is walking out of the door he says, "Glad you're happy with the job....


 "By the way, I took out all the warranties in the little boxes and left them on the table for you."



And for all you grammar buffs, this from Diane Gold, via and (also




1.       Avoid run-on sentences they are hard to read.

2.       Don't use no double negatives.

3.       Use the semicolon properly, always use it where it is appropriate; and never where it isn't.

4.       Reserve the apostrophe for it's proper use and omit it when its not needed.

5.       Do not put statements in the negative form.

6.       Verbs has to agree with their subjects.

7.       No sentence fragments.

8.       Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

9.       If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.

10.   Steer clear of incorrect verb forms that have snuck into the language.

11.   Take the bull by the hand in leading away from mixed metaphors.

1.       Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.

o        Like, be aware that "like" is, like, easily misused.

2.       Try to never split infinitives.

3.       Never, ever use repetitive redundancies.

4.       Everyone should be careful to use a singular pronoun with singular nouns in their writing.

Bad Headlines: Double Meanings From Around The World

  • Governor Swears in Legislature
  • March Planned For Next August
  • Blind Bishop Appointed To See
  • Lingerie Shipment Hijacked--Thief Gives Police The Slip
  • L.A. Voters Approve Urban Renewal By Landslide
  • Patient At Death's Door--Doctors Pull Him Through
  • Latin Course To Be Canceled--No Interest Among Students, Et Al.
  • Diaper Market Bottoms Out
  • Croupiers On Strike--Management: "No Big Deal"
  • Stadium Air Conditioning Fails--Fans Protest
  • Queen Mary Having Bottom Scraped
  • Henshaw Offers Rare Opportunity to Goose Hunters
  • Connie Tied, Nude Policeman Testifies
  • Women's Movement Called More Broad-Based
  • Antique Stripper to Display Wares at Store
  • Prostitutes Appeal to Pope
  • Split Rears in Farmers Movement
  • Child's Stool Great for Use in Garden
  • Idaho Group Organizes to Help Service Widows
  • Columnist Gets Urologist in Trouble With His Peers
  • Soviet Virgin Lands Short of Goal Again
  • Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
  • Lawyers Give Poor Free Legal Advice
  • Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
  • Fund Set Up for Beating Victim's Kin
  • Killer Sentenced to Die for Second Time in 10 Years
  • Never Withhold Herpes Infection From Loved One
  • Cancer Society Honors Marlboro Man
  • Nicaragua Sets Goal to Wipe Out Literacy
  • Autos Killing 110 a Day--Let's Resolve to Do Better
  • 20-Year Friendship Ends at Altar
  • War Dims Hope For Peace
  • If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last A While
  • Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures



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