Saturday, May 27, 2006

May 27-June 1, 2006 – Iyar 29-Sivan 7, 5766





May 27-June 1, 2006 – Iyar 29-Sivan 7, 5766



Happy Jerusalem Day, Memorial Day

 and Shavuot


To start the presentation – click here



Thursday, June 1, 2006 - Erev Shavuot




Spirituality, Religion, Ethnicity and Identity:

Does one have to be “religious” to be Jewish?


with Temple Sholom of Greenwich and

Fellowship for Jewish Learning


8:00 p.m. beginning with Ma’ariv, led by Cantor Littman

Followed by dessert and then an evening of learning with Rabbi Joshua Hammerman,

Rabbi Mitch Hurvitz and Rabbi Phil Schechter


Delicious desserts will be served!


Friday, June 2, 2006 - Shavuot, First Day


Services 9:30 a.m.

Jr. Congregation 10:30 a.m.


At the end of services we will unroll a Torah so that,

once again, all ages can receive the Torah at Sinai.


Kabbalat Shabbat 6:30 p.m.

Tot Shabbat 6:45 p.m.



Shabbat Shavuot, June 3, 2006 - Shavuot, Second Day


Services 9:30 a.m.




Steffi & Larry Bloch and Marlene & Don Adelman

Luncheon to follow



We will also honor Bert Madwed

for years of dedicated service to our Jr. Congregation

and sending off Kulanu students headed to Israel



Rabbi Joshua HammermanTemple 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.”



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



Quote for the Week


"Of the 10 measures of beauty that God hath bestowed upon the world,

nine of these fall to the lot of Jerusalem."


-The Talmud




Friday Evening 

Candle lighting: 7:56pm on Friday,- Havdalah is at 8:55 pm  on Saturday eveningFor 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 – OUTDOORS (Weather permitting) – a decision will be made by midday on Friday.  Right now the forecast is extremely “iffy” for tonight.  If it can’t be outdoors, the service will be in the sanctuary.


Tot Shabbat – 6:45 PM, in the chapel


For those who can’t get enough of Tot Shabbat, Nurit conducts Tot Shabbat Morning at 10:30 am every Saturday morning.  All are welcome to attend.


Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM – Mazal tov to Michelle Greenman who will become Bat Mitzvah this Shabbat morning.


Children’s services: 10:30

Torah PortionBamidbar - Numbers 1:1 - 4:20

1: 2:1-9
2: 2:10-16
3: 2:17-24
4: 2:25-31
5: 2:32-34
6: 3:1-4
7: 3:5-13

Haftarah Shabbat Machar Chodesh (special for day before the new month) I Samuel 20:18 - 20:42


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:


Sunday Morning – Rosh Hodesh Sivan: 9:30 in the chapel (regular minyan) and 10:00 in the sanctuary.  Mazal tov to Rebecca Poser, who becomes Bat Mitzvah this Sunday morning at the 10:00 service.


Monday Morning – Memorial Day: Minyan at 9:00 AM


Thursday evening (June 1): Shavuot services at 8:00 PM, followed by Tikkun Layl Shavuot learning session (see below)


Friday morning (June 2): Shavuot services at 9:30 AM, featuring the reading of the Ten Commandments.  Children’s services with Nurit at 10:30.  At the conclusion of both services, we’ll gather in the sanctuary to unroll a Torah, enabling everyone to “receive” the Torah personally.


Friday evening: Shabbat and Shavuot services at 6:30, OUTDOORS, weather permitting. 


Tot Shabbat at 6:45 PM in the lobby.


Shabbat and Shavuot 2nd Day: Services at 9:30, including Book of Ruth, Yizkor, Elders Day (see elsewhere for details) followed by a pizza and blintz lunch!  Children’s services at 10:30.  We’ll be honoring the Adelmans and Blochs and thanking Bert Madwed for his years of service (and services).




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

This Monday – Memorial Day – minyan begins at 9:00 AM



We’ve had several people coming lately who are saying kaddish following recent deaths in the family.  We want to make sure we have a minyan each dayYour presence any morning is greatly appreciated!




The Rabid Rabbi




The Da Vinci Code


Some have been asking me what I spoke about in my discussion of the Da Vinci Code last Shabbat.  Essentially, I responded to the age-old question, “Is it good for the Jews,” and I came out on glass-half full side.  My comments were directed to the book more than the movie and are reflections on the themes and content, rather than a critique of the acting and directing (love ya Ron Howard!).  I will not jump on the bandwagon of piling yet more abuse on Audrey Tautou’s accent and Tom Hanks’ hair.  There are too many other valid issues to discuss.


Some negative factors include:

n                         The book is based on a canard regarding the “Priory of Sion” that originated in the head of a noted 20th century French anti-Semite, Pierre Plantard (see

n                         While the conspiracy theory that unfolds in the novel is far more threatening to the Church than to Judaism, any conspiracy theory attacking the integrity of one religious system is, indirectly, an attack on all religious institutions.

n                         Because of the nature of this conspiracy theory, and because of its references to “Zion,” (Sion), a connection can be drawn to that other best selling conspiratorial forgery, “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” which has been the cause of so much Jewish suffering to this day.  Plantard could himself have drawn that connection.

n                         Religion and secret societies are never a good mix….



n                           Or are they???   Jewish folklore has a wonderful notion of a “secret society.”  According to the folktale, in each generation there are 36 people so good and so righteous that it is for their sake that the entire world survives.  If even one of them is missing, the world would come to an end.  The two Hebrew letters for 36 are the lamed, which is 30, and the vav, which is six.  Therefore, these 36 are referred to as the Lamed-Vav Tzadikim.  This most unusual Jewish concept is based on a Talmudic statement to the effect that in every generation 36 righteous "greet the Shechinah," (the Divine Presence) (Sanhedrin 97b; Sukkah 45b). 

n                           The Shechinah, God’s feminine, nurturing and saving presence, plays a role in the Da Vinci Codes, for above all, the book’s main thrust is not to attack religion per se, but to attack and discredit patriarchal domination of religious institutions over the past two millennia.  Judaism has also seen recent efforts to restore the feminine to its proper place in religious sensibility – and even to the notion of divinity itself.  That is a major point behind the current resurgence of interest in Kabbalah, which does precisely that, portraying God not as exclusively male, but as a balance of male and female qualities.

n                           The Shechinah is mentioned in the book, along with other Kabbalistic concepts such as Gematria (numerology), anagrams and the Sephirot  (the emanations of God, male and female, of which the Shechinah is one).  Regarding numerology, 36 (Lamed Vav) is also considered a lucky number in that it corresponds to “double chai ,” 2 X 18  (hence all those $36 donation checks).  The Hebrew letters of the word “chai,” (“life”) add up to 18.

n                         Rabbi Isaac Meir Alter of Ger, wrote that each Jew is placed on this earth to repair one thing that no one else can fix.  At each hour there is a special thing that can be repaired only then, which would not be possible to mend at any other time.  We just have to figure what it is that we’re supposed to mend.  Since we can’t possibly know, we have to try to make every choice the right one, and since we have no way of knowing when our particular time has come, we just can’t afford to waste a moment.  The notion that every human being is a potential “messiah” is far more democratic than having an actual messianic lineage.  Anyone – everyone – can save the world.  Jews see every person as a potential messiah – and every “messiah” as a fully actualized person, but still a human being in every respect; all human beings are created in the divine image, all are children of God.


The Da Vinci Code enables us to more fully appreciate our Jewish values in comparison/contrast to the fictitious world offered up in the novel, a world where institutional religion reeks of conspiracies, corruption, masochism, secrecy, murder and the lust for power.  It is also a world that restores the long lost sanctity of the feminine and discovers the divine in humanity (the human being is the holiest of holy grails) – that is where religion and spirituality truly become one.


Why is this book so mega-popular?  Because, unfortunately, the book’s cynicism validates the feeling all too many people have about all institutionalized religion.  And it is popular also because, fortunately, so many crave the idealized faith presented here, a world where religion and corruption aren’t seen as synonymous, but where the God of true wisdom (hence the name “Sophie”) and love prevails.


And if that were to happen, that would most certainly be good for the Jews!


BTW, the topic of “spirituality vs. religion” will be discussed in detail at our Shavuot Eve program this Thursday night!



Memorial Day, Immigration Reform and Emma Lazarus


In honor of Memorial Day and keeping in mind the current debate over immigration reform, i reprint here the famous poem, “The New Colossus,” by Emma Lazarus.  Her poem, engraved on a tablet within the pedestal on which the Statue of Liberty stands (, reminds American Jews (and most Americans) that we are all the children of refugees.  Many of our ancestors had no choice but to seek our these shores.  Others were turned away, with tragic consequences.  Emma herself was not an immigrant ( and she struggled openly with her Jewish identity while fighting the anti-Semitism of the time.  The entry about her in the Jewish Virtual Library concludes, regarding “The New Colossus,” “Her best-known contribution to mainstream American literature and culture, the poem has contributed to the belief that America means opportunity and freedom for Jews, as well as for other "huddled masses.Through this celebration of the "other," Lazarus conveyed her deepest loyalty to the best of both America and Judaism.”



The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of ExilesFrom her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips"Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"







Shabbat Re-imagined



Save the date for our Grand Opening:

Oct 27-28

For more information, go to

If you are interested in participating in our steering committee or would like an info packet, contact me at


Here’s how one Synaplex rabbi describes it:


Making Shabbat "Fit"
-An Introduction to SYNAPLEX™
by Rabbi Fred Greene

If there is one thing I have learned, it is that one size does not fit allAnything that I have ever purchased claiming to be "one size fits all" is a fraud; or more to the point, it does not satisfactorily meet my needsI am forced to use a product or participate in an experience that does not meet my needs or address my concerns.

So, why should we expect that synagogues will be successful where so many were not?

Congregation B'nai Israel is one of those places that strives to meet people where they are at -- working hard to be a congregation that offers meaningful connections for its seniors and for families with young children, for singles of all ages and young adults. It tries to address our needs as individuals looking for community through prayer, learning and exploring life together.


To help us along this part of our congregational journey, I am delighted to let you know that Congregation B'nai Israel is one of thirteen synagogues in the United States that has received a grant from STAR (Synagogues: Transformation and Renewal) to participate in its Synaplex™ Initiative.

Synaplex™ seeks to enable Jewish individuals and families to celebrate Jewish life through a menu of innovative options in the realms of prayer, study and social and cultural programs during Shabbat in the synagogue.

If Shabbat is the Jewish "prime time," then we are going to begin to offer a wider variety of opportunities to connect to Shabbat and others in our diverse, thoughtful Jewish community.

STAR will help strengthen what we already do well - expand our programming to respond to congregants' spiritual journeys, intellectual interests and desire for communitySTAR will do so by helping us learn more about marketing, planning, assessment and governance-the key ingredients for any nonprofit organization's success.

Over the next several months, watch for information about Synaplex™ Shabbat Experiences and we hope you come down and check it out!


If Shabbat is the Jewish "prime time," then we are going to begin to offer a wider variety of opportunities to connect to Shabbat and others in our diverse, thoughtful Jewish community.


Find out more about our plans for Synaplex at a public forum on Tues. June 13 at 7:30.

We will be looking for lots of volunteers to own a little piece of this big project…

Let’s bring lots of positive energy to TBE!







Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunties


Beth El Cares
Cathy Satz (968-9191;
Cheryl Wolff (968-6361;
BETH EL CARES co-chairs
Person to Person located in Darien, Connecticut 
is an organization that collects new or worn items such as
clothing for babies, kids and adults.  
They are looking for donations for only Spring and Summer items.  
Needy families in emergency situations will go to Person to Person for assistance. 
Person to Person services the Stamford, Norwalk and Darien areas.
You may donate clothing, food (canned items) and only brand new unopened toys.
We will be bringing a large donation of items on the first of every month. 
Please help me with any donations that you would like to make.  
I would greatly appreciate it.  
I am hoping you can help me with this for my Mitzvah Project because it is
important for us to help others who may need it.
This is how you can help:  
Please bring your donation to my house, 116 Wedgemere Road, 
or e-mail to make arrangements for us to pick it up.  
We will do this during June, July and August.
Thank you so much for helping the needy.  Eric Cooper 968-9591


TBE Job Search Strategy Group: JUNE- JULY 2006



Sudden or involuntary unemployment  is difficult under any circumstances and the ensuing job search is always a challenging process: confusing, unpredictable and demoralizingEven more so, if you are doing it alone -- Research shows that job seekers, as well as career changers who meet regularly with others in a similar position succeed quicker in finding a new job, than those who don’t. 


Donna Sweidan, a career coach and counselor in Stamford and TBE member, will facilitate a 6-week program that will both educate an engage youEach 90-minute session will consist of two partsThe first half she will introduce a crucial step in the job search process according to the Five O’clock Club methodThe second 45 minutes will allow the job hunters to discuss and get feedback and advice on their own searches, listen and learn from others, and build their professional networks.


Donna has facilitated numerous “Job Search Strategy groups” in her work as a career counselorBefore starting her own business, Careerfolk, she was the Founding Director of Career Services at The New School in New YorkHer clients have ranged from 17 to 71 years of age and their interests have varied just as much.


She is graciously offering this valuable seminar to her TBE family free of charge.  No advance registration is required, but it would be helpful to know who is coming (and whether that time works for those who need these sessions).  To discuss this or for more information, contact Donna directly at 





Sunday, June 4, 2006

The Bennett Cancer Center Walk and Run


The Walk/Run will be on June 4, 2006 in the morning at Shippan.  Each year TBE members walk together to raise money for cancer patients and their families.  In 2005, we had 51 walkers and our team raised over $5,200!!  This year our goal is to raise $6,000. 


We welcome all new and past walkers to come together to form the Sisterhood’s TBE Walk Team.  We always have a great time for a good cause.  You can walk at your own pace and you will have other TBE members to walk with!  The course is either 3 or 5 miles (your choice).


See the special TBE Walk and Run webpage at  You can pre-register there as well as read a message from Beth Silver – she can also be reached at 967-8852,


Looking forward to having YOU on the team!    









What is Shavuot?

Here’s some good Shavuot material from the JTS Website…

What is a JewShavuot

 In "What is a JewShavuot," Rabbi Ismar Schorsch and Larry Josephson discuss Shavuot.

Shavuot Together

 Shavuot Together is an interactive guide to the holidayStudy Torah with usWe also have a kids and parents page translated into Spanish.

Commentaries on Shavuot

 Previous year essays by Chancellor Schorsch5754575957605762, and 5763.
Previous year essays by The Rabbinic Fellows: 5762, and 5763.
We also have a special commentary on Yizkor.

And the Two Went On

 In "'And the two went on': Ruth as Daughter, Wife and Friend," Dr. Eliezer Diamond discusses his love affair with Ruth.

Guide to Jewish Religious

Learn the who's, what's, where's, when's, and why's for Shavuot.

Thou Shalt Eat Blintzes

 In "Thou Shalt Eat Blintzes," Johanna Ginsberg discusses the traditional Shavuot menu and its meaning.

Rededicating Ourselves to Battling Jewish Illiteracy

 In "Shavuot: Rededicating Ourselves to Battling Jewish Illiteracy," Chancellor Ismar Schorsch issues a call to action to reinvigorate Jewish knowledge of Hebrew.

Shavuot Desserts

 If your tastes run towards Torah and treats, grab a tanakh and an apron, and prepare our Bible CakeOr, Nora K's Cheesecake is a delicious recipe for a traditional Shavuot dessert.

All-Night Learning

 In All-Night Learning for Shavuot: You Can Do It!, Esther Kustanowitz gives some advice on how to stay awake through your tikkun leil Shavuot.

Holiday Coloring Book

 Color in the page for ShavuotOur Holiday Coloring Book shows everyone enjoying and celebrating Shavuot.

Shavuot Guide

The Shavuot Guide is a multi-faceted way to learn about Shavuot with the whole family, created by JTS graduate Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner.

First Fruits

 In "First Fruits," Rabbi Allan Kensky discusses the meaning of Shavuot and its connection to Passover.


…And From…(



Overview: Shavuot Themes & Theology

The festival of Shavuot transformed from a purely agricultural into a historical and religious holiday. Originally mentioned in the Torah as a harvest festival, over time it took on new meanings so that now--like the other pilgrimage festivals--Shavuot has an agricultural, a historical, and a religious significance. These meanings contain a number of themes, including counting and marking time, a period of sadness leading to a time of explicit joy, and the mystical idea of marriage between God and Israel.

 The themes are reflected in the numerous names for the holiday. The agricultural is apparent in "Hag HaKatzir" (Harvest Festival) and "Yom HaBikkurim" (festival of first fruits); the marking of time is apparent in "Shavuot" (festival of weeks) and "Atzeret," a name from the Talmudic period meaning a cessation of something or a solemn assembly; and the historical and religious are apparent in "Zeman Matan Torateinu," the time of the gift of Torah.

Shavuot is a festival that marks the end of counting (sefirah) that began on the second evening of Pesach (Passover). This span of time bridged the barley and wheat harvests when people were supposed to bring offerings of both to the Temple. The agricultural origin of the festival is still remembered and highlighted in the Book of Ruth that is read on Shavuot. The story takes place during the seasonal harvest associated with the holiday. Ruth, a Moabite woman who chose to join her mother-in-law Naomi's people, is seen as the paradigmatic convert to Judaism. In a sense, she was the first to reject her own ancestral faith and willingly take on Jewish law and tradition. In this way, the book reflects both the agricultural and the historical significance of the festival.

In post-biblical times, the rabbis calculated that the sixth of the month of Sivan, the day of Shavuot, was the day the Israelites received the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. Thus, Shavuot became the festival marking the reception of Torah, when the Israelites had experienced Revelation. Shavuot was consequently transformed into a festival that not only had agricultural significance, but also marked the birthday of the covenant between God and Israel. For traditionalist Jews who believe in "Torah min hashamayim" (direct revelation of God to the Jewish people on Mt. Sinai), Shavuot marks a specific historical anniversary. All branches of Judaism view the Torah as a divine gift--whether inspired or revealed. Thus, for every Jewish denomination, Shavuot is a festival that highlights the fundamental truth and importance of the moral law of Torah.

Jewish mysticism has also influenced Shavuot. For mystics, God is like a groom and Israel is like a bride. Shavuot then becomes the anniversary of the marriage between God and Israel. Other mystical parallels are made. Marking the material wheat harvest on Shavuot, the people were to bring two loaves of bread as an offering in the Temple. This mirrored the spiritual "harvest" of Shavuot, the two tablets of the Law. The counting or "sefirah" (the 7 x 7 weeks of the omer) also has mystical implications. The number seven equals the days of creation. The word "sefirah" is also the word for each of the levels of divine emanation in Jewish mysticism. Of the ten levels, the lower seven are believed to be within human apprehension.

During the second century, the omer period leading up to Shavuot changed from a time of happiness of anticipation of the harvest, to one of sadness. There are a number of reasons given for this. The one most frequently mentioned is the legendary plague that purportedly killed 12,000 of Rabbi Akiba's students. However, other theories posit that once Shavuot was recognized as the anniversary of Revelation, the period leading up to it necessarily became one of apprehension and trepidation. Another interesting theory relates the apprehension to the agricultural harvest itself. The omer period was when fruit ripened, and thus the fate of the season's crops was determined. Indeed the Talmud views Shavuot as the day when the world is judged regarding the fruit of the trees. There also is a logical historical reason for the fact the omer period became a time of sadness. After the Temple was destroyed in the first century CE, the people could no longer bring their offerings. Jews would still mark the time, however. The time was now sad because of the need to commemorate the festival "l'zekher lamikdash" (in memory of the Temple) rather than at the Temple itself.

Shavuot is a day of great joy, marking the end of the sadness and commemorating the joy of receiving the TorahConsequently, for a few hundred years Shavuot has been the time when young children begin their study of TorahThe joy of Torah learning is often demonstrated physically by giving children candy or allowing them to lick honey off the page being studied.



Shavu'ot From Judaism 101. 

Take the Shavuot quiz

Read the BOOK OF RUTH On Line


On the Akdamut prayer:






By Gil Mann

A lot of people including many Jewish people have a hard time answering as you have already discovered.  There is much to say on this subject of WHAT IS JUDAISM ANYWAY?  In fact, it is one of the first chapters of my book.  But here, I will try to give you a brief answer:

Here is my answer: Judaism is much more than a religion and is NOT a race.  I define Judaism as: A way of life

The Jewish way of life consist of 3 things that I call E.S.P.  E stands for Ethics, S stands for Spirituality and P stands for Peoplehood.  I draw them like overlapping Olympic rings as you can see in this graphic.

The ESP of
Jewish Way of Life

In Judaism, each of these circles is considered sacred.  The interesting (and confusing thing for many) is that a Jew can live in any one of these circles and never enter the other circles.  Plus you can enter the other 2 circles from any one circle.  In addition, the circles overlap so you can simultaneously live Jewishly in 2 or all 3 circles

This can be a confusing, but really it is kind of simple.  For example, when I say that Judaism is much more than a religion, I mean that even if you do not believe in God you're not disqualified from being a Jew.  For example, Hitler sure did not define Jews by their Spirituality!  He cared about Peoplehood.  In addition, Jews are supposed to behave Ethically whether they enter the Spirituality circle -- that is, whether they believe in God or not!   

Here I want to say a word about the Peoplehood circle: according to Jewish law, to be considered Jewish by birth at least one of your parents must be Jewish.  (Many Jews say you must be born from a Jewish mother -- but I won't get into that here.)  

HOWEVER!  Judaism is NOT a race -- though our enemies love to call us a race.  Any person of any race is welcome to convert to Judaism...if Judaism were a race, you could not convert to become a Jew.  Nobody can convert to become another race -- but anyone can convert to become Jewish.  There are Jews of all races and colors -- for proof, just look at a city street in Israel.  I want to make an important point here: Many people (including Jews) think the emphasis on Jews marrying other Jews is repulsive racist thinking.  I would be repulsed too...if Judaism were a race...but it is not.  Again, Judaism is a way of life.

The ESP of the Jewish "way of life" is all encompassing.  There is no aspect of life that is not included in either Ethics, Spirituality, Peoplehood or all three.  There is much more that can be said about the ESP circles of fact, you could write a whole book on the subject.  I did!  Hope this brief summary helps!







Spiritual Journey on the Web




Jerusalem Day Commemorated on Thursday, May 25 - One Nation's Capital throughout History

 Eli E. Hertz (Myths & Facts)


Jerusalem and the Jewish people are so intertwined that telling the history of one is telling the history of the otherFor more than 3,000 years, Jerusalem has played a central role in the history of the Jews, culturally, politically, and spiritually, a role first documented in the ScripturesAll through the 2,000 years of the diaspora, Jews have called Jerusalem their ancestral homeThis sharply contrasts the relationship between Jerusalem and the new Islamists who artificially inflate Islam's links to Jerusalem.

The Arab rulers who controlled Jerusalem through the 1950s and 1960s demonstrated no religious tolerance in a city that gave birth to two major Western religionsThat changed after the Six-Day War in 1967, when Israel regained control of the whole citySymbolically, one of Israel's first steps was to officially recognize and respect all religious interests in Jerusalem. But the war for control of Jerusalem and its religious sites is not over.


Palestinian terrorism has targeted Jerusalem particularly in an attempt to regain control of the city from IsraelThe result is that they have turned Jerusalem , literally the City of Peace , into a bloody battleground and have thus forfeited their claim to share in the city's destiny.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
                                     Psalm 122:6

Jerusalem’s Jewish Link: Historic, Religious, Political

Jerusalem, wrote historian Martin Gilbert, is not a ‘mere’ city“It holds the central spiritual and physical place in the history of the Jews as a people.” 1


For more than 3,000 years, the Jewish people have looked to Jerusalem as their spiritual, political, and historical capital, even when they did not physically rule over the cityThroughout its long history, Jerusalem has served, and still serves, as the political capital of only one nation – the one belonging to the JewsIts prominence in Jewish history began in 1004 BCE, when King David declared the city the capital of the first Jewish kingdom.2 David’s successor and son, King Solomon, built the First Temple there, according to the Bible, as a holy place to worship the AlmightyUnfortunately, history would not be kind to the Jewish peopleFour hundred ten years after King Solomon completed construction of Jerusalem, the Babylonians (early ancestors to today’s Iraqis) seized and destroyed the city, forcing the Jews into exileFifty years later, the Jews, or Israelites as they were called, were permitted to return after Persia (present-day Iran) conquered BabylonThe Jews’ first order of business was to reclaim Jerusalem as their capital and rebuild the Holy Temple, recorded in history as the Second Temple.


Jerusalem was more than the Jewish kingdom’s political capitalIt was a spiritual beaconDuring the First and Second Temple periods, Jews throughout the kingdom would travel to Jerusalem three times yearly for the pilgrimages of the Jewish holy days of Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot, until the Roman Empire destroyed the Second Temple in 70 CE and ended Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem for the next 2,000 yearsDespite that fate, Jews never relinquished their bond to Jerusalem or, for that matter, to Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel.


No matter where Jews lived throughout the world for those two millennia, their thoughts and prayers were directed toward JerusalemEven today, whether in Israel, the United States or anywhere else, Jewish ritual practice, holiday celebration and lifecycle events include recognition of Jerusalem as a core element of the Jewish experienceConsider that:

  • Jews in prayer always turn toward Jerusalem.
  • Arks (the sacred chests) that hold Torah scrolls in synagogues throughout the world face Jerusalem.3
  • Jews end Passover Seders each year with the words: “Next year in Jerusalem”; the same words are pronounced at the end of Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the Jewish year.
  • A three-week moratorium on weddings in the summer recalls the breaching of the walls of Jerusalem by the Babylonian army in 586 BCEThat period culminates in a special day of mourning – Tisha B’Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month Av) – commemorating the destruction of both the First and Second Temples.
  • Jewish wedding ceremonies – joyous occasions, are marked by sorrow over the loss of JerusalemThe groom recites a biblical verse from the Babylonian Exile: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning,”4 and breaks a glass in commemoration of the destruction of the Temples.


Even body language, often said to tell volumes about a person, reflects the importance of Jerusalem to Jews as a people and, arguably, the lower priority the city holds for Muslims:

  • When Jews pray they face Jerusalem; in Jerusalem Israelis pray facing the Temple Mount.
  • When Muslims pray, they face Mecca; in Jerusalem Muslims pray with their backs to the city.
  • Even at burial, a Muslim face, is turned toward Mecca.


Finally, consider the number of times ‘ Jerusalem ' is mentioned in the two religions' holy books:

  • The Old Testament mentions ‘Jerusalem’ 349 timesZion, another name for ‘Jerusalem,’ is mentioned 108 times.5
  • The Quran never mentions Jerusalem – not even once.


Even when others controlled Jerusalem, Jews maintained a physical presence in the city, despite being persecuted and impoverishedBefore the advent of modern Zionism in the 1880s, Jews were moved by a form of religious Zionism to live in the Holy Land, settling particularly in four holy cities: SafedTiberiasHebron, and most importantly – JerusalemConsequently, Jews constituted a majority of the city’s population for generationsIn 1898, “In this City of the Jews, where the Jewish population outnumbers all others three to one …” Jews constituted 75 percent6 of the Old City population in what Secretary-General Kofi Annan called ‘East Jerusalem.’ In 1914, when the Ottoman Turks ruled the city, 45,000 Jews made up a majority of the 65,000 residents. And at the time of Israeli statehood in 1948, 100,000 Jews lived in the city, compared to only 65,000 Arabs.7 Prior to unification, Jordanian-controlled ‘East Jerusalem’ was a mere 6 square kilometers, compared to 38 square kilometers on the ‘Jewish side.’



Jerusalem Day and Israel Links

Jerusalem in Facts and Figures

Approx. 670,000 residents
Jerusalem is the Israeli city with the largest non-Jewish population (approx. 32%).
65,000 new immigrants live in Jerusalem - most of them are from the former Soviet Union.
Jerusalem has a very young population: 44% is between the age of 0-19; 8% is aged 65+

Jerusalem has: 32 city libraries, 24 museums, 16 hospitalization institutes, 37 Family Health centers, 28 community centers and councils, 23 neighborhoods, 80 elderly clubs, 27 centers for people with special needs, 1,201 synagogues, 70 mikvahs, 158 churches, 72 monasteries,  73 mosques Online Magazine about Israeli life  Nice lesson, featuring passages by great writers about Israel -- An Appreciation of Yehudah Amichai – By Dr. Ann Lapidus Lerner of JTS Four Yehuda Amicha poems about Jerusalem (view the movie) (before they starting charging extra for their supplements)

Jerusalem Municipality Website

Jerusalem Capital of Israel (1)

Jerusalem Capital of Israel (2)

The status of Jerusalem

Basic Law: Jerusalem

Internet Exhibit: Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

Compilation of Additional Documents about Jerusalem Articles by Michael Oren, author of “Six Days of War”  Bar Ilan University's Center For Jerusalem Studies: Jerusalem: Life Throughout the Ages in a Holy City,

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Jerusalem Through the Centuries,

Jewish Virtual Library:

The Israeli Knesset: Jerusalem

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs: Jerusalem in International Diplomacy, by AmbDore Gold,

Jewish Agency: Sources for Yom

OU-Yom Yerushalayim Guide & talking points,





Required Reading and Action Items




Let’s begin with GOOD NEWS from Israel 21c and other sources


Congressmen and senators raise a glass to Israeli wine  
US lawmakers gathering to discuss Israel is not an unusual occurenceLast week, however, a group of senators, congressmen, and Capitol Hill staffers were not talking about the country's political, economic or security issues, but debating the quality of its Merlot, Chardonnay, and Cabernet SauvignonAt the first-ever joint Israel-American wine tasting to be held at the US Capitol, both Democratic and Republican legislators were able to cross party lines and agree on one major issue - Israeli wine is sublime.  More...


Technology | Spelling and grammar mistakes go up in smoke - WhiteSmoke  
There's only one opportunity to make a first impression - and when an email or document is received with misspellings and grammar mistakes, that opportunity is lostNow Israeli software-developer WhiteSmoke goes well beyond the every day spell check with its artificial intelligence tool that scans databases from news sites such as CNN and The New York Times, and studies documents from Harvard and Yale on an ongoing basis to learn how English sentences are used in business, medicine and every-day lifeWhether you are composing a corporate report, email, blog post or even a personal profile for a dating website, WhiteSmoke is able to guide you to the usage, grammar and style that fits your needs.  More...


Walking the land -  by Judy Mizrachi   Experiencing the wonder of Israel through nature, spirituality, camaraderie and sheer joy.


Israel recently hosted agriculturists from Abu Dhabi, Egypt, France, Jordan, Morocco, and the US for a seminar on date growing techniques.



now for the rest


IDF Seeking Technological Solutions to Palestinian Rocket Fire - Gideon Alon
Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Dan Halutz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday that he would not recommend conquering Gaza in response to the escalation in Kassam rocket attacks on Israeli communitiesHe said the defense establishment is making a great effort to find technological solutions to better contend with Palestinian rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, 72% of which land within IsraelHalutz added that 50% of the 38 terrorists killed by the IDF in recent months were engaged in rocket launches on IsraelA senior Military Intelligence officer said that Islamic Jihad operatives are the only ones currently firing rockets at Israel and dispatching suicide missions out of the West BankHalutz confirmed that "Islamic Jihad is in distress because of the pressure the IDF is exerting on it.(Ha'aretz)


 Palestinian Rocket Hits Home in Israeli Moshav
Palestinians in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets at Israel on Wednesday afternoon, one landing in an empty house in Moshav Netiv Ha'asaraThere were no reports of casualties but the house was damaged(Jerusalem Post)
    See also Palestinian Rocket Fire Continues - Michal Greenberg
Palestinians in Gaza fired two Kassam rockets that hit open areas in the western Negev before dawn ThursdayAn IDF patrol also came under fire while driving along the border fence with Gaza on Thursday morning(Ha'aretz)
    See also Rocket Fire Turns Israel's Southern Coast into War Zone - Uriel Heilman
With a Hamas-run quasi-state next door in Gaza, there is constant rocket fire in the direction of neighboring Israeli communities and daily attempts by Palestinians to infiltrate into IsraelMore than a dozen civilians, including several Palestinians, have been killed by rocket fire, and militants have stepped up their attacks since Israel withdrew from Gaza last summerNo rockets have reached Ashkelon yet but some have fallen in the industrial zone just south of the city, where a major power station, desalination plant, oil refinery, and more than 60 other factories are locatedAnat Wienstein-Berkovits, a spokesperson for Ashkelon's mayor, says the rockets are terrorizing the 5,000-plus people who work in the industrial zone(JTA/Canadian Jewish News)


Olmert to Congress: For a Lasting Peace, We Need a Partner Who Rejects Violence - William Branigin
At a joint meeting of Congress Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called Hamas, which runs the Palestinian Authority, "an organization committed to vehement anti-Semitism, the glorification of terror, and the total destruction of Israel."As long as these are their guiding principles, they can never be a partnerTherefore, while Israel works to ensure that the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian population are met, we can never capitulate to terrorists or terrorism.At the same time, he said, "the Palestinians will forever be our neighbors; they are an inseparable part of this land, as are weIsrael has no desire to rule over them nor to oppress them.(Washington Post)

    See also View Video of Olmert's Speech to Congress (Reuters)

Prime Minister of Israel Addresses U.S. Congress - Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (Foreign Ministry)

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress:

  • Over the past six years more than 20,000 attempted terrorist attacks have been initiated against the people of IsraelMost, thankfully, have been foiled by our security forcesBut those which have succeeded have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of innocent civilians and the injury of thousands. These are real people with beautiful souls that have left this earth far too soon.
  • Only last week, Daniel Cantor Wultz, a 16-year-old high school student from Weston, Florida, who came to spend the Passover holiday with his parents in Israel, succumbed to his severe injuries, incurred in Israel's most recent suicide attackDaniel was a relative of Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia.
  • Our countries do not just share the experience and pain of terrorismWe share the commitment and resolve to confront the brutal terrorists that took these innocent people from usWe will not yield to terror, we will not surrender to terror, and we will win the war on terror and restore peace to our societies. Israel commends this Congress for initiating the Palestinian Anti-Terrorism Act, which sends a firm, clear message that the United States of America will not tolerate terrorism in any form.
  • Israel must still meet the momentous challenge of guaranteeing the future of Israel as a democratic state with a Jewish majority, within permanent and defensible borders and a united Jerusalem as its capital - that is open and accessible for the worship of all religions.
  • If there is to be a just, fair, and lasting peace, we need a partner who rejects violence and who values life more than deathWe need a partner that affirms in action, not just in words, the rejection, prevention, and elimination of terrorI ask of the Palestinians: How can a child growing up in a culture of hate dream of the possibility of peaceThe key to a true lasting peace in the Middle East is in the education of the next generation.
  • Should the Palestinians ignore our outstretched hand for peace, Israel will seek other alternatives to promote our future and the prospects of hope in the Middle EastAt that juncture, the time for realignment will occurRealignment would be a process to allow Israel to build its future without being held hostage to Palestinian terrorist activitiesRealignment would significantly reduce the friction between Israelis and Palestinians and prevent much of the conflict between our two battered nations.
  • Iran, the world's leading sponsor of terror, and a notorious violator of fundamental human rights, stands on the verge of acquiring nuclear weaponsWith these weapons, the security of the entire world is put in jeopardyWe deeply appreciate America's leadership on this issue and the strong bipartisan conviction that a nuclear-armed Iran is an intolerable threat to the peace and security of the worldIt cannot be permitted to materialize.



Bush: We Seek Negotiated Agreement between Israel and Palestinians (White House)

After meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Olmert at the White House Tuesday, President Bush said:

  • "I believe, and Prime Minister Olmert agrees, that a negotiated final status agreement best serves both the Israelis and the Palestinians, and the cause of peace."
  • "The United States and the international community have made clear that Hamas must recognize Israel's right to exist, must abandon terror, and must accept all previous agreements between the Palestinian Authority and IsraelNo country can be expected to make peace with those who deny its right to exist and who use terror to attack its population."
  • "How can you have two states, side-by-side in peace, if one of the partners does not recognize the other state's right to exist?"
  • "Prime Minister Olmert shared with me some of his ideas - I would call them bold ideasThese ideas could lead to a two-state solution if a pathway to progress on the road map is not open in the period ahead."
  • "I look forward to learning more about the prime minister's ideasWhile any final status agreement will be only achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes, and no party should prejudice the outcome of negotiations on a final status agreement, the prime minister's ideas could be an important step toward the peace we both support."
  • "Finally, the prime minister and I shared our concerns about the Iranian regime's nuclear weapons ambitions....We're determined that the Iranian regime must not gain nuclear weaponsI told the prime minister what I've stated publicly before: Israel is a close friend and ally of the United StatesAnd in the event of any attack on Israel, the United States will come to Israel's aid."



An Arab Backlash Against Hamas? - Editorial
Hamas' relations with Jordan are worsening, and the same may be about to occur with EgyptHamas' most serious problem is with Jordan, where security forces last month arrested 20 of its membersAmman accuses Hamas of smuggling detonators, rocket launchers, and explosives into the country from SyriaAuthorities believe Hamas was planning attacks against targets in JordanSecurity officials in Jordan have said they have a tape-recorded conversation between Khaled Meshaal, the Damascus-based chief of Hamas' ruling council, and a member of the terror cell targeting Jordan.
    Egypt's Interior Ministry said Tuesday that the three suicide bombers who attacked Dahab last month had been sent by an Egyptian jihadist to Gaza for training in bomb-making techniques, and that police had detained a number of Egyptians who trained in Gaza, one of whom admitted receiving a congratulatory message from "Palestinian elements" after the bombings were carried out(Washington Times)
    See also Scholars: Islamists Hungry for Power - Yaakov Lappin
A conference at Bar-Ilan University this week entitled "Radical Islam: Challenge and Response" offered an array of opinions on the current state of the global Islamist threat, as well as ways for the West to counter the menaceProfessor Martin Kramer of Tel Aviv University warned that Egypt in particular is at risk by Hamas' ascension to power and the increase of al-Qaeda activities in Gaza and Sinai"Egypt has to step up its security umbrella to include what is happening in GazaIf Gaza itself turns into a kind of mini-Afghanistan, with Taliban-like formations, then Egypt will feel it before Israel," Kramer saidHe also warned that the "Jordanian Muslim Brothers are looking forward to the 2007 elections, as an election in which they will take parliamentary power."  (Ynet News)


·  Gaza Melts Down - Mitchell Prothero
I started calling it a civil war when the family of a slain bodyguard took over the lobby of my hotel and began firing at the Hamas gunmen across the streetBullets flying around, black-shirted gunmen counterattacking, and pools of blood on the floor of my hotel lobby - that's not journalism, it's getting shot atA lot of the goodwill toward the foreign journalist dries up when it's Arabs fighting each otherSuddenly, you're not documenting a noble struggle against occupation, you're just some foreignerAnd if you're in a hospital full of pissed-off Military Intelligence officials tending to their wounded, it's a disasterAs I tried to take pictures, I was suddenly surrounded by a mob of armed men grabbing at my cameras.
    This was the first week Hamas had deployed men in the thousands with their faces uncoveredThey were well equipped, with new gunsSmuggled guns are pouring in through Rafah on the Egyptian borderMy driver Khalil and I devised a rule: Guys with masks, burning tires, screaming and waving guns at us were unavailable for commentWe also saw that Hamas guys shoot less and aim more than Fatah militiamen(



Hamas Seeks to Attack Israeli Skyscrapers with Planes - Aaron Klein (New York Sun)
    Hamas is seeking the ability to attack Israel using small airplanes laden with explosives to be flown September 11-style into Tel Aviv skyscrapers, a leader of Hamas' Izzedine al-Qassam Martyrs Brigades, Abu Abdullah, said Wednesday.
    Palestinian security officials said they believe Hamas recently smuggled into Gaza three small airplanes that can carry explosives and be used to attack Israel.
    They said the aircraft were purchased from Eastern European dealers and that Hamas members received flight training in SudanIran, and Syria.



Israel: Myths and Facts



MYTH #220

"Israel has no justification for withholding tax monies due to the Palestinian Authority."


Under the Oslo interim agreementIsrael, the West Bank, and Gaza are in a customs union administered by the Israeli government. Israel collects a duty on any foreign imports destined for the West Bank and Gaza as welll as a value added tax on goods and services from Israel destined for the Palestinian territories.

At the beginning of 2001, Israel decided to withhold more than $50 million in taxes it owed to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in response to the ongoing violenceU.S. officials, and others, pressured Israel to transfer the money because of the PA's dire financial straits and inability to pay many of its billsIsrael recognized that its action was harsh, but believed it was necessary to demonstrate to the Palestinians that the inability or unwillingness to stop the violence had a costIsrael must use whatever leverage it can to protect its citizens and this economic sanction was a milder response than a military one.

While Israel 's action was blamed for the sorry state of the Palestinian economy, the truth was the Arab countries suspended the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars, collected as donations, meant for the PAThe justification for the Arab states' action was their concern that the funds would be embezzled and encourage further corruption in the PA (Ha’aretz, February 11, 2001)For example, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported that Yasser Arafat stole more than $5 million in foreign aid intended for needy Palestinians (Al-Watan [Kuwait], June 7, 2002).

In July 2002, Israel agreed to transfer some of the tax revenues to the Palestinians as a confidence-building measure after Palestinian violence subsided, and an agreement was reached to set up a committee of U.S. representatives to oversee the transaction (Jerusalem Post, July 21, 2002)Israel subsequently began to forward the taxes it collected to the PA, after deducting the amount owed for electricity and water bills that many Palestinians refused to pay Israeli utilities.

Case Study

The speaker of the Palestinian legislative council, and later Prime Minister, Ahmed Korei, suddenly vacated the villa he built for $1.5 million in Jericho after President Bush raised the issue of PA corruptionA sign on the door was posted that said the villa had become a welfare institution for the relatives of Palestinians killed in terror attacks (Jewish Telegraphic Agency, June 11, 2002).

Following the election of Hamas in 2006, Israel again began to withhold tax revenue on the grounds that it had no obligation to help finance a government that was calling for its destructionFurthermore, Israel argued that the agreement to remit these taxes to the PA was part of the Oslo accords that Hamas explicitly said it would not honor. The United States, the European Union and other countries also froze funding because Hamas is a terrorist group that does not recognize Israel as a country.

While Israel wants to deny Hamas the resources it needs to wage a terrorist war, the government does not want to harm the Palestinian people and therefore agreed in May 2006 to release tax revenues for humanitarian purposes, such as medicine and health needs (UPI, May 11, 2006).

This article can be found at

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







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**




Thursday, June 1 at 8:00 PM




Our Annual Tikkun Leyl Shavuot 


Shavuot service, dessert and study session

Joined by Temple Shalom of Greenwich

and the Fellowship for Jewish Learning


“Spirituality, Religion, Ethnicity and Identity:

Does one have to be “religious” to be Jewish?”




Rabbi Joshua Hammerman:  “Spiritual AND Religious:

New forms of Jewish Spirituality.” 

Rabbi Phil Schechter: “What Jews do is Jewish:

The American and Israeli Communities of 2006.”

Rabbi Mitch Hurvitz: "There is no Judaism without God, Torah & Israel." 


TIKKUN LEYL SHAVUOT—This ceremony, of Kabbalistic (Jewish mystical) derivation, involves an evening of study prior to the first day of Shavuot.  Because study in Jewish tradition is regarded as sacred, an evening of concentrated study was meant to prepare the soul spiritually for what would be a reenactment of God's giving ASERET HADIBROT (The Ten Commandments) to the Jewish people the following morning.  Our  Tikkun Leyl Shavuot will not last all night (which is the tradition), just a few hours and it will include not only great study, but great noshing, as well, plus a real chance to come together with our sister congregations.


And, if you are in Jerusalem this week…


Tikun Layl Shavuot
All Night Study Marathon
6 Sivan 5766 - Thursday, June 1, 2006

The general public is invitedRefreshments are served between sessions.
Sessions will take place at the Moreshet Yisrael Synagogue
Agron Street.

10:30 p.m.
Rabbi Edward S. Romm, Director of Education, Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center.

10:45 p.m.
Rabbi Dr. Joel Roth, Rosh Yeshiva, Conservative Yeshiva,
Prof. Talmud JTSA.

Rabbi Dr. Einat Ramon, Dean of Machon Schecter Rabbinical School

12:00 a.m.
A."RUTH, WHY WAS THE MEETING IN THE GRANARY SO IMPORTANT?Stephen Rosenberg, PhD., archaeologist,
author of 'Esther, Ruth, Jonah Deciphered"(English)


Dr. Rony Klein

1:15 a.m.
Rabbi Edward S. Romm, Director of Education,
The Fuchsberg Jerusalem Center for Conservative Judaism(English)

B. Beit Midrash Studies - (Hebrew)
Dr. Rony Klein, Mahon Schechter

2:30 a.m.
A Variety Of Workshops - for you to choose from!

4:00 a.m.

Walk to the Kotel

The Tikun Layl Shavuot is co-sponsored by:
Special thanks to the Jewish Agency for its support.




June 3, 2006

Shabbat Shavuot


We honor our elder educators

Marlene & Don Adelman and Steffi & Larry Bloch


Services begin at 9:30 a.m. followed by luncheon.


We will also honor Bert Madwed for his years of dedicated

service to our Jr. Congregation


A + B = EEE

Adelmans + Blochs = Exceptional Educational Experiences


     This year’s Elders Day will be decidedly different from previous ones as we have two couples who share the gift of being able to make a difference in something Jews throughout the world value highly - education and healing.

     Larry Bloch was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, earned a B.A. and M.A. in history, which he taught in New York City, Staten Island, and Newark.

     His wife, Steffi, was born in BerlinGermany, but grew up in Kew Gardens (Queens).  She studied nursing at Cornell School of Nursing and New York University, where she earned her Master’s Degree.  She worked as a Public Health Nurse and later became an Associate Professor of Nursing at the University of Bridgeport.

     The Blochs’ friendship with Don and Shirley Fish, whom they knew from New Jersey, flourished again when they became active at Temple Beth El’s Hebrew School.  Larry became Principal of the Hebrew School in 1975 and asked that Shirley Fish, z”lbe the Assistant Principal.  They served together in this capacity until 1994.

     While Larry dedicated many hours to Temple Beth El’s Hebrew SchoolSteffi and Larry were active in Person-to-Person where they served on the board for six years.  They chaired the High Holy Day Food Drive for all the synagogues in Stamford.  Three years ago, they were honored as Volunteers of the Year by The Advocate for their work with Person-to-Person.

     For many Jewish children, summer camp complements their synagogue education and is a memorable experience in its own right.  Don and Marlene Adelman prove that camp is good for adults, too.

     Don is a Bridgeport native who earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Education at the Jewish Theological Seminary, a Bachelor’s Degree in History from Columbia University, and a Master’s Degree in Education and Political Science from Ohio State University.  He completed his doctoral work at New York University.

     Marlene hails from Little RockArkansas and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Oklahoma.  She earned her Master’s Degree from Stanford University in California.

     They met as adults at Camp Blue Star in HendersonvilleNorth Carolina.

     Don is a former Director of the American Zionist Youth Foundation and worked for 10 years as a Director of three Ramah camps.  He helped launch Tikva, a special program for emotionally and mentally challenged teenagers.

     Marlene has taught at Norwalk Community College for 30 years and is the Chair of the Psychology Department at Norwalk Community College.  Marlene is also a former president of the Sisterhood of Temple Beth El.

     Don was a member of the initial Curriculum Committee created before Kulanu was founded.  At Temple Beth El’s Kahal Services, he gives incredible Divrei Torah.  Later this month, he will lead students on an intensive three-week trip to Israel that will emphasize Jewish education and leadership skills more than sight-seeing.  We will  be honoring those teenagers who are participating in the Kulanu Israel Program.

     Please join us on Elders Day Shabbat and see why A (the Adelmans) and B (the Blochs) equal E (an exceptional educational experience).


Previous Distinguished Elders Award Recipients


Mollie and Jack Malin (1997)


Hyacinthe Hoffman and Dr. Bernard Nemoitin (1998)


Frank Rosner (1999)


David Gruber (2000)


Harry Bennett (2001)


Norma and Milton Mann (2002)


Jack and Claire Steinberg (2003)


Herb and Leslie Horowitz (2004)


Arthur and Vivien White (2005)



Registration materials are now available for the 2006-2007 TBE Religious School

If you are interested in registering your child (children), please respond to Caroline at and include your address so she can mail you the forms!



7th Grade Aliyah Service – June 9 at 7:30


Plans are coming together for our exciting Aliyah (Graduation) dinner and service on June 9.  All students will be participating in the service, leading some prayers, singing a special song and reading short essays that they have written in class.  These essays, on the theme of "What Being Jewish Means to Me," will also be compiled into a program that will be distributed  that nightMany of these essays correspond to the students' individual panels on the beautiful wall mural that the class has painted, thanks to the dedicated guidance of art teacher Karen Tobias.  On that night, we will all be able to view this permanent gift that the class is creating for the temple.



UJF and JCC Continues the Exciting New Initiative in

Adult Jewish Education:

The Florence Melton Adult Mini-School


The United Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Center are starting a list for new classes in the fall of 2006. 

The Florence Melton Adult Mini-School


  • is an internationally recognized program of adult Jewish study developed by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • is designed for adults interested in serious study without enrolling in an academy of higher learning
  • engages students in two years of study;  30 two-hour weekly sessions per year (knowledge of Hebrew is not required)
  • topics include key ideas in Jewish theology, ethics and the history of Jewish life


For more information about class registration, please contact Ilana De Laney at (203) 321-1373, ext. 114 or email her at or Jonathan Fass at (203) 487-0958 or email him at





Here's a fun game to play (as opposed to a joke), forwarded to me by my sister Lisa.  The object of the game is to move the red block around without getting hit by the blue blocks or touching the black walls.  If you can go longer than 22 seconds you are phenomenal.  My record this far is about 7 seconds…Reportedly, the US Air Force uses this for fighter pilotsThey are expected to go for at least 2 minutes.  Give it a try!



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

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