Saturday, May 13, 2006

May 13, 2006 – Iyar 15, 5766





May 13, 2006 – Iyar 15, 5766




Shabbat Shalom, Happy Mother’s Day

and Happy Lag B’Omer!



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.”


This week

 our final “Shabbat Unplugged of the season”  - at 7:30!!! 

Sponsored by Barbara Brafman, her family and friends

With a special Oneg sponsored by the Littman family (our very own Cantor Littman and her family) in honor of Leona Littman’s 90th Birthday



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 course Mama and I care about your progress in English and science and religious studies, tooSure, we want you to grow up to be good at mathBut it's even more important that you grow up to be a mensch.
It's a message I try to reinforce whenever I canAfter every meal, I tell you constantly, make sure to thank the person who prepared it -- and that includes the "kitchen ladies" at schoolWhen you play with your brother, you're not allowed to torment him -- kindness and courtesy aren't only for outsiders"Make us proud of you," I say each morning when I drop you off at school -- a daily reminder that while your parents' love is automatic, their admiration is something you must earn.
At 9, you're off to a great start, Caleb -- bright, energetic, inquisitive, articulateWho knows what great things await youJust remember: Whatever else you grow up to be, make sure to be a mensch”.

“Letter to a Mensch-in-Training,” by Jeff Jacoby






We’ll also have a program with Nurit in the chapel at that same time for the younger kids.

We are grateful to Barbara Brafman, her family and friends, for sponsoring this week’s Shabbat Unplugged in honor of Barbara’s birthday; and to Cantor Littman’s family for sponsoring the Oneg Shabbat in honor of Leona Littman’s 90th birthday.


L’hitraot to our 3-5th graders, headed out today on their damp Shabbaton!

Friday Evening 

Candle lighting: 7:43pm on Friday,- Havdalah is at 8:42 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: 7:30 PM – OUTDOORS (Weather permitting)


Tot Shabbat – 7:30 in the sanctuary


No Tot Shabbat May 19!  Due to scheduling conflict, Tot Shabbat will not be held May 19, but it will be held during Shabbat Unplugged on May 12, at 7:30 pm.  Tot Shabbat will also be held on Friday, May 26.



Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM


Children’s services: 10:30

Torah Portion:  Emor - Leviticus 21:1 - 24:23

1: 22:17-20
2: 22:21-25
3: 22:26-33
4: 23:1-3
5: 23:4-8
6: 23:9-14
7: 23:15-22

Haftarah Ezekiel 44:15 - 44:31


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:




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






For more information, go to

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







Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunties


From Doug Jossem:
“Thanks to you, I did it!”


You might recall TBE grad Doug Jossem’s mitzvah project in memory of his mom, Karen (whom so many here recall with great love).  Here is Doug’s latest dispatch:


It was a warm Sunday morning in Tampa this past weekend.  The sea was angry and brought in 4 foot waves.  The wind was blowing the palm trees to one side and I was about to do a triathlon.  You have to love that set up!


I have been training and raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society for the past 5 months.  I was training as much as I could (about 6 days a week), needless to say I am now in good shape.  Physically I feel great but even more than that, mentally I feel better!  I raised a total of $12,908!  For the St. Anthony's Triathlon group in NYC, out of 120 of us I was the 2nd highest fundraiser.  The New York City Chapter as a whole raised more than $500k, and Country wide, for this one event, we raised over $2.2 MILLION dollars!!!!   This money is funding research and helping families so that hopefully they will never have to go through what so many of us have been through.  Because of you and your generosity, we have made a difference. 


As I had mentioned before, I feel great.  I feel great for many reasons, I trained hard and accomplished a difficult goal.  I raised a lot of money, but even more than that I feel great that I know all of you.  The monetary, emotional and mental support that you have provided means a lot to me.  More than I can ever express.


The swim was tough with the 4 foot swells, people were throwing up around me, but I continued and did not give up.  I didn't give up because of this cause, goal, and the fact that I did not want to pay you all back!  Once I finished the swim it was time for the bike.  I was going as hard as I could in my old bike from 1972.  No gadgets on this old bike and when I thought I was done I saw a sign that said 10 mile mark and knew I had a long way to go.  I then started to think again about what I was doing and why I was doing it.  It brought tears to my eyes and I don't think I have ever been happier.  Finally I finished the bike and now it was time for the run.  I was tired and sore but I was not giving up.  I got a few cramps during the run, but I trekked on and ran through the finish line!  This was on of the proudest moments in my life and one that you all shared with me in spirit.


We made a difference, and we should all be proud of ourselves.  Some of you are probably curious if I will ever do something like this again.  The answer is easy and with no hesitation I will.  I encourage you all to try this, do it with me!  It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done!


I know my mom is proud and she was with me the entire ride.  Hopefully we are one step closer to finding a cure and ending this disease!


Lots of love, sore legs and from a TRIATHLETE,  Thank you again,




Here is an article about my race- 

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

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 Lag B’Omer?


            Lag B’Omer, falls this coming Monday night and Tuesday.  This minor holiday is as fascinating as it is confusing.  The following explanation, written by Francine Klagsbrun is excerpted from and her wonderful book, Jewish Days: A Book of Jewish Life and Culture


Why We Celebrate

The explanations begin with the Omer period itself, those forty-nine days that are counted off one by one between the two festivals (Passover and Shavuot)This is a time of semi-mourning, when weddings and other celebrations are forbidden, and as a sign of grief, observant Jews do not cut their hair.


Anthropologists say that many peoples have similar periods of restraint in the early spring to symbolize their concerns about the growth of their cropsBut the most often cited explanation for the Jewish practice comes from the Talmud, which tells us that during this season a plague killed thousands of Rabbi Akiva's students because they did not treat one another respectfullyThe mourning behavior is presumably in memory of those students and their severe punishment.


According to a medieval tradition, the plague ceased on Lag Ba'Omer, the thirty-third day of the Omer.  (The Hebrew letters lamed and gimel which make up the acronym "Lag" have the com­bined numerical value of 33.As a result, Lag Ba'Omer became a happy day, interrupting the sad­ness of the Omer period for twenty-four hours.


The talmudic explanation makes most sense when put into historical contextThe outstand­ing sage Rabbi Akiva became an ardent supporter of Simeon bar Koseva, known as Bar Kokhba, who in 132 C.E. led a ferocious but unsuccessful revolt against Roman rule in JudeaAkiva not only pinned his hopes on a political victory over Rome but believed Bar Kokhba to be the long-awaited MessiahMany of his students joined him in backing the revolt and were killed along with thousands of Judeans when it failedThe talmudic rabbis, still suffering under Roman rule and cautious about referring openly to past rebellions, may have been hinting at those deaths when they spoke of a plague among Akiva's studentsPossibly, also, Lag Ba'Omer marked a respite from battle, or a momentary victory.


A completely different reason for the holiday concerns one of Rabbi Akiva's few disciples who survived the Bar Kokhba revolt, Rabbi Simeon bar YohaiHe is said to have died on Lag Ba'Omer.


Rabbi Simeon continued to defy the Roman rulers even after Bar Kokhba's defeat, and was forced to flee for his life and spend years in solitary hidingLegend places him and his son Eleazar in a cave for twelve years, where a miraculous well and carob tree sustained them while they spent their days studying and prayingWhen they finally emerged, Simeon denigrated all practical occupations, insisting that people engage only in the study of TorahFor this God confined the two to their cave for another year, accusing Simeon of destroying the world with his rigid asceticism.


But Rabbi Simeon's otherworldliness resonated with mystics in his own time and later, so much so that tradition ascribes to him the Zohar, the key work of the Kabbalah (although critical scholars attribute it to the thirteenth-century Spanish kabbalist Moses de Leon)And in Israel, on Lag Ba'Omer, people flock to the site of his tomb in the village of Meron in the Galilee, near Safed, where they light bonfires and sing kabbalistic hymnsHasidic Jews follow the custom of bringing their three-year-old sons to Meron to have their hair cut for the first time(The custom of not cut­ting the child's hair until his third birthday is probably an extension of the law that forbids picking the fruits of a newly planted tree during its first three years.)


Unrelated to Rabbi Simeon, the kabbalists also give a mystical interpretation to the Omer period as a time of spiritual cleansing and preparation for receiving the Torah on ShavuotThe days and weeks of counting, they say, represent various combinations of the sefirot, the divine emanations, whose contemplation ultimately leads to purity of mind and soulThe somberness of this period reflects the seriousness of its spiritual pursuits.






Spiritual Journey on the Web


What's so Jewish About Mother's Day?

A man calls his mother in Florida"Mom, how are you?"
"Not too good," says the mother"I've been very weak."
The son says, "Why are you so weak?"
She says, "Because I haven't eaten in 38 days."
The man says, "That's terribleWhy haven't you eaten in 38 days?"
The mother answers, "Because I didn't want my mouth to be filled with food if you should call."

When I was growing up, I used to love the little satiric book by Dan Greenberg, "How to be a Jewish Mother.It contained the typical jokes about dominating, overprotective mothers and obedient, castrated sonsThere's still lots of Jewish Mother jokes on the Web, such as those found at, "Jewish Mothers' Food Definitions,"$148?mode=day, "Jewish Mother Jokes," and more assorted jokes at and Here's a typical one:

A Jewish young man was seeing a psychiatrist for an eating and sleeping disorder"I am so obsessed with my mother... As soon as I go to sleep, I start dreaming, and everyone in my dream turns into my motherI wake up in such a state, all I can do is go downstairs and eat a piece of toast.The psychiatrist replies: "What, just one piece of toast, for a big boy like you?"

Of course, Jews didn't always stereotype their mothers negativelyWhen Rabbi Yosef heard his mother enter the room he would say, "I must stand up, for the glory of God enters.Rabbi Tarfon used to help his mother get into bed by bending down and allowing her to use his back as a step ladder (nowadays, most people prefer to tell their mothers to get OFF their backs)For Jews, it used to be that every day was mothers day.

In 1907, Anna Jarvis campaigned for a national day to honor mothersIt is said that she was at odds with her mother at the time (ah… the power of maternal guilt)Read about her at Jews, the "patron saint" of maternal figures would have to be the matriarch Rachel, who stands watch over her children even in death, as in lifeAt, you can read how Rachel's Yahrzeit has been transformed into a national Mothers Day of sorts in Israel, especially among pre-schoolers (it occurs in the fall, on the 11th of Heshvan).

To read the fifth commandment is to understand that Mother's Day is indeed a daily occurrence for Jews -- or at least it should beSometimes it isn't easy to respect our momsTake this Talmudic account, as related in a sermon by Rabbi Elan Adler of Baltimore (with whom I shared many great times when he lived here in Stamford):

The Talmud tells of Dama the son of Netina, who was once wearing a gold-embroidered silken cloak sitting among Roman noblesIt is clear that Dama ben Netina was highly regarded and respectedOne day, his mother came to where he was sitting, tore off his elegant gown, struck him on the head, and spat repeatedly in his faceThe Talmud says that with all this, he did not shame herFor he knew that the Torah demanded, "kabed et avicha v'et imecha," honor your father and your mother in all circumstancesThe word "kabed" without vowels can also be read as "kaved", meaning a heavy load or burdenSometimes, it is a heavy burden to respect our parents, especially when they are no longer capable, or when we don't see eye to eye with them(find the rest of the sermon at

And indeed, there are also times when we can't honor our parents as much as we would like, specifically when they are abusiveAish's Web site discusses these limits in an article found at

But, for the most part, mothers are due the highest respect and honorAs the saying goes, "God could not be everywhere, so God created mothers."






Required Reading and Action Items




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


Israeli phys ed teacher uses movement to break down barriers  
It is hard to be angry and resentful when you are dancing - and an Israeli physical education teacher believes that dance steps can be the key to opening hearts and minds and helping break down barriers between individuals and groupsLevi Bar-Gil's Movement in Time (MIT) technique has been taught successfully to men, women and children in Israel, the US, and Europe, and he now plans to use the technique to bring Israeli and Palestinian children closer togetherMore...


Technology | Buffett acquisition of Wertheimer's Iscar puts Israel on the investment map  
Warren Buffett's acquisition of industrialist Stef Wertheimer's Galilee-based metal-cutting tool manufacturer Iscar for $4 billion is being viewed as a tremendous vote of confidence in the Israeli economy"I believe in the Israeli market and the Israeli economy and I think that this is a good time to invest in it," said the world's second richest man, who plans to invest in more Israeli companies and issued a public call to receive information about other worthy ventures in the vibrant Israeli market.  More...


Technology | Israeli professor envisions a bright future


Silicon Valley Gets a Taste of Israel in Film Fest - Dan Pine (Jewish News Weekly of Northern California)
    The second annual Silicon Valley Israeli Film Festival in San Jose offers multiple views of Israeli life, from Turkish immigrants in Tel Aviv to a fictional look at the rescue of Ethiopian Jews in Operation Moses.
    The documentary "39 Pounds of Love" tells the story of Ami Ankilewitz, an American-born Israeli in his 30s who was diagnosed at age 1 with a form of muscular dystrophy that left him immobile, except for one finger, which he uses to work as an animator.


now for the rest



·  Ahmadinejad's Letter to President Bush - Editorial
In Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "letter" to President Bush, published Tuesday, he tells Mr. Bush: "Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systemsWe increasingly see that people around the world are flocking toward a main focal point - that is the Almighty God....My question for you [Mr. Bush] is, 'Do you not want to join them?'What's wholly absent is any indication that he is prepared to moderate his positions as a way of meeting the U.S. or UN half wayAs a psychological comparison, the Unabomber's manifesto comes to mind(Wall Street Journal)


·  Is Israel Ready for an Iranian Nuclear Era? - Hanan Greenberg
"The Arrow [anti-missile] system is certainly an important aspect against any ballistic threat and certainly from Iran's direction," a senior defense official saidHowever, critics say a barrage of missiles could make the system ineffectiveAfter all, it is enough that only one missile lands in Tel AvivThe recently launched Eros B satellite is used to monitor Iran's nuclear program"When it comes to Iran, all the information is relayed to the Americans," a security source says.
    "We must remember Iran learned from Iraq's mistakes," the security official concludes"They're operating in several sites spread across the country and not all of them are knownThey're operating in two different tracksAnd who knows, maybe there's another secret track on the way to the nuke.(Ynet News)


Deterring Teheran - Daniel Pipes (Jerusalem Post)

  • As the Iranian regime barrels forward, openly calling for the destruction of Israel and overtly breaking the nuclear non-proliferation rules, two distinctly undesirable prospects confront the WestThe first is to acquiesce to Teheran and hope for the bestThe second consists of the U.S. destroying key Iranian installations. But is there a third option to dissuade the Iranian regime from developing and militarizing its atomic capabilities?
  • Iran is an oligarchy with multiple power centers and with debate on many issuesThe political leadership itself is divided, with important elements dubious about the wisdom of proceeding with nukes, fearful of international isolation, not to speak of air strikesA campaign by Iranians to avoid confrontation could well prevailGoing nuclear remains a voluntary decision, one Teheran can refrain from makingArguably, Iranian security would benefit by staying non-nuclear.
  • Deterring Teheran requires sustained, consistent external pressure on the Iranian body politicThat implies, ironically, that those most adverse to U.S. air strikes must (1) stand tight with Washington and (2) convince Iranians of the terrible repercussions for them of defying the international consensus.


·  UK Academics to Back Sweeping Boycott of Israeli Universities - Tamara Traubman
The largest university and college lecturers union in Britain is likely to decide shortly to recommend that its 67,000 members boycott Israeli lecturers and academic institutions that do not publicly declare their opposition to Israeli policy in the territoriesThe boycott motion will be brought to a vote at the annual conference of the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education (NATFHE) to be held May 27-29(Ha'aretz)

    See also The Need to Boycott Israel - Bradley Burston
Specifics aside, the new boycott proposal tells us more than we want to know about the people who feel the need to propose itMore than anything, it tells us that for them, it doesn't really matter what Israel is, or does.
    There's now a democratically elected Palestinian government whose ruling party's platform endorses the extermination of the Jewish state and continued terrorism against Israeli civiliansThe Palestinians are still shelling Israel with Kassam rockets, up to eight a dayThey're still blowing up innocent people at felafel stands in Tel AvivBut Israel must be punished(Ha'aretz)


·  Iran's Jews Face Growing Climate of Fear - Annette Young
Since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came to power last June, life for Iran's 25,000 Jews has become even more precarious as the president defiantly pursues a nuclear policy while declaring Israel should be "wiped off the world map."Every Iranian Jew who had the financial possibility or courage has already left, but there's still a small but flourishing community," said Israeli broadcaster Menashe Amir, who moved to Israel in 1959 and has been broadcasting for 46 years in Farsi for Israeli state radio"While there are Jewish schools, the principals and most of the teachers are Muslim, the Bible is taught in Farsi, not in Hebrew, and the schools are forced to open on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath," Amir said"So while the regime declares that there is freedom of religion, it is all just for the sake of appearances.(Scotland on Sunday)


·  Israel: A Model for Democracy in the Middle East - Joseph Bauer and Bob Feferman
In its 58th year, Israel is still facing serious threats to its very existenceThe president of Iran has threatened to "wipe Israel off the map.Palestinian terrorism is still a daily threat to Israeli citizens as the Palestinian Authority headed by Hamas refuses to accept Israel's right to existYet despite these dangers, America's embattled ally, Israel, serves as a model of democracyJoseph Bauer is a professor of law at the University of Notre Dame and Bob Feferman teaches history at The Montessori Academy. (South Bend Tribune)


The Perils of Engagement with Iran - Amir Taheri (Wall Street Journal)

  • Something interesting is happening with regard to the crisis over Iran's nuclear ambitionsSlowly the blame is shifting from the mullahs to the Bush administration as the debate is redirected to tackle the hypothetical question of U.S. military action rather than the Islamic Republic's real misdeeds.
  • What the U.S. needs is an open, honest, and exhaustive debate on what to do with a regime that claims a mission to drive the U.S. out of the Middle East, wipe Israel off the map, create an Islamic superpower, and conquer the world for "The Only True Faith."
  • The options are clear: retreat and let the Islamic Republic advance its goals; resist and risk confrontation, including military conflict; or engage the Islamic Republic in a mini-version of Cold War until, worn out, it self-destructs.
  • Calling for talks is just cheap talkIt is important to say what the proposed talks should be aboutIn the meantime, talk of "constructive engagement" is sure to encourage President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's intransigenceWhy should he slow down, let alone stop, when there are no bumps on the road?





Israel: Myths and Facts



MYTH #218

"Israel’s demands for defensible borders are unrealistic in an era of ballistic missiles and long-range bombers capable of crossing vast amounts of territory in minutes."


History shows that aerial attacks have never defeated a nationCountries are only conquered by troops occupying landOne example of this was Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, in which the latter nation was overrun and occupied in a matter of hoursThough the multinational force bombed Iraq for close to six weeks, Kuwait was not liberated until the Allied troops marched into that country in the war’s final daysDefensible borders are those that would prevent or impede such a ground assault.

Israel’s return to its pre-1967 borders, which the Arab states want to reimpose, would sorely tempt potential aggressors to launch attacks on the Jewish State — as they did routinely before 1967Israel would lose the extensive system of early-warning radars it has set up in the hills of Judea and SamariaWere a hostile neighbor then to seize control of these mountains, its army could split Israel in two: From there, it is only about 15 miles — without any major geographic obstacles — to the Mediterranean.

At their narrowest point, these 1967 lines are within 9 miles of the Israeli coast, 11 miles from Tel Aviv, 10 from Beersheba, 21 from Haifa and one foot from Jerusalem.

To defend Jerusalem, the U.S. Joint Chiefs concluded in a 1967 report to the Secretary of Defense, Israel would need to have its border “positioned to the east of the city” (Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, June 29, 1967).

Control over the Jordan River Valley is also critical to Israeli security because it “forms a natural security barrier between Israel and Jordan, and effectively acts as an anti-tank ditch,” military analyst Anthony Cordesman noted“This defensive line sharply increases the amount of time Israel has to mobilize and its ability to ensure control over the West Bank in the event of a war.” He added that sacrificing control over the routes up to the heights above the West Bank makes it more difficult for the IDF to deploy and increases the risk of Jordanian, Syrian, or Palestinian forces deploying on the heights (Anthony Cordesman, “Escalating to Nowhere: The Israeli-Palestinian War - Fighting and Failed Peace Efforts,” DC: CSIS, August 22, 2003).

Even in the era of ballistic missiles, strategic depth mattersThe Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, an Israeli think tank considered dovish, concluded: “Early-warning stations and the deployment of surface-to-air missile batteries can provide the time needed to sound an air-raid alert, and warn the population to take shelter from a missile attackThey might even allow enemy missiles to be intercepted in mid-flight…As long as such missiles are armed with conventional warheads, they may cause painful losses and damage, but they cannot decide the outcome of a war” (Israel's Options for Peace, Tel Aviv: The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, 1989, pp. 171-72).

This article can be found at

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




Washington Post: Friday, May 5, 2006; Charles Krauthammer


"Never Again ?"


When something happens for the first time in 1,871 years, it is worth notingIn A.D. 70, and again in 135, the Roman Empire brutally put down Jewish revolts in Judea, destroying Jerusalem, killing hundreds of thousands of Jews and sending hundreds of thousands more into slavery and exileFor nearly two millennia, the Jews wandered the world. And now, in 2006, for the first time since then, there are once again more Jews living in Israel -- the successor state to Judea -- than in any other place on Earth.


Israel's Jewish population has just passed 5.6 millionAmerica's Jewish population was about 5.5 million in 1990, dropped to about 5.2 million 10 years later and is in a precipitous decline that, because of low fertility rates and high levels of assimilation, will cut that number in half by mid-century.


When 6 million European Jews were killed in the Holocaust, only two main centers of Jewish life remained: America and IsraelThat binary star system remains today, but a tipping point has just been reachedWith every year, as the Jewish population continues to rise in Israel and decline in America (and in the rest of the Diaspora), Israel

increasingly becomes, as it was at the time of Jesus, the center of the Jewish world.


An epic restoration, and one of the most improbableTo take just one of the remarkable achievements of the return: Hebrew is the only "dead" language in recorded history to have been brought back to daily use as the living language of a nationBut there is a price and a danger to this transformationIt radically alters the prospects for Jewish survival.


For 2,000 years, Jews found protection in dispersion -- protection not for individual communities, which were routinely persecuted and massacred, but protection for the Jewish people as a wholeDecimated here, they could survive thereThey could be persecuted in Spain and find refuge in ConstantinopleThey could be massacred in the Rhineland during the Crusades or in the Ukraine during the Khmelnytsky Insurrection of 1648-49 and yet survive in the rest of Europe.


Hitler put an end to that illusionHe demonstrated that modern anti-Semitism married to modern technology -- railroads, disciplined bureaucracies, gas chambers that kill with industrial efficiency -- could take a scattered people and "concentrate" them for annihilation.


The establishment of Israel was a Jewish declaration to a world that had allowed the Holocaust to happen -- after Hitler had made his intentions perfectly clear -- that the Jews would henceforth resort to self-protection and self-reliance. And so they have, building a Jewish army, the first in 2,000 years, that prevailed in three great wars of

survival (1948-49, 1967 and 1973)But in a cruel historical irony, doing so required concentration -- putting all the eggs back in one basket, a tiny territory hard by the

Mediterranean, eight miles wide at its waist. A tempting target for those who would finish Hitler's work.


His successors now reside in TehranThe world has paid ample attention to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's declaration that Israel must be destroyedLess attention has been paid to Iranian leaders' pronouncements on exactly how Israel would be "eliminated by one storm," as Ahmadinejad has promised.


Former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the presumed moderate of this gang, has explained that "the use of a nuclear bomb in Israel will leave nothing on the ground, whereas it will only damage the world of Islam.The logic is impeccable, the intention clear: A nuclear attack would effectively destroy tiny Israel, while any retaliation launched by a dying Israel would have no major effect on an Islamic civilization of a billion people stretching from Mauritania to Indonesia.


As it races to acquire nuclear weapons, Iran makes clear that if there is any trouble, the Jews will be the first to suffer"We have announced that wherever [in IranAmerica does make any mischief, the first place we target will be Israel," said Gen. Mohammad Ebrahim Dehghani, a top Revolutionary Guards commanderHitler was only slightly more direct when he announced seven months before invading Poland that, if there was another war, "the result will be . . . the annihilation of the Jewish

race in Europe."


Last week Bernard Lewis, America's dean of Islamic studies, who just turned 90 and remembers the 20th century well, confessed that for the first time he feels it is 1938 againHe did not need to add that in 1938, in the face of the gathering storm -- a fanatical, aggressive, openly declared enemy of the West, and most determinedly of the Jews -- the world did nothing.


When Iran's mullahs acquire their coveted nukes in the next few years, the number of Jews in Israel will just be reaching 6 million.


Never again?






Cantor Littman will be participating in a concert of this area’s “Gen X Cantors,” on Tuesday, May 16 at Congregation Agudath Sholom at 7:00.




Women of the Book


There has been some confusion about the Women of the Book meeting May 16, 2006.  The book that will be discussed is The Gilded Chamber by Rebecca Kohl.  The discussion of this book was postponed from March 21, 2006.  The book originally scheduled The Singing Fire by Lillian Nattel will not be discussed.


We apologize for any problems this confusion may have caused.





Hudson Valley Branch

Women's League for Conservative Judaism Honors

Outstanding Sisterhood Members of 2006 and

Installation Ceremony of Ilene Kirschner Madwed

as Branch President



On Sunday, May 21st, Temple Beth El will host this year’s Hudson Valley Branch Women’s League Annual Conference.  Please join us for a thoughtful and educational program, moderated by Roni Lang, entitled, “Dutiful Daughters/Maxed Out Moms.”  The afternoon program begins at 2:00 p.m. with a $5 suggested donation, open to the entire community.  Study sessions and minha services to follow.

    At 6:00 p.m. please join us for a very special Awards Ceremony and Banquet when Ilene Kirschner Madwed will follow in Norma Mann’s footsteps to become the President of the Branch.  Ilene is a Sisterhood Past President and has been active on the Branch Board for several years.  Sisterhood members only will be receiving an invitation to this special evening, watch your mail for more detailsThe dinner is $36.  RSVP by May 8th.  Call Ellen Gordon at 968-8029 for more information.


Ilene Kirschner Madwed is a certified Business and Math teacher and is interested in numbers-so let’s go over some of HER numbers. . .


26: # of Sisterhood “affiliates” in the Hudson Valley Branch of Women’s League of which our Temple is a part.


15: # of years Ilene has been a Sisterhood member.


1996: Year in which Ilene served as President of our Sisterhood.


1: As in #1 position she will assume as President of the Hudson Valley Branch.


        Ilene first became involved in the Regional Branch when she attended events as Beth El’s representative in 1996.  She was intensely affected by the energy and excitement of the workshops and activities and found a strong mentor in the Branch president.  Now 10+ years later, she wants to share her experience and expertise.  As President, she hopes to visit all 26 affiliates and act as a catalyst for strengthening programs and nourishing Jewish women’s identity.


        The whole Madwed family is busy with Temple and community life.  Ilene has an M.S. in Business Education and now works at the JCC as the Membership and Special Projects Associate (egZahal Shalom).  Many of our kids know Bert, her husband, who is in his 13th year as Jr. Congregation Leader.  They have three children: Dana, a Sophomore at Syracuse University; Daniel, a Junior at Westhill High School and a championship butterfly swimmer; and Andrew, a 7th grader at Scofield Magnet Middle School.


        We congratulate Ilene and wish her much success as President!  Please join Sisterhood  for a stimulating and exciting day on May 21st as people gather once again, to continue our roles as “Keepers of the Flames.”


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**







    How many of us find ourselves today caring for an aging parent, juggling our children’s and family’s schedules and running the house, while desperately trying to find time for ourselves?

    A unique program is being offered in our community, dedicated to women of the “Sandwich Generation.”

    Facilitated by professionals:  Roni Lang, Betsy Stone, Isrella Knopf, Netta Stern, Susan R. Greenwald, Susan Sirlin and Rabbi Selilah Kalev, in the field of elder care and family issues, topics will include how to best take care of an elderly or infirm parent and what can be done at the same time to nurture one’s self.

    The program is being co-sponsored by Jewish Family Service and the Sisterhood of Temple Beth El.  It will take place, here, at Temple Beth El on Sunday, May 21st from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.  Doors open at 1:45 p.m.

    Join us when we discuss the various aspects of the relationship between adult daughters and their elderly parents with the goal of becoming more knowledgeable, self-confident, and directed so that you may plan a more certain future with your parents.





Save the date – 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?”


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!


(from my sister)


One Sunday morning, the pastor noticed little Alex standing in the
foyer of the church staring up at a large plaqueIt was covered
with names with small American flags mounted on either side of it.

The seven year old had been staring at the plaque for some time, so
the pastor walked up, stood beside the little boy, and said
quietly, "Good morning Alex."

"Good morning Pastor," he replied, still focused on the plaque.  
"Pastor, what is this?" he asked the pastor.

The pastor said, "Well, son, it's a memorial to all the young men
and women who died in the service."

Soberly, they just stood together, staring at the large plaque.  
Finally, little Alex's voice, barely audible and trembling with
fear, asked "Which service, the 8:30 or the 10:45?


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

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

No comments: