Saturday, May 6, 2006

May 6, 2006 – Iyar 8, 5766





May 6, 2006 – Iyar 8, 5766




Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut



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Contents of the Shabbat O Gram:

(Click to scroll down)


Just the Facts (service schedule)

The Rabid Rabbi

Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunities

Ask the Rabbi

Spiritual Journey on the Web   

Required Reading and Action Items (links to key articles on Israel and Jewish life)

 Announcements (goings on in and around TBE)

Joke for the Week



Quote for the Week


 “There is no other day of the year where our hearts beat as one as on this day; there is no genuine unity which can compare to that expressed so intensely as on Remembrance Day with a force that encompasses every soul in IsraelI know there are no words which I can say to ease your pain, but I commit myself to you… I will do all that I can to strengthen the security of the State of Israel, and put us on the path to peace.”


—Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, speaking at the Yom Hazikaron ceremony at Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery(Jerusalem Post, May 1)





Friday Evening 

Candle lighting: 7:36pm on Friday,- Havdalah is at 8:35 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)


Tot Shabbat featuring - 6:45, in the sanctuary

Tot Shabbat will be hosted this week by Jackie and David Herman, in honor of their children, Nathaniel and Douglas.   Both children attend Sara Walker. 


Attention Tot Shabbat hosts:  You are encouraged to bring a special decoration with you (including pictures, children’s drawings, etc.) to help commemorate your special event.


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 – Mazal tov to Annie Cohen and Yonatan Karas, who will become B’nai Mitzvah this Shabbat morning! 


Children’s services: 10:30

Torah Portion:  Achare Mot – Kedoshim - Leviticus 16:1 - 20:27

1: 17:8-12
2: 17:13-16
3: 18:1-5
4: 18:6-21
5: 18:22-30
6: 19:1-3
7: 19:4-14
maf: 19:11-14

Haftarah for Ashkenazim: Amos 9:7 - 9:15
Haftarah for Sephardim: Ezekiel 20:2 - 20:20


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:




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The Rabid Rabbi



Israel at 58

Excerpts from my sermon from last Shabbat



          So Israel turns 58 this week.  The Hebrew letters equaling 58 are nun and het – “nach.”  - REST - With a government not yet formed, a fence not yet finished, borders not yet finalized and neighbors not yet friendly, this is hardly a time for Israel to be at rest.  Israel is still at a stage of “not yet.”


          How ironic it is that the prayer for Israel in some traditional prayerbooks speaks of it as the “dawn of our deliverance.”  We’ve been waiting at dawn for 58 years and the sun still has not come up.  The haftarah for Rosh Hodesh chanted just a few moments ago reminds us that our situation is not a unique on in Jewish history.  It is a magnificent message of comfort and hope, spoken by Isaiah during the Babylonian exile of the 6th century BCE.  


          Chapter 66, Verse 13: “As a mother comforts her son, so will I comfort you;

you shall find comfort in Jerusalem.  And verse 14: You shall see and your heart shall rejoice, your limbs shall flourish like grass.”

During the archaeological excavations that were carried out near the Temple Mount, an inscription was discovered on a stone of the Western WallIt turned out to be from Isaiah (66:14): "You shall see and your heart shall rejoice, your limbs shall flourish like grass.Although it is impossible to date the inscription with certainty, it was probably meant to express the enthusiasm that seized the Jews when the Emperor Julian the Apostate (r. 361-363 CE) decided to rebuild the Temple.  Julian (called the Apostate by Christians because he restored paganism, wanted to uproot Christianity, and rebuilding the Temple was part of his strategy to do just that. He wrote to the Jewish community: "I too shall build and populate, by my efforts, after I successfully conclude my war against the Persians, the holy city of Jerusalem, which for many years you have yearned to see settled by yourselves, and together with you I shall give glory to the very great God."


The inscription on the Western Wall may well have reflected the joyous prospect that the Temple would be rebuilt.   Alas, the project was suspended after a fire that broke out at the site, and a month later Julian was killed in battle.  His never came to fruition.


I’ve seen that graffiti many times, most recently last summer, when our group actually prayed under it, since it is located in that southwestern corner of the kotel adjacent to what is now called Robinson’s arch.  And each time I look at it, I think of the joy those workers must have felt – and how devastated they must have been at Julian’s quick demise.  They would have been even more devastated had they known that only a few centuries later there would be a new religion, Islam, that would build a shrine, the Dome of the Rock would be built on that very spot, and that it would take 17 centuries for the Jewish people to regain control over that holy place, but that the temple itself would not be rebuilt.


Compared to 17 centuries, 58 years is not a long time to be lingering at dawn, not a long time of “not yet.”  Things are not yet perfect, but they are not so horrible either.  Yes, the Iranian president speaks openly about incinerating Israel, and the west seems powerless to stop them.  And yes, anti-Semitism seems to be reaching pandemic levels again – I saw a film documentary this week called “Protocols of Zion,” describing the far reaching impact of that infamous anti-Semitic tract created likely by the Czar’s propagandists in the late 19th century, leading up to the outlandish rumors of Jewish involvement in 9/11.  It ostensibly shows how the Jews want to take over the world.  The protocols are a best seller again, and in the Arab world they are treated as gospel.  Things are pretty bad when there are games online where you have to kill Jews to reach the third level.  One such game was forwarded to me by Jonathan Ostroff and I put the link in yesterday’s  Shabbat-O- Gram.


But how horrible can things be for the Jews, when doctors in Africa have discovered that, amazingly what’s the latest thing in AIDS prevention?  Circumcision!  We knew it all along!  I can just see it now.  Mohels without borders!  These big UN vans pull up to a refugee camp in Zimbabwe and out steps a phalanx of little old men with beards, carrying a kiddush cup and a knife.  Of course, the conspiracy theorists will say that this is just another indication of the Jewish desire to take over the world.  (Insert tasteless bris joke here)(nahh!)


No, things aren’t so horrible at all, not even in “not yet” Israel.  Last week Wil Smith, the actor and rapper emerged from the Kotel tunnels to give Atir Cohen, a bar mitzvah boy at the Wall, the surprise of HIS life.  I’m sure when Smith came down to the Plaza filled with Ultra Orthodox Jews he must have felt he was filming a sequel to “Men in Black.”  Yes, Israel has become a hip destination again.  Sharon Stone visited the holy stones the week before.


Ari Shavit, a commentator for Ha’aretz, describes Israel on the eve of its 58th birthday in this way: Israel is a state, which possesses rare strengthsThere is no need to dwell on its military strengthNor is its economic strength hidden from viewYet what has been proved in the past five years is also that Israeli society is a very strong societyIn the Sharon era, Israel dispelled the contention that it is a society of spider websFaced with the trial of terror, Israelis displayed an almost British fortitudeFaced with the challenge of the disengagement, Israelis proved there is much more that unites them than divides themBetween the Passover massacre in Netanya in 2002 and the present Passover, Israeli vitality outdid both Palestinian fanaticism and Jewish fanaticismIt stood up to the terror, rebuffed death and eliminated messianismIt not only proved the strength of Israeli life, but created a situation that could be termed a victory of life.


True, Israel of 2006 is a strategic powerBut even more so, Israel 2006 is a power of dynamism and productivityThe birthrate - even that of secular Israelis - is one of the highest in the WestThe rate of creation of Israeli high-tech companies is apparently the highest in the worldBusiness entrepreneurship is unparalleledThe arts and culture scene is unimaginably intenseNightlife is bustling; life is flowing in the streetsSo much so that the entire country at times seems like a sort of colossal generator of unstoppable energyEven in its 58th year, Israel is a quintessential state of springA state of creativity and passion. A state that the more it is tormented, the more it flourishes and springs forth.”


Last week, when a terror attack in Tel Aviv shattered the illusion of quiet in the middle of Pesach, the country did not come to a standstill.  Israelis have learned to live with the terror –with the operative word being “live.”


And so, on this week of Yom Ha-atzmaut, we think of those workers at the wall who inscribed that verse from Isaiah: You shall see and your heart shall rejoice, your limbs shall flourish like grass.”


            These words were recited by Ross and Billie today, and our hearts DID rejoice.   We are living at a truly remarkable time, one that those workers 1700 years ago never could have imagined.  The Jewish people have been reborn, in our homeland.  That fact has happened – nothing “not yet” about it.  We can’t rest on our laurels in this year of Nach – but we can rest assured that Isaiah’s vision, and the dream of these workers, has already been fulfilled.



Independence Day 2006: 7 Million Israelis
On the eve of Israel's 58th Independence Day, the Israeli population stands at 7,026,000, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics5,333,000 are Jews (76%), 306,000 (4%) are new immigrants and their families who are not registered as Jews, and 1,387,000 are Arab (20%)During the past year 138,000 births were recorded and 21,000 new immigrants arrived(Ynet News)








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


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


Lock of Love

Todah Rabah to Rebecca Satz, the latest Temple Beth El Locks of Love Donor! 

Rebecca just couldn’t wait until Sunday May 7 when Beth El Cares will be hosting another group donation

for children and teens to cut their hair for “Locks of Love”.  If your hair is 10” or longer (in a ponytail),

join us on Sunday May 7.

Guy Sasson & Company will be coming to Temple Beth El to start haircuts at 12:00 noon (right after Religious School).

Advance sign-up is required.  Mother and daughter teams will be accepted-Cathy will volunteer to “adopt a daughter” for her team!


Contact Cathy Satz to schedule your appointment.


Cathy Satz     968-9191  (

Cheryl Wolff 968-6361  (



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!    




Spiritual Journey on the Web



Or go to









Judaism and Cremation, Part 2


Following last week’s q and a on cremation, I had this e-mail exchange with congregant Michael Swartz (who’s Hebrew name is Akiva), that helps to “flesh out” the matter (oy) even more.  With his permission, I reprint it here.


From: Michael Swartz
Hi Rabbi

Thank you for the "Ask the Rabbi" question this week -- it's a  question I have difficulty with tooAnd you made me think about it  quite a bit... (a good thingMy thoughts on the subject are coming more from an environmental  concern:

How can we continuously bury the dead?

Is it sustainable?

Wouldn't G-d want us to "recycle"?

Won't we one day run out of room?

Everything will turn to dust eventually, so does it really matter if  we cremate or not?

There's an interesting book I read in the library years ago called  "God's Junkyard" (or something like that) -- and it speaks of how our  great open spaces are being flattened for various human endeavors.  It seems to me that you can still honor the dead in other ways --  whilst honoring the living and the earth at the same time.

One more thing: If we are to be humble before G-d, why would we leave  markers-- Which, essentially, proclaim our egos for posterity... And one final question: Besides common law, is there any Jewish law  that says you can't be buried anywhere else but a cemeteryThis is heavy stuff -- I'm going to have to think about it some more...




Hi Keev

I've often thought about the environmental impact - more so when burying holy books rather than recycling them .  When we bury people, at least the decomposed nutrients enter the soil and help to "push up daisies," as the saying goes.  There's a big difference in my mind between that and ash, where the energy is expended, burned, and goes up in smoke.  The space issue is problematic if you are driving through Queens, but I don't think we'll run out of room.  Think of Israel, and how most of the remains from the Roman period are many yards below the current ground level.  The earth itself has ways of shifting the sands of time to eliminate the problem.  But I admit that it won't make Queens look any better anytime soon.


For me, the smokestacks of Auschwitz remain the indelible image that just eclipses everything else.


As for other locales of burial, there are differing opinions about above ground burial as well as stacking beneath the ground and burial at sea.  In the talmudic era, most tombs were in caves.  But in-ground burial is the form that is universally accepted now.


This is a fascinating, if morose topicThanks for commenting. 







Required Reading and Action Items




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


This was circulated this week by our community educator, Ilana De Laney.


The Middle East has been growing date palms for centuriesThe average tree is about 18-20 feet tall and yields about 38 pounds of dates a year.
Israeli date trees are now yielding 400 pounds/year and are short enough to be harvested from the ground or a short ladder.

Israel, the 100th smallest country, with less than 1/1000th of the world's population, can lay claim to the following:

The cell phone was developed in Israel by Israelis working in the Israeli branch of Motorola, which has its largest development center in Israel.
Most of the Windows NT and XP operating systems were developed by Microsoft-Israel.
The Pentium MMX Chip technology was designed in Israel at Intel.
Both the Pentium-4 microprocessor and the Centering processor were entirely designed, developed and produced in Israel.
The Pentium microprocessor in your computer was most likely made in Israel.

Voice mail technology was developed in Israel.
Both Microsoft and Cisco built their only R&D facilities outside the US in Israel.
The technology for the AOL Instant Messenger ICQ was developed in 1996 by four young Israelis.
Israel has the fourth largest air force in the world (after the U.S, Russia and China)In addition to a large variety of other aircraft, Israel's air force has an aerial arsenal of over 250 F-16'sThis is the largest fleet of F-16 aircraft outside of the U. S.
Israel's $100 billion economy is larger than all of its immediate neighbors combined.

Israel has the highest percentage in the world of home computers per capita.
According to industry officials, Israel designed the airline industry's most impenetrable flight security.  US officials now look (finally) to Israel for advice on how to handle airborne security threats.
Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.
Israel produces more scientific papers per capita than any other nation by a large margin - 109 per 10,000 people --as well as one of the highest per capita rates of patents filed.

In proportion to its population, Israel has the largest number of startup companies in the worldIn absolute terms, Israel has the largest number of startup companies than any other country in the world, except the U.S. (3,500 companies mostly in hi-tech).

With more than 3,000 high-tech companies and startups, Israel has the highest concentration of hi-tech companies in the world -- apart from the Silicon Valley, U. S.

Israel is ranked #2 in the world for venture capital funds right behind the U. S.

Outside the United States and CanadaIsrael has the largest number of NASDAQ listed companies.
Israel has the highest average living standards in the Middle East.

The per capita income in 2000 was over $17,500, exceeding that of the UK.
On a per capita basis, Israel has the largest number of biotech startups.

Twenty-four per cent of Israel's workforce holds university degrees, ranking third in the industrialized world, after the United States and Holland and 12 per cent hold advanced degrees.
Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East.
In 1984 and 1991, Israel airlifted a total of 22,000 Ethiopian Jews (Operation Solomon) at Risk in Ethiopia, to safety in Israel.
When Golda Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel in 1969, she became the world's second elected female leader in modern times.
When the U. S. Embassy in NairobiKenya was bombed in 1998, Israeli rescue teams were on the scene within a day -- and saved three victims from the rubble.
Israel has the third highest rate of entrepreneurship -- and the highest rate among women and among people over 55 - in the world.
Relative to its population, Israel is the largest immigrant-absorbing nation on earthImmigrants come in search of
democracy, religious freedom, and economic opportunity(Hundreds of thousands from the former Soviet Union)

Israel was the first nation in the world to adopt the Kimberly process, an international standard that certifies diamonds as "conflict free."
Israel has the world's second highest per capita of new books.
Israel is the only country in the world that entered the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, made more remarkable because this was achieved in an area considered mainly desert.
Israel has more museums per capita than any other country.
Medicine... Israeli scientists developed the first fully computerized, no-radiation, diagnostic instrumentation for breast cancer.

An Israeli company developed a computerized system for ensuring proper administration of medications, thus removing human error from medical treatmentEvery year in U. S. hospitals 7,000 patients die from
treatment mistakes.
Israel's Givun Imaging developed the first ingestible video camera, so small it fits inside a pillUsed to view the small intestine from the inside, cancer and digestive disorders.
Researchers in Israel developed a new device that directly helps the heart pump blood, an innovation with the potential to save lives among those with heart failureThe new device is synchronized with the camera helps doctors diagnose heart's mechanical operations through a sophisticated system of sensors.
Israel leads the world in the number of scientists and technicians in the workforce, with 145 per 10,000, as opposed to 85 in the U. S., over 70 in Japan, and less than 60 in GermanyWith over 25% of its work force employed in technical professionsIsrael places first in this category as well.
A new acne treatment developed in Israel, the Clear Light device, produces a high-intensity, ultraviolet-light-free, narrow-band blue light that causes acne bacteria to self-destruct -- all without damaging surrounding skin or tissue.
An Israeli company was the first to develop and install a large-scale solar-powered and fully functional electricity generating plant, in southern California's Mojave desert.

All the above while engaged in regular wars with an implacable enemy that seeks its destruction, and an economy continuously under strain by having to spend more per capita on its own protection than any other county on earth.
Israel has the highest ratio of university degrees to the population in the world.

THE STATE OF ISRAEL.. .continues to EXCEL! Happy Birthday IsraelJ.

From Beth Boyer: “
Linking Tehran and Tel Aviv”  Hossein Derakhshan, a 31-year-old Iranian internet activist, writes about his first visit to Israel



now for the rest


Thanks to Marilyn Rodwin for forwarding this moving memorial to an Israeli soldier on the week of Yom Hazikaron  


·  Iran's Latest - Editorial
A funny thing happened on the way to the Iranian bomb: The more alarming the mullahs' behavior, the more nonchalant the rest of the world seems to be about itIsraeli intelligence reported last week that Iran has purchased an upgraded version of the Soviet SS-6 ballistic missile from North Korea, which is capable of carrying a nuclear payload and has a range of about 1,600 miles, putting parts of Europe well within range.
    And the international community's responseRussia and China, both veto-wielding members of the Security Council, are adamantly opposed to UN sanctions on IranIn Europe, British Foreign Minister Jack Straw has reportedly told cabinet colleagues that it would be "illegal" for Britain to participate in any prospective military action against Iran.
    Last week, Ayatollah Ali KhameneiIran's supreme leader, offered to share the nuclear genie with visiting Sudanese President Omar al-BashirMr. Bashir, whose government abets the massacre of Darfuris, says Sudan could use a nuclear reactor to generate electricityHow so many apparently thoughtful people can face the idea of an Iranian bomb with relative equanimity remains a mystery to us(Wall Street Journal, 3May06)


·  Spare the Rod, Spoil the Peace - J. Peter Pham and Michael I. Krauss
Legally and morally, neither the U.S. nor Europe owes the Palestinians any assistance - much less hundreds of millions of dollars worth on a continuing basisThere are plenty of needy causes to which to devote the scarce humanitarian resources of our overburden governments: Darfurians subject to a genocidal campaign by an Islamist government, Congolese trying to recover from "Africa's World War," Tibetans sitting in exile in India, etcThe only justification for our governments' paying good money to the PA is our national interest in a stable Middle East - and we are hardly getting our money's worthMichael I. Krauss is professor of law at George Mason University School of LawJ. Peter Pham is director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University. (TCS Daily)


·  Three Myths about Islam - Edward N. Luttwak
The only reason the continuity of Muslim aggression is news to some is because until recently almost all Muslim countries were under European colonial rule or subjected to European protectoratesWith de-colonialization, the violence resumedIt has now reached virtually all places where Muslims are in contact with non-Muslims, so that there are almost daily reports of outrages from NigeriaSudan, and Egypt in Africa; from Iraq (Christians are fleeing the country), Israel, and Lebanon in the Middle East; from IndiaThailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia.
    Timor-Leste, by the way, happens to be mostly Christian, but because it was liberated from the domination of Muslim-ruled Indonesia, it is now on the list of Islamic grievances under the Muslim doctrine that any land once ruled by Muslims belongs to Islam forever, even if the population is mostly non-MuslimThat is the doctrine cited by Hamas to claim the whole of Israel, and which other fundamentalists do not hesitate to apply to southern Spain, southeast Europe, and much of southern Ukraine and southeast Russia, among other placesThe writer is a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (New York Sun)



The Gathering Storm over Iran - Nile Gardiner and Joseph Loconte (Boston Globe)

  • In October 1938, in the heat of the crisis over German intervention in Czechoslovakia, Winston Churchill asked: ''Does anyone pretend that preparation for resistance to aggression is unleashing war?...I declare it to be the sole guarantee of peace."
  • The Allies were not prepared to resist German aggression at that crucial momentThe result was a policy of appeasement - the infamous Munich Agreement - which abandoned Czechoslovakia into Nazi hands.
  • In the current standoff with Iran, the West is approaching what can fairly be described as another Munich momentAn Islamo-fascist regime is apparently determined to acquire nuclear weapons, destroy Israel, and extend its radical ideology.
  • What should the U.S. do to avoid another MunichIf the Security Council fails to confront the Iranian threat, America must form an international coalition to disarm the regime, enforcing a range of targeted political and economic sanctionsIt must place the potential use of force squarely on the table.

Nile Gardiner is a fellow at the Heritage Foundation and a former aide to Margaret ThatcherJoseph Loconte is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.



Author A.B. Yehoshua vexes US Jews

At Washington symposium, famed Israeli writer says future of Jewish people rests on Israeli identity alone and not on Judaism; Audience of Diaspora Jews disturbed by comments
Yitzhak Benhorin

WASHINGTON - During a forum on the future of the Jewish people, renowned Israeli author A. B. Yehoshua emphasized his Israeli identity as superior in importance to his Judaism, spurring discomfort and awkwardness among his audience.


“My identity is Israeli,” Yehoshua told participants in a Washington symposium marking a century since the establishment of the American Jewish CommitteeThe author added the Jewish religion does not play a role for him and said the territory and language is what creates his identity as an Israeli.


During the forum held in the United States Library of Congress building, the Israeli author purported that the past 100 years were a failure in terms of the development of the Jewish peopleHe argued that one’s identity is crafted by his environment and the land he lives inA Jewish Israeli is not the same thing as a Jewish Frenchman; every Jew has an identity linked to the territory he lives in, Yehoshua saidWhoever sits in Israel and daily makes dozens of fateful and relevant decisions for the continued existence of the Jews, he is the one ensuring continuity, he added.


Leon Wieseltier, literary editor of the New Republic, rejected Yehoshua’s statementsYehoshua is taking the concept “Jewish” and narrowing it down to mean just Israeli, Wieseltier saidThe concept of Judaism existed long before Israel was established.


"There is Jewish religion, Jewish culture, Jewish literature, texts that have been with us form 3,000 years," he argued“Why do you insist on narrowing it down to Israeliness?”.


The audience in the auditorium was astonished by Yehoshua’s statements, and a few of the panelists and guests referred to the tireless contributions and efforts of American Jews towards the State of Israel in rejecting Yehoshua’s statements.


The panel moderator, news anchor Ted Koppel, was also ruffled by the comments and told Yehoshua that the great contributions of Diaspora Jews to the continuity of the Jews as a people could not be disregarded.


"There is something very very special, universal and easily identifiable among all Jews; it is beyond territory, it is something we all have in common," Koppel said.


Executive Director of the AJC David Harris described Yehoshua as very impassioned, but subscribing to a classical Zionist viewpoint which considers the Diaspora as marginal and irrelevant to the future of the Jewish people.


Yehoshua was not granted much support by the audience, Harris saidOn the contrary, he pointed out, many in the audience were insulted by his words, which cancel out their own role in helping to shape Judaism’s future.


The AJC’s yearly forum opened Monday in Washington, hosting speakers from 52 countries and culminates in a gala ball on Thursday, to be attended by United States President George Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan



More on the JTS selection of Arnold Eisen as its new chancellor


Also, this from “Sh’ma: A Journal of Jewish Responsibility

Sh’ma congratulates Arnie Eisen on his appointment as the seventh Chancellor of The Jewish Theological SeminaryA long standing Contributing Editor of Sh’maArnie’s most recent essay for the journal, “The Tension between Normalcy and Covenant,” appeared in our award winning issue commemorating the 350th anniversary of Jewish Life in America (October 2004)In the essay he writes about the ways Jews can “do good” in America and elsewhereHe writes: "God suffers at the suffering of God’s children, and demands that we do something about itBut how did both Heschel and King become so certain that God wanted them to oppose the war in VietnamEven were all of us wise, discerning, old with experience, and learned in the Torah, it would still be incumbent upon us to debate what God and Torah (let alone the imperatives of Jewish history and community) require of Jews in such a situationThe answer would not be obvious.

“We dare not let that difficulty silence us where our public agenda is concerned, just as we cannot and do not permit our inability to agree on many other Jewish and general matters stop us from living as Jewish human beingsThe point is to work these disputes out inside diverse and overlapping communities of Jews, each of which is determined to build a just world with God in its midst.”

To read more of this essay, visit www.shma.comAlso on our website is an ongoing blog on the future of Conservative Judaism, selected essays from our March issue on pluralism, an audio recording of a panel discussion with founding Editor Eugene Borowitz on the history of Sh’ma, and our interactive Talmud page Nish’ma—this month an artistic visual image.



Israel: Myths and Facts

MYTH #217

"Palestinians have the right to sell land to Jews."


In 1996, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Mufti, Ikremah Sabri, issued a fatwa (religious decree), banning the sale of Arab and Muslim property to JewsAnyone who violated the order was to be killedAt least seven land dealers were killed that yearSix years later, the head of the PA’s General Intelligence Service in the West Bank, General Tawfik Tirawi, admitted his men were responsible for the murders (Jerusalem Post, August 19, 2002).

On May 5, 1997, Palestinian Authority Justice Minister Freih Abu Middein announced that the death penalty would be imposed on anyone convicted of ceding “one inch” to IsraelLater that month, two Arab land dealers were killedPA officials denied any involvement in the killingsA year later, another Palestinian suspected of selling land to Jews was murderedThe PA has also arrested suspected land dealers for violating the Jordanian law (in force in the West Bank), which prohibits the sale of land to foreigners (State Department. Human Rights Report for the Occupied Territories, 1997, 1998).

During the Palestinian War, few, if any Palestinians tried to sell land to Jews, but the prohibition remained in effectNow that the war is over, the persecutions have begun againIn April 2006, Muhammad Abu al-Hawa was tortured and murdered because allegedly sold an apartment building in Israel's capital city to JewsSince the Mufti forbade Muslims accused of selling land to Jews from being buried in a Muslim cemetery, al-Hawa was laid to rest in a makeshift cemetery on the road between Jerusalem and Jericho (Jerusalem Post, April 18, 2006).

This article can be found at

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




Learning and Latte

At Borders

The topic for the session:, Jesus and Muhammad, will carry over May 9 at 7:30

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


“Spirituality, Religion, Ethnicity and Identity:

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



Thanks to David Arditti for forwarding this one!


The Great Coffee Debate


A man and his wife were having an argument about who should brew the coffee each morning.


The wife said, "You should do it, because you get up first, and then we don't have to wait as long to get our coffee."


The husband said, "You are in charge of cooking around here and you should do it, because that is your job, and I can just wait for my coffee."


Wife replies, "No, you should do it, and besides, it is in the Bible that the man should do the coffee."


Husband replies, "I can't believe that, show me."


So she fetched the Bible and opened the Old Testament and showed him at the top of several pages, that it indeed says 'HEBREWS.'



Thanks to Beth Boyer for forwarding this beaut


A priest, a Pentecostal preacher, and a Rabbi all served as chaplains to the students of Northern Michigan University in Marquette.  They would get together two or three times a week for coffee and to talk shop.


One day, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn't really all that hardA real challenge would be to preach to a bear.  One thing led to another and they decided to do an experiment .  They would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it, and attempt to convert it


Seven days later, they're all together to discuss the experience.


Father Flannery, who has his arm in a sling, is on crutches, and has various bandages, goes first"Well," he says, "I went into the woods to find me a bearAnd when I found him I began to read to him from the CatechismWell, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me aroundSo I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, Holy Mary Mother of God, he became as gentle a lambThe bishop is coming out next week to give him first communion and



Reverend Billy Bob spoke nextHe was  in a wheelchair with an arm and both legs in castsIn his best fire and brimstone oratory voice he claimed, " WELL brothers, you KNOW that we don't sprinkleI went out and I FOUND me a bearAnd then I began to READ to my bear from God's HOLY WORDBut that bear wanted NOTHING to do with meSo I took HOLD of him and we began to WRESTLEWe wrestled DOWN one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we came to a creekSo I quick DUNKED him and BAPTIZED his hairy soulAnd just like you said, he became as gentle as a lambWe spent the rest of the DAY praising Jesus."


They both looked down at the rabbi, who was lying in a hospital bedHe was in a body cast and traction with IV's and monitors running in and out of him He was in bad shape.


The rabbi looked up and says, "Looking back on it, circumcision may not have been the best way to start."


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

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