Friday, November 17, 2006

November 17-24, 2006 – Heshvan 20-27 5767

November 17-24, 2006 – Heshvan 20-27 5767


Rabbi Joshua HammermanTemple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut


Happy Thanksgiving and Safe Travels to All


As you sit down with your families at the table, pause for a moment to remember how fortunate we are, to be thankful for every moment that we are alive, for the capacity to love and to share.  Say a spontaneous prayer and try to give it a Jewish context - the formula for a blessing would be perfect.  Just begin as we would with any blessing, “Baruch ata Adonai, Elohaynu Melech ha-olam” and then add, in English “we are so thankful for ___.”


Tradition instructs us to try to utter 100 blessings every day, whether spontaneous or not.  Some can be found in the grace after meals (see Birkat Ha-mazon explained in Wikipedia and in the Jewish Virtual Library)  If you would like to add some or all of that beautiful prayer to your Thanksgiving meal, it can be downloaded at Birkat Hamazon [pdf]




Join your fellow community members and volunteer on Super Sunday,

(UJF's community phone-a-thon)

on December 3, 2006.

Register now to volunteer



What do you have in common with people from all these countries?

United States








United Kingdom


Russian Federation






US Military

United Arab Emirates


US Government



South Africa




They are among the thousands who have visited our website over the past two weeks.  Yes, EVEN the United Arab Emirates!  Check out for our extensive library of photo albums, articles, sermons, info about the temple, Shabbat-O-Grams and links to the Jewish world.





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.”


Tapestry 2006


Click here to learn more and to sign up for Tapestry,

a night of adult Jewish Education on November 18, 2006 – THIS WEEKEND!  Cantor Littman and Education Director, Eran Vaisben will be participating, representing TBE, while I have the distinct pleasure of officiating at the wedding of TBE’s own David Miller to Susan Nebenzahl (and Mazal Tov also to David’s parents, Andy and Toby Miller!)


BTW – Adult Ed at TBE is having a banner year.  We had over 30 people at last Saturday night’s Israeli Movie Night showing of “The Syrian Bride,” and around 300 at this week’s Hoffman lecture.  You can still join our Sunday classes and partake in our Synaplex seminars; plus we’ve got two excellent scholars-in-residence coming this winter.  Save the date for the next Israeli Movie Night, Dec. 9.



Contents of the Shabbat O Gram:

(Click to scroll down)


Just the Facts (service schedule)  

The Beth El Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary (new)

The (Occasionally) Ranting 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)

TBE Youth Programming

Joke for the Week



Quote for the Week


“It’s 1938 and Iran is Germany.  And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs. [Ahmadinejad] is preparing another Holocaust for the Jewish state.”—Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuin a speech to delegates at the annual United Jewish Communities General Assembly in Los Angeles Monday.  Speaking to Israeli Army Radio on Tuesday, Netanyahu said, “We must do everything to ensure that [U.S. President] Bush holds to his promises to prevent a [nuclear] armed Iran, but we must also prepare Israel for defending itself should the need arise... Israel has the capability, but if we wait years it will no longer exist… Iran’s goals are global, and we are the first target.  Every month that passes Iran comes closer to its goal.”  In addition, Netanyahu suggested that Israel should file a complaint with the International Court of Justice in the Hague against Iranian President Ahmadinejad, “for his plans to commit genocide,” adding that “We must come together and build a ‘Manhattan Project’ to guarantee that Iran doesn’t arm itself with nuclear weapons.”  (Ha’aretz, Jer. Post, Nov. 14)






Friday Evening 

Candle lighting: 4:17 pm  pm on Friday, 17 November 2006; 4:12 PM next Friday, the 24th.  For candle lighting times, Havdalah 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


Shabbat Evening service: 6:30 PM (both weeks)– in the chapel


Tot Shabbat: 6:45 (this Friday only) – in the lobby.


No Tot Shabbat next Friday night


Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM– on Shabbat, we celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of Zachary Krowitz.  Mazal tov to Zac and to his parents Scott and Liz! 


Children’s services: 10:30 AM – (jr. congregation service in the chapel, Tot Shabbat morning downstairs. 6th and 7th graders are expected to be in the main sanctuary) – on Thanksgiving weekend, only Nurit’s service will be held.  Older children are most welcome in the main service.




Our Torah Reading for Shabbat Morning

Parashat Chayei Sara
פרשת חיי שרה


Genesis 23:1 - 25:18 – The Abraham Saga Continues…Sarah dies, Isaac needs a wife…

1: 24:10-14

Haftarah I Kings 1:1 - 1:31


See a weekly commentary from the UJC Rabbinic Cabinet, at  Read the Masorti commentary at  University of Judaism,  JTS commentary is at: USCJ Torah Sparks can be found at UAHC Shabbat Table Talk discussions are at Other divrei Torah via the Torahnet home page: Test your Parasha I.Q.: CLAL’s Torah commentary archive:  World Zionist Organization Education page, including Nehama Liebowitz archives of parsha commentaries: For a more Kabbalistic/Zionist/Orthodox perspective from Rav Kook, first Chief Rabbi of Israel, go to For some probing questions and meditations on key verses of the portion, with a liberal kabbalistic bent, go to or, for Kabbalistic commentaries from the Zohar itself, go to  Also, try  To see the weekly commentary from Hillel, geared to college students and others, go to For a Jewish Renewal and feminist approach go to .  For a comprehensive Orthodox viewpoint from the Israeli rabbi, Yaakov Fogelman, go to the Torah Outreach Program at  Guided meditations for each portion by Judith Abrams at For online Parsha quizzes from Pardes in Israel, go to Torah for Kids:  Weekly Lesson of Popular Israeli Rabbi Mordechai Elon: - and his parsha sheets:   From Bar Ilan University:




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 day. Your presence any morning is greatly appreciated!

Please sign up at the Rosner Minyan Maker at


The Beth El Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary



Ilana Springer’s Commentary on last week’s portion: VaYera










These are four letters that I have never been allowed to string together and use in my household.  As a young child I did not really understand why I could not use the word, not even when I was describing my feelings towards spinach.  As I have grown up, and now as I accept the responsibilities of being a Bat Mitzvah, it has become much clearer to me why my parents insisted that we not use that term.  You see millions of people have died through out history, and are still dying today, as the result of that word.  With that in mind I decided to focus my mitzvah project on the elimination of hatred locally and hopefully more broadly.


As you have seen today I have chosen to serve as the first Youth Advocate for the No Hate But Harmony program affiliated with my dance school.  Through my support of this program I have come to realize that bullying is a terrible act of hate that can cause all kinds of harm.  I believe that it is something that must be prevented.  I hear about acts of hatred too often and want to stop it.


Hate is something that has always bothered me. When I was six I went with my brother to Rabbi Hammerman’s office because we were very upset about a Pokemon trading card that contained something that looked very similar to a swastika. Paul and I wanted to stand up to this, and were seeking the rabbi’s guidance*.  It turns out that it was not a swastika, but rather backwards and as a result has a whole different meaning to the Japanese, who created Pokemon. This lesson about standing up to hatred in a funny way became a lesson to us on accepting the differences of others.


Speaking of funny, in the torah portion I read from this morning Isaac is born.  Isaac’s name in Hebrew means laughter. While Isaac is still a boy, his brother Ishmael is sent away from his family because he was making fun of Isaac. Actually, that is just Rashi’s view. The torah itself said that Ishmael was Metzachek. That just means that he was playing or having fun but since the word Metzachek is a play on Isaacs name, which is Yitzchak, Rashi and other commentators assumed that he was making fun of Isaac.


It is true that hatred, and its harmful consequences, very often begin with mockery or making fun of people. Think of all the ethnic jokes that people laugh at. Look at the examples that No Hate But Harmony has provided us this morning.  We all do it, and don’t realize how dangerous it really is. The holocaust began with cartoons and caricatures making fun of Jews.


It’s important to note, that sometimes in order to address hatred; the two parties have to be separated. With Ishmael and Isaac, that was the case. G-d doesn’t take sides, and as a result, he continued to care for Ishmael and enabled him to become the father of the Arab people. While I was studying this portion I looked in the Koran, the muslins holiest book. I was fascinated to discover that in the Koran Ishmael is the favored child over Isaac and was the one whom Abraham was told to sacrifice.


Anyway, the animosity between Ishmael and Isaac continues to this day between Arabs and Israelis. So in this case, the timeout between Ishmael and Isaac has lasted for hundreds of generations. I hope someday there will be peace.


The No Hate But Harmony dancers this morning depicted a scene entitled I Am Who I Am.  They made it very clear to all of us that we need to be proud of who we are, and tolerant of any of our G-d given differences.  As I become a Bat Mitzvah I would suggest that we all follow this advice.


*(for background, see my article,  Pokemon's "Swastika" and the Right to Cultural Privacy)





Ranting Rabbi



The General Assembly

For those of us unable to attend this week’s General Assembly of the U.J.C. in Los Angeles, we can still see and read the highlights.

One chilling highlight was the opening plenary keynote speech by Israel's Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, underscoring Israel’s

existential struggle against Iran’s nuclear ambitions.  Striking an even more chilling note, Benjamin Netanyahu likened the radical

Islamist government of Iran to Nazi Germany on the eve of World War II, as he delivered the closing plenary address on the second day:

"It’s 1938, and Iran is Germany, and its racing to arm itself with nuclear weapons. Same tendencies: to slander and vilify its victim in

preparation for slaughter," Netanyahu said. Iranian President Mahmoud "Ahmedinijad takes his cue from Hitler, and no one cares.

Every week he talks about erasing Israel from the map, and no one says anything. While Ahmedinijad is denying the Holocaust,

he is preparing another Holocaust for the Jewish state." See: Video: Netanyahu in the GA 

See highlights of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's dramatic address on video, or read his speech.


The Most “Ageless” Storah Ever Told



If you liked Storahtelling, you’ll LOVE Storahtelling’s new weekly blog about the Torah portion Find it at


I received a question from a congregant last week about the particular word used to describe God’s remembering Sarah by giving her a child – Pakad – can mean both “remember” and “visit,” but that a lesser used definition of the term would give that visit a more, shall we say, intimate purpose.  So, the questioner asked, does that mean that Isaac could have been the result of some Jewish form of Immaculate Conception?  I replied that I’ve yet to see such an interpretation among the traditional commentators, and that the text clearly leads us to believe that Abraham is the real father.  But there was also a miracle here, of sorts, in the fact that a woman of Sarah’s age could give birth, and so you will find commentaries explaining that God did “visit” Sarah to help her to give birth.  Whether God could be seen here as a midwife or fertility specialist is a matter of conjecture.  But Isaac’s father?  Not in the Jewish sources.


Here is what Amichai Lau-Levi (“Lauviticus”) had to say about last week’s portion.  Lau-Levi has a completely different take on the miracles of Sarah’s aging process, an interpretation that will resonate with us no matter how old we happen to be:

This week, Lauviticus is celebrating a private birth of a lovely little girl, auspiciously echoed in the weekly Torah episode in which a much anticipated little boy is born. 


Also, this week, a visit to that intimate domain which is most often referred to in the Scriptures as ‘Procreation’, otherwise known as ‘sex’. There’s lots of that this week – including wife swapping and what will one day be known as Sodomy, but our focus is senior citizen orgasms. There is a moment in this week’s tale, VaYera, when Sarah, at 90, hears the Divine promise of motherhood, and laughs to herself, at herself, a mythic laughter foretelling the name of her son. But at this moment in the story Isaac is not even a twinkle in her eye. it’s all about her, and her body. She laughs and then asks a mysterious question, recorded in Genesis, Chapter 18, verse 12:

"Now that I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I still have pleasure?"

The word here translated as pleasure is the Hebrew ‘Edna’. Derived from ‘Eden’ that origin dream place of perfection, this rare word ‘Edna’ is our word for the week, as we examine a wild variety of translations for it and suggest a new one.

‘Now that I am withered, am I to have enjoyment?’ This is JPS. The King James Bible, and most other English versions use the word ‘Pleasure’, while the Orthodox Stone Edition of the Artscroll Torah uses, for some odd reason, the expression ‘good skin’.
Commentaries go to town on this verse. The 11th century interpreter Rashi writes: ‘She looks at her uterus and at her breast, wondering, will this still work?’ The Pseudo Jonathan translates this verse: ‘And Sarah derided in her heart, saying, Now that I am old, is it possible to return to the days of my youth, for me to have conception, and Abraham old?’

What’s striking here is that Sarah responds not to the promise of fertility, which one would think would be uppermost in her mind---all those barren years, and finally the promise of a child of her own---but to the prospect of pleasure, enjoyment, and sexual excitement: A return to the Garden of Eden. Is she talking about the bliss of orgasm?

God not only makes Sarah fruitful again; God makes her juicy. The laugh of the crone, tinged with irony and a sense of the divine ridiculous, rings also with the joy of remembered ecstasies, maidenhood and maidenhead, a sensual and sexual fulfillment which, for the moment, overshadows even the dream of motherhood.

Often in religious poetry---see the Song of Songs---sexual imagery may be a code for spiritual pleasure, carnal knowing a metaphor for divine bliss. Eden then is both the garden of earthly delights and the paradise of spiritual union. To honor the sacred sex life of our matriarch, Lauviticus would like to suggest:

‘And so Sarah laughed, privately: ‘post menopause, with an old man for a husband - am I it enjoy Eden once again?’

There are many ways to re enter the Garden of Eden. Beyond the obvious orgasmic option that sex has to offer, in whatever context and age – what is YOUR personal way to enter this state of mind and heart?

Mazal Tov and Shabbat Shalom







Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunties




Beth El Cares
Cathy Satz (968-9191;
Cheryl Wolff (968-6361;
BETH EL CARES co-chairs
Donate Food to Help the Hungry
All donations will be taken to the local food bank.
I will personally shelve the food so the more donations you give, the harder I will work!
Boxes will be located in the Hebrew school lobby and at my Bar Mitzvah on 12/2/06.
Thank you.
David Katz
Christmas Eve Dinner/Toiletry Collection
Volunteers are needed to donate food items and serve food at St. Luke’s
 and Pacific House Homeless Shelters 
on Christmas Eve 12/24 at 6pm.  
If you wish to participate in this amazing Mitzvah, 
please call Cheryl Wolff 968-6361 or email  
This has always been an amazing event.  
Respond early if you wish to serve, since the event fills up fast.
The third grade Hebrew School class will again collect toiletry items to
give to the guests at the Christmas Eve dinners. Start saving those
samples and watch for details in December telling you where to drop off
the items.


American Red Cross
Connecticut Blood Services Region


Temple Beth El- Donors are needed.

Please Donate Blood for Patients Among Us Like Alex

November 19        JCC        11-3:45


  • At the age of 12, Alex was diagnosed with Severe Aplastic Anemia, a condition in which the patient’s blood cell counts are extremely low.


  • To fight this disorder, Alex underwent a bone marrow transplant, underwent more than 15 surgeries, received regular platelet transfusions and at one point, received daily red cell transfusions.


  • Today, Alex still receives blood products on a monthly basis, but he is as active as any college student.


  • Because of the generosity of volunteer blood donors, Alex is healthy and is a sophomore, studying Accounting and Mathematics.


  • There are many patients among us who rely on the generosity of volunteer blood donors. In fact, there is a 97% chance that you will know someone who will need a blood transfusion throughout his or her life.


  • For some patients, such as Alex, ongoing transfusions are needed to sustain lifesaving medical treatment. For others, such as the victim of an automobile accident, the need for blood is sudden.


  • Many people say they have never given blood because they haven’t been asked. Please, consider yourself asked to ensure that patients like Alex can receive the treatments they need.


·        To donate blood through the American Red Cross, individuals must be at least 17 years of age or older, weigh 110 pounds or more and be in general good health.


·        Please remember to drink plenty of fluids and eat iron-rich foods both on donation day and in days prior to donating.


To make your appointment to donate blood contact 1-800-GIVE-LIFE or

World AIDS Day – Dec. 1


World AIDS Day, the global day of action and remembrance on HIV/AIDS, takes place every December 1. Now in its 19th year, World AIDS Day is about increasing awareness and education and fighting prejudiceWAD reminds the world that HIV/AIDS persists, and that there are many things still left to be done. By working together, we can make a difference in the global fight against HIV and AIDS.

The most important goals of World AIDS Day include raising awareness, reflecting on the realities of the pandemic, and remembering the millions living with HIV or suffering because of AIDS. The vulnerable groups must not be regarded as victims, but as those who, when empowered, can lead the way forward. The world can no longer afford to ignore them. We must make it possible for them to envision a future.

December 1, World AIDS Day, is also about wearing the Red Ribbon reminding us all that HIV is an issue for everyone. We need your help to encourage your community and the broader public to Wise Up and Wear It as a sign of support for people living with HIV and as a symbol of hope for the future.

But World AIDS Day isn't just about one day. Truly a long-term educational effort, planning can take place throughout the year. People all over the world have been inspired to act in small, yet meaningful ways to bring attention to the AIDS crisis and promote actual structural change to stop the spread of the disease and treat those already infected.

Please get involved and campaign to make December 1, 2006 the most effective, captivating World AIDS Day yet!




November 10, 2006




The September 17th rally and Global Day for Darfur brought out hundreds of thousands from around the world calling for the immediate deployment of a U.N. peacekeeping force to Darfur.  Individuals of all faiths, races and ethnicities joined religious leaders, entertainers, and diplomats in a united voice demanding an end to a genocide that has taken the lives of over 400,000 men, women, and children since February 2003.  The government-sponsored genocide has driven 2.5 million civilians from their homes and left more than 3 million individuals reliant on international humanitarian aid.  If the international community does not act soon millions more will lose their lives.  Our call for an end to genocide and for peace in the region does not end here.  We applaud President Bush’s commitment to get U.N. peacekeepers into Darfur and his appointment of Andrew Natsios as the Presidential Special Envoy for Sudan during his address to the United Nations.  But we must increase pressure on the Sudanese Government to accept the already authorized UN peacekeeping force. 




Now that the elections are over, Congress will return next week in a new political climate.  Both the House and the Senate are scheduled to convene on Monday, November 13, and are expected to stay for a week before adjourning for Thanksgiving.  The Senate could consider several issues before it during the lame duck session.  It remains unclear if the Senate will complete action on the spending bills, including the FY 2007 foreign operations appropriations bill.   In addition, the Senate could choose to continue to postpone action on the remaining appropriations bills until the 110th Congress begins next year by passing a “continuing resolution.”  This would provide budget authority for Federal agencies and programs to continue operating until the regular appropriations bills are passed.


As the situation on the ground in Darfur worsens, it is essential to ensure that the African Union mission in Sudan (AMIS), which remains the only presence on the ground charged with protecting civilians, has sufficient funding.  In September, AMIS' mandate was extended until the end of 2006.  At the upcoming November 24th African Union Peace and Security Council Meeting in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, the AU is expected to discuss further options regarding strengthening AMIS and working towards an expanded international peacekeeping presence in Darfur.  Currently, the U.S. government spends approximately $10 million per month to support AMIS, but funds could run out early next year.  As the U.S. and the international community continue to discuss options surrounding a UN peacekeeping operation in Darfur, it remains crucial that AMIS receive adequate support in the interim so that it has the necessary resources to protect civilians and prepare for an expected transition to a larger international peacekeeping presence. 




Songs for Darfur – On Sunday, November 19thCongregation B'nai Jeshurun (B.J.) and the Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew (SPSA) of New York City present a special evening of songs to create awareness of the ongoing genocide in Darfur.  This benefit concert features music from the soul, R&B, Folk and Broadway genres.  Artists scheduled to appear include: Neshama Carlebach, Tomás Doncker, Julie Flanders with Emil Adler, Caissie Levy, Jane Kelly Williams and more.  The honorary co-chairs for the event are Tovah Feldshuh and Cynthia Nixon.  Proceeds for humanitarian relief in Darfur will be donated to the American Jewish World Service and United Methodist Committee on Relief.  For tickets visit  For more information email or call 212-787-7600 x240. 


Human Rights Day and Weekend of Prayer - The Save Darfur Coalition is planning a weekend of prayer and action December 8-10th to coincide with Human Rights Day.  The Save Darfur Coalition is creating a faith action packet and other materials to support events on campuses and houses of worship.  Part of this program will be a banner campaign where religious leaders are encouraged to hang a “Call to Consciousness” banner from their Synagogues, Churches, Mosques, etc.   This is a great opportunity to further relationships with your local clergy and encourage them to talk about the ongoing genocide in Darfur during this holiday season.  The JCPA will disseminate materials as they are made available.  For any questions, please contact Max Mulcahy at


Judgment on Genocide - The International Citizens' Tribunal is a project that is focused on the issue of accountability.  The goal is to create a sharper focus on the perpetrators of the genocide in Darfur, providing participants in the anti-genocide movement and the general public with a clearer picture of those who are planning and implementing the genocide. The tribunal itself will take place on November 13th at the UN Church Center in New York City.  All of the regular components of a trial will be in effect – a prosecuting attorney, a defense attorney, a panel of distinguished judges and eyewitness and expert testimony. The evidence will be presented and the judges will deliberate before verdicts are delivered. For more information and to see how you and your community can get involved, please visit our website at or email




Next U.N. Chief Pledges Swift Action on Darfur - The U.N. secretary-general elect, South Korea's Ban Ki-Moon, said on Tuesday he aimed to meet Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir as soon as possible to break the deadlock over U.N. peacekeepers going to Darfur. Ban, who takes office on Jan. 1, said the international community and the United Nations in particular needed to halt the violence in Sudan's western Darfur region "before it's too late". "I'm going to meet Sudanese leaders and other African leaders to help resolve this Darfur crisis before it's too late," Ban told Reuters in an interview in Seoul. Asked if he planned to meet Bashir, Ban replied: "I hope I'll be able to meet him as soon as possible; but I'll try to meet the foreign minister first."  Click here to read this entire article featured by Reuters. 


Controls Tighten on Media and Aid Workers in Darfur - Sudan has tightened restrictions on aid workers and journalists traveling to Darfur, and analysts say the aim is to conceal renewed hostilities between rebels and the army. Journalists have been detained, aid workers obstructed and rules changed weekly for foreigners in the strifetorn region. A British Sunday Times reporter this week was detained on arrival at the main airport, initially on the grounds she was wearing a cap belonging to a different news organization. Then her passport was seized over alleged irregularities. "Definitely there's been a massive crackdown in the last few months," said Leslie Lefkow of Human Rights Watch. "It's the same old pattern of the government in trying to restrict the flow of information." "They've managed to conduct a massive media campaign that is subverting the reality of what's happening in Darfur." She said the two main targets were journalists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Darfur has the world's largest aid operation, with 14,000 aid workers supplying humanitarian help to miserable camps in the region. Sudan has reimposed censorship on the country's own independent papers although its new constitution enshrines press freedom. Media rights group Reporters Without Borders said at least 15 journalists had been arrested this year.


The Darfur Report is a weekly newsletter designed to educate the organized Jewish community on issues related to the genocide in Darfur, including political and legislative developments.  This newsletter also features recommended readings and reports about Jewish and interfaith programs taking place across the country.  JCPA is working on Darfur in partnership with the American Jewish World Service.  To respond to The Darfur Report, contact Max Mulcahy at



Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Lois Frank, JCPA Chair

Steve Gutow, JCPA Executive Director

116 East 27th Street      New YorkNY 10016

212-684-6950         212-686-1353 fax

800 8th Street, NW               WashingtonDC 20001

202-789-2222         202-789-4344 fax










Can an Atheist Participate in Jewish Rituals?




               I stumbled across a Conservative response to this intriguing question at  Read it first, and then see my comments below:

The Conservative movement teaches that belief in God is an essential element of Judaism. See "Emet Ve-Emunah: Statement of Principals of Conservative Judaism". However, the Conservative movement holds that neither faith nor observance should be coerced. Thus, several questions arise in regard to the role of openly professed atheists in the synagogue. The first three answers are from the chairperson of the CJLS, and the fourth is an official CJLS teshuvah.

A. May atheists be admitted to membership and hold elected office?

People who are born to Jewish mothers or are converted to Judaism in accordance with halakhah may belong to synagogues. This does not include those who profess another faith, e.g. Hebrew Christians. [This also includes "Jews for Jesus" and other "messianic Jews".] Hence, an atheist may belong to a synagogue. While this may not pose a problem to the membership committee, the atheist who chooses to join a synagogue must deal with the question of why he/she, a professed atheist, would want to belong to a house of God.

B. May they be given Aliyot?

This is less a problem for the honors committee than for the professed atheist. The professed atheist would be calling the congregation to worship God: "Barkhu et Adonai hamavorakh" to which the congregation answers Barukh...

It is recommended that the professed atheist be shown the blessings and their meaning discussed with him/her. If in good conscience the atheist can call the congregation to worship, this his/her atheism is less than he/she would avow and he/she may receive an aliyah.

C. May they serve as shaliach tzbbur [hazzan] or otherwise discharge others of religious obligations.

The fact that the individual is a professed atheist does not relieve him/her of religious obligations. However, the professed atheist should be shown the service and asked if he/she, in good conscience, can lead worship or kiddush, havdalah, etc. If he/she agrees, then there is no reason to deny the person the honor.

The preceding was a psak (ruling) given by the Chairperson of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, 12/30/97; it is a valid teshuvah (responsum), but is not an official position of the CJLS. The above psak needs to be read in conjunction with the offical CJLS teshuva "May an Avowed Atheist Serve as a shaliach tzbbur (prayer leader)?" by Rabbi David Lincoln, which was accepted by unanimous vote.

Rabbi Lincoln writes "There has to be a basic theological or spiritual rapport between congregations and prayer leader. The issue in this case is not the choosing of one theology over another; our tradition includes many conceptions of God. In cases such as this, in fact, the rabbi must insure that the person in question, in claiming to be an atheist, is not simply asserting his rejection of a particular belief which he assumes to be normative. The rabbi must also do all that is possible to determine whether the person is just struggling with beliefs, especially since his desire to lead the congregation not only in its institutional activities, but specifically in prayer, constitutes a desire for action which belies his words. At some point however, we must believe what a person says. Certainly, if the person in question publicly declares his disdain for all conceptions of God for the purpose of affronting the very congregation he purports to lead, he is not an appropriate prayer leader, not for theological reasons, but for reasons of character." [Proceedings of the CJLS 1986-1990, p.475-478.]

Many people who profess atheism do so because they are only aware of certain theological positions that they assume to be normative. They feel that if they reject certain propositions, they must then be an atheist. However, there are many views of God acceptable within Judaism that most people are not aware of, some of which may hold appeal to people who would otherwise claim to be atheists. People should be encouraged to explore the full range of Jewish philosophical thought on this issue.

Interestingly, I’ve received a few comments since our recent Synaplex Shabbat that relate to this question.  It seems – if you can believe it – that not everyone affiliated with TBE is moved by traditional forms of prayer and some even claim to be “non believers.”  They all, btw, loved Synaplex, because it offered people new gateways to prayer – and even more importantly, it offered enriching Jewish experiences outside of prayer.  Services are an important part of being Jewish, to be sure, but there is much more to being Jewish than that.  The Synaplex survey indicated that nearly half the attendees typically come to services only a handful of times each year, and that many are looking to Synaplex for something other than services.

I am always suspicious when someone calls himself an avowed atheist.  Agnosticism is one thing – in a sense we are all agnostic, because to be agnostic is to question some certainties  in our belief system, specifically about God.  As I’ve often stated, the very term “Israel” MEANS to struggle with God.  An atheist, on the other hand is expressing certainty.  The language of certainty is (paradoxically) the language of dogma – so in a sense atheism is in fact a form of religion.  To believe unquestioningly that there is NO God is not a matter of empirical proof but of blind faith. 

I would have no problem, in any event, with anyone who questions God leading prayers here.  I’ve always believed that prayer should be combustible.  The alternative, that it be mindless and boring, is – for me – a prescription for spiritual death.



Spiritual Journey on the Web


This is an amazing, constantly changing map of the Middle East region,

illustrating how various "empires" have risen and fallen in the past 3000 years--in just 90 seconds.

Thanks to Beth Boyer for forwarding it.

Animated Map of Middle East - 3000 years in 90 seconds



A blog about the (extra) ordinary in Israel

Too much of the news coming out of Israel is about conflict.  But what about the day-to-day lives of regular Israelis?

The Consulate General of Israel in New York decided to expose the ordinary (and often quite extraordinary) activities of ordinary Israelis, both living in Israel and also here in New York, using its blog The idea of this blog was to show the faces of Israelis, living life in Israel.

“We wanted to offer a picture of Israel that is much wider than what we see in the media,” explained the Consul for Media and Public Affairs David Saranga.

“Our message needs to reach the young generation, and in order to do this, we had to think outside the box. How were we going to expose them to the vibrant colors of Israel? This thinking brought us to the blogosphere, a resource widely used by our target audience but until now outside the scope of government PR efforts."

Originally launched in February 2006 as a videoblog (the first ever established on behalf of a state), the blog was revamped and re-launched this month with a broader platform to post stories, pictures and video links.

The blog covers a wide range of topics including music, food, science, sports and popular culture. Blog posts have included videos of amusing Israeli advertisements, information about new Israeli restaurants in New York and footage of a whacky pillow fight that takes place in Tel Aviv each year. welcomes contributions from the public – if you have a video clip, a story to write, or just a thought that conveys a sense of what Israel "isrealli" like, send them to us by way of the blog – and enjoy!








Required Reading and Action Items



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


Web 2.0 for the Over 20s  
There's a new space for the over-20 crowd to share interests and discuss any topic, display the fruits of their creativity and even sell it. Like MySpace, the Israeli startup Esnips is part of the new wave known as Web 2.0 -- user-created content: doing it yourself, your way. "Web 2.0 is about putting out content, people inviting other people, finding each other and connecting," Esnips CEO Yael Elish explains. "We are just making it simpler for people to express themselves." More...


Culture | An Israeli field of dreams  
Baseball is a game for dreamers, and the latest dream is a professional baseball team in Israel. Though they knew their chances were slim, Israelis from across the country gathered for team tryouts. Realistically, most of the talent for the team will have to be imported, but that didn't stop the local players from believing that since they are building it, they had to come give it a try. If all goes as the dreamers are planning, future generations of Israelis will be coming to bat at the professional plate.  More...


Health | Israeli researchers link depression and osteoporosis  
The mind-body connection is known to be strong - when you get excited, your heart races. Now, researchers at Hebrew University have found a direct connection between feeling blue and weakening bones. With the Hebrew U team able to demonstrate the efficacy of anti-depressant drugs in preventing bone mass loss, a new tool appears to be uncovered in fighting the widespread problems of chronic osteoporosis and bone fractures.  More...


Global Democracy | Fuel for thought at Israel's renewable energy conference   
As the world looks to energy alternatives derived from renewable sources such as the sun, wind, biomass and ocean energies, Israel has a great deal to offer. Some of the country's most promising cutting-edge companies committed to a greener future were in the spotlight at Tel Aviv's recent Renewable and Alternative Energy Conference.  More...


Health | A incredible journey from an Israeli robotics team  
A group of Israeli researchers are focusing on is the miniaturization of robots to get inside the human body. The goal of the work at the Haifa Technion is to find a vehicle that can broadcast video images and photographs to help doctors better identify and fix problems. Their latest breakthrough: finding a way to propel an as yet-undeveloped tiny swimming robot through the spinal fluid between the vertebrae in the human body. The propulsion mechanism has wide-ranging implications for future early diagnoses of ailments and diseases within the body. More...


The Forward 50 -

Membership in the 50 doesn't mean that the Forward endorses what these individuals do or say. We've chosen them because they are doing and saying things that are making a difference in the way American Jews, for better or worse, view the world and themselves. Not all these people have put their energies into the traditional frameworks of Jewish community life, but they all have embodied the spirit of Jewish action as it is emerging in America, and all of them have left a mark.  This year's Forward 50 includes 51 entries, to make room for an individual whose accidental discovery of his own Jewish identity rattled the political landscape in the closing weeks of a crucial election season: Virginia Senator George Allen.


now for the rest


Prime source: Daily Alert of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

See also



Palestinian Rocket Attack on Sderot Wounds Four - Shmulik Hadad
A 17-year-old Sderot resident sustained serious injuries and three others were lightly wounded in a Palestinian rocket attack on Wednesday evening. The rocket landed in the city center, causing damage to buildings in the area. A 57-year-old woman was killed in an earlier rocket attack on the city Wednesday. Also on Wednesday, Palestinian gunmen fired four Kassam rockets that landed south of Ashkelon. (Ynet News)
    See also Guard at Defense Minister's Home Loses Legs in Palestinian Rocket Attack - Shmulik Hadad
Maor Peretz, 24, a bodyguard on duty at the home of Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz in Sderot, was injured Wednesday by shrapnel from a Palestinian rocket in both legs and doctors were forced to amputate them. He also sustained burns. (Ynet News)


Would-Be Suicide Bomber Caught in Jerusalem
Israeli security forces recently prevented a suicide bombing attack by exposing a terrorist cell from the West Bank city of NablusIsrael Radio reported on Thursday. Ashraf Hanani, 25, was caught with a ready-to-use explosives belt in Tzahal Square in Jerusalem in July during a routine check. A second belt was discovered by Israeli security forces in the Palestinian National Security building in the West Bank city of Ramallah. Laboratory tests revealed that the belts contained high explosives that cannot be traced by metal detectors. (Ha'aretz)


Islamists Are Not Driven By Israel-Palestinian Problem - Daniel Finkelstein
I am struck by Prime Minister Blair's thesis - his idea that the Israel-Palestinian dispute is the core issue and that we must now bend every effort to reaching a solution. I think he is quite wrong here. He seems to have accepted the idea that we will only win the war on terror once there is peace in Israel. The truth is that there will only be peace in Israel once we have won the war on terror.
    Mr. Blair has conceded a critical point. He has accepted the idea that the behavior of the State of Israel is the underlying grievance that drives on the Islamists and wins them what support they have in the Arab world. The truth is very different. The existence of so many dictatorships, kleptocracies, and violent thugs in the Middle East is what drives on the conflict, in Israel, as elsewhere. The Palestinian crisis and the tragedy of the poor Palestinian people is an effect, an outcome, not a cause. (Times-UK)
    See also A "Whole Middle East" Strategy - Prime Minister Tony Blair (Times-UK)


Hizballah's Preparations for the Next Campaign - Amir Kulick
Hizballah's expected preparations for the next round of fighting will be centered around rocket arrays aimed at Israel's home front, at longer range and more intensively than before. The IDF's systematic elimination of mid-range rocket launchers south of the Litani River may push Hizballah to build a massive infrastructure north of the Litani, possibly even in the Beka'a Valley and north of Beirut. The objective will be to saturate the area with rockets in order to increase the array's survivability. The goal of Hizballah's next campaign would be to launch intensive volleys towards Tel Aviv and its surroundings.
    The massive bombardment of the Dahiya quarter of Beirut where, according to IDF reports, Hizballah command posts were centered, may prompt Hizballah to disperse its command posts across Beirut and outside. (Strategic Assessment-Tel Aviv University)



Lebanese Poker: Nasrallah Is Gambling Again - Eyal Zisser (Ynet News)

  • In a speech this week in southern Beirut, Hizballah's secretary-general called on Shiites in Lebanon not to fear a new civil war in the country. "Only the weak side fears such a possibility, and we're not weak," he said.
  • Nasrallah is a gambler by nature. In July, too, he gambled that Israel would not be responding to the abduction of IDF soldiers. However, at that time he lost the gamble, and Nasrallah and his supporters were forced to pay a heavy price.
  • Now, he is gambling again that eventually his opponents will cave in. The problem is that none of the Lebanese poker players have anything to lose anymore. After all, any concession in the face of demands means handing over power in the country to Nasrallah, and this was not the aim of Prime Minister Siniora and his colleagues.
  • The last war and Security Council Resolution 1701 created a fragile, unstable reality on Israel's northern border. Those comforted by the deployment of the Lebanese army and the international force may discover that once fire is exchanged in Beirut, these forces would be the first ones to leave the area.
  • Nasrallah's willingness to challenge the Lebanese system's stability shows that he feels self-confidence and possibly believes that he regained the power and status lost during the war.
  • This raises the concern that sooner or later he will seek to revert the situation along the border with Israel to the reality that prevailed on the eve of July 12, 2006. After all, those who threaten a civil war within Lebanon would not be deterred from renewing their activity against Israel along the border.

The writer heads the Middle Eastern History Department at Tel Aviv University



Israel: Myths and Facts

The Racist Accusation that Israel is an Apartheid State


“We do not want to create a situation like that which exists in South Africa, where the whites are the owners and rulers, and the blacks are the workers. If we do not do all kinds of work, easy and hard, skilled and unskilled, if we become merely landlords, then this will not be our homeland.”

— David Ben-Gurion


Even before the State of Israel was established, Jewish leaders consciously sought to avoid the creation of a segregated society. 

Since the United Nations Conference on Racism in August of 2001, anti-Semites and racists have tried to delegitimize Israel by calling it an apartheid state. Their hope is that this false equation will tar Israel and encourage measures similar to those used against South Africa, such as sanctions and divestment, to be applied to Israel.


The comparison is malicious and insults the South Africans who suffered under apartheid.


The term “apartheid” refers to the official government policy of racial segregation formerly practiced in South Africa. The whites sought to dominate the nonwhite population, especially the indigenous black population, and discriminated against people of color in the political, legal, and economic sectors.

  • Whites and nonwhites lived in separate regions of the country.
  • Nonwhites were prohibited from running businesses or professional practices in the nonwhite areas without permits.
  • Nonwhites had separate amenities (i.e. beaches, buses, schools, benches, drinking fountains, restrooms).
  • Nonwhites received inferior education, medical care, and other public services.
  • Though they were the overwhelming majority of the population, nonwhites could not vote or become citizens.

By contrast, Israel’s Declaration of Independence called upon the Arab inhabitants of Israel to “participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its provisional and permanent institutions.”


The 156,000 Arabs within Israel’s borders in 1948 were given citizenship in the new State of Israel. Today, this Arab minority comprises 20% of the population.

It is illegal for employers to discriminate on the basis of race and Arab citizens of Israel are represented in all walks of Israeli life. Arabs have served in senior diplomatic and government positions and an Arab currently serves on the Supreme Court.


Israeli Arabs have formed their own political parties and won representation in the KnessetArabs are also members of the major Israeli parties. Twelve non-Jews (10 Arabs, two Druze) are members of the Seventeenth Knesset.


Laws dictated where nonwhites could live, work, and travel in South Africa, and the government imprisoned and sometimes killed those who protested against its policies. By contrast, Israel allows freedom of movement, assembly and speech. Some of the government’s harshest critics are Israeli Arabs in the Knesset.

Arab students and professors study, research, and teach at Israeli universities. At Haifa University, the target of British advocates of an academic boycott against Israel, 20 percent of the students are Arabs.

Israeli society is not perfect — discrimination and unfairness exist there as it does in every other country. These differences, however, are nothing like the horrors of the apartheid system. Moreover, when inequalities are identified, minorities in Israel have the right to seek redress through the government and the courts, and progress toward equality has been made over the years.


The situation of Palestinians in the territories is different. While many Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip dispute Israel’s right to exist, nonwhites did not seek the destruction of South Africa, only of the apartheid regime.


Unlike South Africa, where restrictions were racially motivated, Israel is forced by incessant Palestinian terrorism to take actions, such as building checkpoints and the security fence, to protect its citizens. Israel has consistently demonstrated a willingness, however, to ease restrictions when violence subsides.


Beyond limits placed on their ability to attack Israel, roughly 98% of the Palestinians in the territories are governed by the rules of the Palestinian Authority, which do not permit freedom of speech, religion, assembly or other rights taken for granted by Westerners — and guaranteed in Israel.


If Israel were to give Palestinians full citizenship, it would mean the territories had been annexed and the possibility of the creation of a Palestinian state foreclosed. No Israeli government has been prepared to take that step. Instead, Israel seeks a two-state solution predicated on a Palestinian willingness to live in peace.


The clearest refutation of the calumny against Israel comes from the Palestinians themselves. When asked what governments they admire most, more than 80 percent of Palestinians consistently choose Israel because they can see up close the thriving democracy in Israel, and the rights the Arab citizens enjoy there.


Read all Fact Sheets

Dr. Bard is available for media interviews and speaking engagements on this and other topics.






TBE Progressive Dinner and

“Murder in the Temple” Murder Mystery

Sat. evening, Dec. 2….


We are proud to present the first fundraising event of the season: The Temple Beth El Progressive Dinner and "Murder at the Temple" Mystery which takes place on Saturday, December 2, 2006.


Choose from of a wide selection of congregants' homes and delectable cuisines for dinner, and then join us for coffee and dessert at the Temple.  We'll need your help to solve the mystery of the "Murder at the Temple" (by the New York acting company, Mostly Murder!).


All adults are welcome!  Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and the Temple fun begins at 9:00 p.m.  The price for this event is $55 per person.  Guests are more than welcome. 


This year we are trying something new:  we've gone electronic!  Please note that because we are trying to conserve paper and costs, you will not be receiving an invitation in the mail for this event.  Instead, it is very important to open all the attachments by following the links below:


For the Invitation, please click here:


For the Brochure of Dinner Venues, please click here:


For the Preference Form, please click here:


If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact Scott Allen <> or <> ; Elissa Hyman <>.










Please Join Us


Synaplex & Sisterhood Family Shabbat Dinner,

Services and Program


To Honor Our New Members!!


§         Meet new friends and share time with those you already know.


§         Share a dinner of delicious cookbook recipes and the fun stories about the creation of this treasured keepsake.


§         Hear the wisdom of Elise Klein, Bridges Director of UJF, as she helps each of us to understand how we can create a welcoming community for TBE.




Friday, December 8, 2006

Services:  6:30 pm

Dinner:   7:30 pm

Speaker:  8:30 pm

 “Creating a Welcoming Community”

Elise Klein, BRIDGES Director of UJF



Please complete and return with payment by November 29th to:

Sisterhood of Temple Beth El, 350 Roxbury Rd. StamfordCT  06902

Make Checks Payable to:  Sisterhood of Temple Beth El


RSVP/Payment Information

If you would like to purchase a cookbook, please include payment with your RSVP



Total # of Adults ______   @  $18 each  = $_______

(ages 13 and older)


Total # Children ______    @  $12 each =  $_______

(ages 3-12)


Total # Cookbooks _____     @  $18 each =  $________

(*pick up during dinner)


                               Grand Total Enclosed  $_______


Please indicate # of Vegetarian Meals Needed

# of Adults ______

# of Children _____



Full Names of Adults Attending




Names of Children Attending          Ages


___________________________            ____

___________________________            ____

___________________________              ____

___________________________              ____



Synaplex & Sisterhood Family Shabbat Dinner,

Services and Program

Honoring New Members

December 8, 2006


Services 6:30 pm

Please join us in the main sanctuary as we welcome Shabbat together and honor our new members.  There will be a Tot Shabbat for our children starting at the same time with Nurit.


Dinner 7:30 pm


Share in the Sisterhood’s celebration of the all new (first ever!) TBE cookbook.  Enjoy a dinner made from cookbook recipes that were contributed by our own TBE family.  Hear about the beautiful two year journey of over 120 Sisterhood members who contributed their hearts and kitchens to create this beautiful keepsake for all to enjoy.


If you are interested in purchasing the cookbook, please order using the RSVP (on the opposite side of this page).  The proceeds will be donated to TBE’s kitchen renovation project.


Program 8:30 pm


We are honored to have Elise Klein, UJF BRIDGES Program Director, join us to share with us how each of us can become part of our TBE community and what we can do to make it stronger.


Working together, we will discuss ways in which to create a community that all want to be part of and which all can share in – respecting our differences and celebrating our commonalities.  By strengthening bonds we create a strengthened, enriched community: opening and welcoming to all who wish to be part of TBE’s wonderful congregation.


There will be children’s programming at this time.





Learning and Latte at Borders




Stamford’s long-running monthly interfaith “tri-alogue”

featuring Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Rev. Douglas McArthur and Dr. Behjat Syed

This year’s topic:

“Moral Dilemmas for a World in Crisis”

Join us as we engage in friendly dialogue about some of the hot-button issues of the day.  

Meets on the second Tuesday of each month (except November), from 7:30-8:30 PM, October-May


Topics (subject to last-minute adjustment to keep up with the headlines)


Nov. 21 – Can an enemy become a friend? 

When is forgiveness possible? 

To what ends must we go to achieve peace?

What does it mean to love your neighbor?


Dec. 12 – What comes first, loyalty to one’s country, or loyalty to one’s faith?

Jan. 9 –  When does life begin and what happens to the soul after life ends?

Feb. 13 -  Can other religions be “true?”  How can pluralism work for the believer?

March 13 – Is sexuality good, evil or neither?  What are the worst “sins” for our traditions?

April 10 – What are different ways of imagining God in our traditions? How does God show love?

May 8 – What is the future of religion in America?  The world?  Is religion a source of evil?




a six-session series presented by

The Israel Task Force Education Committee of the

United Jewish Federation (UJF) of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien


December 10:   Session Three: 1948-1966: War & Peace: Survival and Nation Building

January 7:         Session Four: 1967-1979: War & Peace: Territories and Settlements

January 21:       Session Five: 1980-Present: Terrorism and Israel’s Quest for Peace



The Many Demensions of Jewish Prayer”

with Rabbi Hammerman

meets select Sunday mornings 9:00-10:00 am

Next meets on Nov. 5


Bimah 101:

Prepatory course for Adult Bar/ Bat Mitzvah

With Cantor Rachael Littman

Meets weekly Sunday mornings 10:00-11:00 am


                                                     Judaism for Everyone

An Introductory Class for Dummies, Smarties…

and Those Who Don’t Know How to Ask

With Rabbi Hammerman

Meets weekly on select Sundays 11:00 am-12:00 pm

(A prerequisite for those who wish to join

the Beth El Adult Bar/ Bat Mitzvah Class.)

Fee: $50 for materials

                                                             This week: What is the Torah – What is the Bible?


Beginners’ Hebrew class

Instructor: Eran Vaisben, Education Director

Take advantage of this beginner/ class to:

Become familiar with the Hebrew alphabet

Improve your Hebrew reading fluency

Delve into a bit of modern Hebrew

Come explore the Hebrew language in a relaxed group setting!

Meets weekly on Tuesday evenings at 7:30– 8:30 p.m.




World AIDS Day Interfaith Service 2006

(Ninth Annual)

A Service of Remembrance, Awareness, Hope, and Healing

Thursday, November 30

7:00 p.m.





First United Methodist Church

42 Cross Rd.


(Next to Lord & Taylor)



Project NAMES Quilt Panels

made by Stamford residents will be on display during the service.


The Service

The service is open to all faiths and will include testimonies, reading of scriptures, candlelighting, special music by the Madrigals of Stamford High School, the Chamber Singers of Westhill High School, local choirs and cantors. Prayers of healing and laying on of hands by clergy from at least 15 local congregations.


The Invitation

We invite into our presence the memory of those who cannot be with us, we invite into our presence the awareness that HIV and AIDS continues to have a devastating impact globally, nationally and right here in Stamford, we invite into our presence the hope that has sustained us on this journey.


Refreshments Served by

The Westhill High School Interact Club


Support our Temple Gift Shop! 

Our featured item: 

The Sisterhood Cookbook 

Delicious Recipes! Kosher! Family Favorites!

Already a TBE Best Seller!

Are you going to a party? Some suggestions for hostess gifts:  Wine bottle or wine glass coasters, small jeweled boxes, pretty serving dishes, decorative dreidels... 


Shopping hours: Sunday mornings, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Weekday shopping by appointment.

To schedule an appointment, please call Mia Weinstein at 595-0528.

Attention all TBE Members!


The 2006-07 Torah Fund Pin Has Arrived!


Do your part for Jewish Continuity!  Click here to view the beautiful pin and for more information:


The Torah Fund Pin makes a great gift for every Jewish woman.  Your donation helps support The Jewish Theological Seminary, the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies and the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies, which train Conservative Jewish rabbis, cantors, educators and leaders.


Call 322-8842 to order now, and receive your pin in time for Hanukkah!


Thank you for your generosity!


Karen Hainbach

Vice President of Torah Fund, TBE Sisterhood





In Israel, more than in any country in the world,

culture reflects society. Israeli film, poetry and art

serve as accurate barometers for social change and

the country’s external and internal conflicts. Over

the course of several Saturday evenings, we will be

presenting a series of old and contemporary Israeli

films. The screenings will be followed by a discussion

to be facilitated by Rabbi Hammerman or Eran

Vaisben, the Education Director.

The film screening will take place at the main lobby

on selected Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m.

(refreshments and popcorn will be served):


December 9, 2006: Metallic Blues (2004)


Two Israeli losers head to Germany with dreams of turning a quick buck on a 1978 Lincoln stretch limo – but comedy turns to bittersweet revelation, as the two must find their way out of a land rife with the ghosts of the Holocaust.





Temple Beth El Gift Cards!  Our gift card program is back in full swing.  Order forms can be obtained at the school office.  Any questions, please call Stuart Nekritz at (203) 322-0872.  Please get yours today!






Are you interested in having more Kosher food options in Stamford?

If you are willing to complete an in-depth survey on the Kosher needs and

wishes in our area, please call Lorraine Kweskin at 321-1373 ext. 170 or email

Lorraine at today!

Survey may be completed either on-line or on paper.




The town is buzzing about….

Life Force
A Shoah Love Story

Written by Tamar Gershberg, Mary Lee Grisanti and
Michael Limone


This compelling new drama- based on the true story of a Holocaust Survivor and member of a local family,

is sure to remind all audiences of the value of a life well lived – 

and the honor in choices made in the name not only of survival but love.

An epic love story of hope and longing- with a twist that will break even the hardest of hearts.



November 17 and 18 at 8pm, Stamford High School’s

Strawberry Hill Players

For Tickets or Information, call 977-5483







COLLEGE STUDENTS!  Rabbi Hammerman would like to keep in touch with you throughout the school year.  Please send your e-mail address to to be included in his college list.



Youth Programming




















Sunday, November 19th


Come join Jewish teens for an exciting adventure into New York City to see the amazing off-Broadway show Jewtopia!!!

Go to for more details on the play.


Time: Meet at the Stamford Train Station at 12:30. 

We will arrive back to Stamford at 7 p.m. (could change based on length of show).


Cost: $60 per person, this includes the show, train, and subway. Bring extra cash for food or you can bring a bag lunch.



Make Your Own Pizza


Play Yiddish Bingo




3rd, 4th, and 5th graders (Kesher Youth Group)



December 3rd, 12:15 pm (right after Hebrew school) till 2:00 PM



Social Hall



Religion as Baseball

(in honor of the Red Sox’ new (hopefully) pitcher, Daisuke Matsuzaka) 

Calvinists believe the game is fixed.
Lutherans believe they can't win, but trust the Scorekeeper.
Quakers won't swing.
Unitarians can catch anything.
Amish walk a lot.
Pagans sacrifice.
Jehovah's Witnesses are thrown out often.
Televangelists get caught stealing.

Episcopalians pass the plate.
Evangelicals make effective pitches.
Fundamentalists balk.
Adventists have a seventh-inning stretch.
Atheists refuse to have an Umpire.
Baptists want to play hardball.
Premillenialists expect the game to be called soon on account of darkness.
The Pope claims never to have committed an error.


So nu, what about Jews? – A free Shabbat-O-Gram subscription to anyone who comes up with a good answer.

(What?  It’s free anyway?  Never mind!)

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





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