Friday, January 26, 2007

January 26, 2007– Shevat 8, 5767

January 26, 2007– Shevat 8, 5767


Rabbi Joshua HammermanTemple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut


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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





TBE Wedding 043   TBE Wedding 016


Photos from our Bar/Bat Mitzvah “Mock Wedding” Family Program of last week.

Check out for more photos of the wedding

 and our extensive library of photo albums,

articles, sermons, info about the temple,

Shabbat-O-Grams and links to the Jewish world.






See my Synaplex retrospective comments below. 

Please fill out the survey at our website,




Quote for the Week


The question is, how do we restore hope?

Amazingly, very few people, either in Israel or beyond, are talking about that. The tragedy of today's situation is that you ask young American Jews to free associate with the word "Israel," the first thing you're likely to hear is "Palestinians," or "war," or "fence." But the State wasn't created for any of these things. Most young Jews, both in Israel and outside, can't say an intelligent word about why the State was created. They might mention the Shoah. Or the refuge issue. But they'll miss the major point -- that the purpose of Israel was not Statehood. It was hope.

They don't know, anymore, that the Zionist movement, and then the State, took as its national anthem a poem called "The Hope." They know the melody, and Israelis know the words. But they have no idea what it's about. They can't begin to articulate the notion that Israel represented to Jews across the globe, after the worst century we'd known, life over death. Continuity instead of extermination. A homeland instead of exile. Rebirth instead of extinction.

They're so consumed with the plight of the Palestinians (a horrific plight, obviously, that has to be addressed -- as soon as the
Palestinians make that their priority) that they don't resonate at all to the pride Jews once felt about the rescue of Ethiopian Jews, or the rescue at Entebbe, or the technological prowess of Israeli companies, or  by the now stereotypical tanned and hardened Israeli youth, stark contrasts to the common portrayal of Europe's Jews as pale and passive.  They don't understand that it's because hope -- life over death – was at the core of this country that explains why there are still huge book fairs in this country, celebrating the mere simple fact that thousands of books are published each year in a language that 150 years ago, virtually no one in the world spoke. It was why dance became an integral part of this culture, and why Jews got excited about a song celebrating a sprinkler, written when the National Water Carrier project was completed. What person in their right mind sings about a sprinkler? Who dances to the idea of a sprinkler? Jews did, and do, when the sprinkler brings water from the north to the south, when it bring life to the desert, when it bespeaks not just the flow of water, but the possibility of hope when there could have been nothing but despair


Daniel Gordis, from his essay, This Place Called Hope , found on his website:





A Time to Plant – Special Guest Micha Danieli


During last summer’s war between Israel and Hezbollah, thousands of rockets fell in the north of Israel. These rockets destroyed 2 million trees and 20,000 acres of land. In January our 5th grade class will start a campaign to raise money to buy as many trees as possible to be planted in the Galilee.  This campaign will culminate on Tu B’Shevat, the new year for trees, which takes place at the beginning of Feb.  As part of this campaign, we’ve invited a speaker from the Jewish National Fund to update us on the current situation.  Micha Danieli will address the congregation during Shabbat morning services on January 27.


Micha DanieliMicha Danieli is the Jerusalem Emissary for JNF/KKL as well as the Long Island Regional Director for JNF.

In the recent past, Micha was involved with Keren Hayesod a fundraising organization that primarily helps Israel build and develop. He started as the National Campaign Director in South Africa, where he worked for four years. He later went to Berlin where he became the Keren Hayesod Emissary. While there, he established a branch and set up the Keren Hayesod infrastructure. Many of Micha’s other endeavors include being an Aliyah Shaliach in London, as well as the General Director of the Maccabi-Israel where he was responsible for all Maccabi sport groups. Between 1965 and 1979, Micha Danieli was a member of the Israel IDF Security Forces where he was a Combat Engineering Officer.


Micha Danieli received his BA in Economics and MA in Development of Country Economy from Tel Aviv University.



Friday Evening 


Candle lighting: 4:46 pm on Friday, 26 January 2006.  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  The United Synagogue has updated its candlelighting information. To learn more, click here.


5th Grade Class Dinner – 6:30 PM


Tot Shabbat: 6:45 PM – in the chapel


Shabbat Evening service: 7:30 PM (note later time) – to be led by our 5th grade


Shabbat Morning: 9:30 AM – Guest Speaker: Micha Danieli of the JNF


Special Blessing for our TBE Bi-Cultural 8th Graders

 who will soon be departing for Israel


Children’s Services: 10:30 AM



Our Torah Reading for Shabbat Morning

Parashat Bo

Exodus 10:1 - 13:16– the Ten Plagues, first Passover

1: 12:29-32

HaftarahJeremiah 46:13 - 46:28

If you liked Storahtelling, you’ll LOVE Storahtelling’s new weekly blog about the Torah portion Find it at  ORT Navigating the BibleRashi in EnglishBibleGateway: Useful for comparing different translations: Note- this is a Christian site.
What’s Bothering Rashi (Bonchek) Each week, one example from the parashah is deconstructed. 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:



100 Blessings: Download information about the grace after meals (see Birkat Ha-mazon explained in Wikipedia and in the Jewish Virtual Library)  The actual prayer can be downloaded at Birkat Hamazon [pdf]


Morning Minyan

7:30 Weekdays, 9:30 Sundays


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


Winter Weather Advisory

Note that in the case of bad weather, weekday minyan does not take place when Stamford public schools are cancelled OR delayed.  On Sunday, minyan is cancelled if our Religious School sessions are cancelled. Friday evening and Shabbat morning’s main service is never officially cancelled, but use your best judgment in deciding whether to come.  We will endeavor to get proper notification to WSTC radio regarding cancellations, but that may not always be possible for children’s services held on Shabbat.



The Beth El Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary







Ranting Rabbi




Keeping Young Jews “In the Fold”



“Only Connect”


E.M Forster’s famous admonition: “Only Connect,” should be any synagogue’s guiding philosophy.  We’re in the business of building Jewish connections.  Those connections need to be intensified for all ages at all times, but certain demographic groups are most vulnerable to being lost at the fringes, and beyond.  One prime goal of Synaplex has been to bring back to the synagogue those who might easily have strayed from it – and once again last weekend, the results were very encouraging.  We’ve seen that on these Shabbats we are attracting many who would not otherwise have reason to be here. 

As Adam Eitelberg, one of our Synaplex co-chairs pointed out this week, it was especially gratifying to see people pulling into our parking lot at 3 PM on a Shabbat afternoon, specifically to attend the four sessions that were offered then.  Some came to study Torah with Eric Hoffman, others for heart-to-heart dialogues on issues with interfaith families, with Elise Klein, and intergenerational family dynamics, with my wife Mara and Elissa Stein.  Others, who are between jobs or otherwise unhappy with their employment situations, gained some comfort and sound advice from Donna Sweidan; she fulfilled Maimonides Highest Level of Tzedakkah – a supreme Jewish value of supporting people so they can support themselves. Some of the attendees had never been inside our building before.

Earlier in the day, teens and middle schoolers came out of our “No Hate But Harmony” session literally moved to tears by what transpired in that room, and the younger kids thoroughly enjoyed Jonathan Cahr’s rousing tunes.  At breakfast, 15 people (at 9 AM!!!) were inspired by Arthur White’s visionary efforts at “tikkun olam,” and how much he cares for the weakest among us.  Our scholar, who was also fantastic, said to me after all was said and done, “You’ve got one happy congregation.” 

It wasn’t just that we saw hundreds of happy people here, from “Shabbat Unplugged” on one end to “Havdalah Under the Stars” at the other.  It’s that each event enabled people to connect with others, and with their Jewish selves, all at the deepest level.  But there is always more that needs to be done.  What follows are some current efforts and information that pertain especially to young adults, college students and teens.  We need to read and to learn.


Synaplex accomplished, to a degree, what ideally a retreat can do  - to see a great series on the power of retreats, from the Jewish Life Institute, go to

See also this article by Sue Fishkoff:, detailing the results of three recent studies –excerpts below:

Brandeis University just released a new study of Jewish college studentsIt found that they’re proud to be Jewish, largely unaffiliated, attracted to Jewish culture more than religion, like diversity, and don’t feel strong ties to Israel or Jewish federations.

Reboot, a nonprofit that promotes creative Jewish initiatives, just did a study of the same age group, and found that they’re proud to be Jewish, avoid institutional affiliation, are interested in Jewish culture and have diverse allegiances. Sociologist Steven Cohen of Hebrew Union College-New York did a similar study, as did Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, and they both found... guess what? Young Jews are proud, unaffiliated, pro-culture, pro-diversity and anti-tribal.

The last few months have seen a flood of studies of Gen-Y Jews — young people aged 18-25 — all trying to map their sense of Jewish identity, affiliation patterns, needs, hopes, beliefs and behaviors.

Why is everyone looking at the same population? And is all this work necessary, or a duplication of effort?

First, there are the numbers: almost half a million Jewish college students, the future of this country’s Jewish community. The very few studies on record, particularly the 1990 and 2000-2001 National Jewish Population Surveys, indicate that large numbers of young Jews aren’t going to synagogue, joining Jewish organizations, marrying other Jews or giving money to Israel or Jewish charities.

They’re opting out, which has led to great hand-wringing and head-shaking on the part of American Jewish officials.

Yet the new studies show an up-and-coming generation that is proud of its Jewish identity and culturally creative, is coming up with new methods of religious expression and feels part of a global community linked by Jewish Web sites and blogs.

Researchers say it’s cause for cautious celebration….more


What Are We Doing for Our High School Students?


Check out the Kulanu Video done by our teens.  How many TBE students can your count??? 


We also have a growing youth program, thanks in large part to our active Youth Commission, chaired by Roz Rubin and Carl Shapiro.  I can attest to the many hours that this committee has devoted to helping our kids to connect.  Just last weekend, the Youth Commission put together the Havdalah program (for younger families) at the Nature Center that attracted approximately 100 people.  Despite the disappointment that the telescope wasn’t working, a great time was had by all.  This weekend about 20 of our USY teens will be headed to New Roc City and in Feb. there will be an in-house overnight and preparations for a spectacular Purim Carnival.  For the middle school there is Kadima, featuring next month’s “Go Vertical” program.


And now, concrete and exciting plans are in the works for a regional Jewish High School.

See their academic philosophy below.  I have a copy of their power point presentation and would be happy to forward it to anyone on request.




Upon three things the world stands:
The Torah;
The worship of God; And
The bestowal of loving kindness.
-Shimon the Righteous, Pirkei Avot



We are creating a school that encourages students to become independent thinkers with a moral and ethical grounding in Jewish values and practice. Our school will be a diverse and pluralistic community, embracing klal yisrael (Jewish unity and participation). We will integrate the imperative of gemilut hasadim (acts of loving kindness) and the demand of tikkun olam (to improve the world in which we live.)  Our educational approach and values will consciously connect intellectual creativity with responsible action. Our students will graduate knowledgeable and passionate about their Judaism and their responsibility to make a difference in the world.


Academic Philosophy:


Our students will be encouraged to attain the full measure of their talents and aspirations. We will create an innovative curriculum where knowledge and skills are acquired through interdisciplinary study, experiential learning and community involvement. Our approach to learning will be guided by an open-minded spirit of intellectual inquiry encouraging students to challenge, ask questions, and work at their highest intellectual potential.


The curriculum will provide a rigorous college preparatory program in the humanities, social and natural sciences, arts, mathematics, technology, foreign languages, physical education and the texts, traditions, history, practices and beliefs of the Jewish people. Our students will study and engage in a relationship with the language, culture, land and people of the State of Israel. The program will emphasize Hebrew language (modern, spoken as well as classical), striving for fluency, as Hebrew is the cornerstone of Jewish and Israeli culture. We will be deeply committed to accommodating and challenging both students who have attended Jewish day schools and those from public or independent secular schools who may not yet know any Hebrew. We will provide classes for all levels of Hebrew and Judaic subjects.


We will encourage athletic achievement and the importance of sportsmanship. We will use technology and the arts to enhance all aspects of the curriculum.


Our school will be a place where our students, faculty, parents and community members are partners in fulfilling the educational mission of the school. The faculty will engage and inspire students to be enthusiastic about learning and powerful communicators.


Spiritual Environment:


Our commitment to leading an ethical life will guide all aspects of our program. We will teach derekh eretz (ethical decency), creating a community that respects each other’s uniqueness and the responsibility for others. We will nurture a Jewish community characterized by our shared tradition, a common dedication to social justice and a love for learning. In this way, we will instill in our students a deep and abiding love for GodIsrael and the Jewish people. We will integrate community service, guiding and providing opportunities for our students so that they experience and understand how to become involved citizens.


Our school will follow the rhythms of Jewish life. We will create programs and activities that will teach and celebrate our Jewish traditions. We will create a curriculum that uses a pluralistic approach to Jewish texts, concepts and practices. We will challenge our students to understand and interpret Judaism as a source of religious obligation, spiritual opportunity and joyous celebration. We will be devoted to equal participation by girls and boys, women and men, in all aspects of the school community. We will recognize the needs of our diverse community by offering prayer options.




The concept of a regional Jewish high school has been a dream for many Connecticut residents. A Jewish high school provides a framework of Jewish values and traditions that enables students to learn who they are. It is well documented, that an understanding of one’s own ethnic identity fosters strong social identity and commitment to active citizenry. Our school will empower students to think critically, consider their responsibility to the community, and actively learn how to make a difference. Our school will nurture the next generation of leaders. They will have the knowledge and capacity to transmit their heritage and our traditions to the next generation. And, when it is their time to lead, they will do so with self confidence, knowledge and integrity.





Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunties



I received this urgent request that originates from our sister synagogue in Potomac MD.


Rachel Smith, from North Potomac, along with her friend Rachel Crites, have been missing since Friday, January 19, 2007. They were going to a movie in Georgetown on Friday afternoon and haven't been seen since. Rachel Smith, who is currently a junior at Wootten High School, also ran track last year. She is 5'1" tall and weighs about 118 lbs. She has green eyes and medium-length brown hair (the photo below is a fairly current one of her). Rachel Smith is 16 years old. Her mom, Marian, is a preschool teacher at B'nai Tzedek. Marian just learned today that the last phone call she received from her daughter on Friday afternoon was actually traced to a cell tower in CharlestownWV -- so the girls could be anywhere at this point.

They were last known to be traveling in a dark blue Subaru Outback Station Wagon with a black cargo box on the roof. The license plate number is MD: MBJ 485. Anyone who has any knowledge of where these girls might be or has seen the vehicle, please call Montgomery County Police ASAP at 301/279-8000 or 240-773-5400 or call 911.

This is a recent photograph of Rachel Smith.     This is a recent photograph of Rachel Crites:

picture of Rachel Smith  Rachel Crites

Ask your kids if they know her, or forward this email to them. I think they're most likely to know where she might be or how to reach her. And please circulate this message to everyone you know.


Beth El Cares
Cathy Satz (968-9191;
Cheryl Wolff (968-6361;
BETH EL CARES co-chairs
Mitzvah Project – Dog-related Items



For my mitzvah project I am helping Adopt-A-Dog, a volunteer organization in Greenwich, CT, which helps find good, safe homes for homeless animals.  They have found homes for many Katrina dogs that lost their families in the hurricane.  To help them, I am donating money I have raised, and collecting dog-related items such as toys, collars, bones, and leashes; and cat-related items such as toys, collars, and catnip.  Any crates that your dog or cat no longer use would be greatly appreciated by Adopt-A-Dog   You do not have to be  dog or cat owner to help - Adopt-A-Dog also needs new or used blankets, pillows, soft table cloths, and really anything else that the animals can sleep on.  I can collect some of these items myself, but I need your help to collect enough needed items to make a big difference.


I will have a collection box out in the Hebrew School entrance at the temple for any donations. For any items that are too big for the box, please contact me and we will come pick them up at your home.  


You can also help Adopt-A-Dog by saving "Weight Circles" from Purina Brand Dog Food.  Adopt-A-Dog receives 8 cents for every pound of weight circles sent in to Purina.  Adopt-A-Dog buys 1,000 pounds of dog food every month!  Each label that you clip and donate from a 20 lb. bag gives them $1.60 towards their food bill.  A 50 lb. bag label means $4.00 in meals for their pooches.  Trust me, it adds up!  Please clip the labels off the side of each bag you buy and place them in the envelope attached to the collection box. 


On behalf of all the homeless dogs and cats at Adopt-A-Dog, thanks so much for your help! 


Lindy Fruithandler



To check out Adopt-A-Dog for yourself, please visit their website at



Here is an illustration of what your holiday packages meant and mean to Jews serving in the military. 

This is worth 6 minutes of your precious time.







What is Tu B’Shevat?


Tu B’Shevat, the New Year for trees, falls next weekend and we’ll be having Seder for families this Sunday.  Thanks to the Sisterhood, and especially Dora Salm and Jackie Herman, for putting together that event.


A whole bunch of Tu B’Shevat links can be found at

Some excellent Tu B’Shevat material can be found at www.myjewishlearning.comFour Kinds of Tu BishvatRabbinicKabbalistic (mystical), ZionistEcological.   The father of modern Zionism plants a tree in the land of IsraelRead More

On the Kabbalistic Seder

·        Part I: Nature as a Sacred Text

·        Part II: Evil Symbolized by Fruit

·        Part III: The Seder as Atonement for Sexual Impropriety


If you want to learn more about the Kabbalistic Tu B’Shevat Seder:


1) A new version of the text of P'ri Ets Hadar's blessing, the blessing from the very first published Tu B’shevat seder, dating back to the 17th or 16th century.  This is one of the most sweet and ecologically relevant texts in all of Jewish history: - also see lots of other Tu B’Shevat info at the web site of the Coalition of the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) at, and at


2) A fascinating "Save-The-Trees" one-page flow chart, using color, simple graphics, and explanations relating each step to its world, Sefirah (Divine emanation), element and season.  You can provide the teaching texts and songs or use this as a guide with another haggadah.  The "One-Page Save-The-Trees Haggadah" also includes the endings for all the prayers we say before eating and smelling in transliteration, as well as the English for the "borei n'fashot" prayer after eating, which is the very sweetest, most compact, environmentally meaningful prayer in Judaism:


The Society for Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) has a Hebrew Web site (with nice pictures).  Go to see Israel’s version of National Geographic, filled with beautiful nature pictures (back issues available outside my office) at


If you want to see what the spirit of Tu B'Shevat is really about, year round, go to . Freedman, a century-old UJA camp, has been radically transformed. It's the home of the Teva Learning Center ( ); it's been greened, top to bottom; and it has launched a remarkable new program, ADAMAH, a fellowship which will offer a dozen Jewish twenty-something's a unique opportunity to live there for six months to study organic farming, Jewish environmental ethics, sustainability and intentional Jewish community.  You can also see our former scholar-in-residence Nigel Savage’s web site at


Finally, every Tu Bish'vat should involve a little activism for trees as well.  Here are 15 action items related to trees:


And why not combine Tu B’Shevat with Valentines Day this year – and read the old classic, “The Giving Tree” to a child – or to yourself. 




Spiritual Journey on the Web


The Conservative Movement:

Dreaming from Within


Visit the Shefa Network at and see how Conservative leaders are grappling with spirituality and struggle with the ambiguities that come from being a Conservative Jew.   The site invites us to become part of a community of builders and dreamers, and there is much to inspire.  Take some time to explore some of the new trends in our movement.


A Tremendous Conservative Jewish Resource:



Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson

--Divrei Torah [audio]

--Lunch & Learn (podcast) [audio]


Divrei Torah from

Rabbi David Levy (podcast)



Rabbi Aaron Alexander

on Jewish Law (podcast)



My Relationship to God and Halachah

Fran Immerman

[video] [audio]


The Conservative Movement in the Next Ten Years
Rabbi Neil Gillman

[video] [audio Part 1 -- Part 2 -- Part 3]


What Does It Mean to be a Conservative Jew?
Rabbi Harold Kushner

[video]  [audio]


Is Halachah Binding?

Rabbi Menachem Creditor

[video] [audio]


My View of Halachah

Rabbi Elliot Dorff

[video] [audio]


Reb Mimi Feigelson's Shiurim

(podcast) [audio]


Explaining the Commmittee on Jewish Law and Standards
Rabbi Kassel Abelson

[video] [audio]








Communities to Learn From

Kehilat Hadar


The DC Minyan



Panim Hadashot




Required Reading and Action Items



Let’s begin with GOOD NEWS from Israel 21c,,

 and other sources



FROM Israel21c:


Israeli Male Lifespan Among Highest in Developed Countries - Relly Sa'ar (Ha'aretz)
    The average lifespan of Israeli men is among the highest in developed countries, according to an annual Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel report released Wednesday.
    Men in only five countries have longer lifespans than Israeli males, who live an average of 78 years: Iceland (79.2), Japan (78.6), Switzerland (78.6), Sweden (78.4), and Australia (78.1).
    Israeli women have an average lifespan of 82.4 years.


Pilgrims' Road to Temple Unearthed in City of David Dig - Nadav Shragai (Ha'aretz)
    Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron have found the main road by which many pilgrims of Second Temple times made their way up to the Temple Mount after immersing themselves in the Siloam Spring.
    The road is much grander, wider, more central, and is parallel to one discovered at the end of the 19th century by the archaeologists Bliss and Dickey, which was previously thought to be the road to the Temple Mount.
    Reich believes that at a certain point the two roads converged.


Technology | Speed dialing into a parking spot  
Driving a car into the city usually means parking lots - and frustration with lines for payment, evasive ticket stubs that always get lost, and ornery parking lot attendants. Israeli startup MobyDom hopes to revolutionize the urban parking experience with its next generation mobile parking solution PaNGo which enables a driver to use his mobile phone to record and pay for parking in a quick and efficient manner. The end result will be a reduction in traffic congestions and a reduction of vehicle pollution in urban areas. More...


Israel's humanitarian rescue missions abroad


Global Democracy | Israelis raise coral out of the blue  
Coral reefs in the sea aren't just beautiful - they serve as one of the world's most important marine ecosystems. They are also in danger, due to global warming, fish farming, pollution and a whole host of man-made activities which have already killed off up to one-third of all coral. Two Israeli entrepreneurs may hold the key to saving coral from extinction - their coral propagating technology provides living proof that coral can be cultivated in captivity and in a closed system with no connection to nutrients in the sea. More...


Culture | Israeli origami lover transforms paper-folding into education  
At first, Israeli school principals dismissed Miri Golan when she told them that origami, the ancient Japanese tradition of paper-folding, could be a valuable tool to teach children geometry. But her success in the Israeli school system with the innovative technique she calls 'Origametria' can no longer be disputed. Now she is bringing her fusion of origami, mathematics and science to the American educational community with equally impressive results. More...




Beating heart tissue from embryonic stem cells created in Israeli lab  
An Israeli scientific team from the Technion have succeeded in creating in the



Israeli lampshades so tasty you'll want to eat them  
A former kibbutznik's business-conscious idealism combined with his novel use of raw material, and ecologically and socially conscious manufacturing process, has resulted hip, cutting-edge eye candy for the home. Shuli Levin's lampshades carved out of squash-like gourds are at the forefront of innovative Israeli design now beginning to command the world's attention. More...













now for the rest


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

See also



Israeli President Seeks Time Off as Criminal Case Considered - Scott Wilson (Washington Post)
    Israeli President Moshe Katsav requested Wednesday that he be suspended from official duties.
    Attorney General Menachem Mazuz announced Tuesday that there is sufficient evidence to charge Katsav with rape, sexual assault, obstruction of justice, and abuse of power.
    Katsav, whose seven-year term expires in July, has denied the allegations.
    The presidency holds little political power in Israel.
    See also The Life and Times of Moshe Katsav - Amotz Asa-El (Jerusalem Post)
    Israel has become more intolerant toward the abuse of power in general, and of women in particular.


Carter Faces, And Disarms, Jewish Crowd At Brandeis - Dershowitz scores some points but former president earns respect with apology on book passage. (Jewish Week)


A Real Dialogue Would Have Been Better - Alan Dershowitz
President Carter's speech at Brandeis University on Tuesday should have been a real debate. Instead, it was a one-way dialogue with pre-screened questions and no rebuttals. Carter defends Yasser Arafat's refusal to accept the generous terms offered by President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000-2001 - or to make a counteroffer. In fact, the Palestinians could have had a state in 1938, 1948, 1967 and on several other occasions, but their leaders cared more about destroying Israel than they did about creating Palestine. That is the core of the conflict. It is Palestinian terror, not Israeli policy, which prevents peace. Carter chooses to believe Arafat's story over that of Clinton, Barak and Saudi Prince Bandar, who called Arafat's refusal a "crime."
    Even at Brandeis, President Carter continued to make the kinds of inaccurate claims that run throughout his book. He said, for example, that Hamas began a sixteen-month cease-fire in August 2004. He said nothing about Hamas rocket attacks in the weeks and months that followed, which killed innocent Israeli women and children. He claimed that Israel's security barrier was designed to seize land, when in fact it was proposed by left-wing Israelis, and aims only to protect civilians from bombings and sniper fire. I would like to join with President Carter in working for peace in the Middle East. But peace will not come if we insist on blaming one side in the conflict. (Jerusalem Post)


Click here: Deborah Lipstadt - Jimmy Carter's Jewish Problem -


Israel: Empower the Moderates
Addressing the World Economic Forum in DavosSwitzerland, Thursday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said: "People today are divided more by their values than by their national or religious identity. The principles of justice, co-existence and tolerance do not belong to any religion or national identity."
    "Every time we appease the radical forces, we will not only undermine the prospects for co-existence, we will also betray those moderate forces that are committed to it. But standing firm against the extremists is only one part of the equation. A message must also be conveyed to the moderates, and to the average person on the street, that if they have the courage to stand up to the radicals, they have partners....We must empower the moderates. We must demonstrate that we respect their faith and unique traditions and that we are ready to help them realize their legitimate aspirations, if they are ready to respect ours."
    "For the ruling elite in Tehran, for Hizbullah and for Hamas, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not political and resolvable, but religious and irreconcilable. They are opposed to co-existence and to the two-state solution not just as a matter of policy but as a matter of ideology." (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
    See also Ahmadinejad Must Be Tried in Hague - Hagit Klaiman
Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Canadian and British members of parliament in London to harness support for an initiative that calls to put Iranian President Ahmadinejad on trial for inciting genocide. (Ynet News)


Palestinian Suicide Bombing Plotter Arrested in Nablus, Linked to Hizbullah - Yaakov Katz
An elite police force on Thursday apprehended Omar Damra, 26, a Tanzim terror operative suspected of manufacturing explosives belts and planning suicide attacks inside Israeli cities and against military positions in the West Bank. Officials said that Damra and the Tanzim terror infrastructure in Nablus were directed by Hizbullah. (Jerusalem Post)


Palestinian Rocket Fire at Israel Continues - Shmulik Hadad
Palestinians in Gaza fired four Kassam rockets at Israel Thursday evening. (Ynet News)


Two Killed in Hamas-Fatah Fighting in Gaza - Ali Waked
Gunmen killed a Fatah activist in Gaza early on Friday, hours after a Jeep carrying a Hamas security force drove over a roadside bomb, killing one. The bomb blast left a second member of the Hamas force in critical condition and wounded eight others including three bystanders, two of them children. After the event, Hamas gunmen started shooting in the air and calling for revenge. (Ynet News)


Hamas Riding High One Year After Election - Khaled Abu Toameh
One year after their victory in the PA parliamentary election, Hamas leaders on Thursday had every reason to be satisfied. Political and financial sanctions imposed by the international community have failed to bring down the Hamas-led government. Efforts by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party to undermine the government of Ismail Haniyeh have also been unsuccessful. Predictions that Hamas' popularity would drop have proven to be wrong.
    Reports that the U.S. and Israel are providing Abbas' security forces with rifles and ammunition to fight against Hamas have only damaged the reputation of Fatah, whose leaders are accused by Hamas of conspiring with foreign powers to topple a democratically elected government.
    Abbas' threat to call early elections doesn't appear to bother anyone in Hamas. "Hamas will win another election," said a Palestinian editor in Gaza City. "They will win mainly because most Palestinians still don't regard Fatah as a better alternative." (Jerusalem Post)

Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S.UK, and Israel):


Rice's Strategic Reset - David Ignatius
What's America's strategy in the Middle East? Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this week sketched a new framework based on what she calls the "realignment" of states that want to contain Iran and its radical Muslim proxies. Rice sees a new American effort to create a de facto alliance between Israel and moderate Arab states against Iranian extremism. However, "the reception will be very skeptical" among some Arabs, cautioned one prominent official.
    The Bush administration's thinking about realignment helps explain why it has resisted engaging Syria and Iran. As Rice put it, "if you concentrate on engaging Syria and Iran, you may lose the chance to do the realignment."  (Washington Post)
    See also Dubious "Successes" in Iran - Editorial
As Iran tests missiles capable of targeting U.S. soldiers in Iraq, sends its Hizbullah clients into the streets to bring down the government of Lebanon and kicks out International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors, a bizarre consensus appears to have formed around the theory that Western "resolve" is actually forcing Tehran to change its behavior. We remain skeptical of the notion that we are on the verge of some kind of New Mideast Order in which "moderates" like the Wahhabi rulers of Saudi Arabia join hands with Israel to combat Iran and the Shi'ite radicals. Given reports that the Saudis continue to fund the Wahhabi networks that brought us al-Qaeda and Hamas, the current talk sounds more like spin than substance. (Washington Times)


Fearing Iran - Toby Greene
At the Herzliya Conference, members of the country's political, academic and military elite gather in one hall and talk in public for four days about Israel's strategic challenges. Each year the conference concludes with an address by the prime minister. Comparing Ehud Olmert's words this year with his speech from a year ago starkly reveals the extent to which Israel's strategic priorities have shifted. Whereas a year ago the prime minister focused on the need to separate from the Palestinians, this year the Palestinian issue was barely mentioned. Instead his focus was the existential threat posed by Iran, which was the dominant theme of the conference.
    In the last 12 months Israel has fought a war with the Iranian-backed Hizbullah on its northern border, seen the election of Iranian-backed Hamas in the Palestinian territories and watched the growing influence of Iran in Iraq. All the while Iran keeps up its threatening rhetoric against Israel and the Jewish people and pursues nuclear weapons capability with contempt for united international opposition. When Iranian President Ahmadinejad states his desire to see Israel wiped off the map, Israelis take him at his word. The writer was head of policy and research for Labour Friends of Israel from 2004 to 2006. (Guardian-UK)
    See also Game Theory Expert Views Iranian Nuclear Threat
Nobel Prize Laureate Prof. Israel (Robert) Aumann addressed the Herzliya Conference on Wednesday. (Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya)


Lessons from the Palestinian "War" Against Israel - Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon
In this 35-page study, former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon offers an inside look at Israel's evolving response to Palestinian violence. He discusses Palestinian tactics, analyzes Israel's shift from defensive to offensive measures, and outlines key principles of counterterrorism to help guide policymakers in Israel and elsewhere. As the U.S. and its allies struggle to deal with the "global jihad," sharing the lessons of Israel's war on Palestinian terrorism is more important than ever. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)


Misreading the Second Lebanon War - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror
Hizbullah casualties were not less than 500 and may have reached 700 - a figure greater than all the casualties Hizbullah has suffered during the last twenty years. It will take Hizbullah at least two years to rebuild its capabilities and to recruit and train new people. Israel also developed a system which made Hizbullah's long-range rocket launchers good for one use only. Within less than five minutes of launch they were destroyed by Israel's air force, an unprecedented achievement in modern warfare.
    The determination of Israel's government to respond and to retaliate is a very important factor in restoring deterrence. Now those around Israel understand that Israel has certain red lines, and that if these lines are crossed, Israel's retaliation will be intentionally disproportionate. As a small country, we cannot allow ourselves the luxury of reacting proportionally.
    What is the real mood of the Israeli people after the war? It is that we are not suckers and we are not going to make the same mistake again. We are not going to put ourselves in danger if it is not necessary. We unilaterally retreated from Lebanon and didn't retaliate for six years, and in the end we found Hizbullah in a stronger position to fight against us. When Israel retreated from Gaza what was the result? More Kassam rockets on Sderot and Ashkelon. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


Iran Penetrating Latin America - David Harris
The Iranian president's recent visits to Venezuela, Ecuador, and Nicaragua all underscore Iran's increasingly close contact with Latin America. Iran's ambitions are, in fact, global, with Ahmadinejad visiting countries where the current leaders were elected on platforms that included heavy doses of anti-Americanism. Ahmadinejad has said, "We should make our presence felt in different parts of the world to promote our values." Exactly which values? Nuclear weapons development? Suppression of human rights? Calls for destruction of another UN-member state? Holocaust denial? Support for terrorism? Iran has gained a foothold in the Western Hemisphere and is seeking to expand its reach. We and our regional friends must seek to ensure that a bad situation does not become worse. The writer is executive director of the American Jewish Committee. (New York Sun)


A Helpless World - Editorial (Ha'aretz)

  • On January 27, International Holocaust Remembrance Day will be observed for the third time. Fixed on the date of the liberation of Auschwitz, it is a memorial for the destruction of the Jews of Europe, which was first established by European countries and later adopted by the United Nations.
  • This welcome initiative is seemingly the climax of a process in which the Holocaust of the Jews has come to be perceived not only as a disaster for our people, but as having universal significance: a reminder of the horrors that people are capable of inflicting on other people, and also a warning - if not an alarm bell - that summons humanity to fight determinedly against present or future dangers of this kind.
  • For all the denunciations and the shock, it seems that the international community is also standing by helplessly, doing nothing, in the face of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who denies the Jewish Holocaust and threatens the very existence of the State of Israel. His open threats of destruction are backed by Iran's efforts to arm itself with weapons of mass destruction that would be capable of carrying out this threat.
  • Yet the international community is not excited. It has not gone into overdrive in order to at least deny Iran nuclear weapons. It sometimes seems as if this community is more concerned with ceremonies and memorial days to cleanse its conscience over its inaction in the face of past catastrophes than it is with dealing with the catastrophes that are occurring now, or that are on the horizon.


Lebanese Prime Minister: Hizbullah Driven by Iran and Syria - David Byers
Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora has blamed Iran and Syria for organizing a general strike in Beirut that led to rioting and the deaths of at least three people. Siniora declared that Lebanon has "been paying the price of imposed decisions coming from outside countries, like Iran and Syria." He also criticized Hizbullah for starting last summer's war with Israel, which caused widespread damage to the south of Lebanon. He claimed the group did not "ask for our opinion" before launching rockets and mortars at the Jewish state, along with the killing and kidnap of Israeli soldiers. (Times-UK)


U.S. Picks an Inauspicious Time to Restart Mideast Talks - Steven Erlanger
It would be hard to imagine a less promising moment for the U.S. to restart serious Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations. Six years after the last such talks, the Palestinian government is controlled by Hamas, which preaches Israel's destruction. Yet the Bush administration is holding a meeting on Feb. 2 of the Quartet, to be followed by "informal talks" between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, with help from Secretary of State Rice, about the shape of a final peace treaty and the nature of a Palestinian state beside Israel.
    The Americans are responding to pleas for re-engagement from the EU, Mahmoud Abbas, and moderate Arab nations. But expectations are purposely low. With the Israelis battered by the war in Lebanon, rockets coming from Gaza, and a Palestinian power struggle, few Israelis would support large new withdrawals from the West Bank when Abbas cannot control Palestinian militants and the PA is run by Hamas. (New York Times)


Disillusion with Hamas after One Year in Office - Rory McCarthy
Palestinian newspaper editors and local figures in Gaza City expressed their disillusionment with Hamas this week to Ismail Haniyeh, who was elected as Palestinian prime minister one year ago. Ali Badwan, a Palestinian economist in Gaza, said, "For me, after one year they have failed and they have to change and eliminate the mistakes they made before. They don't recognize the change from being a resistance movement to being in power...and having to deal with the international community." (Guardian-UK)

News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:


Olmert: "We Will Stand Up to Nuclear Threats and Prevail"
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Herzliya Conference on Wednesday: "Today, there is not one among us who does not sense the dangers inherent in [the Iranian] threat, not only to Israel, but also to the future of the region and to the stability of the world order. Every Israeli government over the past decade acted vigorously to improve our ability to track Iran's intentions, increase international awareness of the threat, mobilize international support to stop external assistance of the Iranian plans and prepare appropriate options in the event that these efforts prove unsuccessful in the end."
    "It is clear to everyone that a diplomatic solution to the Iranian issue is the preferred solution....Those who believe, as we do, that a diplomatic solution is preferable, must now muster their strength to exert pressure on Iran and thus stay the course until change is achieved....Our desire for peace should not be interpreted as weakness, but rather as a source of strength. Anyone who threatens us, who threatens our existence, must know that we have the determination and capability of defending ourselves, responding with force, discretion and with all the means at our disposal as necessary. We will not place the lives of our people, the life of our country, at risk....We have the right to full freedom of action to act in defense of our vital interests. We will not hesitate to use it." (Prime Minister's Office)


Bethlehem Christians Describe Muslim Persecution - Khaled Abu Toameh
A number of Christian families have described Muslim persecution of the Christian minority in Bethlehem after increased attacks over the past few months. Samir Qumsiyeh, owner of the Beit Sahur-based Shepherd TV station, said he has documented more than 160 attacks on Christians in recent years. He said thieves have targeted the homes of many Christian families and a "land mafia" has seized vast areas of land belonging to Christians.
    One Christian businessman said the conditions of Christians in Bethlehem had deteriorated ever since the area was handed over to the PA in 1995. "People are running away because the Palestinian government isn't doing anything to protect them and their property against Muslim thugs. Of course not all the Muslims are responsible, but there is a general feeling that Christians have become easy prey." (Jerusalem Post)
    See also Human Rights of Christians in Palestinian Society - Justus Reid Weiner (JCPA) (1.4M pdf file)

Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S.UK, and Israel):


A Dispiriting Arab Response to Israel's Quest for Peace - E. Robert Goodkind
The Financial Times (Editorial, Jan. 22) correctly points out that "Israel has been sorely tested in the six decades since its foundation," but mistakenly blames Israel alone for the apparent lack of progress towards achieving a durable peace. The fundamental challenge Israelis continue to face is the adamant refusal of most Arab countries to recognize their country and negotiate peace agreements as did Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. Israel's consistent quest for peace and security has often been met by a dispiriting Arab response.
    For its complete transfer of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority in 2005, Israel was rewarded with the continuation of deadly rocket attacks on Sderot and other communities in Israel, as well as the election of Hamas, which has steadfastly blocked Mahmoud Abbas from pursuing peace negotiations. Similarly, Israel's complete withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000 was rewarded with Hizbullah's massive arms build-up. On the day the two Israeli soldiers were captured by Hizbullah inside Israel, which triggered last summer's war, the terror group also began shelling Israel's north.
    While Israel has regularly extended its hands for peace, it has continually met the iron fists of Palestinian terror groups, and their patron in Tehran. That reality is the central lesson for all who truly desire peace in the Middle EastThe writer is president of the American Jewish Committee. (Financial Times-UK)


Iran Is Testing America - Amir Taheri
So confident is Ahmadinejad that the U.S. has become a toothless tiger that he has ordered a series of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq to test the Americans. In Afghanistan, the warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, whose forces are Iran-based, has moved onto the offensive against British forces in several places. At least two pro-Taliban warlords, Mullah Jalaleddin and Haji Akbar, have visited the Iranian city of Mashhad to coordinate future tactics against NATO forces with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.
    Tehran has also ordered the Mahdi Army militia, led by Muqtada al-Sadr, to disperse its forces throughout central and southern Iraq, partly to escape the expected U.S. attack on their stronghold in the Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, but also to prepare new positions for anti-U.S. operations. Tehran has also speeded up arms deliveries to its clients in Lebanon. (New York Post)


Taking the Offensive on Iran - David L. Grange and Ilan Berman (Chicago Tribune)

  • The Bush administration must craft a broader strategy for dealing with Iran - one designed to prevent Iran from going nuclear, contain its regional ambitions, and encourage a fundamental political transformation within its borders.
  • Such a strategy needs to focus on several fronts.

1.      Intelligence - The U.S. and its allies know far too little about the strategic capabilities of Iran, including how far Iran actually is from the nuclear threshold. Washington desperately needs a crash intelligence program to "get smart" on Iran in order to identify the best tactics to employ against the ayatollahs.

2.      Regime leadership - Iran is rapidly gaining in regional influence and prestige. Diminishing its standing needs to be a major American objective. That can be accomplished by publicizing the regime's corruption, human rights abuses, and ties to international terror, and using these issues to isolate Iran internationally.

3.      Economic - Iran is deeply dependent on foreign capital and foreign gasoline. Targeted financial measures that take advantage of these vulnerabilities can substantially impact Iran's political priorities.

4.      Support for terrorism - The U.S. will need to degrade Iran's ability to support regional instability, stopping its arms shipments to terrorist proxies and capturing or killing Iranian-supported radicals. Such steps would be an important signal to other state sponsors of terror that their actions are not cost-free.

5.      Communication - The U.S. must communicate in no uncertain terms that continued rogue behavior by Iran carries adverse consequences, up to and including the use of force. At the same time, outreach to the Iranian people should be optimized to better demonstrate our commitment to their urge for freedom.

6.      Military options - The White House needs to map out a full spectrum of military options vis-a-vis Iran. Limited overt and covert military measures aimed at increasing economic and political pressure on the Iranian regime can and should be explored now.

Brig. Gen. David L. Grange is chief executive officer of the McCormick Tribune Foundation. Ilan Berman is vice president for policy at the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington.


Shias Order Palestinians to Leave Iraq or "Prepare to Die" - Aqeel Hussein and Gethin Chamberlain (Sunday Telegraph-UK)
    Iraq's 20,000 Palestinians, who are mostly Sunni Muslims, have been warned that they will be killed by Shia militias unless they leave the country immediately.
    More than 600 Palestinians are believed to have died at the hands of Shia militias since the war began in 2003.
    The Palestinians had been welcomed by Saddam Hussein and provided with housing, money and free education.
    Sheik Mahmoud El Hassani, a spokesman for the Mehdi Army, said the Palestinians "lived off our blood under Saddam. We were hungry with no food and they were comfortable with full bellies. They should leave now, or they will have to pay."


Four Hurt in Fatah-Hamas Clash in Gaza - Nidal al-Mughrabi (Reuters)
    Fatah and Hamas gunmen clashed in Gaza on Wednesday, wounding at least four Palestinians.
    At least 30 Palestinians have been killed in factional fighting since Abbas called last month for early elections.


Palestinian Street Named for Saddam Hussein Was Paved with USAID Money - Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook (Palestinian Media Watch)
    The Palestinian municipality of Yaabid decided to name its main street after Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
    The same street was paved 18 months ago using a U.S. aid grant.


Useful Reference:

1,100 Holy Land Maps Now on Internet (Jewish National and University Library)
    Some 1,100 original and rare maps of the Land of Israel from the Jewish National and University Library have been posted on the Internet.




The Second Holocaust


January 22, 2007


The second Holocaust will not be like the first. The Nazis, of course, industrialized mass murder. But still, the perpetrators had one-on-one contact with the victims. They may have dehumanized them, over months and years of appalling debasement and in their minds, before the actual killing. But, still, they were in eye- and ear-contact, sometimes in tactile contact, with their victims.


The second Holocaust will be quite different. One bright morning, in five or 10 years' time, perhaps during a regional crisis, perhaps out of the blue, a day or a year or five years after Iran's acquisition of the bomb, the mullahs in Qom will convoke in secret session, under a portrait of the steely-eyed Ayatollah Khomeini, and give President Ahmadinejad, by then in his second or third term, the go ahead.


The orders will go out, and the Shihab III and IV missiles will take off for Tel Aviv, BeershebaHaifa, and Jerusalem, and probably some military sites, including Israel's half-dozen air and alleged nuclear missile bases. Some of the Shihabs will be nuclear-tipped, perhaps even with multiple warheads. Others will be dupes, packed merely with biological or chemical agents, or old newspapers, to draw off or confuse Israel's anti-missile batteries and Home Guard units.


With a country the size and shape of Israel, an elongated 8,000 square miles, probably four or five hits will suffice: no more Israel. A million or more Israelis, in the greater Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem areas, will die immediately. Millions will be seriously irradiated. Israel has about 7 million inhabitants. No Iranian will see or touch an Israeli. It will be quite impersonal.


Some of the dead will inevitably be Arab, for 1.3 million of Israel's citizens are Arab and another 3.5 million Arabs live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. It is doubtful whether such a mass killing of fellow Muslims will trouble Mr. Ahmadinejad and the mullahs. The Iranians don't especially like Arabs, especially Sunni Arabs, with whom they have intermittently warred for centuries. And they have an especial contempt for the Sunni Palestinians, who despite their initially outnumbering the Jews by more than 10 to 1, failed to prevent the Jews from establishing their state or taking over all of Palestine. Besides, the Iranian leadership sees the destruction of Israel as a supreme divine command, as a herald of the second coming, and the Muslims dispatched collaterally as so many martyrs in the noble cause. Anyway, the Palestinians, many of them dispersed around the globe, will survive as a people, as will the greater Arab nation. Surely, to be rid of the Jewish state, the Arabs should be willing to make some sacrifices. In the cosmic balance sheet, it will be worth the candle.


A question may nevertheless arise in the Iranian councils: What about Jerusalem? After all, the city is the third holiest after Mecca and Medina, containing the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Mosque of Omar. Ali Khamenei, the supreme spiritual leader, and Mr. Ahmadinejad most likely would reply that the city, like the land, by God's grace, in 20 or 50 years' time, will recover. And it will be restored to Islam and the Arabs.


To judge from Mr. Ahmadinejad's continuous reference to Palestine and the need to destroy Israel, and his denial of the first Holocaust, he is a man obsessed. He shares this with the mullahs: All were brought up on the teachings of Khomeini, a prolific anti-Semite who often fulminated against "the Little Satan." To judge from Mr. Ahmadinejad's organization of the Holocaust cartoons competition and the Holocaust denial conference, the Iranian president's hatreds are deep and, of course, shameless.


He is willing to gamble the future of Iran or even of the whole Muslim Middle East in exchange for Israel's destruction. No doubt he believes that Allah, somehow, will protect Iran from an Israeli nuclear response or an American counterstrike. He may well believe that his missiles will so pulverize the Jewish state that it will be unable to respond. And, with his deep contempt for the weak-kneed West, he is unlikely to take seriously the threat of American nuclear retaliation.

Or he may be willing to pay the price. As his mentor, Khomeini, put it in a speech in Qom in 1980: "We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah. ... I say, let" Iran "burn ... provided Islam emerges triumphant. ..."


Israel's deputy defense minister, Ephraim Sneh, has suggested that Iran doesn't even have to use the bomb to destroy Israel. The nuclearization of Iran will so overawe and depress Israelis that they will lose hope and gradually emigrate, and potential foreign investors and immigrants will shy away from the mortally threatened Jewish state. But my feeling is that Mr. Ahmadinejad and his allies lack patience and seek Israel's annihilation in their lifetime.

As with the first, the second Holocaust will have been preceded by decades of preparation of hearts and minds by Iranian and Arab leaders, Western intellectuals, and

press outlets. All the messages have served to demonize Israel. Muslims have been taught: "The Zionists/the Jews are the embodiment of evil" and "Israel must be destroyed." And Westerners were instructed: "Israel is a racist oppressor state" and "Israel, in this age of multi-culturalism, is an anachronism and superfluous."

The build-up to the second Holocaust has seen an international community fragmented and driven by separate, selfish appetites - Russia and China obsessed with Muslim markets; France, with Arab oil - and America driven by the debacle in Iraq into a deep isolationism. Iran has been left free to pursue its nuclear destiny, and Israel and Iran have been left to face off alone.


An isolated Israel will prove unequal to the task. Last summer, Israel failed in a 34-day mini-war against Hezbollah, which thoroughly demoralized the Israeli political and military leaderships. Since then, the ministers and generals, like their counterparts in the West, have looked on glumly as Hezbollah's patrons have been arming with doomsday weapons.


The Iranian program will present even a more complex challenge for a country with Israel's limited conventional military resources. Learning from Israel's destruction in 1981 of Iraq's nuclear reactor, the Iranians duplicated and dispersed their facilities and buried them deep. Taking out the Iranian facilities with conventional weapons would take an American-size air force working round-the-clock for more than a month. At best, Israel could hope to hit only some components and delay the Iranians by a year or two.


In short order, therefore, the leadership in Jerusalem would confront a doomsday dilemma of deciding whether to launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

Israel's leaders most likely will grit their teeth and hope that somehow things will turn out for the best. Perhaps, after acquiring the bomb, the Iranians will behave 'rationally"?


But the Iranians will launch their rockets. And, as with the first Holocaust, the international community will do nothing. It will all be over, for Israel, in a few minutes.

Still, the second Holocaust will be different in the sense that Mr. Ahmadinejad will not actually see and touch those he so wishes dead. Indeed, there will be no scenes like that quoted in Daniel Mendelsohn's recent "The Lost, A Search for Six of Six Million," in which is described the second Nazi Aktion in BolechowPoland, in September 1942:


"A terrible episode happened with Mrs. Grynberg. The Ukrainians and Germans, who had broken into her house, found her giving birth. The weeping and entreaties of bystanders didn't help and she was taken from her home in a nightshirt and dragged into the square in front of the town hall. There ... she was dragged onto a dumpster in the yard of the town hall with a crowd of Ukraininans present, who cracked jokes and jeered and watched the pain of childbirth and she gave birth to a child. The child was immediately torn from her arms along with its umbilical cord and thrown - It was trampled by the crowd and she was stood on her feet as blood poured out of her with bleeding bits hanging and she stood that way for a few hours by the wall of the town hall, afterwards she went with all the others to the train station where they loaded her into a carriage in a train to Belzec [extermination camp]."


In the next Holocaust there will be no such heart-rending scenes.


Mr. Morris is a professor of Middle East history at Ben-Gurion University in Israel.


Not quite as chilling, but equally gripping, an article by Daniel Gordis: “This Place Called Hope” -



MYTH #249

"Israeli Arabs are unpatriotic."


While Jimmy Carter and other critics of Israel attempt to paint the country as intolerant and discriminatory toward Arabs based on their ill-informed and distorted views of both the past and present, Israeli Arabs themselves have a very high opinion of their country. According to a new poll released in January 2007 (Uzi Arad and Gal Alon, “Patriotism and Israel's National Security - Herzliya Patriotism Survey 2006,” Herzliya: Institute for Policy and Strategy, 2006), 82 percent of Israeli Arabs said it is “better to be a citizen of my country than others.” By comparison, 90 percent of Americans agreed with the statement and 88 percent of Israeli Jews.

In addition, 77 percent of Israeli Arabs agreed “my country is better than others,” which was only slightly less than the 83 percent of Australians and 79 percent of Canadians and Americans who felt the same way. Interestingly, the figure for Israeli Arabs was 11 points higher than that for Jews.

While almost everyone in the survey from Ireland and the United States said they were proud to be a citizen of their country, 83 percent of Israeli Jews said they were proud and 44 percent of Israeli Arabs. Another 27 percent of Israeli Arabs said they were willing to fight for their country, an increase from 22 percent in 2000. While still well below the overwhelming 94 percent of Israeli Jews who are prepared to fight ( Finland was second with 83 percent and the U.S. third with 63 percent), it is significant that more than one-quarter of Israeli Arabs, who are exempt from military service, are still prepared to defend their nation.

Analyzing the survey data it is clear why Israeli Arabs are adamant about remaining citizens of Israel and express no desire to be part of a Palestinian state. The results also illustrate why Palestinian Arabs in the territories express a high regard for Israel in polls. They see how their fellow Arabs are treated and the type of society Israel has built and wish to emulate it.

It is too bad the Jimmy Carters of the world do not see Israel the way its citizens – Jewish and non-Jewish – view their nation. If they did, they’d recognize that Israeli society can serve as a model, albeit an imperfect one, for the values they espouse.

This article can be found at

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

To order a copy of the NEW paperback edition of Myths and Facts, click HERE. The previous edition of Myths & Facts is also available in Spanish, German, French, Russian, Portuguese, Swedish, and Hebrew.





Next Week!

Temple Rock Café

Break out your blue jeans, and your dancing shoes

and join us for a full evening of food, cocktails, dancing and good friends. 

All this while you peruse the unbelievable items up for bid at the Silent Auction.

 Kick off Super Bowl weekend when TBE transforms into the Temple Rock Cafe

with some rockin' music, and awesome activities. 

Mark your calendars for this Temple Beth El fundraising "extravaganza".

 What:  Temple Rock Cafe

 When:  Saturday, February 3rd from 7:30 p.m. -midnight

Where: Temple Beth El Social Hall @ 350 Roxbury RoadStamfordCT

Cost:    Only $90 per person either by check, MasterCard or Visa.

Food:  Dinner (buffet), dessert and full bar.

Entertainment:     Dance to the tunes of "The In Laws" band

playing Rock and Roll and Pop music spanning the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's.

 RSVP: To with our NEW online RSVP form

or send us the card you receive in the mail with your payment by January 19th.

 Bring your checkbook or credit card and enthusiasm--there will be plenty of opportunities for you to support the Temple at our primary fundraising event of the year!

 Questions?  Contact or call 203.322.6901, ext. 304




This weekend!

"Keeping Up with the Steins"

Movie Showing & Discussion

January 27, 2006

7:30 PM

Hosted by Sisterhood

Benjamin Fiedler has a lot to be nervous about; his Bar Mitzvah is fast approaching, and his parents are caught up in plans to make his party even more lavish than the one the Steins threw for their son. Amid his family's debate over whether to invite an estranged grandfather, the youth solves the problem by arranging for Grandpa to arrive two weeks early.

Come see the movie, "Keeping Up with the Steins," and join us for a lively discussion.  This movie explores the Bar Mitzvah ritual and the family dynamics that often accompany it. Open to all adult members including B'nai Mitzvah aged children. Candy and popcorn to be provided.   Free!  (Movie rated PG-13) 






at the World Wide Wrap

Sunday, February 4th at 9:00 a.m.

(includes morning minyan slightly after 9:30)


     For the seventh year in a row, thousands of Conservative Jews around the world will be “wrapped up” in the “ties that bind.”  As part of the WORLD WIDE WRAP, Jews around the world--men and women--will participate in an ancient practice called “tefillin” on Sunday, February 4, 2007.  A form of prayer, tefillin involves wrapping leather straps attached to boxes containing scripture around the forehead, arm and hand in an intricate pattern that spells out the name of God.


     Join our 7th grade families for the “Wrap,” for an explanatory morning learner’s service and a video entitled “The Ties that Bind.”  Beth El will be one of the hundreds of congregations worldwide that are participating in the Wrap.  Extra sets of tefillin will be provided, and instructions will be given to those who are in need of assistance.  (Naturally, it’s also OK just to watch!).  Plus, after our bagel breakfast, we’ll have a chance to purchase tallises from our gift shop’s extensive selection.


     The Federation of Jewish Men's Clubs in New York City organizes and sponsors the World Wide Wrap.  The FJMC created the video “The Ties that Bind” to reacquaint Conservative Jews with the ancient, mysterious and beautiful ritual.





Coming February 9-10…

Synaplex Shabbat


Synaplex features…



Sisterhood Shabbat

February 10, 2007


Including Miriam’s Minyan at 9:30am



Plus Scholar in Residence

Rabbi Burton Visotzky [Dr. Burton L. Visotzky]

BURTON L. VISOTZKY serves as the Nathan and Janet Appleman Professor of Midrash and Interreligious Studies at the Jewish Theological Seminary, where he joined the faculty upon his ordination as Rabbi in 1977. He has served as the Associate and Acting Dean of the Graduate School (1991–96), as the founding Rabbi of the egalitarian worship service of the Seminary Synagogue, and as the director of the Louis Finkelstein Institute for Religious and Social Studies at JTS.

Prof. Visotzky has been a visiting scholar at Oxford University, a visiting fellow and life member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge, as well as a visiting faculty member at Princeton Theological Seminary, Hebrew Union College, and the Russian State University of the Humanities in Moscow (where returned to teach in May, 2006). Dr. Visotzky is also Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies at Union Theological Seminary, New York. In Spring, '04 he was Visiting Professor of Religion and Judaic Studies at Princeton University. Rabbi Visotzky has been chosen to serve as the Master Visiting Professor of Jewish Studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, during Spring, 2007.  Dr. Visotzky received his B.A. with honors and highest distinction from the University of Illinois (Chicago), a Masters in Education from Harvard University, and his M.A., Rabbinic ordination, and Ph.D., and D.H.L. (hon.) from the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Prof. Visotzky's articles and reviews have been published in America, Europe, and Israel. He is the author of eight books. Visotzky's popular volumes include: Reading the Book: Making the Bible a Timeless Text (1991), The Genesis of Ethics: How the Tormented Family of Genesis leads us to Moral Development (1996), The Road to Redemption: Lessons from Exodus on Leadership and Community (1998), and From Mesopotamia to Modernity: Ten Introductions to Jewish History and Literature (1999). In addition to these popular works and his scholarly monographs, Visotzky is currently completing A Delightful Compendium of Consolation: A Novel, set in eleventh-century North Africa.

With Bill Moyers, he developed ten hours of television for PBS on the book of Genesis, serving as consultant and a featured on-screen participant. The series, "Genesis: A Living Conversation," premiered in October, 1996. Visotzky was also a consultant to Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks for their 1998 film, "Prince of Egypt".

Visotzky sits on the Board of Advisors of the Stein Center for Law and Ethics at Fordham Law School, the Steering Committee of the New Israel Fund Rabbinic Council, and served on the Board of Trustees and Executive Committee of CancerCare. He is active in Jewish/Christian/Muslim dialogue internationally, most recently in Cairo and DohaQatar.

Rabbi Visotzky is active as a lecturer and scholar-in-residence throughout North America, Europe, and Israel. His study groups and books have been hailed on radio, television, and in print. He is married to an attorney, Sandra Edelman. They make their home in New York City and KentConnecticut.


Scholar’s Lecture Topics (for portion of Yitro):


Friday night:

“What is God’s Place in the Synagogue?”


Saturday Morning (in honor of sisterhood Shabbat):

“Three Mothers: Mother of all life, Mother of all Jews, Mother of all Prophets:

Portraits of Eve, Sarah and Miriam.”


Saturday afternoon:

“Who Spoke the Ten Commandments?  

Word of God or Hand of Moses?”


Plus …

First-ever Havdalah Unplugged with Cantor Littman



o       Friday night service at 7:30, followed by scholar in residence lecture and Rebbe’s tish

o       Shabbat morning features the return of Yoga -  see

o       Meditative Shacharits and “Miriam’s Minyan.”

o       children’s and teens services and programming

o       Sisterhood book discussion

o       Afternoon discussion of Conservative Law Committee decisions

o       Israeli Movie Night: “Walk on Water”





Many thanks to Penny and Michael Horowitz for their sponsorship of our Scholar in Residence presentations,

in memory of Bessie Silver and Millie Reiss

to an anonymous donor family for sponsoring January’s Shabbat Unplugged,

and to Allen and Beverly Kezsbom for their sponsorship of Havdalah Unplugged



A Seder in the Winter?

Family Tu B'Shevat Seder: Sunday January 28th


The Sisterhood is excited to announce our upcoming Family Event, Temple Beth El's first annual Tu B'Shevat Family Seder at Temple Beth El on Sunday, January 28th at 4:00 p.m.  Rabbi Hammerman and Cantor Littman will both be on hand to provide insight and background on this special holiday.  This fun-filled, educational special event will appeal to families of all ages as we explore the spiritual, cultural religious significance of Tu B'Shevat, a holiday known as a New Year for the Trees.  (Our very own version of Arbor Day!)  Please join us for an education afternoon as we learn new blessings, songs and traditions to ring in this very special holiday.  We'll also be having a crafts project for the kids to tie in with Tu B'Shevat.  In addition to learning and songs, a Kosher, dairy dinner will also be served.  Eating is a very important element of Tu B'Shevat as we learn about the religious meaning of each type of food served at the Seder portion of the event.  Please see the registration form below for information and details on the dinner portion of the event. 


Family Tu B'Shevat Seder and Dinner

Sunday, January 28th at 4:00 p.m.


Please contact Dora Salm ( or Jackie Herman ( if you have any questions or would like to help with this event.



2nd Night of Passover - The Seder


This outstanding event will return to Temple Beth El in StamfordConnecticut.  We will have plenty of activities for children of all ages, and share our experiences as one giant family.  We will enjoy a terrific meal, and someone else cleaning up after us.  We will learn new facts about Passover, and introduce our new game, Pin the Matzah Ball on the Pharaoh! Please contact Steven Mayer at 203-316-9195; e-mail or Mark Plotzky at 203-359-2290; e-mail –to let us know if you plan to attend.








Please help the 5th grade religious school students reach their tzedakah goal:


Purchase 100 trees to rebuild northern Israel’s forests


During Hezbollah’s attack on Israel this past summer, 20% of Northern Israel’s forests were destroyed resulting in the loss of 2 million trees and 20,000 acres of land.  The soil, wildlife (many animals were killed), and scenic beauty of the region were lost.  Also, tourism and the economy are suffering badly.

Our 5th grade students are making a noble effort to rebuild the forests.  In the spirit of tzedakah and Tu B’Shevat (February 3), please help them reach their goal by purchasing a tree or making a donation.

All funds raised will be donated to the Jewish National Fund’s Operation Northern Renewal program.

Thank you so much.

Parents of the 5th Grade Students


Please complete and return with payment by January 31st to:


Temple Beth El Hebrew School Office

 350 Roxbury RoadStamfordCT  06902


Make Checks Payable to:  Temple Beth El

(in the memo please write – JNF Operation Northern Renewal)


Donor Name ___________________________

Phone Number _________________________

Email Address _________________________


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


             or                Donation Amount  =  $_______


                              Grand Total Enclosed  $_______











Support our Temple Gift Shop! 



star                                                                                                                                                                 star




We are looking for some volunteers to help out at a special family evening presented by the YOUTH COMMISSION for families with children of all ages.


Temple Beth El’s Annual Purim Carnival


Saturday March 3, 2007




Please contact Roz Rubin at 356-0515 or Carl Shapiro at 203-353-0657 if you are interested in helping out




 The Many Demensions of Jewish Prayer”

with Rabbi Hammerman

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


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



Modern Conversational Hebrew Ulpan

Instructor: Eran Vaisben, Education Director


Do you have good basic Hebrew reading skills? The primary goal of this class is to further your overall

understanding and use of the Hebrew language. This class emphasis is on communicative skills that

will enable you to communicate in simple Hebrew for everyday situations. This first level Ulpan class

is covering a variety of dialogue, articles, stories and songs.

Prerequisite: Hebrew reading


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 from 7:30-8:30 PM, October-May


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


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?



Community Scholar-in-Residence Program


President Emeritus of National Hillel & Early Architect of “birthright israel

March 20, 2007

7:30 pm at Temple Beth El (opening session)

“Being Jewish in the iPod Age”

Maintaining and translating Jewish values into contemporary Jewish life

Infeld is known for his searing intellect, brilliant insights

into Jewish life and enthusiastic, dynamic speaking style,

Avraham Infeld is not to be missed.

For more information on the other events of the three-day program,

visit UJF website at or contact

Dr. Ilana De Laney

203.321.1373 ext. 114 or

This program made possible through the generosity

of the Herbert and Sarah M. Gibor Charitable Foundation

We PROMISE you won’t be disappointed!


We are proud to announce the GRAND OPENING of Stamford (Glatt) Kosher!!!!!
Starting the first Shabbat in February, we will be offering a spectacular
assortment of weekly shabbos take out with delicacies from world famous
eateries at competitive prices. We will be offering Dougies Grill, Chopstix
Chinese, Zadies Bakery and more....All you do is shop, order and pay online;
we will then deliver the food to your home. (or you can pick it up on
Thursday night in Stamford) Please visit our website, and leave us your
suggestions and comments to help us best meet your needs. We look forward
to serving you and making your Shabbat a wonderfully, delicious experience.

R. Yehuda Jeiger
R. Yehuda Tucker


Youth Programming




USY is going to



WHEN: Saturday, January 27th

TIME: Meet at Temple Beth El at 6:45 P.M.

Plan to be picked up at 11:00 P.M.

COST:    $40 Members

$45 Non-Members

Please make checks payable to Temple Beth El


Go-Karts, Laser Tag, Arcade, and Transportation!!!

Please RSVP by FRIDAY, JANUARY 19th to the Temple Beth El Hebrew School office or by email to


Join the JCC Maccabi trip to Israel this summer

 a 4-week action packed tour from June 24 – July 23. 

We will travel all over Israel from east to west and north to south.  We’ll see all of the traditional sites as well as go hiking, biking, climbing, kayaking, repelling, snorkeling, “jeeping,” and camel riding.  The trip will also tour with teens from our sister city Afula/Gilboa.  If you are entering 10th, 11th, or 12th grade in September 2007, and if you want to meet and tour with teens from across the U.S. – not just Stamford – then this trip is for you.  The cost for the full 4-weeks is $4,500 for Stamford JCC members, and $4,750 for non-members.  You can definitely use your $500 Gift of Israel from your Bar/Bat Mitzvah toward this trip.  If you sign up a friend, both you and your friend receive an additional $100 off.


For more information or to register for JCC Maccabi Israel, contact Nancy Schiffman at 487-0970 or, or Bob Abrams at 487-0958 or



College Students!

Registration is now open for the


The Original FACE BOOK:

A Jewish Guide to (non-virtual) Community

February 22 - 25, 2007

University of Pennsylvania


  • Enjoy a spirited Shabbat
  • Lots of students from North America
  • Meet representatives from Israel Programs
  • Celebrate!!
  • Community Service Projects
  • Israel Updates
  • Vision the future of the Conservative Movement
  • Learn from peers and other scholars
  • Sing, Dance and Laugh!
  • Have an awesome time!


Rabbi Pamela Barmash

Washington University

St. LouisMO



Aaron Freeman and Sharon Rosensweig



Scholarships available from KOACH, some Hillels and local congregations.


For details, go to or e-mail




Jewish Humor on YouTube


Comedian and a priest

(from Israeli TV, in Engish, guaranteed to set back interfaith relations by several centuries)


A Good Joke

(This animated short is based on an old joke, a perennial in compilations of Jewish humor. Although the details differ between versions, the scene remains the same: a priest challenges a rabbi to a debate on the spiritual condition of Jewish people. But neither speaks the other's language)


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

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