Friday, February 9, 2007

February 9, 2007– Shevat 22, 5767

February 9, 2007– Shevat 22, 5767


Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut


This Week!                   




Sisterhood Shabbat

Havdalah Unplugged

We welcome Scholar in Residence Rabbi Burton Visotzky


Download the complete schedule at


A special thank you to all those who have made this weekend possible!


Send your friends and relatives the gift of Jewish awareness -- a Shabbat-O-Gram each week, by signing them up at  To be removed from this mailing list, sent e-mail request to  If you have signed up and are not receiving our e-mails, check your spam filter to make sure that TBE is not being “spammed out.”


Contents of the Shabbat O Gram:

(Click to scroll down)


Just the Facts (service schedule)  

The (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


Five Beth El-Bi Cultural 8th Graders preparing to leave for Israel last Tuesday.

See photos of the first few days of their trip at



Check out for our extensive library of photo albums,

articles, sermons, info about the temple,

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


Here are some photos of 7th graders (and the cantor) wrapping at last weekend’s World Wide Wrap.  Check our website for more, going up soon…

Thanks to Dan Young for taking the pics.




Yashar Koach to our 5th grade,

who collected enough money to donate

400 trees

to JNF

to rebuilt the damaged forests of northern Israel


Quote for the Week



This week’s quote is inspired by Roni Lang’s Synaplex presentation this weekend, on “Dealing with Difficult People.”


“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships--the ability of all people, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt






Click HERE for the full Synaplex schedule

for Friday and Shabbat


Candle lighting: 5:03 pm on Friday, 9 February 2007.  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.


Our Torah Portion for Shabbat Morning

Parashat Yitro

 Exodus 18:1 - 20:23 – The Ten Commandments

1: 18:1-12 (12 p'sukim)
18:13-23 (11 p'sukim)
18:24-27 (4 p'sukim)
19:1-6 (6 p'sukim)
19:7-19 (13 p'sukim)
19:20-20:14 (20 p'sukim)
20:15-23 (9 p'sukim)
20:19-23 (5 p'sukim)

HaftarahIsaiah 6:1 - 7:6; 9:5 - 9:6

Haftarah for Sephardim: Isaiah 6:1 - 6:13


If you liked Storahtelling, you’ll LOVE Storahtelling’s new weekly blog about the Torah portion Find it at  ORT Navigating the BibleRashi in English; BibleGateway: Useful for comparing different translations: Note- this is a Christian site.
What’s Bothering Rashi (BonchekEach 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.:’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



A Guaranteed Minyan request has been made for this Sunday, Feb. 11. Please click on the date in the Rosner Minyan Maker at our website, www.tbe.orgif you can make it.  Thanks

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!



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.




Ranting Rabbi



The View from Netanya – From Jan Gaines

Jan, a long time TBE member, lives for half of the year in Netanya, Israel.  She often reports to us on the goings on over there.  Here is her latest letter:


Dear Friends,


I'm looking at the brown waters of the sea, and the gray skies. We have had 4 days of strong storms, bringing good rain but reflecting the not very peaceful situation here.  I'm waiting for blue skies to return. Sun somehow makes things more hopeful.


 The country is in a mess.  The cultural system of protexia and macho male predators has finally caught up with a new reality in Israel and we are in a transition period which is very bumpy.  Our internal strife didn't come at a very good time, but then there rarely is a "good time" these days.


You read the news so you know that from the President on down to civil servants in the Tax Authority, there are indictments pending or coming all over the place. At times I feel the police are overly aggressive, not to mention our killer press, but then the Israeli way is not to be quiet.  If we had good leadership at the top I think people would feel more confident but as it is, there is almost zero confidence in either the Knesset or the PM and cabinet.  It seems to go from bad to worse. Most of us are just waiting for the next, or "other shoe to fall". However, Olmert is an expert at the game of politics and is protecting himself at all costs so many people feel we are stuck with him for awhile unless the police can find something with his real estate house deal that is enough to bring an indictment. I doubt it.


And since the Arabs/Palestinians see our internal strife, it emboldens them to call for more "resistance".  The Arab Knesset representatives don't hesitate to meet with Syrians or Hizbollah or anyone else they chose and roundly condemn Israel for something or other. They have immunity and they know they will never be charged with treason, which they would be in any other country. The latest call for an Intifada is over the excavation and re-construction of the pedestrian bridge leading to the Temple Mount. The old one was crumbling and unsafe. Those of you who ever visited the Kotel will remember it was almost an earthenware bridge. Anyway, the Waqf is now calling for an Intifada over that. Anything to divert attention from the truly sad situation of the Palestinians who can never seem to take positive steps for their future. 


I fear Hamas will win out over Fatah because they are unbending, and we continue to prop up Abbas who is just a nicer looking but weaker Arafat. I keep hoping that Muhammed Dahlan will at some point take control, rather than operate behind the scenes, but he probably wouldn't last a day in the job before being bumped off.  So the West continues to put good money after bad, hoping to stabilize the situation.  But it won't work.


So how about the country of Israel APART from politics?  Good news in alot of places.  The economy is chugging along beautifully, fueled by both foreign investment and Israeli tech brain power. Quoting the J Post, the economy will expand "almost 5% this year and the budget deficit  less than forecast" according to Fisher at the Bank of Israel.  Other statistics: tax receipts broke records, there was a surplus of  NIS 17 billion in January;;unemployment is still going down and a new anti-poverty program has just been put in place, and average household income has also risen. There is still poverty and still unemployment among the most vulnerable households.  But at least the govt. has tried to tackle that by trying out the "Wisconsin plan" in different cities with different sub-contractors. The results aren't in yet.


Yes, our weakest populations are single family mothers, the elderly and of course the Ethiopians.  However, the private sector is still very active in trying to help, and with the new emphasis by the UJF nationwide,  I think it will make a difference.  I see it in small ways right here in Netanya.  A good friend who runs 3 sewing centers for Ethiopian men, giving them meaningful daily employment, has run on a shoestring for 3 years but now tells me she has funding from New York City UJF and what a big help that is.  My own projects with Forgotten People's Fund, both the vitamins and the expanding Nutrition classes, are doing better financially (thanks to any of you who have helped through the Stamford Endowment)  so that I don't worry from month to month if we have enough to keep the program going for another cycle. I see the new police cars that replaced the broken down vans I used to ride in 5 years ago with the civil patrol and I'm not sure where that money came from but I think it was in response to the 2nd intifada. Yes, it takes time for the money to get here and be put to use, but it's very gratifying to see tangible evidence of its success.


However, we're still making sandwiches for school kids, we're still getting calls for help from our ever growing Ethiopian population here in Netanya (over 12,000 which is maybe the largest for any one city in Israel), the nutrition classes are still in demand and now seniors are asking for help as well, and most of all, the need for extra help for Ethiopian school children is very tangible.  I've started working with 12 year old girls once a week at one of the schools (religious) which is predominantly Ethiopian.  Trying to help them with English. Tthey can't read or even recognize basic words, which Sabra kids at their age have already mastered. It's true that this is only ESL, but it is required in the curriculum and if these kids are ever going to get ahead, they must have the basics. It breaks my heart and leaves me frustrated.  I have 3 lovely, loving girls who really want to learn and I'm busy repeating names of colors, numbers, family members and a few common adverbs like "who" and "when" and "why".  And I'm certainly not much of a teacher or have any training in this.  Our group is composed of some women from Herzliyah Pituach, among them the Canadian ambassador's wife who is a real "Jewish doer", and a group from here in Netanya. But once a week for 90 minutes isn't going to do the trick, and the English teacher (who is Russian like so many of them) has her hands full coping with a big class of rambunctious kids. I could go on about the Education system here but that's another story and a very big problem nationwide.


I don't want to give you a skewed picture focusing only on problems.  What I see with most Israeli families is still a growing standard of living, a committment to living every day in full and especially enjoying more leisure time on weekends, and a resolve to just shut these problems out, don't talk about them especially on a national level because there's nothing they can do,  and focusing inward on family and friends.  The good old Israeli "help when needed" standards are still much in evidence.  They may argue, disagree violently, come almost to blows, but in a crisis, THEY ARE THERE FOR EACH OTHER.  That is what I see all the time and what keeps me optimistic about this country.  In spite of the disastrous war this summer, what we saw was Israelis closing ranks and pulling together. That exists on an individual, as well as a collective level.  If I'm sick, I will have 3 different people calling to ask if they can shop for me (or bring me chicken soup). That's such a comfort and such an inspiration.


The sun is trying to come out now, altho the sea is still muddy from the winds blowing up the sand.  The Kinneret is rising so no one complains about the rain. And I am going to my Ethiopian girls this afternoon, ready for hugs and a few more adjectives- - -maybe we'll make up a little song.


LaBriut.  Jan






Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunties



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

Pre-Passover Hametz Food Collection

As you clean your cupboards in preparation for Passover, please consider donating unopened boxes, bags and cans of hametz to a local food pantry.  For your convenience, you can deposit those items in a box outside the Helen Golin Gift Shop, from March 22nd to 28th.  We will then deliver the food to a local food pantry.  Check your e-mail for more information.

Kosher Meals of Wheels
From Matt Greenberg of the JFS
Jewish Family Service and Congregation Agudath Sholom, in response to several requests from congregants, 
are exploring the viability of creating a Kosher Meals on Wheels program, 
similar to those found in cities across the country. The purpose would be two-fold. 
1) To provide nutritious meals to people who would otherwise not have them, 
or have trouble finding them and 
2) Provide a weekly visit to those who otherwise would be isolated. 
This could be for the elderly who have difficulty getting out, 
those in need of temporary assistance, or those with maladies that prevent their mobility. 
The only way such a program would be viable would be if there were enough people signed up 
to make it worthwhile to a caterer to prepare the meals. 
Agudath Sholom currently has five individuals interested. 
I am wondering if you could find a way to poll your congregants either by email,
 weekly bulletin or Shabbat announcements to determine if there are enough people to make this a reality.
Please let me know if you are interested in this –
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






Is it Appropriate to have Yoga in a Synagogue on Shabbat?


With the return on Neshama Yoga to our Synaplex schedule this weekend, this question will again arise, as it does at many other Synaplex synagogues (of all denominations).  It turns out that Yoga is perhaps the most popular Synaplex event nationally.  This might seem peculiar to many, including those not familiar with the profound Jewish and spiritual connections.  For more details about our own Neshama Yoga, check out the recent Jewish Ledger article at


The subject is indeed complicated.  When we talk about Judaism’s borrowing from other cultural traditions, we fist must ask what, after all, is “purely” Jewish?  Even the word “synagogue” is Greek.  The most common melody for Adon Olam originated in a German beer hall.  When you get into the realm of spirituality and mysticism, the lines become even more blurry. 


Adam Eitelberg, Synaplex co-chair, recently responded to this question in writing.  Adam also spoke to the issue of the Synaplex bike ride, which was cancelled in October due to bad weather, and his response really gets to the heart of the Synaplex philosophy itself.  This week’s Shabbat will once again show the compelling power of inclusiveness, outreach and choice.  We’ve now seen again how one size doesn’t fit all.  The survey from our January Synaplex once again demonstrated this, with over 90% of the respondents either being “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the programming and nearly everyone clamoring for more. We are most definitely on the right track.


Here are excerpts from Adam’s comprehensive response, along with links to other resources. 


“For one person, yoga or any other “physical” activity performed on Shabbat would be considered a halachic no-no.  This person may believe that they are adhering to an age old tradition of literal interpretation wherein they follow a set of rules and standards that has changed little in three millennia.


Then you may have others where Yoga is seen as a means to both physiological and spiritual mastery.  To this individual the meditative practice may bring them closer and clearer to an idea of G-D that may or may not resemble that of the first person.  Interestingly enough both parties have embraced the true essence of Shabbat.  Whether through prayer and devotion or through meditation and centering each has brought themselves closer to G-D.  Each has taken place in the miracle of Shabbat and they both have been given the opportunity to do it at Beth-El, and on the same day; not unlike the one quantum electron existing in two distinct spaces at once.  Or for a more “Jewish” perspective the first person is more inclined to pursue a connection with G-D as portrayed in the Torah while the second person may have a more Kabbalistic view of G-D.


For someone who may not even be inclined to hold the beliefs of the first two as either noteworthy or relevant; the many and long standing similarities between Jewish Mysticism (which in and of itself does not adhere to the Torah view of G-D) and Hindu philosophy may be a matter if interest, and one they would feel comfortable exploring within their “Temple Walls”. Tens of thousands of Jews are culturally influenced through their own heritage and include this practice in their daily life.  I would not wish to tell them that their connection to G-D does not reflect an eastern European sensibility in approaching G-D on Shabbat and is therefore a halachically questionable practice.     Then there may just be the person who thinks Yoga is cool, and the fact that they can do it at their synagogue is a reason to connect. 


…The responsibility of the institution is to open its doors to the community, to embrace its diversity and foster a sense of connection.  This is the avenue that a program like Synaplex takes.  It reaches out to membership beyond core participants.  It creates an environment where tefilah is encouraged through options.  Where discussion can encompass anything from the use of technology to A.J. Heschel’s illuminations on Shabbat.   It reflects the sensibility of its time.  It allows congregants to become participants instead of just attendees.   We are all better served when the institution reflects and embraces the community; we are all short changed when the community is put in the position of having to accept an institution of narrow view…   .  Synaplex programming …explores and re-explores…to make being Jewish a relevant and understanding way to live.  It davens, it discusses, it sets a stage for all players and not just a chosen cast.


For additional reading on Yoga please review the enclosed material at the end of this response.


If you are so inclined to read on … bike riding…


Although this activity was cancelled due to weather and therefore limits practical discussion on whether or not it was an appropriate program I can tell you that there was a great deal of care in its preparation.  Although this program was not something I myself would have been inclined to do, I was impressed with the source material that was to be an accompaniment on the ride.  After some eye opening thought, it became clear that congregants getting together on Shabbat; participating in something of their own personal interest and making the ever important connection to G-D through nature was in fact another very appropriate way to embrace Shabbat through diversity.  In retrospect, I am sorry that the ride did not take place; I am sure that more than a few congregants would have been touched in some way by having participated. Again the program may have been “out of the box” but it was still Jews celebrating Shabbat through choices, connections and community. 


Shabbat is more than law, it is a celebration of creation, it is a time to reflect, and it is when we are supposed to congregate.  These programs invite people into our doors, and in doing so bring an even larger part of the community together.  That is as much within the spirit of Shabbat as is davening in a traditional style service.  A reality of modern Conservative Judaism is that many of our affiliates do not believe in the G-D of our ancestors, but they still believe in being Jews.  We need to be mindful of making a home for them as well.


Bear in mind that programs do not replace services on Shabbat.  The last Synaplex event had five separate service options (exceeding the quantum model of two) but during that time, no other programs were running. 


These links are to organizations that explore and educate on the connections between Judaism and Indian culture and religion.  They are followed by an article about how these practices are finding Jewish modes of expression.

Dr. Katz is Professor of Religious Studies at Florida International University in Miami.

Arguably the world's leading authority on Indian Jewish communities, he is a pioneer in the field of Indo-Judaic Studies and has been involved in Jewish-Hindu/Buddhist dialogue for three decades. His Who Are the Jews of India? was a Finalist for the 2000 National Jewish Book Award in Sephardic Studies, and he has been awarded four Fulbright grants for research and teaching in South Asia. He edits an academic journal, the Journal of Indo-Judaic Studies.


You can view a number of conference papers on this and related topics at


Giulio BusiFreie Universitat Berlin

 “Common Symbolic Patterns in Hebrew and in Sanskrit Literature”


 Ranabir ChakravartiUniversity of Calcutta

“Reaching Out to Distant Shores: Indo-Judaic Trade Contacts”


 Margaret Chatterjee, Indian institute for Advanced Study

“The multicultural issue in India and Israel — some reflections. ”


 Yulia EgorovaUniversity of London

 “Describing the ‘Other’, Describing the ‘Self’: Jews, Hindu Reformers and Indian Nationalists”


 Barbara Holdrege, Univ. of California at Santa Barbara

 “The Comparative Study of Hinduisms and Judaisms: Dismantling Dominant Discourses”


 Barbara C. Johnson, Ithaca College

 “New Research, Discoveries, and Paradigms: A Report on the Current Study of Kerala Jews”


 Nathan Katz, Florida International University

 “The State of the Art of Hindu-Jewish Dialogue”


 Dinesh Kumar, Hebrew University

 “India and the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Shifting Strategic Focus”


 P. R. KumaraswamyJawaharlal Nehru University

 “India and Israel: The Diplomatic history”


 Richard G. Marks, Washington & Lee University

 “Hindus and Hinduism in Medieval Jewish Literature”


 M.G.S. Narayanan, University of Calicut

 “Further Studies in the Jewish Copper Plates of Cochin”


 Tudor Parfitt, SOAS, University of London

 “Tribal Jews”


 Joan G. Roland, Pace University

 “The Baghdadi Jews of India: Perspectives on the Study and Portrayal of a Community”

 L. N. Sharma, Benares Hindu University

 “Silence, Sunya, and Siva”


 Braj M. SinhaUniversity of Saskatchewan

 “Divine Anthropos and Cosmic Tree: Hindu and Jewish Mysticism in Comparative Perspective”


 D. VenkateshwarluOsmania University

“Jewish Experience in India or the Making of an Indian Jewish Novel: A Reading of Esther David’s The Walled City”


 Shalva Weil, Ben-Gurion University

 “Research and Memory: The Case of the Bene Israel and Some Others”


 Brian Weinstein, Howard University

 “Intellectual Confluence and Influence Between Jews and India”


 Scaria ZachariaSree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit

 “Possibilities of Understanding Jewish Malayalam Songs”


Or check out the University homepage at


Orthodox Jews Find East Meets West in Meditation

In Israel, Orthodox Jews are turning to meditation and yoga to deepen the Jewish religious experience.

By Shoshana Kordova, Religion News Service


Jerusalem--Natan Ophir, an Orthodox rabbi with a doctorate in Jewish philosophy, takes off his shoes and settles into the lotus position on the floor. Wearing a gray pinstriped suit, oval wire-rimmed glasses and a knitted skullcap over his graying brown hair, he closes his eyes and leads a meditation session on mindful eating.

"Now think of the meaning of the food that we put into our bodies, and we'll begin with the bracha (blessing) before we eat," Ophir said.

"Think about what it means to eat a grape, to eat an apricot or a nut. What it means to feel the food, to taste the food, to sense it. Now take a deep breath and see if we can recreate the sensations of the eating and elevate those sparks of holiness within the food."

In teaching Jewish meditation, Ophir, 52, has become one of a long line of Orthodox Jews to adopt practices often associated with Eastern religions. Others include Sarah Eiger Hertzberg, an artist who teaches about the circular mandala designs used in Buddhism and Hinduism, and Diane Bloomfield, who uses yoga to experience the meaning of liturgical and biblical verses.

But rather than choose one tradition over another, OphirEiger Hertzberg, and Bloomfield are fusing Orthodox Judaism--often considered inflexibly traditional--with alternative practices that in the West are typically considered nontraditional.

Now, they are teaching others how to do the same.

Ophir, whose appearance and personal history make him seem an unlikely meditation teacher, combines the spiritual with the textual: He teaches from a seven-page booklet of Talmudic and rabbinic sources related to eating before he moves on to the meditation. Ophir grew up Orthodox in Philadelphia before moving to Israel in 1974 and studying at a yeshiva for seven years, where he was ordained as a rabbi. Two years ago, he founded the Meorot Center for Holistic Spirituality, based at a Jerusalem synagogue.

For Ophir, there is no dichotomy between traditional Orthodoxy and meditation. He rejects the popular conception of meditation as an "Eastern influence."

"Meditation is inherent to Judaism," Ophir said, and Jewish prayer is a form of meditative practice. "It's not just reciting the words--it's feeling the words, it's experiencing love and awe through the words."

Stanley Schneider, a supervising psychoanalyst who heads the Integrative Psychotherapy Program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said he has seen an increased number of Israelis searching for spirituality for the past two years, although others said such a rise goes back at least a few years more.

"People turn to these (spiritual) things during times of uncertainty, times of conflict, times of crisis--and I think that's probably a good way to describe recent times," Schneider said.

Some people meld Judaism with meditation by focusing on Hebrew letters, the sacred "Shema Yisrael" verse ("Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one"), or just the word "Shema."

"People relate very much to the idea that the Shema is a Jewish mantra," said Rabbi Avraham Arieh Trugman, who has been teaching about meditation and spirituality for 30 years.
 Although he uses a Sanskrit word to refer to a mystical incantation, Trugman cites the mystical books of the Kabbalah as evidence that meditation has an established history in Judaism.

But Yitzhak Ginsburgh, a Lubavitch rabbi who writes and lectures about Kabbalah, said there is a uniquely Jewish approach to spirituality--and that practices intimately connected with non-monotheistic religions cannot be part of it.

"Yoga has negative energy which is connected to ... idol worship, and is thus unacceptable, even if the person practicing does not have these negative thoughts," reads a response on the website of Ginsburgh's Gal Einai Institute of Israel.

Nonetheless, Eiger Hertzberg, an Israeli artist in her 40s who became religious at age 28 through the Lubavitch Hassidic sect, sees no problem with using the mandala symbols to represent concepts ranging from the sun to the flames of Sabbath candles, or with facilitating meditation through art.

"I don't think there's a contradiction between what I'm doing and religious issues," said Eiger Hertzberg, who lives in Jerusalem. "It's the search for spirituality through art."

Eiger Hertzberg said she often teaches religious Jews "who feel they are missing the personal and more creative side of worshipping God."

For people like Bloomfield, that worship is conducted through the body. Each morning, religious Jews thank God for "straightening the bent." Reciting that prayer, Bloomfield, 46, stretches her arms over her head and her feet into the floor, a yoga posture called the mountain pose.

"It's the physical practice that's kind of a metaphor or a reflection of your spirit. It's all about wherever you're at, going a little bit more -- even if it's just imagining your spine lengthening," said Bloomfield, the author of "Torah Yoga: Experiencing Jewish wisdom through classic postures."

Bloomfield, who lives in Jerusalem, sees yoga as "a way to learn Torah in a different way -- a way that includes an experiential consciousness of the body."

Although Ophir was raised in a religious Jewish home, many other Orthodox practitioners of traditions associated with the East, including Bloomfield and Eiger Hertzberg, are "ba'alei teshuva"--the Hebrew phrase for Jewish people who become religious.

"I think for me, bringing in the yoga helps me to really make this real in my life and not a good idea or some kind of dazzling spiritual thought," said Bloomfield, a Minnesota native who became Orthodox 20 years ago. "I think you have to bring your whole self into being religious.





Spiritual Journey on the Web


A Jewish View of Valentine's Day

Or, how I stopped worrying and learned to love February 14.

By Debra B. Darvick


Excerpted from


With sore throats raging in the house and sub-teen weather that just won't quit, I've been brewing so many cups of tea I feel like a geisha. One afternoon I realized I'd used up every tea cup and coffee mug in the house save one--a somewhat misshapen white ceramic mug with a red band around its base and the following words imprinted on its side: I LOVE YOU with all your imperfeckshuns.

The mug, originally filled with Red Hots and cinnamon Gummie Bears, was a Valentine's Day gift from my husband a few years ago. (Loved the candy; have real mixed feelings about the cup. Not to mention the mixed feelings I have about Valentine's Day in general; more on that later. But back to the cup.) While the sentiment is a lovely one--my husband loves me even though I forget to wipe away stray strands of hair from the sink or that I still haven't taken his sweater to the reweavers to be repaired, or that I do not always hold my tongue when it would be wiser to clam up, or that after twenty years of marriage I don't always compromise with a lot of grace--the misshapen cup says that, despite all that, my husband still loves me.

But on cranky days I look at that cup, with its creases that remind me of the collapsing of my own once-firm flesh, and I get ticked off. Was this mug really a gift or a passive-aggressive dig that says, "Enough with the messy sink, get organized." Or "Can't you give a little, too?" Does true love mean we don't see our beloved's imperfections? Or does it mean we see them, and then see through them? Or does loving one another mean we are honest about our foibles and celebrate the fact that they don't get in the way of our affection and commitment?

Yes, yes, and yes. Real love--not hearts-and-flowers-infatuation that is passed off as love--is all of these things and more. It is overlooking shortcomings. It is working hard to be a better partner. It is blearily starting the day after having been up with teething toddlers and vomiting preschoolers and smiling at one another in that special way. It's parenting teenagers who overnight have morphed from one's flesh and blood into aliens.


The other problem I have with Valentine's Day as it is now known is that it used to be called Saint Valentine's Day, after St. Valentine, who, if memory serves me correctly, was an imprisoned monk who sent letters of affection to people from his cell. Eventually he was beatified, Hallmark and FTD figured it would be a great way to fill company coffers, and a holiday was born.

What are Jews doing celebrating a holiday whose main dude is a saint? Each year I struggle over sending cards to siblings, parents, and grandparents. Do I or don't I get my kids a little Valentine treat? Do I give my husband a token of my affection?

On one hand, the connection to the saint has been de facto severed in these days of political correctness. And it is kind of nice to have an excuse to get all romantic, go out for a special dinner and maybe splurge on a new red satin nightie (although here in Michigan, flannel is more in order!).

But there is that other hand. The Jewish hand. Fortunately, Judaism has an answer--in the form of a little known holiday called Tu B'Av--the Fifteenth of Av.

What? You don't know about this holiday? Neither did I until I thumbed through my copy of "Jewish Family & Life," by Yosef Abramowitz and Rabbi Susan Silverman. I learned that thousands of years ago, in the glow of a full summer moon, young women robed in white would dance in the fields outside the walls of Jerusalem. Single men would follow in hopes of finding a bride. The festival is called Tu B'Av (the 15th of the Hebrew month of Av, the second-to-last month in the Jewish calendar), and it usually falls around July or August.

"Why does the Jewish year end with a celebration of love?" the authors ask. The answer says a lot about Judaism's unique perspective on relationships, a perspective that could enhance courtship today. The women who danced by the light of the late summer moon did so in borrowed dresses so suitors would not be swayed by images of wealth. Men were to choose women not according to beauty but by the good name of their intended's family. They were urged to overlook physical shortcomings and seek out those qualities that matter in an adult relationship--loyalty, patience, a willingness to overlook imperfections.

Now that's a holiday I could get into. And besides, August nights are just perfect for satin.




Jewish Portals


(collected by

Digital Genizah Extensive list of Jewish sites.

Jacob Richman’s Hot

Jewish Agency JAFI articles and information on Jewish issues and subjects.

Jewish very extensive. portal.

Lengthy List of Lists — Portal for all sorts of Jewish websites, concentrating on

Mashkof Links to Jewish Web sites. Listing of various Jewish websites; singles, learning. Extensive portal. List of Jewish communities … ethnic, cities. Articles and information on Jewish issues and subjects.





Required Reading and Action Items



Conservative Judaism at a Crossroads…


Survey Report on Gay Ordination     See a Copy of the Full Report (PDF, 145 kb)


Some GOOD NEWS from Israel 21c,,

 and other sources



Global Democracy | Israeli and Palestinian groups pushing for economic cooperation  
A new report written by Israeli and Palestinian economists shows that Palestinian-Israeli economic cooperation could lead to a huge growth in prosperity, a leap in exports, and a wave of lucrative tourism to the region. The initiators of the report - the Peres Center for Peace and the Palestinian Trade Council - are now engaged to ensure that policy makers, decision-makers, ministers, and key businesspeople in both Israel and the PA read this report and consider implementing its recommendations. More...


Darfur becomes part of Israeli vocabulary  
It may have taken a couple of visiting American and Australian college students to light the fire, but Israelis have taken up the torch of protesting the plight of refugees in the Darfur region of Sudan. Newly-formed advocacy groups are raising awareness of the genocide, holding rallies, and aiding the Sudanese refugees who have made their way to Israel.  More...


Technology | Israeli researchers promise a more beautiful you  
Three Israeli computer scientists from Tel Aviv University have developed an enhancement tool for retouching digital images. The Beauty Function, which took three years to develop, scans and studies an image of a face, and then presents a more beautiful version. The possibilities for such a tool are endless, from retouching your holiday snaps, to improving photos taken for the media, rethinking your make-up techniques, and helping plastic surgeons sell their services. The inventors hope that one day the tool will be incorporated into cameras much like today's technology to eliminate red eye. More...


Culture | US music lovers join the birthday fun for Israel's greatest classical ensemble - the IPO  
Holding a special place in Israel's history, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is celebrating its 70th birthday this year. Over the years some of the world's best classical musicians and conductors have performed with the ensemble both in Israel and abroad, giving music lovers everywhere an extraordinary opportunity to experience the positive side of life in the Middle East. Now, as part of its birthday celebrations, this unique musical ambassador for Israel is touring the US with a series of concerts. More...


now for the rest


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

See also



American Awarded $16M in Mideast Attack - Curt Anderson
A federal jury in Miami awarded $16 million to an American who claimed that Palestinian groups backed a terrorist attack in Israel in which he was injured. Moshe Saperstein was attacked in February 2002 by gunmen who sprayed his car with AK-47 rounds, wounding him in the hand. Saperstein, who has dual U.S. and Israeli citizenship, claimed that the PA and the Palestine Liberation Organization were complicit in the attack. After the Palestinian defendants defaulted by not defending themselves, a federal jury heard evidence this week and returned the $16 million verdict. Under the overseas terrorism law, that amount will likely be tripled to $48 million. (AP/Washington Post)


  Rice: Israel-Palestinian Peace Won't Help in Iraq - Yitzhak Benhorin
There is no correlation between efforts to promote negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and the troubles in Iraq, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the House Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. "I don't wish to suggest that we think if we do that (resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), we're going to get something for it in some other part of the diplomacy," Rice said. Secretary Rice clarified that the Bush administration does not share the views of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group whose report recommends that Washington advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as a precursor to stabilizing the situation in Iraq.
    However, the U.S. does plan to launch a fresh diplomatic initiative aimed at reinvigorating the peace process. Rice, Prime Minister Olmert, and PA leader Abbas are scheduled to meet on February 19 to discuss what an autonomous Palestinian state would look like. "There are elements that we simply never talk about, like Palestinian capacity to govern a state," Rice said. (Ynet News)


Hamas-Fatah Violence Threatens Mecca Talks - Khaled Abu ToamehA series of attacks on Hamas officials in the West Bank and Gaza is threatening to spoil the Hamas-Fatah summit in Mecca. Hamas accused Fatah of trying to assassinate PA minister Atef Udwan when his convoy came under fire near Jabalya in northern Gaza. In Ramallah, Fatah gunmen stormed the offices of the Hamas-run Ministry of Health and kidnapped Dr. Bilal Aboushi, director-general of hospitals in the West Bank. On Tuesday, two senior members of Hamas' armed wing, Muhammad Abu Karsh and Muhammad Abu Namuswere gunned down in Gaza City. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoun accused supporters of Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan of being behind the killings. Fatah gunmen in Gaza City also raided the home of Wasim Saksak, a top aide to Prime Minister Haniyeh, and kidnapped his brother, Muhammad. (Jerusalem Post)


Temple Mount Truths - Editorial
There has been a commotion since work began to replace a pedestrian bridge that links the Western Wall with the Mugrabi Gate. For those who have forgotten, the situation that prevails at the Temple Mount and the Western Wall plaza is based on a quite stable status quo that has been in place for forty years. David Ben-Gurion described the situation in June 1967 by saying: "The Western Wall is for the Jews at the moment, and the Temple Mount is for the Muslims at the moment, and that is the reality we have to accept." At the same time, Moshe Dayan determined that the Mugrabi Gate would remain in Israel's exclusive control, to prevent the Muslim authorities from having the ability to unilaterally close all the gates to the Temple Mount. The construction of the bridge from the Western Wall plaza to the Mugrabi Gate is therefore a crucial Israeli interest, which even the Waqf authorities do not deny, and it is part of the status quo.
    The incitement against the construction of the bridge is a clear attempt to undercut the status quo. Therefore, it must not influence the authorities' decision to replace the temporary bridge. The situation in the Temple Mount area must be dealt with with sensitivity and intelligence - but also with resolution, to safeguard crucial Israeli interests that were determined two generations ago and retain their validity to this day. (Ha'aretz)
    See also Archeologists: Muslim Waqf Damaging Temple Mount Remains - Yaakov Lappin
Israeli archeologists complained Wednesday that more must be done to protect Jewish artifacts from construction work by the Muslim Waqf, which controls the Temple Mount. "The Waqf has acted terribly, taking thousands of tons of artifacts from the First Temple, the Second Temple, as well as Muslim artifacts, and throwing them away," said Dr. Eilat Mazar from Hebrew University. "They want to turn the whole of the Temple Mount into a mosque for Muslims only. They don't care about the artifacts or heritage on the site." (Ynet News)

  Palestine's House Divided - Editorial
At least 20 Palestinians were killed last week in gun battles pitting Fatah against Hamas. Most of the internecine killing has taken place in Gaza following Israel's withdrawal of 8,000 settlers in 2005, who once were seen as the primary obstacle to Palestinian development. So much, then, for the notion that what is mainly needed for an Israeli-Palestinian settlement is a change in Israeli policies. If the experience of Gaza demonstrates anything, it is that the absence of Israeli occupation is not a sufficient condition for a Palestinian state.
    The U.S. must insist that Abbas dismantle Hamas as a military entity, by force if necessary. Lebanon already provides a depressing example of what happens to a state that tolerates an independent militia such as Hizbullah within its borders. As with HizbullahIran has now become Hamas' primary financial and perhaps military backer.
    Palestinians were entitled to elect Hamas to parliament, but that choice hardly obliges the world to support a government part of which is sworn to Israel's destruction. The aid cut-off has been the one effective tool in bolstering Abbas and delegitimizing Hamas among Palestinians. (Wall Street Journal, 8Feb07)


Iranian Chutzpah - Editorial
Get this: Iran is griping that one of its envoys was kidnapped in BaghdadIran - complaining of a kidnapping. We're talking the world's leading terror sponsor - a regime that practically invented modern-day terror-snatching. What do the mullahs expect when they support terror - especially in Iraq? Or when their president vows to wipe America's ally, Israel, off the map - and to defeat America itself, for that matter? It was the kidnapping of an Israeli by Iranian-backed Hizbullah terrorists that ignited last summer's war in Lebanon.
    Tehran can complain all it wants about a single kidnapping. But it's only reaping what it has sown. The mullahs should thank Allah that the world has been so restrained in confronting its terror. For the time being, that is. (New York Post)


Still Time for International Community to Block Iranian Nuclear Program
- Prime Minister Ehud Olmert (Prime Minister's Office)

Prime Minister Olmert told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem on Tuesday:

  • For the last few months, Israel has shown an enormous degree of restraint. There is formally a ceasefire. This ceasefire has not been observed one day by the Palestinians. Every single day, since November when this ceasefire was adopted, we have had the full right, by normal international standards, to react with our military in order to stop these Kassam rockets from falling on the heads of people in the southern part of the country.
  • There is a genuine chance that if all the international community joins forces and applies the necessary, restrictive measures on the economy of Iran, that it will have such an impact that, at the end of the day, it will force them to reconsider their position.
  • Israel never pushed anyone for any extreme action. However, Israel will not hesitate and will act relentlessly everywhere, in order to remind the world of its responsibility to take the necessary measures that will stop the Iranians from moving forward on their nuclear program....There is still time to fight in a responsible, comprehensive and powerful manner, and we expect the international community to do it.
  • What concerns us as Jews is, first and foremost, the reality in which a leader of a nation of over seventy million people can stand up openly and publicly, and threaten that he or his country will annihilate another nation, a member of the United Nations. This is totally intolerable and unacceptable. It is, first and foremost, a fundamental moral issue of the highest order.



MYTH #251

"Women are not recruited to become suicide bombers."



In the perverse world of Islamic fanaticism, women who become suicide bombers are viewed as noble and heroic feminists acting out the collective desire of Muslim women to defeat the enemies of Islam. These women, however, are usually pawns of psychotic men who do not have the courage to kill themselves and who instead prey on the vulnerabilities of women who have often already been victimized by the norms of Muslim society.


Hamas leader Ahmad Yassin ruled that women should not become suicide bombers because it was more important for them to “ensure the nation’s existence” by reproducing. He nevertheless approved suicide actions by women who stained their family honor. In one case, for example, a married mother of two small children requested Yassin’s permission to carry out an attack after her relationship with a lover became known.


The first female suicide bomber was Wafa Idris, who blew herself up in Jerusalem on January 27, 2002Idris was 25 years-old and had been divorced after failing to have children. “Her status as a divorced and barren woman, and her return as a dependent to her parents’ home where she became an economic burden, put her in what is a dead end situation in a patriarchal society,” explained Ben-Gurion University Professor Mira Tzoreff (Mira Tzoreff, “The Palestinian Shahida: National Patriotism, Islamic Feminism, or Social Crisis,” in Yoram Schweitzer, Ed. Female Suicide Bombers: Dying for Equality? Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, August 2006, pp. 13-24). Idris believed the way out of her inferior status was by becoming a martyr.


Roughly 70 women have followed in her footsteps, though only eight succeeded in blowing themselves up. These are not uneducated women; more than one-fifth, for example, had more than a high school education (Yoram Schweitzer, “Palestinian Female Suicide Bombers: Reality vs. Myth,”in Schweitzer, pp. 25-42). Tzoreff notes that women who are childless, divorced, and “unbetrothable” are targets of recruiters. Some younger women are seduced by terrorists and then are blackmailed if they become pregnant. Those who do not become pregnant are still viewed as having shamed themselves and their families by having violated the society’s norms regarding modesty. They are then offered the opportunity to redeem themselves by dying for the terrorists’ cause.


It is not only the young, however, who can be turned into murderers. In what the National Post called a “new low,” even by the standards of Palestinian terrorists, a woman thought to be over 60 with more than 40 grandchildren was recruited by Hamas to attack Israeli soldiers in Gaza. The Post editorialized that the good news was that the woman didn’t kill anyone but herself, but the bad news was that “there are Muslims on this earth who think Allah wants them to turn grandmothers into walking bombs” (National Post, November 25, 2006).


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.




This weekend!

Synaplex Shabbat



Synaplex features…



Sisterhood Shabbat

February 10, 2007



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.


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 “Neshama Yoga” with Jackie Tepper and Raema Salmon -  see for a recent article about their innovative Jewish form of Yoga.

o       Breakfast discussion let by Rabbi Hammerman on “The Ethics of Cheerfulness”

o       Meditative Shacharit and traditional/creative “Miriam’s Minyan” with women’s themes.

o       Jonathan Cahr “Shabbat Rocks” programming for teens (7th grade and up) and jr. congregation for younger kids

o       Sisterhood book discussion

o       Afternoon discussion of Conservative Law Committee decisions

o       Session on “Dealing with Difficult People”  with Roni Lang, (TBE member and a clinical social worker with over  25 years experience working with individuals and families).

o       Israeli Movie Night: “Walk on Water”

o       USY Overnight (8th graders also invited)


AND MUCH MORE --- CHECK OUR WEBSITE FOR THE UPDATED SCHEDULE (which should be in its final form by this Friday)!



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


Men's Club Meeting

Sunday, February 11th 10:00 AM after Minyan

To be held in the Main Lobby with the Showing of

"Obsession- Radical Islam's War Against the West"

(1 hour)

Refreshments and discussion to follow

All Men’s Club Members and those interested in joining us are encouraged to attend

Please respond to Stuart Nekritz 322-0872 or email

or Chuck Donen 847-5667 email



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?



2nd Night of Passover – Tuesday, April 3

If you MIGHT be interested in attending at congregational Seder, please let us know NOW, by writing to  We’ll soon be making our final go – no-go decision on a congregational Seder



PURIM Carnival


Saturday, March 3, 2007

At Temple Beth El


For all ages!!!


$12 per child and $30 for a family package of three or more,

for unlimited access to all attractions!!

Featuring a giant inflatable obstacle course, bounce castle, games, prizes, and more!!!!


6:30—7:30 PM: Family Megilla reading, costume parade and goodies in the Sanctuary


7:30 – 9:00 PM: Our SPECTACULAR carnival, put together by our USY and Kadima groups in the Social Hall


8:15 PM:  Full Megilla reading in chapel


9:00 PM:  Bus leaves taking teens who wish to attend the Purim Boat Cruise in Greenwich




COME IN COSTUME!!!! (kids and adults)




This program has been subsidized by a generous contribution from the Sisterhood of Temple Beth El


Get Your Mishloch Manot Here


With Purim approaching, its time to honor family and friends

 with sweet treats


Its time for the holiday, TBE’s USYers will be creating delectable treats.

Candy, Fruit, and Hamantaschen;

There’ll be plenty of food for noshing!

Cost: $ 7.50 per bag

Orders Due By: Sunday February 25th

Hand/send your order to the Hebrew School office

Bags will be available for pick up and distribution at the Purim Carnival


Name of the person of family you would like to receive

the bag, their phone number, and email if known


Name (as you would like it to appear):________________________________________

Phone Number and Email:_________________________________________________



Phone Number and Email:






















Number of Orders:


Amount Enclosed:







 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






Stamford has a rich tapestry of Jewish adult learning available to
residents. Among these is the longest running, best attended, taught
 leading academics, UCONN Lunch and Learn Series.

Come join the dynamic group of attendees for the spring session of
the University of Connecticut Stamford Branch Center for Judaic &
Middle Eastern Studies Spring 2007 Lunch and Learn Series. The
spring program, which begins February 22, meets on the first floor of
UConn's Stamford branch, at the corner of Broad Street and Washington
, opposite Target.

The sessions are from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm. Lunch is included for all
five sessions with your $60 registration fee. Parking is plentiful
and free across the street at the UConn garage on Washington

To register, call 203-251-9525, or email

You can reserve a spot in the class using either of these methods and
pay at the door of the first session.

The session titles follow:

February 22, 2007 12:00-1:30pm in the MPR
"Tales of Exile and Redemption in Judaic Texts"
Dr. Nehama Aschkenasy

March 1, 2007 12:00-1:30pm in the MPR
The Hyacinth Hoffman Lecture
The Many Paths to God:
Religious Thought in T.S. Eliot's Poetry.
Dr. Gary Storhoff

March 8, 2007 12:00-1:30pm in the MPR
The Herbert & Sarah M. Gibor Lecture
Healing and "Tikkun" A Feminine Version
Dr. Nehama Aschkenasy

March 15, 2007 12:00-1:30pm in the MPR
Christian Tales of Redemption
The Rev. Dr. Blaine Edele

March 29, 2007 12:00-1:30pm in the MPR
"There's No Theology After Auschwitz"
Dr. Nehama Aschkenasy

Join us also for a joint Center for Judaic & Middle Eastern Studies
and The InterFaith Council of Southwestern Connecticut program:

Interfaith Seminar

April 12, 2007 12:00-2:00pm in the MPR
Interfaith Seminar on Science & Religion
Dr. Robert Pollack


Support our Temple Gift Shop! 


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!


Youth Programming




*** All USY events are now open to 8th graders

8th grades are welcome to continue to attend Kadima events as well.

On February 10th we are holding our annual USY sleepover at the Temple


March 3rd - Temple Beth El's Famous Purim Carnival! 

USY members are invited to volunteer and help man the different booths.

(Transportation will be provided for those going on to the Teen Cruise)

March 31st or April 1st - Comedy Club in New York!

May 5th or 6th Chelsea Piers

June 3rd - Pool Party

We hope to see you at these events.
If you have any questions or suggestions please feel free to write me at or call 917-348-9790.

All the best!


















PRICE: $10


RSVP by emailing:




KADIMA is going

Rock Climbing!




WHEN: Sunday, February 11th


TIME: We will meet at

GO VERTICAL at 2:30pm

Pick up is at 4:30pm.


Go Vertical is located at: 727 Canal Street, Stamford

Phone: 203-358-8767


COST: $30 – for Kadima members

$35 – for non members

(please bring check or cash with you to the event) .

There is room for only 25 kids.

First preference will go to Kadima members

In order to participate you MUST bring the waivers filled out and signed by a parent.


Reply to

by Monday, February 5th to RSVP



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




 Thanks to Chuck Donen for sending me yet another winner!


Q. What kind of man was Boaz before he married Ruth? 

A. Ruthless.


Q. What do they call pastors in Germany

A. German Shepherds. 


Q. Who was the greatest financier in the Bible? 

A. Noah—He was floating his stock while everyone else was in liquidation. 


Q. Who was the greatest female financier in the Bible? 

A. Pharaoh's daughter—She went down to the bank of the Nile and drew out a little prophet.


Q. What kind of motor vehicles are in the Bible? 

A. Jehovah drove Adam and Eve out of the Garden in a Fury. David's Triumph was heard throughout the land. Also, probably a Honda, because the apostles were all in one Accord. 


Q.. Who was the greatest comedian in the Bible? 

A. Samson—He brought the house down.


Q. What excuse did Adam give to his children as to why he no longer lived in Eden ? 

A. Your mother ate us out of house and home. 


Q. Which servant of God was the most flagrant lawbreaker in the Bible? 

A. Moses—He broke all 10 commandments at once.


 Q. Which area of Palestine was especially wealthy? 

A. The area around Jordan.  The banks were always overflowing.


Q. Who is the greatest babysitter mentioned in the Bible? 

A. David—He rocked Goliath to a very deep sleep.


Q. Which Bible character had no parents? 

A. Joshua, son of Nun. 


Q. Why didn't they play cards on the Ark

A. Because Noah was standing on the deck. (Groan...) 


 PS. Did you know it's a sin for a woman to make coffee? 

Yup, it's in the Bible. It says. "He-brews" 


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

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