Friday, March 16, 2007

arch 16, 2007– Adar 27, 5767

March 16, 2007– Adar 27, 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 (Occasionally) Ranting Rabbi

Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunities

Ask the Rabbi

 Spiritual Journey on the Web

    The Beth El Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary (new)

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’s Teens

Puttin’ their Heads Together!



See more pics at our new USY website:


A special thank you to USY’s Communications VP,

Danielle Shapiro, for designing the lovely site!


And of course…


Check out for Purim photos,

plus our extensive library of photo albums,

articles, sermons, info about the temple,

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




Quote for the Week


An Interfaith Prayer for this season

from the Interfaith Council of Southwestern Connecticut


Lord God,

I know that my life has consequences,

that the things I say and do and think have consequences,

that my actual sins have consequences,

even those things I wrongly suppose to be sin

have consequences. 

And yet somehow I also know

that your love is unconditional,

and that only such love can empower us

to live together without violence. 

When we know that God loves us deeply

and will always go on loving us,

whoever we are and whatever we have done,

it becomes possible

to expect no more of our fellow men and women

than they are able to give,

to forgive them generously

when they have offended us,

and to respond to their hostility with love. 

By doing so we make visible a new way of being human

and and a new way of responding to our worlds problems.







Candle lighting: 6:44 pm on Friday, 16 March 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.



Friday Evening:


Kabbalat Shabbat: 6:30 PM – in the chapel


Tot Shabbat: 6:45 PM – in the lobby


Shabbat Morning:


Service begins at 9:30 AM  




Children’s Services: 10:30 AM


Shabbat Mincha-Ma’ariv-Havdalah: 6:15 PM –




Our Torah Portion for Shabbat Morning

Parashat Vayakhel-Pekuday – Shabbat Hahodesh

פרשת ויקהל־פקודי

Exodus 35:1 - 40:38

1: 39:22-26
2: 39:27-32
3: 39:33-43
4: 40:1-8
5: 40:9-16
6: 40:17-27
7: 40:28-38

Maftir: Exodus 12:1 - 12:20 (special maftir)

Haftarah (Shabbat ha-Hodesh): Ezekiel 45:16 - 46:18


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


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!






Ranting Rabbi


Warm Thoughts for the Start of Spring


       A late winter snow and ice storm are on our doorstep, but so is spring, which begins this coming Tuesday, on PRECISELY THE SAME DAY that the Jewish month of Spring begins.  It is now called Nisan, but in the Torah it was “Hodesh ha’Aviv” literally, “the Month of Spring.”  How odd the coincidence!   This Shabbat is Shabbat-ha’Hodesh, which always precedes the beginning of Nisan, indicating to us that the festival of spring, Passover, is just a couple of weeks away.


       This Shabbat we also read the portion Va’yakhel, which describes the construction of the tabernacle in the Wilderness.  It was from this sacred work that the rabbis later defined the 39 categories of work prohibited on Shabbat.  Find them here.  (for more on the 39 categories and on Shabbat in general, see


       And so, some springy thoughts….


       The environmentalist Bill McKibben has said, “…the constant pauses of observance – to say blessings, to touch a mezuzah and especially to observe the Sabbath – are of profound importance in making people aware of the world around them.  We waste the earth because we never stop to think or notice what we are doing.”


       It is said that everyone should recite 100 blessings each day.  To do that we have to be constantly on the lookout for things to be in awe about, or to be grateful for.  Some are automatic --- but many are not.  Some Jewish mystic traditions assert that when we make a blessing, changes actually occur in the object that we bless.  For one thing, the object no longer is a thing to us – but a sacred encounter.  And even if it doesn’t change the object, for certain, saying the blessing changes us.


       So on this special Shabbat where we ponder the gift of spring and the gift of Shabbat itself, let us pause a little bit more, and sense the holiness around us.


       Happy Aviv!



Thank You to Our Purim Volunteers


       With Passover just a few weeks away, time for one last look back at Purim.  Our carnival was once again a smash hit, thanks in large part to Eran Vaisben and Edoe Cohen, along with Youth Commission members Joan Katz, Mara Hammerman, Sharon Goldstein and co-chairs Carl Shapiro and Roz Rubin.  Roz has put together a list of the adults and teens who volunteered to help make the night such a success.  We want to thank them all (and see them in action in the photos on our website,!  As always, there is risk of leaving someone out or spelling a name incorrectly, for which we apologize.  Here is Roz’ list as of today:


Adult Volunteers:
Beth Finchler
Maureen Leffand
Susan Plotzky
Jeannie Kasindorf
Ellen Gordon
Mark Plotzky
Bruce Goldstein
Lisa Pomerance
Jill Knopoff
Barbara Cohen
Harvey Cohen
Linda Braun
Karen Resnick
Cathy Bernstein
Stacy Cooper
Kathy Freund

Renee Cannella

Larry Katz
Steve Katz

Stuart Nekritz

Stacye Nekritz


Mitchell Shapiro
Allison Schechter

Harrison Shapiro

Adam Pollack

Ethan Hammerman

Randi Braun

Joelle Braun

Ali Pomerance

Arielle Poser

Alex Rosenberg

Dana Katz

Ian Cohen

David Katz

Matt Zielinsky

Jacob Cohen

Adam Satz

Peri Shapiro

Morgan Temple

Jackie Schechter

Aliya Boyer

Brandon Pomerance

Kyle Tuckman

Daniel Hammerman

Dana Gordon

Lauren Tuckman

Michael Sosnick

Alana Kasindorf

Oliver Sabloff

Amitan Rubin

Ben Rathman

Lauren Pollack

Emilie Pollack

Mollie Steinmetz

Ali Kruk

Skyler Ross

Billy Harris

Rachel Benjamin

Jesse Hirtenstein

Andrew Madwed

Chad Weissman

Mitch Weissman

Samantha Cooper

Dara Gold

Brenda Heyison

Eden Castle,

Sophie Koester,

Eloise Hyman

Nick Hyman 


And now with Purim behind us, time for some….

Passover Resources

Download our TBE Sale of Hametz Form


My own Passover guide A Guide for the Perplexed


Keeping the Story Alive: Questions and Reflections for the Seder Table


Temple Beth El's
Second Night of Passover
Tuesday, April 3 at 7PM
Click for more information



Those high school students wishing to attend services on Passover, April 3, 4, 9 and 10, may obtain an absentee letter for their school’s attendance office by contacting Ellen at 322-6901, ext. 308 or


Passover: Guided Learning from

Guided Learning presents the content for this section by level of depth, and offers you a specific order by which to read through the articles at each level. You can go directly to one of the four levels by clicking below, or take a quiz that will suggest the appropriate level for you based on your results. Or, you can opt to start at the Primer and work your way through all four levels of Guided Learning one by one. Quiz on Passover  Level I: Primer Level II: Topical Overviews Level III: Deeper Explorations Level IV: Analysis & Interpretation

For a host of other Pesach links:


And finally…


Two nice links if you are interested in getting rid of the “hametz of the soul”





Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunties

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

The Highest Level of Tzedakkah: Job Networking

Experienced MBA with solid background in Information Technology & Finance seeking position to use technical and analytical skills. Primarily interested in Finance and Investment industry. Skills and interests include Business Analysis, Business Process Re-engineering, Operations & Project Management, System Design and Enhancement and Business Modeling Concepts. I can vouch for this person being a real mensch.  Contact me at if you can perform this great mitzvah of networking



Free Them Now


Ehud Goldwasser         Eldad Regev            Gilad Schalit

 Kidnapped Israeli Soldiers


 Click for more information

 Sign the petition at


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.


Mitzvah Project – Dog-related Items




For my mitzvah project I am helping Adopt-A-Dog, a volunteer organization in GreenwichCT, 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






What is Shabbat Ha-Hodesh?


Parshat HaChodesh

"This month shall be for you the beginning of the months, it shall be for you the first of the months of the year." (Shemot 12:2)

On the Shabbat before Rosh Chodesh Nissan, or on Rosh Chodesh if it falls on the Shabbat, two Torah Scrolls are removed from the Ark.  From the first, the Sidrah of the week is read, and from the second, the Maftir, in this case, the passage giving the commandments associated with the very first Rosh Chodesh Nissan in Egypt, is read.

The first day of Nissan was and always remains a historic day for the Jewish nation. It was the day when the people received their first commandment as a nation: Sanctify the New Moon.

This ritual has a profound spiritual and historic significance. It is noteworthy that it was one of three commandments that the Syrian Greeks, in the time before the Chanukah miracle, attempted to nullify by force. The other two were the Observance of Shabbat and Circumcision. Clearly, therefore, Israel's enemies understood that the sanctification of the New Moon was basic to the existence of Israel as a nation of Torah.

Commentators explain that, by virtue of this Commandment, G-d gave the Jewish people mastery over time. From that moment onward, the calendar with its cycle of festivals could exist only when the Sages of Israel declared the New Month. This signifies more than control over the reckoning of time, the dating of legal documents, and all the banalities to which man is subject in his everyday life. It represents the potential for renewal.

The Jewish people is symbolized by the moon because, although the moon wanes, it waxes as well. It stands for hope, for the confidence that there is a future as well as a past. This vibrancy assures that any conquest of the Jewish people can never be more than temporary. Israel may seem to disappear from the panorama of history - but so does the moon.

The moon returns - and Israel, by means of the power vested in it by the Torah, sanctifies the New Month. So, too, the nation constantly renews its vigor, constantly defies the laws of history that insist it should have long since become extinct, constantly demonstrates its ability to make itself the vehicle for the prophecies of redemption and a greater spiritual world.


Should Jews Be So Obsessed with Food?


See: Virtual Talmud: The Jewish Obsession with Food

“What is Jewish food? It's a record of our civilization as it evolved down the ages and spread throughout the world. For Jews of Eastern European descent, the foods may be matzoh balls, or chopped liver, latkes, or gefilte fish. Jews from other parts of the world have carried their own distinctive and delicious recipes with them as well, such as Moroccan hamin or Indian tandoori chicken livers; in Israel, it’s hummus and falafel. Wherever Jews have lived, they took elements of local foods (as with so many other aspects of local practices and customs) and wedded them to the demands of Jewish dietary laws–separating milk and meat for example or avoiding leavened foods on Passover. The result is a blending of cuisines, one that is simultaneously worldly and authentically Jewish. (In America, where there’s no such thing as a distinctively "American"cuisine, the best we seem to have done is the pizza bagel, but that's another story.)

As an aspect of our civilization, Jewish food helps form and reinforce Jewish identity through shared memories and shared meals. It helps hold us together, and gives us something to nosh as it does so. Let's not sell it short.” – Rabbi Joshua Waxman


Also see the Beliefnet discussion: Is Kosher Food Healthier for You?


Spiritual Journey on the Web


Prayer, Song and Poetry


Some Fascinating Websites…


Something I stumbled across – a site documenting the vast history of Jewish religious poetry and song (the piyyut).  The home page is at  Let yourself wander from there to all corners of the Jewish world, to the vastness of our cultural folkloric heritage.   A great way to prepare for Passover!  There are seven Dayenus - play the mp3s at your Seder!


Passover is at



Dayenu / Unknown Poet :


Ashkenaz Aryeh tradition, Aryeh Grab performance

Kurdistan – Amedia traditionYosef Tsuneh performance

Morocco tradition, R. Shmuel Toledano performance

Morocco traditionSami Elmaliach performance

Morocco tradition, Jo Amar performance

Sfarad Jerusalem tradition, Ezra Barnea performance

Tunisia tradition, Michael Sitbon performance


Purim and Adar materials are at


And speaking of prayer and poetry…


For centuries, Kabbalists have been intrigued by the healing powers of the divine name.  The Ana Bekoach - the 42-letter name of God - is a dynamic spiritual code buried in the pages of the Bible. The teachings of Kabbalah reveal that the Ana Bekoach encompasses the actual powers of creation. In traditional synagogues it is sometimes recited prior to Lecha Dodi on Friday nights.

See more about this fascinating acrostic at



Finally, a link received from several of you (thanks!)
It is the recording of an excerpt from a Friday night service conducted by Rabbi Leslie Hardman,

Senior Jewish Chaplain with the British Army, on April 20th 1945 at Bergen Belsen concentration camp.




Jewish and Israeli Links:


A great resource on all things Jewish:

The best Jewish site for Jewish learning:



Israel Defense Force,
Israel Government Gateway, links to Government Ministries,
Israel Knesset,
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
Israel Prime Minister’s Office,
Israel Central Bureau of Statistics,
Israel Tourism Ministry, North America,
Buy Israeli Products,,
Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies,
Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies,
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs,
One Jerusalem,
Twenty Facts about Israel
Myths & Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict
Jerusalem Archaeological Park,


Israel Info Center – Israel Activism Portal,
US White House,
US State Department,
US Senate,
US House of Representatives,
THOMAS (search for US Legislation),
United Nations Watch,
Embassy of Israel – Washington, D.C.,

Media-Related Links:


Jerusalem Post,
Jewish Telegraphic Agency,
Ha’aretz English Edition:,
Independent Media Review and Analysis,
Middle East Media Research Institue (MEMRI),
Palestinian Media Watch,
Israel Insider,
Jewish World Review,
America’s Voices in Israel,
@The Source Israel,


Other Jewish Sites

Data JEM – an GEM for Jewish Education! Database for  Jewish educational materials:

The best Jewish kids’ site on the Web is , with games, virtual tours and “J-Pod” downloads, kids of all ages will LOVE it.

Another superb educational site is -- you can be a self-taught “maven” on all things Jewish!

A Jewish Guide to the Internet:

On Jewish Vegetarianism and Animal Rights: (hey, you KNEW I’d put this one in)

How many Jewish hockey players are there? (None right now…there’s a lockout).  Find out at

Glossary of Yiddish Expressions:  )Please be patient, this page is farshtopt with information)

You can find an online Hebrew dictionary at

Nice Jewish parenting site  Jewish Gates is an amazing site, filled with material on Jewish history, ritual and culture. 

Go straight to the linked index at and go to town!  The Jewish Super Site; a similar site is and my personal all-time favorite,

The sourcebook for Jewish history (all periods) can be found at

Online Texts Related to Jewish History.  All the primary sources “fit to print.”

Israel Campus Beat – to get all the latest information on Israel relevant to students on college campuses




The Beth El Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary


Excerpts from Kira Smith’s Speech on Parashat Ki Tissa


Hello & Shabbat shalom!!  If you haven’t noticed, I am a very bubbly person.  In fact, it might not surprise you that I am a cheerleader.  I have been cheerleading since the 6th grade, and I love it!


When I started cheering, I thought that it seemed like fun and was a good way to meet people.  But during the past two years, I have discovered it is more then an after school or weekend activity, it’s a way of life. It is an attitude that changes you, as you help to change others. It is a way of always seeing the glass as being half full. 


Many times, at the end of a game, when there is only time for one last play, and no hope, we are still out there cheering.  We have faith that our team will be able to do whatever is necessary in order to win.  Faith.  That is what it is all about.  Believing in something bigger than you.  That by working hard and putting everything you’ve got into something at the end of the day you will have won. 


In my Torah portion, the Jewish people lost their faith when Moses was on Mount Sinai for so long, and they thought he and God had deserted them.  There were not enough people reminding them that if they held on for a little longer that things would eventually get better.  They were like the people that leave a game when their team is down.  Yes, sometimes it goes exactly as they would expect, but occasionally, something special happens that they would have seen if they didn’t lose their faith.  The Jews became fair weather fans and jumped on the band wagon of the golden calf


When they finished building the calf, they began to dance around it and worship it.  A little bit later, Moses came down from the mountain and discovered them worshipping an idol.  He got so mad that he broke the tablets that contained the Ten Commandments that he had spent 40 days writing – just like they broke the laws that they were just given by God. After all of the miracles they had seen, they still did not have the faith to believe in God.


The last verse I read from this portion contained the law where we shouldn’t cook a goat in its mother’s milk. While we do

not know exactly why we are given this commandment, we have come up with many reasons to explain it.  For example, one reason for that law is so that a mother goat won’t have the pain of seeing its baby being killed. From this law came the custom of not mixing meat and dairy together.  It’s a good thing I don’t like cheese burgers!  While we don’t always understand why, we still follow this and many other laws.  Judaism takes hard work and with faith, we hope to be victorious in all that life has to offer. 


With all the things that I have learned during my years of study, one idea stands out - that as Jews, we need to have faith that good comes out of hard work, and that we must be cheerful as we make the best of everything. The ancient rabbis taught us to treat everyone with a cheerful face. They were like the cheerleaders back then.   I believe that by making people smile we can help to make the world a better place.


For my mitzvah project I am hoping to bring cheer and smiles to help people keep their faith.  I will be giving books in the baskets on the bimah to children with cancer at Yale New Haven Hospital.  When there, I will spread cheer by bringing these books for their library, and reading and playing with the children.  In addition, I have raised money which I will donate to the American Cancer Society.  I would like to thank Readers Digest for not only matching what I have raised, but also for donating these books.





Required Reading and Action Items



Some GOOD NEWS from Israel 21c,,

 and other sources


Finding a common bond in Israel's environment  
American college students visiting Israel recently as part of the Taglit-birthright Israel program were given a unique opportunity to study the country's environmental challenges and accomplishments when they teamed up with leading Israeli environmental group, Zalul. The students visited environmental hot spots, like the Dead Sea, and the polluted Kishon river, and were lectured on the many ecological threats that Israel faces and the innovations implemented to combat them. The goal, according to Zalul, is to educate a new generation of Jewish leaders who understand Israel's environmental challenges and can help save the environment for the generations to come. More...


Health | Israeli clinical trials help new breast cancer drug Tykerb win FDA approval  
The success of GlaxoSmithKline's once-a-day breast cancer pill Tykerb - which this week won approval by the FDA for use by women with metastatic or advanced breast cancer - is thanks in part to clinical trials conducted by Israeli researchers. Dr. Bella Kaufmann, director of the breast cancer unit at the cancer research center at Tel Aviv's Sheba Medical Center, coordinated the trials on Israeli women with relapsing inflammatory breast cancer, and her findings were instrumental in educating the FDA about the benefits of the drug. Tykerb will be available in the US by the end of this month. More...


Culture | Israel's Mayumana lights up New York stage with nonstop motion  
For the past decade, the multi-talented theater group, Mayumana has combined dance, music, rhythm, slapstick comedy and intricate storytelling to create a vibrant and exciting art form that is both international, and at the same time unmistakably Israeli. After performing for over four million people in more than 30 countries, the improvisational troupe is set to conquer the US with the first performances in New York of its eclectic and mischievous show Be. More...


Technology | Israeli sound technology makes waves in the music business  
Frustration with the quality of tools for professional musicians and producers led two Israelis to develop a new audio mixing software for the music industry. Now, the company they founded, Waves, is employed by the world's top music and film producers for artists like Madonna, David Bowie, U2, and The Rolling Stones. You don't have to be a music mogul to enjoy the benefits of Waves technology, however. The company has also developed software that can improve the quality of even the tiniest of speakers - promising to revolutionize the way all of us hear sound. More...


Health | Enriched low-fat dairy products pouring out of Israeli lab  
Israeli researcher Dr. Yoav Livney has active in Israel's dairy industry for years, developing some of the country's most popular milk products. Now in his lab at the Technion, he's perfecting a new method of delivering health-promoting nutrients to milk products via casein micelles, the protein particles naturally present in milk, as carriers. This breakthrough innovation may facilitate the production of low-fat or non-fat foods that contain important oil-soluble vitamins and antioxidants now present only in fat-containing foods. More...


Israel's Eurovision Song Contest Entry Accepted (STT-Finland)
    The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) said in Helsinki on Wednesday that the Israeli group Teapacks would be allowed to take part in this year's Eurovision song contest with their "Push the Button," a track tackling the sensitive issue of nuclear annihilation.
    The final of this year's contest is to take place in Helsinki in May.





now for the rest


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

See also





Transcripts of Speeches from this Week’s AIPAC Conference:





  • Is Gaza War Inevitable? - Alex Fishman  All the scenarios point to a war in Gaza. A decision must be made to do something. According to Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin's forecast, some 200,000 Israelis will find themselves under the threat of missile fire from Gaza as early as this year. A senior defense establishment official says that each time the army asks the prime minister to change something in the rules of engagement pertaining to the Kassam launchers or to carry out a limited operation in Gaza along the fence, the answer is: "No, we shall maintain the ceasefire to the end. So that when we have to strike we'll have clean hands in the eyes of the international community and we'll gain support." The defense establishment feels that even the political echelons have already come to terms with the inevitability of a military operation.
        In parallel to upgrading its rockets against the Israeli home front, Hamas has established a well-equipped and trained, four-division army based on the Hizbullah model. Just like in Lebanon, bunkers and underground tunnels under built-up areas are being constructed in Gaza. Hamas' effective military might is improving daily. (Ynet News)
  • Overrated New Initiative - Hillel Halkin
    Every couple of years, a much-ballyhooed new initiative has surfaced to solve the Israel-Arab problem. Will anyone remember the current "Saudi initiative" 40 or even five years from now? Not unless the Saudis are willing to go a lot further toward meeting minimal Israeli conditions for a peace agreement. There is no way that even the most dovish Israeli government can agree either to return all the way to the pre-1967 borders or to accept a massive influx of the descendants of the 1948 refugees.
        And because the Saudis know this, they also know that their initiative in its current form is no more than a propaganda ploy. This is not to say that the Saudis would not like to see Israel at peace with the Arab world as part of their efforts to contain the spread of Iranian and Sunni jihadist influence. They are simply not, so far, willing to take any real risks to do so. (New York Sun)
        See also The Saudi Mirage - Editorial (New York Sun)
        See also See You Later, Riyadh - Eitan Haber (signed editorial)
    One has to know and remember that the "Saudi plan" in its current form is a recipe for the destruction of Israel. Agreement (over which there is not even the slightest possibility) to absorb in Israel hundreds of thousands or even millions of Palestinian refugees means from our standpoint that we have to pack our bags. The conclusion at this point can only be to agree to discuss the Saudi plan, but not agree to the lethal clauses that are contained in it. (Yediot Ahronot, 13Mar07)
  • The Myth of Moderate Mullahs: It's Still Khomeini's Iran - Reuel Marc Gerecht
    Are the clerical elite and their praetorians - the Revolutionary Guards Corps, the thuggish Basij, and the killers of the Ministry of Intelligence - still running a revolutionary enterprise within which they see themselves as the ideological vanguard of the nation and Islam? Yes, absolutely. To a striking degree, the ruling elite has maintained its sense of religious mission, while the Iranian people, especially the young who don't remember the charisma of Khomeini, have gone cold. For the vast majority of Iranians, an Islamic missionary spirit is no longer happily married to the national identity.
        It is astonishing that some Western analysts of Iran, and some senior U.S. government officials, actually believe that Khamenei and his kind would be willing to restore relations with the United States. Such a restoration would be an end to the revolution as we have known it. For the mullahs and for God, this would be an unbearable defeat. Khamenei, Ahmadinejad, and Rafsanjani have no intention of letting this happen. Rafsanjani's voluminous writings show him, just like Khamenei, to be deeply impregnated with the idea of an Islam-destroying, globe-trotting, American tyranny. (Weekly Standard)


What's Missing from the Saudi Initiative - Negotiations - Shlomo Avineri (Jerusalem Post)

  • One key element is missing from the Saudi initiative and from the March 2002 Beirut declaration of the Arab League - negotiations.
  • The Beirut declaration "called upon Israel to affirm" three points: full and unequivocal withdrawal from all the occupied territories; achieving a "just solution" to the Palestinian refugee problem in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194; and acceptance of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with East Jerusalem as its capital.
  • The Arab League does not offer negotiations with Israel, nor does it suggest that its demands (which are the conventional Arab ones) will become a basis for negotiations.
  • What the declaration demands is that Israel "affirms" - accepts the Arab demands and then, only then ("consequently") the Arab countries will "affirm" the end of conflict.

The writer is former director-general of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs


Avoid the "Grand Solution" Temptation - Gerald M. Steinberg
The rapprochement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and the revival of the 2002 Saudi-Arab League initiative, is not the result of a sudden outbreak of mutual understanding or the dedicated work of special Middle East peace envoys. Rather, the cause is rational self-interest. The Saudi monarchy, in concert with EgyptJordan and other Sunni Arab regimes, views Shi'ite power, led by the triumphant revolutionary government in Iran attempting to acquire nuclear weapons, as the greatest threat to its survival. Under these circumstances, a strengthened strategic relationship with the U.S. and a tacit alliance with Israel against Iran are vital for the Saudi and "moderate" Arab regimes. Beyond shared strategic concerns regarding Iran, the time is long overdue for Saudi leaders - political and religious - to end support for incitement and anti-Semitism. (Jerusalem Post)


Palestinian Editor: Palestinian Factions Abusing Democracy
The editor-in-chief of the Palestinian daily Al Hayat, Hafiz Barghouthi, on Wednesday accused the Palestinian factions of abusing democracy. Barghouthi said that what is delaying the formation of the Palestinian unity government was not political differences but the absence of internal democracy within the factions. He accused the factions of "turning the national project into a project for employment and posts." (Maan News-PA)


America and Israel Are at War with a Common Enemy - Pastor John Hagee (Jerusalem Online)

Pastor John Hagee, who founded Christians United for Israel, told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual policy forum in Washington on Sunday:

  • Israel, you are not alone. The sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened.
  • There are millions of evangelical Christians across America who consider the Jewish people the apple of God's eye; there are 50 million Christians standing up and applauding the State of Israel.
  • Iran poses a threat to the State of Israel that promises nothing less than a nuclear Holocaust. We must stop Iran's nuclear threat and stop it now and stand boldly with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle EastIran's president has not limited his maniacal threats to Israel. He has also asked his fellow Iranians to imagine a world without America. This is a clear threat to destroy the United States of America.
  • Why do Christians support Israel? Because Christians deeply believe we owe a debt of gratitude to the Jewish people. If you took away the Jewish contribution from Christianity, there would be no Christianity. Judaism does not need Christianity to explain its existence, but Christianity cannot explain its existence without Judaism.
  • America and Israel are at war with a common enemy. It is a war of good vs. evil. It is a war of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness vs. the culture of death.


Shin Bet: Palestinians Working to Improve Missile Capabilities - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
    The Palestinians are taking advantage of the restraint demonstrated by the Israel Defense Forces to bolster their arms and improve the range of their rocket fire, Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) Director Yuval Diskin told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday.
    He said Hamas was sending hundreds of men to Iran for prolonged periods of advanced training, and that 31 tons of explosive material had been smuggled into Gaza in the last year by terror groups, a six-fold increase.
    Palestinian terror groups are attempting to increase their rocket range to strike Kiryat Gat and Ashkelon; Islamic Jihad succeeded in launching a Grad rocket some 16 kilometers last July.
    In the West Bank, both the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades of Fatah and Islamic Jihad aspire to be the first to launch rockets into Israel.
    Diskin said the Palestinians have employed improved roadside bombs, some capable of penetrating armored vehicles.


Hamas Facing Internal Split Over Mecca Accords - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    "Opposition in Hamas to the Mecca agreement is growing as some of the movement's senior officials are talking about a possible revolt," sources close to Hamas in Gaza revealed Tuesday.
    The "rejectionist" camp in Hamas, led by Interior Minister Said Siam and Foreign Affairs Minister Mahmoud a-Zahar, is opposed to the Mecca agreement, believing Hamas made too many concessions to Fatah.
    The two are expected to lose their jobs in the new Hamas-led coalition.


U.S., Israel Walk Out During Iran's Speech at Geneva Disarmament Conference - Alexander G. Higgins (AP/Guardian-UK)
    The U.S. and Israeli delegations walked out during a speech Tuesday by Iran's foreign minister at the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament in Geneva after he accused Israel and the U.S. of posing the main threats to the security of the Middle East.


Japan Hosts Mideast Peace Meeting to Raise Profile - Elaine Lies (Reuters/Washington Post)
    Japan on Wednesday kicked off four-way talks with Israel, the Palestinians, and Jordan aimed at economic cooperation in the Middle East, part of efforts to raise its political profile in the region and ensure a stable energy supply.


U.S. Students Volunteer in Battered North - Hagai Einav (Ynet News)
    This year 120 Jewish students opted to help rehabilitate Israel's north after the war in Lebanon during their semester break, planting trees and fixing up bomb shelters in a volunteer program organized by the Jewish National Fund and the Alternative Spring Break project.
    The group was joined by an MTV television crew producing a series on American youth spending their vacations volunteering around the world.


Russia Having Second Thoughts on Nuclear Aid to Iran - Yossi Melman (Ha'aretz)
    The state-owned Russian company building the Iranian nuclear plant at Bushehr announced Monday that the plant would not be launched in September and nuclear fuel will not be delivered to the station this month as planned, due to unpaid bills.
    However, American and Israeli experts see a strategic decision by Russia that represents a changing diplomatic stance.
    For the past five years, Russia has used various excuses to delay the transfer of low-level enriched uranium to the Bushehr plant.
    Twice in the past two weeks, U.S. spokesmen have praised Russia's stance in delaying the completion of the Bushehr reactor.


Judge: Sudan Liable for USS Cole Bombing (AP/CBS News)
    U.S. District Judge Robert G. Doumar said Wednesday in Norfolk that Sudan is responsible for the bombing of the USS Cole but he needs more time to determine damages for the families of the 17 sailors killed when terrorists bombed the ship in 2000.
    Four experts on terrorism, including R. James Woolsey, CIA director from early 1993 to early 1995, testified Tuesday to support the families' position that al-Qaeda needed Sudan's help to carry out the attack.
    Experts testified that Sudan has given safe haven to Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorist network since 1991 - long before Yemeni operatives blasted a 40-foot hole in the side of the Cole in Yemen's port of Aden on Oct. 12, 2000.


How Many Jews Did Mama Kill? (MEMRI)
    On March 8, 2007, Hamas TV broadcast an interview with the children of Palestinian suicide bomber Rim Al-Riyashi.
    Interviewer: "Let's talk with the two children of the jihad-fighting martyrdom-seeker Rim Al-RiyashiDhoha and Muhammad. Dhoha, where did Mama go?" Dhoha: "To Paradise."
    Interviewer: "What did Mama do?" Dhoha: "She committed martyrdom."
    Interviewer: "She killed Jews, right? How many did she kill, Muhammad?" Muhammad: "Five."


Monument to Ethiopians Who Died En Route to Israel Dedicated in Jerusalem - Ayanawo Farada Sanbetu (Ha'aretz)
    A monument commemorating the more than 4,000 Ethiopian Jews who died in Sudan while attempting to reach Israel was dedicated at Mount Herzl cemetery in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
    "This is a thank you to the Jews of Ethiopia who died en route to Zion, while dreaming of Zion," said Uri Rada, 40, who fought for years to have the monument erected.






MYTH #256

"Palestinians are moderating their views toward Israel."




It is often suggested that the Palestinians have moderated their views toward Israel. When it is pointed out that groups such as Hamas (a partner in the Palestinian Authority government) openly advocate the destruction of Israel, as the group’s spokesman did on March 12, 2007*, their position is often dismissed as mere rhetoric. The Palestinian people, we are told, are prepared to live in peace with Israel. Surveys of Palestinian public opinion, however, consistently present a very different picture. Large majorities of Palestinians repeatedly tell pollsters they support terror and oppose a two-state solution. In February 2007, for example, Near East Consulting (NEC) found that 70% of Palestinians support a one-state solution and 75% said Israel is not a peace partner. Though 70% did support a peace settlement with Israel, 75% said Israel has no right to exist and another 51% agreed that Hamas should maintain its position on the elimination of Israel.


Even more alarming are the signs that young Palestinians are more militant than their elders. On the question of whether Hamas should continue to seek the elimination of Israel, for example, 66% of Palestinians 18-21 agreed and an overwhelming majority of 90% said Israel has no right to exist.


Given the steady diet of anti-Israel propaganda in the Palestinian Authority media and educational system, these results are not surprising and reinforce Israel’s longstanding view that incitement through those channels is having a significant negative impact on Palestinian attitudes toward Jews and Israel and hurting the prospects for peace. These results are sobering for anyone who believes that Israeli concessions will end the conflict or that a new generation of Palestinian leaders will be any more willing to accept Israel than their predecessors.


*“We will not betray promises we made to God to continue the path of Jihad and resistance until the liberation of Palestine, all of Palestine,” Reuters, (March 12, 2007).


This article can be found at


































Frogs are Jumping EverywhereAnd Hopping On Over To
Temple Beth El’s Community Seder.
Why Don’t You?


Temple Beth El

350 Roxbury Road



Second Night Community Seder

Tuesday, April 3 at 7:00 PM

(Doors open at 6:45 PM)


Led by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman and Cantor Rachael Littman

Includes traditional Kosher Seder meal

Entertainment and activities for children throughout the evening


Please complete the reservation form below and send it with your check, payable to Temple Beth El, to Temple Beth El, 350 Roxbury RoadStamfordCT 06902.

Reservation deadline is March 22, 2007.





 Prices:      Adults: $55, Children (3-12) $25, Children 2 and under free

                Maximum Price per Family $175, Parents & Kids

                Please check off choice of Entrée. Children’s meal will be Chicken Fingers





































Total Cost





If you have a child who would like to help with the younger children’s activities, please provide their names and ages:     _________________________, _________________________, _________________________.

If you are able to volunteer please check off your preferences:

Clean Up




Children’s Activities


Clean Up



For more information please contact Steven Mayer at 203-316-9195; e-mail or Mark Plotzky at 203-359-2290; e-mail




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!


1.  For Parents of Young Children: Reinforcing the Beauty of Jewish Values at a Yong Age. – Tuesday, March 20th at 9:45 AM at the JCC

2.  For All: Redefining Being Jewish in a World of Uncertainty. Tuesday, March 20th at 7:30 PM at Temple Beth El.

3.  For Jewish Teens and Parents   - Being Jewish in the iPod Age. Wednesday, March 21st at 7:00 PM at Temple Beth El.


For more information please go to or email Ilana at




Newest addition to the TBE catering panel


You may now use SWEET ON YOU to enhance

your Kiddushes, for your baby namings and aufrufs at

Temple Beth El


Please call our Executive Director for more information



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)


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? Can other religions be “true?”  How can pluralism work for the believer?





 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




We are planning to participate in a very exciting Hazak Retreat this June
13-20. Please see all details via the url:




Support our Temple Gift Shop! 


Changes in Kosher at Stop & Shop Ridgeway


Approx. 16 months ago, in response to requests by the local kosher community, the SKAC has been in discussion with corp. management at Stop & Shop to consider both expanding store space, devoted to kosher, as well as consolidating all specific kosher products to one area at the Ridgway location.

Management informed the SKAC a few months ago, that they would accommodate this request.

In the next few weeks, during the store's overall remodeling, the temporary " Super Passover " section, traditionally situated in the center of the store, has been relocated to the right side of the produce section.

The permanent regular kosher section will soon be relocated to the rear of Aisle # 14. There will now be over 100 feet, devoted to kosher specific products, with grocery on one side of the aisle and refrigerated / frozen items, including dairy, meat / poultry and frozen, on the other side.

We hope this expansion and consolidation will be more of a convenience and an additional draw to the location for your local kosher needs.

The SKAC wishes to thank store management for their continued efforts to accommodate the shopping needs of their local kosher customers.

The SKAC continues to work, to provide more kosher choices to town. Stay Tuned !

Eat & Enjoy,

Avi Greif

Stamford Kosher Activists Committee


Youth and family Programming





Temple Beth El Youth Commission

Invites you to a fun-d-raiser:







1:00pm – 4:00pm


$5 per person / $15 per family

Skate rentals available for $4.50 each


In order to reserve your place please fill out attached form by April 1st and send to the Hebrew School office.

Laser tag, mini golf, bowling, batting cages available at additional cost.

Kosher for Passover refreshments will be provided.

Questions? Email:


The Rinks at Shelton

Located off Merritt Parkway Exit 53  (1 mile North of Sikorsky Aircraft)

784 River Road (Rte 110), Shelton, CT, 06484









Saturday, March 24th


8:30 p.m.               Meet at Norwalk Rip Van Winkle Lanes

701 Connecticut Ave.Norwalk (see map below)


Pizza will be served.


10:30 p.m.                                                                      Pick Up


Price: $15


Please bring a signed waiver with you to the event.


RSVP by Wednesday, March 21st by emailing


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

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

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!



Hey teens!

If you’re ready for a

new, hip, cool temple experience…

Come to

Teen Synaplex

Saturday, April 7th, 2007!

12:30–2:00 pm

Lunch with friends, with a performance by teen troupe

No Hate But Harmony

2:15–3:15 pm

Teen chat room on surviving high school and getting into the

college you want (hear from HS seniors)

3:20–4:30 pm

FOOTBALL (co-ed) or hear WWII survivors!

4:30 pm

Teen nosh (more food!)

Get ready to have an amazing time!

Bring all your Jewish friends!

No charge!

Temple Beth El • 350 Roxbury Road • Stamford










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

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