Friday, April 13, 2007

April 13, 2007– Nisan 26, 5767

April 13, 2007– Nisan 26, 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

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


See photos of our TBE teens at our new USY website:


Check out for photos from our recent Cantors’ Concert,

Plus Purim photos and 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



The Commanding Voice of Auschwitz


What does the Voice of Auschwitz command?

        Jews are forbidden to hand Hitler posthumous victories. They are commanded to survive as Jews, lest the Jewish people perish. They are commanded to remember the victims of Auschwitz lest their memory perish. They are forbidden to despair of man and his world, and to escape into either cynicism or otherworldliness, lest they cooperate in delivering the world over to the forces of AuschwitzFinally,they are forbidden to despair of the God of Israel, lest Judaism perish. A secularist Jew cannot make himself believe by a mere act of will, nor can he be commanded to do so….And a religious Jew who has stayed with his God may be forced into new, possibly revolutionary relationships with Him. One possibility, however, is wholly unthinkable. A Jew may not respond to Hitler’s attempt to destroy Judaism by himself cooperating in its destruction. In ancient times, the unthinkable Jewish sin was idolatry. Today, it is to respond to Hitler by doing his work.


        For a Jew hearing the commanding Voice of Auschwitz the duty to remember and to tell the tale is not negotiable. It is holy. The religious Jew still possesses this word. The secularist Jew is commanded to restore it. A secular holiness, as it were, has forced itself into his vocabulary…


        Jews after Auschwitz represent all humanity when they affirm their Jewishness and deny the Nazi denial… The commanding Voice of Auschwitz singles Jews out; Jewish survival is a commandment which brooks no compromise. It was this Voice which was heard by the Jews of Israel in May and June 1967 when they refused to lie down and be slaughtered…


        For after Auschwitz, Jewish life is more sacred than Jewish death, were it even for the sanctification of the divine Name. The left-wing secularist Israeli journalist Amos Kenan writes: “After the death camps, we are left only one supreme value: existence.”


By the Jewish philosopher Emil Fackenheim, written in 1968:






Friday the 13th - Part 5766

“Jason and Freddy Make Shabbos


For Jews, no day brings a greater sense of anticipation and 13 is a very lucky number – ask any bar or bat mitzvah.  So nothing to worry about today.  But just in case you are concerned, you might want to join us for services…tonight at 7:30.

And BTW, check out the candle lighting time below!



Candle lighting: 7:13 pm on Friday, 13 April 2007.  For 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: 7:30 PM (NOTE LATER TIME) – in the sanctuary


No Tot Shabbat this Friday, but NEXT Friday it returns


Shabbat and Festival Mornings:


Service begins at 9:30 AM 






Children’s Services: 10:30 AM


Our Torah Portion for Shabbat Morning

Parashat Shmini

פרשת שמיני

Leviticus 9:1 - 11:47

1: 11:1-8

Haftarah: Malachi 3:4 - 3:24


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

I will be observing the yahrzeit of my father, Rudolph Walzer on the morning of April 20.  Thanks again for your assistance in making the congregation aware of my request for a "guaranteed minyan" on that date.



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



I want to request that all our Bar/Bat Mitzvah class be at services this Shabbat, along with all 8th graders and teens who can make it.

I don’t typically say this, but this week’s bar mitzvah d’var Torah might be the most important one you’ll ever hear.  It might be among the most courageous as well.


Yom Hashoah

I received this lovely e-mail today from Cortney Rosenberg, a TBE college student at the University of Delaware.  With her permission, I print it here:


I just wanted to tell you about the great speaker Hillel brought in to speak tonight in preparation for Yom HashoaHe is currently the chief Rabbi of Poland which means he doesn’t only worry about his own congregation but governmental relations etc. It was so interesting to listen to him talk about how after the war the Jews who survived the Holocaust had two choices to either move from Poland or to give up there faith and how because of this many of the Jews in Poland are only recently finding out they are Jewish. I was also astonished at the fact that the average age at his minions is late 20s early 30s. The second we left I told my friend I had to get back to my apartment and email my rabbi and tell him how incredible I thought the speaker was. I think the thing that struck me the most was that it made me think about how so many people here take their ability to celebrate their Jewish heritage for granted where as there are people out there who are still only finding out who they are and learning as the go along how to observe. In reality the experience made me realize just how lucky I was to be brought up in a safe congregation and given access to my heritage at an early age.





Part of why Yom Hashoah is so meaningful is that the Holocaust can be a powerful reminder to our younger generation of how fragile life is and how precious our basic rights – including the right to be a Jew.  That’s why it is so crucial that all generations find a way to make Yom Hashoah a part of their lives, this Sunday and Monday.  Here are some suggestions as to how…

The Yad Vashem website can help each of us to fully appreciate Yom Hashoah and to connect to Israel at the same time.  We can also do that by connecting to our community at 4:00 on Sunday at Agudath Sholom.  Our choir will be participating.


The theme of this year’s commemoration in Israel is “bearing witness.” Read about it at


You can also take time to read from the millions of names and stories recounted in the vast database at the Yad Vashem site.  See below in our Beth El Cares section for ways that people can add to that vast list.


Each year, six Holocaust survivors are chosen to light torches in memory of the six million Jews who perished during the Holocaust. Their wartime experiences reflect the central theme chosen by Yad Vashem for Holocaust Remembrance Day. The torches are lit during the central memorial ceremony held at Yad Vashem on the eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Zanne Farbstein

Zanne Farbstein
To read about Zanne Farbstein, click here

Manya Brodeski-Titelman

Manya Brodeski-Titelman
To read about Manya Brodeski-Titelman, click here

Mordechai (Motke) Wiesel

Mordechai (MotkeWiesel
To read about Mordechai (MotkeWiesel, click here

Yaacov (Jacki) Handeli

Yaacov (JackiHandeli
To read about Yaacov (JackiHandeli, click here

David Gur

David Gur
To read about David Gur, click here

Ya’akov Janek Hollaender

Ya’akov Janek Hollaender
To read about Ya’akov Janek Hollaender, click here




Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunties

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


Jeremy Simon’s mitzvah project


Jeremy Simon’s mitzvah project is collecting toys/games for children in the pediatric unit at Stamford Hospital.  When a child enters the hospital for day or in-patient surgery, they are given the opportunity to pick a toy from “David’s Treasure Tree Toy Closet”.  It is theirs to keep and gives them comfort while they are in the hospital.  The toys/games can be for younger kids through teenagers, preferably something they can play by themselves.  If you are interested in donating something, there is an orange container outside the temple office.  Please feel free to drop items in it and Jeremy will be delivering them in person to Stamford Hospital.  It is his hope that by doing this mitzvah, he will be making a small difference in someone else’s life.


A message from Bat Mitzvah student Emily katz


The holocaust was to "never happen again".  Yet today a genocide continues unnoticed in Dafur.  As we speak over 3.5 million men,women and children are left starving and homeless everyday. That is the reason I, have started to raise money for the people of Darfur.  Please help the people Dafur put out this genocide, so we know there will never again be another holocaust. Please go to this website and donate money for those people in Darur, every penny counts.  All money will be greatly appreciated.  Thank You!

Click on


Bernier Dance & the Darfur Support Coalition of Fairfield County


Artists for Peace

an evening of music and dance to purchase solar cookers for Darfur refugees


Saturday, April 14 at 8:00 pm



(intersection of Bayview & Hillside Avenues)


Tickets are $15




Directions to the Crystal Theatre:



            17,000 women and girls having fled the genocide in DarfurSudan are now in extreme jeopardy when undertaking the simple, but vital, task of collecting firewood for cooking fuel.  They’re targeted by the Janjaweed militia when they leave the relative safety of the Iridimi refugee camp in Chad and risk attack, branding, rape, and murder every time they venture out to collect cooking fuel.

            Basic food supplies are provided by relief agencies; however, only a few of these provide fuel for cooking.  The sun is the one resource that the people have plenty of and solar cookers alleviate the need to leave the camps for firewood.


TICKETS: Call 203.855.1118, or at the door




It’s just that simple!


Free Them Now


Ehud Goldwasser         Eldad Regev            Gilad Schalit

 Kidnapped Israeli Soldiers


 Click for more information

 Sign the petition at


A Passover Prayer for Israel's Missing Soldiers (
    Please add a prayer at your Passover seder for Israel's kidnapped and missing soldiers.


USY’s Israel affairs and religious education committees in our Seaboard region have put together a seder supplement.



Mitzvah Project for Alex Rosenberg



My Bar Mitzvah project is to raise money for the Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald house is a “home away from home” for family members to stay when a child is in the hospital with a serious illness.


I will be doing this in two different ways. One is by making and selling buttons, with whatever design you would like on them (see samples above). The second is by collecting the metal caps on the top of cans which will then get turned into the Ronald McDonald fund to recycle in exchange for cash.


There are two ways you can help me with my project. One is by ordering 1” pins, which are one dollar each; email me at the address below and I can make custom designs for you. I will also leave a specially marked container by the office at the temple, as well as other places around town, where you can leave can tabs for me to turn in for cash.


Thank you in advance!

Alex Rosenberg



Names Recovery Month Launched in Advance of Holocaust Remembrance Day
Information and material about the Database and the 11th hour names recovery campaign
can be found at: 

The Highest Level of Tzedakkah: Job Networking

Camp Ramah in New England is seeking nurses for the 2007 Summer.

Compensation plus camper tuition discounts available.

For more information contact Camp Ramah's Infirmary Director, Olga Tomanovich at


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







Where can I learn more about the Holocaust on the Web?




Spiritual Journey on the Web


Yom Hashoah


From the American Jewish Committee


Listen to David Harris
 speak on the meaning of Yom HaShoah >

We Remember


In the Jewish tradition, we are commanded to remember (zachor) and not to forget (lo tishkach). On April 15, we commemorate Yom HaShoah, the Day of Holocaust Remembrance. On this solemn occasion, 62 years after the end of World War II, we remember.
We remember the six million Jewish martyrs, including 1.5 million children, who were exterminated in the Holocaust.
We remember the entirely new alphabet created by the Nazis for the Final Solution -- from the letter "A" for Auschwitz to the letter "Z" for Zyklon-B.
We remember not only the tragic deaths of the six million Jews, but also their vibrant lives -- as shopkeepers and craftsmen, scientists and authors, teachers and students, parents and children, husbands and wives.
We remember the richly hued and ancient Jewish civilizations that were destroyed -- from SalonikaGreece to VilnaLithuania.
We remember the slippery slope that began with the rantings of an obscure Austrian-born anti-Semite named Adolf Hitler and led, in the course of less than 15 years, to his absolute control over Germany.
We remember the fertile soil of European anti-Semitism -- cultivated over centuries by cultural, political, and religious voices -- that created an all-too-receptive climate for the Nazi objective of eliminating the Jewish people.
We remember the courage of Denmark, as well as AlbaniaBulgaria, and Finland, for their extraordinary efforts to protect their own Jewish communities.
We remember the courage of thousands of Righteous Persons -- whom we call, in Hebrew, hasidei umot ha'olam -- who risked their own lives that others might live.
We remember the millions of non-Jews -- Poles and Russians, Roma and the disabled, political opponents and homosexuals -- murdered under the relentless Nazi onslaught.
We remember the valiant soldiers of the Allied nations who, at such great human cost, vanquished the Third Reich.
We remember the survivors of the death camps, who endured such unimaginable suffering and who have inspired us all with their indomitable courage, spirit, and will to live.
We remember the absence of an Israel in those war-time years, an Israel which, had it existed, would have provided a haven when so shamefully few countries were willing to accept Jewish refugees.
We shall never forget those who perished.
We shall never forget those who saved even a single life. As it is written in the Talmud: "He who saves one life has saved the world."
We shall never forget the importance of speaking out against intolerance, whenever and wherever it occurs.

We shall never forget the inextricable link among democracy, the rule of law, and protection of human rights.
We shall never forget the age-old prophetic vision of a world of justice, harmony, and peace.
And we shall never forget that each of us, in ways large and small, can help bring us closer to the realization of that prophetic vision



The Beth El Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary



Excerpts from Steven Lee’s D’var Torah on Tzav



Today is Shabbat Ha-Gadol, “The Great Shabbat,” which occurs before that most important\ of days, the holiday that\ is the true sign\ that spring has arrived, (pause) the holiday\ that begins\ this Monday, a sacred day\ that comes only\ once a year! (Pause)  Yes, I am talking about\ opening day\ at Yankee Stadium!


Oh, yes, there IS another holiday that begins on Monday, and yes, it also is a sign of spring, and I suppose it is the reason today is such a special Shabbat  – and that holiday is Passover. 


My haftarah tells about the relationship between parents and children.  Just as the stories and rituals of Passover are handed down from generation to generation, so are the great stories of baseball.  Team loyalties are too, although in our house, my dad is a Mets fan and I am a Yankees fan.  So much for passing things down.


Baseball also has something in common with my Torah portion, Tzav.  It is a concern for commitment, sacrifice and team play. 


My portion speaks of the offerings that were brought to the high priest, the Kohan.  The portion begins with the word “tzav,” which means, “to command.”  The high priest was commanded to take these offerings and make a burnt offering to God.  They were to be made with commitment, consistency, and concentration.


In baseball, one great inning cannot win a game.  Concentration and consistency are needed until the very end.  The priest, who may be viewed as the MVP of the team, was also commanded to make sacrifices. The Priest brought a daily sacrifice to show that no one was sinless and to motivate others to do the same, without feeling ashamed.  


This reminds me of when the Yankees got Alex Rodriguez from the Rangers.  A-Rod played shortstop for the Rangers but the Yankees needed him to play 3rd base.   Therefore, he sacrificed a position he really liked to play for the benefit of the team.  Regardless of whether you like A Rod or not, you have to appreciate his decision. 


The High Priest was also commanded to clean up the ashes from the burnt offerings.  This served as an example that no one should ever feel too important to do what is needed.  Like the High Priest, the umpires sweep the dirt off home plate and at home, I am commanded to take out the garbage.


I’ve learned in my own baseball experience, how important it is to make sacrifices for the good of the team.  In Little League, you can only pitch a certain amount of innings every week.  A few years ago, during the playoff finals, our two best pitchers played in the first of two games.  Even with our best efforts, we lost.  


We had to win the next game for the championship.  We were forced to put in someone who had never pitched before.  He did better than we could ever have hoped for!  He gave it his all for the sake of the team.  We lost the game, but learned a valuable lesson about the need to make sacrifices for the greater good.  We also learned that it is not a good idea to use your two best pitchers in the same playoff game!


As a Bar Mitzvah, I have learned how good it feels to share my time with others.  For my mitzvah project, I have been visiting seniors at the Jewish Home for the Elderly.  I have been entertaining them with magic tricks and playing games with them.  Not only have they enjoyed it, but so have I.


I am also donating the centerpieces from today to CTE, a local agency that provides services to underprivileged children.  The flowers on the bima will be replanted in the Holocaust Memorial Garden, which is located outside the windows of this sanctuary. 


In addition, I am giving a portion of the money I receive for my Bar Mitzvah to the American Cancer Society.  It will be used for lymphoma research in memory of my grandfather and my namesake, Grandpa Stan. 




Excerpts from Lauren Schapiro’s D’var Torah on Shemini


As many of you may know, I am a vegetarian.  Well, I’m not exactly a vegetarian, because I do eat chicken, but no other meat. My friends call me a chicke-tairan.  So I was really happy when I found out that my portion focuses on the ethics of eating.


            It all started about four years ago, when, one night, I was watching TV with my mom, and suddenly a news item came on describing an animal rights group protesting the inhumane slaughter of animals.  The next morning I woke up and decided that I couldn’t eat meat anymore.  It was impossible for me to look at meat in the same way, without imagining that it was once alive.


            At first my family thought I would grow out of it after a few weeks.  They figured it was just another crazy kid fad like Beanie babies, or Pokemon cards.  But they soon realized, I was serious.


For the most part, my parents were understanding because I have a couple of cousins who are vegetarian.  I have friends who are vegetarian as well, and most of my friends have been very understanding.  The only one who is not quite as supportive is my brother, who will, from time to time, stick a piece of steak in my face. This is the guy who wears a shirt that says, Save a Cow, Eat a Vegetarian.


            So it’s fitting that my portion contains the Jewish dietary laws, letting us know which animals are considered fit to be eaten.  While the Torah allows for the eating of meat, my portion makes it clear that there needs to be limits to what we eat.  Some say that for Judaism, the ideal is to be a vegetarian, and that’s how things were in the Garden of Eden.


            One of the reasons I think the Torah supports being a vegetarian is that is helps us to be more sensitive to all living beings.  The Hebrew terms for Kindness to Animals, is “Tza’ar Ba’alay Hayyim,” which really means not to cause pain to any living creature. When we are kinder to animals, we’ll also become more sensitive to the needs of people.  I know that has been true for me.


            For my mitzvah project, I’ve been volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of Stamford since the fall.  Each week, I help the little kids play sports, mostly basketball and soccer, which are also my favorite sports.   I’ve enjoyed working with all the kids, but one in particular, who always comes up to me asking for the ball.  At halftime, all the kids come up to me and I play keep-away with the soccer ball, dribbling it around them.  It’s lots of fun, for them and for me. 


            I’m not sure whether or not I’ll stay a chicke-tarian for the rest of my life, or even stop eating chicken and becoming a full vegetarian.  But whatever happens, that one night watching TV with my mom has already made a big difference in my life and has helped me to understand, even before today, what it means to be a Bat Mitzvah, to grow up and to be responsible for everything you do – and everything you eat.





Required Reading and Action Items



Some GOOD NEWS from Israel 21c,,

 and other sources



Songweavers brings musicians a virtual music studio  
For millions of aspiring musicians, there is now an Internet site where you can create new music with people from all over the world. Welcome to Songweavers, the global community of music makers developed by Israeli programmers. Songweavers is a virtual studio where musicians can upload their song, and others can add parts to it in an international jam session to create a new musical mix. More...











Technology | Intel's Israelis make chip to rescue company from profit plunge  
Once the dominant microprocessor giant, Intel is hoping for a major comeback with the Core 2 Duo. The chip wasn't invented in Silicon Valley however. Instead, Intel is betting on a group of Israeli mavericks and a design bureau 7,400 miles away from their California headquarters. In one 100-day period last year, Intel introduced more than 40 new processors, most of them are based on the Israeli design which allows the chip to run software faster and use less power. According to a leading industry analyst, Intel Israel 'saved the company. Without those new products, Intel would be in a lot more trouble.' More...



Technology | Making the Web a safe place for your children to surf  
Alarming statistics point to the fact that the Internet is increasingly becoming 'the most dangerous street in the world' for unsupervised children. Now, Israeli startup i-Mature has developed the Age-Group Recognition (AGR) security system that can accurately recognize the age of children and adults on the Internet, allowing parents to control their child's access to restricted web sites, and at the same time prevent pedophiles from accessing children's and teens' chat rooms. More...


Health | Israeli-developed auditory device makes walking easier for MS patients  
An Israeli professor has developed an auditory feedback system that enables patients suffering from multiple sclerosis or Parkinson's disease to improve their gait as they walk. The Technion's Yoram Baram based his system on a virtual reality device he developed for helicopter pilots at NASA. Baram recently spent a year in the US where the device was tested on patients at the University of Cincinnati and at Stanford University, and results have been extremely promising. More...


now for the rest


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

See also


Rift Splits Hamas into Three Factions - Yaakov Katz and Khaled Abu Toameh
As negotiations over the release of kidnapped IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit continue, grave concern was expressed within the Israeli defense establishment on Wednesday over the growing rift within Hamas, which officials warned could jeopardize the deal. Hamas is seen to have split into three central groups. The first is led by Khaled Mashaal, the exiled political leader based in Damascus.
    The second group is led by former Interior Minister Said Siam, former Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar, and former Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, who enjoy the backing of many members of Hamas' armed wing, Izaddin Kassam. The "rejectionists" accuse Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Mashaal of betraying Hamas voters by agreeing to form a coalition with Fatah. They argue that the Mecca agreement is a plot designed to remove Hamas from power. The third group is led by Ahmed Jaabri - the Hamas "Chief of Staff" in Gaza - believed to have directed and carried out Shalit's abduction in June. (Jerusalem Post)


PA Security, Gunmen Exchange Fire in Nablus
PA security officers and militants from the Aksa Martyrs Brigades exchanged heavy fire in downtown Nablus on Monday, wounding three people. "I saw, from where I was, dozens of Palestinian police and gunmen chasing each other and shooting," said Ghassan Tabila, a street vendor. (AP/Jerusalem Post)


Amnesty: "Egypt Abuses Its Detainees" - Jonny Paul
The Egyptian authorities are committing systematic abuses of human rights in the name of national security, and planned anti-terror legislation could make the situation worse, according to an Amnesty International report released on Wednesday in Cairo. Thousands of Egyptians have been locked up, with many sentenced after unfair trials in emergency and military courts, according to Amnesty. Torture and prolonged detention without trial are rife. (Jerusalem Post)


A War of Narratives - David Brooks
The Walt and Mearsheimer paper on the Israel lobby has had a profound effect on Arab elites. It has encouraged them not to be introspective, not to think about their own problems, but to blame everything on the villainous Israeli network. And so we enter a more intractable phase in the conflict, a war over narratives. The Arabs will demand that the U.S. and Israel adopt their narrative and admit historical guilt. Failing politically, militarily and economically, they will fight a battle for moral superiority, the kind of battle that does not allow for compromises or truces.
    Americans, meanwhile, will simply want to get out. Most Americans have given up on their ability to transform the Middle East and on Arab willingness to change. Faced with an arc of conspiracy-mongering, most Americans will get sick of the whole cesspool, and will support any energy policy or anything else that will enable them to cut ties with the region. What we have is not a clash of civilizations, but a gap between civilizations, increasingly without common narratives, common goals or means of communication. (New York Times, 8Apr07)


Dangers of the Saudi Initiative - Zalman Shoval
The objective of the Saudi initiative is to diplomatically achieve everything the Arab world was unable to achieve through war and terror: The return of refugees and return to the borders of June 4, 1967, that invited aggression. And the Arabs are not relating to these issues as points for negotiation, but rather as a precondition to their actual willingness to engage in talks. Their refusal to make any amendments to the plan only confirms it.
    The Saudi initiative also seeks to convene a conference attended by the international Quartet (U.S., Europe, Russia, and the UN,) the Palestinians (namely, the Hamas government), and a new creature called "The Arab Quartet" (Saudi ArabiaEgypt, Jordan, and the UAE). In other words, Israel will find itself in a situation it has always tried to avoid: isolated in an international forum whose composition is bad. (Ynet News)


Saudi Columnist: "The Right of Return Is an Illusion"
Saudi columnist Yousef Nasser al-Sweidan wrote in the Kuwaiti daily Al-Siyassa on March 5, 2007: "It is patently obvious that uprooting the descendents of the refugees from their current homes in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and other countries, and returning them to Israel, to the West Bank, and to Gaza is a utopian ideal and [a recipe for] anarchy.
 More than that - it is an idea that cannot be implemented." "The Arab countries where the Palestinians live in refugee camps must pass the laws necessary to integrate the inhabitants of these camps into society."
    In a second article on March 16, he wrote: "The Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon - who have for many long years been fed by their Arab hosts on impossible dreams and on shiny promises that were soon broken - do not need another 60 years of misery, wretchedness and order to figure out for the thousandth time that all the talk about the 'bridge of return' is nonsense and deceit - a fairytale that exists only in the old, worn-out demagogy of the Arab propaganda." "In reality, there is no 'bridge'...except for the bridge that we now must pass...called the peace process and normalization of relations between the Arabs and Israel." (MEMRI)


Terrorists Released in Prisoner Exchanges Revert to Terror - Interview with Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shalom Harari (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs-Hebrew)

  • From previous prisoner-exchanges, we saw that 20-25 percent of released terrorists return to terrorist activity. Another 30 percent are involved after their release in organizational aspects of terror: recruitment, direction, and indoctrination of terrorists.
  • In the exchange being discussed, we will see higher percentages of released prisoners who return to terror activity because they are affiliated with organizations that have dedicated themselves to continued struggle against Israel until its eventual annihilation, unlike at the time of the Oslo Accords when thousands of prisoners were released with the intent that they would bring about support for the Oslo process.
  • In the document that came to be known as the Palestinian prisoners' document, there were some positive indications with regard to the right of return and to limiting the armed struggle. But that document no longer exists, because the document of national conciliation (the Mecca accord) - the only one spoken of now by the Palestinian public - has been stripped of all the elements that showed any moderation towards Israel.
  • The Minister of Information in the Palestinian government, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, announced that the government is in no way associated with the list of prisoners to be released submitted to Israel and did not put it together. He paints a picture whereby it is the splinter factions who have assembled the list and it is they who are negotiating with Israel. So what is the PA government doing? It is not even a partner; it is a disinterested bystander. That is the current chaotic status in the territories.
  • Palestinian peace activists, which constitute a very small group, will see the prisoner release as an act of reconciliation, but the vast majority of the Palestinian public - supporters of Hamas, Jihad, the Popular Front, and the Democratic Front, as well as all of those who are released - will indisputably see it as a sign of Israeli weakness.

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shalom Harari, formerly Palestinian Affairs Adviser to the Ministry of Defense, is a research fellow at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.




MYTH #258


"Palestinians were the only people who became refugees as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict."




Although much is heard about the plight of the Palestinian refugees, little is said about the Jews who fled from Arab states. Their situation had long been precarious. During the 1947 UN debates, Arab leaders threatened them. For example, Egypt’s delegate told the General Assembly: “The lives of one million Jews in Muslim countries would be jeopardized by partition” (New York Times, November 25, 1947).



The number of Jews fleeing Arab countries for Israel in the years following Israel’s independence was nearly double the number of Arabs leaving Palestine. Many Jews were allowed to take little more than the shirts on their backs. These refugees had no desire to be repatriated. Little is heard about them because they did not remain refugees for long. Of the 820,000 Jewish refugees between 1948 and 1972, 586,000 were resettled in Israel at great expense, and without any offer of compensation from the Arab governments who confiscated their possessions (Arieh AvneriThe Claim of Dispossession, NJ: Transaction Books, 1984, p. 276). Israel has consequently maintained that any agreement to compensate the Palestinian refugees must also include Arab reparations for Jewish refugees. To this day, the Arab states have refused to pay anything to the hundreds of thousands of Jews who were forced to abandon their property before fleeing those countries. Through 2005, at least 115 of the 774 UN General Assembly resolutions on the Middle East conflict (15 percent) referred directly to Palestinian refugees. Not one mentioned the Jewish refugees from Arab countries (Jerusalem Post, December 4, 2003).


The contrast between the reception of Jewish and Palestinian refugees is even starker when one considers the difference in cultural and geographic dislocation experienced by the two groups. Most Jewish refugees traveled hundreds — and some traveled thousands — of miles to a tiny country whose inhabitants spoke a different language. Most Arab refugees never left Palestine at all; they traveled a few miles to the other side of the truce line, remaining inside the vast Arab nation that they were part of linguistically, culturally and ethnically.


This article can be found at


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


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


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


Part 2 of "The Ethiopian Exodus" on Think Tank will air on your local PBS outlet on April 7,. New YorkNY: WNET, Saturday, 9 AM


To view Part 1 online, go to


At the end of 1984 and in May of 1991 the Israeli government orchestrated 2 massive covert operations to transport virtually the entire Ethiopian Jewish community to Israel. The first was codenamed Operation Moses; a six week campaign to secretly transport 8000 Ethiopian Jews to Israel . The second was Operation Solomon; an unprecedented mass evacuation by airlift of over 14000 Ethiopian Jews in less than 26 hours. A new feature film titled Live and Become dramatizes these awe-inspiring events and explores the challenges faced by the transplanted Ethiopians as they struggled to integrate into Israeli society. To learn more about the story behind these remarkable moments in human history Think Tank is joined by Sirak Sabahat, star of the film Live and Become and participant in Operation Solomon at the age of 12 and Mitchell Bard, Executive Director of the American Israeli Cooperative Enterprise and author of many books including, From Tragedy to Triumph: The Politics Behind the Rescue of Ethiopian Jewry.








Temple Beth El   StamfordCT 

Friday, May 4, 2007


Kabbalat Shabbat service 

The first outdoor service of the year

Come, welcome Shabbat

6:30 p.m.


Shabbat Seder

Festive Shabbat Dinner 7:30 p.m.

(Dinner: Adults $18 apiece; children under 12 $12 apiece)











Learn   How   and   Why   To   Wear   Tallit   and   Tefillin

Guest    Speaker,    Cantor    Rachael    Littman


April  29,  2007  at  1:00pm,  at  the  home  of  Cantor  Littman


$25 Minimum Donation to Benefit Torah Fund*    Open to Paid-Up Sisterhood Members Only**

*Free to Purchasers of 2006-07 Torah Fund Pin **Dues Paid Now Will Be Applied to 2007-2008


Space Limited to First 50, So Reserve Now!

RSVP to Ellen Gottfried, 322-6901,  x308


Karen Hainbach, Chair, 322-8842











SUNDAY MAY 20TH , 2007

10:00 am - 12:00pm


Our kindergarteners and their wonderful teacher, Marlyn Agatstein, would like to invite you to visit their class. On Sunday, May 20, 2007, we will be opening our classroom and welcoming your family to come and share our classroom experiences with us. You will have the opportunity to explore our curriculum, sing with Nurit Avigdor, our music teacher, meet Karen Tobias, our creative art teacher, and cook delicious food for the holiday of Shavuot. This open house event will take place in the kindergarten room (lower level) at Temple Beth El Hebrew School.

We look forward to your joining us at 10:00 a.m. for two hours chock-full of fun activities. Feel free to bring the entire family with you!

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call/e-mail

Eran Vaisben, our Education Director:; 203-322-6901, ext.305

or Sheryl Young, our Hebrew School Committee Chair:;  203-975-1990.


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)


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?


Support our Temple Gift Shop! 


The InterFaith Council of Southwestern Connecticut invites you to join with others of interfaith commitment on the following occasions:


An Earth Day Interfaith Service of Prayer

Sunday, April 22 at 4:30 PM

at St. Francis Episcopal

2810 Long Ridge Rd.

in Stamford.


This service will be a contemplative service of song, chant, reading, collective prayer and open prayer.  In the time of open prayer, all who attend will be given opportunity to pray in whatever ways their traditions suggest in celebration of and intercession for the sanctity and preservation of God's creation. 



Our Spring General Assembly

Thursday, May 17th, at 7:00 PM

at Bethel A.M.E. Church

150 Fairfield Ave.

in Stamford.


With a panel discussion focused on "Changing Perspectives on God in an Age of Terrorism."   Christian, Muslim and Jewish panelists--Rev. Elizabeth Krentz-Wee of St. Michael's Lutheran Church in New Canaan, Dr. Kareem Adeeb, President and Imam of the American Institute for Islamic and Arabic Studies, and Rabbi Josh Hammerman of Temple Beth El in Stamford--will address this topic with Q&A to follow.  Also Reverends Ron Evans and Gary Brown will be presented with Interfaith Council Distinguished Service Awards for years of valuable interfaith contributions to our region. Some very brief Council business will also be conducted.




Attention  2nd  and  3rd  graders!



Camp Ramah in New England Presents:



Mini-Session A: Wednesday, July 25 – Sunday, August 5

Mini-Session B: Tuesday, August 7 – Sunday, August 19


Y Come be a part of this incredible Jewish community for kids!

Y The Ramah Mini-Session is specifically designed for new campers.

Y It’s a chance for anyone currently in grades two and three to learn why so many people say that the summers they spent at Ramah changed their life.


Camp Ramah is not simply a fun place, it is a fun Jewish place.  Our campers are exposed to the richness of Jewish life, including the beauty of Shabbat, the meaning of prayer, and familiarity with Hebrew.


Mini-Session campers get a taste of every aspect of the Ramah camping experience.  Campers can choose from a wide variety of sports and programming options, including:


New adventure course, baseball, basketball, soccer, archery, tennis, volleyball, ultimate frisbee, photography, video, newspaper, boating, drama, nature, woodworking, and arts & crafts.





Camp Ramah in New England35 Highland CircleNeedhamMA 02494

ph: (781) 449-7090  fax: (781) 449-6331


Camp Ramah, the camping arm of the Conservative Movement, has been providing Jewish children with a unique

recreational and educational program for 50 years.  Each summer over 600 campers from the East Coast come to

Camp Ramah in New England for innovative, fun, and transformative Jewish camping experiences.












Why God Never Received Tenure at Any University


1.  He had only one major publication.

2.  It was in Hebrew

3.  It had no references.

4.  It wasn't published in a referred journal.

5.  Some doubt She wrote it Himself.

6.  He may have created the world, but what has She done since?

7.  The scientific community can't replicate His results.

8.  She never got permission from the ethics board to use human subjects.

9.  When one experiment went awry, He tried to cover it up by drowning the subjects.

10. She rarely came to class and just told students, "Read the Book."

11. Some say He had His son teach the class (this was not a Jewish source, obviously).

12. She expelled Her first two students.

13. His office hours were irregular and sometimes held on a mountaintop.

14. Although there were only 10 requirements, most students failed.



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

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