Friday, April 20, 2007

April 20, 2007– Iyar 3, 5767

April 20, 2007– Iyar 3, 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)

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.



JerusalemOnline presents:
an amazing video
of Israel from the Air

Aerial Odyssey - chapter 3




Quote for the Week




The tragic events this week at Virginia Tech, along with Yom Hazikaronforce us to confront the great sadness that befalls us all when young people are taken from us so senselessly and so abruptly. I’ve just sent out an e-mail to our college students expressing my concern for how they are coping, and a few have already responded.  


Israel has lost over 20,000 of its young flowers during nearly 6 decades of constant strife.  And this week, the world lost over 30 beautiful souls, so senselessly, in the Va. Tech shootings.  The following Israeli song, popular in the late ‘60s, summarizes how all of us feel right now:


How Can I Bless (Mah Avarech),
by Rachel Shapira 

(click here for Hebrew lyrics)


"How can I bless him, what gift shall I give
to this child?" said the angel of love.

And he gave him a smile that was radiant as light,
And he gave him two eyes that were open and clear
To seek out each flower and each creature and bird
And a heart to rejoice in each day of the year.

“How can I bless him, what gift shall I give
to this child?” said the angel of love.

And he gave him two feet that were light in the dance,

A soul to rejoice in each tune and each song,
A hand that collected the shells on the shore,
An ear to respond to the old and the young.

“How can I bless him, what gift shall I give
to this child?” said the angel of love.

But those hands that were able to make flowers grow
Were blessed with the skill to drive engines of might,
And the feet that could dance also knew how to march,
And the lips that could sing, also summoned to fight.

“How can I bless him, what gift shall I give
to this child?” said the angel of love.

“I have given him all that an angel can give,
Two light dancing feet, and a song and a smile,
A delicate hand and a sensitive heart.
What else can I give him? I’ve given him all”.
“How can I bless him, what gift shall I give
to this child?” said the angel of love.

He has joined the angels, that wonderful boy,
He has no more blessings, no longer is blessed.
Oh Lord, Lord above, did your angel forget
To bless him with life along with the rest?






Candle lighting: 7:20 pm on Friday, 20 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: 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


Our Torah Portion for Shabbat Morning

Parashat Tazria-Metzora

פרשת תזריע־מצרע

Leviticus 12:1 - 15:33

1: 14:33-38
2: 14:39-47
3: 14:48-53
4: 14:54-15:7
5: 15:8-15
6: 15:16-28
7: 15:29-33
maf: 15:31-33

Haftarah: II Kings 7:3 - 7:20


If you liked Storahtelling, Storahtelling’s new weekly blog about the Torah portion is at  Also check out Torahquest at  ORT Navigating the BibleRashi in EnglishBibleGateway: 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 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

Guaranteed Minyans have been requested for April 20, 23, 24 and 25.   






Ranting Rabbi


my column in this week’s Jewish Week –


Ranking Your Rabbi

By Joshua Hammerman



Believe it or not, I’ve got something positive to say about’s widely panned recent ranking of the 50 most influential rabbis in America – this despite that fact that I belong to the legions of the rankled unranked.

The list, a product of three Hollywood bigwigs with entirely too much time on their hands, came up at my seder. I for one hadn’t given it a second look — OK, I did give it a thorough first look — and the whole episode might have passed uneventfully had not my mother asked, “Are you on it?”


But rather than dialing up a therapist, I chose to take her query as a signal that this list needs to be taken seriously. Whether or not it is a good thing, it is the way people think. Rankings are everywhere. Call it the “American Idol” factor, or the Lettermanization of America. Everyone needs to be rating something. There are even top 10 lists of top 10 lists.

Come to think of it, Jews have been creating such lists for centuries. In Chapter Five of tractate Avot alone, there are nine top 10 lists. And, in an interesting twist, here the rabbis rank their congregants. (So what type of learner are you? A sieve, a funnel, a sponge or a strainer?)

Magazines routinely try to quantify quality in reviewing doctors, lawyers, hospitals, colleges and politicians. That quantification is often deceptive. We can rank billionaires on net wealth, but even Forbes can’t rank how much they’ve bettered humanity. I know and admire several doctors who have turned up on New York Magazine’s “best of” lists and, while I’m happy for them and their kvelling mothers, I have no idea what makes them better than others whom I also know and admire.

How does one measure the influence of a rabbi? Is it as simple as the Hollywood formula has it: 20 points each for fame and “impact on Judaism,” and 10 apiece for “media presence,” community leadership, movement leaders, the “size of their constituency” and a bonus 10 for “greater impact?”

The Newsweek list puts a premium on popularity. For Israel Salanter, a 19th-century rabbi, humility and integrity were the true measures of rabbinic greatness. He once claimed famously that a rabbi who is liked by everyone is not a rabbi (though he added, “one who is liked by no one is not a mensch”). These sentiments were echoed by subsequent leaders like Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, who feared no person and eschewed popularity when it flew in the face of conviction. How many points does the list give for integrity, humility and conviction? How many for wisdom?

I’ve had several opportunities to do scholar-in-residence weekends outside my congregation. It’s a wonderful experience, but there was nothing like returning home afterwards. Being a rabbi is about connecting with others on the deepest, most human level, something that rarely can be accomplished over a single Shabbat, no matter how spectacular, and something that can best be done in smaller communities, not mega-shuls. And once that personal connection is made, its depth cannot possibly be measured.

I’ve also had the horrific responsibility to officiate at four recent funerals of people in their 30s. On each occasion, the only thing I had to offer were words that came directly from my heart. Who can measure the impact of such words on a grieving parent? Each one of those eulogies had a more profound influence than anything I’ve ever had published.

The Jewish future is being forged by hero-rabbis in the trenches, one Jew at a time.

Miraculously, despite the lousy rating system, the moguls chose well. Their list contains many role models (and close friends) who have influenced me greatly. They all deserve to be recognized for the quality of their teaching and the depth of their humanity rather than the extent of their popularity. There is no question that among them are several who should be considered “gedolay ha-dor,’ our generation’s greatest.

One more positive thing: The list’s very appearance signals that, in some small way, the place of the rabbi in American Jewish life is veering its way back to the center, where it has always belonged. There’s something comforting in the fact that rabbis maintain a level of mystery and fascination in the public eye. This should be no surprise to anyone who has ever gone to a swim club, kids’ soccer game or anywhere else Jews tend to gather, where inevitably the discussion turns to rabbis. But now, as our communal center of gravity is slowly shifting back toward the synagogue, the rabbi’s role is shifting too, away from the ceremonial and symbolic and toward the substantive, from mere fascination to outright respect. A rabbi is now just as likely to be giving the keynote address as the invocation.

Several years ago, I proposed that American Jewry needs a chief rabbinate. While the suggestion was only half serious, the Newsweek list signals that perhaps the time has come to look for new ways to recognize rabbinic excellence — and to understand the true criteria for achieving it.

Most of the last century’s great Jewish leaders were rabbis. For every Brandeis, Buber or Ben Gurion, there was a Heschel, Kaplan, Soloveichik, Silver and a Wise. Their greatness was not measured on a point system, but by the power of their message, the passion of their commitment and the depth of their love for Judaism and humanity. For decades, however, the rabbinate has been marginalized and, as result, Jewish leadership has been infested with mediocrity. The appearance of the Newsweek 50 signals that a new era of rabbinic greatness might just be at hand.

Joshua Hammerman, a CLAL associate, is rabbi of Temple Beth El in Stamford, Conn.

Special To The Jewish Week


Liviu Librescu



Amidst the horrors of last Monday’s massacre at Virginia Tech, one story shines as a beacon of light.  Liviu Librescu, Romanian survivor of the Holocaust, who later moved to Israel and then to America, saved the lives of his students while sacrificing his own – on Yom Hashoah.  The sound of gunshots outside the door, the threat drawing all must have resonated in his deepest memory on Monday when he made his fateful choice.


See this tribute in Ha’aretz:  Bush Honors Israeli Professor Who Died in University Shooting - Shmuel Rosner
President George W. Bush on Wednesday paid tribute to Israeli professor Liviu Librescu, who died while trying to save students during the shooting spree at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. "With the gunman set to enter his class, this brave professor blocked the door with his body while his students fled to safety," Bush said at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. "On the day of remembrance, this Holocaust survivor gave his own life so others may live," he said. "We honor his memory, we take strength from his example."


Click here for the New York Times account of his funeral.


See this piece from the Times of London, at


One victim of the Virginia massacre left an incomparable legacy


The last person to see Professor Liviu Librescu alive appears to have been Alec Calhoun, a student at Virginia Tech who turned as he prepared to leap from a high classroom window to see the elderly academic holding shut the classroom door. The student jumped, and lived. Minutes later, the professor was shot dead.


There is no meaningful distinction between one relative's grief and another's sorrow as the bereaved converge on Blacksburg from as near as Roanoke and as far as India. But it is worth reflecting on the significance of Professor Librescu's life of quiet heroism, which encompassed the Holocaust, a career of internationally admired teaching and research, and a final act of sacrifice that saved at least nine other lives.


The son of Romanian Jewish parents, he was sent to a Soviet labor camp as a boy after his father was deported by the Nazis. He was repatriated to communist Romania only to be forced out of academia there for his Israeli sympathies. A personal intervention by Menachem Begin enabled him to emigrate with his wife to Israel, from where he visited the US on a sabbatical in 1986, and chose to stay. The appalling ironies of his murder by a crazed student after a life of such fortitude and generosity will not be lost on anyone who hears his story.


Yet neither should those who mourn him forget the role that America played in his life. As for so many other survivors of the mid-20th century's genocidal convulsions, the US was for this inspiring teacher both a beacon of hope and a welcoming new home. Founded on the idea of liberty, it also made, for him, a reality of that idea. Let those he saved now make the most of it.





Earth Day, the Omer and Global Warming


This Sunday is Earth Day, and never before have so many been so concerned about the future of our planet.  The Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation has put together an excellent series of study essays on this topic, to be explored during the Omer period, traditionally a time of serious reflection between Passover and Shavuot, with a focus on nature and spring.  The series link is - and here are some of the topics:









Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunties

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



350 Roxbury Rd. Stamford CT

SUNDAY MAY 6 8:30 AM - 1:15PM


“Give the ‘Gift of Life”.  Get involved in a short term mitzvah project that will save lives.

Call Cheryl Wolff today at 203-968-6361 to schedule a donation time.


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


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



The Friendly Visitor and Friendly Shopper programs of Senior Services of Stamford endeavor to match enthusiastic and caring volunteers with homebound seniors.




One hour every week or so is all you need to visit with or food shop for one of our community’s homebound seniors. The schedule is mutually agreed upon with the senior.  The individuals we serve are grateful and responsive to those who reach out to them for a visit, a chat, a card game; or to food shop for them, since they are not mobile anymore.


With the help of volunteers we strive to enable seniors to live independent and fulfilled lives of dignity.  We currently have many seniors waiting.


WHO?  YOU!!!     

Won't you consider volunteering? You will gain great personal satisfaction by seeing how your assistance and friendship immediately impacts the life of a local senior.


Anyone 16 years of age and older may volunteer, no driving is required. Seniors are homebound for the most part. Shoppers pick up groceries, take them back to the senior’s home, and usually stay for a short visit. Visitors spend an hour sharing conversation, looking at photographs, playing cards or board games, or assisting in letter writing; basically participating in the activities that good friends typically share when they are together.  Many seniors especially love to have visitors with babies and young children, so bring them along!


For more information, contact Juli Harris, Program Director, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at (203) 324-6584, or via email:



Friendly Visitor and Friendly Shopper Programs


945 Summer Street w Stamford, CT 06905 w PH: 203-324-6584 w Fax: 203-324-3787


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.






What is Yom Hazikron – and how is it observed in Israel?



Every country has its day of remembrance, and Israel - whose creation and survival as a state has been marked by so many losses - decided to designate the day preceding Yom Ha'atzma'ut, Independence Day, as its day of commemoration for the fallen. On this day, we recall and mark the pain of our recent and not so recent losses in public and in private.

The term "Yom Hazikaron" originates in another name for Rosh Hashanah, the Day of Remembrance marked by repentance and prayer and signals the beginning of the 9 Days of Awe. Each individual reviews his or her own deeds, hoping also to be inscribed for a good year in the year to come.

The Jewish people are a people of collective memory: "Remember the Act of Creation", "Remember the Exodus from Egypt". In each generation, we retain the memories and the link to those alive who carry them. Today, we are coming to the end of one era, when the generation who survived the Shoah [Holocaust] and saw the establishment of the Jewish state is disappearing. With them, will go the personal memory and these crucial events will become part of the collective memory, whose meaning will continue to be interpreted in the context of the continuity of Jewish life and community.

In Jewish thought, each life is a world of its own and considered to be of inestimable value: in modern Israel, the untimely death of one loved person is a tragedy which marks the entire community. Indeed, there is hardly a family or friendship unmarked by loss as the population is so small that the seemingly modest numbers for each war assume tremendous proportions. As much as an individual act, this is also a collective act, rather than a formal gathering.

The ceremonies are simple on the eve of Yom Hazikaron and are not forgotten as we conclude the day the following night and merge into the festivities of Yom Ha'atzma'ut.

Originally and essentially designated to commemorate the loss of those men and women who fought and were killed in the IDF, Israel's armed forces, the day has now also been accepted as the appropriate moment to bring together families and friends and official recognition of all those who lost their lives under any form of attack, including acts of terror.

As we are thankful for our 50 years of independence, we carry with us the memory of those who helped make it possible and those who fell in their innocence because this was their dream.


Prayer for the Welfare of Soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces

May the One who blessed our ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, bless the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces who keep guard over our country and cities of our Lord from the border with Lebanon to the Egyptian desert and from the Mediterranean Sea to the approach to the Arava, be they on land, air or sea.

May the Almighty deliver us our enemies who arise against us, may the Holy One preserve them and save them from all sorrow and peril, from danger and ill. May God send blessing and success in all their endeavors, may He deliver to them those who hate us and crown them with salvation and victory, so that the saying may be fulfilled through them, "For the Lord, your God, who walks with you and to fight your enemies for you and to save you", and let us say, Amen.



Spiritual Journey on the Web


Yom Ha’atzmaut


Here are some sites that will help us all to usher in Israel’s 59th year this coming Tuesday: -- from the Jewish Agency - On Yom Ha-Zikaron (Memorial Day - Tuesday) -- includes Israel’s Declaration of Independence and other links -- a Reconstructionist slant - Overview: Yom Ha'atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) Praying the Welfare of the State of Israel – video lectures from the world famous Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, featuring renowned Jewish thinkers on such fascinating topics as Simcha: The Role of Joy in Jewish LifeThe Significance of Theology in North American Jewish Life,   Emerging Forms of Jewish Connections & Identities among American Jews,   Partnership and Humility



 Pirkei Avot

It’s customary during the period between Passover and Shavuot to study that classic of our tradition, the Ethics of our Ancestors, or Pirke Avot.  See the text at and some commentaries at




The Beth El Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary



Excerpts from Andrew Lang’s Inspiring D’var Torah on Shemini


Did you know that about three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash at some time in their lives? 


Did you know that almost 4 out of 5 students have had alcohol by the time they finish high school and almost half have done so by 8th grade?


Did you know that 40 percent of the 43,000 traffic deaths in America in 2005 were alcohol related?


Did you know that this must be the most depressing Bar Mitzvah speech in history???!!!!


When it came time for me to decide on a mitzvah project, I chose MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving.  Fortunately, I did not choose it because of anything that has happened to a close friend or family member.  I am working on raising money and awareness for the drunk driving cause.  Please read more about my project in the booklet you were given this morning.


Little did I know at the time that my portion contains a story that ties right into the same theme of accidents, reckless behavior and responsibility.  Aaron’s two sons, Nadav and Avihu, come into the sanctuary to make an offering, but something goes wrong and in a flash fire, tragically they are killed.  Over the centuries, commentators have tried to explain why this happened, and one popular interpretation is that the two sons were drunk.  In fact, just a few verses later, the torah instructs priests never to use alcohol when they are entering the holy place.  Some commentators also fault the two boys for being disrespectful of their elders, leading to their reckless behavior.


I feel that they were selfish and irresponsible not to foresee the consequences of their actions.


So I decided that, in addition to supporting MADD, I would give this very depressing Bar Mitzvah speech.  I know this might come as a surprise to those who know me, because I’m usually very upbeat.  But I realize that today I have the chance to be heard by many people, including many young people.,  While kids may not listen to their parents lecturing about the dangers of alcohol and drunk driving, it’s a message that kids may listen to if it’s coming from someone their age.  It even occurred to me that by giving this speech today, I might save lives.


When a person is killed by a drunk driver it’s often called an “accident.”  But is it really?  I believe that anything that could have been prevented is not an accident.


Most things that are called accidents are the result of someone being irresponsible.


Not it’s true that sometimes people do irresponsible things out of passion, and that isn’t always a bad thing.  In my haftarah, for example, David acts like a fool when he is passionately dancing before the ark.  His wife Michal is embarrassed, but she shouldn’t be, because David isn’t doing anything rash or dangerous, he’s just celebrating life.


Tomorrow is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day.  The Holocaust certainly was no accident and just as with Aaron’s sons, this tragedy could have been prevented.  How?  If lots of ordinary people had seen the signs and taken responsibility from the start, they could have saved millions of lives.


We have to see the signs now.  When a friend is doing something he shouldn’t be doing, we have to stop him from doing it.  That’s true in the classroom and it’s true on the field.  I play soccer all the time and I know the difference between a real accident and a tragedy that could have been prevented, like head butting your opponent in the last minutes of the World Cup Finals.


I learned a lot from the tragedy of Nadav and Avihu.  I only hope that everyone here will also learn these important lessons.







Required Reading and Action Items



Some GOOD NEWS from Israel 21c,,

 and other sources

Israeli legal eagles shaping social justice for Darfur refugees  
Some 220 Muslim and Christian Sudanese refugees have braved the long desert journey to seek political asylum in Israel - only to find themselves thrown into jail due to Sudan being considered an enemy state. An innovative effort at Tel Aviv University - the Refugee Rights Legal Education Clinic - is working full time to secure the release of the Darfur asylum seekers and annually training 25 of the university's top students to become human rights advocates. The clinic, along with five sister programs, has twin goals - to make sure everyone in Israel has access to justice and freedom, and to give the country's next generation of lawyers hands-on experience in bettering society. More...


Profiles | Bush honors Israeli professor who died saving lives in Virginia Tech massacre  
An elderly Israeli professor at Virginia Tech has emerged as an unlikely hero in this week's tragic shooting massacre on the campus which left 32 dead. According to media reports, 75-year old Liviu Librescu blocked the door of his classroom to protect his students and was killed by the perpetrator - 23-year old Cho Seung-Hui. "He saw himself as the ambassador of Israel to that part of the world," said Librescu's son about the Holocaust survivor who died a hero in the US on the same day that Israelis marked Holocaust Remembrance Day. "We honor his memory, we take strength from his example," said US President George W. Bush.  More...


Profiles | An Israeli flower among the 'Weeds'  
Israeli actress Meital Dohan caused a sensation when she appeared in the hit cable TV show Weeds as an Israeli rabbinic school administrator. The actress, who graduated from Israel's Nissan Nativ acting school, was so popular that a small part grew into a recurring role. Now the New York-based Dohan is continuing to work on film and TV projects in both Israel and the US, as well as writing a book of short stories. And there are more than a few 'Yael Hoffman' fans who hope that she makes a return appearance in an episode of this season's WeedsMore...


Global Democracy | Israel's green missionaries  
The Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership is a unique environmental training facility devoted to helping Israel's diverse cultures live in social and ecological harmony. The Tel Aviv center is at the heart of virtually every environmental project being undertaken in the country, from art courses on sustainable design, to solar power for remote Bedouin tribes. At its core, is a fellowship program that seeks to educate a whole new generation of Jewish and Arab environmental leaders. Now the Heschel Center is preparing to take on the world. More...


Health | These Israeli boots are made for... treating peripheral vascular disorders  
Israeli company C-Boot has developed lightweight compression leggings that can significantly improve the healing process for patients suffering conditions that require compression therapy, including deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins, venous ulcers, and lymphoedema. The standing compression boot uses the energy of the patient's own body to rehabilitate the body's natural blood return mechanism. C-Boot has recently signed a licensing agreement with American wound and skin care company Derma Sciences, putting its devices at the disposal of US health professionals. More...


From  Survey Reveals Most Satisfying Jobs -

Talk about your top ten lists!  Check this one out and look who’s on top! (I guess I’ll need to stop complaining!)


Here are the Top 10 most gratifying jobs and the percentage of subjects who said they were very satisfied with the job:

  • Clergy—87 percent
  • Firefighters—80 percent
  • Physical therapists—78 percent
  • Authors—74 percent
  • Special education teachers—70 percent
  • Teachers—69 percent
  • Education administrators—68 percent
  • Painters and sculptors—67 percent
  • Psychologists—67 percent
  • Security and financial services salespersons—65 percent
  • Operating engineers—64 percent
  • Office supervisors—61 percent



now for the rest


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

See also


Why Many Jews might feel the Orthodox do Hate Them (Jpost)


Renewed Negotiations with Syria: Currently Not in Israel's Interest - Giora Eiland
There are five reasons why Israel should not engage now in negotiations with Syria over a peace treaty similar to the one discussed seven years ago. A treaty with Syria will not remove the Iranian threat. Nor will it solve the Palestinian problem or the problem of Lebanon and Hizbullah. Peace with Syria will not lead to any comprehensive agreement vis-a-vis Israel's relations with the Arab world. Nor would an agreement solve the problem of Israel's standing in the world.
    In addition, the U.S. has no interest in encouraging a peace treaty between Israel and Syria. The potential stability of such an agreement is another issue since Syria is a country ruled by the minority Alawi sect. There is no guarantee that a Sunni government of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria would honor such a peace treaty. Maj.-Gen. (re s.) Giora Eiland is former head of Israel's National Security Council. (Strategic Assessment-Tel Aviv University)


German for Chutzpah - David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey
Germany has become one of the world's most vocal champions of both international legal institutions and "universal jurisdiction" (under which one state claims the right to prosecute foreign officials and nationals for alleged "international" offenses). Germany is a particularly enthusiastic proponent of the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), and has declared ICC "universality" to be one of its pre-eminent foreign policy goals. Yet Berlin has little problem "engaging" the regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a true Holocaust denier who has pointedly threatened a renewed genocide against Israel. (Wall Street Journal, 16Apr07)


Hizbullah, the War on Terror, and the War in Iraq - Ely Karmon
In light of Hizbullah's potentially destructive influence in the region, it is imperative that the U.S. and the international community take the necessary measures to curtail the organization's international terrorist activity. These measures include isolating Hizbullah at the international level; maintaining relentless diplomatic and economic pressure on Syria and Iran; making the Hizbullah issue the first priority in U.S. communication with Damascus; and applying diplomatic and, in particular, economic pressure to convince Lebanon to curb Hizbullah's military presence. (Institute for Counter-Terrorism-IDC Herzliyia)


Palestinians and the "Right of Return" - Alan Dershowitz (Christian Science Monitor)

  • Among the major barriers to peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis is the so-called right of return. In its broadest formulation, this "right" belongs to some 4 million alleged descendants of the 700,000 or so Palestinian Arabs who left what is now Israel as the result of the war that began when Israel declared statehood in 1948.
  • Israelis insist that the Palestinian "Nakba" - catastrophe - was self-inflicted. By attacking Israel in a genocidal attempt to push the Jews into the sea, the combined Arab armies created the refugee problem. Israel insists that many Palestinians left of their own volition or at the behest of Arab leaders who promised that the Palestinians would return triumphantly after Israel was defeated.
  • The millions of other refugees who were forced to leave their homes in the decades following World War II - the Sudeten-Germans, the Greeks and Turks, Pakistanis and Indians, and the 700,000 Jewish refugees from Arab countries - have all been integrated and normalized. Only the Palestinian refugees have been kept in camps by their Arab hosts.
  • In 1949, Egypt's foreign minister candidly acknowledged: "It is well known and understood that the Arabs, in demanding the return of the refugees to Palestine, mean their return as masters....They intend to annihilate the State of Israel."


Islamic Jihad to Continue Rocket Attacks on Israel - Khaled Abu Toameh
Nafez Azzam, a top Islamic Jihad official in Gaza, denied reports Wednesday that the group had agreed to halt rocket attacks on Israel. Also on Wednesday, Khalil Hayeh, a senior Hamas official in Gaza, said his movement would never "abandon the path of resistance and jihad." "Hamas' strategy is based on the fact that resistance is the only way to liberate Palestine, from the river to the sea," he said. (Jerusalem Post)


The Strategic Challenge of Gaza - Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • Disengagement caused the terror organizations to turn to new terror methods such as Kassam rockets, tunnels, and crossing over from Gaza to Sinai and then into Israel's Negev, as happened in January 2007 with a suicide bomber in Eilat.
  • The source of most of the knowledge of using mines, explosives, and anti-tank missiles is Iran, which is influencing IraqLebanon, and Gaza. It is now possible for terrorists to move freely between Gaza and Egypt, and from there to SyriaLebanon, and Iran for training. Iranians also come to Gaza to hold training exercises.
  • A few years ago, Fatah's Al Aqsa Brigade in Judea and Samaria was bought out by Iran and activated against Israel according to Iranian instructions. The Iranians are using whatever they can in order to attack the West, and this is a major change in the situation in the region.
  • Israel left Gaza almost two years ago, and the Palestinians were left with natural gas, greenhouses, and fields. In other words, they had the option to take another route. However, they chose the terror route and elected Hamas.
  • According to Israel's estimation, Gaza will remain unstable because of certain basic factors having to do with population, territory, and resources.
  • Hamas' leaders may give up using terror temporarily, but they will never give up their ideology. Knowing this helps Israel understand that even though a ceasefire cuts down on terror, it does not create a solution to the problem, since it is only temporary.

Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant was appointed Head of the IDF Southern Command in 2005, after serving as Military Secretary to Prime Minister Sharon. He also served as Head of the Gaza Division, and as Head of the Naval Commando Unit


Palestinians Disavow "Right of Return" - Yaakov Lappin
A large and growing number of young Palestinians born abroad have no interest in coming to the Palestinian Authority or Israel, Palestinians in London have told Ynet. They expressed anger at Palestinian leaders for continuing to trumpet a "right of return," a call which is neither desirable nor realistic, they said, adding that the demand is merely an attempt to force concessions out of Israel during peace talks.
    "Most Palestinian refugees who live in Lebanon are not concerned about returning to Palestine or to Israel because we have been outside of Palestine for 60 years," said Rami Abdel Rahim, 26. "If we returned to the Palestinian territories, we would feel like second-class citizens. We have different accents. We don't have any homes in the West Bank and Gaza. For us, it will be more desirable to live in Arab countries and Europe." "All of the second-generation Palestinians born in Lebanese refugee camps don't think about returning to Palestine or living there permanently," he added. (Ynet News)



MYTH #259 [Updated #212]

"Saudi Arabia has ended its boycott of Israel."


In late 2005, Saudi Arabia was required to cease its boycott of Israel as a condition of joining the World Trade Organization (WTO). After initially saying that it would do so, the government subsequently announced it would maintain its first-degree boycott of Israeli products. The government said it agreed to lift the second and third degree boycott in accordance with an earlier Gulf Cooperation Council decision decision rather than the demands of the WTO (Trade Information Center, International Trade Administration; Arab News, December 31, 2005).

Saudi Arabia continues, however, to prohibit entry to products made in Israel or to foreign-made goods containing Israeli components and plans to host a major international conference aimed at promoting the boycott. Liaison officers from regional offices responsible for coordinating the boycott are to meet in Jidda from March 13 to 15, 2006. The Organization for the Islamic Conference’s (OIC) Islamic Office for the Boycott of Israel is based in Jidda and the head of the office is a former Saudi diplomat (Washington Times, March 9, 2006; Jerusalem Post, March 7, 2006).

In hearings in February 2006 before the Senate Finance Committee, U.S. trade representative Rob Portman insisted that the Saudis “have a responsibility to treat Israel as any other member of the WTO” and added that the U.S. had received assurance “they will abide by their WTO commitments” (Jerusalem Post, March 7, 2006).

While the Saudis were presenting themselves in the media as peacemakers in early 2007 by resurrecting their 2002 peace plan, the government continued to bar entry to products manufactured in Israel or to foreign-made goods containing Israeli components (Jerusalem Post, April 16, 2007). This is in addition to the ongoing political boycott whereby Saudi officials refuse to meet with Israelis. The Saudi behavior is inconsistent with their rhetoric and raises questions about the sincerity of their peace proposals and whether a government that has reneged on its promise to the WTO to end the boycott can be trusted to fulfill commitments to peace with Israel.

This article can be found at

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



Iran Alert


The Conference of Presidents has launched a new website,  IranAlert features:


the latest news, updated daily, on the Iranian nuclear threat, missile program, and Iran divestment campaigns;

recent analysis and commentary, as well as a collection of "must reads";

key documents from the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations, the US Government, and other governments;

background information on Iran's nuclear and missile programs; and

links to Iran divestment bills in state legislatures.










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! 




Ready to renew or reinvent yourself?


Join us at Temple Beth El’s


May 3, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.


You are invited to this special event where you can get valuable tips on how to live healthier and feel great. You will hear from:


*      personal shopper on fashion

*      personal trainer on fitness

*      Weight Watchers representatives


Also, you’ll see makeup (before and after) done by Sue Berkoff as well as spring hair ideas.



Enjoy the vendor boutique and snacks.

Come relax with friends and take time for YOURSELF!



Bring a friend or two! The first 100 to respond will receive a special “Feel Beautiful” goody bag from Dove, along with other coupons and treats.


And to help you on your road to good health, the JCC is offering a 20% discount to all new JCC members plus a donation to TBE Sisterhood for all new members.


Patron           $20 ($25 at door)

Non-Member                        $25

Sponsor                    $36

Benefactor               $54

Juniors (9-18)          $15


RSVP by April 20, 2007


Make checks payable to Sisterhood and send to Eileen H. Rosner, c/o Temple Beth El, 350 Roxbury RoadStamfordCT  06902


Co-chairs:  Mindy Fishman 203-594-9171 or and Maureen Leffand 203-569-7024 or


-         - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


Sisterhood of Temple Beth El

Ladies’ Nite Out – May 3, 2007


Name of Guest(s) ____________________________________


Number Attending ______________                  Amount Enclosed _____________


Please make checks payable

to Sisterhood and send to:                       Check one:


Eileen H. Rosner                                     ___ Patron ($20 Sisterhood member $25

c/o Temple Beth El                                                          non-member)

350 Roxbury Road                                   ___ Sponsor ($36)

StamfordCT  06902                                ___ Benefactor ($54)

___ Junior – ages 9-18 ($15)












From JFS


FOCUS:  FAMILY OPPORTUNITIES IN CARING FOR US AND SENIORS -WEDNESDAY – APRIL 25 - 7:00 – 9:00 PMCrystal Ball- Do We Want to Look at the Future? Medical Issues and Technology Updates, Dr. Stephen Jones, Medical Director of the Outpatient Center at Greenwich Hospital.  At Jewish Family Services of GreenwichOne Holly Hill Lane. Workshop series addresses the many needs of seniors and those who care for them. $18/person for each session.  Call JFS for more details: 921-4161 (Stamford) or 454-4992. (Westportor email


DEADLINE FAST APPROACHING FOR AN EVENING WITH JFS- SUNDAY – MAY 6 – 5:00 PM: Honoring Mitzvah Award Recipients Linda B. Gornitsky and Nancy Zinbarg Mimoun and Young Leadership Award Recipient LaurieAnn Scher. Reception and dinner at Congregation Agudath Sholom301 Strawberry Hill Ave.  For additional information and to RSVP, contact Iris Morrison at 921-4161 (Stamford); 454-4992 (Westport); or email




Jewish Family Service

733 Summer Street, 6th floor

StamfordCT  06901


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.













This feature will return next week



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

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