Friday, January 25, 2008

Shabbat-O-Gram January 25, 2008 – Shevat 18, 5768

 January 25, 2008 – Shevat 18, 5768

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman Temple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut



A special thank you to our Synaplex and Sisterhood Shabbat chairs and committee members, and all those who will be participating in this weekend’s services and events, including all the women leading services and reading Torah in the morning and our junior choir, who will be singing at Havdalah Unplugged.  





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All sponsors will be acknowledged at the beginning of each of these announcements

and also listed in our Bi-monthly Bulletin.  Call Mindy in the office at 322-6901



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Prior Shabbat-O-Grams are archived at



NEXT WEEK!!!!                 THIS WEEK!!!!



Click here for a full updated Synaplex schedule


Featuring scholar-in-residence Yossi Klein Halevi. Click here for his bio.

Friday evening: “Israel at 60: Why a Jewish State Still Matters.” Services begin at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday following morning services: “A Jewish Journey into Islam and Christianity: Experiences and Lessons.”

Saturday following lunch: “Beyond Left and Right: How Israel’s New Centrist Majority Views the Chances

for Peace with the Palestinians.”

Saturday following Mincha at the Seuda: (Third Meal) - “Meet the Scholar

Saturday following Havdalah Unplugged (open to all, but especially for Young Professionals staying for the UJF comedy night program or those staying for our Israeli Movie Night):

Tracing Israeli Politics from 1967 to Today Through Israeli Rock Music.”


Some other highlights:

Our Yoga team is putting together a great new session, emphasizing a Shabbat theme. 

Interest is growing in our Meditative Service drew 35 people last time.

Donna Sweidan will be leading a workshop on “10 Steps to Implementing a Successful Job Search or Career Change

Havdalah Unplugged will be spectacular – Imagine Shabbat Unplugged with glow sticks!

Daniel Krauss deals with “Helping our Aging Parents Stay at Home”

Lot Therrio, a therapist and former minister, has enthralled people of all ages with his stories from around the world.

My book discussion will be on Emma Shore's new biography of Emma Lazerus.  It is part of the Nextbook series. Click here to purchase it.

And, last but certainly not least…it’s SISTERHOOD SHABBAT!


This just in…

the deadline has been extended to TONIGHT for tomorrow night’s USY’s Teen Shabbat Dinner
(8th Graders are invited too!)

When/Where:     Meet in the TBE Youth Lounge @ 5:30pm. Pickup is at 8pm.
We'll enjoy a (dairy) lasagna dinner and challah before having our own services in the youth
lounge, then hanging out and having a dessert oneg!
       Cost: $5
RSVP to YOUTH@TBE.ORG by Thursday, January 24th.
The first 10 teens to RSVP will get a $5 Cold Stone Creamery Gift Certificate



Contents of the Shabbat O Gram:

(Click to scroll down)

Just the Facts

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

Joke for the Week


Quote for the Week


A person’s character can be judged by the way he handles three things:

his drink, his money and his anger:

And some people say by the way he jokes also.”

- Babylonian Talmud (Eruvin 65b)





Rave reviews for last week’s experimental “Nefesh Service” on Friday evening:


“I thoroughly enjoyed the new and experimental Nefesh service on Friday night. The setting, sitting in comfortable chairs in the lobby, was ideal. Rabbi, Cantor and David Daniel led us in a well thought out service. We prayed together, we sang, we heard interesting stories, we meditated, we connected with people in the circle both visually and orally, and we tried new ways to make prayer more meaningful.”



Candle lighting: 4:44 pm on Friday, January 25, 2008.  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.



Shabbat Services: 6:30 Friday night in the sanctuary

Followed by our scholar in residence Yossi Klein Halevi.

 “Israel at 60: Why a Jewish State Still Matters


Tot Shabbat  Friday at 6:45 pm. in the chapel


Shabbat morning

full updated Synaplex schedule


Morning Minyan:  7:30 Weekdays, 9:30 Sundays




Reminder of our “No School No Shul” policy: On days when Stamford public schools are cancelled or delayed, morning minyan is officially cancelled.  During school vacation weeks, please use your own judgment.  If significant snow has fallen during the night, it is unlikely that our lot will have been plowed out by morning.  On Sunday, when our religious school is cancelled because of weather, minyan is also cancelled.   Friday night and Shabbat morning services are never cancelled, but people are asked to use their own good judgment on days when the weather is very bad.


Torah Reading For Shabbat Morning

Torah Portion: Exodus 18:1 - 20:23

The Ten Commandments

1: 18:1-12 (12 p'sukim)
2: 18:13-23 (11 p'sukim)
3: 18:24-27 (4 p'sukim)
4: 19:1-6 (6 p'sukim)
5: 19:7-19 (13 p'sukim)
6: 19:20-20:14 (20 p'sukim)
7: 20:15-23 (9 p'sukim)

maf20:19-23 (5 p'sukim)


Haftarah for Ashkenazim: Isaiah 6:1 - 7:6; 9:5 - 9:6
Haftarah for Sephardim: Isaiah 6:1 - 6:13





The (occasionally) Ranting Rabbi

The Obama Libel

I don’t yet know whom I will be voting for in the CT primary, but the horrible smear campaign that has been waged against Barack Obama should offend every Jew.  According to an article in this week's Jewish Week, “Jewish leaders in diverse parts of the country say the year-old campaign to pillory Obama based on the four childhood years he spent in Indonesia and the fact his stepfather was a secular Muslim continues, despite intensifying efforts by the Obama campaign to reaffirm his friendship with the Jewish community and tout his credentials as an active Christian.” 

Of all people, we Jews should be especially wary of the dangers of the type of unsubstantiated rumors that have become increasingly prevalent in this era of instant and unedited global communication.  It becomes clearer all the time that human nature has yet to catch up to the technology.  When people began driving cars, they had to get used to the added speed.  For example, they needed to learn an entirely new way of negotiating turns, very different from the old horse-and-buggy days.  Well, now we have to get used to the fact that with a single click of the mouse, unsubstantiated rumors can go viral globally in just seconds.  That’s a far cry from the quaint old days when Yenta the Matchmaker would tell Golda and Tevye about Lazar Wolf’s dirty laundry.  We need to recalibrate our ability to sniff out falsehood and become all the more careful before repeating things we’ve read. 

Of course, Obama is hardly the only victim of political dirty tricks.  But I’ve seen little else directed specifically by Jews to Jews.  In light of the upcoming vote in Florida, and then a few days later in other states with large Jewish populations (including ours), it just seems all too convenient that these things are circulating now.   I’m half expecting the next mass circulated missive to blame Obama for the butterfly ballot. 

Let’s just stick to the issues, folks!



Our Kulanu Teens on YouTube


A week ago Wednesday night, Kulanu held an open house program for 7th graders (also attended by 8th graders) featuring a drumming workshop.  It was a fantastic program and the kids had a great time.  Also, it was just uploaded to YouTube – so check it out!  Maybe you’ll see someone you know!  To our TBE drummers and dancers – Yasher Koach!


Oh yes, it’s at



Pats vs.G-Men


It’s not going to be easy to put together my annual Super Bowl prediction for next week’s O-Gram.  Never before has a Super Bowl hit so close to home for so many around these parts.  Since it’s abundantly clear that, as a Patriots fan I will be all-to-likely to manipulate the Jewish sources to show how they are predicting a New England victory, (not that I’ve ever done that in the past!), this year I want to invite YOU to send me your predictions, based on Jewish sources.  Anything is fair game: numerology, biblical references (lots of giants in the Bible), the Hebrew meaning of names of players (did you know that “Tom” in Hebrew is “simple,” – think of the third of the four sons at the Seder – and he does make things seem so simple!), folklore, cities in Israel, number of Jews in each city (I believe Boston has moreJ), whether a team’s legendary owner has your wife’s name (J), you name it!


I’ll collect the “evidence” and present it objectively next week.  I’ll assume that you don’t mind my using your name in presenting your prediction.  Teens and kids are most welcome to add their two shekels to this as well.


Should be a fun week…





Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunties


Beth El Cares:

Inreach and Outreach


Mitzvah Suggestions for the Week


Chevra Kadisha of Stamford


We at TBE benefit greatly from this community-wide service.  Our members have always been among the volunteers, but the Chevra is always looking for more people from our congregation to become involved.  The Chevra (Burial Society) performs the sacred act of tahara, washing and preparing the deceased for burial.  It is done in a loving, traditional manner that is profoundly meaningful to all who participate.  Let me know if you might be interested in helping out. Meanwhile, here is the announcement regarding their annual dinner, always timed to be held on the date traditionally known as Moses’ Yahrzeit, a date when burial societies have customarily been honored throughout the Jewish world.




Wednesday, February 13, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. at Congregation Agudath Sholom

Honorees: Bernard L. Shapiro, President of the Chevra Kadisha, and his son, Benjamin Shapiro

Community Service Award: Michelle Balazano of Leo P. Gallagher and Sons Funeral Home




Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb is the Executive Vice President of the Orthodox Union.


Donation - $36 person

Sponsorship available at $180 (entitles one to two reservations at the dinner)


Please join us as the community honors the many volunteers who selflessly perform the mitzvah of preparing the dead for burial according to Jewish tradition.



For further information, please call Phyllis Shapiro at 327-6711.



I received the following urgent request from our friends in Westport

Israel Children's Action Network

The Israel Children's Action Network (ICAN!) is comprised of four Israeli organizations that make a tremendous difference in the lives of children. 

  • Ofanim retrofits old buses into mobile classrooms that travel throughout the Negev and Galil providing supplemental education to impoverished youth;
  • College For All is an intensive 11 year mentoring and tutoring program for underprivileged children grades 2-12 with potential;
  • Residential Treatment Center provides a loving and caring home for severely emotionally disturbed children and helps prepare them for integration into mainstream society;
  • Jordan River Village is the first Paul Newman "Hole-in-the-Wall-Gang" camp to open in the Middle East, and it will provide free camping experiences for seriously ill children.

Tavrow|Lund Consulting has identified these four Israeli nonprofits as well-managed, unique and effective.  These special nonprofits help children who deal with problems that we do not like to associate with Israel or children.  But the problems exist, and we can do something about them.

Visit our, to learn more about ICAN! and each organization.  ICAN! is visiting Israel in April 2008...stay tuned for more information! 

You can give children in Israel a better life.



Bar/Bat Mitzvah Projects:


Keep watching for projects to appear in this space….







The responsa below contains a fascinating historical survey showing the wide diversity of Jewish practice.  In the end, Rabbi Golinkin comes out in favor of he entire congregation standing for the mourner’s kaddish, something that is not the current practice here (it used to be).  My own feeling is that standing for mourner’s kaddish is something that enables the mourner to “do” something on behalf of a departed loved one – and this can be a very powerful, healing act.  Read Rabbi Golinkin’s responsa and see what you think.



Should We Stand or Sit for the Kaddish?

by Rabbi David Golinkin



In some congregations people stand for the Kaddish, in others they sit, and in others some stand and some sit. What is the correct custom?



Sitting or standing for the Kaddish has been a subject of dispute for over 1,000 years. Indeed, Jews have also argued about sitting or standing for the Shema for 2,000 years, but that argument is based on many Talmudic sources.1 The Kaddish, on the other hand, is only hinted at in the Talmud2 so there are no early sources as to whether it should be recited while sitting or standing.


I shall therefore present five different customs regarding our topic and then state my own opinion:


1. Sitting for Kaddish


Rav Natronai Gaon (ninth century) was asked:


A person who enters the synagogue and finds the congregation who are responding to Kedushah or Yehi Shemo Hagadol [ = the refrain of Kaddish] when they are standing [for Kedushah] or sitting [for Kaddish],3 may he answer when he is sitting and they are standing  or vice versa, or what is the correct practice?

So it is good to do: When they stand, stand; and when they sit, sit; and don't stand out from the entire congregation.4


The questioner was not directly interested in our topic, but we learn from his question that the congregation normally sat for Kaddish.


Rabbi Judah Al-Barceloni (of Barcelona; 11th-12th centuries) ruled that when the Sheliah Tzibbur [= Cantor] recites Barekhu, the congregation silently recites the paragraph "Yishtabah V'yitpa'ar V'yitromam5 and replies "Barukh Hashem Hamevorakh L'olam Va'ed"


and this is a custom of all Jews in all synagogues to sit seriously bent over (or: with heads bowed) when the Sheliah Tzibbur recites Barekhu… and Rav Amran Gaon wrote the same thing… (Sefer Ha'itim, ed. Ya’akov SchorrCracow, 1903, p. 250).


Rabbi Judah does not mention the Kaddish explicitly, but if the congregation sat for Barekhu, it can be presumed that they also sat for the Kaddish which immediately precedes it.


Maimonides (1135-1204) has a similar approach. He says (Hilkhot Tefillah 9:1-5) that the congregation sits until the Amidah and only the Sheliah Tzibbur stands beginning with Kaddish and Barekhu.


Finally, this is also the approach of Rabbi Avraham Hayarhi (1155-1215) in his Sefer Hamanhig, written in Toledo in the year 1204. He writes before the Kaddish of the Shaharit service: “And the Hazzan stands and recites Kaddish” (ed. Refael, Vol. 1, p. 56), i.e. the Hazzan stands but not the congregation.


2. It is Forbidden to Stand for Kaddish or Barekhu Because of Yohara


Rabbi Yehizkiya of Magdeburg (Germany, 13th century) ruled that


those who stand in the synagogue for Barekhu or Yehey Shmey Rabbah [the refrain of the Kaddish] who compare those prayers to Barukh She'amar or the Shema, it seems to me that we protest because it appears like yohara [=haughtiness to appear more observant than others]… and so ruled Rabbi Azriel, unless the person is a well-known Talmid Hakham [Sage]… (Teshuvot Or Zarua, ed. Kahanaparag. 391 = Y. Z. KahanaMaharam Mirotenberg: Teshuvot, Pesakim Uminhagim, Vol. 1, Jerusalem, 1957, p. 56, parag. 29; also quoted by Leket Yosher, Part 1, p. 17 and Shu”t Maharil Hahadashot, No. 17).


Rabbi Yehizkiya felt that since everyone sits for Kaddish and Barekhu, it is a form of yohara or haughtiness to stand, and only well-known Sages may do so.


3. If One Asks the Answer is "No", but One Does Not Protest if One Stands


This was the response of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg (ca. 1220-1293) to Rabbi Yehizkiya (ibid.): "Of course, one who asks, he is instructed not to stand, but [if he stands], one does not protest, since his heart is directed towards Heaven". In other words, one who stands for Kaddish and Barekhu is not guilty of yohara; he does so out of true piety and we do not protest.


4. If One is Standing When the Sheliah Tzibbur recites the Kaddish, One Continues to Stand


This was the custom of the Maharil, R. Ya'akov Moellin (Austria, ca. 1360-1427) and the Ari, R. Yitzhak Luria (Safed, 1534-1572). According to his disciple R. Zalman, the Maharil


would not stand neither for Kaddish nor for Barekhu, but any Kaddish that caught him standing, he remained standing until [the Sheliah Tzibbur] finished "Amen, Yehey Shmey Rabbah". (Minhagey Maharil, ed. Shpitzer, Jerusalem, 1989, pp. 438-439, which is quoted by the Rema in Darkhey Moshe to Orah Hayyim 56 and many others).


Rabbi Hayyim Vital (Safed, 1543-1620) reported in his Sha’ar Hakavanot (end of Drush Hakaddish, fol. 16d) that his teacher, the Ari z"l, would not stand for "Amen, Yehey Shmey Rabbah", but if it was the Kaddish after the Amidah of Shaharit or Arvit or Minhah, he would remain standing, complete the reply [of "Amen, Yehey Shmey Rabbah"] and then sit.


It should be noted that neither the Maharil nor the Ari gives a reason for this custom. The reason may have been simple logic – if one is already standing, he should remain standing until he recites the reply “Yehey Shmey” which sanctifies God’s name. In any case, they, as usual, had a tremendous influence on subsequent halakhah. Thus, for example, Rabbi Hayyim Benveniste (Turkey, 1603-1673) says in Sheyarey Knesset Hagedolah (to Orah Hayyim 55, on the Turparag. 1) that he changed his own custom after he read about the custom of the Maharil. Similarly, the Hida, Rabbi Hayyim Yosef David Azulay (Israel and Italy, 1724-1806) says that we must follow the Ari because the Kabbalists of our generation follow the Ari (Shiyurey Berakhah to Orah Hayyim 56, subparag. 1 = Responsa Tov Ayin, No. 18, parag. 32 = Responsa Tuv Ta’am, No. 32, p. 30 quoted in Sinai 109 [5752], p. 243).


Indeed, modern Iraqi authorities such as R. Ya’akov Hayyim Sofer (1870-1939; Kaf Hahayyim to Orah Hayyim 56, parag 20), R. Yitzhak Nissim (1896-1981) in his Responsa Yein Hatov (Jerusalem, 1979, No. 30) and R. Ovadiah Yosef (born 1920) in his Responsa Yehaveh Da'at (Vol. 3, No. 4) all follow the Ari. Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef adds that this is the custom of the Sefaradim and Oriental Jews.


5. Standing for Kaddish


This is the opinion of Massekhet Soferim (21:5, ed. Higger, p. 358):


[On Shabbat] after the Torah scroll is returned to its place, they recite Kaddish… to teach that Kaddish is not recited on Rosh Hodeshfastdays, Monday and Thursday, Hol HamoedHanukkah, Purim until they return the Torah scroll to its place, when the people stand and they respond Yehey Shmey Rabbah while standing.


Massekhet Soferim is considered by many modern scholars to be a Palestinian work from the eighth century. Recently, Rabbi Debra Reed Blank has shown that the third section (Chapters 10-21) was written in Europe, perhaps in Italy or Byzantium, from which it made its way to Ashkenaz where it was widely used beginning in the 11th century. 6 In any case, this passage was ignored by most subsequent authorities, but it is early evidence of the custom to stand for Kaddish.


Despite the Maharil's custom as reported by R. Zalman (see above), in a responsum published recently from a manuscript (Shu"t Maharil Hahadashot, No. 17) he justifies those who stand for the Kaddish "out of honor and praise for the Oneness of God".


Indeed, standing for every Kaddish became the standard practice among many Ashkenazic Jews, due to the influence of Rabbi Moshe Isserles, the Rema (Cracow, 1525-1572). In his glosses to Shulkhan Arukh Orah Hayyim 56:1, he writes: "One should stand when responding [to the] Kaddish and every Davar Shebikdushah [ = Holy thing which requires a minyan]”.


In his Darkhey Moshe to the Tur (Orah Hayyim 56, parag. 3), the Rema says:


and the custom is to stand, and so I found in the glosses to the Mordekhai in the new edition of the Talmud to chapter Tefillat Hashahar: "In the Yerushalmi: 'Stand up for I want to tell you the word of God' – from here Rabbi Elazar said: When they respond Yehey Shmey etc. and every Davar Shebikdusha they must stand on their feet".


As many have pointed out, this passage is very problematic because:

a) it is not in the Mordekhai;

b) it is not in the Talmud Yerushalmi;

c) the verse quoted is not in the Bible!


However, regarding problem “a”, the passage is, in fact, found in Shiltey Hagiborim to the Mordekhai to Berakhot, Chapter 4, parag5. Shiltey Hagiborim was published by Rabbi Yehoshua Boaz in Italy in 1544. As for problem “b”, the quotation is not in the Yerushalmi, but medieval authorities frequently refer to a midrash as the Yerushalmi. 7 As for problem “c”, the verse quoted is a paraphrase of Judges 3:5 in which Ehud Ben Gera says to Eglon King of Moab: "I want to tell you the word of God, and [Eglon] stood up from the chair”. Indeed, a similar midrash is found in Bemidbar Rabbah 16:27 Tanhuma Buber to Parashat Shelah, appendix 9, fol. 40b. Thus, the Rema's point is that we learn from the midrash on Judges 3:5 that if a non-Jewish king stands up to hear the word of God, how much the more so should Jews stand up for Kaddish and Devarim Shebikdushah.


The Rema’s ruling was accepted by many, including the Magen Avraham to Shulhan Arukh ad loc., subparag. 4 and a rabbi quoted by the Hida (see above) who says "and so is the custom among all Jewish communities". Rabbi Hayyim Benveniste adds (Knesset Hagedolah to Orah Hayyim 56): “And so I saw is the custom among many pious men, to stand when they recite all Devarim Shebikdushah”. R. Shneyer Zalman of Liady (Shulhan Arukh Harav 56:6) and R. Shlomo Ganzfried (Kitzur Shulhan Arukh 15:6) also ruled according to the Rema.


Others agreed with the Rema, but suggested other proof texts. Some quoted Numbers 23:18 and Bemidbar Rabbah thereto (20:20) in which Balaam tells Balak to stand up and listen: "You may not sit when the words of God are being spoken" (Bigdey YeshaOrah Hayyim 56; R. Shlomo KlugerResponsa Shenot Hayyim, No. 81; R. Ya’akov Schorr in his notes to Sefer Ha'ittim, Cracow, 1903, p. 250, note 27).


Others quote Sanhedrin 60a, where Rabbi Yitzhak bar Ami says that when judges hear testimony about a blasphemer they must stand, just as Eglon stood to hear "the word of God" (R. Shmuel KellinMahatzit Hashekel to Orah Hayyim 56; R. Judah AssodResponsa Yehudah Ya'aleh, No. 11).


Rabbi Kaufman Kohler (1843-1926), a leader of the Reform movement, wrote in 1914 that the entire congregation should rise for the Mourner's Kaddish to express sympathy with the mourner (American Reform Responsa, New York, 1983, No. 120).


Finally, Rabbi Mordechai Aryeh Wald, a Conservative Rabbi, advocated in 1952 that the entire congregation rise for Mourner's Kaddish. If we rise for Hallel, a Sefer Torah, Birkat Kohanim, the AmidahViduy, Shofar and the Omer – why should we sit for the Kaddish? He also stressed that this gives comfort and moral support to the mourners. This is especially important in our day, when many mourners are not observant and we need to make them feel welcome in our synagogues (Conservative Judaism 8/3, April 1952, pp. 25-32 = David Golinkin, ed. Proceedings of the CJLS 1927-1970, Jerusalem, 1997, pp. 1038-1045; Hebrew).




It is clear that this custom is an example of "nahara nahara upashtey[ = every river has its own course; Hullin 18b] - there are many different customs and each is legitimate. However, I would like to advocate the last approach – of standing for every Kaddish – for three reasons:


1. This custom is supported by Numbers 23:18, Judges 3:5, Massekhet Soferim and the three midrashim quoted above.

2. This is now the standard procedure for all important rituals such as those mentioned by Rabbi Wald and others.

3. Finally, as Rabbis Kohler and Wald emphasized, it is especially important to stand for Mourner's Kaddish where, by standing, we show our solidarity with our fellow Jews who are in pain.



David Golinkin


Shvat 5768



1. See Levi GinzbergGinzey Schechter, Vol. 1, New York, 1928, p. 456 and Peirushim V'hiddushim Bayerushalmi, Vol. I, New York, 1941, pp. 146-147; Mordechai MargaliotHahilukim Shebein Anshey Mizrach U'venei Eretz Yisrael, Jerusalem, 1938, pp. 91-94; Yisrael Ta-Shema in Kenishta, Vol. 1 (2001), pp. 53-61 = idemHatefillah Ha'ashkenazit Hakeduma, Jerusalem, 2003, pp. 91-100; Mordechai SabatuSidra, 22 (2007), pp. 41-55.

2. There is a vast literature about the Kaddish. In English, see David de Sola Pool, The Kaddish, New York, 1909 and reprints; Leon WieseltierKaddish, New York, 1998; Encyclopaedia Judaica, second edition, Vol. 11, pp. 695-698. 

3. I have translated according to Brody (see the following note), p. 135, note 2.

4. Geonica, Vol. II, pp. 120-121 = Otzar Hage’onim to Berakhot, p. 50, parag. 124 = Teshuvot Rav Natronai, ed. Y. Brody, Jerusalem, 1994, pp. 134-135. Also see an abbreviated version of this responsum in Seder Rav Amram Gaon, ed. Warsaw, fol. 19a = ed. Frumkin, Vol. I, fol. 193a = ed. Goldschmidt, p. 53 = Mahzor Vitry, ed. Horwitz, p. 22, parag. 35.

5. For this custom, see the Rema in Shulhan Arukh Orah Hayyim 57:1; Yitzhak Baer, Seder Avodat YisraelRodelheim, 1868, p. 76; Ismar ElbogenHatefillah B’yisrael B’hitpathutah HahistoritTel Aviv, 1972, p. 13, parag. 7.2; The Complete ArtScroll SiddurBrooklynNew York, 1994, p. 84.

6. Debra Reed Blank, Soferim: A Commentary to Chapters 10-12 and a Reconsideration of the Evidence, Ph.D. dissertation, Jewish Theological Seminary, New York, 1998; idemJQR 90/1-2 (July-October 1999), pp. 4-5, note 10.

7. There is a vast literature on this subject. See, for example, Levi GinzbergPeirushim V'hiddushim Bayerushalmi (above, note 1), Hebrew Introduction, p. 29



The Schechter Institutes, Inc. is dedicated to the advancement of pluralistic Jewish education in Israel and Europe.  A non-profit organization, it supports four educational institutions based in Jerusalem, Israel:  Schechter Institute  of  Jewish  Studies:  A Graduate School for Israeli Educators, where over 500 students learn Jewish studies within a pluralistic environment  Schechter Rabbinical Seminary which trains Conservative/Masorti rabbis in Israel  TALI Education Fund which provides Jewish studies programs for  33,000 Israeli children in 174 state schools and kindergartens  Midreshet Yerushalayim  which provides Jewish education to  Russian immigrants in Israel and Jewish communities in the Ukraine and Hungary.




Spiritual Journey on the Web


In honor of Sisterhood Shabbat…

Orthodox Ordination of Women as Rabbis???


Has the Messiah come?



Jerusalem Jewish-studies institution will ordain Orthodox women rabbis within five years.

The program is being planned by the Shalom Hartman Institute, headed by Rabbi David Hartman, a leading light on the left fringe of Orthodoxy, whose British donors include Lord Kalms and Fred Worms.

Speaking to the JC this week, Rabbi Hartman said that the ordination would not be the standard type which qualifies the recipient to make judgements in Jewish law. It would be a qualification demonstrating that the holder is well-versed in Jewish texts, ethics and philosophy.
The institute will launch a four-year course for men and women in 2008, focused on producing educators and ending in ordination. Rabbi Hartman described it is a return to the root of a rabbi’s role, explaining: “Rabbi means teacher, and rabbis were always meant to be teachers.” In his view, there is no reason to exclude women from this qualification.

Rabbi Hartman emphasised that the objective was not to create female pulpit rabbis, rather to provide school teachers, particularly for North America, who could do their job “with more authority”.

The Israeli Chief Rabbinate and other leading religious figures have declined to comment on Rabbi Hartman’s plans: “They just ignore these things — they have more important things to deal with.” Their silence could also be explained by the time-scale and the fact that mainstream institutions could choose to ignore the qualification.

Nevertheless, in the long term Rabbi Hartman’s plan could represent a challenge to the status quo in mainstream Orthodoxy.
For whatever the objectives of the program, Rabbi Hartman admitted there was nothing to stop graduates from applying for pulpit jobs.
“That is up to them — people are free to choose what they want to do.” In such circumstances, it would be up to the individual communities to decide if someone was suitable.

“If a community looks for a rabbi as a halachic authority, then no. If a community looks for a rabbi to make Judaism exciting for its congregants, then yes.  “Everyone gets panicky about where things will lead to, but that’s not my concern. My concern is filling a need.”


Read here about the Women of the Wall,

the group that started it all by standing up

to the Rabbinical Authorities.


Interested in On-Line Courses from the Conservative Yeshiva in Israel?

On-Line Tehillim (Psalms) Course
beginning the week of February 10, 2008
Instructor: Rabbi Gail Diamond



The Beth El Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary



Daniel Chimes on Beshallach


               Today’s portion describes the splitting of the Red Sea.  You all know about the main characters of the story, people like Moses and Miriam and Pharoah.  But you may never have heard of a guy named Nachshon.


               According to Jewish legends, Nachshon was the one who took the first step into the Red Sea.  Until someone was willing to get his feet wet, the sea wouldn’t split.  In fact, the midrash tells us that the water was all the way up to his neck before the sea split.  It took someone to demonstrate that kind of courage before the miracle would happen.


               Like Nachson, I feel that it’s important to be original and true to yourself, even if it means standing out from the crowd.  I do it in many ways.


               For one thing, I’m the first Bar Mitzvah of 2008 at Temple Beth El.


               Another way is through music, and it’s ironic that today happens to be Shabbat Shira (the Sabbath of Song).  My musical tastes are different from most.  I also play guitar and write songs.


               I also I try to stand out from the rest in what I wear and how I look.  But it’s not because I want people to notice me.  It’s because I want to be true to myself – to be the person I really am.


               Becoming a bar mitzvah has a lot to do with learning who we really are.  It’s the first step to adulthood.  Like Nachshon’s step into the water, before you know it, sometimes you get up to your neck in responsibility.  But when you are willing to stick your neck out, great things can happen.


               Like Nachshon – and like me – the Jewish people have always been willing to stand out from the crowd.  People like Bob Dylan, a talented poet and legendary musician, who based some of his songs on Jewish themes.  As a matter of fact, I found out that 400 people attended his bar mitzvah, the largest one ever in HibbingMinnesota


               There are some cases where people try to stand out from the crowd just to prove that they are part of the crowd.  For my mitzvah project, I am supporting Special Olympics.  Those athletes simply want to show that they can do the same things anyone else can.  But in doing that, they have to overcome many obstacles.  Simply by being normal, they show that they are extraordinary.


               The same is true about bar mitzvah.  It’s a very normal thing for any Jewish teen to be part of.  But in standing up here, I realize that it also gives me a chance to stand out from the crowd.


(Bob Dylan source


Required Reading and Action Items





First, some GOOD NEWS


Israeli tennis star Shahar Pe'er reaches Australian Open finals (in doubles) (Ha’aretz)


Opens Jan. 18 @ Lincoln Plaza Cinemas / Quad Cinema

Kino International is proud to announce that Joseph Cedar’s BEAUFORT (2007), currently playing in New York City at the Lincoln Plaza and The Quad cinemas, has been officially nominated for an Academy Award in the Foreign Language Film category. The nominations for the 80th Annual Academy Awards were announced yesterday, on January 22, and the awards show will take place on February 24, 2008. This marks the first time that an Israeli film has been nominated since 1984.

Perched atop a mountain in southern Lebanon, the Beaufort Castle has passed from army to army for hundreds of years. In the year 2000, Liraz Liberti, a young Israeli commander, is in charge of defending the last outpost.
It has become his reason to live, filling him with power, fueling him with self-importance, driving him to allow perilous - and ultimately meaningless - operations. Bomb specialist Ziv loses his life when the bomb he is about to defuse explodes. 19-year-old Zitlawi dies in a missile attack. And Oshri, who can´t wait to see his girlfriend in New Jerseyis severely injured in a bombing that leaves the swaggering Liraz frozen with terror. This is their story not of war, but of retreat, a story of no enemy, but an amorphous entity that drops bombs from the skies.
As the day of retreat approaches, Liraz is forced to find a new meaning in his life. For he, too, realizes that Beaufort, once a symbol of victory, has long since become a symbol of futile bloodshed. Finally, the order comes to blow up the fort. Liraz pulverizes the cursed mountain that killed his friends - and destroys what he loved and hated the most.

Lincoln Plaza Cinemas / Quad Cinema - 1886 Broadway at 62nd Street / 34 West 13th Street. For more information please call: 212-757-2280 or: 212-255-8800. - Beaufort receives Oscar nod – Israeli Network now available online.

Second Life Israel - Megan Jacobs
Virtual world "Second Life" opened a virtual Israeli community for its "Residents" on Sunday, allowing over 11 million users worldwide to teleport into a vibrant 3-dimensional Internet version of the country. "The purpose of Second Life Israel is to present Israel to a global audience beyond traditional media," said SL Israel founder Chaim Landau. "This is a concept of Israel as a fun, entertaining, thriving and diverse community for Jews and non-Jews, and a home for Israelis on Second Life."
    As a Legacy Heritage Fellow at the European Union of Jewish Students in 2007, Landau initiated the Second Life Israel island with Beth Brown, a building and design manager. Users can walk through the Old City in Jerusalem, visiting the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and the Dome of the Rock as eas ily as they can venture down the promenade in Tel Aviv and weave through the Mahaneh Yehuda marketplace in Jerusalem. (Jerusalem Post)

Unemployment Drops to 10-Year Low - Adrian Filut (Ynet News)
    Israel's unemployment rate dropped to 6.6% last November - a 10-year low - down from 8.1% in November 2006, the Central Bureau of Statistics reported.

2008 Herzliya Conference on Israel's National Security (Institute for Policy and Strategy, Lauder School of Government, IDC Herzliya)
    View the conference sessions - January 20-23, 2008

(thanks to Sherry Cohen for sending this one from the New York Post)

CNN's chief national correspondent, John King, has a way to go before marrying his co-worker and sweetheart, congressional correspondent Dana Bash. The Irish Catholic is converting to Judaism before their May wedding. "Yes, it is true," he told Page Six. "I'm studying to convert and will consider inviting you to my bar mitzvah. Mazel tov. On a more serious note, I took a class and am working with a wonderful rabbi in DC, and it has been a remarkably enriching experience."

China Goes Kosher as Exporters Use Rabbis to Reassure Consumers (thanks to Scott Allen for forwarding this one) 



now for the rest

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


The Gaza "Blackout" and the Laws of War - J. Peter Pham (National Review)

  • Although the so-called "Gaza blackout" was instigated by the Hamas terrorists who run the enclave as a sort of cynical publicity stunt, it has drawn the usual dire warnings of impending humanitarian crisis and protests from neighboring Arab countries and the EU. What tends to be forgotten in moments like this is that even if Israel, which supplies more than 75% of the terrorist enclave's power, did cut off the flow, it would not only be morally but also legally justified in doing so.
  • As Prof. Michael Krauss of George Mason University Law School and I pointed out last year when Gaza was designated "hostile territory" by the Israeli cabinet: If Gaza is territory under the control of the enemy - as it manifestly is under Hamas - then the Israeli government is both within its rights and arguably obliged by its responsibilities to its citizens to treat the strip as "hostile territory."
  • Siege and blockade of a hostile territory is a legitimate tactic of war, used in declared and undeclared (e.g., Cuban) conflicts and explicitly recognized by the 1949 Geneva Conventions. The Conventions' sole limitation is that there be "free passage of all consignments of food-stuffs, clothing and tonics intended for children under fifteen, expectant mothers, and maternity cases" (Fourth Convention, art. 23).
  • Even this exception was conditioned on there being "no reasons for fearing... that a definite advantage may accrue to the military efforts or economy of the enemy" (for example, if resources destined for humanitarian aid will be commandeered by the enemy). Israel has carefully respected this requirement.
  • Notwithstanding the outraged howls from the external enablers of Hamas, there is no basis in international humanitarian law for claiming any belligerent is obliged to supply energy to territory occupied by the enemy, conventional or otherwise.

The writer is director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University and an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.


Israel: We Will Defend Our Citizens - Even at the Price of Condemnation - Roni Sofer
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told the Herzliya Conference Tuesday: "Israel should not have to apologize for its existence and it will continue to defend the lives of its citizens, even at the price of condemnation....It is inconceivable for Palestinians to fire rockets on Israel and then ask for our help."
 "We are not heading towards a new cooperative Middle East, but rather parting consensually for the good of our children and ourselves, and so that we may preserve our sense of independence," she said.
    On IranLivni said: "It is important to understand that the Iranian threat is unrelated to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It will not change if we solve this conflict. We're in a bad neighborhood where you either stand up to the local bully or you join him. Any hesitation is immediately seen as a sign of weakness and therefore the world cannot allow itself any weakness on the Iranian matter."  (Ynet News)


Peres: UN Must Denounce Hamas, Not Israel - Aviram Zino
The UN Security Council must denounce Hamas rather than Israel, Israeli President Shimon Peres said Tuesday. "The Council must ask Hamas why it is firing on children and women in Israel." "We have no interest in seeing Gaza's residents suffer. They are not our enemies, but Gaza's residents must complain to Hamas. They are the only ones who can bring down Hamas and they must demand that Hamas stop firing on Israel."
    "In this case, there is no doubt who started and there is no doubt that Hamas is constantly firing missiles, and this cannot remain unanswered. The responsibility for the situation in Gaza lies unequivocally on Hamas' shoulders. There is not one state in the world which will be fired on without retaliating. There is no excuse for the fire and no justification to ignore it." (Ynet News)


EU Official: Gaza Siege Not a War Crime - Dana Zimmerman
European Commissioner for Justice, Freedom, and Security, former Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, said Tuesday that the steps leading up to the Gaza blackout cannot be construed as a war crime and criticized the incessant Kassam rocket fire on Israeli civilian population centers. "There has been a large misunderstanding in recent years between Europe and Israel. And Israel is justified in its concerns. For too long, Europe has put too much blame on Israel for lack of peace with the Palestinians. We, as Europeans, should have understood Israel's concerns sooner," said Frattini. "As friends, it was our duty to criticize when we felt criticism was needed, but we did it too often and unfairly. We asked you to take risks and often we didn't provide you with assurances that you wouldn't stand alone if things went badly." (Ynet Ne ws)
    See also Dutch Foreign Minister: Israel Unfairly Singled Out for Criticism by UN - Cnaan Liphshiz (Ha'aretz)

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


Blame It on Hamas - Editorial
Last week, 100 rockets rained down on Israel's southern towns. Israel could have defended itself against the attacks launched by militants in Gaza by responding with a bombardment of its own, endangering civilians. It could have sent the Israeli Defense Forces into Gaza, endangering civilians. Instead, Israel opted to enforce a blockade of Gaza to put pressure on Hamas. As Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni aptly put it, "Israel is the only country in the world that supplies electricity to terror groups which in turn fire rockets at it." If life in Gaza is to return to what passes for normal in the terrorist statelet, all Hamas needs to do is call off its dogs and end its attacks. The truth is, Hamas prefers it the way it is. (Globe and Mail-Canada)


Yaalon: No Progress Possible Without Palestinian Reform - Roni Arison
Former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Yaalon said Tuesday there was no chance for a peace agreement with the Palestinians without Palestinian reform. Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, Yaalon criticized the "failed" political perception that assumes the need to find a solution as soon as possible. "This perception must be replaced immediately," he said.
    The reform in the PA should include education reform. "As long as the Palestinian education system preaches jihad, a holy war against Israel and a refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist, there is no chance for peace. A change is needed in the study program and the incitement in the public dialogue, the media, and the mosques must stop." (Ynet News)


Israel's Statement to the Security Council: The Situation in Gaza and Sderot - Charge d'Affaires Gilad Cohen (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

  • The situation in the region today did not develop overnight. It is the consequence of many choices, repeatedly the wrong choices, made by the Palestinians to adopt terrorism and violence over peace and negotiations with Israel. The Palestinians in Gaza did not choose to engage Israel in dialogue and reconciliation to advance the two-state vision. Rather, they chose Hamas who uses terrorism and violence to advance its vision to destroy Israel.
  • Since the year 2000, more than 7,000 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel by terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Last year alone, that number was over 2,000. And since Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza in June 2007, the frequency of rocket attacks rose 150%, to more than 250 rockets and mortars a month. This means, on average, one rocket is fired at Israel every three hours.
  • Normal life in Sderot is a thing of the past. Not a day goes by when the Red Alert warning system does not sound, which gives children on playgrounds and in schools, and parents at home and at work, less than 15 seconds to find the nearest shelter before the next rocket comes slamming into their lives. Why is the Council not concerned with the safety and security of Israel's children, women, and elderly who live in the southern city of Sderot? Why is the Council silent as they live in fear and panic each and every day?
  • Israel must and will protect its civilian population from these rocket attacks. It is the duty of all states to ensure the right to life and safety of its people, especially from vicious acts of violence and terrorism that are carried out with the sole purpose of maiming, terrorizing, and murdering the innocent. I ask each Member of the Council: what would you do if LondonMoscowParis, or Tripoli was attacked and fired on? Would you sit back and do nothing? Israel will act in accordance with its inherent right under Article 51 of the UN Charter to protect and defend its people.
  • Hamas controls the fate of Gaza. If terrorism ceases, life in Gaza will change. The Palestinians must understand that they will not profit from terrorism. Hamas does not represent the Palestinian national vision. Hamas is the antithesis of two states living side-by-side in peace and security.


Escalation of Terror in Gaza (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

  • Beginning on Jan. 15 and over the next 24 hours, more than 100 rockets and mortars were fired by Palestinians from Gaza on the Israeli cities of Sderot and Ashkelon - indiscriminate fire raining down on Israeli civilians. A Hamas sniper murdered 20-year-old volunteer Carlos Chavez from Ecuador in the fields of Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha using a special .50 caliber sniper rifle.
  • More than two years ago, Israel removed all of its civilians, soldiers and settlements from Gaza and redeployed behind the recognized border in order to promote a peaceful solution - yet in return received Hamas-backed terror.
  • Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in June, approximately 1,500 rockets and mortars have been launched at IsraelIsrael has suffered dozens of casualties, hundreds of shock victims, thousands of traumatized children, and severe disruption of daily life. No democracy would watch its civilian population being targeted on a daily basis without responding. Every country is obliged to protect its citizens and would act as Israel to defend them.
  • A clear distinction must be made between Palestinian terror attacks against Israel and Israel's defensive response. Palestinian terrorists directly target Israeli civilians and use their own civilians as human shields. Israel does not view the people of Gaza as its enemy and is doing everything possible to prevent harm to innocent Palestinian civilians. Israel targets only the armed militants directly involved in the violence, rocket and mortar attacks against Israeli citizens.
  • Israel accepts the idea of two nation states living side by side in peace. Unfortunately, the Islamic extremists in Gaza are the greatest obstacle to a two-state solution. The armed Palestinian militants targeted by Israel are not just enemies of the Israeli peoplethey are enemies of peace. The world does not need another terrorist state. There can be no peace when the Hamas leadership in Gaza is more interested in the obliteration of Israel than in the two-state solution.


Israeli Town in Trauma from Palestinian Rockets - Rebecca Harrison
When the siren sounds, the residents of Sderot, an Israeli town just a mile from Gaza, drop everything and run for cover. They have 15 seconds to reach a bomb shelter and face an almost daily barrage of Palestinian rockets. "We are living in a war zone," said Hava Gad, a 42-year-old mother of three. Sderot's streets, many of them cratered by rockets, are dotted with bomb shelters. Bigger concrete shelters decorated with colorful murals stand outside schools and community centers. (Reuters)
    See also Rockets Keep Raining Down on Sderot - Dina Kraft and Andrew Friedman
After seven years of rocket fire from nearby Gaza and no end in sight, Sderot residents are weighing w hether or not to stay, as crippled businesses survive on hope and loans. Home prices have fallen by 50%, said Yakov Levy, a realtor in town. "It gets to you. You think about it all the time," said Atara Orenbouch. "You are always thinking: If there were an alarm now, where would the safest place be to hide?"  (JTA/Washington Jewish Week)


Palestinian Group Sounds Like Al-Qaeda - Ilene R. Prusher
A new fundamentalist player is emerging in Palestinian politics. The group sounds like Hamas - or even al-Qaeda - but doesn't support suicide bombings or secret militias. Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Party of Liberation) is now filling a hole left by Hamas in the West Bank. In many of the places where Hizb ut-Tahrir is popular - the party says they're active in 45 countries - governments often see them as a feeder organization to more extreme groups.
    James Brandon, a senior research fellow at the Center for Social Cohesion in London, says that party officials worldwide don't advocate or organize violent attacks. "But...they act as a conveyor belt organization, in which they attract people and radicalize them, and then those people eventually move on, reject the Hizb ut-Tahrir method, and start looking to al-Qaeda." The group is bann ed in many countries, including Egypt and much of the Middle East, GermanyPakistan, and Russia. It also came under investigation in Britain after the London bombings in July 2005. (Christian Science Monitor)


Observations: Implications of the Breached Gaza-Egypt Border


Gaza Border Breach May Pressure Egypt to Act - Adam Entous
Retired Brig.-Gen. Shalom Harari of Israel's Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzliya said Hamas may have achieved a "PR" victory in Gaza, but the situation would now put more pressure on Egypt to act - to Israel's benefit. "The situation may look worse on the surface, but Israel has not lost control on our border," he said.
    "For months and months, Israel has been telling the Egyptians, 'You guys have been playing with fire.' So I'm not so sure Israel is unhappy with what's going on right now," said David Makovsky, director of the Washington Institute's Project on the Middle East Peace Process. (Reuters)

  • See also Israel Wants to Sever Connections with Gaza
    Israel would like to sever its remaining connections with Gaza. "We need to understand that when 
    Gaza is open to the other side we lose responsibility for it. So we want to disconnect from it," Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told Army Radio on Thursday. (Reuters)
  • See also Will Responsibility for Gaza Shift to Egypt? - Benny Avni
    Some Israeli officials saw an "opportunity" in the flow of hundreds of thousands of Gazans into Egypt, suggesting that responsibility for Gaza's humanitarian situation should be shifted to Egypt. "If Egypt and international welfare organizations are so concerned about the humanitarian situation in Gaza, why don't they just reroute the deliveries? They can send food and necessities to Egypt, and then deliver them to Gaza through the Rafah crossing," an Israeli official said. (New York Sun)
  • See also Proving the Egyptian Alternative - Yaakov Katz
    Egypt helped Israel on Wednesday to complete its disengagement from GazaEgypt's decision to open the Rafah crossing to the Palestinians proved to the world that Egypt is perfectly capable of caring for the Palestinians when it comes to food and medical care. "By going into Egypt, Hamas loses its claim that it is under siege by Israel," said a senior Israeli defense official. Mubarak's decision to open a floodgate into his country for thousands of Palestinians demonstrated that there are alternatives to Israel when it comes to being Gaza's provider. (Jerusalem Post)
  • See also Hamas' Strategy: Disconnect Gaza from Israel, Connect to the Arab World - Pinhas Inbari
    Opening the border between Gaza and Egypt is part of Hamas' long-term strategy to disconnect Gaza from Israel and connect it to the Arab world. Hamas has been methodically attacking the border crossings connecting Gaza with Israel, thereby keeping them blocked and forcing all the pressure toward opening Gaza to Egypt and thus to the Arab world. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs-Hebrew)




ISRAEL: Myths and Facts

MYTH #286

"Israel and the Palestinians agree a future Palestinian state will have an army."


Israel has always regarded the creation of a Palestinian state as a threat to its security. This remains true today, but most Israelis believe the best chance for coexistence with the Palestinians is to negotiate an agreement whereby a demilitarized state is created in the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank.

Given the damage and terror caused by the rockets Palestinians are firing daily from Gaza, it should not be surprising that Israelis worry about the possibility of a Palestinian military force with missiles, artillery, tanks, warships or fighter planes. Long before the two-state solution became popular, discussions about the creation of a Palestinian state envisioned that it would be demilitarized to minimize the risk of an Israeli withdrawal.153 Jordan is equally concerned that a Palestinian army that could turn in its direction.

Following the Annapolis conference, Palestinian officials denounced the idea that their future state should have any limits placed on it. “The Palestinian Authority rejects talk about a demilitarized Palestinian state,” a senior PA official told the Jerusalem Post.154

“You can’t expect Israel, and I certainly don’t, to accept a state on their border

 that would become a launching pad for terrorist activities.”— President George W. Bush, (January 9, 2008)

While the focus of the negotiations, and media coverage of them, has been on the familiar issues of settlementsrefugees and Jerusalem, it is the issue of whether the Palestinian state will be permitted to create an army that could threaten its neighbors that may yet turn into the major obstacle to an agreement.


153For example, demilitarization was one of several prequisites to ensure Israel’s security after the establishment of a Palestinian state according to a study group that explored Israel’s options for peace in 1989. The West Bank and GazaIsrael's Options for Peace, Tel Aviv: The Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, 1989, p. 104.
154Khaled Abu Toameh, “PA does not want demilitarized Palestine,” Jerusalem Post, (January 4, 2008).

This article can be found at

See also Mitchell Bard's blog

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


Joke for the Week

Jewish Dictionary  (

JEWBILATION n. Pride in finding out that one's favorite celebrity is Jewish

TORAHFIED n. Inability to remember one's lines at one's Bar or Bat Mitzvah.

MATZILATION v. Smashing a piece of matzo to bits while trying to butter it.

BUBBEGUM n. Candy one's mother gives to her grandchildren that she never gave to her own children.

CHUTZPAPA n. A father who wakes his wife at 4:00 a.m. so she can change the baby's diaper.

DISORIYENTA n. When Aunt Sadie gets lost in a department store and strikes up a conversation with everyone she passes.

KISHKA n. Smooching at a Bar Mitzvah and getting the telltale smell of Stuffed Derma.

MEINSTEIN slang. "My son, the genius."

MISHPOCHAMARKS n. The assorted lipstick and make-up stains found on one's face and collar after kissing all one's aunts and cousins at a reception.

RE-SHTETLEMENT n. Moving from New Jersey to Florida and finding all your old neighbors live in the same condo as you.

FEELAWFUL n. Indigestion from eating Israeli street food.

DISKVELLIFIED vb. To drop out of law school, med school or business school as seen through the eyes of parents, grandparents, and Uncle Sid. In extreme cases, simply choosing to major in art history when Irv's son, David, is majoring in biology is sufficient grounds for diskvellification.

KINDERSCHLEP n. To transport other kids in your car besides yours.

OYVAYSMEAR What one says when the cream cheese squeezes out of the bagel and falls on your clean pants.

JEWDO n. A traditional form of self-defense based on talking one's way out of a tight spot. 


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

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