Friday, January 18, 2008

Shabbat-O-Gram January 18, 2008 – Shevat 11, 5768


January 18, 2008 – Shevat 11, 5768


Happy Shabbat Shira and Tu B’Shevat!


Rabbi Joshua HammermanTemple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut



This week’s Shabbat-O-Gram is sponsored by Marjorie and Lewis Chimes in honor of Daniel Chimes becoming a Bar Mitzvah.

 Special thanks to Marjorie and Lewis Chimes for the beautiful Sheflera tree donated to Beth El

 to honor the congregation for Tu B’Shevat and in celebration of Daniel becoming Bar Mitzvah.


Special Occasion?  Sponsor a Shabbat Bulletin, (sent every Friday morning via e-mail),

the Shabbat Announcments (Distributed each Shabbat at the Temple)

& the Shabbat-O-Gram.  Sponsor all three publications for only $72

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



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

Prior Shabbat-O-Grams are archived at


Coming Soon!!!


and, NEXT WEEKEND!!!  


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.”


Check our website, for more details on all events.



Some 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 of course, it’s SISTERHOOD SHABBAT!








Above: Our USYers at a Comedy Club in NYC two weeks ago. 

And last week, over 30 kids had a blast at our Kadima Movie Night.

For more pix, check out our super, upgraded TBE Youth Website





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


The New Year of the Trees

By Marge Piercy


“It is the New Year of the Trees, but here

The ground is frozen under the crust of snow.

The trees snooze, their buds tight as nuts.

Rhododendron leaves roll up their stiff scrolls.


In the white and green north of the diaspora

am stirred by a season that will not arrive

For six weeks, as wines on far continents prickle

To bubbles when their native vines bloom.


What blossoms here are birds jostling

at feeders, pecking sunflower seeds

and millet through the snow: tulip read

cardinal, daffodil finch, larkspur jay,


the pansybed of sparrows and juncos, all hungry.

They too are planters of trees, spreading seeds

Of favorites along fences.  On the earth closed

to us all as a book in a language we cannot

yet read, the seeds, the bulbs, the eggs


of the fervid green year  await release.

Over them on February’s cold table I spread

a feast.  Wings rustle like summer leaves.






Friday, January 18th at 6:30 p.m.


Nefesh means “spirit” or “soul” and we hope that you

will try this new soul-filled service. We’ll be focusing

on seeking deeper meanings in the prayers and

enhancing the experience of prayer through chanting

of niggunim (wordless melodies), visioning exercises

and simple forms of meditation, along with stories and

some good-old singing along. The service will be led

jointly by Cantor Littman, Rabbinic Pastor David Daniel

Klipper and Rabbi Hammerman. Children are

welcome but the Nefesh Service will be designed for

adults. This will be a work in progress, an experiment.

Pull up a comfy chair and join us in the lobby as we

journey into Shabbat together….


Candle lighting: 4:35 pm on Friday, January 18, 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- Special Nefesh Service: 6:30 Friday night in the lobby

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

9:30 Shabbat morning (Children’s Services at 10:30). 

Mazal Tov to Daniel Chimes, son of Lewis and Marjorie Chimes, who becomes Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat morning.

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

Parashat Beshallach

Crossing the Red Sea, Shabbat of Song

Exodus 13:17 - 17:16

1: 13:17-22
2: 14:1-4
3: 14:5-8
4: 14:9-14
5: 14:15-20
6: 14:21-25
7: 14:26-15:26


Haftarah for Ashkenazim: Judges 4:4 - 5:31
Haftarah for Sephardim: Judges 5:1 - 5:31

The Song of Deborah





The (occasionally) Ranting Rabbi

“Funny, You Don’t Look Jewish”
my column from this week’s Jewish Week at


by Joshua Hammerman
Special To The Jewish Week


There are times when a rabbi looks at the weekly portion and a sermon just screams back. This weekend, when we will celebrate both the legacy of Martin Luther King and the crossing of the Red Sea — affirming that liberation comes in all colors — we’ll also be able to say for the first time in American history that someone who is not a middle-aged white male has a front-runner’s chance to become president.

And as if to place an exclamation point on that premise, the Haftarah features a female military champion named Deborah and her sidekick named, of all things, Barak. If either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama eventually becomes commander in chief, we can say that we heard it here first, in the book of Judges. Throw in the real chance that a Jewish third party candidate may join the fray and we’ve got, at long last, a presidential campaign that looks like America.

Setting aside position papers for the moment, we, as Jews, should be celebrating the diversity of this year’s slate.  For too long we’ve been preoccupied with group survival, focusing on how we are different: why we don’t celebrate Christmas, order pepperoni or work on Saturday.  These distinctions are important, but only in that they point us to a life of holiness, whose ultimate goal is to create a society where artificial barriers separating people are dismantled. Among the most insidious of these barriers are those of race and gender, which, along with ageism and disableism, are based primarily on appearance rather than substance.

“Look not at the flask,” we learn in tractate Avot, “but at what is within it.”  Long before Gutenberg, Jews were teaching their children not to judge a book by its cover. But while our sages dared to hope for an end to worldwide prejudice and our liturgy resounds with the desire for Oneness, after services we retreat to psychological ghettos of similitude.  We cry for unity but settle for uniformity.  It is understandable to want to live among like-minded neighbors who can reinforce our deepest values.  But somewhere along the line, we convinced ourselves that like-minded people have to look alike too.

Fortunately, the Internet generation has grown up in a much smaller world, where those barriers have begun to dissolve. It’s telling that in the preteen mega-hit “High School Musical,” it’s not the WASPy blonde girl, Ashley Tisdale, who gets the guy.  The shy Hispanic girl does. It’s even more telling that, when Tisdale — who is Jewish on her mother’s side — recently had rhinoplasty, she needed to defend that choice on medical grounds.  Her fans were incensed.  They liked her nose just the way it was.

That old joke, “Funny, he doesn’t look Jewish,” isn’t so funny anymore.  With the proliferation of conversion, adoption, donor eggs and surrogate motherhood, too many Jews simply don’t.  Interracial Jewish couples are becoming more common both here and in Israel, where, while Ethiopian Jews still face challenges, the assimilation of Ashkenazim and Sephardim is nearly complete.   Increasingly, we’ve become fascinated by exotic Jewish communities like the Abayudaya of UgandaCochin and Bene Israel of India, the Igbo of Nigeria and the Ethiopians. 

As a student of religions, I’ve long been fascinated by the Baha’i faith.  Here is a group that shares much with the Jews, including a home base in Israel, a suspicion of Iran and a history of brutal persecution. What they also share with us is an innate color blindness, only they choose to proclaim it to the world while we still have far to go in embracing Jews of color.
The great Baha’i prophet, the Baha’ullah (1817-1892), called racism the greatest challenge to global unity. Jews should be champions of this ideal. Long before the Baha’ullah walked this earth, Jews were the world’s greatest conduit of multiculturalism. While Christians and Muslims spent most of the Middle Ages building fences and re-drawing borders, Jews were constantly traversing them, carrying the best that every culture could offer.

Baha’i followers view interracial marriage as the ideal relationship.  Until all too recently, many Jews considered such matches a shandeh (disgrace), even when both spouses were Jewish. Part of that is attributable to a legitimate concern that children of such marriages would be subjected to ridicule on the playground. But part of it is outright racism. 

Now those views are thankfully changing.  People no longer assume that an African American in our High Holy Day choir is a non-Jewish ringer.  It no longer startles anyone that there are children in our Hebrew schools of Asian or Latin American descent.  There is much greater recognition that not all Jews need to be cut from the same lox-and-bagels mold.  Finally, we are looking less at the flask and more at what lies within.

I perform many conversions, for adults and children, and each Jew-by-choice adds something special to our people’s fabulous mosaic.  I ask each bar/bat mitzvah student to construct a family tree and I’ve seen ones that trace back to leaders like Rashi on one side and Daniel Boone on the other.   They are all part of who we are and where we come from.

The Jewish family tree is more colorful even than Barack Obama’s.   He may hail from Kenya and Kansas, but we come from Babylonia and Beverly HillsYemen and YpsilantiToledo and, uh, Toledo, and in my case, Brooklyn and Brookline.  Now that we live in a country where Deborah the judge and her sidekick Barak could each legitimately aspire to be president, we should pick up that flask and take a good, long drink.

On MLK Weekend, nothing could taste sweeter.

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman serves Temple Beth El in StamfordConn., and is a CLAL Associate.




The Other Meaning of MLK Day


We often link the legacy of Martin Luther King to the civil rights struggle here – and rightly so.  But while he was campaigning for equality here in America, another liberation struggle was going on half a world away – the struggle of Soviet Jewry.  This year we’ve been marking some key anniversaries in that struggle, which galvanized American Jewry for nearly two decades, culminating in the great rally in Washington in late 1987 (one of those anniversaries), which I attended along with several busloads from my newly adopted community of Stamford.  My first impression of Stamford is that it people are quite well organized!  No one who was at that rally will ever forget it.  That huge rally had a direct impact on American and Soviet policy (much as Scoop Jackson’s amendment did in the ‘70s), and only three years later, the Soviet Union was no more.


Natan Sharansky was the great icon of that movement.  His liberation from the Gulag, not long before that rally, was a watershed event.  So now Shaansky’s daughter has just gotten married, in the hills outside Jerusalem.  Read Rabbi Avi Weiss's moving account of that wedding (from the Forward), contrasting it to Natan’s wedding to Avital so many years before.



Messianism Run Amok: Is Chabad Jewish?


There are many wonderful things that Chabad has done for the Jewish world, but beneath the great marketing and glitz lies a messianism that is at best dangerously naïve and at worst a radical break from normative rabbinic theology and ethical norms.  Read this important article from the Forward on the darker side as it has been expressed recently by a Chabad leader in Israel.  Then, see some more on the running internal battle for the soul of Chabad in this article and finally, in this article from the Jewish Week, some questions as to whether someone who believes that the deceased Lubavitcher Rebbe is the messiah can be converted to Judaism.  Given that Conservative conversions (even when performed under halachic guidelines) are not accepted by Chabad, including those done by me locally, we can see that we live in a very complex Jewish world right now. Fortunately, I’ve never had to deal with a conversion student who believed that the messiah has died and is coming back, nor have I had to distance myself from a movement leader who publicly advocated that a sitting Prime Minister be “hanged from the gallows.”


Yes, that’s why they call it messianism – because things can get very messy!



Internet Anonymity Run Amok: Is Obama a Moslem? 


Wednesday’s New York Times highlighted a major smear campaign against Barack Obama that has been burning up the Jewish internet.  No, he is not a Moslem (not that there would be anything wrong with that!).  While I do not endorse candidates and I’ve yet to make up my mind personally anyway, it is very disturbing to see the freedom and anonymity of cyberspace abused to such cynical ends.    Anyway, nine major Jewish leaders saw fit to respond to this rumor campaign.  See the Times article here and Michael Chabon’s response to such “fear mongering” here.



And now, by popular demand, another Shabbat-O-Gram exclusive from Our Man in Asia, David Rodwin. 

When you read this, you’ll see how David has become the envy of every Hebrew School teacher in America


Adon Olam in Rural India


By David Rodwin


            My Jewish education continues to help me in unexpected ways and places, most recently at a small school in rural India

            Since August, I’ve been in India (Gujarat State) as a World Partners Fellow through the American Jewish World Service (AJWS). I work at a vocational training center for DalitsIndia’s “Untouchables”—those born into the “lower” end of the caste ladder, who must continuously struggle for rights that “touchable” Indians take for granted. 

This past December, the vocational training center shut down for vacation. I decided to use my free week to visit a few of the boarding primary schools for Dalit children run by the non-governmental organization (NGO) that operates the center. 

Transportation in India is always a challenge. In order to get to the school—located in a small village about 90 miles away—I had to hitch a ride in a giant truck, and sit up front with the driver and about six others. Luckily, another instructor from the center was there to guide me and keep me company.  

When I arrived at the school, a few teachers gave me a quick tour. The school is just two years old, and basically consisted of four relatively small concrete buildings set in a field. There were a total of about 100 students from 5th to 7th grade, and it seemed that all of them wanted to practice the little English they knew. 

“What’s your name? What is your village? What’s your father’s name? Mother’s name? Do you have brothers and sisters?” I barely had time to give an answer before the next question would come. I keep some photos of my little sister in my wallet, and when I passed them around there were audible oohs and ahhs

I knew I’d be teaching some English songs, and on the phone the previous day my mother had suggested the preschool classic Hello, my name is Joe, complete with its frenzied gestures. I had the help of one of the teachers to translate it, and this song turned out to be a big hit with everyone. In what was left of my first day at the school, I also taught Head, shoulders, knees and toes, and Inch by Inch, Row by Row, both of which went over very well. 

On my second day, though, I was faced with constant demands for new songs, also with motions and gestures, and I was fresh out. I invented some gestures for Inch by Inch, but I didn’t know where else to go. 

I was walking around the campus, just thinking about life there at the school. It is committed to total gender and caste equality, so all of the students wash their own dishes and clothes, and everyone rotates to do kitchen duty and bathroom-cleaning duty. These tasks may not seem so revolutionary, but in India—where only girls and women cook, wash dishes, and do laundry, and only the “lowest” castes clean the bathrooms—they constitute a crucial part of the school’s education, and form the center of the school’s identity. 

Without even realizing it, I started to put these activities to the tune of Adon Olam. You know which tune I mean—it’s upbeat, and always a crowd favorite. I quickly went to my notebook, grabbed a pen, and in five minutes I had it. Here it is, with the corresponding lines of Adon Olam next to the new lyrics:

We wash our clothes / Adon Olam

We clean our plates / Asher Malach

We exercise / B’terem Kol

And we play games / Y’tzir Nivrach

We love to learn / L’et Nasah

We love our shoooool / Bchevtzo kooool

It’s so much fun here under the sun /Azai melech sh’mo nikrah 

Please come visit soon! / Adon Olam!

The melody is so cheerful and catchy, and it didn’t take the students long to pick it up. For each line, I assigned a matching physical motion, which increased their enthusiasm, and because the lyrics corresponded to their own lives and their school, there was immediate interest. 

By the afternoon, I had a hundred Indian kids—and even a few teachers—walking around singing to the tune of Adon Olam.

            The next day, I left for another of the NGO’s schools, and the new song proved to be equally popular there, too. In early January, there was an event at the vocational training center for all the students from the three schools operated by the NGO. During the talent show, three nine-year-old little girls performed the song, complete with all the motions. The song had left a lasting impression, and hopefully will continue to be taught for years to come.

            In the following years there may be new AJWS volunteers here, and I hope they make it to the schools. I just wish I could be there to see their faces when they recognize the tune to the school’s theme song. 


An account of David’s experience in India can be found at, and he can be reached at




Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunties


Beth El Cares:

Inreach and Outreach


The Latest from Israel

The Jan Gaines Report (Special to the Shabbat-O-Gram)


Dear friends, It’s time I finally wrote a few things.  My computer is now updated to MicrosoftXP and it does make a difference.  What? you say?  What took you so long?


   Another glorious Shabbat without rain. And without Bush in the Holy Land.  I don't know what kind of coverage you are seeing or what kind of spin,  but he is liked and respected here. Of course you will all say that's because the Israeli's see him on their side.  True, but at least he has the guts to try a fresh approach. I agree that he does sound like a cowboy, but look beneath that and you can see resolve and strong convictions. The Israelis were very upset with Condi, on the other hand, when she came out against building in Har Homa, which is within J'lem city limits.  But I think she had to sound that way for the Arabs. In this whole dance, it isn't what is said that counts anyway.  The Palestinians are the best example of that. I keep reminding myself that this is a middle eastern shuk (market) which is all about bargaining and one-upsmanship.


   Otherwise, Israel is chugging along nicely. The shekel is stronger than the dollar and the GDP is almost better than it is in the States. Unemployment is low, the demand for skilled labor is high (i.e. the techie world) and people are now even driving the PRIUS.  Wow!  If people are worried about Iran they don't talk about it much.  Olmert is still very unpopular.  People want to see the govt. fall although they admit there aren't too many choices if it does. Bibi lurks in the background but I don't hear much enthusiasm for him either.  Bush really jumped into Israeli politics by almost begging two right wing parties not to leave the government.

I think everyone took that with a grain of salt.


  I'm busier than ever.  My favorite volunteer work is helping Ethiopian kids with English. That's once a week for 3 hours. I just love these kids. They are enthusiastic, rambunctious, curious.  If I could work with them every day I think it would really make a difference. I keep reminding myself that English is their 3rd language so whatever I do is better than nothing.


  The Nutrition Project is still happening weekly, along with an additional program for Seniors. If I only had more money we could expand it even further.  The Ethiopians should be the focus of most of U.S. dollars because they need it badly. Even a small thing like building a garden next to the senior center (where both Sue and Barbara visited) so that older Ethiopian men could grow their own veggies takes about $5000 in order to put in lights and fences, etc. Aida has asked me if I have any sources of funds.  What can I say.?


  I'm in charge of a TuB'shvat Seder at the synagogue.  We have a new young rabbi who is trying hard., but the Masorti movement still struggles to be viable.  As long as there is only a day and a half weekend, and as long as the Orthodox keep a stranglehold on religion here, I don't see Masorti growing. But we're having a Seder and expect about 100 people - - hardly any families with kids tho. There's the problem.


   So., that's a summary of things. As always, my roots here grow deeper  and all my "retiree friends" are not retired at all from being active and involved.,  We are a group committed to our "community" and this country and I am proud to be a part of their world.

  Love, Jan





American Friends of Magen David Adom – ARMDI

MDA rushes additional personnel and equipment to Sderot, Western Negev and Ashkelon as 30 Qassams slam into Sderot area. 

(Tuesday, January 15, 2008) MDA announced that at 4:34 pm Israel time (9:34 am EST), 30 Qassam rockets fired from the Gaza Strip rocked the Israeli city of Sderot. 25 casualties have been reported.


§      25 casualties reported:  5 physical injuries – 2 moderate and 3 lightly, 20 people treated for shock and anxiety,

§      One of the injured is the five year-old granddaughter of Haim Ben Shimol.  Haim is the Deputy Director of the MDA Sderot Station.  She has been suffering from anxiety as a result of attacks on her city and has been getting therapy with a psychologist.  Haim Ben Shimol was manning one of the ambulances answering the call when he saw that his son’s home sustained a direct hit.  He ran into the house, treated his granddaughter and transported her to Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon for further medical attention.

§      A number of houses in the city were also damaged by the rockets.

§      MDA has increased the alert in the western Negev and the Lachish (north of Gaza, in Ashkelon and Ashdod) to the highest level.  There are now 15 MICU (Mobile Intensive Care Unit) and 60 Basic Life Support ambulances ready and fully staffed in SderotAshkelonNetivotOfakim and other area Stations.  An armored ambulance has also been rushed to Ashkelon.

§      There are now 3 MICU and 11 Basic Life Support Ambulances in Sderot, on alert and fully staffed (an increase of 1 MICU and six Basic Life Support ambulances than are usually on duty).

§      The Ayalon Region (north of Ashdod, including YavnehRehovotRishon Le Zion) and the rest of the Negev Region have had their alert levels raised to the second highest level and they will serve as back up to the western Negev and Lachish Regions.

§      A training session for MDA paramedics had been in session in Ashkelon when the attacks began.  These personnel have also been mobilized and are on alert, staffing 6 additional ambulances.

§      At this hour, MDA senior staff member are on a conference call discussing various contingency plans.  There is concern that the Qassams will continue to hit the area through the night and in the morning.

§      These rocket attacks are believed to be retaliation for IDF ground and air operations in Gaza which today have killed 19 Palestinians, including the the 17 year-old son of Mahmoud Zahar, the last surviving founder of Hamas.

American Friends of Magen David Adom – ARMDI is the authorized organization supporting the life saving efforts of MDA in Israel and representing Magen David Adom in the US.  Magen David Adom (MDA) is Israel’s only government-mandated ambulance and emergency medical responders, serving as the nation’s second line of defense with medical, disaster, ambulance and blood services.  Thanks to AFMDA/ARMDI supporters, more than 700 MDA ambulances and Mobile Intensive Care Units are on call 24/7, operating from over 100 Emergency Medical Stations and 11 dispatch stations throughout Israel, logging more than 6.75 million miles and taking care of more than 700,000 patients annually.  Acclaimed for their heroic role in rescuing the wounded, coordinating activities with the IDF and Home Front Command and raising morale in Israel’s north during the Second Lebanon War, MDA also provides 97% of Israel’s blood needs and has launched the MDA Israel Cord Blood Bank.

In Sderot and the surrounding western Negev region, MDA remains on high alert, racing to the scene of every Qassam rocket and mortar attack to protect and care for Israel’s people.  AFMDA will soon open the urgently-needed new Sderot MDA Emergency Medical Station that will replace the old, antiquated facility.


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Mitzvah Suggestion for the Week


Project ORE


            Did you know that there are a large number of homeless and hungry Jews in New York?  Project ORE, run out of the Educational Alliance on the Lower East Side, is working to provide these people with meals and community.  The centerpiece at Project ORE is the kosher daily meals: a buffet breakfast, hot lunch, and food packages for Shabbat. Project ORE doesn’t stop there, though.  Licensed clinical social workers are on-site to listen, advise, counsel and advocate. A cultural curriculum offers our clients classes in art, poetry and current issues, educational trips, and programs on health and wellness. A Jewish experience is provided through a weekly Oneg Shabbat, Jewish studies, and holiday celebrations. Volunteers provide human connection and interaction by serving meals and socializing with Project ORE participants.


Project ORE is not a soup kitchen. It is an extraordinary model of caring and compassion; a comprehensive program that sees a homeless person not as just a cup to fill, but as a member of our human family, deserving of opportunity and dignity.


For more information, read about ORE at



Bar/Bat Mitzvah Projects:


Keep watching for projects to appear in this space….






Q. Is it true that the Jewish practice of putting on Tefillin has healing qualities?

Thank you to Karen Hainbach for inspiring this Ask the Rabbi with a recent query.


               I’ve often told people how therapeutic it is for me to attend morning minyan.  As tired as I might be at that time of day, I find that simply being thee helps me top clear my head and orients me toward a prioritization of what I need to accomplish that day.  The mere fact of helping to make a minyan when others invariably need one for Kaddish reminds me of the power of simply showing up, of being there for someone.  Before we even talk about the act of praying, my mere presence has generated powerful meaning and connection.  Our community is healed and renewed daily because of it.


            But other forms of healing are at play as well.  When I said that prayer reorients me, I mean that in more ways than one.  Evidently, the wearing of tefillin, which I do on weekdays, has close ties with oriental healing practices.  I kid you not. 


            Take a look at the diagram below and then check the full PDF article at






               I quote from a recent commentary from Aish on the connection between tefillin and acupuncture: 


Dr Steven Schram finds a connection between the placement of Tefillin (Phylacteries), which Jewish men wear every day during morning prayer, and the exact points on the head, arm and hand used by Chinese acupuncture to "elevate the spirit and clear the mind." According to acupuncturists, the point on the head where Tefillin is placed apparently corresponds to "Tianting (Courtyard of Heaven)," a point whose stimulation is said to calm the mind and balance the spirit, and the point on the arm in which Tefillin is placed apparently corresponds to "Tianfu LU-3 (Heavenly Residence)," one of a group of points called "Window of Heaven" said to have spiritual benefits.


Not only does Chinese acupuncture promote pressure or needles on the exact points on which Tefillin are wrapped, but it promotes treatment of the arm and head before the hand, consistent with the process in Jewish Law for putting tefillin first on the arm, then on the head, and only then on the hand. Acupuncture theory reportedly sees the points on the hand as "multipliers" that increase the effectiveness of the points on the arm and head.


The author of the article concludes "If someone handed an acupuncturist the above point formula (the places where Tefillin are placed) and asked what is being treated, there is little doubt that mental and 'shen' (spiritual) issues would be a strong part of the pattern. What is surprising is that such a point formula would be found in a non-Chinese procedure that has been continuously practiced for many thousands of years.... It seems clear that putting on Tefillin is a unique way of stimulating a very precise set of acupuncture points that appears designed to clear the mind and harmonize the spirit."


Rephrasing this from a Jewish perspective, it seems clear that Chinese schools of thought have built their acupuncture techniques on knowledge that overlaps with the Torah.


               There you have it.  One more fascinating multi-cultural connection – and one more way that tefillin (and Judaism) are really the “tie that binds.”  So plan to join us at the World Wide Wrap at 9 AM on Sunday, Feb. 3.




Spiritual Journey on the Web





If you are looking for a liberal Jewish setting for online text study, you'll find it at the Kollel.   Click on  for some thoughts on Tu B'Shevat and on  for Mishnaic insight on the spirituality embedded in a simple blessing over "the fruit of the tree."'

Tu B'Shevat, the New Year of Trees, occurs next Monday night and Tuesday.  Some suggested links for further study: A nice introduction can be found at (from the "Jewish Virtual Library  -- while you're there, check out the rest of this valuable site, including the "Breaking News" section at .  We're not doing a Tu B'Shevat Seder here this year, so why not do one at home?  See some background on the subject at   You can find a number of Tu B'Shevat links (including seders) at  There's so much out there about this holiday that it's hard to separate the forest from the trees, so to speak.

Which brings us to the whole area of eco-Judaism, often emphasized on Tu B'Shevat and a growing concern for many.  Click on to find a fascinating take on "Eco-Kosher and Feng Shui."  This article compares Jewish and Eastern forms of environmentalism, focusing on the rabbinic concept of "Bal Tashchit," prohibiting the needless waste of our natural resources.  Fascinating reading.  To find out more, take a trip to the Teva Learning Center.  "Teva" means nature, and this camping program has become a sort of Jewish "Outward Bound" for many students.  Teva is at and is coordinated by an organization called Shomrei Adama (Keepers of the Land).  Last but not least, there is the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL), found at  Here's there mission statement: "The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life engages Jewish institutions and individuals in bringing the moral passion of Jewish tradition and social action to environmental stewardship in order to preserve the integrity of creation, advance social justice, protect future generations, and strengthen the Jewish community."

This site has numerous educational links and action alerts.  This comes at a time when I fear that action alerts will increase dramatically.  How ironic, that, on this New Year of Trees, with the threats of Ozone depletion and global warming already so real, our forests and wildernesses face uncertainty from an administration that goes by the green-friendly name of "Bush."  Ironic indeed, that under Bush, the environment might just hit , to use another political name of note, its "nadir."

Tu B'Shevat is a fine time to reconnect with that Land of Israel.  Our ancestors in Europe looked forward to that taste of dates, figs and other fruits from the holy land, including (ugh) carob (aka Bokser).  As we read in a nice Tu B’shevat Haggadah at, "After the exile of the Jews from Israel, Tu B'Shevat became a day on which to commemorate our connection to Eretz Israel. During much of Jewish history, the only observance of this day was the practice of eating fruit associated with the land of Israel. A tradition based on Deuteronomy 8:8 holds that there are five fruits and two grains associated with it as a "land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and [date] honey."  Almonds were also given a prominent place in Tu B'Shevat meals since the almond trees were believed to be the first of all trees in Israel to blossom. Carob or St John's bread - was the most popular fruit to use, since it could survive the long trip from Israel to Jewish communities in Europe and North Africa."  I've been checking out "carob" web sites -- this far nothing to recommend.

We can experience the Israeli natural landscape more directly at  Ohr Samayach has a nice catalog of articles on the love of the land of Israel, at  And you can discover just why I treasure my subscription to Eretz MagazineIsrael's National Geographic, by exploring the links to articles and photos based at


You can also check out a site I discovered a few weeks ago (thanks to Don Adelman)

And the best way to show that love, naturally, to be there.  Second best?  Plant a tree: Go to the JNF web site at  No, you won't be able to find a photo of  "your" tree there.  But you will be able to become a modern day Honi Ha Ma'agel (Honi the Circle Drawer). Find out about him at, and bring the kids along for this part of the journey (nice music too at this site).  "Just as those who came before us plant for us," Honi said back in the days of the Talmud (,  "so do we plant for our children." 

Happy Tu B'Shevat!

Quick list of Tu b'Shevat Resources from Canfei Nesharim’s website:

Ecological Problems— Living on Future Generations’ Account
Re-Connecting to Nature
A Jewish perspective on the “tragedy of the commons”
Fruit and Vegetables, Man and Animals
The "Green Belt" of the Torah: For Us and Our Animals
Am I My Planet's Keeper?
The Trees and the Eruv
the Unity and Purposefulness of Creation
G-d, Man, and Tree
Protection of the Environment, Protection of Ourselves
What is Our Responsibility to Other Creatures?
The "Ten Sayings" of Creation: Unity, Multiplicity, and Ecology
Trees are Us
Cosmic Consciousness, Man, and the Worm:
The Trees in Jewish Thought
Use and Re-use
Global Ecology: On the Road to Redemption
Learning Faith and Gratitude Through our Relationship to Hashem's Creation
The Environment in Contemporary Jewish Law
Tree = Man? Or Tree = Man!
Are we lagging Behind on Green Issues?
Shevat Community Campaign




The Beth El Bar/Bat Mitzvah Commentary




Stay Tuned…



Required Reading and Action Items



First, some GOOD NEWS



To raise boys' standards in school, bring in the girls   01/17/08 - It may be popular now to separate boys and girls in school, but a new study by Israeli and American researchers reveals that pupils in classes composed of over 55 percent girls get better exam results and see less aggression than those made up of mostly boys. Girls, they discovered, have a positive influence on both the social and educational achievements of the class. More...

Israeli camera course gives sight to the blind [VIDEO]   01/13/08 - Blind photographers? It may at first seem an unthinkable proposition, but a highly successful photography course set up for the blind by two photography teachers in Israel is proving otherwise. As the teachers discovered to their surprise, the blind have a way of seeing that the full-sighted do not. More...

Yahoo goes Israeli, teaming up with Walla   01/16/08 - Yahoo is the latest multinational to set its sights on Israel after news that it plans to open an R&D office in Haifa, in an effort to compete with rivals Google and Microsoft. Yahoo has also signed a deal with Israel search portal Walla! in a bid to gain a significant foothold in the lucrative Israeli search market. More...

Israeli EDIG Solar provides hybrid solution for cloudy days 01/13/08 - Solar power may be a wonderful alternative energy source but the problem is that it doesn't work on cloudy days. Now Israeli company EDIG Solar has the solution - a hybrid power plant that takes power from the sun when sunshine is available, and switches to conventional energy sources when it is not. More...

Israeli company turns televised sport into whole new ballgame 01/15/08 - Soccer fans rejoice! Courtesy of some clever Israeli technology, the world of sports fandom is beginning to look a lot more professional. Kfar-Saba-based start-up SportVU promises to bring an array of sophisticated data analysis to every televised game - and it's coming soon to a TV near you. More...

New Alzheimer's drug to go commercial, thanks to Israeli research01/16/08 - A team of Israeli scientists has developed a new antioxidant molecule that is small enough to cross the blood-brain barrier to treat neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Yissum, the Hebrew University's technology transfer arm, has now licensed the research to pharmaceutical firm Eucalyptus which plans to develop and commercialize a new treatment based on this breakthrough. More...

Best medicine is huggable, say Israeli doctors   01/15/08 - Most parents could tell you that a teddy or some other soft, stuffed toy is one of the best ways to calm a frightened child. And now there's official proof, thanks to some Israeli research conducted in the aftermath of 2006's Second Lebanon War, which shows that caring for a huggable buddy can help young children shake off the psychological effects of conflicts and terrorism. More...

now for the rest

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



Diplomat: Israel and U.S. Differ on Interpretation of Bush's 2004 Letter to Sharon - Barak Ravid and Nadav Shragai (Ha'aretz)
    The U.S. clarified to Israel during President Bush's visit that it disapproves of all Israeli building in eastern Jerusalem and the West Bank - including in the large settlement blocs, a senior Western diplomat said Tuesday.
    He added that Israel and the U.S. differ on their interpretation of the letter President Bush sent to former prime minister Ariel Sharon in April 2004.
    "The letter refers to major population centers and not the settlement blocs, while stressing that everything must also be decided in the negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians," the diplomat said.


50 Palestinian Rockets Pound Israel - Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff
Hamas fired 50 Kassam rockets and at least a dozen mortar shells at Israel on Wednesday. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel will step up the pressure against militants in Gaza. "We are doing everything in order to target the terrorists so that the Kassam rocket attacks will stop," he said. Mahmoud Abbas telephoned former Hamas foreign minister Mahmoud al-Zahar to offer his sympathy for the death of his son on Tuesday during clashes with IDF forces east of Gaza City. (Ha'aretz)
    See also Six Hurt in Palestinian Rocket Barrage Wednesday Evening - Shmulik Hadad
At least six people were hurt Wednesday evening after several rockets fired by Palestinians in Gaza landed in and around Sderot and south of Ashkelon. (Ynet News)< BR>    See also Palestinian Rocket Barrage Continues Thursday - Shmulik Hadad
Palestinians in Gaza fired 17 Kassam rockets Thursday morning at the Israeli city of Sderot. Three people were injured in the attack and a number of others suffered from shock. Hamas claimed responsibility for the attacks. (Ynet News)


Study: Most Sderot Children Exhibit Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms - Mijal Grinberg and Eli Ashkenazi
After seven years of rocket barrages by Palestinians in Gaza, 28% of adults and 30% of children in Sderot have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a study by Natal, the Israel Center for Victims of Terror and War. Some 75-94% of Sderot children aged 4-18 exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress, such as problems sleeping and concentrating. Dalia Yosef, director of Sderot's Hosen trauma center, asks, "How do you treat and prevent post-traumatic stress when it is not 'post'"? (Ha'aretz)


Palestinians Open Fire on Jewish Neighborhood in Hebron - Nadav Shragai
Palestinian militants on Wednesday opened fire on the Jewish neighborhood of Beit Hadassah in the West Bank city of Hebron. Fifteen bullets were fired, two of which penetrated houses and another hit the playground of the neighborhood's nursery school. No one was injured. (Ha'aretz)


Bad Reviews for Bush in the Mideast - Scott Macleod
President Bush's efforts to rally an Arab coalition to isolate Iran during his eight-day tour of the Middle East seemed to fall flat. Only days after he visited Kuwait, Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Mohammed Sabah al-Salem al-Sabah was standing beside Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in Tehran, declaring: "My country knows who is our friend and who is our enemy, and Iran is our friend." Arab commentators gave Bush little credit for being the first American president to publicly support an independent Palestinian state, focusing instead on what they regarded as his administration's failure to pressure Israel. (TIME)
    See also Bush Ends Mideast Trip Upbeat Despite Skeptics (AFP)


Bush's Impossible Task - David Frum
Bush has staked much of the prestige and credibility of the U.S. - and all the energy of his final year in office - to a renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The Palestinian side continues to demand both a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza - and also the right of Palestinians to migrate to and colonize Israel proper.
    In any peace process, Israel will have to concede territory, water and other hard material benefits. In exchange, Israel seeks only one thing: full and true peace, acceptance by its neighbors, recognition as a normal state entitled to define itself as its citizens decide. But even this one thing is more than any Palestinian leader can afford to concede. They have said it again and againIsrael as a Jewish state can expect no peace. (National Post-Canada/American Enterprise Institute)


Islamic Law Scholar: It Is the Innocent Who Pay the Price for the Incitement by the Preachers of Hatred
The former dean of Islamic law at Qatar University, Abd al-Hamid al-Ansari, told Al-Jazeera TV on Dec. 9, 2007: "When we follow those who preach hatred, confrontation, and conflict, we are the ones who end up losing."
    "I would like to tell you about something I read in the Saudi Al-Watan newspaper, [about] a mother who wrote a letter to Saudi journalist Layla al-Ahdab. In it, she wrote that her eight-year-old daughter, in the third grade, was told by the teacher, during a lesson on monotheism, that...we should hate non-Muslims....The mother wrote in her letter: Do they expect me to hate the Jewish scientist who discovered insulin, which I use to treat my mother? Am I supposed to teach my daughter that she should hate Edison, who invented the light bulb, which lights up the Is lamic world?...I would like to know how this can possibly be, when Allah allows me to marry a woman from among the People of the Book."  (MEMRI)


Bush and Rice Pushing for "Shelf" Agreement - David Makovsky (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

  • The Middle East peace conference in Annapolis marked the first time the U.S. did not mandate a purely sequential approach to the peace process. Instead, Washington now wants issues to be solved in parallel, with the implementation of past obligations occurring simultaneously with final agreement on the core issues of Jerusalem, refugees, and security. Secretary Rice believes that if the core issues were resolved, the Palestinians and Israelis would be motivated to fulfill their earlier obligations.
  • Bush's statements during his visit focused on the final-status issues, with less emphasis on Palestinian institution-building and terrorism. "Just saying two states really doesn't have much bearing until borders are defined, right of return issues are resolved, Jerusalem is understood, and common security measures are in place," he said in Ramallah.
  • But Bush also endorsed the Israeli view that even if these issues were resolved in 2008, a final agreement would "be subject to implementation of the Roadmap." As such, the actual Palestinian state would not exist until the Palestinians improve their security and institutional performance - something that is called a "shelf" agreement.


Israel Asks UN to Condemn Terror Attack on Kibbutz Volunteer - Yitzhak Benhorin (Ynet News)
    Israel wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council president Tuesday regarding the killing of Ecuadorian volunteer Carlos Andres Chavez by a Palestinian sniper at Kibbutz Ein Hashlosa and the Palestinian rocket attacks on Sderot on Tuesday.
    Israel called on the UN to condemn the incidents and the states which aid the terror organizations.
    Israel is entitled to defend itself against a military offensive like any other country under Article 51 of the UN Charter, the letter said.
    The Israeli delegation to the UN has recently been filing a complaint following every terror attack or rockets fired at Israel.


15 Palestinian Militants Killed in Gaza - Amos Harel, Yuval Azoulay, Avi Issacharoff and Jack Khoury
In fighting Tuesday in Gaza, 19 Palestinians were reported killed, 15 of whom were confirmed to be armed militants. One was Hussam Zahar, son of the former Hamas foreign minister Mahmoud Zahar, considered to be a firebrand and one of the leaders of the more extremist wing of Hamas, with close ties to its military wing. Israeli security sources emphasized Tuesday that Hussam's killing had not been planned. He was among a group of Hamas gunmen and was killed in an exchange of fire with IDF forces. The Hamas militants killed Tuesday lost their lives in fighting with IDF forces or because they had been targeted while they tried to launch rocket and mortar attacks against Israeli towns.
    The IDF's current modus operandi in Gaza is characterized by ground forces raids, limited in both time and sc ope, and in targeted interceptions of militants in the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees, as well as Hamas rocket crews. Senior sources in the defense establishment said Tuesday that this could change if the escalation in rocket attacks continues. The firing of the Katyusha rocket at Ashkelon, the second instance in recent weeks, is evidence the city is permanently within the scope of Hamas. (Ha'aretz)
    The IDF entered Gaza City's Zeitoun neighborhood Tuesday to hunt for cells that fire mortars at Israel, and succeeded in hitting two such cells. When Hamas sent in forces to fight the soldiers, it lost 13 men in the ensuing battle.
    Faced with mounting public criticism, Mahmoud Abbas was forced to denounce the "massacre" in Gaza, even though the vast majority of those killed were armed fighters. Abbas is worried about being seen as an Israeli collaborator, while Hamas paints itself as a patriotic organization that fight s Israel. (Ha'aretz)



IDF Kills Top Islamic Jihad Leader in West Bank - Ali Waked
Walid Abid, the commander of the al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad's military wing in the West Bankwas killed Wednesday in Kabatiya, Palestinian sources reported. Abid was responsible for all the organization's activities in the West Bank, including shooting attacks and attempted terror attacks inside Israel. (Ynet News)
    See also Head of Islamic Jihad in Samaria Killed
Walid Abid, 46, has been involved in intensive terrorist activity since the 1980s. He was directly responsible for several murderous suicide bombings, among them the planning of the April 2006 suicide bombing in Tel Aviv in which eleven civilians were killed and dozens wounded. (IDF Spokesman)


What's Mine Is Mine and What's Yours Is Mine - Editorial
President Bush said on Jan. 10 that the agreement between Israel and the Palestinians "must establish Palestine as a homeland for the Palestinian people, just as Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people." The last ten words are the key to resolving the conflict, a missing element whose absence has caused the peace process to oscillate between stalemate and war rather than move steadily toward lasting peace.
    According to the Arab demand for a "right of return," Palestinians have a right to move to Israel, while Jews not only have no right to move to a future Palestinian state, but those who live now within the future borders of that state must leave. This cannot be solved by drawing different lines on a map. It has nothing to do with borders, but whether the Jewish peopl e have the national right to sovereignty anywhere in the Land of Israel. If Palestinians have a right to move to Israel, and Jews or Israelis can't move to Palestine, then the Palestinians are saying: What's mine is mine and what's yours is mine. (Jerusalem Post)


Local Jews Feeling Vulnerable in Chavez's Venezuela - Dina Siegel Vann
The dangerous antics of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, his alliance with Iran, his open hostility toward the U.S. and a number of anti-Semitic incidents have generated widespread concern about the fate of the small Jewish community in this oil-rich South American nation. Venezuela Jewry's heightened sense of vulnerability has resulted above all from two outrageous police assaults, in 2004 and 2007, on Hebraica, the Caracas complex housing the Jewish community center and school, as well as incendiary anti-Semitic reports in major media. Venezuelan Jews are well aware that they enjoy strong support not only from mainstream American Jewish organizations, but also from the U.S. government and important neighbors in South America, notably Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. (Miami Herald)





ISRAEL: Myths and Facts

MYTH #284 [Update of #184]

“Israeli checkpoints are unnecessarily preventing Palestinians from receiving medical attention.”


Israel has instituted checkpoints for one reason – to prevent Palestinian terrorists from infiltrating Israel. If the Palestinian Authority was fulfilling its road map obligations to dismantle the terrorist networks and disarm the terrorists, and its security forces were taking adequate measures to prevent Palestinians from planning and launching attacks, the checkpoints would be unnecessary.

Israel tries to balance its security concerns with the welfare of the Palestinians, and is especially sensitive to the medical needs of Palestinians. Thus, many Palestinians are allowed to enter Israel to receive treatment from some of the finest medical facilities in the world.

Unfortunately, Palestinian terrorists have tried to take advantage of Israel’s goodwill. In December 2004, for example, a Hamas agent with forged documents claiming that he was a cancer patient in need of medical treatment from an Israeli hospital was arrested by security forces. Hamed A-Karim Hamed Abu Lihiya was to meet up with another terrorist, obtain weapons from allies inside Israel, and carry out an attack. That same month, a man recruited by the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade to plant a bomb on the railway tracks near Netanya tried to use false papers indicating he needed hospital treatment to enter Israel. Another Hamas terrorist planning a suicide bombing was arrested in March 2005 after pretending to be a kidney donor.13

“Israeli hospitals extend humanitarian treatment to Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and West Bank. 

These efforts continued when all other cooperation between Palestinians and Israelis 

came to a halt during the most recent intifada.”

— Palestinian obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish14

On June 20, 2005, Wafa Samir Ibrahim Bas was arrested attempting to smuggle an explosives belt through the Erez crossing. Bas aroused the suspicion of soldiers at the checkpoint when a biometric scanner revealed she was hiding explosives. When she realized they had discovered the explosive belt, she attempted unsuccessfully to detonate it.15

Bas had been admitted on humanitarian grounds to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba several months earlier for treatment of massive burns she received as a result of a cooking accident. After her arrest, she admitted that the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade had instructed her to use her personal medical authorization documents to enter into Israel to carry out a suicide attack. In an interview shown on Israeli television, Bas said her “dream was to be a martyr” and that her intent was to kill 40 or 50 people – as many young people as possible.

Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, a Palestinian obstetrician and gynecologist from the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, who has worked at the Soroka Hospital, wrote that he was “outraged at the cynical and potentially deadly suicide bombing attempt.” Dr. Abuelaish said he does research at the hospital’s Genetic Institute and has warm relations with his colleagues. “I make a point, whenever I’m at the hospital, of visiting Palestinian patients,” he said. “I also schedule appointments for other Gaza residents, and even bring medication from Soroka to needy patients in the Strip....On the very day that she planned to detonate her bomb, two Palestinians in critical condition were waiting in Gaza to be taken for urgent treatment at Soroka.”

Dr. Abuelaish added, “Wafa was sent to kill the very people in Israel who are healing Palestinians from the Gaza Strip and West Bank. What if Israeli hospitals now decide to bar Palestinians seeking treatment? How would those who sent Bas feel if their own relatives, in need of medical care in Israel, are refused treatment?”16

The Israeli checkpoint saved the lives not only of countless Israelis, but of the Palestinian would-be suicide bomber. By using this tactic, the Palestinians have reinforced the necessity of retaining the checkpoints and forced Israel to carry out more stringent inspections, yet another example of how terrorists are making life unnecessarily difficult for innocent Palestinians.

Despite a number of other cases where Palestinian terrorists tried to take advantage of the “medical route” to infiltrate Israel, more than 7,000 Palestinians were allowed to travel from Gaza to hospitals in Israel and the West Bank, an increase of 50 percent from 2006, and nearly 8,000 Palestinians were allowed to accompany them.16a


13Jerusalem Post, (June 20, 2005).
14Jerusalem Post, (June 24, 2005).
15Jerusalem Post, (June 20, 2005); BBC, (June 21, 2005).
16Jerusalem Post, (June 24, 2005).
16aYaakov Katz, “Gaza plan: Fill tankers, cut supplies,”Jerusalem Post

, (January 14, 2008).

This article can be found at

Source: Myths & Facts Online -- A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict by Mitchell G. Bard, To order a copy of the paperback edition of Myths and Facts, click HERE.




Joke for the Week


Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream is now available in Israel

in the following flavors:


Wailing Wallnut




Mazel Toffee




Oy Ge-malt


Mi Ka-mocha


Bernard Malamint


Berry Pr'i Hagafen


Choc-Eilat Chip


Simchas T'Oreo


It should be noted that all of these flavors

come in either a cup or a Cohen.



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

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