Friday, January 11, 2008

Shabbat-O0-gram January 11, 2008 – Shevat 4, 5768 Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, C

 January 11, 2008 – Shevat 4, 5768

Rabbi Joshua HammermanTemple Beth El, StamfordConnecticut


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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


“I am from Jerusalem, but because Titus destroyed the Temple, I was born in Poland.”

S,Y. Agnon, Israeli author, upon winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1966







Candle lighting: 4:28 pm on Friday, January 11 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.



5th Grade Class dinner at 6:30

Shabbat Services: 7:30 Friday night in the sanctuary (led by our 5th graders),

No Tot Shabbat  this Friday, but join us next week at 6:45 pm. 

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

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 Bo

Exodus 10:1 - 13:16

1: 10:1-3
2: 10:4-6
3: 10:7-11
4: 10:12-15
5: 10:16-23
6: 10:24-29
7: 11:1-3


Haftarah: Jeremiah 46:13 - 46:28





The Occasionally Ranting Rabbi

President Bush in Israel


If a President of the US visits Israel and no one outside of Israel seems to notice, did it really happen?  Well, in fact it did, and you can read all about it below.  Say what you want about President Bush, no one can doubt his resolve once he decides upon a course of action.  It is for that reason, and that reason alone, that there is a very real chance for some kind of agreement between Israel and the P.A. this year.  It remains to be seen as to whether it will be a meaningful deal, a secure one for Israel or just another version of Oslo 2.   The chances are increased in that everyone has a wary eye on Iran right now and that the leaders of both Israel and the Palestinians are so weakened at home that they need to keep American favor at all costs.   For Israel, there are a number of red lines that cannot be crossed.   It remains to be seen whether Bush will apply pressure in those areas.


The short answer to my question above is, yes, the President was there, and in Israel, everyone noticed.  The main road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was closed off  and Jerusalem itself almost inaccessible – so people had to take notice.  They also noticed that he was there for the first time in seven years as President, inserting himself directly into a situation he had always avoided before.  And they couldn’t help but notice his tearful visit today to Yad Vashem (Bush visits Yad Vashem museum) where he said that the US "should have bombed Auschwitz" during WWII.  That’s almost as historic as the Pope’s apology on the same spot several years ago.


Something did indeed happen over there this week.  Something fell in the forest.  It may be years before we begin to understand exactly what went down.



The Lord is My Chef (and the secret ingredient is Matzah)

Commentary for the portion of Bo by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman


I was speaking to someone this week who works as a sous- chef at a prestigious restaurant in New York.  Given that this week’s portion is “Bo,” it prompted me to look back at a d’var Torah I wrote a little while back…

In the world of outdoor barbecues, the most delicious thing imaginable is a mushy concoction called the S'more, given that name because invariably, those who consume one demand "some more."  Had Hillel only known about this incredible blend of melted chocolate and (kosher) marshmallows surrounded by graham crackers, his Matzah, horseradish and Haroset sandwich would never have been invented.

In world of national Jewish liberation, an almost identical word clues us in to God's most delicious contribution.  When one imagines the divine part in the Exodus, the metaphors that first come to mind might include "Masked Avenger," "Flaming Sword," or perhaps "Raging Sea."  But a closer look shows us that the most appropriate role to assign God in this drama would be that of Cosmic Chef.  And the key word is "Sh'mor."

In chapter 12, a pivotal section containing instructions for present and future Passover observances, a form of "Sh'mor," which means "watch" or "guard," appears no fewer than five times, each with clear culinary overtones.  In verse 6, the Paschal sacrifice is to be "an examination" ("mishmeret") for Israel during the days leading to its being slaughtered, roasted and eaten on the 14th of the spring month.  Rashi says that "mishmeret" refers to inspecting the animal closely for blemishes that could render it unfit.  One could imagine a modern Rashi at Stop and Shop or Waldbaums on the day before Pesach, investigating each head of romaine in the produce section for microscopic bugs.  It takes a discriminating shopper to prepare the perfect meal. 

Then in verse 17, we are instructed to safeguard ("U'shmartem") the Matzot -- a great play on the expression "U'shmartem et ha mitz'vot," ("You shall observe the commandments").  We safeguard Matzah both in the meticulous methods of preparation and in our eagerness to fulfill the commandment by eating it early on the first day of the festival.  As for me, well I respond to this instruction by being a "shmart" shopper, making sure that the box of "Sh'mura" Matzah doesn't end up beneath the jug of Manischewitz wine in one of my twenty five bags of overpriced Passover goodies. 

Verse 24 says "U'shmartem et ha-davar," and verse 25, "U'shmartem et ha-avoda."  These verses demand that we recall how the sprinkled blood from the Pesach offering saved each Israelite household and that this reminding ritual, later known as the Seder, should be observed perpetually and scrupulously.  Verse 25 means, "You shall watch the work," and I can recall paying scrupulous attention to my parents' preparations; how I savor the memories of my mother making the gefilte fish in that big metal pot on the day before the Seder -- although I never actually ate the stuff.

And in verse 34, we read that the food from the original Seder was so good that the Israelites actually doggie-bagged the leftovers and brought them out of Egypt.

But where is God in all this?  Up until now we've been provided with the key ingredients of the recipe, specifically the lamb and the crackers, the protein and the starch.  Finally, in verse 42, we meet the Chef.  Why was this night different from all others?  Because after 430 years of watching Israel ferment as a nation, Le Grande Chef decided that the time had finally arrived to remove the Israelite cake from the infernal Egyptian oven and let it cool.  "Layl Shimurim hu l'Adonai" it is called, "A night of watching for God."

Rashi sees "Shimurim" as "anticipation," implying that God had anticipated this night for centuries, the chance finally to fulfill the Covenant of Redemption made with Abraham.  Or it can mean "protection," for on this night God protected Israel from the terrible tenth plague. 

But for me all the previous ties between "Shmor" and food confirm that on "Layl Shimurim" God was neither a guard nor the original Promise Keeper, but rather a housewife --er, house-spouse -- in the kitchen.  For anyone who has ever cooked anything, there comes a moment of truth, that can't-turn-back instant when the soufflé is either going to stand firm or fall, when the main dish will either be spectacular it won't.  Not even an expectant parent is as nervous as the host of the Seder when the oven timer goes off.  This Night of Watching was God's most anxious moment since that Night of Resting following the sixth day of creation, when God looked around and saw that it was very good.  Only then could God rest from Creation.  God has yet to rest from the Exodus.  On this night, the sacred dish was either going to turn out to be the most delicious S'more imaginable or a rancid, unkosher, unholy mess.

Was Israel ready for freedom?  Would they make it through the Wilderness?  Could they ever get beyond their petty complaints or would their fear ultimately engulf them?  Which enemy would pose the greatest threat, Amalek or self-doubt?  That's what was keeping the Chef awake that long night. 

And at each Seder we ask the same questions:  Is this family ready to go out and bring Torah into the world (add more sweet-smelling cinnamon to the Haroset)?  Have they internalized the lessons we've been feeding them since infancy (add milk...)?  Do they love Israel (...and honey)?  Are they willing to stand up for themselves as Jews (Matzah balls)?  Has our people risen to this generation's unprecedented opportunities to bring holiness (bagels) to the world?  These are questions that not even the wise child (except possibly Julia) could answer.

God the Avenger and God the Shepherd can make a mid-course correction if things don't work out.  God the Cook can not turn back the egg timer so easily, nor can parents and teachers.  Once the dish is done, the dish is done.  But we humans have a distinct advantage: We get to cook the meal again and again, every year, until we get it right.  For God on E-Night, it was a one-shot deal, and this was a recipe never before attempted: Nation of Priests Flambee

Let's take a quick look at those essential final ingredients, added to the mix in our portion.  The roasted lamb was the starring attraction, but without a pinch of something extra, the Matzah, we'd have been left with n'more than a super barbecue.

On the face of it, Matzah was absolutely unnecessary at the time.  But like any culinary masterpiece, and for that matter like the best wines, headache pills and rabbinic sermons, the most important ingredient is the one that can't be tasted right away.  It is the lingering sensation of the wine that stays with us long after the intoxication has worn off.  And I often thank God for videotaped Bar/Bat Mitzvah charges, because I know that the child before me won't really get what I'm saying until he watches the thing five years later.  The Matzah is tasteless, but it never leaves you.  Almost everything we eat is expelled from the digestive system less than a day later.  On Passover it takes two days.  For Matzah, it never happens.  Trust me.  It never leaves.

How do I know that Generation Ex. didn't need Matzah?  Because they had lamb chops.  Because they had enough chèvre to open a chain of cafes in Beverly Hills.  We shouldn't believe this "bread of poverty" stuff; if the Israelites were so poor, why was Moses so reluctant to leave the cattle and sheep behind and take the entire nation to freedom, as Pharoah offered just before the tenth plague?  Lots of innocent first born sons could have been saved if Moses had said, "OK Ramses, we've got a deal, I take the people and you take the cattle."  But he didn't.  I would contend that Israel became as wealthy in Egyptian servitude as Jacob had under Laban, that their "slavery" was far more metaphysical than physical. 

And finally, what was awaiting them just a few days down the road, on the other side of the Red Sea?  Manna!  Better than bread!  A perfect complement for their abundant chèvre.  The last thing they needed was Matzah. 

But Matzah was exactly what the recipe called for, what the Chef required and what we need too.  Aside from being indigestible, Matzah leaves a permanent mark outside of our intestines: the crumbs.  Those magical crumbs are Jewish Pixie Dust.  On Passover, they are everywhere: on carpets, in the car, in the school cafeteria, in our teeth.  Some would call them the eleventh plague, as ubiquitous as frogs and lice..."crumbs here, crumbs there, Matzah crumbs are everywhere."  The Israelites left a Matzah crumb trail from Egypt to Canaan by way of Sinai, and, fortunate Hansels and Gretels that we are, the trail sticks (no wilderness wildlife will touch the stuff) so we can retrace it every year.  

This is the secret ingredient that allows us to rise.  When we point to the crumbs on the carpet, our co-workers, classmates and teachers learn the magnificent story we have to tell.  When we floss thrice daily and curse those omnipresent crumbs, we recall who we are and why we're here.  Matzah wasn't really needed, but the Chef de Chevre knew that this holy concoction required S'more.  Could even the most ingenious human culinary creator have come up with so perfect an additive?  Is there any better argument for the existence of God?



National Jewish Book Awards Announced


You can click on this link to see the full list.  The winning selection is a book that I recently introduced to the congregation for Shabbat morning Torah study – and I’ll be featuring it again this Shabbat. Join us!


Everett Family Foundation


Jewish Book of the Year Award

“How to Read the Bible”

By James Kugel



Jewish Book Council Lifetime Achievement Award

Rabbi Harold S. Kushner




Mitzvah/Tzedakkah Opportunties


Beth El Cares:

Inreach and Outreach







As always, our preparing and serving the food at St. Luke’s Life Works and Pacific House was a huge success.  Every year it takes wonderful people to make this happen.  Apologies in advance if I inadvertently left someone out.


KUDOs and a SPECIAL THANK YOU to the SIXTH grade class who baked delicious, delectable desserts for the residents at St. Luke’s Life Works and Pacific House.  Under the patient guidance of their teacher, Jodi Maxner, the class enthusiastically baked banana breads and chocolate coconut drop cookies in the Beth-El kitchen on the Tuesday and Thursday before winter break.  They only tasted a little (and I heard the treats were yummy), and even managed to leave the kitchen clean!


Also, a special thank you to the Nekritz, Lehrfield, Miles and Wolff families who picked up the food, drink, papergoods and flowers and safely delivered it all to the shelters.


Another special thank you to the THIRD grade class who collected and made toiletry gift packages for the attendees under the guidance of their teacher, Sue Shapiro.


Yasher Koach to Alison Wolff who collected coats, scarves and gloves to donate to the residents of the shelters to help keep them warm this winter.


Thanks also go to our friends in the community, Rosemary Licari and her staff at Court House Square for preparing and donating turkeys, gravy, stuffing and mashed potatoes and to Tom Doyle and his staff at Springdale Florist for donating the beautiful center pieces.


Of course, thanks to our servers: Cheryl, Alison and Rachel Wolff, Fred Mayer, Debbie Mayer, Jared, Liz, Zoe and Ethan Finkelstein, Stacye, Stu, Hannah and Jason Nekritz, Wendy, Richard and Melissa Miles, Suzanne, Rob, Lindy and  Julia Fruithandler, Liz and Eran Vaisben, Elissa Stein and Ted, Jonah, Emma and Naomi Listoken, Norman and Suzanne Stone, Cathy Bernstein and Bud, Hannah and Charlotte, Freund, Josh and Mara Hammerman and Steven and Lieba Lander,  and to those families who volunteered to serve and were turned away.


Finally, thanks to all our food and supply donors:  Cathy Bernstein, Jared Finkelstein, Suzanne Fruithandler, Ronni Ginsburg, Cheryl Goldblum, Joy Katz, Sharon Katz, Vicki Kobliner, Ilene Koester, Laura Markowitz, Robin Minkoff, Ellie Mirne, Stacye Nekritz, Marcy Rathman Eileen Rosner, Cathy Satz, Marcia Shindel, Beth Silver, Elissa Stein, Liz Vaisben, Cheryl Wolff, Nicole Zussman, Jeanne Feore and their families!




Dear Friends,


As many of you know, our 7 year old son, Zev is autistic.  It is difficult to explain what it is like to be a parent of a child who is unable to communicate and form relationships. 


 We pray to God EVERY DAY that we can find the answers to help bring him into “our world” and that we have the strength to be the best parents we can be.


We crave his new words and celebrate each one.

We reward him every time he makes eye contact. 

We describe in detail to him EVERYTHING that we do from washing dishes to tying our shoes.

We calm him down when we have to make a u-turn or when we can’t find a parking space.

We prepare special foods for him without gluten, dairy, soy and nuts and apples.  (His allergies are far too many).

We inject him with the vitamins he needs because he can’t tolerate most vegetables.

We hire speech, occupational, physical and behavioral therapists to work with him throughout the week.

We attend conferences and are up-to-date with the latest Autism information.


And yet – we don’t have the answers.


Autism is the second most common developmental disorder in the United States affecting one in every 150 children born today. Despite some promising discoveries, the cause of autism is unknown and a cure does not exist. Research is crucial. Every 20 minutes another child is diagnosed with autism. Not only must we find ways to improve the quality of life for children and adults with autism, but we also must find a cure, and soon.


Walk Now for Autism is our chance to make a difference in the fight against autism by raising money for autism research and heightening public awareness. Please join us in our fight as we raise $ 15,000 to help fund essential research. You can donate to Walk Now for Autism and join our team online through our webpage at Donations can also be mailed to Autism Speaks using the donation form located on our page or send me a check made out to Autism Speaks. Our team name is Beth David Congregation. Please note this on your check and the donation form.


Please join us in our fight against autism. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of the more than 1 million Americans living with autism today.



Cantor Julie Jacobs


American Jewish World Service

Volunteer Summer 2008

AJWS Volunteer Summer is a dynamic yearlong program that weaves together an in-depth exploration of international development through work and study.  Beginning with a seven-week intensive summer experience abroad, the program provides students, aged 16-24, with the opportunity to make an impact in the world. This includes:

  • Living in rural communities in the developing world.
  • Learning about local traditions and international development.
  • Exploring social justice within a pluralistic Jewish group.
  • Working on service projects such as digging a potable water system; constructing an elementary school; or creating a model farm.
  • Engaging in skill building and networking throughout the year.

Following the summer, participants continue their service in the Domestic Yearlong Program through retreats and projects that continue to develop their skills as advocates for human rights.

Locations: Central America, Africa and Asia
Program Dates:  June 22 – August 13 2008
Application Deadline: February 1, 2008

For more information, including a downloadable application:

Telephone: 212.792.2919




L’dor vador … past, present and future


Our past has done so much to make us who we are as Temple Beth El

 … yet we know so little about TBE’s and individual congregants’ past glories within the Temple and the larger community. How can we better use our past to guide our individual,  congregational and community growth … spiritually and morally, in pride and in membership?


Our future will no doubt be very bright, with many of us involved

… yet, will our grandchildren and their grandchildren even know what we’ve done … or how to further our work for the benefit of themselves, the congregation in their time and the community?


The Temple’s Trustees have authorized a new committee to solve these challenges and exploit new opportunities, and appointed a part president to chair it (Fred Golove) We are currently the only congregation in the community that has formalized a standing committee to REMEMBER, with a mission to help its congregation strategically. .


And YOU can be involved … listen, enjoy and/or work!!!


BETH EL REMEMBERS (our historical preservation and dissemination committee) has been formed and will hold its kickoff meeting on Wednesday night, January 9, 2008, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The meeting will be held in downtown Stamford at the local Jewish Archives, an operation of the Jewish Historical Society of Lower Fairfield County, where we will be joined by the JHS’s Archivist and its world class Historian. The JHS Archives has a large TBE Collection and we will spend some fun time looking through and understanding it. We will then start into our major business of planning the Committee’s work.


All interested adults including teenagers who are b’nai mitzvah are invited to this meeting. Space for this first meeting is limited because of the ample but somewhat limited meeting facilities at the Archives. Please call Steve Landers at the Temple (322-6901, ext. 304) to let us know that you want to attend.  Just before the meeting, we’ll provide address and parking information on a first come first served basis (with the exception that those desiring to join this committee will be given priority for attending).



Bar/Bat Mitzvah Projects:


Keep watching for projects to appear in this space….







from the Jewish Ethicist

Visit The Jewish Ethicist Archive


As we head into a key weekend in the NFL playoffs,

a reminder about the essence of sportsmanship…

Try to imagine the scenario described below occurring tomorrow in Green Bay or Foxboro…

Try to place this message into the context of baseball’s steroids scandal.

We have a long way to go….



Q. If I know my opponent deserved a point and lost it due to the referee's error,

should I rectify the injustice by throwing the next point?


In order to answer this question, we have to examine the role of sports in our culture, and of sportsmanship in sports.


In sports, more than in any other area of life, the ostensible objective is completely artificial. If our true objective were to sink the ball into the basket, we would just get a ladder. If we really wanted to circle the course as fast as we could, we would doff our running shoes and hop on a motorcycle. The entire object of sports and games is to establish a conventional and artificial task, which we then "pretend" is real in order to develop our physical well-being, sharpen our skills, improve teamwork, provide an outlet for competitive desires, and so on.


The problem is that we may get so carried away with the charade that we forget the original aim. Spitballs, steroids and the like advance the fake objectives but irreparably harm the real object of the game. The solution is the ethical ideal of sportsmanship. Good sportsmanship is meant to ensure that the original, constructive goal of competition remains foremost. Someone who puts winning before earnest competition is unsportsmanlike, and ruins the game for everyone.


I think this approach solves your question. A sincere but mistaken referee's call is good luck for you, bad luck for your opponent. Luck is an unavoidable part of life, and of sports. Blowing a point in response would promote the ostensible goal of the game, equitable allocation of points, at the expense of the real goal, which is to have all participants give their best at all times.


This seemingly trivial bit of "sports ethics" has a more serious message. The dual nature of sports has a parallel in economic life. The competitive market system is based on competing for money, but this is a fake objective. The true objective is to organize the productive resources of society for the benefit of all. Business ethics is meant to ensure that the original, constructive goal of economic development doesn't get swallowed up by the wholly artificial goal of making money.


This parallel was eloquently expressed by the original theorist of markets, Adam Smith, who wrote in "Theory of Moral Sentiments" that "in the race for wealth and honors and preferments, every man may run as hard as he can, and strain every nerve and muscle, in order to outstrip all his competitors. But if he should jostle or throw down any of them, the indulgence of the spectators is entirely at an end. It is a violation of fair play, which they cannot admit of."


This message is exemplified in a fascinating and very famous story in the Talmud. When the Roman Empire conquered the land of Israel, they brought with them an impressive degree of economic development. The Talmud tells us that three leading sages sat down to discuss Roman-style progress:

"Rebbe Yehuda opened by saying, How worthy are the acts of this nation: they built marketplaces, they built bridges, they built bathhouses. Rebbe Yossi kept silent. Rebbe Shimon replied, saying: All that they builtthey built only for themselves. They built marketplaces as a place for prostitutes; bathhouses, in order to pamper themselves; bridges in order to collect tolls." (1)


The kind of selfishness Rebbe Shimon is protesting is not that the marketplaces and bridges were built for utilitarian purposes, and not out of purely philanthropic interest. Judaism doesn't condemn people for advancing their self interest. He doesn't say, the Romans are not worthy of praise because they built marketplaces to trade and bridges to provide convenient transportation for themselves. This would be understandable.


Rebbe Shimon's criticism is that even the underlying utilitarian goal was not foremost. The Romans were not interested in healthy trade, but rather in debauchment; they were not interested in transportation, but only in enriching themselves. They did promote economic development, but what really interested them was a mere side effect. Rebbe Shimon risked the wrath of the Roman authorities to emphasize that this is an illegitimate approach to development.


In business, like in sports, keeping score is a legitimate and valuable way of motivating people and inducing them to give their best. But just as sportsmanship in games reminds us that winning is not what's ultimately important, business ethics reminds us that we don't win the game of life by accumulating the most "monopoly money," but rather by doing the most good with our God-given talents.


SOURCES: (1) Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 33b.



Spiritual Journey on the Web 


Israel at 60 – A Collection of Israel-related Websites

(thanks to the CT Valley Region of the USCJ for sending these valuable links)



 Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) - Guide to the Mid-East peace process


(MFA) The Peace Process: Key speeches by Israeli leaders


(MFA) Facts About Israel: History


(MFA)Historical overview


Israel Science and Technology site: Brief History of Israel and the Jewish People




(MFA) Israeli Governments of the State of Israel


(Knesset) All Governments of Israel




(MFA) Israel Wars


Israel Palestine Conflict


MEMRI: The Middle-East Media Research Institute

This website provides information on various subjects relating to the ongoing conflicts with Israel and its surrounding countries.


Israel and Palestine: A Brief History   

This webpage is mainly dedicated to explain the history of Israel's geography. 




Facts and logic about the Middle East (FLAME)


Israel21C is a site that is dedicated to informing the public about the Israel that exists beyond the pervasive imagery of conflict. You will only find "positive Zionism" on this site.



Israel at 50- Economic Achievements





The Agricultural Research Organization of Israel



A focus on Israel's world recognized excellence and innovation in health, medicine and science




A focus on Israel's institutions, businesses and people whose technology innovations are changing the way we live and work.


Arts and Culture

A focus on Israel's flourishing world culture and the performing arts.


Arts, Culture and Sports



Video Catalog of the Public Affairs Department


Photo Exhibits of Israel


Shopping Israel- for music, art, books, jewelry and Judaica (for purchase only):


Art City


Israeli Art Gallery:


This website contains general information on various entertainment genres in Israel, such as visual arts, music, museums, literature and more.


Sports in Israel (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)


The Ministry of Science, Culture & Sport is in charge of setting up and leading Israel's policy on Science, Culture and Sport issues, by promoting various projects and establishing infrastructure in various fields.  



Hasbara – Israel Advocacy


Israel Hasbara Committee: Disseminating truth about the Jewish people

A website dedicated to fight falsehoods and distortions of truth about Israel and its existence. It is Public Diplomacy for Israel.


Israel Activism: The official website for Hasbara fellowships

Hasbara Fellowships, a program spearheaded by AISH International, educates and trains university students to be effective pro-Israel activists on their campuses.

This website also features various articles from Hasbara fellows, fact sheets, university campaigns and more.


Hasbara Israeli Advocacy: Your guide to the Middle East conflict


An Activist's Guide – What you need to know to fight for Israel's security



United Jewish Communities - World Jewry Israel Advocacy Resource Guide



Other useful sites -

This is a link to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs bookmarks on the following subjects:

government | (govkibbutz) | archeology | culture | economics | education |  health | holocaust | Jerusalem | Jewish world | news | elections | public orgs | sports | tourism | Zionism | web portals (can subscribe to get these press releases directly)  - Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs site. Although this site was listed in several categories above you may want to go to the home page to see what else is available.  - Promoting responsibility I Middle East reporting  a wealth of information including some very interesting historical pictures  Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs Awesome Seminars Where Learning and Laughter Meet – Neil Lazarus National Photo Collection  One Voice aims to amplify the voice of the overwhelming but heretofore silent majority of Israelis and Palestinians who wish to end the conflict. The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies in Israel. This includes many useful publications that can be downloaded. Jewish History on the Jewish Zionist Education site of the Jewish Agency.


Quick list of all Tu b'Shevat Resources:

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 - Israeli Videos from YouTube

Cafe Cited For Coexistence Efforts JTA

Learning to Change the World One Course at a Time

Refuah Conference – A Festival of Positive Energy 

All of modern technology that controls everything we do is based on quantum physics – 

meaning, as astronomer Sir James Jeans said, '

The universe is beginning to look less and less like a great machine than like a great thought.'

... Read More »


Israeli media software makes online video addictive  

01/10/08 - Israeli media management platform TVinci 

seamlessly combines online video with the social networking dynamic of Web 2.0. 

Now part of the new MTV Israel website, 

the platform is lauded as an intuitive, compelling way to plug in to the web's most entertaining content. 



Tel Aviv students come face-to-face with the Third World  

01/08/08 - Students from Tel Aviv University made the trip to Minjingu in Tanzania for a second year, in an effort to improve the morale of villagers whose children suffer an abnormally high incidence of serious bone deformities. From renovating the local kindergarten to clearing ground for a new basketball court, the Israeli students gained a whole new perspective on African life. More...


Visit the Sh'ma Home Page!

The most recent issue of Sh'ma is devoted to the exploration of sexuality and gender expression. We focus our attention on the porousness of sexual preference and the diversity of gender — and how Jewish cultural, religious, and communal life might begin to reflect and address the wider breadth of human experience. Visit Sh' for the following:

* In an exchange of letters, Judith Plaskow and Elliot Rose Kukla explore the potential and limits of a shared transgender and feminist movement.

Danya Ruttenberg writes about teaching Jewish sexual ethics to teens, and four teens respond. Even otherwise liberal people often fear that speaking frankly about sexuality, in all its messy complexity, will encourage young adults to become sexually active—but this is unrealistic.

now for the rest

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


President Bush Visits Israel


  • Bush's Mideast Muddle - Michael Oren
    Mr. Bush's policies previously seemed unequivocal. He repeatedly affirmed America's support for Israel's identity as a Jewish state, and so ruled out the Arabs' demand for the resettlement of millions of Palestinians within Israel's pre-1967 borders. He further recognized the reality of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and insisted that any agreement take that reality into account. Most importantly, Mr. Bush had reversed the once-sacrosanct formula through which the Israelis first ceded territory to the Arabs and only then received peace, insisting that the Arabs first eschew terror and recognize Israel's existence before regaining land. The president upheld Israel's right to defend itself, while stressing the Palestinians' duty to dismantle terrorist infrastructures and abjure violence.
        Since Annapolis, however, much of this paradigm has been jettisoned. While the old George Bush deemed the end of terror as imperative for peace and the containment of Iran as the prerequisite for eliminating terror, the new George Bush focuses on Israeli settlement-building and hesitates to confront Tehran. Presidential visits are always characterized as "historic," but Mr. Bush's trip is marked by a lack of momentousness. Israelis will greet Mr. Bush exuberantly, but his departure may leave them grappling with terror largely on their ownThe writer is senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. (Wall Street Journal)


  • Olmert Tells Bush of Iran's Deception Plan - Ben Caspit
    Prime Minister Olmert presented President Bush with proof gathered by Israeli intelligence of the existence of Iran's "third nuclear program." The material included evidence of systematic Iranian deception of the West. According to the information presented by IsraelIran is continuing to advance in two vital areas: uranium enrichment and ballistic missile development. This progress indicates that Iran has not stopped its efforts to achieve a military nuclear capability. (Maariv-Hebrew, 10Jan08)

    See also Olmert Tells Bush Construction in Jerusalem to Continue - Roni Sofer
Israel will not stop building in eastern Jerusalem's Jewish neighborhoods and in the settlement blocs, Prime Minister Olmert told President Bush on Wednesday. (Ynet News)


  • Libya Thwarts Security Council Censure of Missile Strike from Lebanon - Shlomo Shamir and Barak Ravid
    Libya, which last week took over the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council, is hindering diplomatic efforts spearheaded by Israel to issue a resolution condemning Tuesday's Katyusha strike on the Galilee, Ha'aretz has learned. Libya also seeks to include language condemning the Israel Air Force flights over southern Lebanon in any resolution. (Ha'aretz)



  • Baby Steps - Dennis Ross
    Both the Israeli and Palestinian publics have to be willing to take a second look at peacemaking. Israelis say, "We left Lebanon, and look what happened. We left Gaza and Hamas took over. Not for a single day has rocket fire ceased. Why wouldn't the same thing happen in the West Bank, leaving our entire population vulnerable?" Palestinians say, "Israelis build settlements in what should be our state and restrict our movement. If we can't go from Nablus to Jenin, why should we think we will get any of Jerusalem as our capital?"
        Why not ask each side to take steps they are capable of taking and that could still be meaningful to the other side? For example, on the Israeli side, a meaningful freeze on settlement activity - certainly in all areas close to Palestinian cities, towns, and villages - is within Israeli political capabilities and would be rec ognized by Palestinians. On the Palestinian side, a sustained and public effort to stop incitement in the media, schools, and mosques is something Palestinians could do and that the Israeli public would notice. (New Republic/Washington Institute for Near East Policy)


  • Why Is Bush Coming? - Yossi Alpher
    Bush is not coming to make a serious effort to advance a substantive peace process. His visit, like the Annapolis conference that preceded it, does not represent a major turning point in his administration's approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In this regard, his latest attempt to frame the objective of his final year in office as "defining the outlines of a Palestinian state" is decidedly less ambitious than actually solving the conflict. The writer is former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. (


  • No Progress in West Bank Without a Solution for Gaza - Aluf Benn
    The U.S. has no real answer to Hamas' continued arms smuggling or the firing of Kassam rockets at Israel. Until a real solution is found to the rocket fire, Israel cannot withdraw from the West Bank, since this would bring Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ben-Gurion International Airport into rocket range. If Bush wants progress in the West Bank, he had better focus on finding a solution for Gaza first. (Ha'aretz)


Dubya's Real Mideast Agenda - Amir Taheri (New York Post)

  • Over the last three decades, U.S. dependence on Middle East oil has dropped steadily, even as U.S. imports of crude have almost doubled. The Cold War's end spelled the finish of the Middle East as a big prize in the race between the Free World and the Soviet bloc.
  • Instead, the Middle East emerged as the chief source of threats to U.S. national security in the context of a new global struggle between the established order and its challengers, who often act in the name of a version of Islam. But it took the 9/11 attacks to shake America out of its illusions about the region.
  • America removed two of the region's most vicious regimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the U.S. hasn't been the sole beneficiary.
  • The prime beneficiary has been the Islamic Republic in Iran. In 2001, it was in a pincer between the Taliban regime in Kabul and the Ba'athist regime in Baghdad. The Afghan mullahs challenged the Iranian mullahs on religious grounds; the Ba'athists tried to mobilize pan-Arab nationalism against Khomeinism. Those regimes' fall has enabled the Khomeinists to revive their ambitions of regional supremacy as never before.
  • Arab states from Algeria to Yemen to Egypt have also benefited from the fact that Afghanistan and Iraq have become magnets for terrorists who'd otherwise have targeted them.

    See also Bush of Arabia - Fouad Ajami (Wall Street Journal)

  • Bush Arrives in Israel - Barak Ravid
    U.S. President George W. Bush arrived in Israel Wednesday for a visit that will seek to advance peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. "We see a new opportunity for peace here in the holy land and for freedom across the region," Bush said. "The alliance between our two nations helps guarantee Israel's security as a Jewish state," Bush added. (Ha'aretz)


  • OlmertAbbas Agree on Structure for Talks on Core Issues - Roni Sofer
    Prime Minister Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas agreed Tuesday to hold negotiations on core issues according to a "three-level" model. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and head of the Palestinian negotiating team Ahmed Qureia will discuss the core issues in a direct dialogue. The negotiation teams will then discuss the issues in detail. In case of disagreement, Abbas and Olmert will intervene. A senior source at the Prime Minister's Office said that Olmert and Abbas have been discussing the core issues over the past few months. (Ynet News)


  • Palestinian Rocket Smashes into Israeli Home
    Kassam rocket crashed into a private residence in Sderot on Wednesday leaving several people in shock. "I arrive at my brother's house and see a rocket that disintegrated his young boy's bed," Sderot resident Danny Dahan told Army Radio. "[His wife] was at home with their three-week-old son. She ran into the bomb shelter and was saved by a miracle," he said. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also Palestinians Fire Nine Rockets at Israel - Shmulik Hadad
    Palestinians in Gaza fired nine Kassam rockets and a number of mortars at Israel Wednesday morning, just a few hours before U.S. President Bush's arrival in Israel. (Ynet News)


  • Bush on a Divine Mission - Ari Shavit
    George Bush defined his truth concerning the Holy Land in a speech on June 24, 2002. He said the solution to the 100-year-old conflict is a two-state solution, but before that solution is implemented a Palestinian conversion must take place. Only after the Palestinian people undergo a conceptual, ideological and institutional conversion will it be possible to establish a Palestinian state that will exist alongside Israel in peace and prosperity. The right formula is the Bush vision. To act with determination in order to create Palestinian capability before precisely defining the borders of the Palestinian territory. To help the Palestinians bring about their conversion rather than pretending that the conversion has already taken place. (Ha'aretz)


  • Bush Visit Seeks to Counter Iran - Aluf Benn
    Bush's tour of the region became necessary following the publication of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, which played down the seriousness of the nuclear threat and was interpreted in the area as America withdrawing from its commitment to protect Israel and Saudi Arabia from an Iranian atomic bomb. It was no coincidence that the trip was announced a day after the intelligence estimate was released, as the need to assuage America's allies in the region climbed to the top of Washington's list of priorities. Bush will try to give a booster shot to the pro-American regimes of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, in order to slow their fall into Iran's sphere of influence. (Ha'aretz)
        See also No Great Miracle During Bush's Visit - Yoel Marcus
    ush's visit to Israel in his final year in the White House is not a dramatic move to impose a peace agreement on Israel and the Palestinians. Imposing a settlement on Israel has not been on Bush's agenda throughout most of his presidency. His visit to Israel was tacked on to a swing through the Arab countries that are important to America to calm these countries' fear of the Iranian nuclear threat and to ease the embarrassing confusion created by the U.S. intelligence agencies' declaration that Iran is not manufacturing the bomb. (Ha'aretz)


  • Jerusalem Must Not Be Severed from Israel - Aron U. Raskas
    President Bush arrived in Jerusalem to discuss plans for a peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. According to news reports, this settlement may involve dividing Jerusalem - placing large segments of the city, including Christian holy sites, under the control of the Palestinian Authority. It is important to consider the dangers that would arise from any such plan. After centuries of strife, the State of Israel alone has been able to preserve the peace and freedom of Jerusalem.
        Most of the desecrations of Jewish and Christian holy sites in the Palestinian territories have occurred under the rule of the Fatah party, to which many suggest that parts of Jerusalem should now be ceded. Hamas' ascent to power in Gaza, and its threatened dominance of the West Bank, coupled with the increa sing insurgence being attempted by al-Qaeda in the Palestinian territories, adds a growing, and thus troubling, Islamic component to any analysis of the likely fate of Jerusalem's holy sites under Palestinian rule.
        There is little doubt that ceding even a portion of Jerusalem to Palestinian control would strengthen the role of such radicals, much as Israel's retreat from Lebanon and evacuation of Gaza brought Hizbullah and Hamas to prominence. The Buddhist statues of the Bamiyan Valley were reduced to rubble with only the Islamic fundamentalists to blame. Western leaders must do all in their power to avoid being enshrined in history as the ones responsible for bringing to Jerusalem the Islamic regime that destroyed Judaism's and Christianity's holiest sites. (National Review)
        See also Poll: Israelis Support United Jerusalem under Israeli Rule - Elie Leshem
    A significant majority of Israelis oppose a withdrawal to the 1967 borders and feel that Jerusalem should remain the united capital of the Jewish state, according to a new poll conducted by B'nai Brith. Only 26% of Israelis support a withdrawal to the 1967 borders, while 66% oppose such a move. 29% favor a divided Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian state, while 68% support a united Jerusalem under Israeli rule. (Jerusalem Post)


Iran Now Free to Achieve Its Military Nuclear Ambitions: An Israeli Perspective on the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate - Maj.-Gen. (res.) Aharon Ze'evi Farkash, former Director of IDF Military Intelligence (2001-2006)
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

  • After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the EU opened diplomatic negotiations in July 2003 to try to stop the Iranian nuclear program. By the end of that same year, in the wake of the U.S. victory in Iraq, Qaddafi had stopped Libya's nuclear military program. It was in this context of Western detection of their nuclear program and the Iraq War that led the Iranians to halt their nuclear program across the board in 2003. The NIE indeed admits that the Iranian halt in its nuclear programs came about from the international scrutiny and pressure that resulted from "exposure of Iran's previously undeclared nuclear work."
  • Together with developing a nuclear weapon, Iran has been developing an appropriate long-range delivery system. Its Shihab 3 missile can carry a warhead of approximately 700 kilograms over a distance of 1,300-1,500 kilometers. These missiles are under the command of the Revolutionary Guard that reports to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, not President Ahmadinejad. Iranian missile exercises showed that the missiles are aimed at both Tel Aviv and Riyadh.
  • Paragraph C of the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) summary report states that Iran made significant progress in 2007 installing centrifuges at Natanz. Based upon this finding, Israeli military intelligence estimates that late 2009 is the earliest possible date that Iran will be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon.
  • In my view, any distinction between Iranian military and civilian nuclear programs is artificial. The enrichment of uranium, critical to both civilian and military uses, is continuing. Once they have enough enriched uranium, they will be 3-6 months away from building a nuclear bomb if they decide to do so.
  • The NIE has clearly weakened international support for tougher sanctions against Iran and has weakened Turkey and the moderate Sunni countries in the region that were seeking to build a coalition against Iran. So, ironically, the NIE opens the way for Iran to achieve its military nuclear ambitions without any interference.


And now, for another view of President Bush’s trip this week…

Let Us Not Remain the Jews Of Silence (the Jewish Week)

By Rabbi Arnold Jacob Wolf and Steve Masters


The American Jewish community has been one of Israel’s most stalwart supporters since its foundation. We rightly see the Jewish state as our spiritual home, and in times of trouble, never fail to stand by Israel’s side. Why do we not do so in times of hope?

After seven long years of inactivity, President Bush himself flew to Israel and the West Bank this week, in order to try to keep the negotiation process launched in Annapolis on track. His trip marks a possible turning point in decades of bloodshed, as Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas attempt a process of reconciliation — one in which painful concessions will be made, but which is intended to lead to peace and security on all sides. For the first time in years, Israelis, Palestinians and the U.S. are engaged in a genuine effort to resolve the conflict.

Yet rather than encourage such an outcome, most of institutional American Jewry was and remains stunningly silent regarding the Annapolis process — if not openly hostile.

As leaders in our community for many years we find this inexplicable.

For years, every poll conducted has shown that an overwhelming majority of American Jews supports a U.S.-brokered peace initiative between Israel and the Palestinians. Most recently, a survey found that 68 percent of us are more likely to support a presidential candidate who pledges an active role in negotiations, and that 87 percent of American Jews support a two-state solution.

Is there anything else in the American public discourse on which so many Jews agree?

Let’s not misunderstand the stakes: The fact that a clear majority of American Jews — and, not incidentally, a clear majority of Israelis and Palestinians — want a negotiated two-state solution to the conflict, does

not mean it will happen.

The initial Annapolis conference was heartening. It gave hope when, for so long, there has been little. But for that hope to be realized, all those who would see a sustainable peace have to invest real effort in standing by Israel as it attempts to change history. As we consider the outcome of the president’s visit, the fog of war continues to drift over the region — with rockets falling on Israel and Israel retaliating with air strikes on Gaza, resulting in the deaths of several civilians as well as combatants, among them a 3-year-old girl. Alongside the recent controversy over Israeli settlement expansion, this sad continuation of old patterns serves as a terrifying cautionary tale: If the effort launched in Annapolis doesn’t create real change, it will lead nowhere.

When Israel faced war in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the Jewish community’s response was loud and unambiguous: Solidarity rallies were held nationwide as Israel suffered daily rocket attacks, and intense fundraising efforts were launched by every Jewish federation, to provide critical aid to the war’s victims.

It simply doesn’t make sense that we were so present at such a time, but when 20 Arab nations and the leaders of the Palestinian people sit down with Israel’s prime minister, our voice was barely heard. How can it be that our community speaks up in times of war, but not when there is a genuine opportunity to actually prevent war?

Our tradition teaches that we must never abandon hope; nor are we permitted to give up on what we’ve started, even if we’re unable to complete the task ourselves. We survived centuries of persecution to emerge into the light of a newly formed modern nation; we must never allow our hopes and dreams for peace to be extinguished by doubt and despair.

Now is the time for our community to rise to the challenge of peace. Israel desperately needs our support as it bravely struggles to put an end to the cycle of death and destruction through the path of negotiation. There will always be people, on all sides, dedicated to thwarting the chances for peace; it must become our highest priority not to let them succeed.

With many disappointments and seven years of diplomatic neglect behind us, it would be understandable to give up, to allow Annapolis to become yet another sorry by-word, and stockpile supplies for the next war.
But we dare not. If the president’s trip and the broader Annapolis process don’t bear fruit, there’s no way of knowing what disasters will befall Israel and the Palestinians as they await another chance — if, indeed, another chance presents itself.

If the Jewish public truly wants to give the Jewish state the support it needs, we will stand by our convictions, and act. The current U.S. president and the one who replaces him must know: The American Jewish community stands behind the Annapolis process, and demands sustained diplomatic engagement to ensure a successful outcome.

Our love and hope for Israel demand nothing less.

Arnold Jacob Wolf  is rabbi emeritus at KAM Isaiah Israel in Chicago





Israel's Bargaining Chips for achieving its Security Demands

Israel should try and design an alternative negotiation agenda that can facilitate a different 'give and take' dynamic and may allow it to achieve its security demands. Read more...




ISRAEL: Myths and Facts

MYTH #284

"Palestinians prefer to live in a Palestinian state."


Most Palestinians currently living inside Israel’s borders say they would prefer to live in Israel rather than a Palestinian state. In fact, 62% of Israeli Arabs prefer to remain Israeli citizens rather than become citizens of a future Palestinian state.147 Israeli Arabs sometimes say they prefer the hell of Israel to the paradise of Palestine because they know that, despite its faults, Israel is still a democratic state that offers them freedom of speech, assembly, religion, and the press, and respects human rights in general and women’s rights and gay rights in particular, all rights they would be denied under Palestinian rule.

Residents of East Jerusalem began voting with their feet when politicians began discussing the possibility of dividing Jerusalem prior to the Annapolis Conference in 2007. Only about 12,000 East Jerusalemites had applied for citizenship since 1967 (out of some 250,000), but 3,000 new applications flooded Israel’s Ministry of Interior in the four months prior to the meeting.148

With the peace talks resuming after years of stagnation, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians accustomed to the social and economic freedoms in Israel see themselves at risk of losing their rights. For the Palestinians of the Ras Hamis and Shuafat refugee camps, which are a part of Jerusalem, but would most likely fall on the side of Jerusalem apportioned to the Palestinian Authority in any future peace agreement, the preference for staying in Israel is clear. They plan to take advantage of their status as Israeli permanent residents, which allows them freedom of movement, and move to a city well within Israel’s borders and legal jurisdiction. “If they put a border here, we’ll move to Haifa and Tel Aviv. You’ll have fifty thousand people who live here leaving East Jerusalem in minutes,” declared Jamil Sanduqa, head of the refugee camp’s local council.149

Many of the 250,000 East Jerusalemites depend heavily on Israel for jobs, health care, and unemployment insurance. They do not foresee having the same opportunities or benefits under the Palestinian Authority. Palestinians living in Israel want to live normal lives and earn a living to help their family and don’t want to be involved with extremists. “I don’t want to raise my children on throwing stones, or on Hamas,” Sanduqa said.150

One of the proposals for moving toward a two-state solution is a land swap. The idea is that Israel would evacuate most of the West Bank but keep the large settlement blocs that are home to approximately 170,000 Jews. This area is estimated to be 3-5 percent of the West BankIsrael has proposed a land swap of a similar amount of territory now within Israel. One idea is to shift the border so the 45,000 residents of Umm el-Fahm, plus an additional 150,000 Israeli Arabs who sit on 200 square miles of land just northeast of the West Bank, would be a part of a future Palestinian state. The Palestinians swap citizenship; Israel exchanges land. In theory, it’s a win-win situation where everyone gets to be citizens of their own nation. But the Israeli Arabs in these towns, especially Umm el-Fahm, the largest Muslim Israeli Arab city in Israel, are vehemently opposed to being part of the deal.

“We wish to express our sharp opposition to any initiative taken by the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority with regard to our civil, political and human rights,” the heads of the Arab regional councils and cities wrote to Prime Minister Olmert and his cabinet members in response to the land swap proposal. “…We wish to make it clear that as citizens of the State of Israel since 1948-1949…the proposed moving of borders will deprive us of these human rights and tear apart the social and economic ties that have been constructed on the basis of a long and difficult struggle.”

One of the first to sign the letter to Prime Minister Olmert was Sheikh Hasham Abed Elrahman, Umm el-Fahm Mayor and head of the Wadi Ara Forum of Arab and Jewish Mayors. He wrote, “I cannot argue with feelings. I can tell you that we want to work together with the Jewish majority for the betterment of all of Israel. Religiously, politically and socially, we want to remain part of the State of Israel.”151

Not only do few Palestinians want to move to “Palestine,” many Palestinians now living in the Palestinian Authority would emigrate if they could. According to a December 2007 survey, 34 percent of the residents would like to leave.152


147KEEVOON Research, Strategy and Communications, (December 26, 2007).
148Ronny Shaked, “Thousands of Palestinians apply for Israeli citizenship,”, November 7, 2007).
149Joshua Mitnick, “Better the Devil You Know,” The Jerusalem Report, (November 12, 2007).
150Joshua Mitnick, “Better the Devil You Know,” The Jerusalem Report, (November 12, 2007).
151Eetta Prince-Gibson, “Land (Swap) for Peace?” The Jerusalem Report, (November 26, 2007).
152Near East Consulting, Bulletin # II-12, (December 2007).

This article can be found at


Joke for the Week


You Know the Person Next To You Hasn't Been To Shul In Awhile When You Hear Him Say. . .

1. "Hey, my book is backwards."

2. "Isn't it impolite to talk when the minister is talking?"

3. "What's with the beanies?"

4. "Isn't it funny that one person on the stage has a better singing voice than the other ones."

5. "I get the standing and the sitting; when do we kneel?

6. "Does your prayer book have writing in a funny looking alphabet, too?"

7. "Why do people keep coming in even after the service starts? Didn't they know what time it starts?"

8. "Do a bunch of people always get up and walk out just before the rabbi gives the sermon?"

9. "This food after the services is really good, but wouldn't it be better if people waited in line and then only took a little at a time?"

10. "Hey, I remember this part from 'Fiddler on the Roof'!"


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

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