Friday, December 12, 2003

SHABBAT-O-GRAM for December 12, 2003 and Kislev 17, 5764


December 12, 2003 and Kislev 17, 5764

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut


Shabbat Shalom

We now have over 900 on our e-mail list – send your friends and relatives the gift of Jewish awareness – a Shabbat-O-Gram each week, by signing them up at


I am working on a Red Sox conversion form for Yankee fans angry about Andy Pettitte’s departure.  For more information, contact me at my new e-mail address:


Temple Beth El Congregational Shabbaton – Jan. 16 – 18

At the Nevele Grand Resort

 Theme – Dreams: The Spiritual Quest

Guest Scholar: Rabbi Seymour Rossel

Get your reservations in TODAY!!!





Our main services on Shabbat morning and Friday evening are never cancelled, regardless of weather conditions.  Please use your better judgment when deciding how and whether to get here. Tune to WSTC radio for announcements on Tot Shabbat and religious school.  On weekday mornings when Stamford public schools are cancelled or have delayed openings, or on Sunday mornings when religious school is cancelled, the morning minyan is also cancelled for that day.


Healing Service at Stamford Hospital (every 1st and 3rd Friday): 2:30 PM – at the second floor chapel, or on the hospital’s channel 46.  The next one will be this week, on Friday, December 19.  If you know of anyone in Stamford Hospital, please let him or her know.

L’hitraot to our 5th graders who are heading out on their class Shabbaton this weekend!

Friday Evening – Shabbat

Candles: 4:10 PM – (two minutes LATER than last week – spring is on the way!)  (for candlelighting times, other Jewish calendar information, and to download a Jewish calendar to your PDA, click on

Services: 6:30 PM, in the sanctuary - FAMILY FRIDAY, always loads of fun!

Tiny Tot Shabbat: 4:00 PM, in the lobby

Shabbat Morning

Service: 9:30 AM

Special features include:





Children’s services: 10:30 AM (for younger children in the Kindergarten room, for grades 3-6 in the chapel; 7th graders should be in the sanctuary

Torah Portion – Va-Yishlach – Jacob returns, wrestles, and reconciles with his brother Genesis 32:4 - 36:43

Haftarah for Ashkenazim: Hosea 11:7 - 12:12Haftarah for Sephardim: Obadiah 1:1 - 1:21

Our reading is from the third triennial cycle (with slight adjustments). Click on these to see the text in the original and translation and to hear it chanted.

1: 35:16-26
2: 35:27-29
3: 36:1-8
4: 36:9-19
5: 36:20-30
6: 36:31-39
7: 36:40-43
maf: 36:40-43

See a new weekly commentary now available from the UJC Rabbinic Cabinet, at

Read the Masorti commentary at JTS commentary is at: USCJ Torah Sparks can be found at UAHC Shabbat Table Talk discussions are at Other divrei Torah via the Torahnet home page: Test your Parasha I.Q.: CLAL’s Torah commentary archive:  World Zionist Organization Education page, including Nehama Liebowitz archives of parsha commentaries: For a more Kabbalistic/Zionist/Orthodox perspective from Rav Kook, first Chief Rabbi of Israel, go to For some probing questions and meditations on key verses of the portion, with a liberal kabbalistic bent, go to To see the weekly commentary from Hillel, geared to college students and others, go to For a Jewish Renewal and feminist approach go to or to

Saturday evening at 6:15 PM - FAMILY FUN & PASTA NIGHT

Havdalah, followed by a delicious pasta dinner, Israeli dancing and a night out with friends!  Thanks to Joy Katz and Sisterhood for making this special evening come to pass.

Morning Minyan: Daily at 7:30 AM IN THE CHAPEL, Sundays at 9:00 AM IN THE SANCTUARY






Spiritual Journey on the Web

The Litmus Tree

In Susan Sussman’s popular children’s book “There’s No Such Thing as a Chanukah Bush, Sandy Goldstein,” a young Jewish girl named Robin pines for a Christmas tree, and matters only get worse when she discovers that her classmate Sandy Goldstein has a Chanukah bush in her home.  Eventually Robin is comforted when her grandfather teaches her how she can help her non-Jewish neighbors celebrate their festivals, as long as it’s outside of the home.  


The message that Jews constantly receive at this time of year is that it is OK, exemplary even, to help our neighbors celebrate their holidays, but that our homes should remain tree-free at all costs.  In other words, as long as the Evil Evergreen doesn’t sneak past the mezuzah, Jews can have their fruitcake and eat it too.

One of the more intriguing aspects of this holiday season is how Jews, especially children, respond to the overwhelming emphasis on Christmas in our culture.  Yes, we do have a little draydel at the mall, but it hardly holds a candle, so to speak, to the pervasive green and red, and most especially to the tree.  The Christmas tree has become for many a greater litmus test of Jewish identity than any Jewish ritual.  It drives many Jewish kids bonkers (including many from interfaith families) when a Jewish friend has a tree in his/her home.  It’s a fascinating phenomenon that I will be exploring more fully NEXT week in a discussion at Shabbat morning services, and perhaps briefly (though far less seriously) at tonight’s Family Friday.  Stay tuned.  I think you’ll find my conclusions thought provoking and, if I play my cards right, even downright controversial. 

For now, some things to read on the subject include:  Ron Wolfson on the December Dilemma The Disappearing Christmas Tree: One Interfaith Step-Family's Complex Holiday Solution, by Paula Lee Hellman - Population Study Revives Debate over Best Approach to Intermarriage

Many Interfaith Families Face Evergreen Dilemma

Discussing the "December Dilemma" - Christmas confessions of a Jewish girl

And to get a sneak preview of a scholar in residence who will be coming here in March, Noam Zion, read:, “Al HaNissim: Do I Really Believe in Miracles?” from A Different Light: The Big Book of Hanukkah, page 185




Beth El Israel Tour – Next Aug. 1-16




This unforgettable journey has something for everyone:


n      Bar/Bat Mitzvah affirmation service and celebration (with Klezmer music)

n      Wilderness experience in the Negev

n      Exploring Tel Aviv and the mystical city of Safed

n      Visit to an army base

n      Kayaking on the Jordan River, climbing Masada and floating in the Dead Sea

n      Bedouin dinner in the middle of the Ramon Crater

n      Tree-planting ceremony near the home of the Maccabees

n      Visit to our sister city of Afula

n      Visit with Ethiopian families near Jerusalem

n      Briefings from journalists on the current situation

n      Archeological dig in the Judean Hills

n       Tzedakkah project at the children's ward of Hadassah Hospital

n       A glorious Shabbat in Jerusalem





Required Reading and Action Items




The New Anti-Semitism Listen Anti-Semitism is making a dangerous comeback. In just this past month, two synagogues were bombed in Istanbul, and a Jewish school was attacked in Paris. The Anti-Defamation League's Abraham Foxman warns of the growing threat to Jewish communities worldwide. In NPR’s On Point, Foxman on the threat of "the new anti-Semitism." Aired: Tuesday, December 09, 2003


The Return of Anti-Semitism - Craig Horowitz
Israel has become the flash point - and the excuse - for a global explosion of an age-old syndrome. The stunning result of the burgeoning anti-Israel, anti-Zionist emotion is a kind of politically correct anti-Semitism. In this worldview, the "Zionist entity" has no legitimacy and as a result no right to do what other nations do, like protect itself and its citizens. "It's not about this or that Israeli policy," says Malcolm Hoenlein, head of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. "It's about Israel's right to exist." (New York Magazine)


New Mideast Peace Bids - A Pocket Guide 


What's New About Anti-Semitism? (Tikkun)


Anti-Semitism in the Arab World (ADL)


Israel and "Anti-Semitism" by Alexander Cockburn


It's The Terrorists, Stupid - Moshe Arens (Ha'aretz)


Saving Lives: Israel's Security Fence - a special report (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) The right to live free from terrorism must take precedence.



Al-Qaeda's Intellectual Legacy: New Radical Islamic Thinking Justifying the Genocide of Infidels - Jonathan D. Halevi (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


Fence is Good for Palestinians, Too - David Rudge and Nina Gilbert
According to Gilboa Regional Council head Danny Atar, the security fence is a life and death issue for the residents of the region. If fence critics abroad were to live in Israel and experience the day-to-day anxiety of attacks, they would understand the need for the security fence, he said. Atar said he had contacted Palestinians in an attempt to renew ties and resume projects, including a proposed industrial zone near the "green line" that would provide jobs for Palestinians and Israelis, in addition to various municipal projects relating to infrastructure. "Once there is peace and quiet along the border, we can continue these projects to the benefit of all, and the fence gives us that peace and quiet, as evidenced by the fact that thefts and vandalism in Israeli communities in the area have dropped to zero in the past three months since the construction of the fence," said Atar. (Jerusalem Post)


A Break from Israel's Day-to-Day Realities - Steve Chawkins
The two dozen young Israelis were on a two-week U.S. tour organized by the Southern California Jewish Center, an educational group based in Los Angeles. There was the young girl who was severely burned in a 2002 terrorist attack on a hotel in Kenya frequented by Israelis. Fire engulfed her as she tried to drag her mother's flaming body to a swimming pool. There was the 14-year-old boy with permanent brain damage from rocks hurled at him on the street. There was Leor Thaler, 16, who still carries a hunk of shrapnel and a few steel nails inside him. In February 2002 he went out for pizza with his sister, Rachel, and friends when a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing Rachel and two other teenagers, including Leor's best friend. (Los Angeles Times)


Concessions Don't Help - Barry Rubin (Jerusalem Post)


Controversial Fence Proves Its Worth
In Netanya, a city of 185,000 people north of Tel Aviv, there have been 14 terror attacks in recent years, killing 43 people and wounding more than 400. The last attack was in March. The atmosphere in the city has now changed since Israel completed a formidable security barrier, at the edge of the West Bank, 10 miles east of Netanya. Israel Security Agency interrogators have concluded that the fence has become a "significant obstacle," as arrested militants say in their interrogations they have had to devise complicated ways to penetrate Israel. (UPI/Washington Times)


Fantasy - Yossi Klein Halevi and Michael B. Oren
The Sharon government was elected in a landslide victory to pursue a policy fundamentally incompatible with Geneva. The losers of that election are now trying to circumvent the electoral process and, together with the PA, impose their will by summoning international pressure for the Accord in order to delegitimize the Sharon government. Geneva is the product of Israelis who have forgotten how to defend their nation's most basic interests. That was reinforced at the Geneva signing, where Carter blamed the conflict almost entirely on Israel, Palestinians denounced the occupation, and Israelis in attendance spoke only of their hope for peace, without mentioning the Palestinians' violent rejection of the Israeli left's peace offer three years ago.
    We see an Israeli society that has heroically withstood terrorism aimed at demoralizing us and forcing us to sacrifice our most vital national interests. That is precisely what the negotiators of Geneva have done - signed on a document of surrender. After providing the world with an example of strength in the face of terrorism, there is no reason now for Israel to concede defeat. (New Republic)


Israel Quietly Helps U.S. in Iraq, Aides Say
A key U.S. ally behind-the-scenes in the war in Iraq, Israel has been contributing intelligence, tactics, and technology mostly in secret to avert an Arab backlash, congressional aides and analysts said on Thursday. The commander of the IDF's Golani Brigade briefed U.S. Marines in mid-June, and Israel has supplied the American military with aerial surveillance equipment, decoy drones, and D-9 armored bulldozers, sources close to the Israeli government said. U.S. Navy F-18 planes routinely use an Israeli glider, and U.S. A-10 Thunderbolts, F-15E Strike Eagles, and AV-8B Harrier jets are equipped with "pods" that provide real-time images of the battlefield in Iraq. American forces have also made limited use of a helmet system which allows a pilot to more easily target the enemy without maneuvering the aircraft into attack position. Israeli security sources say mass assaults by covert squads of soldiers and swoops by troops posing as Arabs were among the tactics U.S. forces were studying for use in Iraq.
    Yet Israel was left off the White House's much-publicized list of coalition partners, and this week was denied - along with anti-Iraq war countries France, Germany, and Russia - eligibility for lucrative post-war reconstruction contracts. "It's hard to believe that a country like Moldova has done more for the U.S. war effort than Israel," said David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (Reuters)


Israel Working Behind Scenes to Get Iraq Contracts - Ran Dagoni
Israel assumed a long time ago that it would not be included in the list of countries eligible to participate in Iraqi reconstruction tenders. Israel is now working behind the scenes with the Bush administration and the U.S. Congress to obtain access to these projects, Washington sources said Wednesday. The sources said that Israel and the U.S. had no interest in publicizing their discussions on this very sensitive issue since the two countries were "under an international microscope." The sources added that the provisional Iraqi administration would oppose any Israeli presence and Israel was aware of this sensitivity. Israel is requesting, however, that it be given the opportunity to serve as a subcontractor in telephony, infrastructures, irrigation, and other projects, and as a supplier of inputs, since it supported the U.S. war in Iraq. (Globes-Israel)


Donors Press Palestinians on Security
Donor nations, in Rome for their annual meeting, put new pressure Thursday on the Palestinians to crack down on militants and clean up their finances, suggesting that future aid could be in doubt if there is no improvement, diplomats said. International aid accounts for 60% of the annual budget of the Palestinian Authority. "There are signs of what you may call donor fatigue," said Jakken Biorn Lian, Norway's special envoy to the Middle East. "In the absence of results, I foresee an increased donor fatigue, which will result in a diminishing of the means that will be going to the Palestinians." (AP/Washington Post)


U.S. Diplomat Says Palestinian Reform All But Halted
''I will be blunt. The reform process is at a near standstill,'' Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Satterfield said in a sharp assessment delivered to the Quartet task force on Palestinian reform in Rome. Satterfield called on the new Palestinian government to take a series of actions, including: unifying and reforming Palestinian security services; direct deposit of all security service salaries; adoption of a revised elections law; passage of capital markets legislation; and restraint in Palestinian Authority wages.
    The U.S. diplomat also faulted Israel for not having done enough to help the process of Palestinian reform. ''Continuing Israeli restrictions on movement, and the consistent failure to issue permits to Palestinians identified as critical to the success of the reform effort, significantly hamper the Palestinian reform agenda,'' he said. ''Quite simply, there is much more that the Israeli government can do and should do - without compromising its legitimate security interests.'' (Reuters/MSNBC)
    At a meeting in Rome Thursday with European nations that help finance the PA, David Satterfield said, "The Israeli government has done too little for far too long to translate its repeatedly stated commitment to facilitate Palestinian reform into reality." (AP/Washington Post)


The Price of Intransigence - Mortimer B. Zuckerman
Today there are headlines once again about formulas for a settlement, but it is clear that the Palestinians are far less prepared for peace than they were a decade ago. Suffused with messages of hate, indoctrinated early in the schools, and subjected to poisonous broadcasts in the media and the mosque, they nurture a culture that longs not for the creation of a Palestinian state but for the destruction of the state of their Israeli neighbors.
    The majority of Israelis have concluded that a comprehensive peace is not possible in the foreseeable future. Given that wishful diplomacy is dead, there is only one course for Israel. That is to continue building its defensive physical barrier between itself and the West Bank. 80% of Israelis from both the left and the right consider the fence an absolute necessity as a last resort in protecting themselves and their children from terror. A fence is an imperative, given how many Palestinians still want to see the onslaught of terrorism against Israel continue. Until there is a successful negotiation between Israelis and Palestinians resulting in a peace agreement truly worthy of the name, the message must be that when one society declares war on another, there will be a price to pay. A substantial price. (U.S. News)


Powell Meets with Moderate Palestinian
Secretary of State Colin Powell gave fresh encouragement Thursday to private peace efforts in the Middle East, meeting with Palestinian intellectual Sari Nusseibeh who, along with former Israeli security official Ami Ayalon, is seeking Israel's withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and Assistant Secretary of State William Burns were also present. "The secretary welcomed our effort," Nusseibeh said. (AP/Washington Post)


The Israel "Threat": Making of a Myth - Robert A. Levine (Washington Post)

  • Here is how a public myth is born and becomes embedded in the global consciousness as a pseudo-fact even though it is incorrect and even dangerous. This one says that Europeans are turning against Israel.
  • Since the beginning of November, world media have given wide coverage to the striking response to one question in a complex survey taken within the nations of the European Union by the European Commission. The finding, as put, for example, by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, is that: "59% of EU citizens now consider Israel the greatest 'threat to world peace.'"
  • But that does not happen to be what the survey reports. Rather, the 59%, when asked the question, "For each of the following countries, tell me if in your opinion it presents or not a threat to peace in the world?" answered "yes" for Israel. The other top losers were Iran, North Korea, and the United States at 53%, Iraq with 52, and Afghanistan with 50.
  • That most Europeans consider Israel, a country at war, to be a threat to peace is quite different from their believing that the Jewish state is the "greatest threat." Respondents were asked to list as many threats as they wanted; they were not asked to think hard about which they thought to be the greatest single one.
  • In fact, the five countries gaining the disapprobation of 50% or more of Europeans are involved in combat (Israel, Iraq, the United States, Afghanistan) or are presenting the world with new nuclear challenges (North Korea, Iran). All the survey says is that most Europeans believe that countries at war are threats to world peace. Surprise!

The writer is a Los Angeles-based economist and former deputy director of the Congressional Budget Office.



The Hate that Shames Us - Julie Burchill
Some people use the Jews as a sort of warped magic mirror, accusing them of things that they themselves are obviously guilty of. Attacks on Jews in Britain have risen by 75% this year; and since 2000, there has been a 400% increase in attacks on synagogues. Make no mistake, the Jews are not hated because of Israel; they are hated for their very modernity, mobility, lust for life, and love of knowledge. Their most basic toast, "L'chaim!" (To Life!), is a red rag to those who fetishize death because they have failed to take any joy from their life on earth. (Guardian-UK)


Israel Seeks to Strengthen Qurei - Margot Dudkevitch
Since October, Israel has refrained from targeted killings of suspected terrorists as a gesture towards PA Prime Minister Qurei in an attempt to help him strengthen his position. However, terrorist organizations have not stopped planning attacks, said officials, who received 47 warnings of plots this month. In the Gaza Strip, officials reported a significant increase in attempts to attack soldiers and Israeli communities, and hundreds of Palestinians actively involved in the terrorist infrastructure. (Jerusalem Post)



The Highest Level of Tzedakkah

For many months we have been posting job information and situation wanted blurbs on behalf of congregants seeking to change their professional situation. We are now going to be taking our concern to the next level, with the creation of a job bank jointly with Temple Sinai.  The committee will be kept intentionally small, with one person from Sinai and one from Beth El administering it, along with the rabbis.  The goal will be to enable congregants and others to post resumes, queries and job openings where they will get maximal exposure.  I will also continue to use the Shabbat O Gram and individual e-mails to help match people with job opportunities.  If you would like to be the Beth El lay representative on this project (the Sinai person is already in place), please e-mail me ASAP.


A Zillion Hanukkah Links – Guaranteed to Last for Eight Nights (and then some)!

Nice articles on the spirituality of lighting the candles: and

Listen to (and watch, via streaming video)) Israel’s song in the 2002 Eurovision contest, “Light a Candle,” sung by Sarit Hadad.  It’s half in English and half in Hebrew, and in its simple yearning for hope captures beautifully the mood in Israel today:

CLAL Holy Days: Hanukah By Joseph Telushkin 

This Ritual Life CLAL Faculty on Rededicating Your Home at Hanukah

Links and lots of material:

Educator Cherie Kohler Fox's eight ways to celebrate Hanukkah meaningfully:

Chanukah educational links, coloring books, songs, etc

Hanukkah @ JTS

Virtual Jerusalem - Chanukah Megasite Real Audio (blessings, classes, songs)

Chanukah Fun & Coloring Book (Torah Tots)

Kidskourt Hanukkah Coloring Pages

Kid's Domain Chanukah Coloring Pages

My Hebrew Dictionary - Chanukah Related Words

Akhlah for Kids (includes blessings)

Everything Jewish: Hanukah

Being Jewish: Chanukah Gateway Chanukah

Jewish Holiday Consumer - Chanukah

Project Genesis - On-Line Menorah

ORT's Hanukkah section

Torah From Dixie Chanukah Articles

NCSY: Chanukah Articles

Neveh Zion Chanukah Pages

Halacha sheet for Chanukah

Darche Noam Chanuka Page

Israel Museum: Galleries of Menorah (English & Hebrew)

Machon Chagim: Chanukah (English)

Machon Chagim: Chanukah (Hebrew)

Jewish Agency: Chanukah (Easy Hebrew)

Judaism 101: Chanukkah

Chanukah Gateway

JIS: Online Chanukah Course

Chanukah on the Net

Nishmas: Customs of Chanukah

For Every Jew: Chanukah

DundaWare ShockDreidel (req. Shockwave)

CleverMedia: The Hanukkah Dreidel Game (req. Shockwave)

ZigZag Hannukah Lights (req. Java)

Chanukah Word Search (req. Java)

Not Just for Kids: Hanukkah Certificates

Hanukat: Celebrate Hanukkah with the Kids

It's not your Father's Hannukah (Yet it is...)

Billy Bear's Hanukkah

Surfing the Net: Hanukkah Coloring Book

History Channel: Amazing Hanukkah Feats (largest...)

Hanukkah in CyberSpace

ICJI: Chaunkah

Misrash Ben Ish Hai (Sepharadim customs)

WZO - Holidays with a Twist (Humor, 1996)

Virtual Chanukah (Russian, 1999)

Clipart for Hanukkah Clipart

Free Graphics Chanuka Graphics

Bitsela Hanukkah Clipart

Hanukah - Jewish Agency Pedagogic Center

JOI Hanukkah Activities

Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song (Humor)

Chanukka Midi Music

Chanukka Humor

RFCJ: Hanukah Recipes

Epicurious: Chanukkah Recipes

Blue Mountain Animated Greeting Cards

Care2 Animated Greeting Cards

123 Greetings

Sealing Wax Greeting Cards

Awesome Animated Greeting Cards

Judaic Greeting Cards by Raz

Greetz Greeting Cards Greeting Cards








“Here in this part of the world, names do not change. [In the Bible], Jerusalem is Jerusalem, Jericho is Jericho…Bethlehem is Beit Lechem [and] Hevron is Hebron… I like to look at people standing around the Washington Monument… I see their bright eyes, you know, it’s a wonderful, beautiful place. But that is 200 years old. We speak here of the Cave of the Patriarchs, that is a monument that is 4,000 years… Rachel’s Tomb, Shiloah…Beit El, you open the Bible [and] you find all those places…It is painful to talk of compromise. These are the places where our people were born. But [Israel] is ready to make those painful concessions for genuine, durable, real peace. I am ready to do it.”--P.M. Ariel Sharon also emphasized that should peace talks with the Palestinians break down, he is preparing “a complex, unilateral security and diplomatic plan”. (Boston Globe, Jerusalem Post, Dec. 9)






Sunday, December 21st at 4:00 p.m.

Led by Cantor Deborah Jacobson

featuring our TBE Adult & Jr. Choirs and YOU!

Potato latkes, sufganiyot, candle lighting, dreidel tournament, raffles, prizes, A SPECIAL GIFT FOR EVERY CHILD TO TAKE HOME, special guest appearances, FUN FOR ALL AGES!



USY Gift Wrapping Service for Charity!

DECEMBER 14th (during Hebrew School) 8:30am - 1:30PM

Please help support the needy by allowing USY to wrap your holiday gifts for only one dollar per item.  The proceeds will be donated to a worthwhile charity and we will also be accepting donations of wrapping paper and toys to give to kids in need.

Please stop by and support our Young Adults in performing "Tikun Olam" - repairing the world!



WEDNESDAY, Dec. 17, @ 7:30





"Sacred Passages: A Multicultural Exploration of the Peak Moments of Our Lives."



Rabbi Joshua Hammerman -- Temple Beth El

Rev. Douglas McArthur - First United Methodist Church

Dr. Behjat Syed -- Dr Syed is a lay representative of the Stamford Islamic Center and a chiropractor, who has spoken in Islam before many groups locally.





Save the dates for these two VERY IMPORTANT events:





with Nigel Savage of Hazon





January 30, @ 7:30




Helen Golin Judaica Gift Shop


Hannukah is December 19-26, 2003!


Visit the gift shop for all of your Hanukkah needs:

Dreidels, menorahs, candles, gelt (chocolate, of course!).


For those of you traveling during the winter break, we have electric menorahs, too, plus lots of gift ideas for all ages:

Games, puzzles, books and music, jewelry, keepsake boxes, Judaica items


Are you going to a party? Some suggestions for hostess gifts:

Wine bottle or wine glass coasters, small jeweled boxes, pretty serving dishes, decorative dreidels


As always, all of our merchandise is discounted 20% off of retail prices!!!


The Gift Shop is open Monday and Thursday 4:00-6:00 p.m. and Sunday 10:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. For added convenience, during the month of December only (until Hanukkah) it will be open on Wednesday mornings from 9:30-11:00 a.m.


If you have any questions, please call Mia Weinstein at 595-0528.  Happy Hanukkah!



Lunch and Learn Series

Led by Rabbi Joshua Hammerman


Judaism, Business and Ethics for Our Time –


Using rabbinic sources, the group will explore the ethics of the marketplace, including deceptive advertising, employer-employee relations, consumer rights (and wrongs) and insider trading.


Meets Monthly, next THIS COMING Wednesday, Dec. 3, 12:30 -1:30


At Benjamin and Gold, P.C., 350 Bedford Street 4th floor

Parking in rear of building (at corner of Pedigree Ski Shop), or metered parking on the street in front of building and also behind Baby and Toy Superstore, across the street.

(many thanks to Dan Benjamin for providing the space)






TGIS (Thank God it’s Shabbat)


A rotating series of Friday night experiences

For all tastes and all ages

At 6:30 PM

Week 1 --- in the chapel, a traditional Beth El Service

Week 2 --- in the Sanctuary, Family Friday

Week 3 --- in the lobby: a creative Theme services


Week 4 --- a Carlebach-style service, featuring Hasidic nigunim and joyous meditation.


Plus our ongoing Tot Shabbat series (weeks 1 and 3 at 6:45, and Tiny Tot Shabbat on week 2 at 4)






2003 Christmas Dinners at Pacific House & St. Luke’s Lifeworks

It’s time to begin planning for our annual dinners at local residences!  If you would like to help, please email Sue Greenwald-  or call 329-1662.






On February 1, 2004 at 10am, Sisterhood will present special guest speaker Rabbi Alan Silverstein, renowned lecturer on Jewish Continuity and author of It All Begins With a Date: Jewish Concerns About Intermarriage  and Preserving Jewishness in Your Family After Intermarriage Has Occurred.  Learn how to raise your children to value Judaism and to date within the faith, as well as how to preserve Judaism within interfaith marriages.  For parents of children of all ages. 


“Through Their Eyes: Paintings by Autistic Adults”

an exhibition at the JCC, for the benefit of

ALUT: the Israeli Society for Autistic Children

Dec. 10 – Jan. 16

Opening Reception: Sun. Dec. 14, 3-5 PM


Time for a Joke (two, really)

The Mystery of Jewish Optimism (thanks to Cantor Jacobson for forwarding this one)

A story is told of a Jewish man who was riding on the subway reading a Middle East Arabic newspaper. A friend of his, who happened to be riding in

the same subway car, noticed this strange phenomenon.

Very upset, he approached the newspaper reader: "Moshe, have you lost your mind? Why are you reading an Arabic newspaper?"

Moshe replied: "I used to read the Jewish newspaper, but what did I find? Jews being persecuted worldwide, Israel being attacked, Jews disappearing through assimilation and intermarriage, Jews living in poverty. So I switched to the Arabic newspaper. Now what do I find? Jews own all the banks, Jews control the media, Jews are all rich and powerful, Jews rule the world. The news is so much better!"


A minister, a priest and a rabbi went for a hike one day. It was very hot. They were sweating and exhausted when they came upon a small lake. Since it was fairly secluded, they took off all their clothes and jumped in the water. Feeling refreshed, the trio decided to pick a few berries while enjoying their "freedom." As they were crossing an open area, who should come along but a group of ladies from town. Unable to get to their clothes in time, the minister and the priest covered their privates and the rabbi covered his face while they ran for cover.

After the ladies had left and the men got their clothes back on, the minister and the priest asked the rabbi why he covered his face rather than his privates. The rabbi replied, "I don't know about you, but in MY congregation, it's my face they would recognize."



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


The Web link for this week's Shabbat-O-Gram is - - The site is continually updated during the week with corrections and additions.  Feel free to forward this link to your friends. People can subscribe to the weekly Shabbat-O-Gram at   I also send out mailings to college students, Gen Xers and teens, so let us know if you wish to be placed on any of those lists.  If you wish to unsubscribe, contact  

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