May 16, 2003 and Iyar 15 5763
Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut
I’m aching to put some graduation Mazal Tovs right in this space! Please send them along!!!
IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SPONSOR A SHABBAT-O-GRAM IN HONOR OF YOUR FAMILY’S SIMCHA AND HELP OUR CONGREGATION AT THE SAME TIME – SIMPLY SEND A CHECK FOR $100 TO THE TEMPLE OFFICE, INDICATING THAT IT’S TO SPONSOR A SHABBAT-O-GRAM, LET US KNOW WHO IT IS HONORING, AND WE’LL DO THE REST! YOUR SIMCHA WILL BE SHARED WITH THE HUNDREDS OF OTHERS WHO ARE ON OUR MAILING LIST OR WHO HAPPEN BY OUR WEB SITE.
Previous Shabbat-O-Grams can be accessed directly from our web site (www.tbe.org).
E-mail from the Front”
Some new mail is in. Go to http://www.tbe.org/sog/Emailfromthefront.htm and scroll down to the most recent entries.
JUST THE FACTS… (note Fri. night – 7PM)
Candles: 7:47 PM
Tot Shabbat: 6:30 PM (in the lobby, or, in the case of rain, in the social hall)
Kabbalat Shabbat Service: 7:00 PM, OUTDOORS, WEATHER PERMITTING (otherwise in the lobby)
Service: 9:30 AM
MAZAL TOV to Alyssa Mark, who becomes Bat Mitzvah this Shabbat morning!
Children’s services: 10:30 AM
Torah Portion – Behar
Read the Masorti commentary at http://www.masorti.org/mason/torah/index.asp. JTS commentary is at: http://learn.jtsa.edu/topics/parashah/. USCJ Torah Sparks can be found at http://uscj.org/item20_467.html. UAHC Shabbat Table Talk discussions are at http://uahc.org/torah/exodus.shtml. Other divrei Torah via the Torahnet home page: http://uahcweb.org/torahnet/. Test your Parasha I.Q.: http://www.ou.org/jewishiq/parsha/default.htm. CLAL’s Torah commentary archive: http://click.topica.com/maaaiRtaaRvQhbV2AtLb/. Nehama Liebowitz archives of parsha commentaries: http://www.torahcc.org/nechama/gilayonarchives.htm. For a more Kabbalistic/Zionist/Orthodox perspective from Rav Kook, first Chief Rabbi of Israel, go to http://www.geocities.com/m_yericho/ravkook/index.html. For some probing questions and meditations on key verses of the portion, with a liberal kabbalistic bent, go to http://www.jewishealing.com/learning.html.
Morning Minyan: Daily at 7:30 AM, Sunday at 9:00 AM in the chapel
TWO Tzedakkah Opportunities of the Week:
1) The Bennett Cancer Center Walk
We have 53 registered "walkers" for the first TBE team to participate in the Bennett Cancer Center Walk on June 1! That’s a fabulous accomplishment, thanks in large part to co-chairs Ellie Mirne and Harriet Weinstein. If you would like to be a sponsor of our group, please make checks payable to the Stamford Health Foundation (noting support for the TBE team) as each team is encouraged to contribute $100 per walker. And join many of the walkers at our healing service this coming Thursday – it will serve as their spiritual warm-up for the walk. Thanks for your support!
Hey, why not!! Our programming is expanding while we also try to keep the budget in line as much as possible. Contact Roberta Aronovitch, our executive director for an extended wish list, including large-scale gifts to support our major capital needs (such as the Gladstein challenge grant for the re-modeling of the ballroom). I support all those endeavors, but also wish to feature some other items that are not covered in our regular budget. If you have an interest in any of these, please contact me or any of our senior staff. As we approach our annual meeting and do our year-end evaluating, here are the areas crying out for your investment. If we are to maximize the impact Beth El can have in our community, we need your help in these areas:
“THE RABBI’S PERSONAL WISH LIST….”
1) Adult Education – Our budget does not support extensive adult education and we are seeking private assistance to develop and fund exciting new programming. This can range from small seminars to lecture series to a larger endowed annual event, modeled after our current Scholar-in-Residence program and Hoffman lecture. I would like to increase the number of guest speakers that appear at Shabbat services as well. These programs also need to be marketed properly to the public. We’re developing some great ideas for next year – if you have some interest, let’s make a Shidduch.
2) Shabbatons – The annual congregational and individual class Shabbatons are in need of “angels.” For the congregational Shabbaton, participants each pay for their own room and board, and we are eternally grateful to Penny and Michael Horowitz for funding the Shabbaton scholar (as well as our annual Scholar and Residence here). But we still are in need of additional funding to allow this program to continue. Our expenses include staffing, program development, financial aid and materials, and these costs add up to enough to place the future of our Shabbaton program in serious jeopardy. It would be a real shame to forfeit this program, given the outstanding success of the Shabbatons over the past few years.
3) Playground – We are in the process of collecting data that will help us to decide on the feasibility and desirability of a nursery school here, as well as exploring avenues for community partnership. That process will take several more weeks. If we do go ahead with the concept, there will be significant investment opportunities for those interested in the project. One clear need would be for a nice playground. But it is a need that goes beyond the question of a nursery school, as it would be used on the High Holidays and throughout the year by congregants and would be seen by all newcomers as a sign of our warmth and love for young children. Since the question of a nursery school’s feasibility will be determined in part by the willingness of congregants to step forward as potential funding sources, it is important that those who are interested in this contact me as soon as possible.
4) Prayer Books – We are grateful to the Poser and Ferber families for funding the bulk of the 200 new Sim Shalom Weekday Siddurim that we are now using at minyans, B’nai Mitzvah and Religious School services. Individual books are still available for donation. In addition we are slowly making progress on the creation of our new Friday Night Siddur, Tehillat Shabbat. We thank those who have already contributed to this project (and beg their patience as we continue the work) and hope others will follow their lead.
5) Shabbat Morning Kiddushes and Lunches – Shabbat morning is prime time for community building. It’s what we are all about. And nothing helps build community more than great food. We already have adequate kiddushes and lunches, with the help of our sponsors and lunch committee members, but a major upgrade in the quality and amount offered would enhance the experience for all. As they say, “If you cook it, they will come.” A major annual subsidy would help us do each week what the break-the-fast already accomplishes after Yom Kippur. Whoever donates gets to plan the menu!
6) Friday Night Live – and other great musical experiences. Talk to Cantor Jacobson about all the fabulous ideas she has to make beautiful music at Beth El.
7) Sound System – Nothing is more important to a successful service or program than good sound. Our sanctuary needs considerable work done – and for that, we need $$ help.
8) Friday Night Outdoor services – We love our setting; but it needs sprucing up, better lighting and a design of that sacred space.
9) Youth Scholarships – To Camp Ramah, Israel Programs and other USY events. These are vital and we simply don’t provide them. It’s time we did.
10) Your idea – If you have a dream, share it with us. Together we can make it happen!
That’s my wish list. What’s yours?
IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT REGARDING PASTORAL VISITATION
Stamford Hospital has recently implemented very strict policies regarding patient privacy. Visiting clergy are no longer given unlimited access to the list of patients that are there, and patients’ names have been removed from public places around the nurses’ station and on the door of the room. Therefore, it is more important than ever before that the synagogue be notified when you or a loved one is in the hospital. The cantor and I do make regular “rounds” and we would love to visit any congregant; but unless we are notified, we will most likely not know that you or your loved one is there. Help us help those you love by letting us know.
Some Cool Web Sites and One Cool Holiday
This week a rabbinical colleague sent around some of his favorite Jewish sites, some of which I had never seen before (believe it or not). I’m also including some of my personal favorites. Take a gander at some of these fascinating ones:
http://www.myjewishlearning.com Many Mega-bucks went into this new educational endeavor – and it’s WORTH every penny!
http://www.thejewishexchange.com I’m listening to the music right now (they have a soothing Carlebach station), and there’s lost more. A super site.
http://www.akhlah.com/ A great non-denominational children’s site
http://www.virtualcantor.com/ All the cantorial stuff that’s fit to print (from a traditional perspective – don’t expect to see Debbie Friedman here!)
http://www.njop.org/html/interactive_hebrew.html A great way to learn Hebrew online, from the people who gave us Shabbat Across America.
http://www.infoclick.org/nutshell3.html A nice multi-media review of Israel’s right to exist
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/ From Arutz Sheva – a big rightward tilt to the news, but lots of nice special features, including music.
http://jewishmusic.com/ And lots of it
http://www.extremely.com/index.html Haikus for Jews…
Harry Leichter’s Large Collection of Clean Jewish Humor The definitive collection. Great for sermons (oops)
http://www.awordinyoureye.com/ 810 Jewish Jokes
LAG B’OMER falls this coming Tuesday (which is also Mara’s birthday…just a reminder to me). No Jewish holiday has more obscure origins and diverse explanations. About the easiest thing to explain about it is the name. Since each Hebrew letter has a corresponding numerical value, the letters lamed and gimel add up to thirty-three, and Monday night indeed is the thirty third night of the counting period between Passover and Shavuot known as the Omer.
What’s the Omer?
OK, so what’s an Omer? The Omer happens to have been explained in last week’s Torah portion, Emor. It is also known as the Sephira, which means counting, but Jewish mystics have tied that into the notion of the Sephirot, God’s emanations. So let’s see, we’ve got Omer, Emor, Sephira, Sephirot…let’s call the whole thing off!
No, let’s just go to the experts for help. At http://www.ucalgary.ca/~elsegal/Shokel/880331_Omer_Light.html, you’ll find Eliezer Segal’s excellent tie-in to the portion, including an explanation as to a humdinger of a rabbinic controversy regarding the Jewish calendar. The Omer is considered a semi-mourning period. Find out why at http://jewishminds.healthekids.net/course.phtml?course_id=458. Then, for a detailed summary of the Sephira laws, go to http://www.yipc.org/new_page_62.htm, the site of Young Israel of Passaic. It is interesting to note that, even within the traditional world, “In the post-Holocaust era, uniformity of practice is virtually no longer possible to implement, since pockets of population with all sorts of customs have descended upon all Jewish communities. Accordingly, in one city it is no longer surprising to see a host of customs simultaneously observed.”
This can often leads to much confusion in the scheduling of communal events, Bar Mitzvahs and weddings at this time of year. You can have a alachic field day on all this at the OU site, http://www.ou.org/chagim/sefira/default.htm.
The Kabbalalists loved the Omer concept both because of the tie-in to the Sephirot. To see how they do that, check out this from Reb Goldie Milgrom, of the New York Center for Jewish Meditation, at http://www.rebgoldie.com/Shavuot.htm. IF you really want to learn all about the Sephirot, got to http://www.aril.org/Drob.htm. For a Breslaver Hasidic view, see http://www.breslov.org/omer.html.
And finally, kudos to Rabbi Sue Fendrick and SocialAction.com for developing the concept of the seven-week counting leading us to constructive acts of world-repair. Find out how, and see some terrific articles, at http://www.socialaction.com/omer2000.html. (This may not be available until next week because they are upgrading their site)
What’s Lag B’Omer?
Now we focus on the big day itself.
http://www.jajz-ed.org.il/festivls/shavuot/lagba.html is a good place to start. If after that you can figure out the difference between Rabbi Akiva and Shimon Bar Yochai, you’re ready for the Lag B’Omer hot sites at http://www.jr.co.il/hotsites/j-hdayla.htm. From there you can really go to town on this stuff. I mean that quite literally, for there are several visits to those hotbeds of Lag B’Omer festivities, Meron and Safed, nestled high in the hills of northern Galilee. http://www.ascent.org.il/html/Mystic/holidays/lagbomer61.html will take you to Meron, describing the white-hot bonfires, and you’ll also be exposed to some relatively palatable selections from the Zohar, that magnum opus of Jewish mysticism. Continue to explore Mount Meron with nice photos, at http://www.starkman.com/aviva/AJS/lag_baomer.html, and find out at
http://188.8.131.52/vjholidays/lagbaomer/gallery.htm how the Meron scene is really akin to “Meah Shearim meets Woodstock.” On the other hand, the article at http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0599/lag.html says that Meron “’aint exactly Woodstock.” Lots less rain and lots more clothes, I suppose.
Back on earth, Lag B’Omer is more of a nature festival for those naturalists among us. (I agree with those who see a definite May Day tie in, both holidays sharing ancient pagan roots with other spring nature festivals). In the early days of Zionism, it became a perfect time to celebrate the spectacular spring weather in the Land of Israel, with bonfires and picnics. All the secular youth groups would take part. A nice photographic reminder of that can be found at http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/gallery/pg26/pg2/pg26253.html.
For the kids, a nice story about Rabbi Akiba, one of the heroes of the festival, can be found at http://www.bjeny.org/images/Judaic_Curricula_/Rabbi_Akiva__From_Shepherd_to_/rabbi_akiva__from_shepherd_to_.htm. For the cooks, some Lag B’omer picnic recipes are at http://www.fspronet.com/kosherkorner/lagbomer.html.
And one final, sobering note: Yitz Greenberg teaches us the lessons of Lag B’Omer’s history at http://jewishsf.com/bk970523/comm1.htm.
“Most people think of Lag B’Omer as a warm, fuzzy semi-holiday with a nature-loving theme. But in the Talmud, the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer period is a devastating reminder of a catastrophe caused by Jews’ divisiveness. Today, Jewry seems headed for a repeat of the disaster.”
Happy Lag B’Omer and Shabbat Shalom to all the people of Israel and the world.
June 24 in retrospect, By Bret Stephens (Jerusalem Post)
National Public Radio Off the Map, By Andrea Levin (of Camera, from the Jerusalem Post)
Abu Mazen Won’t Fight Hamas – Danny Rubinstein (Ha’aretz) There isn’t much chance Palestinian Prime Minister Abu Mazen will use force to make Hamas and Islamic Jihad give up. He doesn’t have the political strength to fight Hamas. Much was said about how Muhammad Dahlan can take action against Hamas, the way he did in 1996 when he and Jibril Rajoub, his counterpart in the West Bank, chased down Hamas activists and drastically reduced the number of terror attacks. But what happened then cannot repeat itself. In those years there were relatively few militant Islamic cells, and Fatah didn’t even have a military wing. Dahlan and Rajoub didn’t really have a lot of work. A few members of Hamas cells were killed in mysterious circumstances, a few hundred were arrested, and the activities of the Islamic fanatics were blocked. Now there are far more Hamas and Islamic Jihad activists, possibly even thousands, and they have broad public backing. If Abu Mazen and Dahlan want to suppress them, a limited campaign of arrests won’t be enough – a war will be necessary. Therefore, Israelis looking forward to an Abu Mazen war on Hamas will be disappointed. Instead, they should expect a series of meetings between Abu Mazen and Hamas, and attempts to reach a compromise that, if achieved, will be far from the Israeli government’s demands.
The Suicide Bombing Attacks in Saudi Arabia: A Preliminary Assessment - Dore Gold (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
The Enemy Within – Editorial
We can no longer ignore that we have a nest of vipers here. Those responsible, those who poisoned the minds of the bombers, must be tracked down and crushed – remorselessly and utterly – and the environment that produced such terrorism has to change. The suicide bombers have been encouraged by the venom of anti-Westernism. Those who gloat over Sept. 11, those who happily support suicide bombings in Israel and Russia, those who consider non-Muslims less human than Muslims and therefore somehow disposable, all bear part of the responsibility for the Riyadh bombs. We cannot say that suicide bombings in Israel and Russia are acceptable but not in Saudi Arabia. The cult of suicide bombings has to stop. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
Arafat Strengthens Grip on PA – Amos Harel
Israeli security sources believe that Yasser Arafat is strengthening his hold on the Palestinian Authority. In the past weeks, Arafat is re-emerging as the one holding the purse strings. His bureau is allocating funds to various entities, from Fatah activists in Bethlehem through PA ministers to security groups in Jenin. Arafat still handles requests for funding the security organizations and instructs Finance Minister Salam Fayyad to transfer the money. Military intelligence and the Shin Bet are in accord that Abu Mazen is showing weakness in the face of Arafat’s maneuvers. “Abu Mazen won no victory over Arafat,” an Israeli security source says. “He formed a cabinet only under Egyptian and American pressure. The cabinet’s legitimacy is shaky and it acts in Arafat’s shadow.” (Ha’aretz)
Road Map Put Aside – Aluf Benn
Just 11 days have passed since publication of the road map, and already it appears to have disappeared from the diplomatic discourse. The U.S. administration has decided to put the road map to one side and focus now on reciprocal steps on the part of the Israelis and Palestinians that will lead to a renewal of the political process. Israel doesn’t expect the U.S. to press for real concessions as long as the Palestinian terror continues, and so far the new government in the Palestinian Authority is not taking action against it. If there is a war against terror, there will be progress in the political process; and if there isn’t, all the road maps in the world will be to no avail. Next week, Sharon will visit President Bush and try to reach an understanding with him on the next steps in the process. The road map will remain in the background as a signal to the sides – “a political horizon” that will instill hope in the Palestinians. (Ha’aretz)
Israel Ready to Hand Over Northern Gaza to Palestinian Security
In a meeting Sunday with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz offered to pull Israeli troops out of northern Gaza and hand over the area to Palestinian security if they crack down on terrorists. The plan, known as “Gaza first,” has been previously discussed as a means of giving Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas a chance to prove he can prevent terror attacks against Israelis. (Jerusalem Post)
McCook: Spirituality Protects Against End of Life Despair Having a sense of spiritual well-being – or an understanding of the meaning and purpose of life, regardless of religion – appears to help terminally ill people avoid spending their last months of life in despair, according to a report released Thursday. Among people with less than three months to live, U.S. investigators found that those with a strong sense of spiritual well-being were less likely than others to feel hopeless, want to die or consider suicide….”
Tugend: After Revisions, Hitler Miniseries Gets Thumbs-Up from Jewish Leaders “…I think any fears in the Jewish community that the film would glorify Hitler have been allayed,” noted Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum said. “It successfully narrates Hitler’s rise to power and shows clearly how those who tried to manipulate him were instead manipulated by him. “Historians may have some trouble with interpretation, as they always do, and with some composite figures, but in general the film deals well with a part of Hitler’s life that people need to know,” said Berenbaum, director of the Sigi Ziering Institute for the Study of Ethics and the Holocaust at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles….”
Lori: Grounds for Disbelief “Archaeologist Israel Finkelstein and his colleagues are stirring controversy with contentions that many biblical stories never happened, but were written by what he calls `a creative copywriter’ to advance an ideological agenda….”
Racism at Israeli sporting events and Sharon’s policy re. The Bedouin in the Negev being monitored (from New Israel Fund)
http://www.voanews.com/article.cfm?objectID=481A8809-86A1-43D5-A2AAE9584437FBC3 Read about the launch of “One Voice,” a grass roots effort to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians. See also 'OneVoice Initiative' Group Supports Grassroot Initiative for Mideast Peace (thanks to Judi Gladstein for forwarding this) Also: Listen to Leah Krakinowski's report from New York (RealAudio) (from Voice of America)
“The Oslo years marked a turning point not only for the growth of anti-Semitism in the region, but also for the free world’s tolerance for it. In the decades after the Holocaust, leaders of the free world generally were vigilant about fighting anti-Semitism. There was a wide consensus that the evil that led to the Holocaust must never be allowed to take root again. But during Oslo, a blind eye was turned toward anti-Semitism in the name of “peace.” Though numerous organizations documented and exposed what was happening within the Palestinian-controlled areas, democratic leaders—including some Israeli ones—didn’t want to hear it. Arafat’s anti-Semitic propaganda was treated as a passing episode on the way to peace. In fact, peace became a passing episode on the way to a terrorist war fueled by anti-Semitic hatred.
The consequences of tolerance for anti-Semitism were seen at the so-called UN Conference Against Racism in 2001. On the streets of Durban, South Africa, an anti-Semitism of a kind not seen since the days of Nazi Germany was unleashed. Fortunately, the American delegation walked out rather than sanction this carnival of hate. But more than an American walkout will be needed if peace is to be achieved in our region. The free world must make it clear that anti-Semitism will no longer be tolerated. Not in Egypt. Not in Jordan. Not in Syria. And certainly not in the Palestinian Authority.
Real peace between Israelis and Palestinians will never be achieved if Palestinian society remains poisoned by anti-Semitic hate, no matter which leader stands at the helm. Zero tolerance for terror is essential for the peace process to proceed, and zero tolerance for anti-Semitism is essential if real peace is to ever to be achieved.” (Natan Sharanasky, in the Jewish Week, May 8)
“The election of Mahmoud Abbas…the release of the road map, and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell’s just-concluded trip to the region presents the parties with both real and false choices. Unfortunately, the Palestinians have latched onto the false ones. These revolve around the quality and quantity of Israeli gestures that would supposedly bolster Abbas’s standing…[including] halting the expansion of Israeli ‘settlements’ [and] ending closures… Israel has in fact released 98 Palestinians who crossed into the county illegally… Moreover, Israel stands ready to issue 25,000 work permits [and] release PA funds… [F]ocusing on whether Israel is doing enough to ease hardships…is really beside the point…If the Palestinians stopped the violence they would quickly discover that Israel is ready to deliver more than just gestures. But premature gestures to the Palestinians that undermine incentives for accommodation with Israel are counterproductive…”—Editorial (Jer. Post, May 13)
One of the great mistakes of the Israeli Left has been to minimize Israel's claim to Judea and Samaria. The impulse was understandable: The Left downplayed the historic and emotional attachments to the land to resist the annexationist appeal. Yet it confused the need for physical withdrawal with an unnecessary emotional withdrawal. The Left's denial of our historic claim--and its downplaying of the price we will pay for uprooting-- has allowed the international community to see an Israeli withdrawal not as a concession at all but as the self-evident restoration of occupied land, the thief returning his booty.
By contrast, the Palestinians never fail to remind the world that they are being forced to abandon their claim to pre-1967 Israel.
The logic of partition is based on the fact that two peoples claim the same territory. But if one people stakes its emotional claim to the entire land, as the Palestinians continue to do, while the rival people confines its claim to only part of the contested land, then the moral basis for partition is compromised. Precisely those who support partition should be vigorously reminding the world of the Jewish claim to Judea and Samaria and the trauma we will be imposing on ourselves by forfeiting that claim. Otherwise, we risk a repetition of what happened after the Camp David negotiations in July 2000, when much of the international community dismissed Israel's willingness to withdraw as inconsequential.
If political and demographic conditions make withdrawal necessary, that doesn't lessen the legitimacy of our connection to Hebron and Bethlehem, just as the Palestinians never forget their links to Jaffa and Haifa. The settlers were right to stake our claim--just as the peace camp was right to insist on justice and reconciliation as the highest national priorities. Both the settlement movement and the peace movement were legitimate, indeed essential, expressions of Jewish history. The fact that neither could fulfill its vision doesn't detract from the nobility of the effort.
In voluntarily severing ourselves from our historic heartland, we will be doing what no nation has ever done to itself. That hurban gives us the right to demand of the Palestinians and the Arab world an equivalent hurban of their deepest claims and grievances, especially the "right of return" to pre-1967 Israel. Failure to convey the full extent of the price we will pay for withdrawal will result in the world continuing to indulge Palestinian intransigence, while taking for granted our self-inflicted mutilation. (Yossi Klein Halevy, Jerusalem Post, May 8)
Standing on Shoulders: Healing Service Next Thursday at 8
Once, in a tropical country, there was a splendid bird, more colorful than any that had ever been seen before, with every color in its plumage. It lived at the top of the tallest tree, perched so high that no single person could ever hope to reach it. News of this remarkable creature reached the palace, and the King ordered that the bird be brought to him the next day. Within hours, many of his subjects lined up to form a human ladder alongside the formidable tree. They were to stand on each other's shoulders until the highest person could reach the bird and bring it back to the King.
While they were standing balanced on one another's shoulders, some of those near the bottom decided to wander off. As soon as one of them moved, the entire chain collapsed, injuring several of the King's subjects. The bird remained at the top of the tree, uncaptured.
The subjects had doubly failed the king. For even greater than his desire to see the bird was his wish to see his people closely joined together.
On Thursday evening, May 22, we will be holding a special Service of Healing. With the help of the Sisterhood and Jewish Family Services, using new prayers and old, we'll reach out to those whose lives are immersed in suffering and try to build a human ladder of love.
While all people are welcome here all the time, for that special service we extend a special invitation to those who are suffering: whether from AIDS/HIV, cancer, bereavement or neglect, whether from substance abuse or domestic violence, we want to welcome them here. Churches have special healing services all the time; they run support groups for those at the fringes (or those who simply feel that way -- and don't we all, at some point). But this type of program is a rarity in synagogues. Jews in distress often have nowhere to turn for spiritual support when they need it most.
That's where you come in. I need two things:
1) Help us spread the word among those who would most benefit from a service of healing. Bring them here. Tap into their communities, their newsletters. We want to welcome them here that day.
2) If you can possibly make it, come to show your love. The kind of healing this service will engender is possible only if all of us are there to let them rink of our strength, our hope, our health. Perhaps we all might draw new strength from the sacred energy that we all bring to this.
In the words of a Hasidic adage, "When a person is singing and cannot lift his voice, and another comes and sings with him, another who can life his voice, the first will be able to lift his voice too. That is the secret of the bond between spirits."
And as we lift our voices together for renewal of body and spirit, our human ladder will touch the sky. And we'll all come to feel God's presence in the glow of the human heart.
Come to our annual meeting this coming Wednesday at 8:00.
Elect new board members, thank the old ones,
and hear about all the exciting things going on here.
WE ARE STARTING ANOTHER ADULT BAR/BAT MITZVAH CLASS!!!!
ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING: THURSDAY, MAY 22 AT 7:30 PM
THE CLASS WILL BE TAUGHT BY RABBI HAMMERMAN, CANTOR JACOBSON AND BARB MOSKOW,
COVERING ALL THE BASICS: SYNAGOGUE SKILLS AND PRAYER, JEWISH TRADITIONS, LITERATURE AND HISTORY.
THE CLASS WILL ORGANIZE THIS SPRING, CONTINUE IN THE FALL AND CULMINATE IN
A B’NAI MITZVAH SERVICE IN NOVEMBER OF 2004.
PEOPLE WITH DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS ARE WELCOME
PLEASE RSVP IF YOU ARE INTERESTED, TO OUR EDUCATION OFFICE, 322-6901 X306
Come to the Final Family Friday of the season
on May 30 at 7:00 PM
Featuring our Junior Choir and the Aliyah Ceremony for our 7th Graders
An Exciting, New Hebrew High School is Opening in September 2003 in Stamford
Kulanu, (All together) - is the place to be for Jewish teens beginning in September, 2003. The Community Commission for Jewish Education of UJF and area Congregations are pleased to announce the integration of our current high school programs, Merkaz Torah and Etgar into one high level, stimulating after-school Hebrew High for grades 8 – 12.
Kulanu, a vibrant and close-knit community of Jewish students from different backgrounds will come together to learn about their rich Jewish tradition. Students can look forward to excellence in curriculum selection, diversity in course offerings taught by superior educators, dynamic special programming, and flexible scheduling.
Kulanu will provide an opportunity to connect, socialize, and form lasting friendships. Fun and learning will go hand in hand, especially when greater numbers of teens congregate together to make Kulanu “the place to be”.
Kulanu students will have the option of studying in three different tracks: 2 to 5 hours per week, on Wednesdays and/or Sundays. Students will also have the opportunity to do independent research and internship, under close faculty supervision. Each year students will receive a letter of achievement and detailed transcripts which will enhance their college applications.
On four special Sunday learning days, (Sha’ar), Kulanu students will be joined by teens from communities throughout lower Fairfield County. These days of learning, will be at the Stamford campus of the University of Connecticut.
In looking forward to September 2004, Kulanu will be a regional Jewish High School with the participation of students from Greenwich, Norwalk, Westport and other communities in lower Fairfield County.
For more information, contact Ilana De Laney, Community Director of Education at 321-1373, ext.114 or e-mail her at email@example.com
SAVE THE DATE!
For Barb Moskow
June 8, 2003
Reception to follow.
RSVP to Caroline Geller in the Education Office 322-6901, ext. 306
They've called many things...
The Ten Commandments
...The Two Tablets
...The Ten Words
...The “Big Ten”
But So Much About Them Remains a Mystery....
Where do they come from?
What do they really say?
What is the secret to their power?
And are there really ten?
Come to Temple Beth El On Shavuot Night
As we learn Torah with our Greenwich neighbors
from Temple Shalom
Thursday, June 5
Service at 8 in the lobby
the Tikkun Leil Shavuot* (Shavuot study session) begins immediately after.
*Tikkun Leil Shavuot is the name for the all-night study session that was made popular by the Kabbalists in the Middle Ages. These mystics felt the night of Shavuot was a time of great holiness and divine receptivity to study and prayer. Just as the Israelites marked that night at the foot of Sinai with intense preparation, so do we prepare once again to recieve the Torah. Our Tikkun will not last all night, however, but just a couple of hours -- with plenty of coffee (plus juice and cookies) to go around!
Beth El Seniors
4th Annual End of Year Barbeque
Tuesday- June 3, 2003 at 5 P.M.
Come visit with your Temple Beth El friends for the final dinner meeting of the year.
We hope that you will join us in a great evening of fun and food.
We will be rustling up some old-fashioned barbeque on the open fire.
This is a rain or shine event. If it rains, we'll eat inside.
Reservations are a must for everyone. Please call the Temple Office , 322-6901, ext 300 by May 29th.
Price- $5 per person.
Jewish Family Service, in conjunction with all of the local synagogues, has created a Bikur Cholim program through which we are training and supporting volunteers to visit Jewish residents in senior homes and facilities. People in nursing homes are among the most neglected members of our community. When we reach out to them and let them know that they still matter, it is both a mitzvah and a rewarding experience. Volunteers can commit to visiting on a regular basis (bi-weekly or monthly) or for one time holiday visits. If you would like to volunteer, we will find an opportunity that is convenient and meaningful for you. Please contact Sara Jamison at Jewish Family Service at 921-4161 ext 102.
Time for a Joke…
The Pope vs. Moishe
About a century or two ago, the Pope challenged the Jewish community of Rome to a debate.
The Jews looked around for a champion who could defend their faith, but no one wanted to volunteer. It was too risky. So they finally picked an old man named Moishe who spent his life sweeping up after people to represent them. Being old and poor, he had less to lose, so he agreed. He asked only for one addition to the rules of debate. Not being used to saying very much, he asked that neither side be allowed to talk. The Pope agreed.
The day of the great debate came. Moishe and the Pope sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Moishe looked back at him and raised one finger. The Pope waved his fingers in a circle around his head. Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat. The Pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine. Moishe pulled out an apple. The Pope stood up and said, "I give up. This man is too good. The Jews win."
An hour later, the cardinals were all around the Pope asking him what happened. The Pope said, "First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity. He responded by holding up one finger, to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions. Then I waved my finger around me to show him, that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground, showing that God was also right here with us. I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that God absolves us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?"
Meanwhile, the Jewish community had crowded around Moishe, amazed that this old, almost feeble-minded man had done what all their scholars had insisted was impossible. "What happened?" they asked.
"Well," said Moishe, "first he said to me that the Jews had three days to get out of here. I told him that not one of us was leaving. Then he told me that this whole city would be cleared of Jews. I let him know that we were staying right here."
"And then?" asked a woman.
"I don't know," said Moishe. "He took out his lunch and I took out mine."