Friday, November 21, 2003

SHABBAT-O-GRAM for November 21, 2003 and Heshvan 20, 5764


November 21, 2003 and Heshvan 20, 5764

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut


Shabbat Shalom

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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



High Holiday sermons are available online at

And have you seen the photo albums from our Havdalah at the Beach and Family Program on the fall holidays???  They’re all at our Website,!




Take your kids, your friends, and your friends’ kids to

Tot Shabbat this Friday at 6:45,




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 on Friday, November 7 (this week).  If you know of anyone in Stamford Hospital, please let him or her know.

Friday Evening – Shabbat

Candles: 4:26 PM  (for candlelighting times, other Jewish calendar information, and to download a Jewish calendar to your PDA, click on

Services: 6:30 PM in the chapel – “traditional” Beth El service; we are joined by Hazzan Rabinowitz

Tot Shabbat: 6:45 PM, in the lobby

Shabbat Morning

Service: 9:30 AM

Mazal Tov to Bryan Cooper who becomes Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat morning.

Children’s services: 10:30 AM

Torah Portion – Lech Lecha (Abraham’s journey begins) -- Genesis 12:1 - 17:27  

Haftarah: Isaiah 40:27 - 41:16

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: 16:1-6
2: 16:7-9
3: 16:10-16
4: 17:1-6
5: 17:7-17
6: 17:18-23
7: 17:24-27
maf: 17:24-27

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

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





The Highest Level of Tzedakkah





Required Reading and Action Items



·  IDF Cautiously Optimistic about Truce - Matthew Gutman
The IDF cautiously supports a new hudna (temporary cease-fire) and is confident of Hamas's and Islamic Jihad's interest in maintaining quiet for up to six months, a senior security source said Wednesday. The key to a cease-fire is compliance of Fatah/Tanzim-related terrorist groups like the Aksa Martyrs Brigades. Hizballah and Iran have taken up "a massive role" among local terrorist cells, greasing the logistical wheels of terrorist operations and even providing operational support for most Fatah/Tanzim-related groups. Any attempt at a cease-fire hinges on Arafat's success at leading Fatah away from Iran. The source said Arafat has managed to consolidate power and retain his hold on the PLO's finances. He noted that one of the great faults of former PA prime minister Mahmoud Abbas's hudna was that "it smelled of the West, and of the U.S.'s dictate." The new ceasefire plan is considered a grassroots initiative arising from the Palestinians. (Jerusalem Post)

·  PA Gives Israel Information on Bethlehem Assailant - Arnon Regular and Amos Harel
A Palestinian security committee appointed by Arafat and headed by Haj Ismael Jaber has told Israeli officials that Jabbar al-Ahmad, 21, now in PA custody, was the gunman who killed two Israeli soldiers Tuesday on the Jerusalem-Gush Etzion Tunnel Road. On Wednesday about 100 Palestinians, some of them armed members of the Palestinian security forces in which Al-Ahmad served, staged a rally in front of Bethlehem's security compound, demanding that al-Ahmad be freed. (Ha'aretz)

·  U.S.-Israel Understanding on Outposts Possible - Aluf Benn
Israel believes it is possible to reach an understanding with the U.S. over a list of illegal outposts in the West Bank that will serve as a basis for discussions on the issue, sources in the prime minister's entourage said Wednesday. The sources said that U.S. complaints about outposts were a result of differences in information between what Israel and the U.S. know about the number of outposts and their status. Sharon rejects any charges that relations with the U.S. are deteriorating over the issue, describing the outpost dispute as "a non-existent conflict" and saying there is no American pressure on Israel whatsoever. (Ha'aretz)

·  Anti-Semitism: Our Dulled Nerve - Editorial
A new anti-Semitism is on the march across the globe. Where once, which was bad enough, terrorists concentrated their attacks on targets with clear ties to Israel - its embassies, airline or shipping offices - they are now wider in scope. All Jews are now seen by some extremists as legitimate targets. There are few forms of prejudice with deeper roots than anti-Semitism. Yet until recently it appeared to be in retreat. (Guardian-UK)


·  The Jewish People Will Never Be Broken, Sharon Tells GA - Jenny Hazan
"Despite repeated attempts to eradicate the Jewish people from the face of the earth, we have succeeded at realizing the dream of reestablishing an independent and democratic Jewish state," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told the 72nd UJC General Assembly's opening ceremony on Sunday evening. The ceremony opened with a moment of silence for the victims of Saturday's attacks in Istanbul. (Jerusalem Post)
    See also Text of Prime Minister's Speech at the General Assembly (Prime Minister's Office)


The Inextricable Link between Anti-Semitism and Anti-Americanism - Natan Sharansky (Wall Street Journal)

·  Syria's "Invisible Occupation" of Lebanon - Mitch Potter
"Although we have all the formal, apparent aspects of independence...our army is controlled by Syria; our politicians must go to Damascus to receive their benediction. In every measurable way, we are under invisible occupation by Syria," said Joseph Maila, a prominent Lebanese academic. Syria's hand in Lebanese politics was codified in the 1990 Taif Agreement, which called for Syrian military withdrawal from Lebanon within two years. More than a decade later, Syrian troops remain. (Toronto Star)

Arafat Pockets $14 Million in 60 Days - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Arafat continues to directly receive as much as 10% of the official PA budget.
    According to a report released Monday by the PA Finance Ministry, Arafat's office received more than NIS 62 million ($14 million) during the past two months.
    NIS 2m. went for the salaries of officials and employees in Arafat's office, but there is no accounting for the remaining NIS 60m.
    Arafat's office received an amount roughly equal to the funds allocated in the same period to the PA Health Ministry, which oversees dozens of ill-equipped and understaffed hospitals and clinics.
    See also A Short History of PA Corruption - Bret Stephens (Jerusalem Post)

Ford Foundation Announces New Funding Guidelines as It Admits to Aiding Anti-Israel Groups - Edwin Black
The Ford Foundation has admitted it erred in funding anti-Israeli Palestinian groups and has vowed to establish tough new guidelines to stop its funds from being used for anti-Semitic action anywhere in the world. The foundation said it was "disgusted" by anti-Israel and anti-Semitic agitation at the 2001 UN Conference Against Racism at Durban, South Africa, which it helped finance. "We now recognize that we did not have a clear picture of the activities, organizations, and people involved," conceded Ford president Susan Berresford in a Nov. 17 letter to U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). In addition to establishing new funding guidelines, the foundation said it promises to cease financing pivotal anti-Israel groups and even recover funds where the grant's intent was violated. (JTA)

PA Could Lose an Armed Confrontation with Hamas - Matthew Gutman (Jerusalem Post)
    Learning from the last hudna (cease-fire), the Israeli security establishment believes that it will enable terrorist groups to rest, rearm, and upgrade.
    "We've seen that movie," said one IDF source, who recalled that Hamas used the last hudna to smuggle an unprecedented number of arms into Gaza.
    IDF commanders in Gaza who have witnessed the influx of weapons into the area believe that Hamas's weapons now outnumber those in the hands of the PA.
    They have warned for months that the PA could lose an armed confrontation with Hamas.

Understanding the Istanbul Synagogue Bombings - Christopher Hitchens
Why would the jihadists be so careless to have also killed a fair number of non-Jewish Turkish passersby? Those who think this even semiconsciously have already forgotten what jihadists were doing in Algeria, Egypt, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, long before the assault on the World Trade Center (which also killed a substantial number of Muslims). It's pretty safe to say that the large majority of those murdered by Islamic holy warriors have not been Europeans or Americans. The worshippers at Neve Shalom were members of a very old and honorable community who were murdered for being Jews. Their Turkish neighbors were casually murdered as "collateral damage." This is in the nature and essence of the foe that we face. (Slate)

Erasing Phase One of the Road Map - Ehud Ya'ari
Abu Ala's government is not a revamped version of Abu Mazen's. It represents a worrying step backwards, to a format dictated and directed by Arafat. What we are left with is a cabinet that in many respects is just another of the chairman's executive branches. Arafat has managed to turn the tables and lock the "reform government" into his service.
    Arafat and Abu Ala, two veteran comrades, have prepared a two-stage plan. The first is a cease-fire brokered by the PA, that does not include any promises regarding the dismantling of Hamas or Islamic Jihad, despite the fact that Phase One of the Road Map, at its core, calls for the elimination of the Palestinian terror infrastructure. Abu Ala intends to tell Sharon soon that this is the best he can offer, and that he doesn't have the power to take on Hamas. That the choice is to take quiet without a dismantling of the terrorist infrastructure, or to expect the terror attacks to go on. The Palestinian assumption is that under these circumstances, Sharon and Defense Minister Mofaz will prefer calm. Then it will be time for the second act, to hold elections for the PA institutions in June 2004, which according to the Road Map should take place only after the terror infrastructure has been dismantled. What this means is the effective erasure of Phase One of the Road Map, skipping over the war on terror. (Jerusalem Report)

Also in the Jerusalem Report:
David Horovitz Just Anti-Semitism
Hirsh Goodman A Look in the Mirror
Stuart Schoffman Uncomfortable Positions

Balancing IDF Checkpoints and International Law: Teaching the IDF Code of Conduct - Lt. Col. Amos Guiora, Commander of the IDF School of Military Law (Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

Israeli GDP Grows 2.7% - Moti Bassok (Ha'aretz)
    "The recession is over," Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday after the Central Bureau of Statistics reported that the economy grew by 2.7% in the third quarter of 2003.
    Israel's exports in the quarter leapt by 24.2%.

Spiritual Journey on the Web

“A Virtual Mission to Israel”

The just-completed Stamford-Greenwich mission to Israel included visits to many fascinating places.  Now you can come along with me, via the Web, to many of the places I saw.  For instance:


We visited the security fence (even prayed at it!) See the latest maps (recently updated) on the Seam Zone, at


We toured Afula, our sister city, which can be seen at  There we also visited the Merchavia Absorption Center where immigrant children from Ethiopia welcomed us with open arms


We visited a number of learning institutions, learning Torah in pluralistic fashion at  Ma’ale Gilboa at and the Shalom Hartman Institute  We also saw kids who have recently immigrated at Yemin Orde youth village,




An unforgettable theater event: Nalaga’at, the only theater troupe of deaf-blind people in the world, in “Light is Heard in Zig Zag.” Find out more about them at













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!





Sunday, Nov. 23th 11:15 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.


 Westport resident Ann S. Katz, certified Svaroopa Yogaä teacher, will lead a 90-minute featuring yoga with a Jewish flavor, designed for both men and women, This class in spiritual Judaism integrates Jewish philosophy with yoga postures, meditative prayer and conscious breathing.  Using the “breath of life” participants learn how to access the “One” in their bodies; using the yoga postures they access the “Union” of body, mind and soul, and using Hebrew prayer and chanting they access the “Spirit” of renewal.

The breathing for relaxation, gentle stretching for release of muscle tension, readings from Jewish texts, and reflection make for a unique, spiritual experience uncommon in today’s busy world.  Ann’s session is a distinctive, new experience for those who have participated in other, more traditional yoga classes.

Ann, who describes herself as both “a student and practitioner of Judaism, yoga and meditation,” brings a spirit of compassion, integrity, wisdom, and love to her yoga classes supplemented by her many years of human relations experience within the academic, profit and not-for-profit communities.  Her unique approach touches the divinity within each participant.  It truly puts the “spirit” back into Judaism.

To register, please email Temple Beth El at education  or call 322-6901 ext. 206 The cost is $10 for advance registration. $15.00 at the door. Please wear loose clothing and bring two large towels. Beginners are welcome.




Temple Beth El Congregational Shabbaton – Jan. 16 – 18

At the Nevele Grand Resort

Space is Limited – Nov 15 is the deadline date for the earlybird price

Theme – Dreams: The Spiritual Quest

Guest Scholar: Rabbi Seymour Rossel

Get your reservations in TODAY





WEDNESDAY, Nov 19, @ 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 Sayed -- Dr Sayed is a lay representative of the Islamic Center of Stamford and a chiropractor, who has spoken in Islam before many groups locally.



Oct. 15 -- Celebrating Birth: When does life begin?  Is abortion ethical? What are the rituals of birth

Nov. 19 -- Celebrating Coming of Age: What are the rituals marking the passage from childhood to adulthood (Bar Mitzvah, Confirmation, etc)?  When is one an "adult?"

Dec 17-- Celebating the Season: How are the sacred days of December linked?  How do they differ?  How can we all celebrate so that no one feels left out?

Jan 21 -- Celebrating Relationships:  Courtship and Marriage in different faith traditions.  How do different faith groups respond to homosexuality?

Feb 11 -- (2nd Wed.) Celebrating Family: What are the responsibilities of parenthood and the role of family in various traditions?  How do we handle divorce, domestic violence, etc., as well as the proliferation of non-traditional family units?  Where do singles fit into all of this?

Mar 17-- Celebrating Diversity: How do we coexist despite our differences?  How do we approach dual faith families?  What are the limits of missionary activity?  How to we handle conversion?

April 21 -- Celebrating Healing:  How do we confront illness in our various traditions and how do we define "wellness?" How do we approach the patient? Where do spirituality and medicine intersect?  Special focus on AIDS.

May 19 -- Approaches to the End of Life: Death, Dying and Life Eternal in different faith traditions.






Thus far, 17 have signed up!  But there is still room for more! 
















Starting a Marriage

A good marriage takes work. Even with the best intentions and fullest dedication, there are always bumps in the road. To better handle the issues faced by every couple, Jewish Family Services of Stamford is beginning a new group for couples who are soon to be married or who are newlyweds. In our sessions, we’ll cover topics such as:

·          Who am I? Who are we? Definitions of self, couple and family.

·          Where did I come from? Exploration of past, life stories, and families of origins.

·          Do you want what I want? Understanding one another’s expectations regarding partnership roles, future home, finances, children, religion, etc.

·          You just don’t understand! Development of effective communication skills.

·          How can we fight fair? The art of negotiation and conflict resolution.

·          Do you really love me? Show me the ways. Expressing emotion, the good stuff, and being intimate.

This is a good opportunity to learn skills that will serve you a lifetime. You may also develop a better understanding of you and of your significant other. And it will provide a forum for you to discuss important issues that will come up throughout your marriage in a constructive, safe environment.

Once we have 4-6 couples we will begin our 6-week journey. Sessions will be held on Thursday evenings and will last 1 ½ hours. The fee for this group will be $15 per couple/session (total of $90). Session location will be determined based on group membership. For more information or to sign up, call Aimee Horowitz: 203-921-4161.




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

(on October 17, we will be welcoming Young Couples and the theme will be nature)


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)




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


United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien
2004 Annual Community Campaign

December 7, 2003

On December 7, 2003, United Jewish Federation is holding its annual
SUPER SUNDAY phone-a-thon at the Stamford JCC.

Please answer your phone and make a generous gift to the 2004 Annual Community Campaign.

If you would like to volunteer to assist with phone calls or other critical tasks on SUPER SUNDAY,
please fill out the attached Sign-up Sheet and send to:





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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