Sunday, October 12, 2003

SHABBAT-O-GRAM for October 12, 2003 and Tishre 15, 5764


October 12, 2003 and Tishre 15, 5764

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut


Shabbat Shalom

And Happy Sukkot



A Refuah Shalyma (Get Well Wish) to Frank Rosner – and Happy Birthday too, to Frank and Christopher Columbus (both born on the same day)!

One thing that will make Frank feel even better is if we have ten or more each day at our morning minyans in his absence (or even when he returns)!  Please make every effort to come.



You are cordially invited…

To the Hammerman Sukkah

Just next door

After services on Sunday Oct. 12

The second day of Sukkot

(Weather permitting)


Remember, there is no Religious School on Sunday because it is the 2nd day of Sukkot.  BUT… please bring the kids to our services that morning, as we will have a special Lulav parade and kids will lead the service in large part.  It will be a somewhat abridged, fun and educational, informal, family-style of service, followed by a trip into the Sukkah. AND… as a bonus, kids in grades 3-7 get service attendance credit for attending this Sunday, as well as this Saturday.








High Holiday sermons (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) are now available online at









Speaking of which…







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, October 17.  If you know of anyone in Stamford Hospital, please let him or her know.

Friday Evening – Shabbat and Sukkot

Tiny Tot Shabbat – Special early Tot service on the 2nd week of each month – at 4:00 PM  Tell your friends!!

Candles: 6:03 PM

Services: 6:30 PM (OUR NEW PERMANENT START TIME) – in the sanctuary

FAMILY FRIDAY SERVICE, featuring our junior choir and this week, the installation of our U.S.Y. board

Our USY BOARD is as follows:


Ilana Ginsberg - President

Dana Madwed  VP - Communications Vice President

Ariel Savransky - Membership / Kadima Vice President

Jordana Trappler and Neal Behrend - Social Action / Tikkun Olam Vice Presidents

Rachel Leiterstein - Religious / Educational Vice President



Shabbat Morning

Service: 9:30 AM

Mazal Tov to Alex Bass who becomes Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat morning, on the first day of Sukkot -- Alex will be collecting food at this service for the local food bank as part of his tzedakkah project.  If you desire to donate, please bring non-perishables to the service with you to place in the bins in the lobby. 

Children’s services: 10:30 AM

Torah Portion – Sukkot Reading

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:  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


Shabbat Afternoon

Mincha-Ma’ariv service: 5:30 PM

Mazal Tov to Joshua Fogel who becomes Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat afternoon


Sunday Morning, Second Day of Sukkot

Services at 9:30 -- This will be a special, somewhat abridged family-style service, with focus on involvement by our students and teaching some of the hows and whys of Sukkot, featuring our grand Lulav parade.

Mazal Tov to David Vatman on his becoming Bar Mitzvah this Sunday morning. 

Morning Minyan: Daily at 7:30 AM,  Sundays at 9:00 AM in the chapel  PLEASE SUPPORT OUR MINYAN!



Erev Shemini Atzeret

Kabbalat Shabbat 6:30 p.m. YOUNG COUPLES SHABBAT

Special “theme” service focusing on Autumn


SHEMINI ATZERET & SHABBAT - Saturday, October 18th

Services 9:30 a.m., including Yizkor


Erev Simchat Torah - Services & Celebration 7:00 p.m.

Featuring SHIMON & DROR from the Tuvia Orchestra

with keyboard, clarinet & sax.


SIMCHAT TORAH - Sunday, October 19th - Services 9:30 a.m.

Join our celebration as we circle our Temple carrying all of our Torahs!





The Highest Level of Tzedakkah


Anyone looking for a paralegal position some good ones are available – contact Maureen Leffand for more information at



Tzedakkah Corner

Mazon, at, “the Jewish Response to Hunger” has been feeding the hungry of all backgrounds for nearly 30 years. Founded by Leonard Fein, who once spoke here, Mazon has helped Jews to bring a mitzvah connection to our celebrations.  Our congregation has helped to raise many thousands of dollars for Mazon, some of which has been allocated to local needs.  On this harvest festival of Sukkot, what better way to make sure that all who are hungry can partake of this bounty.  Check out the web site today.



Spiritual Journey on the Web

On Sukkot


For Sukkot, check out How to build a sukkahHow to buy a lulav (palm branch) and etrog (citron)Themes & theology of sukkot, also at -- from the Jewish Theological Seminary – features for all ages - a different view of Sukkot customs (discussed here on the 1st day) - traditional perspective, background on the Sukkah and the 4 species - What is an etrog, really? - Sukkot through the ages.  Nice historical overview from WZO – an excerpt appears below, indicating why Sukkot was known as the premier festival (simply known as THE festival) in ancient times.

Temple Celebrations

"The Light was so Brilliant it seemed more like Day than Night"

The Talmud gives a vivid description of the festivities on the termination of the first day of the festival.

Tall candelabra were erected in the "Court of the Women." Each candelabrum bore four bowls, which held seven and a half gallons of oil; the cast off branches and girdles of the priests were used as wicks. Young priests ascended ladders and poured their jars of oil into the basins. The light was so brilliant that it seemed more like day than night.

Two galleries were built around three sides of the court for the spectators; in the upper one sat the women; in the lower the men, because of the "levity" of the occasion.

Men distinguished in the Community by their purity and character danced, with flaring torches in their hands, reciting appropriate verses in which God was praised. In the TRACTATE SUKKAH we are told Rabban Simeon ben Gamaliel was so adept that, with eight torches going, not one of them touched the ground when he prostrated himself, touched his fingers to the pavement, bent down, kissed it, and at once sprang up (Sukkah 53a).

There was an orchestra consisting of many instruments played by the Levites, who stood on the fifteen steps that led down from the court of Israel to the court of the women. These fifteen steps corresponded to the fifteen "Songs of the Degrees/Steps," SHIR HAMA'ALOT, found in the Book of Psalms (120-134).

There was a march through the court of the women, beginning at a signal on trumpets played by two priests, and moving to the sound of continuous trumpeting to the gate opening to the East. There they turned about facing west and said:

"Our fathers who were in this place stood with their backs to the Temple and their faces eastward, and worshipped the sun toward the east but our eyes are unto the Lord."

(Ezekiel viii.16)

The joy at this ceremony gave rise to the Talmudic quotation about the rejoicing.



Was Christopher Columbus Jewish?

Some responses:





Required Reading and Action Items


Foreign, Defense Ministers Brief Cabinet - Herb Keinon
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told the cabinet Wednesday that Arafat continues to call the shots for the PA and is continuing to distribute funds to terrorist organizations. Shalom said that new PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei will likely disperse some demonstrations and collect some illegal arms, but has not made a strategic decision to dismantle the terrorist infrastructure. According to Shalom, Qurei may try to temporarily halt terrorist attacks to show the world that Arafat is "capable of delivering the goods," thereby "throwing the ball back into Israel's court."
    Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, in his cabinet briefing, reported that it is likely the suicide bomber responsible for Saturday's attack in Haifa was smuggled into Israel in a car bearing Israeli license plates. He said there is a connection between the attack and the Islamic Jihad infrastructure based in Damascus. Mofaz ordered that both regular and reserve IDF units be reinforced in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip based on "operational needs." Regarding the IAF attack inside Syria, Mofaz said the target was an active terrorist training base and some people were in the camp at the time of the attack. He said the raid has brought to the world's attention the connection between terrorism inside Israel and the terrorist infrastructure that exists in Syria. (Jerusalem Post)
    See also Cabinet Communique (Cabinet Secretariat/IMRA)
    See also Israel Explains Why Syrian Base Was Empty
A suspected Islamic Jihad training camp in Syria, hit in an Israeli airstrike, was almost empty because its forces were out on maneuvers at the time of the attack, Israel's defense minister told a cabinet meeting Wednesday. (AP/ABC)

Arafat's Medical Condition - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    A joint team of Jordanian and Egyptian physicians arrived in Ramallah Wednesday to treat Arafat for a mysterious virus amid reports that his health was rapidly deteriorating. Dr. Yousef Qassous, a heart specialist who examined Arafat last week, said the report in the Guardian on Wednesday that Arafat suffered a mild heart attack was "untrue."  See also Arafat Has Hepatitis - Ben Caspit (Maariv-Hebrew)  Official Israeli sources said Thursday that Arafat has hepatitis type B.

The Price of Indulgence - Editorial
Syria has a long history of complicity with terrorism, whether Hizballah in southern Lebanon, or Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, all of which have representatives in Damascus. The Sharon government is, therefore, perfectly justified in striking a neighbor that sponsors groups wishing to drive the Israelis into the sea. That this is the first such attack in more than 20 years suggests that the Assad regime has been treated with remarkable indulgence. Israel and its closest ally, the U.S., should now put a concerted squeeze on Syrian meddling, both to the east in Iraq and to the west in Israel and the territories. Allied policy should also aim at freeing Lebanon from what amounts to a Syrian protectorate. (Telegraph-UK)


Assad's Predicament - Gal Luft
Bashar Assad's insistence on harboring some of the world's most deadly terrorist groups is getting him in trouble. Hizballah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad all have an agenda larger than fighting Israel. Many of their operatives have crossed the Syrian-Iraqi border in order to take part in the jihad against the U.S. Intelligence sources have reported that Hizballah might already be planning a big attack inside Iraq. (National Review)


U.S. Policy Change Taking Shape Over Syria - Warren P. Strobel
Following Israel's attack on an a terrorist training camp in Syria, a harsher policy toward Damascus is taking shape on Capitol Hill and in the Bush administration. Hawks at the Pentagon haven't given up on the idea of "regime change" in Damascus and recently asked the CIA to come up with a list of Syrian notables who might one day succeed Bashar Assad. Syria "is living on borrowed time," a State Department official said recently. The House International Relations Committee is scheduled on Wednesday to approve the Syria Accountability Act, which would encourage Bush to impose new economic and diplomatic sanctions on Assad's government. (Knight Ridder/Contra Costa Times)

Palestinians Oppose the Fence Because It Stops Their Exercise of a Creeping Right of Return - Amos Harel (Haaretz - 5-Oct-03)

  • Maj.-Gen. Giora Eiland, head of the IDF Planning Branch, claims that the main reason the Palestinians oppose the fence comes from the fact that it separates Israeli Arabs from the Palestinians in the territories and makes the de-facto exercise of the right of return difficult.
  • The Palestinian worldview has been based on a concept of a creeping right of return. Inside the pre-1967 "green line" there are 130,000 Palestinians from the territories who entered Israel permissibly and became Israeli citizens through family unification arrangements. According to estimates, there are a similar number of Palestinians from the territories who are in Israel illegally. The real threat to Israel is not just terrorism but rather the combination of terrorism and demography.

 Israeli Map Shows "Terror Network" in Damascus
Israeli authorities on Tuesday released a map pinpointing what it said were homes and offices of Palestinian militant leaders in Damascus, illustrating the extent of the "Terror Network in the Damascus Region." The map shows supposed locations of the homes of senior Hamas leaders Mousa Abu Marzook and Khaled Mashal, Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shallah and Ahmed Jibril, chief of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC). It also shows 10 sites in Damascus that are the political, military, and media offices for Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Fatah, and the PFLP-GC. "The map is proof of the extensive presence of Palestinian terror groups in Syria," an Israeli security source said. "Everyone that is involved in terror and endangers the lives of Israeli citizens is not immune." (Reuters)  See also Map: Terror Network in the Damascus Region (Reuters)


 Iran Defies UN Ultimatum to Halt Nuclear Work
Iran insisted Tuesday that it would continue to enrich uranium, despite pressure from the IAEA, the UN watchdog, to suspend the process pending clarification of its activities. (London Times)   See also Tehran Likely to Get the Bomb - and There is No Plan B Britain, the U.S., and the EU are still working on the dwindling hope that Iran can be persuaded to postpone its plans, if not to scrap them. If Iran went nuclear, it could dominate and destabilize a region already in upheaval, and could trigger a much wider arms race. The latest remark came from Kamal Kharazzi, the Foreign Minister, a moderate. "We will not allow anyone to deprive us of our legitimate right to use nuclear technology, particularly enrichment for providing fuel for nuclear plants," Kharazzi said. (London Times)

Arafat Suffered Heart Attack
A close aide to Arafat said he had suffered a heart attack last week. "Although he has had a slight heart attack, the doctors say he will make a full recovery. He is in full control. There is nothing to worry about," said the Palestinian official. At the beginning of last week, Arafat was visited by his personal physician from Jordan, Dr. Ashraf al-Kurdi, and a heart specialist, Yousuf al-Qusous. If Arafat requires medical treatment that is not available in Ramallah, he would be likely to travel to Egypt or Jordan but only if Israel permits him to return to the West Bank. Israeli foreign ministry official Jonathan Peled said the government would be happy to see Arafat leave but was unlikely to allow him to return. (Guardian-UK)

Lessons from the Haifa Bombing - Amos Harel
Since the Haifa suicide bomber moved through an area where the separation fence is already standing, special steps were taken along the length of the fence to beef up its security. Soldiers at checkpoints were told to examine cars with Israeli license plates, for fear that they might be smuggling terrorists or explosives. Checkpoints were also beefed up with female soldiers, to body search women, and with dogs, trained to sniff out explosive material. The army says the dogs will be used to examine vehicles, not people.
Due to the alerts, the army has closed the entrances in the fence that lead to privately owned Palestinian farm land. The army had allowed Palestinians to move through the gates by showing their ID card and going through a security check. That lax approach was exploited by illegal workers. The gates will be reopened in a few days - but only to those with the appropriate permits.
The army is establishing a new unit to man the checkpoints along the seam. Some 300 soldiers will be specially trained for the job and be operational by March, part of the army's intention to take over permanent responsibility for the checkpoints in the fence.
In Gaza, the army has cut off Rafah from Khan Yunis to prevent munitions smuggled from Egypt into Rafah through tunnels from being transferred to northern Gaza. Military sources said large numbers of rifles are involved as well as other munitions. (Ha'aretz)

Widening the War Against Terror - Ze'ev Schiff
Israel has signaled to Syria and others that it has decided to expand the war against terror to states giving asylum and assistance to terrorists and their commanders who harm Israel and its citizens. All the Palestinian terror organizations except Fatah train at the Ein Saheb camp, and Iranian instructors are said to appear there occasionally. Syria also hosts other training camps for Palestinian organizations and for Hizballah, combining training for a number of organizations in one camp in order to ease logistics, which it handles. (Ha'aretz)
See also The Syrian Terrorist Base - James Robbins
A 1997 report described Ein Saheb as "the most important base of [the PFLP] and ranks as one of the preeminent training camps where it houses extreme fundamentalists from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Algeria. The training is run by officers from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. They are instructed in street fighting, plane hijacking, hostage taking, and blowing up specific targets - Israeli, American, European, and other targets in certain Arab countries." (National Review)

Arafat: No Way Out - Richard Wolffe and Dan Ephron
In private conversations with Middle East leaders, there is a sense that the U.S. has reached the end of the line. The White House is stuck with an Israeli leader it will not oppose and a Palestinian leader it cannot abide. "Not only is Israel a sovereign state, but it's a democratic state," said one senior administration official. "The Israeli people didn't elect Sharon to bring peace. They elected him to bring security." The Israelis admit they look to the Bush White House before they strike. And what they are seeing is a green light to strike back, as long as Arafat remains untouched. (Newsweek)


Arafat's Role in Recent Terrorism Has Intensified - Ze'ev Schiff
Even if Arafat had no connection to the Haifa attack carried out by Islamic Jihad, the various intelligence branches of the security services in Israel are sure that his role in recent terrorism has intensified. (Ha'aretz)

Israeli Actions Signal Change in Strategy - Charles A. Radin (Boston Globe)

  • Israel's basic principle in negotiating with the Palestinians under the Oslo peace process could be summarized as "land for peace." In return for ceding predominantly Palestinian-populated lands, the PA was to end armed attacks on Israelis from those territories.
  • Sharon has changed the order, recasting the principle as "peace for land." When the Palestinian leadership begins to deliver peace by disarming the extremist groups that deny Israel's right to exist, Israel will be ready to talk about ceding land, Israel's leaders say.
  • "We gave land, and we did not get peace in return," Sharon's spokesman, Ra'anan Gissin, said Friday. "We want a durable peace with tangible results," Gissin said, "not hugs, kisses, and photo ops on the White House lawn. They have to stop terrorism...and then we will consider giving them part of this land that is the cradle, the birthplace, of the Jewish people."


Media coverage of the Mideast conflict is plagued not only by specific episodes of bias, but also by a dangerous set of more subtle, underlying assumptions. To the typical Westerner, the media has generated the following desert mirage:

In this small stretch of arid land dwell two stubborn peoples, led by two even more stubborn elected leaders, and locked in a seemingly endless cycle of tit-for-tat violence. If only the two inflexible sides could be convinced to lay down arms and settle border differences, they could co-exist and the world could put this matter behind us.

The problem is that this depiction ignores what Western observers now recognize, after years of Palestinian violence, to lie at the heart of the conflict ― a deep political and cultural clash between a free, Western democracy on the one hand, and a dictatorial thugocracy, fueled by radical Islam, on the other. As Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief Bret Stephens recently stated: "The principal problem in the Middle East is not the unsettled status of our borders. It is the unsettling nature of Arab regimes ― and of the bellicosity, fanaticism, and resentments to which they give rise."

In their overarching effort to "remain neutral," the media have settled into a pattern of distorting this objective reality ― simultaneously beating Israel over the head with Israel's own organs of democracy, while granting "democratic" legitimacy to a corrupt and dictatorial Palestinian regime. For example, Associated Press recently quoted Yassir Arafat defending his ongoing rule:

"(Bush) has to remember that he had been elected by the Americans and he is representing the Americans, and I have been elected by the Palestinians and I am representing the Palestinians."

The democratic equivalency claimed by Arafat is absurd, yet AP supplies no qualifying statement such as "Arafat was elected with no legitimate opposition, and his term of office expired years ago."

By allowing such a statement to pass without comment, AP flattens key political-cultural differences, and distorts objective reality in favor of the Palestinian regime.

*   *   *

Some recent news items further illustrate the problem:

On September 30, an Israeli court sentenced three Israeli men to extended prison terms for plotting to bomb a Palestinian school. Newspaper editors and ombudsmen have written scores of articles to justify their refusal to call Palestinian suicide bombers "terrorists" ― yet news outlets such as AFP and BBC were quick to label the convicted Israelis a "terrorist network."

Striking in its absence was any contrast between Israel's system of justice for controlling extremists, and the utter lack of internal prosecution on the Palestinian side. Consider:

On Sept. 27, two Palestinian teenagers, aged 15 and 16, were apprehended by IDF troops near the Egyptian border with a suitcase filled with weapons and ammunition. The teenagers had been sent to pick up the suitcase by an adult who paid them each a small sum of money. [This, a week after a similar incident in Northern Gaza mentioned in a recent HonestReporting communique]. The kids, fortunate to escape alive after being sent on a nighttime stealth mission to an active war zone, were released by the IDF.

It goes without saying that the adults responsible for this act will never be tried in a Palestinian court for child abuse, let alone for anti-Israeli terror. This clear indication of a lack of internal Palestinian policing is sorely underreported by the same Western sources that were quick to broadcast the conviction of the Israeli "terrorist network."

The result: The media flatten key political-cultural differences, and distort the objective reality in favor of the Palestinian regime.

*   *   *

Or consider these recent news items:

On September 29, the Israeli State Comptroller submitted his annual internal review of security service and governmental practices. The 400-page report covered a wide range of issues, but the only item emphasized by the world press dealt with occasional lapses in IDF crowd control. The AP report begins as follows: "Israeli soldiers sometimes fire live ammunition at Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip because of a shortage of non-lethal weapons, according to a state comptroller's report released Tuesday."

Buried deep in the story ― and shrugged off by the AP reporter ― was the comptroller's report of Israeli restraint, i.e. the waiting until nightfall to strike so as to limit casualties. Indeed, countless Israeli anti-terror operations have been called off, delayed, or lessened so as to avoid civilian casualties. Sheik Yassin of Hamas chooses a mosque full of worshippers for public appearances, because, as the LA Times reports, "Yassin's security team believes that the presence of worshipers would deter an Israeli attack."

Contrast this with a Palestinian culture that continues to glorify the killing of Israeli civilians.

Perhaps a more interesting angle (one wholly ignored by the media) would be to use the comptroller's report to illustrate Israel's democratic process of internal critique and the spirit of safe, open debate ― completely unique in the region.

This, in stark contrast to a Palestinian society that squelches dissent and open debate. For example, when would-be Palestinian interior minister Nasser Yusuf criticized Arafat in a meeting last week, Arafat cursed at Yusaf, spat in his face, and stormed out of the room.

Further, an op-ed in the Washington Post (Sept. 28) points out how the Palestinian press regularly toes the party line at the cost of accuracy:

"One of the victims of the Cafe Hillel bombing in Jerusalem on Sept. 9 was a waiter, Shafik Karam, from Beit Hanina, a Palestinian Christian. The Palestinian press does not speak of acts of Palestinian terrorism, even when the terrorism hits Palestinians. The obituary [in El Kuds, the East Jerusalem daily] said Karam, 27, had been 'called by God' as a result of 'an accident at his place of work,' as though a tray had fallen on his head."

This lack of an open Palestinian press (and the mass psychological repression it causes) is sorely underreported by the same Western sources that were quick to pick up on the highly critical Israeli comptroller's report.

By skewing coverage of matters central to democratic process, the media give the impression of a level playing field. Far from achieving "media objectivity," this instead projects a distorted image of the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict ― a conflict of political cultures to which Western media consumers are increasingly left in the dark.







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)



Temple Beth El Discussion Group announces…

Raquel Flatow, Executive Director, Schechter Institute for Jewish Studies and TALI, U.S., will be speaking along with Jan Gaines on the history and the present state of TALI schools on

 Monday, October 13th at 7:30 p.m. at Temple Beth El.

TALI is the Conservative/Masorti school system in Israel.



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








"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.




















Temple Beth El is having an art auction on November 15 at 7 pm.  We are going to have a variety of artwork and can request specific artists and works.  We are serving finger foods, wine, beverages and dessert.  Admission is $10 pp/$18 per couple by November 7. At the door, the admission is $15 pp/$25 per

It's an easy way to support TBE.  There's free babysitting, with sign up by November 7.  There's a registration form and more information at  It's listed under "upcoming events" on the right hand side of the page.


This promises to be a wonderful evening.


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 on Wed. Nov 5, 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)




Please join us on

Thursday, November 6th at 7:30 p.m.


Temple Beth El



“Conservative Judaism in the Midst of Israel’s Challenges”


Rabbi Elisha Wolfin


First Masorti Rabbi in Zichron Ya'akov to develop a Conservative Congregation,

Beit Midrash for Adult Study and Tali School

Rabbi Elisha Wolfin, born and raised on Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi in the Galilee, served as an officer in the Intelligence and Education Corps and earned his BA at the Haifa University. He was a shaliach at the Hillel of Berkeley and a Jewish educator. He began his rabbinic studies at the University of Judaism in Los Angeles and transferred to the Schechter Institute in Jerusalem, where he was ordained in 2001. Rabbi Wolfin has extensive experience in informal education with all age groups, especially in the field of educational travel around Israel, prayer and meditation.  Please join us for this dynamic speaker and important topic.

Co-sponsored by Congregation Beth El of Norwalk and Temple Shalom of Greenwich


A Note From the Cantor:

I look forward to seeing you at Temple Beth El on Saturday evening, Nov. 8th, at 7pm as we welcome Magevet, Yale University’s coed a cappella grou, devoted to singing Jewish, Hebrew, and Israeli Music. Founded in 1993 in the Calhoun College sauna (the reason for the unusual name, which in Hebrew means “towel”), Magevet is known worldwide for its sweet blend of voices and unique repertoire. Throughout the year, Magevet travels around the globe.  They appeal to an audience of ALL ages. I brought them to West End Synagogue, where I served as Cantor before coming here, and everyone loved them. They have a varied, innovative repertoire and a warm, interactive performance style.  They recently recorded their 4th CD, which will be on sale at the concert and in our gift shop along with their other CD’s.

Please do join us at 7pm for Havdalah …Magevet has a wonderful rendition of Eliyahu Hanavi that you don’t want to miss…  Followed by their concert.  Then stay after the concert and meet these impressive young men and women over dessert and coffee.  Spread the word so we give them a great Beth El turnout.  I thank Milton and Norma Mann for underwriting part of this program.  Suggested Donation for the evening is $10.


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:






featuring a

special secret activity

(if you know what it is...don't tell)

 Sunday Oct. 12, 2003

4:30 6:00 pm  





 ATID (K-2)


Sunday October 12, 2003

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm





or 322-6901 ext. 324




KESHER (3-5)


Sunday Sept. 22, 2002   

12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

Join us



Pizza, Fun, Ice Cream & Friends



E-mail from the Front

Go to and scroll down to the most recent entries.



Time for a Joke…


This week’s courtesy of Shelley Berman


      Jewish Buddhism


 Take only what is given.

 Own nothing but your robes and an alms bowl.

 Unless you have the closet space.


 Let your mind be as a floating cloud.

 Let your stillness be as the wooded glen.

 And sit up straight.

 You'll never meet the Buddha with posture like that.


 There is no escaping karma.

 In a previous life you never called,

 You never wrote, you never visited.

 And whose fault was that?


 Wherever you go, there you are.

 Your luggage is another story.


 To practice Zen and the art of

 Jewish motorcycle maintenance,

 do the following: Get rid of the motorcycle.

 What were you thinking?


 Learn of the pine from the pine.

 Learn of the bamboo from the bamboo.

 Learn of the kugel from the kugel.

 If there is no self, whose arthritis is this?


 Breathe in. Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out.

 Forget these simple things and attaining

 Enlightenment will be the least of your problems.


 The Tao has no expectations.

 The Tao demands nothing of others.

 The Tao does not speak. The Tao does not blame.

 The Tao does not take sides.

 The Tao is not Jewish.


 Drink tea and nourish life.

 With the first sip, joy.

 With the second, satisfaction.

 With the third, Danish.


 The Buddha taught that one should practice

 loving kindness to all sentient beings.

 Still, would it kill you to find a nice sentient being

 who happens to be Jewish?


 To Find the Buddha, look within.

 Deep inside you are ten thousand flowers.

 Each flower blossoms ten thousand times.

 Each blossom has ten thousand petals.

 You might want to see a specialist.


 Be here now.

 Be someplace else later.

 Is that so complicated?


 Zen is not easy.

 It takes effort to attain nothingness.

 And then what do you have?...



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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