Sunday, October 26, 2003

SHABBAT-O-GRAM for October 26, 2003 and Tishre 29, 5764


October 26, 2003 and Tishre 29, 5764

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut


Shabbat Shalom






Don’t Forget!!

n            Don’t forget to turn back the clocks this weekend!

n            And don’t forget the Hoffman Lecture, featuring Dore Gold, on Tues. at 8

n            And teens, don’t forget the special Sha’ar premier, Rap With Remedy, at U Conn on Sunday at 9:45!



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









Healing Service at Stamford Hospital (every 1st and 3rd Friday): 2:30 PM – at the second floor chapel, or on the hospital’s channel 46.  The next one will be THIS WEEK on Friday, November 7.  If you know of anyone in Stamford Hospital, please let him or her know.

Friday Evening – Shabbat


Candles: 5:43 PM  (for candlelighting times and other Jewish calendar information, click on

Services: 6:30 PM in the lobby -- “Carlebach” Hasidic style service

Shabbat Morning

Service: 9:30 AM

Mazal Tov to Leonard Greenberg, who becomes Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat morning.

Children’s services: 10:30 AM

Torah Portion –Bereisheet (we begin Genesis with the Creation story) Genesis 1:1 - 6:8

Our reading is from the third triennial cycle (with slight adjustments):

1: 5:1-5
2: 5:6-8
3: 5:9-14
4: 5:15-20
5: 5:21-24
6: 5:25-31
7: 5:32-6:8
maftir: 6:5-8

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

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




The Highest Level of Tzedakkah

Our own Elise Dowell (daughter of Bruce and Evelyn Kahn) is now the communications director of the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York.  (What “Yichus” for us!) Knowing how we are trying to circulate job openings for congregants who are networking, she has passed along the following information on positions available at JTS.  Thanks Elise!

Institutional Advancement: Administrative Assistant. Excellent communication, interpersonaland organizational skills. Must have working knowledge of Microsoft office with strong excel and word processing skills. Experience and a BA degree required. Must have knowledge of Jewish culture.

Institutional Advancement, Long Island Region: Assistant Director. We require at least 4 years experience in donor solicitation, and managing development events in the Jewish community, knowledge of Judaism and excellent written and oral communication skills. Substantiation of your previous
fundraising successes will be required

Davidson School: Administrative Assistant. Excellent communication, interpersonal and organizational skills. Must have working knowledge of Microsoft office with strong excel and word processing skills. Experience and a BA degree required.

Security: Security Officer. Must have experience and NY state security guard license. Must be available for all shifts.

Budget Manager: Financial Admin Assistant. Ideal candidate will have a working knowledge of Microsoft Office with strong spreadsheet and word-processing skills. Familiarity with financial reporting and the ability to work independently and meet deadlines required. Excellent communication skills. 2-3 yrs. Related experience and BA in related discipline required.

Computer Operations: Software Trainer. Requires excellent communication and organizational skills. Position will involve heavy interaction with end users
2-3 years experience in similar role. Previous experience in a higher educational environment a plus.

Computer Operations: Desktop Support. 1-2 years experience in application technical support required. Windows desktop operating systems in an NT
environment experience. Knowledge of network printing, email, and Microsoft office suite application.

The JTS Library: Research Assistant in Jewish Art. BA in either Art History or Jewish Studies with strong skills in both areas. Demonstrated ability to work with public, perform detailed tasks and strong writing skills. Knowledge of Hebrew. Knowledge of other languages preferred. Familiarity with libraries, graphic art collections and library computer systems is desirable.

Elise Dowell
Director of Communications
The Jewish Theological Seminary
3080 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
phone: 212.678.8936
fax: 212.864.0109



Tzedakkah Corner

Person to Person

I am pleased to share the following letter that I received this week, especially in light of the Advocate honoring Larry and Steffi Bloch, who have been so instrumental in building the High Holidays food drive into such an unqualified success.  Find out more about Person to Person at


Rabbi Joshua Hammerman

Temple Beth El

350 Roxbury Rd

Stamford, CT  06902


Dear Friends:


I wanted to personally thank you and your congregation as part of the Jewish Community of Stamford for your generous donations to the High Holy Days Food Drive. We collected over $35,000 worth of food. The continuing generosity of your amazing congregation sets an extraordinary example!


This year, as in the last few years, more and more people are seeking our assistance.  Many families in our area are living on a shoestring and are often left with nowhere else to turn. We are finding that families who have never sought help before are coming to Person-to-Person for all of our services, including food. It helps them enormously to know that someone is aware of their plight and cares. Your gift will help put wholesome, nutritious food on their tables this fall.


Person-to-Person appreciates the assistance of the Jewish Community of Stamford who shares their resources with others. Please extend our sincerest thanks to the kids who loaded the vans and all the members who came to sort food. We also want to give a special thanks to Mark Lapine for donating his van to collect and deliver food.



Cathy Leather

Executive Director



Spiritual Journey on the Web


Halloween and Judaism – The October Dilemma:


The October dilemma is exacerbated this year by the fact of Halloween falling on Friday night.  While I tend to be in the “lighten up” school regarding trick or treating, I do feel that this combination gives us an important teaching opportunity.  After all, we have lots of wonderful, candy-filled Jewish holidays (including Simhat Torah and Sukkot, which we just celebrated), and Shabbat is a time for family and giving, not trickery and taking.  In the pantheon of sacred times, I shudder whenever Shabbat is forced to take a back seat to anything.  So I have real concerns about trick or treating on Shabbat, but it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  One year when my kids were younger, we got together with a few friends and did Halloween the day before, on Thursday.  We set up the house as if it was a street, and an adult stood behind the door to each room, with candy in hand.  The kids walked from “house to house,” only to be surprised at which parent was standing behind each door, doling out the goodies.  It was fun, but admittedly, this tactic wouldn’t fly for 12 year olds.  So I’ve got the next best thing.  I’ll personally hand out candy at services for all who come to services next Friday night, whether in or out of costume. In other words, I’d rather see kids here, even after they’ve tricked and treated, than not see them here at all.  It’s similar to the way I would rather see kids here in soccer, baseball or gymnastic uniforms on Shabbat morning then not at all.  It sends a statement that Shabbat is still important, even as we go on about our assimilated lives.   


So I’ll be here next Friday, candy in hand.  Not that it’s any thing special to get candy here – we’re a veritable candy store on Shabbat and holiday mornings, so this will just be a little extra.  And maybe I’ll tell a Jewish ghost story during services (although this will not be a children’s service per se).  Whatever works!


Here are some sites to check regarding the October Dilemma: For me, the October dilemma consists of finding Halloween candy to pass out to trick-or-treaters that I will not eat, no matter how desperate or distraught I become. For my children, the challenge is creating peer- and parent-approved costumes that will also work for Purim. But for many Jewish parents, who associate the holiday with demons, death and wickedness - as well as with Christianity - Halloween is problematic.  We live in America, our kids go to public schools and Halloween is unavoidable. Is Halloween Kosher?  How to skip Halloween so your children won’t hate you What various faith groups think of Halloween Halloween can remind Jews to Hallow God’s presence  Lots of Kabbala links (Judaism has its dark side too!)





Required Reading and Action Items


Have a new arrival in the family? Let the world know!  The Jewish Ledger happily prints birth announcements with photographs free of charge.  Send it along to  Also check out the Jewish Ledger this week at for a feature on our New Hebrew high school program, Kulanu, as well as big controversy brewing at Miss Porters School, where the faculty advisor for Jewish students is a Messianic Jew.


From Campus Beat (via 10/13/03:  ·  The Hacky Sac Intifada by Christopher Farah
The fastest-growing protest movement on U.S. college campuses: Palestinian liberation. But as the movement has expanded, it has developed its own dramatic, internal conflict between white American students, eager to revel in their disdain for American "imperialism" and embrace the most extreme positions, and Arab students, determined to find a sympathetic mass audience through a more diplomatic approach. "We don't support any violence against civilians," says Summer Sharaf, an Arab-American and Rutgers alumnus. "It's against international law, and it's immoral. I think it's funny how the people running the Rutgers conference are all non-Arabs," Sharaf says. "It makes me wonder why they're here, why they're doing what they're doing." (Salon [requires registration])


Palestinian Security Services Stockpile Weapons "for War for Arafat's Job" - Gideon Alon (Ha'aretz)
    "There are preparations in the Palestinian Authority for the war for Chairman Arafat's job as a result of Yasser Arafat's ailment, and part of those preparations include the stockpiling of weapons by the various security services ahead of an armed clash between them," Chief of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze'evi told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tuesday.
    Military intelligence believes Arafat is "seriously ill."
    Ze'evi predicted Ahmed Qurei's term would come to an end on November 4, and that PA Finance Minister Salam Fayad would quit with Qurei.
    Ze'evi said that, from the Palestinian perspective, the "Geneva understandings" were signed by "very marginal" figures from Palestinian politics, and it has not reverberated through Palestinian society.


IDF Video Contradicts Claims Bystanders Killed in Gaza Raids - Arnon Regular and Gideon Alon
The IDF released a videotape of the missile strike in the Nuseirat refugee camp filmed by a drone aircraft, showing there were no crowds in the street when a second missile struck an escaping car, and refuting Palestinian claims that an IAF missile was launched into a crowd of civilians. The car was carrying terrorists, including a suicide bomber, who had failed to get across the fence at Nahal Oz. (Ha'aretz)


Air Strikes in Gaza - Ze'ev Schiff
There were two separate operations on Monday. The first was based on solid intelligence about a warehouse containing explosives and Kassam rockets. The first bomb was only a partial hit. The Palestinians immediately transported the remaining explosives to another warehouse, in two cars. The air force tracked the cars, found the warehouse, and hit one of the two cars. On Tuesday a jet returned and demolished the first warehouse.
    In the second operation, information arrived Monday night that the Palestinians meant to get one or two suicide bombers over the fence, with a crane. The first group of terrorists was hit by an IDF ambush. The second car escaped and was chased by an IDF helicopter. A missile fired at the car stopped it in the middle of a main road. The defense minister and chief of staff authorized the launch of another missile, which caused the car to explode.
    Shin Bet sources do not confirm the same number of casualties reported by the Palestinians. The IAF and Shin Bet say they have confirmed the death of seven Palestinians, all of whom are Hamas activists. This is not the last operation of the Air Force in the Gaza Strip; briefings for new operations are already underway. (Ha'aretz)

Peddling Zionism without Zion - Nadav Shragai (Ha'aretz)

  • The architects of the Geneva "understandings" are manufacturing another paper agreement to reward terrorism by providing it with more and more territory, and upgrading its lethal capabilities. They are putting yet more Jerusalem neighborhoods within Palestinian firing range.
  • After more than 3,000 shells, bombs, and Kassam rockets have landed on Gush Katif in attacks that no agreement, fence, or wall can stop, the planners seek to return Israel to its narrow-waisted borders of 1967, bringing missiles to the porches of houses in Kfar Sava, Lod, and Rosh Ha'ayin.
  • They have overlooked dozens of declarations of steadfast adherence to the "right of return" and they ignore an endless stream of articles, speeches, and commentaries articulated in the spirit of the "Hudaybiya Treaty" (the agreement abrogated by Muhammad), which prove that Oslo, Cairo, Wye, Hebron, and other agreements are tactical ploys to promote one main objective - ongoing, relentless strikes against the Jewish-Zionist entity that we built here after 2,000 years, until Israel as a whole is destroyed.
  • Jerusalem and the Temple Mount are components without which Jewish identity has no hope of continuity. Without them, the justice of Jewish-Zionist claims cannot be perceived. Without Zion, without the Temple Mount, there can be no Zionism.  Two Gazan Palestinians detonated bomb that killed 3 Americans  DEBKAfile Exclusive Expose  October 19, 2003, 12:56 PM

....The murderous bomb-attack was planned and executed by Yasser Zannoon and Mohammad al-Baba, heads of a Khan Younes militia in the southern Gaza Strip. The undercover allegiances of this Palestinian militia hint at the labyrinth of terrorist groups rampant in the Gaza Strip. On the one hand, the Khan Younes militia operates in the framework of the Popular Resistance Committees, whose chief is Yasser Arafat's man in Gaza, Jemal Sema Dana of the notorious Rafah-based smuggling clan. On the other, it is linked to Rashid Abu Shbak, acting head of the Palestinian Authority's Preventive Security Service that was set up legitimately under the 1993 Oslo Accords to counter Palestinian terrorism.

Recovering a Community of Ethical Controversy
"To the extent that consensus indicates a mutually agreed upon conclusion or definition for the entire Jewish people, or at least as much as possible at any given moment, count me out. In fact, I think that we spend far too much time, effort, energy, and money pursuing a goal that is not even good for the Jewish people. Healthy spiritual communities are marked not by the degree of consensus that they achieve but by the extent of ethical controversy that they can maintain. The test of success lies not in the number of agreements that can be reached between participants in any given conversation but in the amount of time that they will participate in that ongoing conversation as their differences arise...."
By Brad Hirschfield  (from


25 Years After Pope's Election, Catholic-Jewish Ties Much Stronger
"Twenty-five years ago this month, white smoke billowed from a chimney above the Vatican to signal the election of a new pope - Karol Wojtyla, the 58-year-old archbishop of Krakow, the first pontiff ever chosen from Poland and the first non-Italian to sit on the papal throne in 456 years. Now 83 and visibly marked by age and illness, he has left a decisive mark on the world, on Catholicism and, in particular, on the long-troubled relations between Catholics and Jews...." By Ruth E. Gruber   (from Jewish Telegraphic Agency)


 The Gordian Knot of Middle East Terrorism - Colbert I. King
Since the signing of the Oslo agreements in 1993, suicide bombing missions against Israelis have numbered in the hundreds. Now, with increasing frequency, suicide terrorism is targeting Americans and U.S. interests in Iraq. What have we gotten ourselves into? Jessica Stern, a former Hoover Institution and Council on Foreign Relations fellow and currently a lecturer at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, spent years interviewing terrorists. Stern said it's pretty clear that poverty in and of itself does not cause terrorism. She said the most important elements "have to do with a feeling of humiliation and a desire for a clear identity, more than poverty or lack of education." If poverty were a prime cause of terrorism, Stern said, we would see a lot more of it in poor countries. "A person engaging in suicide murder has decided he or she can control more through his or her death than through life," she said. (Washington Post)
    See also Talking with Militants about God and Mass Slaughter - Interview with Jessica Stern (Reason)
    See also Raising a Generation of Martyrs - Barbara Victor
Hanadi Jaradat, who blew herself up at Maxim's restaurant in Haifa on Oct. 4, taking with her 21 Israelis and Israeli Arabs, was living proof that the culture of death that has permeated Palestinian society is no longer limited to the poor or desperate. (Chicago Tribune)


With One Gaza Bomb, The Road Map Has Changed - Robert Steward
The Gaza bombing was an escalation that puts the lie to the excuse that somehow suicide bombers who kill women and children are merely responding to Israeli "occupation." The bomb killed U.S. citizens who were in Gaza as part of an effort to forge a peace process on behalf of Palestinians. The casualties were men with diplomatic passports - not Israeli troops. And more important, the terrorists struck against a group of observers who were open to the sovereignty and land borders demands of the Palestinians. The aim of the terrorists is clear: There can be no two-state solution - Israel must be destroyed. The writer is a former Army intelligence analyst. (Newsday)


Islamic Anti-Semitism - Editorial
It is hard to know what is more alarming - a toxic statement of hatred of Jews by the Malaysian prime minister at an Islamic summit meeting this week or the unanimous applause it engendered from the kings, presidents, and emirs in the audience. The words uttered by the prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, in a speech to the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference on Thursday were sadly familiar: Jews, he asserted, may be few in number, but they seek to run the world. Sympathy for the Muslims' plight must not be confused with the acceptance of racism.
    Most Muslims have indeed been shoddily treated - by their own leaders, who gather at feckless summit meetings instead of offering their people what they most need: human rights, education, and democracy. The European Union was asked to include a condemnation of Mr. Mahathir's speech in its statement ending its own summit. It chose not to, adding a worry that displays of anti-Semitism are being met with inexcusable nonchalance. (New York Times)


Palestinian Terrorism, American Blood - Jeff Jacoby
News accounts of the bombed convoy in Gaza immediately described the attack as a first - "an unprecedented deadly attack on a U.S. target in the Palestinian territories," to quote the Associated Press. But Branchizio, Parson, and Linde were not the first Americans to be murdered by Palestinian terrorists. They were the 49th, 50th, and 51st in the past 10 years alone. The families of the many previous U.S. victims of Palestinian terror might reasonably wonder why there was no such presidential concern when their loved ones were massacred. (Dr. David Applebaum and his daughter Nava; Cleveland native Alan Beer; Marla Bennett of California, David Gritz of Massachusetts, Benjamin Blutstein of Pennsylvania, and Janis Coulter of New York at the Hebrew University cafeteria; Shoshana Gr! eenbaum, a New Jersey tourist at Sbarro pizzeria; 14-year-old Kobi Mandell of Silver Spring, Md.; Brandeis University student Alisa Flatow.)
    Americans have been dying at the hands of Palestinian terrorists for decades, yet the U.S. government and media rarely if ever portray Yasser Arafat and his lieutenants as avowed enemies of the United States. The State Department does not demand the extradition of Palestinian killers of Americans, not even when the killers' identities and whereabouts are known. There is only one rational response to the murder of Branchizio, Parson, and Linde last week: the destruction of the Palestinian Authority, a network of killers posing as a government. (Boston Globe)


A full deck: Baseball card set celebrates the 141 Jewish men -- many long forgotten -- who have worn a Major League uniform, By Candus Thomson Baltimore Sun, October 21, 2003,0,3234513.story?coll=bal-artslife-today


Poll: Palestinians Support Armed Struggle Even After Statehood - Janine Zacharia (Jerusalem Post)
    59% of Palestinians believe that Hamas and Islamic Jihad should continue their armed struggle against Israel even if Israel leaves all of the West Bank and Gaza, including East Jerusalem, and a Palestinian state is created, a new survey shows.
    80% of Palestinians say that, under those circumstances, the Palestinians should not give up the "right of return."
    The poll released Wednesday by Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch and pollster Frank Luntz, also examined Israeli and Palestinian attitudes towards the U.S. and towards terrorism.
    96% of Israeli Jews say the people who piloted the planes on September 11 were terrorists, while only 37% of Palestinians share that view.
    42% of Palestinians and 61% of Israeli Arabs stated they support the people who are attacking Americans in Iraq. No Israeli Jews said they did.


And If "Geneva" is Violated? - Ze'ev Schiff
There are Palestinians who are sincerely ready to reach a painful compromise with Israel. Others - and not only Hamas - don't want that. The question is whether those who want compromise, as drafted in the Geneva understandings, are capable of enforcing those commitments on the Palestinian organizations and gangs. Judging from the Oslo accords and subsequent agreements, there is a great doubt about the Palestinian ability to fulfill a security agreement. One of the lessons of Oslo is that, in any agreement with the Palestinians, Israel needs "security margins" broader than those it had since 1993. (Ha'aretz)


Virtual Understandings - Meron Benvenisti
In that pretentious document known as the "Geneva Understandings," "Article 6 - Jerusalem" includes inaccuracies and ignorance bordering on the ridiculous. Why does "withdrawal to June 4" grant the Palestinians Jaffa Gate, when it was in no-man's land until then? Were the residents of East Jerusalem asked if they favor being stripped of their Israeli residency and the accompanying rights? The opening of the document is a wonderful text encompassing all the ideals of Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation. But the initiator of the "understandings," Yossi Beilin, has been imprisoned for years in the concept of a "permanent agreement," insisting on proving that he has the power to draft a text that will formulate a model for an end to the conflict and deal with every aspect of the lethal confrontation. Therefore, he enlists the help of experts to provide him with "solutions." It's a pretension bordering on conceit. A permanent agreement and conciliation are ideals and the way to them is paved with a series of interim agreements, tested in the implementation, not in the brilliance of their language. (Ha'aretz)


"Imagine an F-15 Flying 50 Meters Above Assad's Palace at 1 a.m."
- Arieh O'Sullivan (Jerusalem Post)

A senior military source told the Jerusalem Post Wednesday:

  • "Arafat thinks that by demographics and terrorism there will be one state and it won't be Jewish."
  • The IDF is ready to carry out the cabinet's decision to remove Arafat the moment the orders are given.
  • The near constant deployment of forces in the territories over the past three years was not fatiguing the troops. "The battalions are strong and have high standards and are working well. Every four months new soldiers are added to the fighting and commanders are rotated. The standing army can keep this up for years."
  • "Israel has significant deterrence over Syria today. We see it. We struck at a terrorist target in Syria and there is embarrassment there. If we had not been deterring the Syrians and Hizballah, then I think that the northern front would have been a lot hotter." "If they felt the Syrian army was strong [enough] to stand up to the IDF, [Syria] would have let the Hizballah to be more daring. They prefer the Palestinian front and are responsible for a lot of what is happening here. They prefer this because they thought we would not link the two fronts."
  • Acknowledging the August report that an IAF fighter buzzed Assad's palace, the senior officer described what transpired: "Imagine this F-15 flying 50 meters above Assad's palace at 1 a.m. in the morning, with all of its thrusters directed exactly over the palace, and no one even detected it until it was over the palace. This is embarrassing, not to mention unpleasant."


Bloomberg Radio Commentary by Ed Koch  (thanks to David Hirshfield for forwarding this)

An editorial in the October 18 New York Times, captioned "Islamic Anti-Semitism," got it right.  The Times said, "It is hard to know what is more alarming - a toxic statement of hatred of Jews by the Malaysian prime minister at an Islamic summit meeting this week or the unanimous applause it engendered from the kings, presidents and emirs in the audience. The words uttered by the prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, in a speech to the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference on Thursday were sadly familiar: Jews, he asserted, may be few in number but they control the world.

"The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million, but today the Jews rule the world by proxy," the prime minister said. "They get others to fight and die for them." Muslims are "up against a people who think," he said, adding that the Jews "invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with others."

The false and evil words of Mahathir Mohamad and their enthusiastic acceptance by Moslem leaders the world over will, without doubt, be responsible for the persecution if not the deaths of innocent Jews living in Muslim nations and elsewhere.  Just as troubling is the muted response from Europe and the U.S.

According to The Times editorial, "The European Union was asked to include a condemnation of Mr. Mahathir's speech in its statement yesterday ending its own summit.  It chose not to, adding a worry that displays of anti-Semitism are being met with inexcusable nonchalance."  At the European Union, the Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, sought to have the E.U. deplore the Malaysian Prime Minister's call to arms against Jews everywhere.  Frattini's effort was rejected by French President Jacques Chirac.  According to the New York Post, Chirac "convinced members [of the E.U.] to leave any criticizing of Mahathir to Italy."  Why?  "It would not have been appropriate for the European Union, a French official said."  Subsequently, Chirac issued his own letter, which is worthless, given that he conveyed his true feelings with his earlier action.

President Bush rebuked Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad directly, stating that his comments were "wrong and divisive," and that they stand "squarely against what I believe in."  Our president's response, while appreciated, is not what is required.  A clarion call equivalent to Emile Zola's J'Accuse directed to the world community is what is needed.

Where are other respected leaders of the world who surely would be speaking out if Mahathir Mohamad had denounced Christians or blacks or other minorities?  Where are the voices of Pope John Paul II, Nelson Mandela, Tony Blair?  Where are the leaders of the Eastern Orthodox churches?  Where is Rev. Billy Graham?

Is it any wonder that 60 years after World War II, Jews and righteous gentiles are thinking here we go again.  Most occupied European nations collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II, delivering their own Jewish citizens to the Nazis for transport to the death camps.  This was especially true of France, which offered up its Jews even before being asked to do so.

I will not forget that Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was one of our greatest presidents and who saved the world from being conquered by the Nazis, nevertheless failed to grant U.S. visas to European Jews before World War II began, a humanitarian act that could have saved many Jews who were later murdered in Nazi extermination camps.

Besides focusing on "Islamic Anti-Semitism" in its editorial, The Times should have included a ringing denunciation of the virulent anti-Semitism that can now be found in nearly every country at levels not reached since shortly before the outbreak of World War II.  So-called "Islamic Anti-Semitism" is no different than the Jew-hatred that now pervades Britain and France, much of it disguised as "anti-Israeli" or "anti-Zionist" statements.  Even France's ambassador to Great Britain, Daniel Bernard, referred to Israel as "that shitty little country."

We Jews are no better than any other people, but we are as good as any, and we deserve dignity, security and respect as individuals and for the Jewish State of Israel.  We can match our accomplishments with any other group.  From our loins came Moses, who gave the world the Ten Commandments; Jesus, who gave the world Christianity; Freud, who gave the world psychotherapy; and Einstein, who gave the world unmatched insights into mathematics, science and physics, and so many other intellectual giants.  From our people came more than 16 percent of the Nobel Prize winners, even though we have never been more than one-third of one percent of the world's population.  We are, as Pope John Paul II described us, Christianity's "elder brother."

Today, that brother needs support and embrace.  The world should remember at its peril the lament of Pastor Martin Neimoller after WWII, "In Germany, the Nazis first came for the Communists, and I didn't speak up because I was not a Communist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak up because I was not a Jew.  Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Trade Unionist.  Then they came for the Catholics, and I was a Protestant, so I didn't speak up.  Then they came for ME... By that time there was no one to speak up for anyone."

Recently, a friend sent me the remarks of former CIA director James Woolsey, who said, "I sometimes get asked these days if I'm Jewish.  It's my neoconish views on defense and foreign affairs, I suppose.  For a while I would just say, "No, Presbyterian," but I've started saying instead, "Well, I anchor the Presbyterian wing of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.  What with anti-Semitism growing in Europe and a hideous variety thereof metastasizing in the Middle East not to speak of the American Left's (and a small part of the Right's) hostility to Israel which sometimes veers off into anti-Semitism it seems to me our Jewish friends could use a bit of solidarity these days.  Today, the first day of Rosh Hashanah, celebration of the Jewish New Year, is as good a time as any to explain why."  My heartfelt thanks, Mr. Woolsey.

 "Never Again" is the lesson of the Holocaust.  Today, those words ring hollow.  Once again they're getting ready to come for the Jews.  It's time to sound the alarm.







Beth El Israel Tour Information Meeting – Nov. 2 at Noon


On Sunday, Nov. 2, at noon, we will be hosting representatives from Keshet tours, organizers of next summer's Beth El Israel Family Tour, which Mara and I will be leading.  If you have even a remote interest in this trip, mark your calendar now to attend this meeting.  The meeting will be part of the 2004 B'nai Mitzvah Family Day program scheduled to take place that morning, but all are invited to attend this part and then to meet privately with the organizers afterward if you have additional questions.


The itinerary is still in formation, but I can say now that our current plan is for a thrilling 15 day experience departing on August 1. Keshet has a superb reputation for making history come alive and the trip will be filled with fun activities for all ages.  At times, the kids will have their own activities while adults explore the intricasies of modern (and ancient) Israel.  For background on Keshet, check out their Web site at


The itinerary will include lots of swimming and hiking (including a wilderness experience in the Negev and a visit to one of Israel's largest waterfalls on the Golan Heights), stays in Tel Aviv and the mystical city of Safed, a visit to an army base, a Kibbutz experience, kayaking on the Jordan River, climbing Masada and floating in the Dead Sea, shopping in Jaffa, a Bedouin dinner in the middle of the Ramon Crater, a tree-planting ceremony near the home of the Maccabess, a visit to our sister city of Afula (hopefully seeing some of our former emissaries) a pre-Shabbat visit with Ethiopian families near Jerusalem, briefings from journalists and other experts on the current situation and on-site exploration of some of the current controversies, all with a keen eye toward security (Israel's and our own).  We'll also be doing an archeological dig in the Judean Hills and a tzedakkah project at the children's ward of Hadassah Hospital, running a Purim-style carnival to cheer up the!

 children.  As you can see, a prime focus will be on meeting the people of Israel, not just seeing the sites.


This trip is for everyone, but special attention will be given to recent b'nai mitzvah (and upcoming b'nai mitzvah as well), as we'll have a special Bar/Bat Mitzvah affirmation service in which the teens will participate, as well as a celebration dinner (sorry, no D.J.s, but we'll have Klezmer music).


Shabbat will be extra-special.  The first Shabbat will be spent in the spectacular hills of Safed, where we'll welcome the Sabbath Bride outdoors as they did in the place where Lecha Dodi was written.  The second Shabbat will be in Jerusalem, sampling Jewish culture from around the world -- this will truly be the climax of the trip.


More information on the itinerary, pricing, etc. will be available on the 2nd.  Please plan to come and if you have any questions, do not hesistate to ask.  I truly hope that many of us will decide to make 2004 the year to live the dream of visiting Israel. (and you can make your pledge to visit and enter a sweepstakes for a free trip at







Ambassador Dore Gold

October 28 @ 8:00



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














FIRST CLASS IS Nov. 4!!!!!!!






Temple Beth El Holds Art Auction


Art lovers, mark your calendars for Sunday, November 15, when Temple Beth El will hold an auction of fine art and sculpture on Sunday, November 15.

High quality works of art are now being collected and catalogued for an evening that promises excitement and opportunities to meet fellow art lovers.  Patrons can enjoy dessert and light refreshments while previewing the works in the synagogue's social hall.


Free babysitting is available to those who pre-register by November 7.


New and seasoned collectors will have the opportunity to bid on pieces that will enhance their home and office decors while helping to support the area's largest Conservative synagogue.

Temple Beth El, an egalitarian synagogue, is an area leader in offering innovative religious services and programs in education and music, not just for members but for the community at large.  Admission is $10.00 per person ($18.00 per couple) in advance, and $15.00 per person ($25.00 per couple) at the door.  All major credit cards will be accepted for the auction.  Temple Beth El has ample and secure parking.  The preview runs from 7:00 to 8:00, just before the auction.  For more information, please contact Janice or Michael Greenberg at (203) 322-6221 or go to>>upcoming events.



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.



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.


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)




                                                               Mitzvah Day


This Sunday, October 26 from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm is the annual JCC sponsored community Mitzvah Day.  The day begins with a free community-wide kickoff breakfast at the JCC at 9:00 am.  Co-chairs Robin and Fred Wexler and Jeannie and Brian Kriftcher will be joined by Mayor Malloy as we begin a day long effort to fulfill the mitzvah of tikkun olam (repairing the world) at mulltiple locations throughout the Stamford area. 


Projects include painting at the Soundwaters Community Center, clean up at the Stamford Arboretum, stocking shelves at the Lower Fairfield County Food Bank, preparing and serving meals at the women’s center of St. Lukes Lifeworks, partnering  with Help Rebuilding Together to fix up a home of a Stamford family in need, decorating tzedakah boxes, writing letters to Israeli and American active duty soldiers and countless others.  There are special activities for 6th graders who will make teddy bears to give to children in the pediatric ward at Stamford hospital; for 7th and 8th graders as Ru’ach Noar, the JCC’s middle school mitzvah corp goes to Kids in Crisis to decorate pumpkins and make costumes for children who could use some cheering up; and for 9th through 12th graders who join with Kulanu, our new community Hebrew High School, to listen to the Jewish rapper Remedy from the Wu Tang Clan rap about the Holocaust and participate in a social action project designed to recognize their own prejudices.


Mitzvah Day is coordinated by the JCC and the following organizations: Congregation Agudath Sholom, Temple Beth El, Temple Sinai, Chavurat Aytz Chayim, Bi-Cultural Day School, Fellowship for Jewish Learning, Hadassah, Jewish Family Service, Kulanu, UJF, Brandeis Women, Stamford Chabad and Young Israel.


While the planning of Mitzvah Day takes a great deal of time and effort and the work and cooperation of dozens of individuals and organizations, the real magic of Mitzvah Day comes from the hundreds of individuals from throughout Stamford’s Jewish community who will give of their time on Sunday to volunteer at these projects.  As a leader in the Stamford Jewish community I urge you to get involved and bring your children to one of the most important of days on our community’s calendar.  For information on how you can sign up to volunteer on a project, please call Jonathan Fass at (203) 487-0958 or e-mail Jonathan at




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:




Yo! Check this out! Jewish Hip Hop?

Rap with Remedy of Wu Tang Clan


                     Sha’ar Premiere


Ross Filler, better known as Remedy, is the only white and Jewish member of the superstar Staten Island rap group, Wu Tang Clan. 


An unconventional advocate for the Jewish people, Remedy has performed worldwide and will be joined by his friend, Lukas Brenowitz of the Israeli Consulate Speakers’ Bureau, for an exceptional morning of music and relevant issues confronting Jewish youth today.


October 26, 2003  • 9:45 AM to 12:45 PM

UCONN, Stamford Campus


8th through 12th Grade Welcome!


LIMITED SEATING • RSVP required for entry.

For information or RSVP: Ilana De Laney at 321-1373, ext. 114, or email


Rap with Remedy!   •   Brunch & Socializing!



8th Graders and Parents

Schechter High of Westchester

Fall Open House

Wed. Oct. 29, at 7:00 PM

RSVP to Sandra by Oct. 21,

at 914-948-8333 (x157)




Time for a Joke




These announcements, with hilarious typos and phrasing blunders, were reportedly found in various shul newsletters and bulletins around the country. Even the spellchecker wouldn't have helped! (thanks to Lorri Zabronsky for forwarding them)

1. Don't let worry kill you. Let your synagogue help. Join us for our Oneg after services. Prayer and medication to follow. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our congregation.

2. For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

3. We are pleased to announce the birth of David Weiss, the sin of Rabbi and Mrs. Abe Weiss.

4. Thursday at 9, there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All women wishing to become Little Mothers please see the rabbi in his private study.

5. The ladies of Hadassah have cast off clothing of every kind and they may be seen in the basement on Tuesdays.

6. A bean supper will be held Wednesday evening in the community center. Music will follow.

7. Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the JCC. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.

8. Rabbi is on vacation. Massages can be given to his secretary.

9. Goldblum will be entering the hospital this week for testes.

10. The Men's Club is warmly invited to the Oneg hosted by Hadassah. Refreshments will be served for a nominal feel.

11. Please join us as we show our support for Amy and Rob, who are preparing for the girth of their first child.

12. We are taking up a collection to defray the cost of the new carpet in the sanctuary. All those wishing to do something on the carpet will come forward and get a piece of paper.

13. If you enjoy sinning, the choir is looking for you!

14. The Associate Rabbi unveiled the synagogue's new fundraising campaign slogan this week: "I Upped My Pledge. Up Yours".

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  

No comments: