Friday, March 21, 2003

Shabbat-O-Gram, March 21, 2003, II Adar 18, 5763

Shabbat-O-Gram, March 21, 2003, II Adar 18, 5763

Rabbi Joshua Hammerman, Temple Beth El, Stamford, Connecticut

Our Prayers Go Out to Our Armed Forces and to all innocent human beings in Iraq, Israel, America and throughout the world.


Thank you to Charles Carter for becoming the first to sponsor a Shabbat-O-Gram, in honor of the birthday of his wife, Dorothy Davidson.




Previous Shabbat-O-Grams can be accessed directly from our web site ( New E-mail from the Front can be found at

Check out photos from Purim at our web site

The Shabbat-O-Gram will be updated as more important information comes in about the War


“E-mail from the Front” 

As these fateful weeks continue, more new “E-mail from the Front” keeps coming in, including a new dispatch from Jan Gaines in Netanya.  Go to and scroll down to the most recent entries.


Spiritual Journey on the Web











Friday Night:

Candles: 5:49 PM 

Tot Shabbat: 6:30 PM, in the lobby

Kabbalat Shabbat Service: 7:30 PM, in the sanctuary

Shabbat Morning:


Service: 9:30 AM

Children’s services: 10:30 AM

MAZAL TOV to Michael Staines as he becomes Bar Mitzvah this Shabbat morning

Torah Portion – Tzav, Shabbat Parah

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

Morning MinyanDaily at 7:30 AM, Sunday at 9:00 AM in the chapel

Reminder of our “No School No Shul” policy: On days when Stamford public schools are cancelled or delayed, morning minyan is also cancelled.  On Sunday, when our religious school is cancelled because of weather, minyan is also cancelled.   Friday night and Shabbat morning services are never cancelled, but people are asked to use their own good judgment (we call it “sechel”) on days when the weather is very bad.


What is Shabbat Parah? (from

"This is the decree of the Torah, which Hashem has commanded, saying: Speak to the Children of Israel, and they shall take to you a completely red cow, which is without blemish, and upon which a yoke has not come." (BaMidbar 19:2)

This is an example of Law of the Torah, which is considered completely above human comprehension.  The paradox is that those who are involved in the preparation of the ashes of the cow become ritually impure, while the sprinkling of water with those ashes is used to remove contamination! It is an example of a Law, which must be accepted on faith alone.

On the Shabbat after Purim, two Torah Scrolls are removed from the Ark. The Sidrah of the week is read from the first, and from the second, the chapter of Parah Adumah, the Red Cow (or Red Heifer), is read. It gives the procedure through which people can purify themselves from the contamination caused by a human corpse.

The reading of this chapter was instituted for this time of the year because Jews were required to purify themselves before coming to Jerusalem for the pilgrimage festival of Passover.

The Haftarah read on the Sabbath of Parashat Parah contains the verse, "And I shall sprinkle pure water upon you, that you be cleansed. From all your contamination and from all your filth will cleanse you" (Ezekiel 36:25). There are other parallels in the Haftarah between the concepts of sin represented by contamination, and atonement represented by purity.

This idea is discussed in the commentary to the ArtScroll Ezekiel (pp.534-5), as follows: Freedom of will in moral matters is the first and irreplaceable condition for living one's life on the higher plane demanded by the Torah. Belief in man's freedom of action, however, is endangered by the fact that man cannot avoid death and that he is subject to the superficial limitations imposed by the forces of nature.

This belief is particularly shaken by the sight of a dead human being. If the whole human being has succumbed to death, been overpowered by physical forces - If man, like all other organic beings, cannot escape the spell of an overpowering force - then there is no room for the moral "you shall" next to the physical "you must." Moral freedom of will would then be an illusion, and the Divine law of morality with its demand for total free-willed devotion to the illuminating, purifying fire of its sanctuary would be incomprehensible. (R'Hirsch, Numbers 19:22)

Thus, sin is related not only to death, but also to contamination, which is closely associated with death. Because the sinner is shackled by his desires, he loses spiritual control of actions. He is swept along by the physical lusts that have overpowered his spiritual self. Thus, the most meaningful part of life, the spiritual, has been killed. For this reason, when G-d forgives man's sin and grants him a new heart and a new spirit, He is imbuing him with purity, the state of mind in which man is the sole master of his actions.

A living (and therefore a pure) person uses his body as he wills; it is his tool to use as he sees fit. The regenerate sinner, upon returning to the state of purity, joins once more the state of the living - and the free. (Chazon HaMikra)


More Mazal Tovs:

Mazal Tov to Pamela Blomberg, who became engaged to Scott Schwartz.  Mazal Tov also to Pam’s parents, Richard and Susan Blomberg.


The New Weekday Sim Shalom Prayer Books HAVE ARRIVED!!!  We are now using them at our morning minyan.  Come by and check them out!







Required Reading and Action Items 




Israel National Information Center New online - The Israel National Information Center website contains on-line briefings, updates, and coverage of the recent events in the Middle East from government sources.

Click here for the defense establishment procedure in the event of an Iraqi strike on Israel


With the start of the war against Iraq, CAJE has made its new publication, The Ethics and Morality of War, available online, at,even as it is being mailed out to members.   Lesson plans, curricula, essays, and a resource list will be available online as quickly as possible. Please keep checking the website for new material.


 Saddam's Caution - Ze'ev Schiff
As long as Saddam Hussein still believes that international public opinion will come to his aid against the U.S. offensive, he will avoid using non conventional weapons or Scud missiles against Israel and Kuwait, weapons banned by the UN Security Council. U.S. ground forces may soon complete the occupation of the Western Desert, which will diminish the threat to Israel. (Ha'aretz)


Saddam's Casualty Strategy - Editorial
The great paradox of the escalating Iraq War is that the attacking allies want fewer Iraqi casualties than does Saddam Hussein. His only hope is to delay the outcome as long as possible, while imposing as many casualties both on Americans and in particular on Iraqis. If he can show off enough destruction and carnage long enough for the TV cameras, perhaps he can induce world and especially American opinion to cause President Bush to halt the war. This is how he survived the first Gulf conflict. We were especially glad to hear President Bush say on Wednesday night, "I assure you, this will not be a campaign of half measures and we will accept no outcome but victory." The faster Saddam is defeated, the sooner Iraqis will stop being his victims. (Wall Street Journal)


Keep One Eye on the Saudis - Editorial
By allowing the U.S. to fly aircraft over their long border with Iraq and use a key command facility near Riyadh, the Saudi royal leaders have made the war much easier for the American military. Their move is a signal that they want Saddam Hussein out. If the U.S. does set up a friendly government in Baghdad, it will end the Saudi need to have U.S. forces on its territory as defense against a threatening Iraq. (Christian Science Monitor)


Operation Scare and Divide - Fred Barnes
In the first 24 hours of war with Iraq, the twin economic scare scenarios didn't occur. One projected event was a surge in oil prices. Instead they plummeted. The other speculated that war with Iraq might prompt pandemonium in the financial markets. On the contrary, the run-up to the war, and now the war itself, have been accompanied by a strong stock market surge. Also, predictions that the "Arab street" would erupt across the Middle East with riots and violent protests against America proved false. Finally, the U.S. showed that it can fight Iraq and terrorists at the same time, with American troops beginning a major operation in Afghanistan to rout the remaining elements of al Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden, just as bombs were dropping in Iraq. (Weekly Standard)

Air Raid on Saddam Kills Palestinian Terrorist Officer - Michael Ladeen (National Review)
 The U.S. surgical strike on Wednesday night got an unexpected bonus: a terrorist from the Palestine Liberation Front.
 PLF statement released in Sidon (Syrian-occupied Lebanon) identified the man as 1st Lt. Ahmed Walid Raguib al-Baz, killed "while confronting the treacherous U.S. air bombardment on Iraq." The PLF has long been one of the most lethal Palestinian terrorist groups, and achieved notoriety for its high-tech killings.
The PLF has also been one of the main conduits for Iraqi money to Palestinian suicide bombers.

Jenin to Baghdad - Yigal Henkin
As American forces prepare to enter Iraq, U.S. military planners would be wise to learn the lessons of the battle of Jenin. Political scientist Michael Desch called urban battles "the great equalizer." Urban warfare necessitates intense fighting at close range, neutralizing the attacking forces' greater numbers and technological superiority.
    In Jenin, 23 Israeli soldiers were killed alongside 52 Palestinians (Israelis believe all but seven were combatants). Israeli military strategists knew the battleground was heavily boobytrapped and that its houses were hiding enemy snipers. Initial battle plans called for using combat bulldozers to clear the area. Nonetheless, Israelis refrained from operating bulldozers and tanks in Jenin to try to prevent extensive destruction and to avoid collateral damage and bad publicity. It was only after 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in a single ambush that the Israelis changed tactics and put bulldozers into massive use. Had the IDF gone in, full force, from the beginning, as initially planned, the fight might have ended more quickly and there likely would have been fewer casualties on both sides. In Baghdad, American forces will likely face a similar moral dilemma. (Jerusalem Post)

Bible Prophecy Fans See Message in Iraq War (Beliefnet)


U.S. Hints Forces Operating in Western Iraq to Foil Scud Attacks on Israel
The U.S. passed messages to Israel early Thursday indicating that American forces are apparently already operating in western Iraq in an effort to head off possible Iraqi Scud missile attacks against Israel. Senior Israeli officials said Thursday that Secretary of State Powell gave Prime Minister Sharon a 90-minute advance warning before the opening phase of the American-led offensive against Saddam. (Ha'aretz)


Israel Will Defend Itself If Attacked - Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz (TIME)


Israeli Public Told to Carry Gas Masks
The IDF Home Front Command has instructed the public to open their protective kits, practice putting on their gas masks, and carry them at all times. However, sources from the General Staff, Military Intelligence, Air Force, and the uppermost echelons of the Defense Ministry all agreed that, "Nothing will happen here." (Ha'aretz)


As the war approaches, Palestinian fears rise


“The Israel Card Both Sides Can Play It”


U.S. Hunting Saddam's Hidden Billions - Robin Gedye (Telegraph-UK)
    Saddam, named by Forbes magazine as equal third-richest ruler in the world with Prince Hans-Adam of Liechtenstein - overshadowed only by King Fahd of Saudi Arabia and the Sultan of Brunei - has a known personal wealth exceeding £1.3 billion.    Saddam has found ways to earn more than £1.6 billion a year since the Gulf war, despite sanctions, through elaborate oil and cigarette smuggling operations and via illegal kickbacks.

Taba Mythchief - David Makovsky (National Interest/Washington Institute for Near East Policy) If an American push should come to vigorously pursue the Arab-Israeli peace process after dealing with Iraq, it would be tragic were it plagued by a misleading mythology that Israelis and Palestinians were at the verge of peace in January 2001 as they met at Taba.

·  From Iraq's Neighbors, Reason to Hope for Peace and Reform - Dennis Ross
Many Arab leaders in the Middle East began several weeks ago to adjust to what they perceive to be a new reality. They stopped trying to prevent the war and instead began signaling that they wanted neither to be on the wrong side of the conflict nor on the wrong side of the U.S. The political culture in the region has always put a premium on power and adjusted to it. (Wall Street Journal)

2.2 Million Internet Surfers in Israel (Globes)
    2.2 million Israelis over 13 years of age, amounting to 32.8% of Israel’s total population, currently use the Internet, according to a TNS Teleseker survey.
    Some 50% of all Jewish households have an Internet connection. Every day, 1.5 million Israelis go online.

Thanks to Mark Fox for calling my attention to this article by Bernard Lewis, ”On Liberty and Faith.”

Any discussion of Islam and Democracy must begin with some definition of these two words, both of unstable and therefore explosive content. Click here to view the entire article:


How Iran Planned the Buenos Aires Blast - Ze'ev Schiff (Ha'aretz) Israeli intelligence has uncovered most of the details of Iran's involvement in the July 1994 bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires that left some 100 people dead and 250 wounded.  The decision for the strike was made in principle in August 1993 at a meeting of the Iranian Supreme Council for National Security chaired by Iranian spiritual leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Other participants included President Rafsanjani, Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian, and Khamenei's intelligence and security adviser, Muhamed Hijazi.
    The bomber was Ibrahim Hasin Baro, a Hizballah man from Lebanon.
    The bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires on March 17, 1992, in which 30 people were killed and more than 200 were wounded, was also conducted by Iranian intelligence services, with Hizballah playing a key role in its execution. The methods of operation in both cases were the same.
    See also Mossad: Hizballah behind Buenos Aires Attacks - Herb Keinon (Jerusalem Post)
    See also Suit Begins Against Iran in Marine Barracks Bombing
More than 600 relatives of the 241 U.S. servicemen killed in a 1983 bombing of the Marines barracks in Beirut charged in U.S. District Court in Washington that Iran was responsible for the bombing. Attorneys Thomas Fortune Fay and Steven Perles noted that while militants belonging to the Lebanese group Hizballah participated in the bombing, the leadership of Iran designed and carried out the attack, using an Iranian suicide-bomber to drive the truck. (Washington Post)

Hizballah's Threat to Regional Security - Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs) Hizballah is an international terrorist organization that has been killing Americans and other Westerners for decades. Indeed, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said if al-Qaeda is the B-team of terrorism, Hizballah is the A-team. Hizballah has a very large capability to do harm throughout northern Israel, with hundreds of Grad missiles, dozens of short-range missiles like the "Fajar 3" and "Fajar 5," and longer-range rockets of Iranian make that can reach 40-70 km. Israel asked the Turkish government to prohibit the Iranians from using Turkish airspace to fly supplies to Hizballah via Damascus. The Turks agreed, had a couple of Iranian planes land for inspection, and the traditional supply route to Hizballah was closed. It is imperative to get Syrian policy to change. Lebanese prime minister Harari believes Lebanon cannot be both "Hong Kong" (today, Lebanon carries on its shoulders the ability of Syria to survive economically) and "Hanoi" (an adventurous revolutionary state). Hizballah, and the Iranians who back them, are currently more focused on supporting terrorist organizations in the Palestinian arena, primarily Islamic Jihad, which is directly responsive to Iranian directives. The spin that Hizballah and many others in the Arab world put on Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000 has had a direct impact on the minds of the Palestinian leadership, who decided to return to the armed struggle.

IT’S SPRING!!!!!!!

“Spring Fever… Catch it!”!.asp



Quotes of the Week 




“For the last four and a half months, the United States and our allies have worked within the Security Council to enforce that council's long-standing demands. Yet some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced that they will veto any resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it… The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours… All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing.”—U.S. President George W. Bush, announcing U.S. plans to invade Iraq should Saddam Hussein not leave the country by 8:00 PM eastern time tonight. (New York Times, March 18)


"Tell our allies that at the very moment of action, at the very moment when they need our determination, that Britain faltered? I will not be party to such a course… To retreat now, I believe, would put at hazard all that we hold dearest, turn the United Nations into a talking shop, stifle the first steps of progress in the Middle East, leave the Iraqi people to the mercy of events on which we would have relinquished all power to influence for the better. Back away from this confrontation now and future conflicts will be infinitely worse and more devastating in their effects."—British Prime Minister Tony Blair, challenging his Parliament to consider the consequences of not supporting British participation in the war against Iraq. With the backing of most of the Tory opposition, the government defeated an anti-war motion by 179 votes, 396 to 217, and won a mandate for war by 412-149, with 83 Labour MPs voting against. However, two of Blair’s ministers, and former foreign secretary Robin Cook, resigned in protest. (Int. Her. Trib., March 19)















What is a Hevra Kadisha (literally "Sacred Fellowship")?

And what is it doing in Stamford???

Everything You've Been "Dying" to Know...

About the Mitzvah that is called "The Greatest Act of Kindness" and the volunteers who perform it.

Find out at a special program on

 Sunday, March 23rd at 9:30 a.m.

Guest speaker:  Jan Simblist


Jan has been a member for twelve years.  She is a medical technologist with experience both in the research and clinical areas of laboratory science.  She has been a consultant to nursing homes in Connecticut on infection control issues for Quest Diagnostics.  She is a former board member of Agudath Sholom who, last year, was elected as vice president of the Hevra Kadisha. 

 The men and women who serve as volunteers in our community would like the rest of the Jewish community to know that there is such a service available.  Here's Beth El's chance to find out all about it.

And if you like what you see, you can attend the…




Sundays March 23rd and March 30th

10:30 am—12:00 pm in the lobby

A part theoretical and part experiential look at our mystical tradition.

Although somewhat of a continuation of last year’s course, some key teachings

will be reviewed, so first timers are welcome!







Thursday, April 1 7, 7:00 p.m.






B i k u r  C h o l i m

T r a i n i n g


Know someone who is sick or alone?


We do.


Jewish Patients need you !


Become a Bikur  Cholim  volunteer . **


** Bikur Cholim is Hebrew for “visiting the sick”.


 Jewish Family Service of Stamford & the Rabbi Isaac N. Trainin Bikur Cholim Coordinating Council of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services,

in collaboration with

Temple Beth El, Temple Sinai, Congregation Agudath Shalom, Young Israel Synagogue, The Fellowship For Jewish Learning, Chavurat Aytz Chayim and the Jewish Community Center

 are sponsoring a training program for Bikur Cholim volunteers. We will all learn how to be more effective, compassionate and competent visitors to the sick,

homebound and elderly.


The training program includes:

q       Introduction to Bikur Cholim; The Role of the Visitor

q       How to relate to patients with sensitivity and compassion

q       How to listen and respond to patients




Sunday, March 30th at the Jewish Community Center, 1035 Newfield Ave., Stamford, CT

9:45   Registration and Coffee

10:00-11:30   Bikur Cholim Training

11:30-12:00   Follow Up Meeting


For more information & to RSVP call Sara Jamison, MA, MSW @ (203) 921-4161





“Six Million Times One”


Community Yom Hashoah

April 28, 2003

7:00 PM


Temple Beth El


Request to the Community:

If you would like to include photographs of your loved ones who perished during the Shoah in our community event, please call Ilana De Laney, 321-1373, ext. 114.



Youth Activities









Attention high school students!

Absentee letters, for the attendance office at your school, are now available for the last two days of Passover (April 23-24).  Call Mindy at ext. 301 or e-mail your request to



And don’t forget…..


8th Grade Overnight at USY Spring Convention

March 22nd - 23rd

Holiday Inn, North Haven, CT


We all need a good laugh these daysso here are some jokes that were forwarded to me, with a twist.  Instead of “Jewish Jokes,” which we’ve all heard too many of, how about some “Gentile Jokes.”  Here are a few good ones:

A Gentile goes into a clothing store and says, "This is a very fine jacket.  How much is it?"  The salesman says, "It's $500."  The Gentile says, "OK, I'll take it."
Two Gentiles meet on the street.  The first one says, "You own your own business, don't you?  How's it going?" The other Gentile says, "Just great!  Thanks for asking!"
Two Gentile mothers meet on the street and start talking about children. Gentile mother 1 (said with pride): "My son is a construction worker!" Gentile mother 2 (said with more pride): "My son is a truck driver!"
A man calls his mother and says, "Mother, I know you're expecting me for dinner this evening, but something important has come up and I can't make it."  His mother says, "OK."
A Gentile couple goes to a nice restaurant. The man says: "I'll have the steak and a baked potato, and my wife will have the julienne salad with house dressing.  We'll both have coffee." The waiter says, "How would you like your steak and salad prepared?" The man says,” I’d like the steak medium......the salad is fine as is." The waiter says, " Thank you."
A Gentile man calls his elderly mother.  He asks, " Mom, how are you feeling?  Do you need anything?"  She says, "I'm feeling fine, and I don't need anything.  Thanks for calling.

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: