[Ellington Shul] Weekly Parsha: Chayei Sarah (חַיֵּי שָׂרָה)

I am not in town this week, so there will again be no services unless someone else would like to open the shul and lead. Let me know early enough, and I can send out another email. -Eli

Ellington Candlelighting: 4:06 PM
Havdalah: 5:09 PM

Chayei Sarah (חַיֵּי שָׂרָה)
Genesis 23:1– 25:18
The Weekly Torah portion in synagogues on Shabbat, Saturday, 24 Cheshvan, 5769; November 22, 2008
"The Lord, the God of heaven . . . will send His angel before you." (Genesis 24:7.)
Burial of Sarah (illustration by Gustave Doré)

Sarah lived 127 years and died in Hebron, and Abraham mourned for her. Abraham asked the Hittites to sell him a burial site, and the Hittites invited him to bury his dead in the choicest of their burial places. Abraham asked the Hittites to intercede for him with Ephron son of Zohar to sell Abraham the cave of Machpelah at full price. Ephron answered Abraham before the Hittites at the town gate, offering to give Abraham the field and the cave that was in it, but Abraham insisted on paying the price of the land. Ephron named the value of the land at 400 shekels of silver and Abraham accepted Ephron's terms, gave him the silver, and purchased the land. Abraham buried Sarah in the cave.

Abraham was old, and instructed his senior servant to put his hand under Abraham's thigh and swear by God that he would not take a wife for Isaac from the Canaanites, but would go to the land of Abraham's birth to get Isaac a wife. The servant asked if the woman did not consent to follow him to Canaan, should he take Isaac back to the land from which Abraham came? Abraham told him on no account to take Isaac back there, for God — who took Abraham from there and promised Abraham the land of Canaan for his offspring — would send an angel before the servant and allow him successfully to get a wife for Isaac from there, and if the woman did not consent to follow him, he would then be clear of his oath. So the servant put his hand under Abraham's thigh and swore to him as Abraham had asked.

Eliezer and Rebekah (illustration by Gustave Doré)

The servant took Abraham's bounty and ten of Abraham's camels and traveled to Aram-Naharaim, the city of Nahor. He made the camels kneel by the well outside the city at evening, when women come out to draw water. The servant asked God to grant that the maiden whom he would ask to draw water for him and who replied by offering also to water his camels might be the one whom God had decreed for Isaac. He had scarcely finished speaking when Rebekah, the beautiful virgin daughter of Abraham's nephew Bethuel, came out with her jar on her shoulder, went down to the spring, filled her jar, and came up. The servant ran toward her and asked to sip a little water from her jar, and she quickly let him drink and when he had drunk his fill, she offered to draw water for his camels until they finish drinking. When the camels had finished drinking, the servant took a gold nose-ring and two gold bands for her arms, and asked her whose daughter she was and whether there was room in her father's house for him to spend the night. She identified herself and told him that there was plenty of straw and feed and room at her home for him to spend the night. The servant bowed low to God and blessed God for steadfast faithfulness to Abraham.

Rebekah ran and told everything to her mother's household. Rebekah's brother Laban ran out to the servant at the spring, and when he saw the nose-ring and the bands on Rebekah's arms, and when he heard his sister tell the story, Laban invited the servant to their house, had the camels unloaded and fed, and had water brought to bathe the feet of the servant and his party. But the servant would not eat before he had told his tale. The servant told how God had greatly blessed Abraham with sheep and cattle, silver and gold, male and female slaves, camels and asses, and a son and sole heir. The servant told how Abraham made him swear to go to Abraham's kindred to get Isaac a wife, and that God would send an angel to make his errand successful. And the servant told how he met Rebekah at the well. The servant then asked whether or not they meant to treat Abraham with true kindness, and Laban and Bethuel answered that the matter had been decreed by God and Rebekah could go and be Isaac's wife. The servant bowed low to God and brought out silver, gold, and garments for Rebekah and presents for her brother and her mother. Then the servant and his party ate, drank, and spent the night. The next morning, the servant asked leave to return to Abraham, but Laban and her mother asked that Rebekah remain some 10 days. The servant persisted, so they called Rebekah to ask for her reply, and she agreed to go. So they blessed Rebekah — wishing that her children be thousands of myriads and seize the gates of their foes — and they sent off Rebekah and her nurse with the servant.

Meeting of Isaac and Rebekah (illustration by Gustave Doré)

Isaac had just come back from the vicinity of Beer-lahai-roi to his home in the Negeb and was out walking in the field toward evening when he looked up and saw camels approaching. Raising her eyes, Rebekah saw Isaac, alighted from the camel, and asked the servant who the man was. The servant said that Isaac was his master, so she covered herself with her veil. The servant told Isaac everything that had happened, and Isaac brought her into Sarah's tent and took her as his wife. Isaac loved Rebekah, and found comfort after his mother's death.

Abraham took another wife, named Keturah, who bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah. Abraham willed all that he owned to Isaac, but to his sons by concubines he gave gifts while he was still living, and he sent them away from his son Isaac to the land of the East.

Abraham lived 175 years and died old and contented. Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah with Sarah. After Abraham's death, God blessed Isaac and he settled near Beer-lahai-roi.

Ishmael had 12 sons, who became chieftains of 12 tribes. Ishmael lived 137 years and then died. Ishmael's progeny dwelt in lands all the way from Havilah, near Egypt, to Asshur.

Hebrew and English Text
Hear the parshah chanted
Commentary from Conservative Judaism by the Jewish Theological Seminary
Commentary from Conservative Judaism by the Conservative Yeshiva
Commentary from Reform Judaism
Commentaries from Orthodox Judaism by Project Genesis
Commentaries from Orthodox Judaism by Chabad.org
Commentaries from Aish.com
Commentaries from Reconstructionist Judaism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Portal:Judaism/Weekly Torah portion

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Elias Friedman A.S., EMT-P ⚕

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Room for bikes on Amtrak in Handicapped area

Plenty of room for bikes! All they need to do is put in some eyelets for bungies and tell people to give way to the handicapped.


Sonoma Council considering increasing bike parking

The Sonoma, California city council is considering increasing plaza bicycle parking from twenty-nine to seventy-seven. Kudos to them, this is the sort of bicycle infrastructure that needs more attention. It's hard to use a bicycle for everyday activities when there is no place to safely and securely park your ride while you accomplish your business.

There have been several occasions when, lacking parking facilities, I have brought my bike into a business with me. Every once in a while a storekeeper will object, and I have pointed out that since they lacked a place to secure my vehicle, I assumed they wanted me to keep it with me since I doubted they would want the liability if it fell over on somebody. This point politely made, as well as my pointing out the value of my bike, usually gets them to allow me to put my bike in a safe place inside.

Council ponders Plaza bike parking : Sonoma Valley Sun

Tickets, not criminal charges, recommended after officer killed on bicycle

If they can't get charges against a guy who killed a police cyclist, what chance is there for us run-of-the-mill cyclists?

I hope they at the very least took away this guy's driver's license. If a doctor killed someone because he was "distracted by the radio" they wouldn't let him practice, and a doctor only endangers one patient at a time! An idiot driver endangers everyone else on or near the road at the same time.

www.kansascity.com | 11/17/2008 | Tickets, not criminal charges, recommended after officer killed on bicycle

Kaplan buys National Paramedic - Washington Business Journal:

"The Washington Post’s Kaplan education division is adding firefighters and paramedics to its list of students, acquiring National Paramedic Institute, Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

National Paramedic will become part of its Kaplan Continuing Education division. The company provides online continuing education for firefighters and emergency services personnel."

Read more: Kaplan buys National Paramedic - Washington Business Journal:

The Associated Press: Suspected ETA commando leader arrested in France

You know, you'd think that if the French weren't being hypocritical, that they would follow the advice they so freely give to Israel and trade "land for peace" with the Basque separatists.

Of course they shouldn't; negotiating with terrorists and murderers only encourages more such behavior (e.g. more piracy off Somalia). Israel would do well to go back to adhering to that policy.

The Associated Press: Suspected ETA commando leader arrested in France

Connecticut EMS Legends Remembered — EMS Product News (EMSResponder.com)

Connecticut EMS Legends Remembered — EMS Product News (EMSResponder.com):
EMSResponder.com News

Two sisters, beloved and historic figures in Connecticut EMS, passed away this October within days of one another.

Jean and Ethel Grady were not only sisters and business partners in EMS, but best friends, and they were married to a pair of brothers, Herman and Howard Grady.

In 1945 the four founded Aetna Ambulance Service, Inc. of Hartford, creating one of the first minority-owned ambulance services in the country, said David Skoczulek, Aetna Business Development Manager.

The Gradys founded their ambulance service following the 1944 Hartford Circus Fire, a major disaster that killed 167 people and injured hundreds. To get started they combined the service with their other business. "They had a flower shop, and they used their vehicle as a combination delivery truck and ambulance," Skoczulek said.

When the brothers eventually passed away in the 1980s and the sisters took control of Aetna Ambulance Service, the company became historic as a female/minority-owned ambulance service. Aetna doesn't have official data on whether they were first to accomplish this, Skoczulek said, but it is certainly a unique and special history that continues to make employees proud today.

The story is also special to the entire city of Hartford, where African-American history is well celebrated, Skoczulek said.

At Aetna's office, "We have almost a shrine to the ladies," Skoczulek said. "They were always referred to as ladies because they were the classiest people you would ever meet."

Jean and Ethel remained involved in the ambulance service until the mid 1990s. They are fondly remembered for calling the employees their kids, and determinedly planning a future for the company in order to secure a future for their employees, Skoczulek said.

Jean Grady, 77, passed away Monday, October 27, 2008. Her sister Ethel, 85, then passed away Friday, October 31, 2008. A joint funeral service was held in their honor.

Jean (Smith) Grady
According to the Hartford Courant, Jean was the beloved wife of the late Herman W. Grady. She was born in East Milton, MA and moved to Roxbury, MA with her family at the age of 7. She was a graduate of Roxbury Memorial High School and was President of her junior and senior classes. She attended Suffolk University in 1952 and graduated from the School of Social Work at the University of Connecticut, Class of 1954. She had resided in Hartford since 1954 and is survived by numerous nieces and nephews.

Ethel (Smith) Grady
The Hartford Courant reports that Ethel, beloved wife of the late Howard F. Grady, Sr., was born in Cambridge, MA, and moved to Roxbury, MA at the age of 14. She was a graduate of Roxbury Memorial High School and the Boston Clerical School, and had lived in Hartford for the past 53 years. In addition to her work with the florist and ambulance companies, she was employed by the State of Connecticut Highway Department and retired from the Division of Special Revenue of the State of Connecticut. Ethel is survived by a daughter, two sons and their families.

Via EMSResponder.com


Dual Treatment For Stroke Leads To Improved Recovery Rates, Reduced Mortality

Dual Treatment For Stroke Leads To Improved Recovery Rates, Reduced Mortality: "ScienceDaily (Nov. 16, 2008) — It appears that stroke patients who receive both intravenous thrombolysis – a minimally invasive treatment that dissolves abnormal blood clots – and endovascular interventions – such as drugs and implanting medical devices – are much more likely to recover and have lower chances of dying, according to new research by the Zeenat Qureshi Stroke Research Center at the University of Minnesota Medical School."

Tracking flu trends via Google

By tracking search terms related to Influenza, Google has discovered that they're able to track infection rates with accuracy similar to the reports published by the Centers for Disease Control. The difference is that Google's data is in near real time, while the CDC's reports are published two weeks later. This should really be of help to epidemiologists.

Official Google Blog: Tracking flu trends

Report: Obama Favors Saudi Initiative, Dividing Jerusalem - Politics & Government - Israel News - Israel National News

Report: Obama Favors Saudi Initiative, Dividing Jerusalem - Politics & Government - Israel News - Israel National News: "(IsraelNN.com) United States President-Elect Barack Obama will support the Saudi Initiative for peace between Israel and Arab nations, the British Sunday Times reported Sunday. Obama told Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, “The Israelis would be crazy not to accept this initiative,” according to the Times.

The initiative calls on Israel to withdraw completely to its 1949 borders in exchange for normalized relations with Arab League countries. It includes a full retreat from the eastern half of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount, and from the strategic Golan Heights in northern Israel."