Back to school, Yiddish for kids

Back to School … Again

Hard to believe, but it is already time to go back to school. Where did the summer go?

As the new school year begins, there are some fun things to look forward to: For instance, have you gone shopping for new clothes yet? Did you get an awesome Batman or Zac Ephron folder? Are you excited to see your friends again? And just think: only a few more months until Thanksgiving!

Class Act

YeLAdim decided to register for classes, but something funny happened to the computer. Instead of listing the name of the class, it printed out clues that begin with the letter B. Can you help straighten things out before the bell rings? BR>

Classes: drama, English, Hebrew, history, lunch, math, physical education, typing, science

8:10-8:59: backspace 8:10-8:59:__________________
9:02-9:51: billions 9:02-9:51:__________________
9:54-10:43: bibliography 9:54-10:43:__________________
10:46-11:35: battles 10:46-11:35:__________________
11:38-12:27: bet 11:38-12:27:__________________
12:30-12:57: bread 12:30-12:57:__________________
1:00-1:49: basketball 1:00-1:49:__________________
1:52-2:41: beakers 1:52-2:41:__________________
2:44-3:33: backstage 2:44-3:33:__________________

Deep-Sea Schooltime

The learning continues … under the sea. On Tuesday, Sept. 16, the Aquarium of the Pacific offers a trip to a coral reef specifically for preschoolers. Learn about the amazing creatures that live there and the importance of the reef to the ocean ecosystem — not to mention that you get to see these animals for yourself and take home a colorful coral reef craft. $24 (per kid), $19 (for members) 2:30-4:30 p.m. 4- to 5-year-olds. For more information, call (562) 951-1630 or visit

Happy New Year — shofar so good!


Whether you spend Rosh Hashanah in services, in the kids’ room or in the hallway, when it’s time for the shofar to blow everyone listens. Fill in the blanks with the words below and learn more about the shofar (visit for the answers):

The shofar is made from a _______’s horn, which is blown a lot like a ________. Hearing the sounding of the shofar in synagogue is considered one of the “_____” of the holiday, but the shofar is not blown if Rosh Hashanah falls on ________.
Blowing the shofar marks the beginning of the ___ ____. It tells us to “____ __” and is tied into the second day’s _____ portion, the Binding of _____ (Genesis, chapter 22), where God tests ________’s faith by asking him to sacrifice his son. Abraham is about to sacrifice Isaac when an _____ stops him. Abraham finds a ram and kills it instead. (There’s a lot more to this story, but you’ll hear about it all in shul.)

There are different types of shofar notes: tekiah, a three-second one; _________, three notes; teruah, nine short blasts; and _____ _______ (“the big one”), the final blast. Some people hold the note so long their face turns red. When you add it up, a total of 100 ______ are sounded each day.

New Year
tekiah gedolah
wake up

For the secular New Year, many people like to make a resolution – a promise – that they’ll do something in a different way in the coming year. YeLAdim wants to know if you have a resolution for the Jewish New Year: Will you be nicer to your brother, sister or friend? Clean your room? Call your bubbe more? Stop putting off homework?

In addition to resolutions, Rosh Hashanah is a time to ask forgiveness for bad things we might have done during the past year: Did you yell at a friend? Did you play with your brother’s PSP without asking? Did you read your sister’s diary?

YeLAdim is giving you the chance to make resolutions and ask forgiveness. Tell us what you plan to change in 5768 or what you’d like to be forgiven for. You can send your ideas to We’ll print your responses, and, who knows, maybe you’ll inspire others.

Make A Date

YeLAdim loves a good weekly planner – and we came across a really cool one: “The Calendar of the Jewish People – The Animated Edition (starring The Jewish Day That Starts at Night).” With its cute graphics, info boxes and helpful backgrounds on the holidays, you won’t have to shlep around both a Hebrew and a secular calendar. For more information, visit

Curtain call — Stars and Stripes forever

In honor of the Fourth of July (this year the United States turns 231), YeLAdim feels like singing. Match the lyrics below to the patriotic song it comes from. Get some help from your mom or dad and then listen for the songs while you watch the fireworks.
(Quiz answers at the bottom of the page.)

1) “America the Beautiful”
2) “America”
3) “God Bless America”
4) “God Bless the U.S.A.”
5) “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”
6) “The Star-Spangled Banner”
7) “This Is My Country”
8) “This Land Is Your Land”
9) “Yankee Doodle Dandy”
10) “You’re a Grand Old Flag”

a) And crown thy good with brotherhood.
b) And forever in peace may you wave.
c) A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam.
d) ‘Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land.
e) California, to the New York Island.
f) From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
g) Gave proof thro’ the night that our flag was still there.
h) I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold.
i) Stand beside her, and guide her.
j) We huddle close; hang on to a dream.

Are you a fairy-tale fanatic? Is “the end” really just the beginning? Then the Santa Monica Playhouse has the show for you this summer. “And Awaaay We Go to Wonderland” is an interactive musical comedy where the audience gets to choose the ending to classic fairy tales like “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Jack and the Beanstalk” and “Sleeping Beauty.” The show plays weekends at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. from now through Sept. 30. $10.50 (kids 12 and younger), $12.50 (adults). 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica. For more information, visit

Off the page, holidays not on the calendar, cool quiz

Off the Page

It’s coming up on summer vacation, and do you know what that means? It’s a great time to catch up on your reading! Our picks this month are for anyone ages 6 to 10 and come from “Jewish Heirloom Stories” ($12.95, Gefen Publishing) by Tami Lahman-Wilzig with illustrations by Ksenia Topaz. Girls will enjoy “Lotty’s Lace Tablecloth” and guys will get a kick out of “Mayer Aaron Levi and His Lemon Tree.” Both stories are told via kids, Nina and Joshua, respectively, who are descendants of each books’ main character. Plus in the back of each book is room to create your own family stories.

Will Empress Elizabeth take Lotty’s tablecloth away from her? Will Mayer Aaron’s generosity backfire on him? Yeah, like we’d spill the beans….

Happy Father’s Day

Sure Mother’s Day came first, but we can’t forget to thank Dad, Grandpa, Zayde, Papa, Saba and Uncle on June 17 for all they do.

Since dads aren’t really into flowers the way moms are, why not make a card and then head to the park to play some ball or curl up and watch a movie together. Of course, you could also buy a tie, socks or something fun from the hardware or electronic store (we call those grown-up toys).

Holidays NOT on the Calendar

June 6: National Yo-Yo Day. Walk the dog or shoot the moon today in honor of Donald F. Duncan Sr., the creator of the yo-yo.

June 10: National Iced Tea Day. What better way to cool off during the hot months of summer than with a tall glass of iced tea. The drink became popular at the very hot 1904 World’s fair in St. Louis. L’chayim!

The Screening Room Quiz

There are so many awesome movies coming out this summer that YeLAdim is planning to spend a lot of time at the theater in the next few months. Tip: Daytime showings cost less than nighttime ones, and a lot of theaters give discounts if you have your student ID.

Wanna figure out which films they are? Just use the code (which means when you see the letter A, turn it into a C, etc.) You can check your answers below — scroll down.



And if you see any movies this summer, please e-mail in your reviews with your name, age and school (or camp) to You’ll receive a prize as a thank you!


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Pirates of the Caribbean: at world’s end
Shrek the Third
Nancy Drew


Wanna say goodbye to your buds until you see them again in the fall? Have a friend or sibling who will be graduating? Do you have advice for the new kids coming into your school? Then yeLAdim wants to hear it. E-mail us your shout outs for the class of 2007 and we’ll run them on our May page. Send ’em our way at We’ll also take poems and stories about your graduation or summer vacation plans.

Hey, hey! We’re the SqueeGees!

The SqueeGees

Anyone who can plop the words antioxidant and pomegranate into a song is tops in yeLAdim’s book. The catchy tunes of The SqueeGees make education entertaining in such songs as “The Elements” (i.e., all about wind, fire, water, etc.) and “Rules of the Road” (Go, go, go; stop, stop, stop; don’t drive too fast or too slow).

Kids will have too much fun making noises with the appropriately named “Making Noises,” and grown-ups will get a kick out of the humorous lyrics — especially tunes like “The Ol’ WWW” (“got directions and a map on the Internet … bid on a Chia Pet on the Internet”).

Kids-at-heart Samantha Tobey and Roman Bluem (aka The SqueeGees) will be at UCLA this weekend playing all these songs and more at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books: Saturday, April 28, on the Storytelling 9 stage at 4 p.m.; and Sunday, April 29, at the Target stage at 1:25 p.m.

For more information, visit ” target=”_blank”> We’ll also take poems and stories about your graduation or summer vacation plans.

Visit the Zimmer Children’s Museum online at



Presidents Day is on Feb. 21. And in this week’s Torah portion, Tetzaveh, it describes what would be a tipe of presidential inauguration for Aaron and his sons as the high priests of Israel.

Presidential Puzzlement

Answer this quiz correctly for a presidential prize!

1) Which president was responsible for Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat signing a peace agreement?

a. Bill Clinton

b. Jimmy Carter

c. John F. Kennedy

2) Who was the American president Israel declared its independence in 1948?

a. Theodore Roosevelt

b. Thomas Jefferson

c. Harry S. Truman

3) Who was the first president to attend a synagogue?

a. George Washington

b. Calvin Coolidge

c. Ulysses S. Grant

Answers From Last Week

Honest Abe Quiz: 1b, 2a, 3b


For the Kids

Dance, Torah Dance

The Ba’al Shem Tov, a famous rabbi, once said: “The Torah wants to dance, but she has no feet. You must be her feet.”

On Simchat Torah, we do precisely that. We dance with our Torahs, because we have finished reading it from start to finish. The Torah is like a dance: it circles round and round.

Quiz for Torah Wiz

How long does it take to write a Torah?

a. 2,000 hours
b. One year
c. Six months
d. A and B.

A Torah is not
considered kosher if :

a. One letter is added
b. One letter is deleted
c. One letter is
touching another
d. All of the above

A Torah scroll that is
not kosher must be:

a. Burned
b. Buried
c. Dismantled
d. Erased

Math Madness

Solve this problem to discover how many letters there are in each Torah. Send in the answer and get a prize.

600,000/2 + 5000 – 195 = ?

Crowning Glory

The Torah is written with Hebrew letters that have crowns on them, because they are like kings and queens. Draw a line between the words and their matching Hebrew letter:











For the Kids

Day of Sadness

Tisha B’Av means the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. It is the saddest day in the Jewish year, when we remember some of the terrible things that have happened to our people since ancient times. This year, Tisha B’Av starts at sundown on July 26 and ends at sunset on July 27.

This Day in History

Many terrible things have happened to the Jewish people on Tisha B’Av. Do you know what they were? Answer the quiz questions correctly and send the answers to for a prize.

For the Kids

Don’t Supersize

It’s the home stretch. A few more weeks and you’re free! So here’s a lesson about freedom and food: In the movie "Supersize Me," the actor experiments with eating all the fast food he can eat and always ordering it supersized. He gains a lot of weight and gets very sick. In Parshat Behalotecha, the Israelites complain that they have no meat, God gives them so much meat that they never want to look at meat again.

Just because you are free to eat anything you want, that doesn’t mean you should. Be careful, be responsible, help your parents keep you healthy by eating healthy.

to an

by Devorah Friedman of North Hollywood

This is an odd-looking carrot

But it is so very neat

It could be a poor guy’s legs

So I can bite his feet.

Or it can be some chopsticks

For the Chinese.

So when they eat neatly

Their mothers will be pleased.

Or it can be tweezers

for my ears and nose

So I won’t have to worry

If my ear hair grows!

Well, since this carrot

has been here for so long,

I think we should put it away.

So we’ll send it to my stomach

Right now, without delay!

For her poem, Devorah gets a scoop

of Baskin-Robbins

ice cream.

Young Leaders

The 11th Young Jewish Leadership Diplomatic Seminar will
be held July 25-Aug. 13, 2004. Do you feel you are a young Jewish leader? If you
do, download an application to this seminar and send it to the Consulate General
of Israel in Los Angeles, attention: Yariv Ovadia, no later than June 10, 2004.
Applicants will be interviewed and nominated by each Israeli Consulate.
Applications may be downloaded from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Web site at

For the Kids

A Productive Vacation

For many of you it is spring break. Do you feel like a newly
freed Israelite, having escaped from the hard work of school? For a whole week
you can get up at whatever time you want! But remember, even when we are free —
especially when we are free — we have the responsibility to take care of
ourselves and others. 

So, don’t just loll around the house and watch TV. Help your
mom with the groceries; play catch with your little brother; plant a garden for
Mother Earth.

Chefs in the Making

Bubbie’s Charoset:

by Batya Shultz, age 10, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy, in
memory of her great-grandmother who died on April 1, 2003.

12 ounces cooked

pitted prunes

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 red delicious apples

3/4 cup sweet

red wine

cinnamon to taste

Iraqi Charoset

by Jacob and Jordan Pardo, ages 8 and 4, Sinai-Akiba Academy

3 cups chopped walnuts

4-5 tablespoons

of homemade date

syrup (made from

cooked and

squeezed dates) 

Apple Charoset

by Katie Lu, age 9 1/2,

Pressman Academy

3 apples

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons grape juice

For the Kids

Holiday Branches

Tu B’Shevat higi’ah, chag lailanot!

Tu B’Shevat is here, a holiday for the trees. Make sure you join in on some of the fun events that will be happening: Go to the Shalom Institute for a Tu B’Shevat celebration on Feb. 8, the Westside JCC for an afternoon of fun or to the Zimmer Children’s Museum for your very own tree-planting kit. Make Tu B’Shevat origami at the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles, or take a moonlight hike with TreePeople. (For more information, visit the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life of Southern California at

What Was the First Paper Made From?

Today, we mostly make paper from trees. Five-thousand years ago, the Egyptians made paper from a reed that grew along the Nile river. The Egyptians would pick it, soak it, pound it and weave it together to create a writing surface. What is this reed called?

One to Grow on

1) Where was the first garden planted on Earth and who planted it?

a) Near the Nile; the Egyptians

b) In Eden; God

c) Sumer; the Sumerians

2) What did Noah plant right after the flood?

a) A corn field

b) An orchard

c) A vineyard

3) After the flood, the dove brought back a branch. From what kind of tree?

a) Olive

b) Pomegranate

c) Loquat

E-mail your answers to  for a gift certificate.

Trees in Israel

Acacia, Almond, Carob, Cypress, Date, Eucalyptus, Fig, Oak, Olive, Pine, Pistachio

For the Kids

Ring in the New Month

On Saturday, we will welcome the new month of Shevat.

Q: Which holiday do we celebrate on the 15th of Shevat?

A: Rosh Chodesh

What does this head have to do with the words rosh chodesh or new month?

So, nu? It’s a new, new!

What Hebrew word does chodesh come from?

Ma chadash? What’s new?

What do you think the word chadashot means?

(Hint: You watch it on TV.)

What Else Is New?

Here are the names of three places that start with new. Fill in the blanks for a gift certificate:

1) New J __ __ __ __ __

2) New H __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

3) Newf __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

Sunny Days

Our friends in the Midwest and East Coast could sure use some sun. Finish this maze and maybe they’ll have sunny days ahead


Eliana Willis, Tamar Willis and Dalya Silverstein solved the backwords and the slice of pie puzzles. They win gift certificates to Baskin-Robbins.

Answers From Last Week

Plagues by Math: Vav and Alef add up to seven — so seven in Vayera; Bet and Alef add up to three — three in parshat Bo. Palindrome Play: Tevet.

For the Kids

Plagued by Math

It’s post-vacation back-to-school time — again. Here’s some math to get you started: The 10 plagues appear in two parshot — Vaera and Bo.

How many plagues appear in each parsha?

Here are your clues:

The two Hebrew letters that make up the name

of parshat Bo add up to: _____

The first two Hebrew letters of Vaera add up to:_____

Palindrome Play

We are coming to the end of another Hebrew month. Its name is a palindrome in English. Which month is it?

Answer this for extra credit: Are there any Jewish holidays during this month?

E-mail your correct answers for a

gift certificate to Baskin-Robbins.

For the Kids

Epic Proportions

Shemot, the new book of the Bible we begin this week, is the story of the Exodus — of how the Israelites were freed from their bonds of slavery and sent out into the desert on a long journey. They were free, but they also had many dangers they would encounter before they reached their home. It is as exciting an epic as the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy — there are miracles and magic, enemies who must be fought and internal conflicts among the characters.

What is your epic? What dangers will you need to be careful of this year? What fears will you need to overcome? Remember, there is always a Gandalf or a Moses who will help you on your way!

Word Magic

Did you know that J.R.R. Tolkien named some of his characters based on Hebrew language roots? Can you guess who was named for what?

“To rule” in Latin is regere — it is related to the Hebrew word arag (to weave). Guess who?

The golem was a monster that a great rabbi made out of clay. Guess who? ( See page 38)

My Gandalf or My Favorite Teacher

Write an essay and you can win an ice cream party for your class.

Interview and/or write about your favorite teacher:

What does he/she do besides teach?

Is he/she active in any charitable/environmental organizations?

What are his/her hobbies?

Why is he/she your favorite teacher?

What are his/her favorite part of being a teacher?

Discover the answer to these and/or other questions that
you want to ask your teacher. Send essays to . Deadline: Feb. 17, 2004

Answers From Last Week: Wonderful Words: 1)
Conservation; 2) Conversation. One Cool Rebus:

For the Kids

A time to Live

Vayechi is the last portion of the book of Genesis. We have read all about the creation of the world, Noah’s ark, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives and the 12 tribes. The family ends up in Egypt, which is where the Book of Exodus picks up.

The meaning of the word Vayechi is "and he lived," but, ironically, two important people die in this portion: Jacob and Joseph. And what’s even more interesting is that we are told that their bodies are preserved as mummies.

Jews have always lived in different cultures, and they often adopt and adapt to the culture they are living in. In Egypt, they adopted the tradition of preserving their dead.

For the Kids

Looking for Letters

It’s almost back to school for many of you. Oh well — let’s
keep having holiday fun anyway. Answer one or more of these puzzles that have
to do with the calendar and win a gift certificate for Baskin-Robbins Ice

Search for the letters that aren’t there. Each letter
appears once, but four do not appear at all. Find the missing letters, and then
arrange them to spell a word that appears in these pages.


Mitzvah (Im)Possible — Guide Dogs
For The Blind


Justin Skootsky and Mathew Wunderlich have won our Mitzvah

They will each receive $10. Congratulations  and great work,

We learned about the Israel Guide Dog Center for the Blind
(IGDCB) from a flier our temple publishes. We thought that raising money would
be worthwhile because it combined helping Jews in Israel with the appeal of
people’s love for puppies. We were able to get See’s Candy to donate lollipops.
We sold the candy at temple after Sunday school.

We were in contact with Norman Leventhal, president of the
IGDCB and sent him $1,000 to sponsor two puppies.

He asked us to help him develop a program for bar and bat
mitzvah kids.

For the Kids

Celebrate Our Home

At the end of Parshat Vayetze, Jacob sets out to return to his parents’ home. He has spent 36 years making money and creating a family. And now he can finally look forward to seeing the land that he loves.

Many of us feel this way about Israel. We want to visit this beautiful country that holds so much of our Jewish history. It is so exciting to be there, eat the food and learn things about ancient times. But some of us just can’t get there yet, so we pray for the well-being of Israel and its inhabitants.

Riddle Me This

Charan is the name of the town that Abraham left; where Isaac returned to in order to find his bride, Rebecca; and where Jacob fled to escape the wrath of Esau and marry Laban’s daughters, Rachel and Leah.

Mount Ararat is the mountain on top of which Noah’s ark landed. In which country can we find both of these biblical sites?

E-mail the answer for a gift certificate.

Poetry Corner

Israel —
An Acrostic Poem
Important to all Jews
Sad things are happening
in the Jewish homeland.
Remember that
Jews everywhere are
hoping for peace.
A place of great beauty.
Every Jew prays for you.
Land of milk and honey.

Leila Hakim, fourth grade, Sinai Akiba Academy


When I went to Israel,
I felt very spiritual
Since I touched the Western Wall.
When I went to Israel,
I smelled falafel and shawarma.
When I went to Israel,
I met a lot of friendly people.
They were very kind to me.
When I went to Israel,
I felt very relaxed,
Floating on the Dead Sea.
It tasted very salty.
When I went to Israel,
I heard a lot of good music.
When I went to Israel,
I saw lots of old buildings.
I love Israel.

Brandon Moghimi, fourth grade, Sinai Akiba Academy

For the Kids

Famous Jewish Immigrants

Jews, like the pilgrims on the Mayflower, came to America so that they could practice their religion without being persecuted. Your grandparents and great-grandparents probably did the same. Some of these immigrants helped shape American culture:

Levi Strauss is one famous 19th century immigrant.

Emma Lazarus became a famous Jewish poet. She wrote a poem about freedom, titled “The New Colossus.”

A Harvest Lei

It is believed that the pilgrims modeled their first Thanksgiving after the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. On Sukkot we give thanks to God for the bounty of the harvest and welcome guests into oursukkah. This is a Thanksgiving craft that combines these two Jewish ideas.

You will need:

A large needle (be sure to have

an adult nearby to help you)


Edible dried fruits

Nuts (that are moist and arge enough to

pass a needle through without crumbling)


For the Kids

Fanning the Flames

Where do you live?

If your home is in Simi Valley or Moorpark, you were probably pretty scared when the fire came close.

You know, wildfires are nature’s way of clearing the way for new plant growth. But, when you live in a home that is in a fire zone — watch out! That is when our heroic firefighters must battle nature.

Helping our Firefighters

These cards are from the 6th grade Sunday School Class at Congregation Beth Emek in Livermore, California.  Their teacher, Eileen Vergino, told us that her 6th grade class is studying Mitzvot and the diaspora this year and are delighted to have the chance to fulfill the mitzvah of K’lal Y’israel.

Kids Page

What’s a HTROA?

A MINOTAUR at the Zimmer Children’s Museum? No, not really. Unscramble the words in this paragraph to find out what their newest exhibit is:

In order to read this HTROA, you will need a

GMNIFYNGAI glass. And it is there, right at the end of the DAY, the pointer. This is a NITUEMARI that was written in LNPOAD almost a hundred years ago. It was brought over to ERJSMEALU around 1935.


Big Questions Get Big Answers

If you go to the Zimmer Children’s Museum, you will be able to answer some big questions. And then you might get it published in on this page. Here’s an example:

Q: If you could give the world a present what would it be?

“I would give the world a really big tzedakah can that is full of money.” — Yitzi, age 6

Q: If you could invite anyone to your home, who would it be and why?

“I would invite the world to my house and teach it how to share.” — Yojar, age 7

Books, Puppets, Food and Fun

Don’t forget about the Children’s Bookfest on Sunday, Nov. 16, at Mt. Sinai Memorial Park.

Entertainers: Puppeteer Len Levitt, Parachute Express, L.A. Children’s Museum Theatre Project

Activities: Bookbinding, Puppet Making, Bookmark Making

Food: Hamburgers, Hot Dogs,

Sodas, French Fries

For the Kids

Book It!

Sure, it’s Halloween. But, in two weeks, we’ve got
something better for you howl about. Come to the Jewish Children’s Book Festival
on Sunday, Nov. 16, 10 a.m.-2:30p.m., at Mount Sinai Memorial Park and
Mortuaries in Simi Valley. For more info call (866) 266-5731, or visit .


To Sammy Schultz, 7, of Los Angeles, and Julia Oxman, 8, for solving the Yom Kippur and Sukkot riddles. They both win gift certificates. Honorable mention goes to Elan Benor, 10, of Northridge.

To Cory Feinberg for solving the Five Books of Moses. He wins a gift certificate. To Zac Brodney and Kalman Tamarin for solving the Sukkot quiz and to Elan Benor for finding 57 words from the word Deuteronomy — my favorites were rodeo, redeem and meteor.

For the Kids

The word for book in Hebrew is sefer. The word for counting is sofer. On Yom Kippur, we count all the good and bad deeds that we’ve done in the past year and it gets recorded in the Book of Life. God also wants to put your story for the past year in that Book of Life. What great things happened to you this year that you want to happen again? Did you do really well in math because you worked hard?

Did you make a new friend because you offered her your water on a hot day? Well, make sure all that gets written up.

On YOM KIPPUR there is a lot of talk about TESHUVAH, saying you’re sorry for last year’s mistakes,

and starting the new year off clean.

The Yom Kippur Diet

On Yom Kippur we are supposed to fast for 24 hours. Here’s a good Yom Kippur riddle.

Send it in fast and you can win.

What can you never eat for lunch or dinner?

For the Kids

Sharing Your Blessings

The people of Israel are about to step across the border of the Promised Land, a land of abundance, full of fruits and crops. In this portion, the children of Israel are told that they must put all their first fruits in a teneh (basket), and bring it to the Temple. They are also told in this portion that they must set aside 10 percent of all their crops for the stranger, the orphan and the widow.

Have you ever opened your lunch box and found an entire package of cookies? Probably not. But if you did, you would likely share half the package with your friends. When you feel blessed with great abundance, it is easy to give part of it away. Here is a good practice: When you wake up, think of all the wonderful things in your life — your parents, your comfy bed, your bike, your freezer full of ice cream — then put a dime in your tzedakah box.

The Temple of New York City

Two years ago this week, the World Trade Center fell. In a way, it was like our Temple in Jerusalem — a place that people would come and visit from far away; buildings that were the crowning glory of New York. And, like our Temple, it was destroyed because of hatred.

“Messages to Ground Zero: Children Respond to Sept. 11,” compiled by Shelley Harwayne (Heinemann, 2002) is an inspiring book that brings
together letters, poems and artwork by children from New York City and across the country. Read it, remember and think ahead to a time of peace. If you want
more info on the World Trade Center, the Sept. 11 attacks and other related subjects, go to:

Gifts for Hashem

When the Israelites built the mishkan, the Torah says:

“Take from yourselves a portion for Hashem, everyone whose
heart motivates him shall bring it, as the gift for Hashem — gold, silver,
copper; turquoise, purple and scarlet wool; linen; goat hair; red-dyed ram
skins; acacia wood; oil … spices.”

What does the Torah mean when it says: “Take from yourselves?”
The rabbis tell us that the Torah is saying: Everyone is unique. Each person
has a unique talent. Therefore, each person will give what they know how to
give of themselves. So, when you do a group project at school, or something
with your family, think about your unique talent: Are you great at drawing? Building?
Math? Acting? Whatever it is, give of that. Not only will people love it, but
you will enjoy the act of giving much, much more.

Elections in Israel were held on Jan. 28. The head of the
Knesset (the Israeli parliament) is not a president — he is prime minister.
Ariel Sharon and his Likud Party got more votes than anyone else, which means
they won. The number of votes is measured in Knesset seats.

Answer this question:

How many Knesset seats are there?

For the Kids

And I don’t mean the New Year that falls on Jan. 1. I mean the New Year of Trees. This year, Tu B’Shevat begins at sundown on Friday, Jan. 17 and ends Saturday, Jan. 18. This week’s and next week’s pages will be devoted to Tu B’Shevat.

Tu B’Shevat is a time of renewal; the winter rains are falling and we sense that a period of new growth is about to begin as each day grows longer.

Many people like to celebrate the holiday with a seder, similar to the Passover seder. More about that in next week’s pages.

Important Tu B’Shevat Facts:

Tu B’Shevat simply means “the 15th of Shevat” — the Hebrew month that coincides with January/February in the western calendar.

The 15th of the Hebrew month is always the full moon, so Tu B’Shevat is the full moon of Shevat.

Tu B’Shevat is the New Year for Trees, because on the 15th of Shevat in ancient Israel the new year’s crop of fruit trees were tithed (that means that one-tenth of the crop was set aside) and brought to the Temple as an offering to God and to give to the priests and to the poor. With the full moon on the 15th of Shevat, a distinction was easily made between the old crop of fruit trees and the new year’s crop.

Torah Tree Test:

In this week’s portion, Bo, something eats up all the fruits and greenery on the trees.

Who or what is it?

Email your answer to  and look for the winner’s name on an upcoming For the Kids!

Bring a picture of our earth and nature to Camp JCA Shalom, 34342 Mulholland Highway, Malibu, this Sunday and you could win a prize in the Tu B’Shevat Art Contest.

History’s Biggest Frog

"So Aaron stretched out his hand over the waters of Egypt; and the frog came up and covered the land of Egypt." (Exodus 8:2-3) That is how Parshat Vaerah portion describes the plague of frogs.

Did you know that sometimes our rabbis like to have fun when they interpret the Torah? Rabbi Akiva said: "Waddya mean ‘the frog came up?’ Why doesn’t it say FROGS?" And this is his explanation: A big, giant frog — the size of Godzilla — came up out of the water and went on a rampage over Egypt! Isn’t that a funny thing to imagine? The words of the Torah, and the way you think about them don’t always have to be serious and solemn. You can have fun with them too, and use your imagination when you read the stories!


Poetry Corner


Created with love just for you

Because everyone needs a friend or two

During winter break there’s lots to do —

Maybe I can play with you?

Submitted by:Tal Chesed, 7, Los Angeles

Kids Page

Good and Bad Luck

Have you ever thought: "Oh, I’m having such bad luck. Nothing’s going my way." In this week’s parsha, Vayigash, Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. He says: "Don’t feel bad about selling me into slavery. It happened for a reason. Now I’m a leader, and I can give you a place to live and food to eat so you won’t starve in Canaan."

What sometimes looks like a blessing can be a curse — like eating an enormous ice cream sundae and ending up with a big stomachache. But often, what looks like a curse, or bad luck, can turn out to be a blessing. Can you think of a time when that has happened to you? So before you say, "Nothing’s going my way," think: "What can I learn from this?" and "How can I turn this into a blessing?"

Poetry Corner

I can see the Shabbat candles

Gleaming proudly in their place

I see their brightness, not a flicker

With their warmth and glowing grace

Submitted by Jessica Moxley Age 10 Thousand Oaks

What are you? An Innovator, Developer or an Adventurer?

There are three patriarchs in the Bible: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Which of the above were they? Well, Abraham created a new religion. He was an innovator. Jacob spent his life traveling and encountering adventure after adventure. He brought the God of Israel’s religion to all the places he went. He was an adventurer. And Isaac? We don’t know much about him — except that he was almost sacrificed and that his son Jacob "tricked” him into giving him the blessing that was supposed to be reserved for the oldest son, Esau. But maybe he wasn’t really tricked. Maybe he just played along, because he understood God’s larger plan and knew that he was part of its long-term development. And that makes him a developer. Not only did he not stand in the way of God’s plan to make the Israelites God’s chosen people, but he also helped it happen. So, which one are you? Abraham, Isaac or Jacob?

Orange County Kids Page

Yes, I know that this week is Pinchas, but I must return to the second of last week’s two portions, Balak, for what happens there is too relevant to pass by unmentioned. In this famous portion, King
Balak sends the prophet-magician Balaam to curse Israel, because
he is scared of the people. But, in the end, Balaam ends up blessing
the Israelites as he stands on a cliff overlooking their encampment.

This is what I ask all of you to pray for: that the Palestinians see our tents and realize it is easier to bless than to curse; that the Israelis see the Palestinian dwellings and decide it is easier to include than to exclude. This prayer can only be answered if Palestinians and Israelis can come to
know each other as human beings: mother, father, child — and are no longer scared of each other.

We are all children of the same God. And we are all blessed to be living on this earth.

Yom HaAtzmaut

Yom HaAtzmaut

It is a difficult time for Israel. Jews all over the world are very sad because of the violence and pain that Israelis and Arabs are experiencing every day. But we still want and need to celebrate our Jewish state. The Israel Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut) Festival will take place in Woodley Park on April 21, from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. Please come! n

How old is the state of Israel? Do this simple gematria (math) to find out: Add the value for the letter nun plus the value for the letter dalet: _____.


Flag Math

Some say the Magen David has been a symbol of the Jews since the 12th century; some say it has been one since the Romans destroyed the Temple in 70 C.E.; and there are others who say the symbol dates back to biblical times. It is the symbol chosen to represent Israel on

its flag. What else does the Israeli flag represent?

Substitute each letter below with its numerical value (example A = 1). Then do the math and you will get another number. Figure out what letter that number represents (example 25 = Y), and you’ll have the answer:

I + 7= __ + 7 = __ =

S – 1 = __ – 1 = __ =

R – 17 = __ – 17 = __ =

A + 24 = 1 + 24 = 25 = y

E + 0 = __ + 0 = __ =

L + 6 = __ + 6 = __ =

I + 10 = __ + 10 = __ =

F + 2 = __ + 2 = __ =

L – 11 = __ – 11 = __ =

A + 22 = 1 + 22 = __ =

G + 5 = __ + 5 = __ =