Hey Kids!

What’s Your Name?

Welcome. On the last Friday of every month, this page belongs to the kids of Jewish Los Angeles, so we’d like you to name this page. Please send your ideas to kids@jewishjournal.com, with the subject line: New Name. We’ll pick the best one, and you’ll get all the credit.

Kein v’ Lo

Here’s where you get to sound off. This month’s kein v’ lo (yes and no) is about Thanksgiving. Should Jews celebrate the holiday? Is there anything Jewish about Thanksgiving?

Here’s some stuff to think about:

The Kein Side:

• Like many Jewish holidays, Thanksgiving is about family, friends and food. It also is a time for us to remember the less fortunate and thank God for all we have been given. What could be more Jewish?

• The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by people called Pilgrims. They fled Europe because they were not allowed to worship the way they wanted. Jews have had the same problem throughout most of history, so this is a holiday to which Jews can relate.

• The Pilgrims were inspired by the story of how the Jews escaped from slavery in Egypt and named one town in Massachusetts New Salem because they hoped it would be like Jerusalem for them.

The Lo Side:

• The Pilgrims were members of the English Separatist Church (Puritans). Thus the holiday has its roots in Christianity.

• The Jews already have a Thanksgiving — the harvest holiday of Sukkot, which celebrates the end of the Israelites wandering through the desert after leaving slavery in Egypt.

• These days, Thanksgiving is the start of the Christmas season, so it shouldn’t mean much to Jews. Thanksgiving is a day that most people stuff themselves with food and watch football and parades. Then, the next day they go shopping. President Franklin Roosevelt even changed the date of the holiday to make a longer shopping season before Christmas. That’s OK, but there’s nothing Jewish or spiritual about these things.

You debate, you decide. Remember, before you offer your opinion, think hard about the other points of view. E-mail your thoughts to kids@jewishjournal.com with the subject line Kein

V’Lo: Thanksgiving.

KidSpeak: Response to Harry Potter Kein V Lo:

Yes, Harry Potter is set in a Christian world, but they do not say Christian blessings, and no one in the story is really dazzled by the way the director puts things like Christmas trees into scenes.

About the magic: We know that magic in the real world is not real. Also, in the Torah, one of the 613 mitzvahs is to respect one another.

Harry tries his hardest to help his friends and to give respect to himself and even to people who aren’t friends yet aren’t enemies. Also, Harry only does things for good. He never would purposely kill a friend or do anything to embarrass a pal.

— Hannah Blume, 8, Wonderland Elementary, Temple Israel religious school

Let’s Give Thanks

“If you can concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.”

–Rabbi Harold Kushner

Here is how “thank you” is said in some places around the world. See if you can match which phrase goes with its corresponding country.









M goi






Hey Kids!

Bless the Children

Simchat Torah, the holiday called “Rejoicing in the Torah,” falls on Oct. 26. We finish the cycle of reading the Torah and begin again. In Orthodox synagogues, the whole Torah (that is, the Five Books of Moses) has been read — word for word. In many other synagogues, one section of the weekly portion has been read every week throughout the year.

Many people are called up to the Torah to bless it and be blessed. On this day, the children of the community are all called up. A tallit is spread over them like a Sukkah. When we, the grown-ups, bless our children, we understand the most important thing: that you, our children are the most amazing blessing of all!

Write On!

Jews for Judaism is hosting its third-annual Creative Writing Contest for kids. The theme his year is “My Greatest Jewish Hero.” They are looking for creative, uplifting and heartfelt work done by students in first-12th grades. Entries must be original short stories, poems or songs created specifically for this contest, about a Jewish person whom you consider to be a hero because he or she has inspired or influenced you in terms of Jewish life or commitment.

Entries may be no longer than 450 words in length, and must be typewritten and double-spaced. Each entry must be clearly marked with the submitter’s name, grade and phone number. One entry per person. No joint entries accepted. Entrants must be presently enrolled in school and may not be older than 19. The contest has three categories: first-fifth grade; sixth-eighth grade; and ninth-12th grade. Three prizes will be awarded for each category.

Each entry must be accompanied by a completed entry form and must be received by Dec. 31, 2005. Mail entrees to Jews for Judaism, 9911 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90035. For more information, visit www.jewsforjudaism.com.




This week, we start a new year – and a new book. Shemot (Exodus) is the second book of the Torah. The Israelites are in the deepest winter of their lives – a dark slavery. In this book, we will read about their move toward freedom, rebirth and spring.


So many of you wrote in with answers to our puzzles this last week. Congrats to all those who answered correctly and you will receive a gift certificate.

Winners receive a gift certificate to either Baskin-Robbins or Munchies.

Reading Rainbow

For four months, religious school students in the Noah’s Ark Reading Contest at Temple Isaiah read “From Rain to Rainbows.” Students read any type of Jewish book at their grade level, and then report on it to librarian Ellen Cole. Each book gives students a point toward prizes; biblical stories count double. The more competitors read, the more they win. Last year’s big winner read 99 books.

If you want to create a program like this at your school, call Temple Isaiah at (310) 277-2772 and ask for Ellen


For the Kids

The Game On!

The summer Olympics are almost here. They will take place Aug. 13-29 in Athens,
that’s Greece. pretty cool, considering that’s where it all started — about 2,500 years
ago. To learn more about this year’s games, visit www.Athens2004.com. For more on the history
of the Olympics, visit www.olympics.org.

On Guard

Here is an interesting piece of news from The Jerusalem Post:

Israel will play a major role in securing the Athens Olympics, with its navy patrolling the Greek coast and military and intelligence officers working closely with the Greek armed forces, the U.S. Army and NATO. Israel also is advising Greece on how to seal its airspace and coastal waters in the event of a terror attack, Israeli military officials said.