"I'm actually thinking about changing my behavior with my brother -- he's 7 -- because I've been pretty mean to him. I can be a little more nice, even if he annoys me.... I learn a lot during the holidays. You learn about how to react, and what you should do and how you should be, like you can't be rude to people. And you have to ask forgiveness for all the stuff you've done and make it a new start, like you're starting all over again."
-- Brandon Ross, 10, Canfield Elementary School and Temple Emanuel Religious School
"I'm going to set the table for Rosh Hashanah with a tablecloth and lots of food.... I like the challah. My dad always buys chocolate chip challah because it's my favorite."
-- Lexi Shafa, 6, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy
"I think we need to have a cleaner world so people can live longer and not get diseases, like lung cancer. We need to do a better job of throwing away trash and recycling. I think we don't need to cut off as many trees as we do. We should find a new way to make paper than just cutting down trees. I had a chance to go to Costa Rica and see the rain forest, and I saw how many stumps there were and it was really sad. I think the High Holidays is a time to pray and to thank God for all the beautiful stuff that we have, like good health, and a good education, and a roof over our heads; and it's a good time to be with family and to enjoy yourself."
-- Teddy Sokoloff, 9, Center for Early Education and Temple Emanuel Religious
"I'm going to go buzz buzz like a bee, and go round and round and round like a challah and dip the apple in the honey."
-- Moses Bar-Yotam, 4, Institute of Jewish Education
"I like some holidays, and some holidays I feel sad. I like Passover and I like Rosh Hashanah -- I like a lot of them. I feel happy at the sound of the shofar. It's a holiday when my family comes together."
-- Ariana Garrotto, 7, El Rodeo School and Temple Emanuel Religious School
"I'm going to daven for the Beit Hamikdash [Jerusalem Temple] to come back, and for all my aveirot [sins] to leave and that we should have a happy year. I'm going to work on lashon hara [gossip] and give tzedakah so everybody has a house and money to live."
-- Evan Teichman, 7, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy
"My aunt got really sick and then she got better, so I'll be thinking about how she keeps getting better. I've been thinking about my dancing a lot -- I'm a hard-core ballet dancer. My family has been spending a lot of time together, so I can't really say I want to spend more time with my family because we are spending as much time together as possible. If we wanted to spend any more time together we would have to stay up all night!"
-- Tess Levinson, 10, Center for Early Education and Temple Emanuel Religious School
"On Rosh Hashanah my cousins are coming to my grandma's house, because I'm having Rosh Hashanah at my grandma's house. We used to have it in my house, but now it's at my grandma's."
-- Liv Berg, 4, Institute of Jewish Education
"I think about what I might have done this past year to hurt someone or to help someone, and I think about whether I want to repeat it. My sister and I get into fights, and sometimes the fights are bigger, and I really hurt her or she really hurts me, and I feel bad and I don't want to do it again.
"I had my bat mitzvah in April, and now I feel more obligated to do the High Holidays, because now I'm part of the adult Jewish community. For my bat mitzvah, I helped an organization called, Turn Purple; it helps homeless kids. In April, everyone who is involved wears purple, and they have a petition that people sign to get a bill so we don't have homeless kids."
-- Shoshana Young, 13, Beverly Vista School and Temple Emanuel Religious School
"I'm trying to work on teshuvah, tefillah and tzedakah [repentance, prayer and charity]. I'm kind of excited and I don't know if I'll be judged as bad, in the middle or good. I want to be good; I'm trying to work on that. I'm trying to be nicer to my friends and stuff, because they'll be happier and nicer to me if we work things out together."
-- Lorien Orpelli, 9, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy
"As a school, [Temple Emanuel] really makes the High Holidays great because everyone comes together and sings songs, and it's a lot of fun. There is no other holiday where you learn about your religion as much as on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. You learn about your religion and you come closer to your religion and get more of the meaning of it -- you say, 'I'm Jewish and I should be doing this or should be doing that and helping the community.' I think the High Holidays are the most important holidays because it's about finding your mistakes and saying you can do better the next time."
-- Max Shapiro, 11, Center for Early Education and Temple Emanuel Religious School
"I am going to be a better fire-truck driver and be a firefighter when I get big."
-- Nathan Nassir, 4, Institute of Jewish Education
"I think it's a great holiday, because you can see the rabbi blow the shofar, and you go to shul. I like to pray for all the people who died, and I want to pray that they'll be alive."
"This year I'm having my bat mitzvah, so I'm thinking about the kinds of things I can do to help the community and different things I can do to make the New Year a lot better for society. I'm doing a project to help kids who don't have many things. I'm working with an organization called Para Los Ni?os, and I'm organizing drives to get used clothes, toys, art supplies and everything they need.
"I looked up different organizations and what Para Los Ni?os does is really touching. They help so many kids who are at risk of being neglected or abused, and they don't have much and this organization comes and gives them a school and a place to live, and they help parents find jobs and it gives them a leg up in society."
-- Danielle Feuer, 12, Portola Middle School and Temple Emanuel Religious School
"I'm going to work on cutting with scissors and brushing my teeth."
-- Joshua Neidleman, 4, Institute of Jewish Education
"I am at Temple Emanuel a lot, and this is my last year here for the High Holidays, so I'm trying to soak it all up because I don't know what it's going to be like when I'm at college next year. So even though this is the New Year, for me it's kind of the last year, and it feels strange.
"I really don't know how many hours a week I'm here. I work here, I'm a madricha [counselor] here, I'm a junior cantor, I'm in family choir, I'm chair of Temple Youth. This is my home; it's my family, and I'm leaving them.
"Singing in the family choir is an important part of High Holidays for me. Being involved changes the way you look at the High Holidays. When I was little, the High Holidays was a chance to see my friends, but it also meant I had to dress up, which I hated, and I thought services were boring. I thought the music was beautiful, but sitting through a long service was really tough when I was younger. Then I began to get more involved and I was able to follow the prayers because I heard them every year, and then I was in the family choir and all of a sudden it's this amazing thing. It's all in how you approach it. It's about being proactive, not being passive. You can't just let the High Holidays happen to you."
-- Nicole Berne, 17, Beverly Hills High School and chair of Temple Youth at Temple Emanuel
"I'm going to brush my teeth every day and do a Rosh Hashanah puzzle, and go to bed and not say no, but sometimes I forget to not say no."
-- Rebecca Harooni, 4, Institute of Jewish Education
"I think it's kind of fun and at the same time scary, because you don't know how you are going to be judged. But it's also fun because it's a holiday. You don't know which book you are going to be in -- the good book or the bad book or just the normal book -- so you try to do as many mitzvot as you can and not to do aveirot. I think I need to work on being a better person and to focus a little."
-- Anna Gordon, 8, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy
"I am going to do teshuvah [repentance], think about my mistakes and daven hard. Maybe I miss davening sometimes, maybe sometimes I'm disrespectful to the rabbis, and I want to fix that. I'm going to say sorry, and I'm going to pray and I'm going to try my hardest to be more respectful. It is important to be respectful because you want the rabbis to be respectful to you, and they're older and they teach you, and you need to respect them."
-- Brandon Cohen, 13, Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy
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Posted on Sep. 21, 2006 at 8:00 pm