November 24, 2005
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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 email@example.com with the subject line Kein
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