Jewish Journal


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  • The Lowdown on Ritual and Worship

    By Rabbi Jonathan Kraus

    September 15, 2005 | 8:00 pm

    "Why are Rosh Hashanah and especially Yom Kippur so important to my Jewish partner? He almost never attends services the rest of the year, isn't observant and doesn't even know what he believes about God. Yet, at this time of year, he insists on attending services. What's the big...

  • Yeladim

    By Abby Gilad

    March 31, 2005 | 7:00 pm


    The Ugly Bug Ball

    In Parshat Shemini, we learn which animals are kosher. A young friend of mine asked: Why did God create both kosher and non-kosher animals? The sages of the Talmud ask the same question. They said there is something we can learn from every animal – kosher or...

  • Yeladim

    By Abby Gilad

    December 30, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    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...

  • Yeladim

    By Abby Gilad

    November 25, 2004 | 7:00 pm


    At the Jewish Children's Bookfest at Mount Sinai on Nov. 14, children were given a journal and asked the following question:

    "What does being Jewish in America mean to me?"

    Here is our first response, by Caleigh Gumbiner, a fourth-grader at Balboa Magnet in Northridge: "To me,...

  • Rosh Hashanah 5765

    September 2, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    So, what do math and Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, have in common? On this day, Jews are supposed to do a cheshbon hanefesh.

    This literally means "accounting of the soul."

    We count up and categorize all the actions we've taken

    and all the thoughts we've had during the...

  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    July 22, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    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 abbygilad@yahoo.com for a prize.

  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    June 10, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    Giants and Grasshoppers

    oses sends spies into the Land of Israel to scout it out and see if the land is as fertile and beautiful as God has promised. The spies come back with large clusters of grapes, but also with some scary news: the people who live in Israel, that is, the...

  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    June 3, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    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...

  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    May 20, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    What a Woman!

    On Shavuot we read the Book of Ruth. In this story we come to know this extraordinary woman. Even though her husband has died, she decides not to desert her mother-in-law, Naomi. She leaves her home in Moab to accompany Naomi -- who lost her two sons and her husband --...

  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    April 8, 2004 | 8:00 pm

    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...

  • What Jews Need to Know About Jesus

    By Jack Miles

    February 19, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    Mel Gibson's Jesus movie, "The Passion of the Christ," became controversial long before its release when learned critics, Christians as well as Jews, who had been invited to read a draft of the script objected that the film was, if not actually anti-Semitic, then all too apt for...

  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    January 29, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    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...

  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    January 22, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    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


  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    January 15, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    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...

  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    January 8, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    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...

  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    January 1, 2004 | 7:00 pm

    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 Cream.

    Search for the letters that aren't...

  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    December 4, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    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...

  • For the Kids

    November 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    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:


  • Ask Wendy

    By Wendy Belzberg

    November 20, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Family Friend's New Beau Not Welcome at Wedding

    Dear Wendy,

    Close family friends have recently separated after 20 years of marriage -- the wife left her husband for someone else. She won't go anywhere without him and is intent on making sure that her friends recognize them...

  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    November 13, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    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...

  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    October 2, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    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...

  • Finding Community

    By Hank Rosenfeld

    September 25, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Synagogue is never mentioned in the Torah. -- Leo Rosten

    Like many unaffiliated Angelenos between 30 and marriage, I face a problem every Rosh: How to benefit from this diverse Jewish community while remaining a sort of post-sect/noninstitutionalized member of the family. Intending...

  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    September 11, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    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...

  • Down to the Wire

    By J.D. Smith

    August 14, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    I'm getting married in a couple of hours. My little brother is coming to pick me up and take me to the hotel to marry my long-suffering fiancée, Alison. This is the last article I'm writing from this side of the fence. The next time you hear from me, I will be a married man. You...

  • Pro-Israel: Solidarity or Retail Politics?

    By James D. Besser

    July 10, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Pro-Israel lobbyists are patting themselves on the back these days for yet another congressional resolution declaring solidarity with the embattled State of Israel, and the kudos are justified.

    Pro-Israel resolutions these days are routinely passed with only token opposition;...

  • For the Kids

    By Abby Gilad

    July 10, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Where Credit Is Due

    The Israelites complain, again, that they don't have water (Numbers 19:1-21:34). God tells Moses to make water pour from a rock by talking to it. Moses, in his anger at the whining Israelites, yells at them: "You'll see how we [him and Aaron] will make water...

  • BJE Selects ‘Leaf’ for Reading Initiative

    By Journal Staff

    May 1, 2003 | 8:00 pm

    Assimilation. How Jewish children should best be educated. Oppression against Jews and the Jewish State. Whether faith can provide meaningful answers.

    Those topics lead to unexpected plot turns in "As a Driven Leaf," a historical novel selected by Orange County's Bureau of Jewish...

  • Kids Page

    By Abby Gilad

    April 3, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    Before You Speak

    In Parshat Tazriya, we learn about the skin disease of leprosy. If one gets this disease, he or she must be isolated outside the Israelite camp until they have recovered. The rabbis inform us that someone gets leprosy because he or she has gossiped about or...

  • Tough Answers

    By Sharon Schatz Rosenthal

    March 27, 2003 | 7:00 pm

    A week before his bar mitzvah, Ed Feinstein recalls in his new book "Tough Questions Jews Ask: A Young Adult's Guide to Building a Jewish Life" (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2003), he was in a panic. "I was scheduled to stand up in front of the rabbi, my family and the congregation and...

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