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This article has been reprinted with permission from InterfaithFamily.com
By Susan Katz Miller
Once upon a time, December holiday books for children focused on either Christmas, or Hanukkah. Now, many children grow up in Jewish families celebrating Christmas with Christian grandparents. Or, they grow up in Christian families celebrating Hanukkah with Jewish grandparents. Or, they grow up in interfaith families celebrating both. Here, I review seven Hanukkah and Christmas books, in order to help you find the right book for your young interfaith children or grandchildren.
BY CLIVE LAWTON for MyJewishLearning
The tradition of Torah study has built up a tradition of questioning and clarifying which is simply an incomparably rich skill to cultivate.
By Jewish standards, the question “Why study Torah” is a very new one.
For a couple of millennia, studying Torah was just a given for male Jews. Of course you’d learn it — or at least read it in bite-sized chunks every Shabbat in synagogue, in a never-ending cycle where not only was the yearly reading finished and then immediately begun again on the Simchat Torah festival, but each week’s chunk was trailed on Shabbat afternoon with a little preview of the following week’s portion.
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Cheaper, more environmentally friendly rocket-engine technology offers same level of performance and control as toxic ‘legacy’ fuel.
Watching a live event happening half a world away, or chatting with someone in another country, would not be possible without the hundreds of communications satellites orbiting Earth to relay telecommunications signals electromagnetically.
Propelling the largest of those satellites requires costly and highly toxic jet fuel, while launching smaller satellites requires other liquid fuels that could benefit from improvement.
By Sara Toth Stub for Tablet Magazine
Israel’s kibbutzim start taking in African asylum-seekers and their families
L. left her home in Ethiopia more than a decade ago, when she was still a teenager, hoping to find work in neighboring Sudan. But instead she was kidnapped, taken into the desert of the Sinai Peninsula by human traffickers, and finally apprehended by Israeli officials on the border with Egypt.
“I am still haunted in my head from this whole ordeal, everything that happened in the Sinai,” she told me, declining to give more details.
What's with the resurgence of Yiddish these days. There's the proliferation of Yiddish newspapers, a new Yiddish production of "Fiddler on the Roof," and many more universities offering Yiddish as a major, or at least language classes.
Did you know there's a website devoted to all things Yiddish? Yiddish has always been an evolving language so with ties to the past and it's feet firmly in the present, check out this incredible website.
By Rose Waldman for Tablet Magazine
‘Der Yid,’ ‘Der Veker,’ ‘Di Tzeitung,’ ‘Der Blatt,’ ‘Maalos,’ ‘Moment,’ ‘Der Shtern,’ ‘Di Vokh,’ ‘Der Blik,’ and ‘Der Blitz’ all fill niches of Hasidic readership
Call it: A Tale of Two Hasidim. One of them, a man of about 20, stands at the entrance of a kosher supermarket riffling through the pages of Der Yid, the Satmar community’s Yiddish-language newspaper. The young man turns the pages, pauses here and there, and then sets the paper back onto the stack in front of him. He isn’t finished, though. A feast of publications lies before him in acrylic display boxes: newspapers, glossies, and chapbooks, all in Yiddish, each one more enticing than the other. Hard to decide which one to peruse next.
By Rabbi Stephen S. Pearce, Ph.D. for ReformJudaism.org
How the Living Serve the Dead
Va-y’chi concludes the narratives of Genesis by foreshadowing enslavement and redemption — central themes of the Book of Exodus. As the Genesis narrative draws to a close, Joseph and his retinue journeyed from Egypt to Canaan to fulfill Jacob’s bidding that Joseph bury his father in the Tomb of Machpelah, the burial cave purchased by Abraham for his family from the Hittites (Genesis 23:1-20). After fulfilling this promise, the progeny of Jacob returned to their adopted land of Egypt and their comfortable homes and lives
by Rabbi Menachem Levine for aish.com
Even though you can get buried in a Jewish cemetery if you have one, there are a number of compelling reasons why the Torah prohibits tattoos.
“Rabbi, if I get a tattoo, can I be buried in a Jewish cemetery?”
As a rabbi in Northern California, I’ve been asked this question many times. It’s a widespread misconception amongst American Jews that a tattoo bars one from being buried in a Jewish cemetery.
BY ARIELLE KAPLAN for Kveller
The saying “opposites attract” has never been truer for Jess Salomon and Eman El-Husseini. One’s a Jew from Canada, the other’s a daughter of a Palestinian family. Salomon is a Taurus, and El-Husseini is a Leo. One’s a ginger, the other a brunette. So, nu? What’s the glue that keep this Odd Couple together? Love, of course.
TAMAR GENGER MA, RD for JoyofKosher
This was my grandmother's recipe for breaded baked chicken, she called Southern "Fried" chicken, she dipped in oil, I dipped in egg whites. I added the honey for a little sweetness. It is very simple and reheats well.
By Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg for BimBam.com
Raising an Upstander, the Jewish Way
What is the Jewish response to bullying? How do we raise our children to up stand up to bullies and ultimately become upstanders in the world? Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg explains a concrete way that you can raise an upstander using your child’s lunchbox.
Rabbi-in-residence for AVODAH, writer and mother of three, Danya shows how taking action to teach your child to positively model the Jewish value of kindness can be game-changing for a family.
Review by Renita Last for Jewish Book Council
My Mother’s Son is a moving coming-of-age story spiced with dark family secrets, historical references, dirty politics, and poignant immigrants’ tales that beautifully evoke life in 1950s Boston.
Now a successful radio raconteur, Joel reminisces about his childhood and the years beyond. “When you’re a kid,” he laments, “they don’t always tell you the truth.” This is the account of how the thoughtful, clever, and open narrator finds and unfolds the truths that were woven into the lies, exaggerations, and family lore he’s been told.
By Naomi Zeveloff for The Forward
Raji Sabateen, 56, lives in the village of Husan in the Palestinian West Bank, a place where few Israelis dare to visit. But over the past five months, thousands of Israelis have spent time inside Sabateen’s home through the power of virtual reality.
Christmas is not a Jewish holiday. Many Christians think of Christmas as an American holiday, a secular holiday or a cultural holiday, but most Jews today do not think of Christmas that way. According to the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey, 82% of Jewish households never have a Christmas tree (and the idea of a "Chanukkah bush" is mostly a joke, not anything anybody takes seriously). A 2013 Pew survey found that less than a third of Jews have a Christmas tree, and most of those are intermarried. Even among those who are intermarried, only 71% had a Christmas tree, far less than the 92% of Americans who celebrate Christmas. A 2007 survey by InterfaithFamily.com found that only 37% of interfaith families that have decided to raise the children Jewish have a tree in the home.
BY SHOSHANNA LOCKSHIN for MyJewishLearning
Whether you're dunking for conversion or for any other reason, here's what to expect at the ritual bath.
A mikveh (pronounced MICKvuh, also spelled mikvah), is a Jewish ritual bath.
Almost every Jewish community has at least one mikveh (you can search here for a traditional mikveh, or here for a non-Orthodox mikveh directory). In larger Jewish communities you might have a choice among mikve’ot (plural for mikveh).
By Abigail Klein Leichman for Israel21c
Israel’s HomeBiogas introduces a commode that feeds directly into its backyard biodigester in a completely sealed ecosystem.
For the millions of people around the world lacking sewage lines or even basic lavatories, the new HomeBiogas Bio-Toilet could provide an answer for waste disposal and energy production all at once.
Flushed with a manual pump using only 1.2 liters of water, the Bio-Toilet does not need to be connected to a water or sewage line and can use graywater.
By Josh Nathan-Kazis for The Forward
The American Jewish community’s network of charity organizations is a font of Jewish power, a source of communal pride and a huge mystery.
We know that the network exists. We know that its federations, social service groups and advocacy organizations influence America’s domestic and foreign policy, care for the old, educate the young and send more than a billion dollars a year to Israel.
Yet until now we’ve had no idea what the network looks like.
By NoCamels Team
The University of Haifa and ECNU University of China officially unveiled a joint campus in Shanghai, the ‘Join Translational Science and Technology Research Institute,’ this week. The new campus is part of the Zizhu International Education Park in Shanghai and will focus on areas of study including biomedicine, neuroscience and environmental sciences, the university said in a statement.
BY RABBI STEPHEN S. PEARCE, PH.D.FOR REFORMJUDAISM.ORG
The True Measure of Repentance
Vayigash, a Torah portion filled with drama and suspense, offers a profound message about regret, repentance, and forgiveness.
When famine struck the Land of Canaan, Joseph's brothers arrived in Egypt to purchase provisions. Although they had no idea who the thoroughly Egyptianized Joseph who stood before them was, Joseph recognized them immediately. In an instant, Joseph recalled the mockery his brothers had made of the dreams of his youth, and even his father's annoyance at Joseph's imperious demeanor. Joseph understood the irony of his dreams of mastery over the members of his family.
Two dozen teens from seven states attend the Teen Israel Leadership Institute at the Center for Israel Education the weekend of Oct. 26 to 28.
Twenty-four teens gathered at the Emory University campus in Atlanta from Oct. 26 to 28 for the second Teen Israel Leadership Institute hosted by the Center for Israel Education and the Emory Institute for the Study of Modern Israel.
The weekend featured a mix of activities, discussions and educational games designed to expand students’ knowledge and understanding of Israel and Zionism and to help them plan learning programs back home.
Did You Know...?
Early Childhood Learning Center Registration Open!
Information for the 2019-2020 Program Registration is available.
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Beth El is raising funds for a new playground?
Beth El is getting a new playground! If you would like to donate towards this very worthy project, simply send your donations to Beth El Hebrew Congregation and notate "Playground." If you donate on line, the playground fund is first on the list!
Wednesdays during the school year
@ 7:00 PM
See calendar for exact dates and subjects
For more information about ALIVE! go to alive-inc.org.
We have a very special service January 18 at 7:30 p.m. in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and his heroic work.
We will be joined by our talented 5th grade class and singer-songwriter, LEA.
Come for a fast and fun night of trivia, food and comaraderie on Saturday, March 2, 2019, 6:00 pm, at Beth El. Adults and teens (7th grade and up) can play! The cost is $35 per person (includes: dinner and participation), BYOB. Bring cash to buy optional extra chits to help your table become the champion! Separate, supervised Kids Night Out - $10 per child (6th grade and younger; includes casual dinner, movie & games). RSVP: by Monday, February 18, Advance Ticket Sales Only. Register here Questions: Contact Anne Levy, [email protected] Proceeds will go to the Beth El Playground Fund.
Please sign up for Ushering at Beth El for Friday Night Services
This is a great opportunity to see and meet fellow congregants.Please use the link to sign up:
Support During Shutdown
As the frustrating government shutdown drags on, we extend our sympathies during this anxious time for you and your family. While Beth El Hebrew Congregation is not a direct service provider, we can offer temporary dues relief until the shutdown has ended. We hope this resource list can be an asset during this difficult time and pray for an immediate resolution:
What Furloughed Workers Need to Know About Filing for Unemployment Benefits: https://tinyurl.com/yd3v7w29
A Furloughed Federal Employee’s Guide to Filing for Unemployment: https://tinyurl.com/y9qltsjt
U.S. Office of Personnel Management Furlough Guidance: tps://tinyurl.com/y8sg3mum
Alexandria Center for Economic Support: https://tinyurl.com/yd66o7mj
Coordinated Services Fairfax County: https://tinyurl.com/y8f9e4vg
Local Restaurants Offering Free or Discounted Meals and More: https://tinyurl.com/ybmozmt3
There are activities, meetings, services and seminars at Beth El each week, ranging from service opportunities to Jewish learning and education, drawing members and guests from throughout the Washington, D.C. area.