Thanksgivikah—almost a unique intersection of events

This year Thanksgiving coincides with Chanukah, a rare convergence of two different calendars, the secular Gregorian calendar and the Jewish calendar. According to Chabad it won’t occur again until 2070 when Thanksgiving falls on Chanukah eve. So, since Jewish holidays start the evening before, if you have a late Thanksgiving feast that year, you also can light your first Chanukah candle at the same time. If you miss it, the next chance is Nov. 28, 2165. After that, things start getting quite unpredictable due to the different rates of drift by both the Jewish and Gregorian calendars in relation to actual solar year.

While the calendar coincidence is fun, Thanksgiving continues to feel like the most Jewish of secular holidays. With that in mind, check out this story, Thanksgiving, on the JewishFamilyStories.com website. Just click here.

Also, feel welcome to check out all the stories on JewishFamilyStories.com.

And watch this blog for news about and excerpts from my upcoming novel for Jewish young adults, The Uncertain Art of Hooking Up.  Online you also can find my paperback book: Miracles–stories for Jewish children and their families.

And follow information from me about Jewish stories on Twitter, @storyauthor1225. There will be more Chanukah stories coming.

 

Tish’ah Be’av—a Really Bad Day for the Jewish People

Next time you’re having a bad day think of what happened on the ninth day of Av on the Jewish calendar.

On that day  the  Babylonian Talmud lists no less than five tragedies that occurred on Tisha  B’Av throughout history, noted Wayne Stiles in the Jerusalem Post : Five calamities happened to our ancestors on . . . the 9th of Ab: . . . it was decreed that our ancestors should not enter the Holy Land; on that day the first and second Temples were destroyed, the city of Bethar was taken, and the site (of Jerusalem) was ploughed up (like a field).” (Babylonian Talmud, Book 4).

Since the Babylonian Talmud was written Jewish historians have noted other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people on (or near) that date. For example, as posted on Original Jewish, in 1290 King Edward I signed the edict compelling his Jewish subjects to leave in England. The expulsion from Spain occurred on the same day in 1492. So did the outbreak of World War I, a prelude to World War II and the savage murder of six million Jews and the near destruction of Jewish culture in Europe. This year Tish’ah Be’av, commemorated as a fast day, falls on July 16.

Simon’s Bad Day is a story I wrote as the lay leader of Temple Reyim’s children’s services and needed to explain this observance in a way children could understand.

You can find more stories for children, teens, and young adults on JewishFamilyStories.com. And please watch this blog for news about and more excerpts from my upcoming novel for Jewish young adults, The Uncertain Art of Hooking Up, as well as more stories like Simon’s Bad Day. Also, feel welcome to check out my paperback book for Jewish children: Miracles–stories for Jewish children and their families. (All the stories are available for online at http://www.jewishfamilystories.com/.)

You also can follow this blog, American Jew, on Twitter, @storyauthor1225.

Giving the Law to a People Who Remember

Next week is Shavuot, the day that marks the giving of the law to the Israelites gathered at the base of Mt. Sinai. This law has marked the Jewish people as distinct for 4500 years, both as the Chosen People and as a target for whatever hatred, anger, and grudge someone might hold.

Even in the most ancient of times, Jewish law set the Israelites apart from other ancient peoples.  In more modern times, Jewish law as embodied in the 5 Books of Moses also formed the basis for the Christian Bible and for the Koran, which incorporated sections in their entirety.

The challenge for Jewish continuity today is to help young Jews understand the radical importance to the Western world of what happened at Mt. Sinai. It laid the foundation for the kind of just, humanistic society based on law that most people seek.

To try to give young people a sense of the monumental importance of what happened there, I wrote a children’s story, The One God. You can read it here. It is included among the children’s stories at JewishFamilyStories.com.

Since Mt. Sinai the Jewish people have held as constants two things: the primacy of the Law, the Torah, as given at Mt. Sinai; and the concept of remembrance.  It is said that every Jew—living, dead, and not yet born—personally received the gift of the Torah that long-ago day. The mission of each is to remember, learn from it, and make it real for the next generation. That is what Jewish continuity is about.

Please watch this blog for news about and more excerpts from my upcoming novel for Jewish young adults, The Uncertain Art of Hooking Up, as well as more stories from JewishFamilyStories.com. Also, feel welcome to check out my paperback book for Jewish children: Miracles–stories for Jewish children and their families.

You also can follow this blog, American Jew, on Twitter, @storyauthor1225.

Jewish Summer Camp—a Powerful Vehicle for Jewish Continuity

Jewish summer overnight camp has been a powerful force for Jewish continuity for my daughters and for many of their friends.  Now grown, having moved out of our home, and living in distant cities they keep their Jewish connections, often by reuniting with their Jewish summer camp friends.  They started as the youngest campers and stayed until they were counselors in college.

BTW: Camp Ramah New England at Palmer is celebrating its 60th year, May 19, 2013, 10:30 AM – 3:00 PM:  All are welcome! http://www.campramahne.org/

Of course there are many different Jewish summer camp experiences, but here is a Jewish summer camp story for teens, Falling in Love, modeled in part on the Camp Ramah experience.

Regardless of what you may think of this story, please encourage your Jewish children to attend Jewish summer camp as a primary vehicle for Jewish continuity.

And watch this blog for news about and excerpts from my upcoming novel for Jewish young adults, The Uncertain Art of Hooking Up, as well as more stories from JewishFamilyStories.com. Also, feel welcome to check out my paperback book for Jewish children: Miracles–stories for Jewish children and their families. (All the stories are available for online at http://www.jewishfamilystories.com/.)

You also can follow this blog, American Jew, on Twitter, @storyauthor1225