Monday, August 27, 2018

The meaning of Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah ... it’s one of the most important holidays in the Jewish calendar. It's the Jewish New Year, anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, a day of judgment and coronation.

The Jewish new year greetings for this time of year reflect our prayers for a good, sweet year ahead. On the first night of Rosh Hashanah, we wish l'shanah tovah tikatevu v'techatemu: "May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year." The main thing is to wish each other a good, sweet year with all our heart – because that is what God values most.

Rosh Hashanah is packed with mitzvahs, special foods and traditions but the central observance of Rosh Hashanah is the sounding of the shofar, the ram's horn, on both days of the holiday.

Why the shofar?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A new JNF tour of Israel from a Torah perspective

By Deby Goodman

My husband Jeff and I have been involved with the Jewish National Fund For almost 40 years. We are the immediate past co-presidents of the Orange County Region of JNF -- Jeff, in fact, was founding president of the region many years ago and is a third-generation JNF volunteer. As a former firefighter, Jeff is a member of the Fire Fighters and Rescue Task Force. I'm a member of the Disabilities Task Force.

We've been on countless tours and missions to Israel, and lots of trips on our own to visit our kids and grandkids. But on all those tours and missions, there was something missing.  I consider myself a religious Zionist, and my Zionism, and hence support for Jewish National Fund, springs from my Judaism. JNF does wonderful, fantastic things in Israel, and affects every single Israeli, every single day, including the Torah community. But we weren't seeing this aspect being highlighted on our various trips.   

So I decided to create a tour that would look at JNF's work in Israel from a Torah perspective, both in terms of how our various projects tie into the Torah and Biblical history, and how they affect the Torah community in Israel. Thus was born the latest JNF tour, titled Israel: From a Torah Perspective. It will take place from March 4-11, 2019.

Friday, August 10, 2018

What I saw on the ground in Israel as the Gaza border crisis rages on

Ariel and Aleta (left) at the inauguration for the delivery of the first fire wagon funded by JNF.

By Ariel Grunberg
My wife, Aleta, and I were in Israel this summer and able to experience firsthand the tragic eco-terrorism being brought upon those living on the Gaza Envelope over the past few months. As members of the Jewish National Fund Gaza Envelope Task Force, we had visited the area many times and grew to know and care for many living on the border. With trepidation, we looked forward to visiting our friends to see for ourselves what had occurred.
Yedidya Harush, our guide and amazing JNF liaison from the Halutza communities, picked us up at at the Ofakim railroad station and took us to Gama, an area that had been consumed by fire. I was so saddened to see this and then I became angry. I asked myself how people could do such a horrible thing as to destroy wildlife and their natural habitats, forests that purify the air we need to breathe, and agricultural lands that provide food for a hungry world. The sheer cost just to replace what was burned is in the millions. Farmers lost so much -- land that was ready to yield crops and trees that took years to grow were gone, destroyed.