A depiction of Jews praying in synagogue on Yom Kippur.  /COURTESY | Maurycy Gottlieb via Wikimedia CommonsA depiction of Jews praying in synagogue on Yom Kippur. /COURTESY | Maurycy Gottlieb via Wikimedia CommonsJNS.ORG – Herut Shitrid vividly recalls the first Yom Kippur she fasted. She was only 10, but somehow she was able to make it through the whole day.

“I felt proud,” she says nearly two decades later. “I was so proud that I could do it.”

These days, Shitrid spends much of her time serenading with her harp the passersby at Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City. But back when she was growing up in the southern Israeli city Beersheba, fasting on Yom Kippur was one way to emulate the adults’ process of teshuva–to repent, or to return to your faith and your highest self.

JNS.ORG – The wider world of traditional Judaism is moving in fits and starts toward a renegotiation of the terms of halakhic observance. At question is the importance of social change in the understanding and application of the legal logic of the sages of old. In the last several years, voices from within the Orthodox fold have raised a formidable challenge to certain established norms of Jewish life and law, especially regarding the possibilities of female religious leadership.

/PHOTO | David Schwartz, consulting arborist, Schwartz Tree Care Inc./PHOTO | David Schwartz, consulting arborist, Schwartz Tree Care Inc.As summer ends and fall begins, the plant world struts its stuff with dazzling displays of colors. The reason for this gorgeous color change lies in the plant’s natural mechanism. During the growing season, plants manufacture their own food through the process of photosynthesis; this manifests as chlorophyll.

As the growing season comes to a close, the chlorophyll dissolves and is put into storage for the plant’s future use. This process unmasks one of nature’s secrets, and with the chlorophyll gone, the underlying colors become visible. This provides us with a majestic show.

At left are two PeeGee Hydrangias, trained into tree form, under the graceful branches of a native red maple (Acer Rubrum).

Jenny MillerJenny MillerIf you ask Jenny Miller, the president and owner of Senior Care Concepts, eldercare experts in Rhode Island, what the most important qualities of someone in her profession are, she’ll say, understanding and compassion. In the same vein, Miller’s favorite quote is “It’s nice to be important, but it’s important to be nice.” Her life choices mirror that philosophy. Miller’s achievements illustrate that empathy is crucial to her existence. Whether she’s teaching American culture and English language at a kibbutz, making a difference on the board of the Rhode Island chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association or solving community problems with the Rotary Club, Miller lives according to her grandmother’s guidance “to take every experience that you are faced with and do something to help others.”


Ariel SharonAriel SharonNEW YORK – Read about the highs and lows of 5774 – and everything in between.

January 2014

Ariel Sharon, the controversial warrior-turned-statesman who served as Israel’s prime minister from 2001 until 2006, when he was rendered comatose by a stroke, dies at age 85.

Brooklyn Hasidic real estate developer Menachem Stark is kidnapped, his lifeless body later found in a dumpster. The New York Post provokes outrage among many Jews with a cover calling him a slumlord and a headline asking, “Who didn’t want him dead?” Months later, a construction worker is arrested for the killing.

JTA and MyJewishLearning, which includes the popular parenting website, announce their intention to merge.