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Your monthly Phone and Learn
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Issue 26
December 2011 
Kislev 5772

Dear Reader,


Jewish Living Expo Eagle-eyed readers of the Jewish News may spot our new Chanukah advert later this month, promoting PaL's presence at the Jewish Living Expo at Wembley Stadium in March 2012.

The Expo is shaping up to be a great day out for the whole family - take a look at the website, www.jewishlivingexpo.com, for more information. You can also take 10% off the price of your advance ticket purchases by quoting PAL03 before you check out!

Chanukah Sameach!

Warm wishes
Judy Silkoff
Programme Coordinator 
Round Up...  
An Overview of Events in the Community


Kesher Logo Kesher, 933 Finchley Road, London NW11 7PE 


'All Wrapped Up' - a creative gift wrapping workshop with Suzie Andrews. Tuesday 6th December at 8pm. £5 donation, women only. Contact connect@kesher.org.uk to RSVP or for more information.  


seed logo seed, Mowbray House, Edgware HA8 8DJ


'Greece is the Word!' - an inspirational melave malka with Rabbi Malcolm Herman. Includes supper from Met Su Yan. Motsei Shabbos (Saturday) 10th December at 8.00pm. £28 per couple. For more information or to book email  essie@seed.uk.net.


JLE logo JLE, 152-154 Golders Green Road, NW11 8HE    


Winter Israel Learning Experience - only pay for the cost of your flight! Thursday 22 December to Monday 2 January, for ages 18 to 32. For more information email sands@jle.org.uk (men) or judy@jle.org.uk (women).     

Ask the Rabbi
with Rabbi Harvey Belovski 
Questions from the PaL Mailbag...

Q: Where did the custom of giving gifts on Chanukah come from? Is it really Jewish in origin (given the period in the secular calendar when Chanukah usually falls, it seems a little coincidental to me!)?


A: There is a long-standing custom on Chanukah to give gifts of money to children.  In Ashkenazic, Yiddish-speaking communities, this was known as 'Chanukah gelt', a phrase that is still in use.  Some suggest that this practice has its origins in the tradition that at the time of the 2nd-century-BCE war that Chanukah marks, the Macabees gambled on dice games to cover up their rebellious plot against the Greeks.  (This is also cited as an explanation for the dreidle).  Actually, it may well have originated in the European custom to give children small coins to offer to their teachers at this time of year, which evolved into giving the money just to children.  According to some authorities, at Chanukah-time poor yeshivah students visited their supporters, who distributed money.  However, the phenomenon of giving Chanukah presents, while perhaps vaguely associated with 'Chanukah gelt', has no Jewish origin and may simply be an attempt to stop Jewish children from feeling left-out at Xmas!

New Releases

Y. Schwartz  

Charting the sea of Talmud  
Charting the Sea of Talmud 
Yisrael Ury 

Mishnas Chayim  
Mishnas Chayim 
Rabbi Tzvi Hebel 
Israel Bookshop
Save 10%!  

With thanks to PaL's Judaica supplier Torah Treasures, a 10% discount is offered on every book purchase made for your PaL partnership!

Torah Treasures
020 8458 8289  
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About Phone and Learn 
Phone and Learn (PaL) is a division of Partners in Torah*, USA www.partnersintorah.org, a unique Jewish identity-building initiative committed to fostering unity among Jews of all backgrounds. PaL matches Jews who want to know more about their heritage with a friendly, knowledgeable tutor for an hour a week of Jewish study and discussion, over the phone.
PaL is dedicated in lasting memory of Sammy Homburger z"l

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PARTNERS IN TORAH is a trademark of Partners in Torah, a division of Torah Umesorah, the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, and is being used under licence. 
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