The Pulse of Our Congregation May 2006

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

May 2006 Activities

Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir is sponsoring JRA on Sunday May 7

Race for the Cure: The Leyv Ha-Ir Team

Israel Independence Day Celebration in Center City

Psalm 151

Spread the Word: Kids Torah Times at Leyv Ha-Ir


Looking Ahead

Here are a few upcoming events you might consider participating in:

Shavuot Shabbat Service
Friday, June 2, 7:30 PM

Bagels and Books
Sunday, June 11, 11:00 AM

For more information call our voice mail or visit 215-629-1995

Join Rabbi Julie and the Leyv Ha-Ir Tikkun Olam Committee at the Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation
Sunday, June 4, 12:30 p.m, starting at the Al-Aqsa Mosque - 1501 Germantown Avenue.
For more information, contact: 215-854-8038.

The Empty Synagogue

He plays to the empty synagogue
Lamenting the loss of its people

He plays to all the empty places
Where thousands had been before

(May 4, 1998 -- On watching Itzak Perlman [in the video "In the Fiddler’s House"] playing the violin to an empty synagogue in Cracow, Poland, whose members had been murdered in the Shoah)

A sparrow left its perch
From the storm-struck tree

Then on my window sill
Sang its solo

For or from
These missing souls
I’ll never know

(April 7, 2006 -- While watching the video again as a little sparrow came and sat on my window sill while Itzak and a pianist were playing in an empty synagogue in Cracow)

-- Maria Mackey

Newsletter Design:

Ilene Hass
Creative Solutions
for Business Marketing

My dear friends,

Being President of Leyv Ha-Ir is still such a new experience for me with new challenges. During this past month of events, rituals and services, I have been very proud of our accomplishments as a congregation. I have also noticed a recurring problem in our community. People say and do things which offend other people, and which do not reflect the views of our community. These comments and actions reflect very badly on our community and deter possible new members from returning to our community. I am assuring stakeholders in our community that I have either asked representatives of the congregation to address these comments or I have done so myself. I think it is important to confront negative speech in a productive way that does not bring shame on the speaker. Still, our congregational voice must be a positive one. I ask each member to respectfully confront speech which is contrary to our mission. In this spirit, I will dedicate a small part of our annual meeting to discuss what our congregational voice is, and how we preserve it.

On an equally important, although lighter, note, did you know that you can use this or any other month's e-newsletter as a marketing tool to help us attract new members? When you open your copy, at the almost very bottom left hand side is a blue link that says "forward e-mail". Just click on that link and enter the names and email addresses of anyone you think would be interested in our community. You can enter a comment such as "Please check us out. I think you may like what we have to offer" or anything of your choosing. Then click on the "submit" button. It's that easy.

Thank you,

Michael Meketon, President
Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City

  • May 2006 Activities
  • Some of the events listed below have flyers with more detailed information about each activity. You can view these fliers as .pdf files and print them. The events with associated flyers are underlined with clickable hyperlinks to the associated flyers.

    May 3 WED
    LHI Council Meeting
    Ethical Society, 7:00 PM

    May 6 SAT
    Shabbat Services
    Ethical Society, 10:00 AM
    Lay led

    May 7 SUN
    Jewish Relief Agency
    9:00 AM

    May 12 FRI
    Kabbalat Shabbat Services
    Ethical Society, 7:30 PM
    Rabbi Julie

    May 14 SUN
    Race for the Cure
    Parkway, 8:30 AM
    Susan Berger

    May 17 WED
    Prayer Class
    Ethical Society, 7:00 PM
    Rabbi Julie

    May 20 SAT
    Shabbat Services
    Ethical Society, 10:00 AM
    Lay led

    May 21 SUN
    LHI Annual Meeting
    Penn Center House, 10:30 AM

    May 24 WED
    Prayer Class
    Iris N.'s home, 7:00 PM
    Iris N.

    May 27 SAT
    Shabbat Services
    Ethical Society, 10:00 AM
    Lay led

    May 29 MON
    Memorial Day

    As part of the Kehillah of Center City we are invited to attend all of the events that are sponsored by the Kehillah and our larger community. To learn more about these events Check out the link to Center City Kehillah.

    Click here for a complete look at activities for the next two months...
  • Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir is sponsoring JRA on Sunday May 7
  • Join the Kehillah of Center City and the Jewish Relief Agency(JRA) to help feed those in need in our Center City community! The JRA provides food once a month to community members in need. The Kehillah of Center City is partnering with JRA to provide a way for residents of Center City to participate.

    Whether you have a car or not, the community has organized a way for you to:

    • Meet other Center City folks;
    • Learn about the history of and how to prepare for this mitzvah with JRA co-founder, Rabbi Menachem Schmidt;
    • Help pack and deliver food to our Center City residents;

    All ages are welcome to volunteer with us.

    Time: 9:00 AM - 1:30 PM;
    Meeting Place: Congregation B'nai Abraham
    527 Lombard Street

  • Race for the Cure: The Leyv Ha-Ir Team
  • On Sunday, May 14, 2006 (Mother's Day morning), the Third Annual LHI Team will meet at the team booth at 8-8:15AM, to the right of the Art Museum steps. Look for team mates, wear your team shirts and bring your team spirit. New LHI members and friends are welcome. Call Susan Berger at 856-751-5574, or email her for registration information.

  • Israel Independence Day Celebration in Center City
  • The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia invites you to the May 21, 2006, Israel Independence Day celebration — the largest Jewish Community event of the year. Join us in demonstrating community support for Israel and learn more about Israeli culture through fun and educational activities for all ages. Admission is free. The celebration will begin at 4 p.m. Highlights include:

    • ShopRite "Taste of Israel" Pavilion where you can enjoy cooking demonstrations and sample delicious Israeli foods;
    • music concerts featuring Hasidic rock group Reva L'sheva and Yoni Rechter, one of Israel's leading composers in rock/pop;
    • a fireworks display set to Israeli music;
    • and the Israel Festival -- featuring Israeli dancing with RakDan, camel rides, arts and crafts activities, delicious food, Bedouin tent, and the Israeli marketplace.

    Location: Eakins Oval and Benjamin Franklin Parkway

  • Psalm 151
  • by Rabbi Julie

    Our Prayer Class studied psalms last week, particularly psalms 113 – 118 which are a special set of prayers that are sung together throughout the year on significant occasions. This set of psalms is known as Hallel; Hallel is sung on the three pilgrimage festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot, on Hanukkah, at the New Moon, on Israeli Independence Day and at the seder. The 150 psalms of Jewish tradition are expressions of distress and thanksgiving, lament and trust.

    In Prayer Class we read the Hallel psalms out loud and each person selected ten words or phrases that spoke to them. Examples included, "From east to west, sunrise to sunset..." "The Eternal One who is their help and sheltering place," ""Open to me oh you gateways of justice." We shared our selections with each other, hearing the words of prayer through each other’s ears. It was amazing to notice that each person found different passages meaningful.

    Then we constructed our own new psalm, weaving together quotes from the Hallel psalms. This is a traditional method of prayer-building: our ancestors often took quotes from other holy sources and crafted a new prayer. We named our creation "Psalm 151". Here it is:

    From my distress I cried out.
    I who feel so destitute call out.
    My strength, my song is Yah.
    My love abounds, for God has heard my voice, my plea for help.
    The Compassionate One protects those in confusion.
    For God’s love overpowers us, something wonderful before our very eyes.
    Give thanks! I give thanks to You.
    The stone rejected by the builders has become this place’s founding stone.

    Join us for the next Prayer Class, May 17, 7 p.m. with Rabbi at our building.

  • Spread the Word: Kids Torah Times at Leyv Ha-Ir
  • In response to requests from Center City families with young children, on Sunday, April 23, Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City sponsored its first Torah Time session for 2-4 year olds and their parents. Hosted by members Kat Rosqueta and Michael Idinopulos, Torah Time was a great success. Rabbi Julie led the group in Henay Mah Tov and Halleluyah, children had a chance to hold baby Moses and his basket, and we learned a goodnight song (the Shemah) and a waking up song (Modah Anee). Parents were enthusiastic about further participation. Please help spread the word that things are happening for very young people in the heart of the city.

    :: 215-629-1995