The Pulse of Our Congregation June 2006

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

June 2006 Activities

Did You Know? Maria Mackey Shares Meaning of "Hok a Tchynik"!

Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation

Torah Kids!

Message from Our President

Bagels and Books to discuss "Mr. Green Has a Job" and more

You're a Star at Rosh Hodesh Tamuz


Looking Ahead

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

Shabbat Service
Saturday, July 1, 10:00 AM

Shabbat Service
Saturday, July 15, 10:00 AM

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

Out of the Box

I look this way

this way

this way

and this way

What do I see

one inch

from my nose?


but a pale brown wall

all around me

I hear music

from the other side

and I want to see

what goes on there

but my way is blocked

there’s no exit

I look up

There’s an opening in the box

I climb

but people hold my legs

they don’t want me

to leave the box

They tell me

It’s not safe outside

the box

There are strange people

who do strange things

they’ll make you do

But I pull myself

from their grip

and jump off the edge.

-- John Mason

Newsletter Design:

Ilene Hass
Creative Solutions
for Business Marketing


It has been a wonderful year that has included so much in addition to these highlights:

  • High Holy Days at home in our regular meeting space (we used to need hotel space because we didn’t have the right home)
  • A magnificent fiftieth wedding anniversary celebration for Myrna and Lee
  • A year of prayer and holy days...Sukkot, Hannukah, Tu B’shvat, Purim, Passover and on June 2 Shavuot~ we have lived the sacred cycle of the year together
  • A wonderful weekend retreat at the winter beach----a time for enjoying each other, playing, learning, davennen
  • The celebration of Sandy Brown’s Simchat Chochmah (Celebration of Wisdom) ceremony with music and feasting
  • A year of holding out caring hands to those in need within and beyond our congregation. This community has generated many moments of healing connection and generosity
  • And much much more

Many thanks to all the hard workers who serve behind-the-scenes to make this community happen. Executive committee makes decisions, choir members rehearse, dedicated volunteers keep the books, the data base, and create the e-newsletter, the monthly budget reports, the calendar, the web site. Event co-ordinators oversee the emergence of amazing programs. Before and after each event, hard workers deal with chairs, sound system, supplies. All of this effort builds the infrastructure of community. It is the scaffolding for the relationships, learning, prayer, song and acts of kindness that flow forth from Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City. A personal THANK YOU to each person who has helped create community this year.

Before I go on summer break, I’d like to invite people to join in two exciting projects. Number one, if you’d like to be a Torah reader for Rosh HaShana or Yom Kippur, please contact me this week. I will give you a CD of beautiful chanting by Cantor Jack Kessler to help you prepare.

Number two, if you’d like co-ordinate the Birthday for the World parties that will be held during our Rosh HaShana services for young children, please give me a call.

I hope to see everyone at Shavuot services and again for the Peace Walk on June 4.

All the best,
Rabbi Julie

  • June 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.

    June 2 FRI
    Shavuot Services
    Ethical Society, 7:30 PM
    Rabbi Julie
    We ask that you donate a dictionary at this special service — to be given to the "Books Through Bars" organization who send books to prison inmates. Dictionaries are what the incarcerated request most often.

    June 3 SAT Shabbat Services
    Ethical Society, 10:00 AM
    Lay led

    June 7 WED
    LHI Council Meeting
    Ethical Society, 7:00 PM

    June 17 SAT
    Shabbat Services
    Ethical Society, 10:00 AM
    Lay led

    June 17 SAT
    Torah Kids (see article below)
    Home, 11:30 AM
    Rabbi Julie

    June 18 SUN
    Bagels and Books (see article below)
    Joanne's, 11:00 AM

    June 24 SAT
    Shabbat Services
    Home, 10:00 AM
    Lay led

    June 25 SUN
    Rosh Hodesh
    Iris's 215-561-0228, 4:00 PM

    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:

    Mitzvah Food Pantry at JCCs Stiffel Senior Center
    Tuesday, June 13, 11:00AM - 2PM
    High energy volunteers of all ages needed to prepare food packages for neighbors in need. South Philadelphia

    Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS)
    received a grant to help resettle several families who face religious, ethnic and other forms of persecution. Volunteers are needed to be a part of a welcoming team creating and delivering mitzvah baskets. All ages are welcome to participate! For more information contact Yael Bloom 215-575-3595.

    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...
  • Did You Know? Maria Mackey Shares Meaning of "Hok a Tchynik"!
  • During one of our lively Books and Bagels discussion, we were trying to figure out the meaning of the Yiddish expression "Hok a tchynik" ("to knock a tea kettle")

    Here's the explanation-etiology according to "The Joys of Yiddish" by Leo Rosten (1968):

    "hok" is 'strike' and "tchynik" is 'teapot/tea kettle' from Slavic "tchay", meaning tea.

    "To Knock a teapot" means:

    1. To talk a great deal; to yammer, to yak
    2. To talk nonsense or "bushwa"

    This is a widely used phrase in the conversational badminton of Jews. "Please, hok nit kain tchynik!" ("Please, stop talking so much"; "stop spouting all that nonsense"; "stop talking my ear off").

    The expression may have come from the meaningless rattling of a cover of a boiling pot, or from the noisy whistling of steam in a kettle. Or it may have come from the improvised toys of children at play. Since toys were a rarity among the poor in the shtetl, children made use of ordinary objects. To simulate a drummer or a band, it was easy enough to bang away on a pot or kettle.

    In any case, "knocking a teapot" has become a picturesque phrase for constant chatter.

  • Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace and Reconciliation
  • You are invited to join your Rabbi and members of the Tikkun Olam committee at this important event:
    Philadelphia Interfaith Walk for Peace & Reconciliation
    Sunday, June 4, 2006 at 1:00 p.m.

    Prayers for Peace, Prayers for Unity We invite all people of all faiths to join us on a spiritual journey. We will begin at Al-Aqsa Mosque (1501 Germantown Ave. near 3rd and Jefferson St. above Girard Ave.) with a gathering at 12:30 PM and ritual program starting at 1:00.

    We will then proceed to St. Peter's Church (5th and Girard Ave.), to Christ Church (2nd above Market St.), past Independence Mall (6th and Market St.), and then to our final stop at Society Hill Synagogue (5th and Spruce St.).

    As we walk we will lament war and the loss of life.
    We will pray for the safety and freedom of all people.
    We will embrace hope, not fear.
    The true pathway to peace is God's desire for love and justice.
    Join us to show that peace between people of all faiths is possible.
    Let us call out Salaam. Let us call out Shalom.
    Let us call out Peace in the language of Love.

    During the Peace Walk, buses and vans will be available to drive people who are physically unable to walk. The buses also will shuttle people to their cars between the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Society Hill Synagogue before or after the walk, as needed. (Note that parking is limited at the synagogue location; therefore, people are encouraged to park at Al-Aqsa Mosque and take advantage of the shuttle at the end of the Walk.) PLEASE WEAR WHITE (or at least white shirts).
    Bring water or snacks.
    Banners/signs are limited to say the words: "Salaam, Shalom, Peace." NO POLITICAL BANNERS.
    For more information, contact: 215-854-8038.

  • Torah Kids!
  • Rabbi Julie Greenberg will meet with families of two to four year-olds on Saturday morning, June 17 from 11 - 12:00 a.m. for a delightful session of Jewish songs, stories and play. This session will be hosted by John and Vicky in their home on Aspen St. Please call them to sign in and get directions: 215-765-1037. We welcome all families. Sponsored by Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City at no cost to participants.

  • Message from Our President
  • Thank you for your participation in our annual meeting, and for electing me President along with an excellent slate of officers. I am confident that we will have a year of spiritual and organizational development which will make us all proud. This week, we starting reading B'midbar (numbers) in the Torah. This book largely concerns life in the wilderness. In the wilderness, we took a census -- again and again. We count and organize people.

    There are several ways we can count and organize our Leyv Ha-Ir people. One way is that we have a corporate structure with a board of directors and executive officers. In this model, the annual meeting is like a shareholder meeting in which the owners (all of the members) direct the executives. Under this view the shareholders give occasional feedback. Another view of our structure is that the members are customers, and simultaneously, some members are the staff. Under this model, The executive officers run the business and the customers either consume the services or they do not. Under this system, there is constant feed back. A third view that the shul is like a Kibbutz, and all of the members and officers are pioneers. Under this model we are all owner operators serving the common good of the shul for everyone's benefit. The way we give feedback is by working.

    Moving forward, I would like our structure to invite new leaders (even new leaders who used to be leaders before) into decision making roles. We need to be open to participation of all of our members and friends in all aspects of congregational life. We need to be transparent in the functioning of our organization. In the past, because of the intimate nature of the friendships in our community, we have adopted a less formal decision making process. In this process, long time members have a direct line to the executive, and they make phone calls and e-mails in order to influence decision making. I think it is time to have better functioning committees and council in order to invite all members into decision making.

    We will be reading B'Midbar throughout the months of June and July. Please give thought to how our decision making structure lends itself to being an open functioning community. Please contact me regarding volunteer work. There are three committees that need volunteers immediately: High Holidays, Membership/ Outreach, and Fundraising. All three of these committees need to be up and running by the fall. Please e-mail me at mmek723924@aol .com to inquire.

    Thank you,

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

  • Bagels and Books to discuss "Mr. Green Has a Job" and more
  • Bagels and Books will be held Sunday, June 18, starting at 11 AM at Joanne Perilstein's apartment, 1900 Walnut, Apt. 16F. Sol Volk will be reading Isaac Bashevis Singer's "Mr. Green Has a Job." Sol will also read excerpts from Singer's last-will-and-testament which includes his ethical will. There will be a great Sunday brunch and wonderful, enlightened participants who take joy in hearing and talking about good stories with a Jewish twist. The cost is $5.00

  • You're a Star at Rosh Hodesh Tamuz
  • Bring in 3 photos from your past to share with your Rosh Hodesh sisters!

    When: Sunday June 25, 2006 at 4:00 PM

    Hostess: Iris Newman
    1919 Chestnut St. -- William Penn House #2507

    RSVP: Please call Iris at 215-561-0228 and let her know what dish you'll be bringing

    :: 215-629-1995