The Pulse of Our Congregation April 2007

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

April 2007 Activities

Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Simchat Chochmah Class Forming

Message from Rabbi


Your Cantor's Operatic Corner!

Lucky Thirteen or Evolution of the Race by Susan Berger

"Before Their Eyes" a poem by Joel Netsky


Looking Ahead

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

Roy Shenberg's song "Moving to the Energy of Love" will be featured at the Choir Festival "Beyond Measure" on Saturday evening, April 14 at Church of Our Savior, 651 N. Wayne Avenue, Wayne, PA. More information is available at

Leyv Ha-Ir's Annual Race for the Cure May 13th, Sunday, at 8 AM at the Art Museum. Susan Berger, Team Captain, will distribute information.

Marking Life Cycle Events

Making a financial contribution to Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir is a great way to mark special life events, simchas, yahrzeits, etc. We are happy to send an acknowledgement of your contribution to a designee of your choice. Contributions can be sent to our regular P.O. Box address, or contact Evy Simon, at 215-561-7474 or, if you'd like to have an acknowledgement card sent.

Thank you.

"Sacred Time " 1995, Maria Mackey

I gather up
All the bits and pieces
Of my soul
From all the corners
Of the day

"The Little Pool " 1989, Maria Mackey

There was a place
With a little pool
Where dolphins played
But I could not

Black metal rails
Guided me down
Grey stone stairs
To a castle-like door

My mother took me there
When I was little
And my feet couldn't reach
The marbled floor

" February Wind " 2007, John Mason

It runs
Past my window
Pushing the freezing air
Through people
In it
I have a home
That keeps me
Safe from the wind
Others are not so lucky
All they know is the wind
That hates them
The wind is a coat
That tears their skins
A stick
That beats them
All the time.

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Dear Friends of Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City,

During the Seder, we say, "this year we are still slaves -- next year free people." We are in a constant process of reliving this exodus from slavery, repeatedly becoming aware of what is holding us captive, repeatedly making efforts to liberate ourselves. Again and again, we look at the story of our ancesters, in the expansive desert, longing to return to the safety of captivity. We might even judge them harshly while we ourselves avoid the responsibility of our freedom.

During the High Holidays, Rabbi Julie quoted Marianne Williamson from Nelson Mandela's inaugural speech: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world."

This is the fear our ancestors felt in the desert. Now that we no longer have the crutch of Pharoah on which to lean our shortcomings, we are now responsible to direct our own future. It is so easy to either remain captive (we prefer to be this way) or to blame others for our captivity ( It is our President's fault or our Rabbi's fault that we have not lived up to our potential). The truth is that the future of this community depends on each of us. Who are we not to be fabulous?

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

  • April 2007 Activities
  • April 2 MONDAY
    First Seder

    April 3 TUESDAY
    LHI Community Seder
    Ethical Society
    6:30 PM
    J. Roemer

    April 7 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Services
    Ethical Society
    10:00 AM
    Lay Led

    April 13 Friday
    Kabbalat Shabbat
    Ethical Society
    7:30 PM
    Rabbi Julie

    April 15 SUNDAY
    Holocaust Remembrance Day

    April 15 SUNDAY
    Family Torah Group
    10:00 AM
    J. Roemer

    April 18 WEDNESDAY
    Beginning Hebrew
    Ethical Society
    7:00 PM

    April 21 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Services
    Ethical Society
    10:00 AM
    Lay Led

    April 22 SATURDAY
    Israel Independence Day

    April 28 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Services
    10:00 AM
    Lay Led

    April 29 SUNDAY
    Spirituality Group
    3:45 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:

    To learn more about these events, check out the link to Center City Kehillah.

    Click here for a complete look at activities for the upcoming two months.
  • Adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah and Simchat Chochmah Class Forming
  • We are in the early stages of organizing a serious program of learning for adults that will culminate in Bar/Bat Mitzvah or Simchat Chochmah celebration. Students will meet twice a month, possibly starting as early as this summer, for one or two years, depending on your Hebrew background. This learning will be in-depth, intimate, fun and exciting. Each student will set individual goals, working closely with me. Everyone will learn about Torah and about living Judaism. The cost is approximately $360 per year. A core group of committed learners is rapidly forming---please let me know NOW if you want to be part of it.

    Rabbi Julie

  • Message from Rabbi
  • Dear Chevre,

    Happy spring! Happy Passover! The Passover seder is a brilliant vehicle for transmitting important Jewish values. For thousands of years we have kept alive our commitment to ethical living by teaching our children, and each other, year after year about the archetypal story of the Exodus from Mitzrayim. When the Dalai Lama wanted advice on how to save Tibetan Buddhism in the face of Chinese imperialism, he turned to Jewish elders whose heritage had been successfully passed on from one generation to the next through years of exile; one of the suggestions given to His Holiness was to create a seder because this ritual is such a powerful way to keep a story alive. (The story of the Dalai Lama’s meeting with the Jewish leaders is documented in Rodger Kamenetz’s book The Jew and the Lotus.)

    The book we use at the seder is the Haggadah, the Telling. The Haggadah guides us into a night of questions starting with Why is this night different from all other nights? The Haggadah invites us to ask what story do I want to tell? What is the story that I want to pass on to the next generation? What story am I part of? How does the story of my personal life journey converge with the story of the Jewish people? How can we together create a world that is whole and just?

    This year I will not be conducting the Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City seder because my niece’s Bat Mitzvah is taking place in St. Louis and my family will stay afterwards to be together for seder. The Leyv Ha-Ir seder will be in good hands with the capable leadership of Jessi Roemer, who also leads our Family Torah Time program for young children. For those of you attending, enjoy the delight of good company, good food, good ritual.

    I’ll close this message with a quote from the Haggadah, The Open Door , edited by Rabbi Sue Levi Elwell. “Will you open the door this year? Will you take a seat at the table? Will you ask new questions?...Will you invite those outside to join us, finding common language to build a world of peace?...Come, let us open the door.”

    Hag Sameach,
    Rabbi Julie

  • Chesed~Lovingkindness
  • Barbara Gesshel shall be moving to 314 Catherine St, #102, as of April 9th. Barbara will be undergoing shoulder surgery April 24th and will be immobilized for 2 months. Your calls, emails, cards, visit will be most welcome. 215-592-1159; email Barbara.

    Let's not forget Gloria Goldstein who welcomes cards and an occasional kosher lunch left off. Gloria's address can be found on our membership list.

  • Your Cantor's Operatic Corner!
  • 0ur Cantor Beatrice Beer's schedule for April is as follows:

    Sunday, April 1st, 7:30PM; Fountain Logan Square East

    Wednesday, April 4th, 12:30-1:30 PM, Church of Holy Trinity, Rittenhouse Square

    Sunday, April 15, 3 PM, Lead role of Mimi in La Boheme at church of St. Nicholas of Tolentine, 1718 S. 9th St., Tickets are $22/20 senior.

    Thursday, April 19, 6:30 PM, Katz Jewish Commuinity Center, 1301 Springdale Road, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003. Tickets $8.

    Sunday, April 22, 7:30 PM, Andrea Clearfield's Salon, 400 S. Sydenham Street, Philadelphia. Suggested donation, $10.

  • Lucky Thirteen or Evolution of the Race by Susan Berger
  • According to the pile of Komen Tee's in my possession, the first dates back to 1995! First I walked in memory of my mother, Ann, and then the "boys" started to join me to honor their grandmother and visit with me for Mother's Day. The rest is history..........

    It is always an amazingly spiritual, glad to be alive feeling for me to walk towards the rainbow of pink balloons stretching across the Museum Steps each year; a peaceful quietness pervades the early mornings, with the promise of a warm and beautiful day ahead.

    Now I look forward to meeting up with the familiar smiling and eager faces of The Heart of the City Team finding me in front of The Team Tent, with the Leyv Ha-Ir signs held high! One TV broadcaster once asked as we "raced" by him "What does Levee Hair" represent?" This is our fourth year and we even have our own tee shirts with our lovely logo!

    Yes it's a hassle to get up early on a Sunday, but ask any of us what or how we feel during and after being part of this uplifting Community coming together.

    Wanna join us?

    To join us: click on the link below and navigate as follows: The Race > Join and Existing Team > Heart of the City. Then fill in the blanks

    Sign up here
  • "Before Their Eyes" a poem by Joel Netsky
  • This poem was written by a special friend to Leyv Ha-Ir. It is going to be published in his book, coming out in the Spring. The publisher is Poetic Matrix Press and the name of the book is "The Unequivocality of a Rose"

    Before their Eyes


    Before their eyes lay a vista of country and cottage; a townlet sat at one side. That world to them was in equipoise, a state of perfect balance. It was of that same sublimely dulcet weave of nature and human intellect as the camaraderie among friends or a beautifully cut gem.


    Like people in hiding,
    all their senses devolving to the ear,
    they attunded to his guitar.

    As if their salvation were encompassed
    in his dulcet sound,
    the equipoise of all existence at balance
    in his sublime weave,
    their souls became quiet.

    Time itself played tenderly;
    indeed, the very air caressed.

    :: 215-629-1995