A few upcoming events you might
participating in are listed in the main
section of this newsletter
Marking Life Cycle Events
Making a financial contribution to
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
of your choice. Contributions can be sent to our
regular P.O. Box address, or contact Evy
215-561-7474 or firstname.lastname@example.org, if you'd
have an acknowledgement card sent.
LEARNING TO LIVE WITH MY YEARS
Little Sonny asked me:
"How do you know so much?
Did you write words on clay
Back in your day?
Cause you sure have learned a whole bunch."
He said: "Where do you get blueberries
To make a blueberry pie?
And when you're blue
What do you do
When your eyes really want to cry?"
"They say there's a black hole in heaven
Where fading stars dissapear
Me, my star is shining
Like the Star diamond
Sonny, don't shed me no tears
Cause I'm learning to live with my years"
They say there's a tree in the forest
That grows where no sun appears
Me, I'm gonna grow, even in snow
So Sonny, don't shed me no tears
I'm learning to live with my years
I'm learning to live with my years
Conquering worries and fears
The road may get bumpy
I may get grumpy
I'm learning how to shift gears
Learning to live with my years
Dear Friends of Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City,
I am joyful and tired, having completed
another excellent year at Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart
of the City. I wish for all of you, and for
myself as well, a restful summer. Rest
notwithstanding, there are three initiatives
I will be pushing this coming year. I want
you to make them priorities as well.
1. At our annual meeting, we unveiled a
new Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City endowment.
A generous and anonymous donor has donated
$15,000 to seed an endowment. This same
donor is willing to help us by matching
further donations. This fund will help
create a legacy for us. I am consulting with
experts in this type of giving to determine
how we can structure this legacy fund without
sacrificing our general operating budget.
Stay tuned -- this is very exciting.
2. We are encouraging a small and
growing Family Torah Group in the Fairmount
Neighborhood. Eleven Families with nineteen
children have committed to this group. They
meet once a month in homes. This coming year
we are scheduling these monthly meetings in
Fairmount as well as three family events with
the congregation. I am hopeful that this
group will grow and enrich our community more
and more this coming year.
3. This year is the year to become a
member of Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City.
Last year exceeded expectations in terms of
attendance and fund raising. Our extended
community is as large and active as it has
ever been. I will be writing you a letter
over the summer to encourage you to join our
little shul. This volunteer-run synagogue
needs your energy. We want to be the home of
your Jewish spiritual journey. Please
encourage your friends and family to check us
out as we enter the High Holiday season at
the end of the summer.
Michael Meketon, President
Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City
|June 2007 Activities
June 2 SATURDAY
June 3 SUNDAY
Bagels & Books
June 6 WEDNESDAY
June 16 SATURDAY
June 23 SATURDAY
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,
out the link to Center
Thursday, June 14th, 7:00
Barnes & Noble Rittenhouse
Square, 1805 Walnut Street People of
the Book Club
Books of Jewish
Meet Vanessa Ochs, as she discusses her
latest book Inventing Jewish Ritual.
Wednesday, June 6, 2007, 7:30 PM
Society Hill Synagogue, 418 Spruce Street
Taste of Me'ah!
Featuring a panel of current students and
a mini class taught by Me'ah instructor.
Call the Kehillah of Center City to
register for this free event, 215-832-0597.
For a flyer go to www.jewishphilly.org/cck
Me'ah, an intensive adult Jewish learning
experience conducted by Boston's Hebrew
College, approaches Jewish history and Jewish
thought through an intelligent and
sophisticated conversation with core texts.
This conversation is guided by university
faculty who will lead and enrich your study
of four central periods: biblical, rabbinic,
medieval and modern. You will be studying
along with others from local congregations
and those who are unaffiliated who come to
the program with varied denominational and
Jewish educational backgrounds, and who share
a desire to learn more about Judaism through
in-depth text study.
and click on Me'ah.
||Click here for a complete look at Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir activities for the upcoming two months.
|Leyv Ha-Ir's Annual Meeting
Leyv Ha-Ir's Annual Meeting was held on
Sunday, May 20 at which time the new slate
of officers was voted in:
Michael Meketon - President (completing
the second year of a 2-year commitment)
Bobbi Cohen - First Vice President
Evy Simon - Second Vice President
Secretary - Iris Newman
Treasurer - vacant
Member-at-Large - John Mason
Member-at-Large - Marci Fleet
Member-at-Large - Maria Mackey
Member-at-Large - Myrna Schlanger
The turnout was wonderful, the brunch,
provided by Myra Caplan, was fabulous. It
was an excellent meeting with much accomplished.
|Message from Rabbi
Each summer many of us participate in Leyv
Ha-Ir's One Congregation, One Book program by
reading a recommended book. This year the
book that has been chosen is Spiritual
Community by Rabbi David Teutsch. It is about
creating communities that can "restore hope,
commitment and joy." The book is about 100
pages long, easy to read and really
worthwhile. David Teutsch was president of
the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College for
nine years and now directs an Ethics Center.
He is one of the most brilliant and
thoughtful leaders of twenty first century
Judaism. The book is available from Amazon.
com and I'm sure from many other bookstores
as well. I hope everyone will get a chance to
read it and join me for the workshop on this
book that I'll lead at the end of the summer.
Have a great summer!
|Family Torah Group
The Family Torah Group just completed its
first year and it was a resounding success.
There are 11 committed families who are
looking forward to next year's activities.
To encourage families with children, Leyv
Ha-Ir will be hosting a service for them
during the High Holy Days, sponsoring a
Hanukah Tot Shabbat and encouraging their
attendance by beginning our Second Night
Seder at an earlier hour. For more
information on future Family Torah Group
meeting dates, contact our voice mail,
|A Special Bagels & Books
Our next Bagels and Books is Sunday, June
3rd, 11:AM at JoAnne Perilstein's place: 1901
Walnut Street, Apartment 16F. As all active
'B and 'B'ers know, it's a terrific time with
wonderful food and interesting readings.
(Cost $5.00 per person.)
This time we're doing something very special.
Our own Joel Netsky has written and
published a book of poetry. He'll be doing
some reading and participating in the
discussion. His book is titled: The
Unequivocality of a Rose. The publisher is
Poetic Matrix Press. (The website is:
|Zoe Greenberg's Confirmation Speech
(Rabbi Julie's daughter)
Hello. As many of you know, I'm Zoe
Greenberg. I'm fifteen years old and this is
my confirmation year. This year, I studied
the Book of Ruth with Rabbi Lenny Gordon.
This book has many immigration themes, and as
I learned more of Ruth's journey from Moab
into Israel, I became curious about my own
My biological father, Jack Gabriel, grew
up in a Jewish immigrant section of New York
City. I knew his family had lived in Poland
during World War II, and I had heard bits and
pieces of heroic tales, but I wanted to know
more. He told me his story, and that is what
I want to tell you about today.
Jack's mother, Matilda, and his father,
David, grew up in two tiny villages in
Poland. In 1941, after Matilda and David had
been dating for a while, David was forced to
join the Russian army. He fought the Germans
but ended up in a prisoner-of-war camp. He
escaped-this was the first of many escapes.
He was free until around 1943, when he was
captured again, this time by the Nazis,
because he was Jewish. He was taken to a
village where trains were going to Auschwitz.
An SS man was arguing with the train
conductor, telling him to fit David in. The
train conductor told the SS man there was no
more room on the train, to shoot David right
there. As they were arguing, David escaped
again. Matilda was in hiding, and David went
to join her.
He wasn't safe yet, though. He left his
hiding place to try to get back to his Polish
village, but this time he was captured by
Polish Nazis and taken to a quarry with about
600 other people. A power outage allowed
David to climb a fence and escape into a
swamp. When the Nazis came looking for him,
he went under the swamp water and breathed
through a reed. They couldn't find him.
David found Matilda and they remained
hidden in an attic and survived the rest of
the war, even though the horrors continued
around them. Both Matilda and David were
Zionists, and they set off for Israel as soon
as they could, but they ended up in a refugee
camp at the bottom of Italy. My father was
born in the Italian refugee camp in June
1946. Matilda found a 3rd cousin who lived on
Park Avenue in New York, to sponsor their
immigration to America. In 1950, the family
set off for the United States. Jack arrived
here at age three and a half, speaking both
Italian and Yiddish.
Jack told me one of the hardest parts of
his childhood was the struggle to leave the
sadness of the old world behind. When I was
about to end the conversation, he said to me,
"Zoe, your people were actually involved in
It is a miracle that we are here today,
and I hope we can all use our privilege to
help others who need miracles around the world.
|Rabbi Julie Sermon: Shavuot 5767 - What the Book of Ruth can Teach us about Immigration
The special text for Shavuot is the Book
of Ruth, one of the five megillot that
comprise the third section of our Hebrew
Bible. The book of Ruth, as many of you know,
is the story of a young Moabite woman who
follows her mother-in-law Naomi to the land
of Israel. The women are moving to Israel,
Naomi's homeland, out of economic necessity.
The men folk in their lives had died and they
had no means of support. Ruth, a penniless
foreigner, arrived in the land of Israel and
was embraced with welcome.
At that time, the Biblical law of
gleaning was in effect. It was an
agricultural society and each farmer was
commanded to save the corners of the fields
so that poor people could glean the leftover
crops. This was the social safety net of
ancient biblical society. When Ruth arrived
in Israel, she was immediately invited to
glean in the fields.
The story of Ruth is a foundational text
for us. She became the great great
grandmother of our greatest King, David. This
immigration story is just one powerful
narrative about immigration in our tradition.
The story of our people wandering in the
desert seeking the promised land resonates
deeply with us as does the story of many of
our own more recent ancestors who made the
brave decision to find a new life in this
country. Immigration is an issue that speaks
to the heart of the Jewish community and also
happens to be a prime issue in the news today.
There is an immigration crisis in our
country today, one that you can read about
every day in the newspaper. In the past
decade more than 3,000 men, women and
children have lost their lives trying to
cross the Mexican border into the United
States. These people were desperately seeking
economic opportunity or re-unification with
loved ones. Tens of thousands of
un-documented workers staff the agricultural,
hospitality, domestic services and other
low-wage industries; workers that play a
crucial role in our economy, typically taking
jobs that no one else wants. Urban studies
have shown that bringing immigrant
populations into troubled neighborhoods can
have a positive effect on the level of hope,
initiative and motivation in the neighborhood.
Yet it has also been documented that this
large pool of willing workers exerts a
downward tug on the bottom end of the wage
scale. It is easier for low-wage legal
workers to be exploited when there are
workers, unprotected by labor laws and
workers' rights, willing to take the work.
There are also other legitimate concerns
about immigration including security issues,
the ability of this society to assimilate new
immigrants into our civic processes, and the
question of how to handle people who broke
the law to get here.
This evening, I'd like to briefly take a
look at some Jewish values that can inform
this discussion on immigration. Looking at
Jewish values doesn't give us the answers but
it gives us a language for discussing the
issues. I hope this is a conversation that
will continue in the weeks to come.
The Torah says 31 times that we need to
remember the stranger, for we were once
strangers in the land of Mitzrayim. 31 times
that message is repeated so that we'll really
take it seriously. Our tradition also
includes as key values:
pidyon shevuyim, redeeming the captive
hachnasat orchim, welcoming
In Deuteronomy 23:16, the Torah says "you
shall not turn over to his master a slave who
seeks refuge with you..."
On the other hand, there is a medieval
Jewish principle of harem hayishuv which
allows communities to exclude migrants from
permanent settlement when they might have a
negative economic impact on the community.
Juggling these multiple values, Gideon
Aronoff, CEO of HIAS, a respected Jewish
voice on immigration policy, recommends
"Congress should pass legislation that
provides for border protection policies that
are consistent with American humanitarian
values; an opportunity for the hard-working
undocumented immigrants in our country to
regularize their status after fulfilling
reasonable criteria; reforms to our
family-based immigration system to more
quickly re-unite families; legal avenues for
workers and their families to enter the U.S.
to work in a safe and orderly manner; and
programs to enhance citizenship and encourage
the integration of newcomers in American
society." Other important Jewish voices add
that immigration reform must be coupled with
labor law reform so that all workers in the
lowest paying jobs are protected, including
making sure that there is a minimum, living wage.
There is no single Jewish solution to the
challenges of immigration today. But drawing
from the well of Jewish values, in resonance
with the story of our immigrant ancestor,
Ruth, I think our faith tradition has
something important to add to this national
For further study check out the
March-April 2007 issue of Sh'ma, a
publication of Jewish Family and Life.