The Pulse of Our Congregation August 2007

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

August 2007 Activities

Saturday Services in New Jersey

Message from Rabbi Julie Greenberg

Do Your Recieve Our Listserv Messages?

A Moving Experience, by John Mason

New High Holy Day Prayer Books

Crossing the Delaware for LHI Summer Rosh Hodesh

Report from Tikkun Olam Chair


Looking Ahead

Please note that we are holding a special Children's High Holy Day service on September 13th and September 22nd, 9AM at the Ethical Society at 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square. Leader of the Family Torah group, Jessi Roemer, will be conducting the services.

Get ready for Mitzvah Mania day, October 21st! Begin collecting personal hygiene items (trial size soaps, shampoos, combs, etc.) to pack kits for the homeless. Bring these items to our events at Ethical Society or contact Evy Simon, 215-561-7474.

Collecting books for Books Through Bars program. Bring books to our events at Ethical Society. Appropriate books are on Books Through Bars Website

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.

A Wedding Toast
©Roy Shenberg 2005

Here's to the bride! Here's to the groom !
May all your troubles be champagne bubbles
That float away to the moon!

May your life be as sweet as your wedding cake
May love be the frosting on top
May you always remember
Your wedding dance together
May the music never stop

Go on and dance like nobody's watching
Drink to life, but leave a little thirst
Taste the cake, baked for sharing
And love like you've never been hurt
Love, like you've never been hurt

Here's to the first dance
Of your married life
May it signal the bond
You'll share throughour life


May the cup you share be filled with joy
Laughter, longlife and love

Always remember
Take time to dance together
And honor the power above


Fifty, a poem
©John Mason, 2007

I made it to one half century
I wasn't sure I'd make it
What have I learned in all
This time?
People my age
Aren't supposed to be positive
I must believe
Nothing and no one
is any good
Some older people
Never grow up
They remain little kids
All their lives
I leave behind
That weigh me down
On my trip
through life
I'm not finished
I have more miles to travel.

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Do you want Judaism to be interwoven into your life? Synagogues keep Judaism alive. Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City helps Judaism evolve into its future.

Do you want to learn more about Jewish values and wisdom? Synagogues are places that transmit stories, ethics and spiritual practices from generation to generation. Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City's active community and vibrant Rabbi make life-long education a priority.

Do you want a community to embrace you and your family through the ups and downs of life, drawing on the deep well of Jewish tradition? Synagogues help people live by the sacred cycle of the year and of a life. Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City is a multi-generational circle of individuals wanting to care about you.

We invite you to make all this happen by joining Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City.

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

When I pray for my city and for the families and friends of all of those murder victims and for the safety of those who might become murder victims, I do not pray to a God who can intervene on their behalf. I do not believe in that kind of God. I never did. I never thought that there was an intervening entity in the universe that helped me pass math tests, kept my family healthy or helped my favorite teams prevail (the Phillies' 10,000th loss -- Gevault). Yet I do believe in God, and I do pray. I pray fervently about the violence in this city I love. I pray that I will do the right thing. I pray that I won't favor that pretty graduate student's life over that drug dealer. I pray that I won't get weary or come to accept these murders without outrage. I pray that as President of this tiny synagogue I will help find a way for our community to intervene here. For now I am praying. I welcome you to pray as well.


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

  • August 2007 Activities
  • August 1 WEDNESDAY
    Council Meeting
    Bobbi Cohen's Home
    7:00 PM

    August 4 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Services
    10:00 AM
    Call 215.629.1995

    August 12 SUNDAY
    Rosh Hodesh
    Susan Berger's House
    2:00 PM

    August 26 SUNDAY
    One Book-One Congregation
    Joanne's House
    11:00 AM
    Rabbi Julie facilitates a conversation about Spiritual Community: The Power to Restore Hope, Commitment And Joy by David A. Teutsch

    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 Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir activities for the upcoming two months.
  • Saturday Services in New Jersey
  • Myrna Schlanger hosted our Saturday morning services at her lovely home in New Jersey. Sol Volk led services for the minyan. An additional highlight, besides prayer and good food, was feeding the ducks at a pond behind Myna's home. This has become an annual event.

    View our calendar for upcoming Services
  • Message from Rabbi Julie Greenberg
  • Dear Chevre,

    As we come to the end of the year 5767 and move into the New Year of 5768, it's time once again to do some soul searching about ourselves, individually and collectively. Our tradition provides an incredible framework of support for entering the New Year with clarity and consciousness. These weeks leading up to Rosh HaShana are a time for Heshbon haNefesh, an accounting of the soul, a time for deep self-reflection about goals, challenges, blessings and also about the things that are done in your name, for instance by your government.

    Some themes for this period of time are the concepts of mercy and forgivingness. Hassidic Judaism talks about the King who travels through the countryside at this time of year to make the point that God is afoot in the world; can we wake up to compassion for ourselves and for each other? Can we move past shame and blame into righteous action? Teshuvah is the Jewish process of returning to what we know is right.

    What is the best way for you to take stock of where you are in your life journey? Would it be helpful to keep a journal for a few weeks, delving into these topics? Would it be helpful to schedule time with a friend to review the past year of your lives, taking turns talking and listening? Would it be helpful to do some inspirational reading? To set aside 15 minutes a day for meditation leading up to Rosh HaShana?

    f you'd like to make an appointment just to check in with your Rabbi as we enter the New Year, please call or e-mail me. These appointments are open to members only, first come, first served, location and date to be announced.

    I hope to see each and every one of you soon as we prepare together for the year 5768.

    Love and Blessings,
    Rabbi Julie

  • Do Your Recieve Our Listserv Messages?
  • In addition to this e-newsletter, Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City has a very active communication tool in our listserv. Here's how it works:

    Everyone who subscribes to the listserv can post items of interest such as synagogue news, Jewish and/or community events, messages of personal interest (buying or selling items, news about people we know, etc.). All messages are gathered at midnight daily and forwarded as one e-mail message to our list of subscribers.

    Our subscribers receive listserv e-mail messages 4-5 times per week in an easy-to-read text format. If you'd like to subscribe to our listserv, please send an email to Sharon Cooper at, including your first and last names and the e-mail address you'd like to use to receive the listserv messages. If you already receive out listserv messages you don't need to do anything.

    The listserv is a great way for all of us to keep in touch on a very timely basis!

    Thank you.

  • A Moving Experience, by John Mason
  • On Friday, June 29, I made settlement on my new house-MY OWN NEW HOUSE - on Cantrell Street, between Snyder and Passyunk, in South Philadelphia. The Leyv Ha-Ir community helped me settle in.

    On Thursday July 5, I held a housewarming party combined with putting up the mezzuzah in the front doorpost. As gifts they brought food, glassware, and lamps for the living room. I introduced the gang to Terri Falbo, my friend and real estate agent who urged me to take this step. I thank everybody for helping me in this time.

    Moving Day
    A Poem by John Mason

    What to keep
    What to throw away
    I ask myself
    As I pack my things
    To move
    To someplace
    For me
    A good friend
    Who I don't see anymore
    Gave me this
    A memory
    I put my hands on
    And these things I got
    For some reason
    I don't recall
    What do I do with them?
    All that I'll keep
    I put in the box
    And take with me
    With the help of friends
    I didn't know
    I had.

  • New High Holy Day Prayer Books
  • After having so many people from our greater Philadelphia community attend our High Holy Day services last year, we've decided to purchase 25 additional High Holy Day Mahzors (prayer books). This is an opportunity to honor or memorialize a loved one or a blessed event. If you would like to have a personalized bookplate placed in a Mahzor, please send a contribution of $36 or more, payable to Leyv Ha-Ir, to:

    Evy Simon
    Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir
    P.O. Box 15836
    Philadelphia, PA 19103

    Be sure to include the following information:

    In Honor of: _________________________
    (or) In Memory of: _________________________________
    From: ______________________________

    Please consider this mitzvah now for the High Holy Day season

  • Crossing the Delaware for LHI Summer Rosh Hodesh
  • LHI's summer Rosh Hodesh at Susan Berger's in Cherry Hill will be on Sunday, August 12th. As this always involves the outdoors, let's pray for great weather!

    TOPIC: The Mikveh
    TIME: 2:00 PM

    A half-hour of water exercise given by the hostess will be included, (body and mind spirituality!!!), after the indoor Program. Bathing clothing and water "noodles" are highly suggested in order to participate.

    There will be a pot-luck out-door picnic/bar-b-cue at the pool after all of the above. Please RSVP for reservations as space is limited due to Condo rules about the availability of pool passes; arranging your own transportation to 1025 Society Hill will also be necessary.

    This event is for LHI female members only; you can connect with Susan at 856-751-5574 or

  • Report from Tikkun Olam Chair
  • I'm happy to report about our first Tikkun Olam Committee meeting of the year. It was truly amazing and inspiring! We had a record number of attendees (a minyan), including several new members. The enthusiastic brainstorming session produced a full agenda of social action programs and projects, which are described below. We expect that these Tikkun Olam activities will engage not only our own congregants, but also potential congregants in the outside community.

    First, The Books Through Bars (BTB) project is moving full speed ahead. For the second year in a row, LHI members not only donated books to prisoners (especially dictionaries), but also helped to pack them for mailing at BTB's office in West Philadelphia. This has been so successful, we plan to request books and pack them on a regular basis. In addition, we've expanded our book donation efforts to Graterford Prison. Joan Goldberg is coordinating this project to collect Jewish-oriented books for Jewish inmates.

    Second, on October 21st at the Ethical Society, we will collect and assemble materials for hospitality kits that will be given to the homeless. At services and in our newsletter, we will be asking you to donate materials. We're also hopeful that the new committee members who volunteered to get additional materials from their contacts will be successful.

    Third, florescent light bulbs, which are energy efficient and less harmful to the environment, will continue to be on sale for members of the Leyv Ha-Ir community. The profits from these sales will be used to purchase solar cooking ovens for Darfur women in refugee camps. We plan to publicize these sales at services and in our newsletter. Committee members also hope to sell the bulbs at neighborhood events.

    Fourth, one of our best-known events is the King/Heschel Shabbat Service, which will commemorate the birth of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the yahrzeit of Dr. Abraham Joshua Heschel. On January 21st, 2008, our King/Heschel service will feature Enid Adler, Esq., a Leyv Ha-Ir member and a passionate advocate for International Justice and Human Rights.

    Finally, on July 31st, LHI members will prepare food packages for the needy at the Stiffel Senior Center in South Philadelphia. This is part of the Mitzvah Food Pantry, a larger effort coordinated by Jewish Federation. For more information and to register, call 215-832-0531. Several committee members were interested in using this project as a jumping off point to tap into South Philadelphia's rich Jewish history. I will explore the availability of the Center on weekday evenings or Sundays for possible Tikkun Olam programs.

    Margie Wiener,
    Tikkun Olam Chair

    :: 215-629-1995