The Pulse of Our Congregation January 2008

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

January 2008 Activities

Rabbi's Office Hours -- January 13

Rabbi's Message: Rabbi Julie Greenberg

Biblical Poetry Discussion

Special MLK Birthday Shabbat Service

Share Your Broken Dishes~ Help us Build an Ark

Don't Miss Out on our Annual Retreat!

Latkes of Fun at Leyv Ha-Ir Hannukkah Party


Looking Ahead

Our in-house poet, Joel Netsky, will be discussing Biblical Poetry. Sunday, January 13, 11 AM.

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.

Kiwi The Cat
c 2007 Roy Shenberg- (previously owned by Kiwi)

We lost our special friend Kiwi
To the home of the Great Cat Spirit
Kiwi's gentle purr was a gift to us
And now, I'm afraid, we can't hear it

Except, perhaps, on sunkissed days
When there's a gentle summer breeze
We'll hear his meow
'Neathe our white ash bough
And our hearts will be at ease

We'll walk, again, the paths with him
And the flowers will shine like jewels
Where loved pets travel in the great pet beyond
Unencumbered by human's rules

Great Cat Spirit : please pet Kiwi
He's one glorious, wonderful feline
Kiwi the cat
Twice as sweet as the fruit
And a thousand times more divine

Goodbye Kiwi love, our muse,
We'll sure miss you

Newsletter Design and eMail Marketing:

Ilene Hass
Creative Solutions
for Business Marketing

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

I visualize our community in terms of concentric circles. The innermost circle holding the surviving members of the Bat Mitzvah group from our early years along with others who are our founders. They became our first sustainers. Around them stand our current leaders. We are a small group of heavy lifters who make sure the synagogue keeps going. Around them stand council members, committee chairs and former leaders. Around them stand the committee members and reliable volunteers who fill out our membership. The next circle is filled with participants including our family torah group. Somewhere in there is the group of folks who attend regularly and donate money. Most of the people who receive this newsletter fit in that group. There are over five hundred people in that category right now. The next circle has about four hundred additional folks. They represent the people we know who have ever visited us and told us their names. I like to picture this large group circling around our two Torahs with our Rabbi, our choir leader and our occasional musicians in a dance celebrating this special brand of Judaism we call Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City.

If this synagogue is to continue holding up these Torahs, we need you to move closer to the middle. It is no secret that our core groups are aging. We are getting tired. We have taken our turn holding up this welcoming expression of Judaism. In that spirit. I will identify some skills which will serve our community in the future. If you have these skills, or others I've missed, I'd like you to step to the middle and commit to this group. If you would like to develop these skills, please join us.

Non-Profit Leadership: I won't do this forever. If you have a mind for strategic planning and volunteer coordination, please let us know.

Marketing: As I stated above, we have over 900 contacts, 500 of whom have attended multiple services or donated money to us. If you have the skills which would help us reach these people and increase their level of engagement in our community, please step up.

Development: We have been deficit budgeting for several years now. Although we have done some fundraising and grant writing, we are clearly amateurs. Over the next couple of years we will have to develop funding streams that will produce over $20,000 in additional revenues each year. If you have those skills, step to the middle.

Event Planning: From the perspective of a synagogue leader, the High Holy Days are like planning five weddings in ten days. It is a monumental task which requires coordination of dozens of volunteers and professional staff. Our current planners are excellent, it is not fair to ask them to do this forever.

Public Relations: Our mission and our programming is astounding for a community of our size. We get occasional media exposure, but not enough. We have been in existence for seventeen years, and I believe that we have not yet saturated the center city market. By this I mean that many center city residents who would be interested in our synagogue do not yet know we exist. If you have public relations skills, please step up.

Web Site creation and maintenance: We pride ourselves in our web site's appearance and message. We need volunteers to maintain and develop it.

Lay ritual leadership: Our Rabbi is a part-time spiritual leader. Like many synagogues, our ritual leadership depends on volunteers to lead services. We also depend on people to attend services. If you are interested in developing your skills at spiritual leadership, please let me know.

It takes much heavy lifting to keep a synagogue going. We live in a time and culture that emphasizes individuality at the expense of the collective. This synagogue is a worthy collective, if you are willing to share some of the effort in maintaining and developing it. Being President of this synagogue is one of the most difficult and annoying tasks I have ever undertaken. I would not trade it. Please join us next year as we make this synagogue better.

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

  • January 2008 Activities
  • January 2 WEDNESDAY
    Council Meeting
    Ethical Society
    7:00 PM

    January 5 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Morning Service
    Ethical Society
    10:00 AM
    Lay Led

    January 6 SUNDAY
    Choir Rehearsal
    Member's Home
    6:00 PM (new time)
    Call Beverly

    January 13 SUNDAY
    Family Torah Group
    10:00 AM

    January 13 SUNDAY
    "Biblical Poetry"
    presented by Joel Netsky
    11:00 AM - $5 brunch
    Contact Joan 215 561-5193

    January 18 FRIDAY
    Kabbalat Shabbat/Tu B'shevat/MLK Service
    Ethical Society
    7:30 PM

    January 19 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Morning Service
    Ethical Society
    10:00 AM
    Lay Led

    January 26 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Morning Service
    10:00 AM
    Lay Led

    January 27 SUNDAY
    Choir Rehearsal
    Member's Home
    6:00 PM
    Contact Beverly

    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.
  • Rabbi's Office Hours -- January 13
  • I welcome Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City members to make an appointment with me for Sunday, January 13 if you'd like some one-on-one time. This could be a time to let me get to know you better or to share a concern or to learn a Jewish skill. Just call or e-mail and I'll respond with a time and details about where we can meet.

    I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

    Rabbi Julie

    eMail Rabbi Julie for an appointment January 13
  • Rabbi's Message: Rabbi Julie Greenberg
  • Dear Chevre,

    I wonder if any of you heard Rodger Kamenetz speak at the Free Library on Dec. 13 or heard him interviewed the same week on NPR? Kamenetz's recent work is about the importance of dreams. His new book is called The History of Last Night's Dream. Jewish tradition paid attention to dreams as we know from the story of Jacob's dream of the ladder with angels going up and down and Joseph's dreams and skill at dream interpretation. The Talmud says, "An unexamined dream is like an unopened letter."

    (Kamenetz is well known for his book The Jew and the Lotus, which is about the Dalai Lama interviewing leading members of the Jewish community for advice on how to keep his religion alive in the face of geographic dispersal and oppression. Kamenetz documented how Tibetan Buddhists, facing enormous pressure from the Chinese, turned to our people for wisdom on spiritual survival.)

    I have been a student of dreams for many years. I was fortunate to inherit an extraordinary collection of books about the meaning of dreams bequeathed to me by congregant Susan Singer before she died. Some friends and I formed a Dream Group a few years ago, hired a Jungian analyst to meet with us on a regular basis and have been studying how dreams can be guides into Wholeness. Dreams encourage us to discover what we don't yet know.

    Which is a perfect segue into an area where we can dream big and we don't yet know what will unfold. We have the opportunity this year to design an innovative Jewish education program for young people, possibly a Hebrew school without walls, in which children and families can experience living Judaism. Stay posted for ways to be involved in this visioning process. We need all the dreamers we can get.

    With blessings for the secular New Year,
    Rabbi Julie

  • Biblical Poetry Discussion
  • Please join us! Our very own in-house poet, Joel Netsky, will discuss "Biblical Poetry"

    Sunday, January 13, 11 AM
    at Joan Goldberg's Apartment: 1901 Kennedy Blvd, #2226

    RSVP: 215 561 5193

    $5.00 cost for a wonderful brunch

  • Special MLK Birthday Shabbat Service
  • Mark your Calendars for a Special Event!

    In observance of Martin Luther King's Birthday Leyv Ha-Ir is holding a special Shabbat service.

    Friday, January 18, 7:30 PM

    Masterman High School's Gospel Choir will sing along with the Leyv Ha-Ir Choir

    Bring family & friends

    Held at the Ethical Society

  • Share Your Broken Dishes~ Help us Build an Ark
  • We have had an extraordinary offer from a talented artist, Beryl Kravitz, who has volunteered to create a beautiful mosaic ark to house our Torah. The artist envisions a way to involve all congregants in this creation. She is inviting us to bring fragments of pottery, such as broken dishes or any other special pottery that we'd be willing to share, to the service on Friday night, Jan. 18. We'll have a big collection box. Our donations will be integrated into the artwork. This is such an exciting, generous offer; I hope you'll participate in the project.

    Rabbi Julie

  • Don't Miss Out on our Annual Retreat!
  • February 1, 2, 3
    at Pendle Hill Retreat Center in Wallingford, PA
    From Friday Evening to Sunday Noon
    Services with Rabbi
    Some music with Cantor Jack Kessler
    Delicious Meals and a Great Program
    Cost for the Weekend - $260
    Cost for Saturday only - $60

    You must register by January 8
    Call Beverly 215-557-3777 or Evy 215-561-7474 for more details

  • Latkes of Fun at Leyv Ha-Ir Hannukkah Party
  • Forty people, together with 5 families, attended our annual Hanukkah party on December 8th, held at the William Penn House. There was music, games for the children and many, many latkes.

    Our photo shows Rabbi Julie with Jessi Roemer, Family Torah Leader & Choir Director.

    :: 215-629-1995