The Pulse of Our Congregation March 2008

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

March 2008 Activities

Reel Jews: A Hebrew Lesson (documentary) - March 17, 2008

Rabbi's Message: Rabbi Julie Greenberg

LHI Annual Retreat: February 1, 2, 3 2008

Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation Established

Yogi Featured at Leyv Ha-Ir Retreat!

April 4 Shabbat Dinner - All are Welcome

Learn Beauty Secrets at Chai Tea


Looking Ahead

April 20th - Leyv Ha-Ir 2nd Night Community Seder - 6 PM, The Philadelphian.

May 18 - Israel Independence Day, 12-5 PM, The Parkway

June 1 - Leyv Ha-Ir Annual Meeting, 11 AM, place TBA

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.

An Orthodox Funeral - Germany 1950
by Maria Mackey 1992

Father eagles
Who once had flown in storms
Stood in powerless
Penguin clumps of awe

Of the women eagles
Who did not let go
Without heaven-toward reproach
For the wind storms
That had destroyed all

Just a little background on the poem: it was originally written, and is based, on cameo memories of my little brother's accidental death during a wind storm and then a snapshot memory of the funeral in post-war Germany.

Newsletter Design and eMail Marketing:

Ilene Hass
Creative Solutions
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Dear Friends and Members of Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City,

This past month we enjoyed a lovely weekend retreat at Pendle Hill Retreat Center. Much thanks to our committee. We arrived early Friday evening for dinner. We celebrated Shabbos together. It was all very sweet. Sunday after lunch we left for home. This was a well planned event with workshops and worship.

This retreat is an annual event and it really characterizes what is special about Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City. This is a group that is committed to a collective spiritual journey. Don't misunderstand me. There are no two identical journeys in this community. Everyone is trying to make her own sense of being Jewish in America in 2008. I think we do a nice job of it.

You, reading this e-newsletter, I think you would have liked this retreat too. I think you would have felt embraced for who you are. It may have taken some getting used to, but I think you would like this group. Please consider moving forward with us. This spring, in addition to our Shabbos worship, we will celebrate Purim, have a community seder, and celebrate Shavuos. Our Family Torah Group will continue to meet on a monthly basis. Please stop by. We'd love to see you.

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

  • March 2008 Activities
  • March 1 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Morning Service
    Ethical Society
    10:00 AM
    Lay Led

    March 5 WEDNESDAY
    Council Meeting
    Ethical Society
    7:00 PM

    March 9 SUNDAY
    Family Torah Group
    Call 215-629-1995

    March 15 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Morning Service
    Ethical Society
    10:00 AM
    Lay Led

    March 16 SUNDAY
    Choir Rehearsal
    6:30 PM
    Call Beverly, 215-557-3777

    March 17 MONDAY
    "Reel Jews" Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival
    Call Joan, 215-561-5193

    March 21 FRIDAY
    Kabbalat Shabbat & PURIMSPEIL
    7:30 PM
    Ethical Society

    March 22 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Morning Service
    10:00 AM
    Lay Led

    March 22 SATURDAY
    Spirituality Group
    Member Home
    3:15 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 Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir activities for the upcoming two months.
  • Reel Jews: A Hebrew Lesson (documentary) - March 17, 2008
  • This year is the 60th anniversary of the founding of modern Israel. The Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival is commemorating this event with an award winning film: A Hebrew Lesson. This is a story of life in an ulpan where personal stories blend with the complexities of Israeli reality. It won the Best Documentary Award in Israel. Anyone who has had the experience of learning a foreign language or anyone who is interested in learning what it is like to be an oleh hadash (new immigrant) would enjoy this sometimes comic, sometimes poignant film.

    This film will be shown Monday, March 17th at 7:00. at the Gershman Y. The director is scheduled to speak after the performance. Tickets are $10 each. Students and seniors: $7.00. WHYY members 2 for 1 admission. This amount to $5.00 per person. Tickets can be bought at the door or in advance. Special price tickets must be bought in person since they require an ID.

    So far there are 5 people going. An optional veggie dinner is planned before the show. Call Joan (215-561-5193) if you are interested in joining us, either for the dinner or for the film or for both.

  • Rabbi's Message: Rabbi Julie Greenberg
  • If you take part in a Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City service, sooner or later you might have the experience of being in a chevruta, or dyad. Chavurah comes from the word chaver, meaning friend. Chaver is also the root of the word Chavurah, the living-room size gatherings of Jewish people that sprung up all across the country in the 1980s and still flourish today. Judaism teaches that when two people encounter each other, the presence of God is felt.

    Whenever I organize chevruta,groups as part of a service, I get feedback from some people saying how miserable this made them and from other people saying it was the most meaningful part of the service. There definitely are strong feelings about meeting in two-somes to study, discuss, share. If you hate being in a dyad, then maybe it just isn't for you. I try to offer alternatives such as reading more in-depth in the siddur (prayerbook) or taking some moments for meditation.

    But in case, you are someone who could appreciate chevruta, with some extra support, I offer the following to you: The experience of being in chevruta, can be a spiritual opportunity. Can you use whatever resistance comes up for you as a learning opportunity? As an invitation to grow into your higher self?

    Some people tell me they can't stand chevruta, because they feel intimidated by their partners, maybe because the partner has high intelligence or a thorough Jewish background, or whatever. This is a chance to value yourself and hold onto yourself, even in the face of others who seem more able, more talented, more whatever it is you feel you lack.

    On the other hand, some people tell me they can't stand chevruta, because their partner isn't stimulating and intellectually challenging enough. This is a chance to cultivate patience, respect, tolerance in yourself.

    Chevrutah allows a time for making Jewish tradition your own through dialogue. In traditional Jewish settings, such as yeshiva, this is the primary learning model. Discovery through discussion with another person is a valued method of Jewish learning. Being in relationship with other seekers is a tried and true Jewish form of encountering God.

    Next time we engage in chevruta during a service, I'll be interested to hear your experience and feedback.

    All the best,
    Rabbi Julie

  • LHI Annual Retreat: February 1, 2, 3 2008
  • Leyv Ha-Ir held its eleventh retreat at Pendle Hill, a Quaker-run campus, in Wallingford, PA. This number does not reflect the two Shabbaton events held in Fairmount Park on alternate years.

    Fourteen of our members stayed for the weekend and five commuted for Saturday services, meals and activities. Judging from the evaluations, the weekend was a huge success. Roby Jacobs and Iris Newman led Friday Shabbat services, followed by Rabbi Julie, with the help of Cantor Jack Kessler, leading Saturday's service. Lots of singing, good conversations and recognition of Iris Cutler's very special birthday, accompanied by a huge cake and champagne.

  • Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation Established
  • The Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation has been established to perpetuate the memory and legacy of the six million Jewish Martyrs, to provide educational programs for children, visitors, and future generations, and to use the Holocaust to teach tolerance and understanding to all.

    The Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation is dedicated to preserving the truth and raising awareness about the Holocaust and is supporting ongoing efforts to enhance the one-quarter acre of property on which the monument sits into a more significant Holocaust remembrance site.

    The Foundation, in partnership with the Fairmount Park Commission, is looking to create a destination location where visitors and future generations can be educated on the lessons of the Holocaust, offer a place for reflection,confront hatred, and promote human dignity.

    The Philadelphia Holocaust Remembrance Foundation can be contacted at 2100 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103, 215-832-0515

    Visit the Holocaust Remeberance Foundation Web Site
  • Yogi Featured at Leyv Ha-Ir Retreat!
  • Sol Volk, our resident Yogi, led an early morning yoga session at the Retreat. He is pictured here as part of an article in the January 2008 edition of "Advance for Directors in Rehabilitation".

  • April 4 Shabbat Dinner - All are Welcome
  • Some of us have memories of Sabbath dinners with lots of family and friends, and what a good time we had. In April, we're going to have a big potluck Shabbat dinner with Rabbi Julie, singing, and stories, and you're invited. Come to the Community Room of the William Penn House, 1919 Chestnut Street, on Friday, April 4th, 6:30 PM. Everyone is welcome, with or without a Jewish background. We welcome you to schmooze, nosh, learn and have a fun Shabbat with friends.

    The meal will be veggie/dairy. Some suggestions about what you might bring (enough for 6-8 people): dips and crackers, salads, quiche, kugel, blintzes, cut-up fruits and vegetables, fish filets, fish salads, cooked vegetable dishes, cakes, cookies, fruit desserts, ice cream, bottles of wine, fruit or vegetable juices...

    There will be no charge, but we ask that you let us know how many will be coming and what you are bringing. Please call 215-629-1995 or send an email to We won't be having a service, but there will be traditional blessings.

  • Learn Beauty Secrets at Chai Tea
  • -Attention Leyv Ha-Ir Women and All Who Are Interested-

    You Are Cordially Invited to Participate in a CHAI*-TEA and To Experience The Delightful and Fun SECRETS OF NATURAL BEAUTY Presented by Consultant and National Speaker SUSAN BUDENSTEIN Author of Look Good, Feel Great, Fast!

    You'll Learn:
    Natural Facelifts
    How To Give Yourself a SPA Massage
    Aromatherapy From Your Kitchen
    Move Gracefully At Any Age
    The Value of Touch
    Yoga At Your Desk
    Fast Energy, Good Snacks
    Quiet Your Mind, Any Time, Any Place

    plus + plus + plus +

    Wear a fancy, special, or fun hat and win a prize!

    Location: 1901 JFK Boulevard/#2818

    You'll have a great tea-time (with fancy noshes, of course!) And you'll learn so much about how to be Jewishly Beautiful!

    The cost? Just *18.00 (because this *chai is a tax-deductible donation to Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir)

    *Mail your $18.00 check to: Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir/PO Box 15836/Philadelphia, PA 19103 by Wednesday March 26, 2008

    "Secrets of Natural Beauty showed everyone in our group how easy it is to preserve and enhance our beauty and vitality. We were transformed...We learned how to keep ourselves more beautiful and vital..." Sheila Marguson, Women's Business Retreat, Arlington, VA

    Questions? Call Myrna at 610-896-7776

    :: 215-629-1995