The Pulse of Our Congregation June 2008

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

June 2008 Activities

Try It - You'll Like It! Special Saturday Morning Services

Rabbi's Message: Rabbi Julie Greenberg

Kehillah Center City Phone-a-thon

Race for the Cure: Team Heart of the City

Congregant Profile: Bobbi Cohen

New Feature: Ways to Save Money


Looking Ahead

July 5th, 10 AM
Leyv Ha-Ir's Annual Shabbat Morning Service in New Jersey
Held at the lovely home of Myrna Schlanger and such a treat to see the many ducks that abound on her property - try to make it. Her number is 856-795-6956.

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.

Newsletter Design and eMail Marketing:

Ilene Hass
Creative Solutions
for Business Marketing

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

Among the rites which mark the change from spring to summer in synagogue life are Shavuot, the holiday which marks revelation at Sinai, and the Annual Meeting. Today we had our annual meeting. I would like to thank the nominating committee for nominating me and the congregation for electing me for an extension of my term as president.

Our biggest initiative this year is an expansion of our membership outreach. If you are interested in deepening your relationship with our congregation, we would like to talk to you. Please e-mail me at and one of our members will make contact with you and answer any questions you have about us.

By the way, Shavuot is next Monday evening. Please stop by.

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

The Executive Board of Leyv Ha-Ir Council, Iris Newman, Evy Simon, Michael Meketon & Rabbi Julie Greenberg, honoring outgoing Vice President, Bobbi Cohen (third from left).

  • June 2008 Activities
  • June 1 SUNDAY
    Leyv Ha-Ir Annual Meeting
    Kennedy House Community Room
    1901 JFK Blvd
    Brunch served

    June 1 SUNDAY
    Choir Rehearsal

    June 7 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Morning Service
    Ethical Society
    10:00 AM
    Lay Led

    June 9 MONDAY
    Shavuot Service
    Ethical Society
    7:30 PM

    June 21 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Morning Service
    Ethical Society
    10:00 AM
    Lay Led

    June 25 WEDNESDAY
    Spirituality Group
    Joan Goldberg

    June 28 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Morning Service
    Home of Iris, 215.561.0228
    10:00 AM
    Lay Led

    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.
  • Try It - You'll Like It! Special Saturday Morning Services
  • Many readers of this Newsletter have not attended one of our "lay-led" Shabbat morning services. Are you one? For the month of June, we extend a special invitation to newcomers to come to one of these services: June 7 & 21 at the Ethical Society and June 28 at one of our homes. We will explain the parts of the service and the meanings of particular prayers, and answer questions.

    If you're curious, here's what we're about: Every month, we have three Shabbat morning services that are led by congregants, taking turns. The five of us all have our own styles, but we all run a participatory service in both Hebrew and English. Explanations of the prayers are offered as needed. We spend about half an hour discussing, sometimes heatedly, the Torah portion of the week. After the service, we have a pleasant veggie/dairy potluck lunch, and sit around and shmooze. Services start at 10 AM and are usually over a little after noon.

    EVERYONE is welcome. You don't have to know Hebrew, you don't have to be a member of the congregation, and you don't have to have had a Bar/Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Try it - you'll like it!

  • Rabbi's Message: Rabbi Julie Greenberg
  • Dear Chevre,

    This is the season, between Passover and Shavuot, when it is traditional to study the section of Mishna called Pirke Avot, Wisdom of the Ancestors. I’d like to share with you the words of Hillel from this text, pointing us toward what is important.

    More flesh, more worms.
    More things, more anxiety.
    More lovers, more illusion.
    More maids, more exploitation.
    More servants, more robbery.


    More Torah, more Life.
    More learning, more wisdom.
    More counsel, more insight.
    More charity, more peace.

    II. 8 Translated by Rabbi Rami Shapiro

    The journey of this season is to move from exhilaration about our freedom from slavery to the joy of freedom to be our best human selves. We escaped from the terrors of Egypt and made our way to Mount Sinai where, eventually, we accepted the responsibility of Torah’s call to be a holy people.

    Of course it is easy to talk about being our best human selves, being a holy people. It’s much harder to walk that path in real life. And that’s where congregational life can help.

    I just returned from B’not Esh, a Jewish feminist gathering that has met for five days every Memorial Day weekend for 27 years. I have been there most of those years. During that time I’ve experienced ecstasy, boredom, revelation, frustration, ambivalence, insight….the whole range of feeling. Each time I’ve questioned whether to continue, I’ve practiced a spiritual path of commitment. What does it mean to stay in? to belong? To commit? From past experiences in groups and in relationships, I know what it means to leave, to break up. But I’ve been curious about what happens after you don’t leave.

    I’m excited about walking with you fellow Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City travelers on our path of spiritual commitment: who knows what we will discover by staying in relationship with one another, by staying in relationship with God?

    We’ll celebrate the journey together at Shavuot on Monday night, June 9. I’m looking forward to seeing you there.

    All the best,
    Rabbi Julie

  • Kehillah Center City Phone-a-thon
  • June 11, 2008
    6 - 8 p.m.
    2100 Arch Street

    Join the Center City Kehillah as we raise money to support our Jewish community. Dinner will be served.

    If you have questions or to RSVP, please contact Susan Stanek.

  • Race for the Cure: Team Heart of the City
  • On Mother's Day, May 11, 2008, our LHI team joined with 40,000 others in walking 5K for a breast cancer cure. Walkers were Sandy Brown, Susan Berger, Evy Simon, Barbara Pomerantz and daughter, and friend Joanne Nutter and daughter, Jeannie. We may not have been the largest team, but were huge in spirit and fun...and fund-raising!

    Totals are not in, but it appears that we have met our goal of $2,000. and possibly exceeded it. Many heartfelt thanks to those of you who supported us with your wishes and pledges. Will give your our final totals next month.

    --Karen Zeitz

    Some members of our team celebrating at Little Pete's after the race. Toasting our team spirit with Samosas and Bloody Marys are from left: Jeannie Nutter, Karen Zeitz, Evy Simon, Susan Berger, and Joanne Nutter.

  • Congregant Profile: Bobbi Cohen
  • Barbara "Bobbi" Cohen grew up in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia; "I lived in many different parts of the area," she recalls, "and I've lived in Center City now for about seven years. Four years ago I spent six months living in Shanghai (China). I was brought up as a Reform Jew, and went all through Hebrew school, was Bat Mitzvahed and confirmed, and went to Gratz Hebrew High School. So we were reform, and I was educated through the Reform movement. At home, we celebrated major holidays, but we didn't do much in the way of Shabbat celebration."

    Bobbi went to college, first at Penn State, then to Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science (now Philadelphia University) where she earned her Bachelor's Degree. She is a product manager for Ceridian Corporation, which provides different human resource programs to companies and other institutions; "I manage a website," she adds, "that helps employees with health, wellness, everyday issues, worklife balance, etc."

    What drew Bobbi to Reconstructionism? "A friend of mine, who's a member of the congregation, invited me to come. Knowing me, she thought I might like it. This was when Rayzel (Raphael) was still our rabbi." Bobbi continued to attend services and other functions, "and I found that I really liked it. It held more meaning for me than other synagogues I tried in the past several years prior to that." She is now finishing up her term as Vice-president of the congregation.

    --Interview by John Oliver Mason

  • New Feature: Ways to Save Money
  • With gas going for $4 a gallon, ways to save money are always desirable. Here are some tips:

    Have any tips? Send them to the Editor.

    :: 215-629-1995