The Pulse of Our Congregation July 2008

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

July 2008 Activities

Hat's Off (and On) to a LivelyTea Party

Rabbi's Message: Rabbi Julie Greenberg

GAM ZEY VA'AVOR (This too shall pass)
Roy Shenberg 2008

Annual Meeting Recognition

Ways to Save Money


Looking Ahead

August 24th SUNDAY, 11 AM
Leyv Ha-Ir's Annual One Book One Congregation
he book is "Outwitting History" , a true account by Aaron Lansky, of saving Yiddish literature at the end of the 20th century. Rabbi Julie read it, loved it and will be leading the discussion. The cost for a delicious brunch is $5. The place has yet to be determined. MARK YOUR CALENDAR!!!

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,

I hope you are having a great summer. At Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City, we move from our home at the Ethical Society Building to our members' homes for lay led services. There is joy, lingering over at someone's house on shabbat. It is for moments like these that I seek community in a synagogue.

If you are reading this letter, you have sought community at our synagogue at least once. What was it you were looking for? Are you willing to help create that synagogue?

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

  • July 2008 Activities
  • July 2 WEDNESDAY
    Council Meeting
    7:00 PM

    July 4 FRIDAY
    Independence Day

    July 5 SATURDAY
    Annual Shabbat Morning Service in New Jersey>
    Myrna Schlanger, 856-795-6956
    10 AM

    July 19 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Morning Service
    10:00 AM
    Lay Led

    Click here for a complete look at Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir activities for the upcoming two months.
  • Hat's Off (and On) to a LivelyTea Party
  • A "Chai Tea" party was held on April 6th. It was a fun afternoon and Susan Budenstein, a Leyv Ha-Ir member, and author of Look Good, Feel Great, Fast! led the presentation. Twelve women attended and were asked to wear a special or fun hat to receive a prize. Joan Goldberg graciously organized the event, held at Evy Simon's apartment. Our photo shows Joan Goldberg wearing her special hat with Susan Budenstein, our presenter.

  • Rabbi's Message: Rabbi Julie Greenberg
  • Rabbi Julie is away for awhile. In place of her usual message, we are reprinting a past sermon of hers. Read it and enjoy!

    COMING HOME: Rosh HaShana 5767
    Rabbi Julie Greenberg
    Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City

    Responding to the call of the imaginary shofar, each one of us has shown up, here, right on schedule to be part of these sacred rites.

    In a world with bombings and terror, military rampages and sectarian violence, coming together in prayer is such a good thing. What a holy contrast to the strife of the world. The prophet called for a place of God for all people to pray. As we step into this place of worship to herald the New Year may that place of God be the whole earth and may our Jewish prayers fulfill our piece of that whole.

    Year after year I marvel at what draws us each here at this season. There is no coercion. No one has to be here. Expressing free will and free agency, the Jewish people and fellow travelers around the world, show up at this time. Is it the turning of the season that clues us in? The leaves begin to turn, summer has ended. Is it the start of a new school year (I think many of us continue to think along those academic calendar lines even long after we are students)?

    There probably are many different reasons that bring each one of us to this place at this time. But I think one thing that unites us is that most people here long for a spiritual home. You may long for a home because it would reflect the Jewish home you had as a child. Or you may long for a Jewish home because you never had one as a child. The idea of a spiritual home that links our deepest roots and highest aspirations and brings them together in community is so powerful.

    The concept of home is amazing. Home is a place where you belong. Where you are seen. Where you are sheltered, comfortable and cared for. Where you are counted on. In the ideal home, the big people get it right and the children are safe and protected. Home is a place of love, nourishment, nurturance.

    That's the idealized concept of home. We all know that the reality, even in the most wonderful homes, is very different. The reality is that there are tensions between people, there are major life stressors that have to do with work and loss and transitions. In some homes there is fighting or even hurting, both emotional and physical. In real life, home is never a static picture. It is a moving picture, an endless video of efforts to love, efforts to repair, efforts to build. Fragile real people make home, through all the ups and downs of life, for better or worse.

    But when we show up at the synagogue door, there is a strong desire to be home. A longing. A hunger for that place of peace and acceptance that many of us carry with us as a vision.

    This is a beautiful vision, a necessary vision, a potentially transformative vision, and we see its power in that here we all are, ready to honor our New Year by coming home to this place of worship. Our prophet Isaiah also held out the vision, "My House shall be a place of prayer for all people."

    The problem is that each one of us has a unique experience of what it means to be home. Home is a universal value but our particular experience of home is not universal. For one person it might mean quiet, respectful conversation with long reflective silences. For another person home is lively discussion at a high decibel level with constant interrupting and shrieking. For one person appreciation is expected and for the next it would be embarrassing to be publicly appreciated. For one person the Hebrew language provides a sense of comfort and tradition, for the next person Hebrew is alienating and discouraging

    We each carry our own home history within us. The patterns of our previous home history are deeply internalized. If you are programmed internally from your home experience to be left out, you'll probably find places where you'll be left out again and again and this isn't all bad. You are likely to repeat that pattern for two reasons. Number one, this is what feels normal because you're used to it. But number two, this is where your most liberating work can be done because if you work through this very stuck place you'll be free. We keep returning in life to our most stuck places, over and over again because these places have the most potential to free us if we can work them through.

    The most intense spiritual work any of us can do is to learn to thrive in intimate relationship. God shows up in the form of your mate, or your committee members or your annoying next door neighbor. God is present in relationship. When relationship is trying for you, this is a message, a gift from God, that this is the place for you to learn and grown. The better we learn to navigate through intimacy, holding on to Self while connecting to other Selves, the more we manifest that sacred web of inter-connectedness that is godly.

    Our tradition welcomes the stranger. This means to welcome what is strange to you. The people whom we tend to cut off from or dismiss are the very people our tradition chooses to embrace. My House shall be a place of prayer for all people, says Isaiah (56:7). Not just those who agree with me. Not just those who look like me or with whom I am most comfortable. Not just those who share my level of mental health, or IQ or physical ability, or brand of Judaism, or experience of home.

    I have a dear friend Felice who is very involved in her synagogue in another state. Recently she poured out her frustrations to me: the lesbian havurah doesn't understand progressive Judaism; the mainstream community doesn't understand lesbians; the progressive Jewish community doesn't understand children. None of them are politically active enough. Finally we just had a good laugh realizing that Felice could sit on a rock all by herself and have a complete union of lesbian, progressive, child-friendly, politically active Judaism but she would be all by herself.

    Here is a great suggestion for when we bump up against what is strange to us: Curiosity

    We need to learn to see home through each other's eyes. A fantastic place to start is right here in intimate Jewish community. You know the teaching, the best way to have a good friend is to be a good friend. The best way to have a wonderful home is to make a wonderful home for others. Learn what makes someone else feel comfortable in this home. Make this home work for others.

    But we don't want to stop here. We need to learn how to make home for our city, for our country, for our planet.

    Expanding this out into the world, we have the opportunity to realize the full manifestation of HaMakom, the name for God that means The Place.

    In this world, the value of being able to build A community, just one community is huge. It's a micro laboratory of what needs to happen again and again all over the world until we truly live in a world that is a place of prayer for all people.

    Welcome to the New Year, 5767. Shana Tovah!

    Read more of Rabbi Julie's sermons!
  • GAM ZEY VA'AVOR (This too shall pass)
    Roy Shenberg 2008
  • When I feel that I can't handle
    The hand that's dealt to me
    That I'll never climb the mountain
    Or gaze out at the sea

    A voice from deep within says
    "Ignore ill winds, hold fast
    Dark clouds may hide the sun
    But Gam Zeh Va'avor,
    This too shall pass

    Gam zey va'avor
    Is Hebrew for
    Let your soul be at peace
    This too shall pass

    We're a thread in history
    In an ancient tapestry
    Sounds like a plan to me!
    Gam Zeh Va'avor


  • Annual Meeting Recognition

  • Rabbi Julie and Mike Meketon presenting Enid Adler with a plant for all of her contributions to the Leyv Ha-Ir Community.

  • Ways to Save Money
  • With gas now over $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