The Pulse of Our Congregation September 2008

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

September 2008 Activities

Rabbi's Message: Rabbi Julie Greenberg

Annual Membership Drive - Join the Journey!

Welcome to baby Nati!

September 12 Happy Hour Preceeds Shabbat Service

A New Leyv Ha-Ir Monthly Event

Annual One Book - One Congregation Discussion & Brunch


Looking Ahead

Full High Holy Days Services Coming Up!

All are held at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse, All led by Rabbi Julie Greenberg.
Rosh Hashanah: September 29 - October 1
Yom Kippur: October 8 - October 9

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
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Dear Friend of Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City,

Mordecai Kaplan writes in The Future of the American Jew: "The First Principle is that all who definitely desire to see Jewish Life fostered, regardless of how they conceive the form or content of that life, should be eligible for membership."

It surprises me a little that a scholar like Rabbi Kaplan, whose writings provide the seed of Reconstructionist Judaism, articulates such a basic and broad first principle. If you think Judaism is a good idea, you are a member. We live in an era with many obstacles to affiliation. Everybody wants to be an independent. It seems obvious the ways in which fundamentalism obstructs affiliation, but I believe that it is worthwhile to examine ways in which we progressive Jews restrain people from forming a sense of connection. Do we make our guests feel uncomfortable? Do we fail to explain our practices and beliefs? Are we too iconoclastic -- not iconoclastic enough? As you receive this e-newsletter, the month of elul is starting, and we Jews seek to celebrate creative energy in the universe. What are the forces which restrain creation? What can we do this year to break down those barriers?

L'shana tovah,

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

  • September 2008 Activities
  • September 1 MONDAY
    Labor Day

    September 4 THURSDAY
    Council Meeting
    Ethical Society
    1:00 PM

    September 6 SATURDAY
    Shabbat Morning Service
    Ethical Society
    10:00 AM
    Lay Led

    September 12 FRIDAY
    Kabbalat Shabbat Service
    Ethical Society
    7:30 PM
    Rabbi Julie

    September 19 FRIDAY
    Kabbalat Shabbat Service and Pot Luck Dinner
    7:00 PM

    September 27 SATURDAY
    Selichot Service
    Kennedy House
    8:00 PM
    Rabbi Julie

    September 29 MONDAY
    Erev Rosh Hashanah
    Ethical Society
    Rabbi Julie

    September 30 TUESDAY
    Rosh Hashanah
    Ethical Society
    Children's Program: 9:00AM
    Adult Service 10:00 AM
    Rabbi Julie

    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 Message: Rabbi Julie Greenberg
  • Dear Chevre,

    During the first half of this summer, my family went through a month of medical crisis. It started when my twelve- year- old son Joey had a high fever and severely swollen elbow. After several all-day or night expeditions to the ER, two emergency surgeries and a few weeks at Children's Hospital, he was eventually diagnosed and treated for osteomyelitis, a bone infection. I am glad to say that he is one hundred percent up and running now, no worse for the wear.

    Since so many of us have experienced medical scares ourselves or in relation to loved ones, I thought I'd share some reflections on healing. In Judaism, Refuah Shlaymah "a complete healing" is what we wish for each other in times of illness. This blessing basically means "May your situation be as complete and whole as possible." If your destiny is to recover in body and spirit may it be a complete and integrated recovery. If your destiny is to move from the physical world into the realm of spirit, may that transition be one of peace or shalom. Refuah shlaymah is a way of saying "I'm standing with you through whatever you need to go through. I'm here for you, wishing you well."

    Another expression of Jewish hope for healing takes place during the mi'she'berach moments of the Torah service (and in our congregation we add these moments into each of our services even when we aren't reading Torah.) Mi'she'berach literally means "may the One who blessed..." It's a way of calling on the merit of our ancestors and the Power that Makes for Salvation. The theology behind this prayer is not one of expecting a transcendent God to intervene to change the course of nature through a miracle, but rather to rally our own intention, caring and commitment on behalf of those in need.

    Jewish communities are powerful centers of healing. When we gather, we share news of members who are in various medical conditions. The Chesed / Caring Committee is alerted about who needs company, rides, soup or a phone call. Often the gift of helping is at least as meaningful to the ones offering the help as it is to those receiving. It's such a gift to be needed.

    Finally, there is a political aspect to Jewish values about healing. Even through the exhaustion, fear and challenge of my family's ordeal, I felt overwhelming gratitude for the access we had to the best possible medical care. There was no question that Joey would receive thorough treatment from a team of professionals. I felt so sad about fellow citizens in this rich and advanced nation who lose a home to pay for medical bills or who forgo treatment for lack of money. I recommitted to support solutions for sharing the basic human right of decent medical care.

    As we enter this New Year together, may there be a refuah shlaymah, a complete healing, for our fragmented and unequal medical system.

    Shana Tovah,
    Rabbi Julie

    Read more from Rabbi Julie
  • Annual Membership Drive - Join the Journey!
  • It's the season for our annual membership campaign again. Join the journey!

    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.

  • Welcome to baby Nati!
  • The Leyv Ha-Ir family welcomes baby Nati, the newest member of Josh, Jessi and Hannah Rose Roemer-Block's family!

    Our Choir Director, Jessi Roemer gave birth to baby Natan Jacob Roemer-Block at the family's home on August 12, 2008. Holding Natan is big sister Hannah Rose.

  • September 12 Happy Hour Preceeds Shabbat Service
  • Join with your Leyv Ha-Ir friends for happy hour at a local restaurant before our next Friday night services on September 12th. We'll meet from 5:30 to 7:00 within walking distance of the Ethical Society, the place soon to be announced. All are welcome, save the date!

  • A New Leyv Ha-Ir Monthly Event
  • This year, we're going to follow many people's suggestions by reinstituting Friday night services and potluck dinners in congregants' homes.They'll be informal, warm, and fun. We'll have one per month, normally on the third Shabbat of the month, with short lay-led services. The first one will take place on September 19. Of course, Kabbalat Shabbat services with Rabbi Julie will continue - the first one will be on September 12.

    Want to volunteer your home for September 19th or another evening? Call/email Iris at or 215-561-0228.

    Our lay-led Shabbat morning services will be held once a month, on the first Saturday, at the Ethical Society.

  • Annual One Book - One Congregation Discussion & Brunch
  • Rabbi Julie discussing Aaron Lansky's book "Outwitting History" for Leyv Ha-Ir's Annual One Book - One Congregation discussion and brunch on Sunday, August 24.

    Lansky, a MacArthur fellow, founded the National Yiddish Book Centre and appealed for unwanted Yiddish books. Jews all over North America responded; it is a compelling epic about how Lansky and a few volunteers saved Yiddish books from extinction.

    :: 215-629-1995