The Pulse of Our Congregation December 2008

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

Bagels & Books - December 7 Event!

December 2008 Activities

Message from Rabbi Julie

Tikkun Olam Outreach for 2009

Leyv Ha-Ir to Eliminate Paper Newsletter Mailings

Welcome New Members

Ways to Save Money

November Bagels and Books Discussion at Leyv Ha-Ir

Recipe to Spice up Your Shabbat Dinner!


Looking Ahead

Saturday, Jan. 31st
Leyv Ha-Ir 12th Annual Retreat - and third Shabbaton in Fairmount Park. Join us for a joyful Shabbat morning service with Rabbi Julie, and Jessie Roemer leading us in song. After a delicious catered lunch, Betsy Teutsch will treat us to an afternoon of learning, of "greening" our lives and the world from a Jewish perspective. Mark your calendar for the day; a flyer with specifics and sign up will be mailed at the end of December to members. For non-members, write for a flyer.

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.

Lessons from the garden

A tree can laugh
Its bobbing branches
A floppy-eared dog
With sun and shade
Formed grin

The gaudiest flowers aren't always attractive to honeybees

Birds who analyze too long the supply of food find it's lost to a quicker on-the-wing flying bird

Check coffee cup for small swimmers before drinking

When it's hot and you can't get to the crumbs because of the crowd, have a cool drink of water instead

Spartacus sparrow
Shleps a crust of bread
To a second-story site
For its nest

(try saying that a few times in a row)

Enjoy the garden
Its lessons are a bonus

Maria Mackey 2008


A drop of water hits a mountaintop
Flows down the slope till it comes to a stop
At the base of a mountain where it runs rapidly
From a stream to the river to the sea

Put a drop of water on a thirsty man's tongue
Read an adventure book to the inquisitve young
Be a mentor to some climbers
Help them reach their dreams
You may light up the sky
With tomorrow's starstreams.

Roy Shenberg 2008

Newsletter Design and eMail Marketing:

Ilene Hass
Creative Solutions
for Business Marketing


Our council is beginning to plan how we will honor the magnificent covenant into which we have entered with Rabbi Julie Greenberg. Julie has been with us for seven years, having entered into and successfully completed three contracts. Our new contract is for seven more years (kind of a Leah -- Rachel thing without the deceit). It is not lost on us that at the end of this contract, Julie will have been our Rabbi for fourteen years. Guiding us spiritually will have been one of the works she has dedicated the most time in her life. We are very honored that she has been willing to share such a substantial piece of her life with us. We want to convey love and respect with this covenant.

Julie and I are committed to making Leyv Ha-Ir the Heart of the City. We make great efforts to welcome everyone to our shul. We know that status anxiety and money issues generally have been a restraining force blocking many Jews from engaging a life of meaning and spirit in our tradition. Julie has told me many times that she believes one day, in the future, that we might become a post-dues community if as the Torah suggests each of us gives from the heart. Over these next years, we could build an endowment substantial enough that its income can replace dues as a funding mechanism. I can think of no better way to honor our covenant with Julie than by beginning to make this vision a reality.

Mystical Jews identify ten Sephirot or divine qualities. One is Chesed or expansiveness/lovingkindness. Another one is Gevurah or strength/structure/discipline. It is a common practice to examine these qualities in relation to each other. So what is the Chesed of Gevurah? We are entering into a time of fiscal Gevurah. Markets are down. People are losing jobs. It is more challenging to be a community of loving kindness during a time of difficulty. Many people are reviewing their end of the year Tzedakkah opportunities and deciding to give less this year. The Chesed of Gevurah would suggest that in times of scarcity, more generosity is needed.

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

  • Bagels & Books - December 7 Event!
  • Libby Cone, a member of Leyv Ha-Ir, will discuss her published book, "War on the Margins", a novel about the German occupation of the Channel Islands during WWII. A reviewer described it as follows: "The story is gripping from the beginning. You see how different people react to various levels of danger. The affect becomes more intense when you realize that these events really did take place. Libby Cone gives you the story with clever use of actual correspondence and public notices from the time. People lived in fear, not only of the Germans, but of each other. The book does an excellent job of draping the whole in a cloak of doubt and suspicion. This is one good read."

    The book is available on and at Giovanni's Room.

    An excellent brunch will be provided for $7.00. Call 215-629-1995 for additional information.

    Join us at Joanne Perilstein's apartment, December 7 at 11AM.

  • December 2008 Activities
  • Thu - Dec 04 - 2008, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
    Council Meeting
    At the Ethical Society

    Sat - Dec 06 - 2008, 10:00 AM
    Shabbat Morning Service
    Our service, Torah discussion and veggie/dairy pot-luck lunch will take place at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square.

    Sun - Dec 7 - 2008, 11:00 AM
    "Bagels & Books"
    Come for a book discussion and for brunch ($7). At Joanne's, 1901 Walnut Street, #16F. Call 215-629-1995 for more details.

    Mon - Dec 8 - 2008, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
    Lunch & Learn - Hanukah Stories for Grown-ups with Rabbi Julie Greenberg. At the Bellevue, Broad & Walnut Streets, 8th floor. Reservations are a MUST - call 215-629-1995. Lunch provided.

    Fri - Dec 12 - 2008, 7:00 PM
    Friday night Dinner & Services at home
    Join us as we have brief services and a potluck dinner at Iris Newman's apartment. Call her at 215-561-0228 for location and what dish you are providing.

    Fri - Dec 19 - 2008, 7:30 PM
    Kabbalat Shabbat Service
    Join us as we welcome the Sabbath Bride, with Rabbi Julie Greenberg, at the Ethical Society, 1906 South Rittenhouse Square. There will be a Hanukah celebration as well. Bring family and friends.

    Thurs - Dec 25 - 2008, 12:00 PM
    "Latkes & Laughter"
    Celebrate Hannukah, have fun and latkes! Karen Zeitz, our in-house stand-up comic, will be the MC. Bringing latkes, no charge. If not, cost is $10. Call 215-629-1995 for reservation and if you are bringing some food. At the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square

    Sun - Dec 28 - 2008, 4:00 PM
    "Annual Leyv Ha-Ir Womens' Rosh Hodesh"
    Bring your Chanukia, and a pot-luck dairy or vegetarian contribution. Also, bring a gift for our pollyanna, -- a new something, or, better yet, an item you like to recycle, of value of $10!
    At Home of Roby Jacobs.Call Roby at 215-546-8965 for location, what food you will bring, and for any questions.

    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.
  • Message from Rabbi Julie
  • Dear Chevre,

    There's a Hassidic teaching that the universe is filled with shefa, God's abundance. It's our job as humans to be vessels for the flow of this shefa. We keep it flowing in by opening ourselves to new people, ideas, projects and we keep it flowing out through acts of generosity. All of our congregational committees are important to this flow of shefa, as they organize what comes into and what goes out from our community.

    This year I'm working to strengthen two essential committees, one concerned with directing the flow of kindness into our community and the other concerned with directing the flow of kindness out into the world. The Chesed (Kindness) Committee, led by Pat Wisch, met with me in November. I am so impressed by the talent and commitment of Pat's committee members. If you have a good deed to offer, or know of someone in the congregation who needs support, please contact Pat --215-563-1894.

    The second committee is our Tikkun Olam (Repair of the World) Committee, led by John Mason, which will be meeting with me before our Friday night service on Dec. 19. We'll meet at the little café called Tuscany, a few doors away from our building. Let's gather at 5:30 to order food or drinks and be ready to start an exciting discussion at 6:00. All are warmly welcome to join. You can come check us out even if you aren't sure how much you'll be able to be involved.

    Looking forward to filling our souls with light at this dark time of year and letting that light overflow into goodness for each other and for the world.

    Rabbi Julie

    Read more from Rabbi Julie
  • Tikkun Olam Outreach for 2009
  • In 2009 Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City will be honoring the memory of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his friend Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel by volunteering together. Unlike previous years when we identified a particular volunteer task and did it together, we will be joining together in small groups identifying our own tasks and sharing details in this e-newsletter.

    Your job is to send an e-mail to Beverly Hayden at by December 20th telling her where you have been volunteering this year and/or where you intend to volunteer on King Day, January 19, 2009, together with contact information so that others can join you.

    Opportunities will be found at this website: among other places. We will compile an article including everyone's information in the next issue.

  • Leyv Ha-Ir to Eliminate Paper Newsletter Mailings
  • Due to economical and environmental reasons, we are discontinuing paper mailings. We recommend that our faithful readers obtain an email account through hotmail or gmail, free and accessible at the Library or a friend's house. If this creates a hardship, let us know and we will consider requests on a case by case basis.

    Beverly Hayden, Editor 215-557-3777

  • Welcome New Members
  • The Membership Committee is proud to welcome the following new members to the Leyv Ha-Ir Family:

    David Beck & Marsha Doman
    Dr. Ron Collman
    Cindy, Michael & David Durst
    Ron & Elaine Erenhouse
    Ed and Diana Glickman
    Annette Marks
    Jonathan Seligman & Daughter
    Roberta Spivek & Craig Eisendrath

    We will be honoring them at a new members tea in December.

    The Membership Committee:
    Susan Budenstein, Frann Shore and Karen Zeitz

  • Ways to Save Money
  • 2009 Medicare prescription drug and health plan choices are now online. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that beneficiaries, caregivers, and family members can review and compare medicare options through the Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Finder and Medicare Options Compare Tool at

  • November Bagels and Books Discussion at Leyv Ha-Ir

    Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir assembled a nice group for the November Bagels & Books get-together. Brunch was excellent and Myrna Schlanger (third from left) read a very interesting essay, followed by a lively discussion.

  • Recipe to Spice up Your Shabbat Dinner!
  • Submitted by Beverly Hayden

    This delicious dish was brought by a guest, Marsha Hyman, to a recent Shabbat dinner. Perhaps you can try it at a future meal: ASIAN NOODLE SALAD WITH SPICY PEANUT SAUCE

    Ingredients are available at Asian markets and many supermarkets. Salad components may be made ahead, covered, refrigerated. When ready to serve, bring sauce to room temperature. Udon noodles are thick Japanese wheat noodles; linguine may be substituted. SERVES 4.

    • 1/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter
    • 1/4 cup tamari or other soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon Asian chili paste
    • 2 garlic cloves, minces
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 12 ounces udon noodles
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    • 1 large carrot, shredded
    • 2 cups cored and finely shredded cabbage
    • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
    • 1 bunch scallions, minced

    1. In medium-size bowl, combine peanut butter, tamari, vinegar, chili paste and garlic, stirring to blend well. Add water, whisking to make a thick sauce. Set aside.

    2. Cook noodles in large pot of boiling water until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and rinse noodles under cold running water, transfer to a large serving bowl. Toss with sesame oil to coat.

    3. Add carrot, cabbage, bell pepper and scallions to the noodles. Add just enough of the peanut sauce to coat, tossing gently to combine. Serve at room temperature.

    :: 215-629-1995