The Pulse of Our Congregation January 2009

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

Super Sunday Fundraising Team

January 2009 Activities

Message from Rabbi Julie

Tikkun Olam Outreach for 2009

Latkes and Laughter

Member Profile: Patricia Saddier

Exploring Judaism

De-Light-ful Rosh Hodesh Gathering

Shabbaton in the Park

Paper Mailings Eliminated


Looking Ahead

Sunday, March 1st
Bagels and Books, 11AM
Author of "Virtual Red Carpet" will be present to discuss her recent book. Place TBA, cost $7 for delicious brunch.

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.

A Prayer for Those Who Travel

May you travel with guardian angels
Protecting you from harm
May they guide you back home
'Till you're safely in our arms

May green fields spread their welcome
May your days be filled with peace
We eagerly await your return
To give you a homecoming squeeze

You're travel is important, yes
But we long to see your smile
Hearing your from you that all is well
Makes the trip worthwhile

May the trip be all you've wished for
Be careful when you drive
Don't travel faster
Then your guardian angel flies

Roy Shenberg 2008

Newsletter Design and eMail Marketing:

Ilene Hass
Creative Solutions
for Business Marketing


Our gift to you, our stakeholders, is that none of our endowment was invested unsafely. In fact we invest so conservatively that we have received complaints about it (why is our Reconstructionist synagogue so Conservative?). We feel a very strong fiduciary responsibility to our members and donors. We are willing to grow, but not beyond our means. We have taken on the mission of providing a Jewish spiritual home to some people who would otherwise have no where to go. If we fail, we let down a lot of people.

In other news, this newsletter is going increasingly green. We urge everyone receiving it to get an e-mail account so that they can continue to receive it. When I think of all of the paper we used to collate to bring you the news, this newsletter makes me proud.

Finally, we have been celebrating Dr.King's Birthday as part of our Jewish cycle of ritual for almost a decade. We believe that this holiday has specific significance for us as Jews who have frequently in our history been on the receiving end of government oppression. We stand as Jews against all oppression.

Have a happy secular New Year. I hope to see you in 2009.

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

  • Super Sunday Fundraising Team
  • The Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia will hold its annual Super Sunday fundraising event on Sunday, January 25. It would be great if Leyv Ha-Ir could assemble a team to go on the morning shift, 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, and phone members of the Jewish community. (If you don't like to phone, other tasks may be assigned to you.) Buses will take us from the Federation building, 2100 Arch Street to the Federation's Radnor campus, 272 S. Bryn Mawr Avenue, Bryn Mawr. For any questions, call the Federation at (215)832-0630. Thanks.

    John Mason
    Tikkun Olam Chair

  • January 2009 Activities
  • Sat - Jan 03 - 2009, 10:00 AM
    Shabbat Morning Service
    Our First Shabbat lay-led service will be followed by Kiddush. We'll be at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square.

    Thu - Jan 08 - 2009, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
    Council Meeting
    We'll meet with Rabbi Julie at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square. All members are welcome.

    Fri - Jan 16 - 2009, 7:30 PM
    Friday night Service with Rabbi Julie
    Join us at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square. This will be our annual observance of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and of the yahrzeit of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who marched with him in Selma.

    Mon - Jan 19 - 2009, MLK Day of Service Service
    See related article on Tikkun Olam Opportunities.

    Fri - Jan 23 - 2009, 7:00 PM
    Friday night dinner & services
    We'll meet at a congregant's home for a brief service and pot-luck veggie/dairy supper.

    Sat - Jan 31 - 2009, 10:00 AM
    "Biennial Shabbaton in Fairmount Park"
    Join us for our "green" shabbat at Chamounix Mansion in Fairmount Park. We'll have lovely services followed by lunch and an environmental discussion.

    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,

    As the secular New Year begins, what a good time to renew resolutions made during our soul searching High Holy Days. The secular New Year doesn't give us the opportunity for weeks of self-reflection and renewal but it can serve as a useful booster shot.

    I'm impressed by how many congregants speak to me about their intentions and plans to engage in life-long learning. People have taken on musical instruments, fitness activities, cultural explorations, bridge and cross-word puzzles, and I imagine much more. Our adult education series, Bible Stories for Grown-ups, was booked to the hilt at each session, demonstrating the hunger that's out there for Jewish learning.

    I'll tell you what I'm excited about learning this year. I just signed up for a fascinating service run by the Spertus Institute which is a respected center of Jewish education, based in Chicago. They offer an e-library of Jewish sources; the cool thing is that you can put in a word found in the bible and see where it appears in all sorts of other Jewish texts such as midrash or Talmud. All issues are immediately cross-referenced. My chevrutah partner (study buddy) and I are reading passages from the Mishneh Torah (medieval text by the Rambam) in Hebrew this year and I am hoping Spertus' new tool will be enlightening.

    As soon as I've mastered the system, I'll invite anyone interested to make use of it for preparing D'vrei Torah (Torah talks) or simply for your own educational pleasure. The entrance of Judaism into the cyber age can only enrich us all.

    With love and blessings for a year of learning,
    Rabbi Julie

    Read more from Rabbi Julie
  • Tikkun Olam Outreach for 2009
  • In our last newsletter, Michael Meketon requested where you will be volunteering on MLK day(January 19, 2009) so that members and friends of Leyv Ha-Ir may join in. I have heard from some members about their past and present volunteer activities, not necessarily an activity you can share in that day but I wanted to share with you.

    Bobbi Cohen - I volunteer regularly at JRA, Jewish Relief Agency. The JRA packs and distributes cartons of food to over 2500 locations monthly. I find it highly rewarding and a very worthwhile cause. While they do not operate on Mon., Jan. 19, they do have a distribution on Sun., Jan. 18. I would be willing to take people there and explain how it works. Call me at 215-236-0689.

    Joan Goldberg - I volunteered at International House in West Philadelphia and taught English as Second Language to students from all over the world. Their phone number is 215-387-5127. I also volunteered at the Alzheimer's Association and gave tours of the Philadelphia Art Museum to Alzeimer patients and their caregivers. The organization can be reached at 215-561-2919.

    Patty Goldentyer - Does day of service at Community College of Philadelphia

    Margie Wiener - I've been volunteering for "Pals for Life", a nonprofit which services the elderly and disabled (physically and mentally) of all races and denominations in the Greater Philadelphia Area. They're based in Wayne, but go to places in CC and regionally throughout the month. They publish a calendar online - many facilities have regularly scheduled visits each month. One regular is Graduate Hospital: they're rehab patients from HUP. The last place I went to was Germantown Home. Contact is She's wonderful and enthusiastic. "Pals for Life" take foster animals to nursing homes, rehab facilities, and other such places. You can sign up alone and they'll partner you with their own animals, which is what I do. They've brought their own lop-eared bunny and foster kittens. However, there are many volunteers who bring their own pets (who must be tested & approved first - that is, the animals, not the owners). Whenever I've gone, loving dogs and their loving owners have joined the team.

    Challah Delivery to Hospitals - This is an ongoing project, funded by Jewish Family and Children's Service and administered by the Kehillah of Center City. Several Leyv Ha-Ir members presently do this on Friday afternoons. The commitment is for one Friday a month. The following is an excerpt of an email that Susan Stanek, Kehillah Coordinator, sent last week: "I just received a phone call from a patient at Pennsylvania Hospital. She was crying when she called because she was so moved that someone visited her and wished her a happy Chanukah and a Shabbat Shalom. " This call made me want to reach out to each and everyone of you and thank you for the wonderful work you are doing in our community by delivering Challah and visiting with those in the hospital. Contact Susan Stanek, Coordinator of the Kehillah of Center City, Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia at 215-832-0597.

    Further opportunities for service can be found at this website:

    Compiled by Beverly Hayden

  • Latkes and Laughter
  • Roby Jacobs & Enid Adler singing a medley of Hanukah songs at Latkes and Laughter December 25th.

  • Member Profile: Patricia Saddier
  • Patricia Saddier arrived in the US from France nine years ago, "for work. I basically applied for a job in US, in the same field I was working in France, the pharmaceutical industry. I'm in Epidemiology, the study of risk factors for diseases and how drugs may change the course of a disease, to prevent complications and shorten the duration of the diseases. I don't do clinical trials, where you randomize people between (those who get) the new treatment and the placebo. I do studies once the drugs are on the market, to see how people use them and how it impacts their quality of life and the outcomes they may have from the disease." More specifically, Saddier works on vaccines and the prevention of diseases. Saddier is employed at the Merck Research laboratories in North Wales, PA.

    How did she come across Leyv Ha-Ir? "I always wanted to connect back to my Jewish roots," Saddier says. "when I learned that I was Jewish, because my mother is Jewish (her father is Catholic). In France there's no room for adult (Jewish) education, or connecting with Jewish life as an adult. The Jewish community's really small, and people really belong to the community as soon as they're born. They go to Sunday school and all those things, which didn't exist in the little village where I was born. It was a small Catholic village, and there was no synagogue, and I didn't even know I was Jewish. I wasn't raised in any religious belief, my parents were not practicing (any religion)...I learned that because my mother was Jewish, I was also Jewish.

    "I was attracted to what religion may bring to people," she says,"but I did not feel like the Catholic religion was a good fit for me. Later on, as an adult, I thought maybe I should explore my Jewish roots, but I never got a chance to do so-first, because I wasn't very active in looking for what I can do to explore that, and there wasn't that many options in France, because the Jewish community in fairly closed." After moving the US, Saddier discovered the various Jewish religious movements, including Reconstructionism; "One of my managers at work converted to Judaism from Catholicism when she got married to a Jew, and I told her I'm not very religious, but I'd like to know what it is." Saddier attended a Reconstructionist community in New Hope, "and it's great." Her manager looked on the Internet for a congregation in Center City and found the Leyv Ha-Ir website, and Roby Jacobs replied to Saddier's e-mail.

    "I think (Leyv Ha-Ir) is a really nice little community," says Saddier, "very convenient for me, because it's in Center City. And I thought it was a very warm, welcoming community, and very open - that's something that I didn't find in France."

    Written by John Oliver Mason

  • Exploring Judaism
  • Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City invites you to meet with our Rabbi, Julie Greenberg, in her home for monthly Sunday afternoon sessions designed especially for interfaith individuals and couples planning to be participants, with or without conversion, in Jewish families.

    In these intimate gatherings Rabbi Julie explores what it means to live a Jewish life, share Judaism with children and find supportive Jewish community. There is no fee; space is limited. For more information call 215-843-9592.

  • De-Light-ful Rosh Hodesh Gathering

    Candle Lighting at our Rosh Hodesh Gathering December 28th.

  • Shabbaton in the Park
  • Our 12th Annual Retreat - and third Shabbaton in Fairmount Park - will be held on Saturday January 31, 2009. Join us for a joyful Shabbat morning Service with Rabbi Julie, and Jessi 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 was mailed at the end of December. If you are not on our mailing list, contact Roby Jacobs at or 215-546-8965.

  • Paper Mailings Eliminated
  • Due to economical and environmental reasons, we have discontinued paper mailings. If this creates a hardship, let Beverly Hayden know at 215-557-3777

    :: 215-629-1995