The Pulse of Our Congregation February 2009

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

SAVE THE DATE: Sunday Brunch, March 1, 2009

February 2009 Activities

Message from Rabbi Julie

Shabbaton, January 31, 2009 in Fairmount Park


Looking Ahead

Sunday, March 8th
Purim Celebration, 4PM
William Penn House

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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There will be no letter this month from our president, Michael Meketon. Michael suffered the loss of his mother last month. Our thoughts and condolences are with him at this time.

Beverly Hayden, Vice President
Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City

  • SAVE THE DATE: Sunday Brunch, March 1, 2009
  • Don't miss this opportunity to meet dynamic author Diana Spechler, arriving for the Philadelphia Premiere of her debut novel, "Who By Fire"!

    According to HarperCollins, which sponsors her nationwide book tour, "Diana is definitely exceptional! She has had unusual success in promoting her novel, toured widely with the Jewish Book Council, received excellent reviews (particularly from the Boston Globe), published in Moment and Lilith, and enjoyed widespread attendance at her events."

    This "Bagels & Brunch" event will occur from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm at the parlor of Dr. Joanne Perilstein, 1901 Walnut Street, Apt. 16F. Admission is $7.00.

    To capture a feel for this gripping book, click onto and/or

    Please RSVP to Margie Wiener at 215-925-1577 if you plan to attend.

  • February 2009 Activities
  • Thu - Feb 05 - 2009, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
    Council Meeting
    All members are welcome at our Council Meetings at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square.

    Sat - Feb 07 - 2009, 10:00 AM
    Shabbat Morning Service
    Our first-of-the-month lay-led Shabbat morning service will be at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Sqare. Join us afterwards for kiddush and a pot-luck veggie/dairy lunch.

    Fri - Feb 13 - 2009, 7:00 PM
    Friday Night Home Dinner and Services
    We'll meet at a congregant's home for a lay-led service and pot-luck veggie/dairy dinner.

    Fri - Feb 20 - 2009, 7:30 PM
    Kabbalat Shabbat Service with Rabbi Julie
    Join us as we welcome the Sabbath Bride at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square. We will have a speaker, Janet Newfeld, from Hosts for Hospitals. Rabbi Julie will lead the service.

    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 Friends,

    I'm still aglow with warm memories of our service honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, which fittingly led us into a magnificent inaugural week. It's special to be developing an on-going relationship with the Masterman Highschool Gospel Choir. Those bright faces have brought joy to the Heart of the City for two years now. At our MLK service, I promised to put something in writing about the theme of my talk that evening, "Jews Come in Many Colors." Many people in our community come from a particular slice of Jewish background, that is, from Caucasian eastern European roots. It may be hard to remember that for most of Jewish history a huge proportion of Jews around the world have been Jews of color. Ever since the destruction of the first Temple in 586 BCE Jews have lived all over the middle east, North Africa and Asia. The majority of Jews in Israel were Jews of color until the 1990s when there was a huge influx of Russian Jews. Many Jews in our world-wide community are Arabs known as "Mizrachi" or "Sephardi" Jews. The idea of Jew versus Arab is entirely alien to our own Jewish history. Frequently people from eastern European backgrounds have not had the privilege of learning about Jewish Arabic culture and history. I hope to draw on some of that resource in the future. Jews of color also join Judaism through conversion, interracial marriage and adoption. If you ever catch yourself saying "so and so looked Jewish," think again because Jews come in all colors and from all backgrounds: African, African-American, Latino, Asian, Caucasian. It does a disservice to the diversity of Jewish life to imagine any one picture of "what a Jew looks like." So, let me reiterate our welcome to Jews of all colors and all backgrounds as we learn to be an increasingly inclusive community.

    All the best,
    Rabbi Julie

    Read more from Rabbi Julie
  • Shabbaton, January 31, 2009 in Fairmount Park
    Our 12th Annual Retreat - and third Shabbaton in Fairmount Park - was held on Saturday January 31, 2009.

    Above: Roby Jacobs, Joan Goldberg, Karen Zeitz and Pat Wisch reading the Reverend V. Gene Robinson's remarks at the Lincoln Memorial Inaugural Event, January 18, 2009

    (excerpts) "O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will...

    Bless us with tears - for a world in which over a billion people exist on less than a dollar a say, where young women from nay lands are beaten and raped for wanting an education, and thousands die daily from malnutrition, malaria and AIDS.

    Bless us with anger - at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

    Bless us with discomfort - at the easy, simplistic "answers" we've preferred to hear from our politicians, instead of the truth, about ourselves and the world, which we need to face if we are going to rise to the challenges of the future.

    Bless us with compassion and generosity - remembering that every religion's God judges us by the way we care for the most vulnerable in the human community, whether across town or across the world."

    Betsy Teutsch, noted artist and environmentalist, addressing Shabbaton guests about "Being Spiritual, Jewish and Green".

    :: 215-629-1995