The Pulse of Our Congregation March 2009

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

SAVE THE DATE: Friday Services, March 20, 2009

March 2009 Activities

Message from Rabbi Julie

LHI Shabbaton, January 31, 2009 in Fairmount Park

4th Annual GJC Women's Clothing Swap

Reserve NOW for our Community Seder - April 9, 2009

Honor Tu B'shvat with A Tree Purchase!


Looking Ahead

Thursday, April 9
Our Second Night Annual Community Seder. Back to the Philadelphian, 2401 Pennsylvania Avenue, by popular demand. A flyer will be mailed out early in March with full details.

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.

by Roy Shenberg

They say:
If you hold a seashell up to your ear You can hear the sea.

But what about the seashell?
What does it hear ? You?
The river that runs through you?

To my way of thinking the seashell
Is just a great big ear,
Listening, ----
Absorbing the sounds of your soul.
Currents of events, Songs of life experienced Past and present,
Shores reached and breached
Dreams dashed upon the shore

And the seashell murmurs in your ear:
Sing along, Be not afraid.
Sing like a lion. Go to where you were meant to go.
Go with the flow.

Maybe it hears The running waters of The Sea of Reeds
From which flowed your ancestors Searching for a different dream in a new home.

Maybe it hears the cry Of the baby Moses
Floating adrift in the rushes?
And the joyous cry of rescue.

Maybe it hears the song of a ship
With a broken compass
Lost in the sea
Tossed by the sea
That sounds like this:

I'm a ship in a rough sea
Won't you tender me in?
I've lost my direction
Won't you tender me in?
I need a safe haven From which to begin.
Won't you tender me in?

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The month of Adar is the thank G-d I'm still standing month. In Adar, we celebrate Purim and we anticipate Passover. These holidays celebrate historical attempts to subjugate or eliminate us. In both instances we overcame great obstacles to rescue ourselves.

Doesn't March in Philadelphia feel that way too? We are on the verge of having survived winter. No falls, or even if we fell, no broken bones. Even if we broke bones, we're still here. We're tired, but the days are getting longer. The sun is getting brighter.

American culture is experiencing a winter right now. Many of us have lost significant portions of our long term savings. Business is slow. We have had to change our plans for work and retirement. We've fallen. This month, in our Jewish ritual cycle, we can anticipate picking ourselves up and dusting ourselves off. Thank G-d we're still standing.

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

  • SAVE THE DATE: Friday Services, March 20, 2009
  • I am pleased to inform you that the Assistant Director of the ADL, Sophie Dornstreich, will speak on: The New Anti-Semitism. This is a very timely subject indeed. A recent Sunday Inquirer had an article about rising antisemitism both here and in Europe. Foreign Policy magazine editor was quoted "The year 2008 will be remembered as the year when the financial systems went down. The year 2009 will be remembered as the year when the political systems go down. Many governments will struggle to retain control and some will resort to age-old techniques such as blaming The Other." Many times The Other is often "The Jew."

    For years in the US there have been anti-Semitic/anti-Zionist propaganda throughout academia.

    Come hear our speaker relate the new trend in anti-Semitism and how to respond to it.

    NOTE EARLY TIME: 7:00 pm

    There will be a delicious Oneg following the presentation.

    Joan Goldberg, Education Co-Chair

  • March 2009 Activities
  • Sun - Mar 01 - 2009, 11:00 AM
    Bagels & books
    Join us for brunch and a discussion of the novel "Who By Fire" led by its author, Diana Spechler, in the home of Joanne Perilstein, 1901 Walnut Street, #16F. Donation of $7.

    Thu - Mar 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 - Mar 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.

    Sun - Mar 8 - 2009, 4:00 PM
    Purim Party
    Come hear the story of Purim with Queen Esther, Mordechai, King Ahasuerus and that other guy. We'll provide costumes or wear your own. Hazzan Jack Kessler will be with us. We'll be at the William Penn House, 1919 Chestnut Street, Community Room.

    Fri - Mar 20 - 2009, 7:00 PM
    Kabbalat Shabbat Service with Rabbi Julie
    Join us as we welcome the Sabbath Bride at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square. Rabbi Julie will be leading the service. Aftwards, an ADL speaker on "Anti-Semitism Today." Starting time will be 7 PM.

    Fri - Mar 27 - 2009, 7:00 PM
    We're joining the Center City Kehillah's Friday night dinners throughout Center City.

    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,

    Are you familiar with the beautiful words of this Psalm?

    As a deer yearns for water,
    so I yearn for You, O God.

    My whole being thirsts for God,
    for the living God.

    When shall I come and see
    the presence of God?

    Psalm 42 Based on translation by Robert Alter

    Our yearnings have a God message that begs for attention. What do you yearn for? To be of service? To love? To share art? To make a difference? What is the message of your soul?

    Listening, sometimes in silent contemplation, sometimes in reflective dialogue, sometimes in journal writing, sometimes in a Torah service, opens up the quest to explore the thirst of this psalm. These are all forms of prayer, all ways of connecting with what is of Greatest Value. By paying attention, we also sort out what are addictive cravings that distract us from deeper truths.

    Where in your life do you yearn for the water of God and how do you respond to your yearning?

    Many blessings,
    Rabbi Julie

    Read more from Rabbi Julie
  • LHI Shabbaton, January 31, 2009 in Fairmount Park
  • Every year since 1997, in the midst of winter, our synagogue has a retreat, either a long weekend away from the city, or - as this year for the third time - a day in Fairmount Park. How lovely is it when the LHI family comes together to pray, to read torah, to socialize, to eat, to walk outside, to learn something new, to say Shamanu to each others lives!

    Rabbi Julie led the Shabbat Service and sensitized us to hear our own Pharaoh's heart in need of understanding. Jessie Roemer sang with and for us with guitar; her "O say Shalom" lingers in our ears. Betsy Teutsch, of well-known art work in our prayer books and her tambourines, led a discussion about Simplicity as a Jewish Path (Google it, if you missed the hand-out. Or her for loads of ideas and practicalities regarding how to free-cycle, get off magazines listings, micro-financing, socially responsible investing). If anything, we came away with quality, not quantity gives meaning to our lives. Some of us are now starting a group to De-Clutter our spaces!

    As usual good camaraderie and bonding flavored this retreat!

    Article submitted by Roby Jacobs

  • 4th Annual GJC Women's Clothing Swap
  • Germantown Jewish Center is holding it's 4th Annual Women's Clothing Swap, Sunday March 29 from 11AM - 3PM.

    Admission is a $20 contribution to Darfur Alert Coalitiion. Women can contribute as many clothes as you like AND take home as many as you want. Unwanted clothing will be donated to PlanetAid.

    Bring you suits, dresses, slacks, jeans, skirts, blouses, tops, athletic apparel, maternity apparel, coats, shoes, purses and accessories to the GJC Marcus Auditorium. Gently or never-worn women's apparel may be dropped off in advance, beginning Sunday, March 22.

    For more information or to volunteer, contact Genie Ravital at 215.844.8036 or

    The event will be held at the Germantown Jewish Center Marcus Auditorium, 400 West Ellet Street, West Mount Airy, Philadelphia, PA 19119. For driving directions, please call 215.844.1507 box 5. The facility is handicap accessible from the parking lot entrance.

  • Reserve NOW for our Community Seder - April 9, 2009
  • Please join us for our Annual Second Night Community Seder

    Led by Rabbi Julie Greenberg, Singer Jessi Roemer and the Leyv Ha-Ir Choir.


    Thursday, April 9, 2009, 6 PM
    Community Room, the Philadelphian
    2401 Pennsylvania Avenue

    CHILDREN 3-10, $15
    AFTER MARCH 31 - $60

    Send check to Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir
    P.O. Box 15836
    Philadelphia, PA 19102
    Indicate your Entree Fish or Vegetarian

    Download our Community Seder reservation form

  • Honor Tu B'shvat with A Tree Purchase!
  • Friends,

    Our Tikkun Olam / Repair of the World committee is requesting that people buy trees in honor of Tu B'shvat.

    John Mason has donation forms for the Jewish National Fund and for Olive Trees for Peace (a project of Rabbis for Human Rights.) Please help green the earth in honor of the Jewish Earth Day.

    And if you'd like to mention someone being remembered or honored by your tree, please let the editor know and we'll put it in the newsletter.

    Trees were bought in memory of Ros Meketon, z'l

    - Rabbi Julie

    :: 215-629-1995