The Pulse of Our Congregation May 2009

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

Welcome Spring!

May 2009 Activities

Message from Rabbi Julie

From Marci Fleet - Our Resident Artist

Seder Success!

Chesed Committee News

Conference on Jewish Women Facing Serious Illness

Classified: Let Jack-of-All-Trades Help You Get Things Done


Looking Ahead

JUNE 7TH, 10:30 AM
Show your support by voting in a new slate of officers and approving a new budget

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
for Business Marketing

Dear Friends and Members of Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City,

I would like to give you some advanced warning of our community's status moving forward into the future. Over the horizon, we face a shortage of leadership and money. This is not an immediate problem, but we would be hiding our heads in the sand if we ignored it. Over the past five years or so, we have had progressively larger budgets with the support of a generous donation and a strong surplus from our early years. We have entered into these budgets with optimism that we would grow into them as our congregation expanded. We have found over those years that we have indeed expanded. We are appealing to a larger community every year, to the extent that we have trouble fitting into our home at the Ethical Society at High Holidays. Our membership base, however, has remained stable. Unfortunately, our pool of leadership is getting smaller and more tired. We have yet to see the consequences of this situation. Our programming remains outstanding for a community of our size and resources. Also, by the time we end our next fiscal year, in June 2010, we will have lost our financial cushion. Although there are still funds available from the large donation, we have spent all but next year's portion of our surplus.

Since I became President over three years ago, my friends know of my interest in Synagogue business. I frequently receive e-mails and letters drafted by Rabbis and Presidents regarding the state of the their congregation. Recently, I received a letter from a Rabbi who witnessed a fire fighter rescuing two Torahs from a burning synagogue. My first reaction to that letter was to think that all of the synagogues are burning. Between the hit taken by endowments in the current economic market, and the reluctance of a new generation to affiliate with synagogues, we are all in a little bit of trouble. I joined Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City, remained a member and became president, because I believe in its core vision of participatory spirituality. I have great love for our founding leaders, and all of our current members. Rabbi Julie Greenberg is my Rabbi. When my mother became sick and died this year, a bright spot in my grief was my pride introducing my Rabbi to my family and friends. We are entering challenging times as a community. It is time for all of us to step up if we believe that this synagogue should continue to exist more than another year or so.

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

  • Welcome Spring!
    Beautiful spring day, beautiful spring flowers, recently photographed by Karen Zeitz at the Tulip Festival in Washington State.

  • May 2009 Activities
  • Sat - May 2 - 2009, 10:00 AM
    Shabbat Morning Service
    Our lay-led service will be at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Sq. Stay and schmooze at our potluck dairy/veggie lunch.

    Sun - May 3 - 2009, 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM
    Meet a Torah Scribe!
    Rabbi/Sofer Kevin Hale and Calligrapher Betsy Teutsch will talk about and demonstrate everything you want to know about Torah scrolls. Join us at the Kennedy House Community Room, 1901 JFK Blvd. AND ALL FOR $18 (materials, kosher lunch). Call Evy IMMEDIATELY if you plan to attend at 215-561-7474.

    Thu - May 7 - 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.

    Sun - May 10 - 2009, 8:00 AM
    LHI Team: Race for the Cure
    We'll meet by the Rocky statue, near the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    Fri - May 15 - 2009, 6:30 PM
    Home Services/Dinner
    We'll meet at Beverly's for short, lay-led services and a veggie/dairy potluck dinner. Call Bev at 215-557-3777 or to tell her what you'll be bringing.

    Sun- May 17 - 2009, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    Israel Independence Day Celebration
    A Jewish community event at Penn's Landing.

    Fri - May 29 - 2009, 7:30 PM
    With Rabbi Julie Greenberg, we celebrate the holiday of Shavuot and welcome the Sabbath Bride at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square.

    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,

    Would you like a bit of wisdom from the ancestors? Would that enrich your life, uplift you, tickle your fancy? Well you are in luck because this is the season for studying passages of Pirkei Avot, Wisdom of the Ancestors.

    If you google Pirkei Avot you will come up with some great resources (who needs a library anymore?) How about inviting a friend or a potential friend to spend an hour discussing some of the teachings? Traditionally this is done every Shabbat afternoon during the Omer (the counting period between Passover and Shavuot.)

    Ben Zoma said "Who is rich? He who is happy with what he has." (4:1) Does that mean you should not strive to change your circumstances? Is being rich simply a reflection of an attitude of satisfaction? How can you cultivate happiness no matter what your situation? The wisdom of Pirkei Avot may sound simple but there's plenty to ponder if you delve deeply.

    Have a great spring.
    Rabbi Julie

    Read more from Rabbi Julie
  • From Marci Fleet - Our Resident Artist
  • I am thrilled to be in the current show at the Woodmere Art Museum in Chestnut Hill. The museum is housed in a beautiful old mansion at 9204 Germantown Avenue.

    It's a very affirming experience to have my work in the same show as my print-making teacher's work from art school. Prior to this, I have exhibited and sold my work in smaller shows in alternative art spaces such as: restaurants, hospitals, and book stores. So, I see this as a step forward in my evolving as an artist.

    I have been working with digital photography for a year. Last spring I took a course at Moore and I developed a passion for the medium. My recent work in the art show is a piece, using digital photography in a creative way. The exhibit will be going on until June 7 at the museum. I welcome all questions and comments at, more information about the Woodmere Art Museum can be found at

    Above: From left, Landscape-2, Ode to Robert Indiana, and the times are a Changing all by Marci Fleet

    Upper Right: Reflection, on display at the Woodmere exhibit

  • Seder Success!
  • The photo shows an impromtu song presented by Roby Jacobs (second from left) with David Uniglicht, Rabbi Julie and choir director, Jessi Roemer, joining in.

    Leyv Ha-Ir's Annual Second Night Community Seder was a great success. Forty-five attendees enjoyed the telling of the Passover story with Rabbi Julie Greenberg preciding. The food and frolic was great.

  • Chesed Committee News
  • From the Chesed Committee: Susan Thompson will be working on the Chesed Committee with Pat Wisch. Pat will be away from early May until mid September. Susan looks forward to working with any congregants who have Chesed needs. If you would like to reach her, call Susan at 215-923-4040 or email at

  • Conference on Jewish Women Facing Serious Illness
  • On Thursday, May 7, 2009 from 8am-3pm at Har Zion Temple, Jewish Family and Children's Service will present the Third Edna S. Tuttleman Symposium on Jewish Women entitled, "Tikvah (Hope): Jewish Women Facing Serious Illness." Attendees will learn more about how Jewish tradition, community, and individuals can offer a compassionate response in difficult times. Blu Greenberg will be the keynote speaker and there will be workshops throughout the day on related themes.

    As you know, illness can dramatically impact the lives of individuals and their families and create complex emotional and spiritual responses. It is in these moments, that many turn to Judaism for solace. Please help us spread the word about this conference by passing this message along to your colleagues, friends, family, etc.

    If you would like additional information, please contact Debbie Boyer at or 267.256.2108.

  • Classified: Let Jack-of-All-Trades Help You Get Things Done
  • I am available for all forms of jack-of-all-trades, general-purpose work you need done. Please call John Mason at (215) 271-2982. Thanks.

    :: 215-629-1995