The Pulse of Our Congregation January 2010

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

Scholars Needed

January 2010 Activities

Rabbi's Message: Rabbi Julie Greenberg

Super Sunday: Together, We Can Be The Difference

LimmudPhilly Update - A Great Learning and Giving Opportunity

More Connection to the Heart of the City

Ladies of LHI enjoy delightful Rosh Hodesh

Kugel "met Peren"


Looking Ahead

"A Mighty Wind" is a funny movie with a lot of music in it. It contains one of the funniest scenes I have seen. That is why it is in my personal collection. It has some Jewish content, and most folks never heard of it. That is why the Education Committee is presenting it. On Sunday, February 7th at 11 AM at Joan Goldberg's. Brunch and a movie for $7.00. Come and enjoy! Call voicemail for more info - 215-629-1995
~Myrna Schlanger

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,

In Judaism we have lots of folk wisdom about the coming of a messianic age. For example, Moshiach will come if all Jews observed Sabbath for just one week. Another one is that Moshiach will come if the members of one synagogue could avoid hurtful speech for three weeks. Much of our prayer liturgy focuses on that perfect unifying day. For secular Jews, the concept of Moshiach can be challenging. Believing in a personified bringer of perfection feels inconsistent with logic and experience.

So we ask ourselves what does it mean to have faith? What does it mean for there to be the potential of Moshiach? I don't know. However, I do believe that people can change. I believe that life can be better. I believe that my efforts do not go to waste even if I see no immediate results. I believe that if I do the right thing, someone might be inspired to do the right thing too. So the next question is how does our secular Jew reconcile the apparent wrong direction the world sometimes takes. How do we avoid despair? I don't know that either. The wisdom of our Rabbi Julie is that being part of something bigger can soften some of that despair. Having a safe place to go, being in community, helping others all soften the harshness of life's harder realities. Our sacred writings identify long lists of things we can do or refrain from doing to repair the world. We know these things as Mitzvahs.

What surprises me as I get older is that a great reason to do Mitzvot is to make yourself feel better. May this secular, American New Year be a happy, healthy and prosperous year for you and the ones in your heart.

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

  • Scholars Needed
  • Pirke Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) is a compilation of the ethical teachings and maxims of the Rabbis of the Mishnaic period. It is the only tractacte of the Talmud dealing solely with ethical and moral principles with little or no halacha.

    When I was studying for my Simchat Chochmah when I turned 70 -- seven years ago!! -- I started studying Pirke Avot for two reasons: one was to practice Hebrew and secondly, to read and understand why this little book is so important. This was a valuable experience for me and I want to study it some more...That is why I am suggesting a study group to focus on the teachings of Pirke Avot.

    Our first meeting will be (or if you are receiving this after the date) or has been held on Monday, January 4th, 2010 at my apartment (1919 Chestnut Street, Apartment 1805) from 11:30 until 1:00 P.M. Future meetings will be (or have been) planned at that time. If you have missed the first meeting please contact me for further information.

    Please feel free to bring your lunch and I will provide beverages.

    Let me know if you plan to attend either by e-mail: or Phone: 215-563-1894; Cell: 201-574-6424.

    Looking forward to hearing from you,
    Pat Wisch

  • January 2010 Activities
  • Saturday, January 2, 2010, 10:00 AM
    Shabbat Morning Service
    Join us for a lay-led service back at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square, followed by a dairy/veggie potluck lunch.

    Sunday, January 3, 2010, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
    Council Meeting
    All members of Leyv Ha-Ir are invited to join us at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square.

    Friday, January 8, 2010, 6:30 PM
    Shabbat Home Service and Dinner
    We'll have a shortened lay-led service and potluck dinner at the home of Roby Jacobs. Call her at 215-546-8965 and tell her what dish you will be bringing.

    Friday, January 15, 2010, 7:30 PM
    Kabbalat Shabbat Service
    Our Kabbalat Shabbat servoce honoring the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King will be led by Rabbi Julie with the Leyv Ha-Ir choir 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.
  • Rabbi's Message: Rabbi Julie Greenberg
  • Dear Chevre,

    Welcome to the secular New Year, full of possibility for each of us and for the world. Last month I had the opportunity to meet with some of our new members for an hour before services. In our small circle, three people had mothers in their 90s. Reb Zalman, guru of age-ing and sage-ing always says "Mid-life is age sixty these days."

    An exciting area of focus in Judaism is how to serve congregations that include people in mid-years and beyond. Recently I was invited to speak on a panel at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College about the "Silver Rabbinate," rabbinic ministry to people in mid-life and beyond. This term, "Silver Rabbinate," is a newly coined term by Rabbi Dayle Friedman, director of the Hiddur Center at RRC. She had identified our community at Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City as a shining example of such a practice.

    I had never thought of myself as serving a community in its silver years but there is something to be said for the concept. We are a multi-generational community with members age 1 to over 80, but a normative cluster of members is in the mid and older years. Unlike some synagogues that are Bar Mitzvah mills, we are here for the spiritual questing of adults. We are not a pediatric community!

    The possibility of extended life spans, truly approaching the ages of our mythical biblical ancestors, beckons us to consider at each life stage, "how do I want to deploy myself? what is my purpose at this time?" These are active conversations in our community. When I was in my twenties and thirties I hungered to have mentors in the older decades who could be role models of what lives can look like. It is such a blessing for people of all ages to learn from one another.

    Whatever your age, you are always welcome at Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the city. Come join the journey.

    With love and blessings,
    Rabbi Julie

  • Super Sunday: Together, We Can Be The Difference
  • Date: Sunday, January 10, 2010

    Sponsored by: Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia

    Our Federation will once again bring together the Greater Philadelphia Jewish community at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr to make and take calls that raise vital funds for Federation's Annual Campaign - the largest local campaign that provides critical funds to support Jews in need here, in Israel and in the Former Soviet Union. Mark your calendar and plan to join us for this unique and important community-building effort. For more information and to register, call 215-832-0630 . There are morning and evening calling sessions or you can stay all day! Make Super Sunday a full day of philanthropy and fun.

  • LimmudPhilly Update - A Great Learning and Giving Opportunity
  • bagels & books

    LimmudPhilly is a Panoramic Jewish Learningfest that will take place at the Gershman Y And University of the Arts on March 6 & 7, 2010. It's a great opportunity to explore many facets of Judaism, including history, text, art, culture, and life, using a variety of dynamic and interactive learning approaches including lectures, workshops, group study, meditation, and yoga!

    The LimmudPhilly website,, has all the details of the event as well as lists of our presenters. We are most excited that our very own Rabbi Julie will be presenting this year, along with Ruth Messinger, President of the American Jewish World Service, and other noted presenters. Registration is also now open via the website or by phone at 267-235-4083.

    We are also looking for volunteers both before and during the event. You can take a short shift at a Help Desk or get involved in creating a wonderful experience for all. Please contact Pat Wisch at to learn more about volunteer opportunities or to lend your services. You can also volunteer using a button on the website.

    Want to experience a Taste of LimmudPhilly? A sampling of the Panoramic Jewish LearningFest will be offered during the afternoon break at the Jewish Federation's Super Sunday on January 10, 2010 from 1:00 to 3:00 PM at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr.

    Adults are invited to tap into the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with an interactive work-shop on the relationship between Jewish culture and social service. Rabbi Lauren Grabelle Hermann, of Kol Tzedek in West Philadelphia and the founding co-chair of LimmudPhilly, will lead this engaging discussion.

    Children ages six years old and up will have an opportunity to express their artistic side while creating their own Shabbat Blessing booklet. The children will be guided by Ellen Kremer, an occupational therapist and Hebrew School teacher, and Jonathan Kremer, an artist and rabbinical student. This project is certain to enhance your family's Shabbat ritual.

    Families with children six years old and up will be engaged by an interactive workshop on the topic of "Lashon hara" (telling of gossip). Discussion will be led by Miriam Steinberg-Egeth, Director of Hillel of Greater Philadelphia's Jewish Graduate Student Network.

    I hope to see you at Taste of Limmud as well as at LimmudPhilly in March!

    Bobbi Cohen
    LimmudPhilly Co-Chair

  • More Connection to the Heart of the City
  • One way to stay in touch with the daily workings of Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City is sign on to our listserv. The listserv is a way to share thoughts, concerns, ideas and events of interest to this congregation. In addition, the Rabbi frequently writes brief messages with uplifting tidbits of Jewish insight.

    To join the listserv, send your first and last name and e-mail address to Sharon Cooper at Please use the listserv in a respectful way, posting short messages that are likely to be of general interest. We hope you join this internal conversation at the Heart of the City.

    Call 215-629-1995 for more information.

  • Ladies of LHI enjoy delightful Rosh Hodesh
  • Margie Wiener, Jetty Beim, Joan Goldberg, Roby Jacobs (host), Susan Budenstein, Beverly Hayden & Marci Fleet lighting candles together. Our in-house photographer, Iris Newman, took the photo. It was a splendid time and our pollyanna grab-bag was lots of fun. Roby did a great job of leading us in song, prayer and a meaningful discussion. Thanks, Roby!

  • Kugel "met Peren"
  • It was December 2002 when LHI had its first Kugel-at-Xmas party. As I recall it was at the Hopkinson House, where Roberta Tansman was than living. Myrna Schlanger was in charge of the event, the kitchen and read some funny stories. She also challenged the Kugel makers into a contest with prizes.

    I had never made a kugel in my life, but in my Dutch days, doing my Social Work practice in the sixties in Amsterdam, I did have kugel a few times at "Kleine Fietje" (Little Sophie), called Kugel met Peren.

    I won in the LHI contest a first prize with a Tropical Fruit Kugel! Butter, cottage cheese, sour cream and a large can of Tropical fruit. How Jewish can you get?? I wrote Fietje about it, and asked for her Kugel recipe. Her two page return letter is something else. " Your kugel might have been "lekker" (tasty) but oh...I laughed so hard...of all the things you put into it!! First I will give you the Original Recept of Saartje Vos from the Israelitisch Kookboek (1893/1908)...makes you also laugh! So much fat! Even my mother (before WWII) did not make it that way anymore! Fietje gave me her recipe with elaborate detail of how to do the cooking of stewing-pears, add sugar, raisins, cinnamon; how to make a thick batter of flour (no milk for a meat dinner!), and the three hours of slow cooking. The dish becomes pink-reddish. Mmm..."lekker opeten." Please ask me any questions if unclear.

    A few years later Fietje gave me old Saartje Vos, 4th print with preface that it is exactly as the first except that the Rabbi's of Amsterdam in 1907 forbid to use gelatin. Saartje found a substitute: cornstarch! The cookbook is a family heirloom, full of penciled in notes. It belonged to a great aunt, who with her family took it to the Dutch Indies, it returned to Holland with them, and cousin Jettie, who like Fietje survived the Shoa, gave it to Fietje in later years. It had totally fallen apart, kaput! Fietje's husband had it rebound.

    Fietje died a few years ago. In honor of her and the Dutch Jewry I thought I should make a Kugel met Peren for LHI. There is a sad song: Amsterdam cries where once it was laughing, (because of the Shoa)...the gein (humor ) is gone... and it mentions this Kugel! As I live in three civilizations, Jewish, Dutch and American, I made a kugel met peren, my (lazy) way. A very basic Noodle Kugel, with a can of Trader Joe's pears, sour cream, eggs, cream cheese. It tasted very "ordinary", not fluffy as Myrna's forever good peach kugel and nothing like my Bundt-Pan noodle kugel of the last few years: with 6 eggs, butter, pecans, milk stuff...the kugel that tasted like an angel on your tongue. I will see what to do next year!

    Submitted by Roby Jacobs, December 2009

    :: 215-629-1995