The Pulse of Our Congregation April 2010

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

THIS YEAR IN JERUSALEM: Our Wonderful 2010 Trip to Israel.

April 2010 Activities

Rabbi's Message: Rabbi Julie Greenberg

Leyv Ha-Ir's 14th Gathering - Shabbaton in Fairmount Park

Mi Zeh Chacham - for Rabbi Julie Greenberg

Where Kabbalah Began

Bagels and Books!

Embrace simplicity with the LHI Declutterers

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

Discounted Parking for Ethical Society Events


Looking Ahead

Sunday, May 16, 2010
Mark your calendars now!! Election of New Officers to Take Place Kennedy House, 10:30 AM

Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Shavuot Service with Rabbi Julie. 7:30 PM at the Ethical Society

Sunday, June 13, 2010
3:00 PM
Program with Susan Budenstein, our beauty expert. Details to follow.

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.

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.

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

Happy Passover. Our nominating committee has been very active helping our community restructure its leadership moving forward. Thank you to Beverly, Bobbi, Karen and Evy for your exhaustive interview and assessment project. Organizationally, we are ready to change things around, and to create more excited energy about our future. Every transition is difficult, and I imagine that even our ancestors leaving Egypt mourned their familiar former habits. So it is as we are planning to leave behind our current way of doing things. I am so grateful for this committee prodding me and the rest of our congregational leadership. It can seem easier to stay in Egypt than to move on, but move on we must.

If this committee does not contact you, please contact them. We are seeking to understand the needs and the ability of each of our community members so that we can provide meaningful synagogue life for each other and our selves.

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

  • THIS YEAR IN JERUSALEM: Our Wonderful 2010 Trip to Israel.
  • By Iris Newman

    Beverly Hayden and I have recently returned from two weeks in Israel, starting with a Hadassah mission on February 22, and staying a few days on our own. We saw a lot of the country, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Safed, Tiberias, and the West Bank. Jerusalem is always a high point, though it was mostly cold and rainy (praying for rain apparently works!) We left messages in the Western Wall, and visited the grave of Henrietta Szold on the Mt. of Olives. Of course we toured the Hadassah Hospital complex, an amazing place built with many, many contributions. Our trip to Bet El, a West Bank settlement on the site of Jacob's dream of the ladder, exposed us first-hand to the religious fervor of many of the settlers. For the megilah reading, we went to a synagogue affiliated with the American Conservative movement, with chanting by several cantorial students - lots of fun. Purim is a big holiday in Israel - people take off work and children show off their costumes at the malls.

    We were driven to Safed in the north through the Jordan valley. Safed was the height of Jewish mysticism, beginning as a refuge for some of the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492. A synagogue marks the spot where mystics created the Kabbalat Shabbat service that we love. There were devoted prayers said at the tomb of Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai on nearby Mt. Meron. The Arbel hill nearby held the caves used by Jewish rebels against Roman power. Tiberias has a small monument to the Nikud, the little vowels used under and around Hebrew letters, invented there. Everywhere we went was beautiful, with new green grass and wildflowers thanks to the winter rains. Naturally, there were lots of beautiful hand-made Judaica, jewelry, etc. to buy - we did a little damage.

    Some impressions: the security situation is much better than in my last previous visits in 2002 and 2006. Then there were security guards everywhere, much concern about bombs and general nervousness. Now, the concern with security is much muted and Jews can go places in or near the West Bank where we couldn't readily go before, such as the Mt. of Olives. This calm is said to be due to the Wall/security fence, whatever else you might think of it. The state seems very much a going concern, but I don't think peace is coming in the short or medium term. Note that the trip we were on did not deal with the many problems in Israeli society or the lives of the Palestinians.

  • April 2010 Activities
  • Saturday, April 3, 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, April 11, 2010, 11:00 AM
    Council Meeting
    Council Meeting at Iris N.'s, 1919 Chestnut St. #2507. All LHI members are invited.

    Friday, April 16, 2010, 7:30 PM
    Kabbalat Shabbat Service with Rabbi Julie
    Our service welcoming the Sabbath Bride will be held at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse, with Rabbi Julie Greenberg and the Leyv Ha-Ir Choir.

    Friday, April 23, 2010, 6:30 PM
    Shabbat Home Service/Dinner
    Home Shabbat Service/Dinner
    We'll hold a lay-led, 45-minute service followed by a pot-luck veggie/dairy dinner at the home of a congregant. Place to be determined.

    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,

    Thank you for the outpouring of celebration in honor of our Rabbi-Congregation covenant. So much wonderful energy went into an evening full of Shabbat song, stories, and roasting, not to mention the gigantic yellow cake enjoyed by all. Donations are still flowing in, with appreciative notes and Mazel Tovs. Long term relationships aren't so easy in this world. I am immensely proud of the one we are growing together as Rabbi and congregation.

    As the Torah says in Deuteronomy, when the Jewish people are reaffirming their covenenat on the verge of entering the promised land, "I make this covenant...not with you alone, but both with those who are standing here with us this day before our God, Yud Hay Vahv Hay, and with those who are not with us here this day." Our actions to build sacred community are on behalf of our ancestors whose legacy we hold in trust, and on behalf of our people's descendants whose future wellbeing is entrusted to us. Our commitment to Jewish continuity is our Jewish way of partnering with God to be holy human beings.

    Special thanks to Jessi Roemer for the beautiful song she wrote for me, to all of Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City for the gift of a framed menorah from S'fat, and to the Covenant Committee for all they did to make this meaningful event happen.

    Love and Blessings to all,
    Rabbi Julie

  • Leyv Ha-Ir's 14th Gathering - Shabbaton in Fairmount Park
  • Saturday, May 1st, Chamounix Mansion Services led by Rabbi Julie, a catered lunch, followed by Rabbi Rayzel Raphael "Meeting our Jewish Angels" The price remains the same as in the past - If mailed by April 20, send $50 to PO Box 15836, Philadelphia, PA 19103

    A flyer will be mailed out to you as well. Friends, family are encouraged to attend.

  • Mi Zeh Chacham - for Rabbi Julie Greenberg
  • The song below was written for Rabbi by our choir director:

    Text: Pirkei Avot/Jessi Roemer
    Music/Arrangement: Jessi Roemer

    Mi zeh chacham? Me she lomed mi kol adam.
    Mi zot morah? Zot she me'ira et ha neshama.

    Who is wise? One who learns from everyone.
    Who is a teacher? One who awakens the soul.

  • Where Kabbalah Began
  • The Ari Ashkenazi Synagogue is located in Safed, Israel. Built in the sixteenth century, the synagogue is named after Rabbi Isaac Luria,(1534-1572)) who was a great kabbalist who arrived in Safed in 1570. (He was also known as Rabbi Ari). A Hebrew inscription above the entrance lintel reads: "How awe-inspiring is this place, the synagogue of the Ari of blessed memory." The synagogue is known for its colorful and ornate Holy Ark. It may be the oldest synagogue in Israel that is still in use.

    The synagogue was established by Sephardic immigrants from Greece who arrived in Safed during the sixteenth century. When Rabbi Isaac Luria arrived he prayed in this synagogue on the eve of the Shabbat. During the service, he was accustomed to leave the synagogue with his disciples and walk to a nearby field to welcome the Sabbath. The Ari's tradition of welcoming the Sabbath during Kabbalat Shabbat is still echoed in Jewish communities around the world during the singing of Lecha Dodi, when worshippers turn toward the entrance of the synagogue to "greet" the sabbath.

    In the eighteenth century, with the arrival of the Hasidim from Eastern Europe, the synagogue came to serve the Ashkenazi community. The synagogue was destroyed in the Galilee earthquake of 1837, and was rebuilt 20 years later. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War a bomb is said to have fallen in the outside courtyard. Shrapnel flew into the synagogue while it was packed with people seeking shelter, yet miraculously no one was hurt. This event was considered one of many miracles said that took place in Safed. Though the synagogue is associated by name with the Ashkenazi community, today it serves as a place of worship for Hasidic and Sephardic Jews and remains popular among worshippers of different affiliations.

    The Holy Ark was carved from olive wood by a craftsman from Galicia, in the style of the synagogues of Eastern Europe. It includes an anthropomorphic image of a lion, alluding to Rabbi Luria's acronym Ari, which means lion.

  • Bagels and Books!
  • Bagels & Books to be held Sunday, April 25th, 11 AM at Joan Goldberg's Apartment, 1901 Kennedy Blvd., #2226.

    New Jersey author Michelle Cameron, and Evy Simon's cousin, will discuss her writing life and her novel, THE FRUIT OF HER HANDS, based on her 13th Century ancestor, Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg, as narrated by his fictional wife, Shira. After her talk, Michelle will answer questions and sign copies of her novel, which will be available for $25.

  • Embrace simplicity with the LHI Declutterers
  • The Leyv Ha-Ir Declutterers Group started as an outgrowth of last year's Shabbaton/retreat. We are 8 members, who have collectively over the year gotten rid of enough clothes, boxes, papers, and clutter to fill a house (OK, maybe a small house). We marked our first year anniversary with a lovely tea party at a member's home. We can accommodate a few more LHI members who would like to join us on the 3rd Monday evening of each month to talk about simplifying. Contact Evy at 215-561-7474.

  • 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 Leyv Ha-Ir member John Mason at (215) 271-2982. Thanks.

  • Discounted Parking for Ethical Society Events
  • EZ Park, located at 2101 Chestnut Street in the River West Condo Garage (covered), has offered Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir discounted parking.

    The cost is $6, weekdays after 5PM; Weekends all day for $6. All tickets must be stamped with an Ethical Society Stamp.

    :: 215-629-1995