The Pulse of Our Congregation April 2011

In this Issue

Looking Ahead

April 2011 Activities

Rabbi's Message

Leyv Ha-Ir Member Tells a Revolutionary Tale

Yahrzeits in April

Quotes of the Month

My Mamie: Sophie Lottie Dunsaft Schaffer.

Oneg Chair Wanted

An Angel's Gift: Memories of A Debbie Friedman Concert

Leyv Ha-Ir Purim Celebration!


Looking Ahead

Mark your Calendars Now!

Sunday, May 1
Fresh Voices from Israel and Palestine: Peace in the Middle East Discussion, 3 PM - 5PM, Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square

Leyv Ha-Ir and the Ethical Society are co-presenting a discussion about the Israel-Palestine situation and have invited to speakers from the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution, located at George Mason University. This should be a very exciting program. Please invite friends, family to attend. For more information, call 215-629-1995.

Sunday, May 22
A Day of Fun & Frolic - Leyv Ha-Ir Retreat - 10:00 AM, at Chamounix in Fairmount Park. Let's have a joyous day together as a community. Like to be part of the planning? Leave a message at 215-629-1995.

Find us on Facebook

Be sure to join and visit Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City's Facebook group

Marking Lifecycle Events

Friends, this is an invitation to keep Leyv Ha-Ir close in your thoughts when you have any occasion to remember someone with a card. Make a donation to your cherished congregation and honor someone you care about at the same time. It might be a note of sympathy, a message of congratulations, a shout-out on a happy occasion. Let me know, and I will gladly send along either one of Marcy Fleet's lovely art cards created for this use, or one I will customize based on your suggestions. I will also try to compose a note that carries your thought to the recipient.

Please direct checks to our PO Box 15836, Philadelphia PA 19103 and details to me. You can reach me at

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 of Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City,

You all know by now that our synagogue is a volunteer run community with fewer than fifty paid members which runs on a very modest budget. So it is at times like this, after a week when we celebrated Purim together, hosted a Friday night service and a successful educational event that I am especially proud of our volunteers/members. Starting with High Holidays in the Fall, this group continues to plan and execute a series of successful events throughout the year. The quality of these events rivals the programming of much larger and better funded synagogues. Later this Spring, in addition to our regular services, please consider attending our Spring Retreat, our Community Seder, and our grant funded follow-up to our facilitated Dialogues on Israel. Please follow us on the Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir website, or on our Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir facebook page. Please share information about us with your network.

Michael Meketon
President, Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir

  • April 2011 Activities
  • Saturday, April 2, 2011, 10:00 AM
    Shabbat Morning Service
    Join us at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Sq. for our lay-led service and veggie/dairy pot-luck lunch.

    Monday, April 11, 2011, 7:00 PM
    Council Meeting
    All members are invited to join us at a member's home

    Tuesday April 19, 2011, 6:00 PM
    Annual Second Night Community Passover Seder
    The Philadelphian, 2410 Pennsylvania Avenue.

    Please join us for a full Passover Service with Rabbi Julie Greenberg and Cantorial Soloist, Jessi Roemer. A delicious meal will be provided. Cost is $55 for adults; $20 for children. Reservations must be made by April 12th by completing the registration form on the Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir website.

    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 upcoming activities.
  • Rabbi's Message
  • Dear Chevre,

    Pesach is almost here, beckoning us to take a place at the table to renew our appreciation of Jewish values. Let all who are hungry come and eat! There is no political litmus test for inclusion at the seder. Everyone is welcome whether you hold a majority or a minority view on any particular issue. This understanding of freedom is so relevant at this particular moment in history when people around the world are rising up and wanting their place at the table, their voices to be heard. One of the most powerful moments for me in the seder is when we take ten drops of wine or grape juice out of our cups, diminishing our joy in recognition of the fact that struggles for freedom have a price and that people suffer for freedom. This year let's dedicate our seder to all those actively working for a better and freer world. Let's renew our own commitment to creating a world free of poverty, violence, hunger, pollution and disease and oppression. There's still time to join our second night Passover seder, Tues. April 19. I hope wherever you are you have a great festival of freedom (and enjoy the spring.)

    Love and Blessings,
    Rabbi Julie

  • Leyv Ha-Ir Member Tells a Revolutionary Tale
  • On March 27th's, Leyv Ha-Ir's Educational Committee presented our member Phil Steel, dressed in Revolutionary Uniform. Phil Steel's great-great-great grandfather fought in the Revolutionary war and he related the history of his amazing family, who not only fought in that war, but bought and preserved Monticello until it was deeded to our Government. An amazing story with photos and documents to illustrate his tales.

  • Yahrzeits in April
  • May These Souls Be Bound in the Bond of Eternal Life

    Irvin Gussman
    Samuel Goldberg

  • Quotes of the Month
  • "Joy is what happens when we allow ourselves to recognize how good things are."

    "The difficulty of the journey sometimes turns out to be its blessing."

    both by Marianne Williamson

  • My Mamie: Sophie Lottie Dunsaft Schaffer.
  • I imagine where she is now there is no childhood sickness. There are no lonely children. There are no Nazis. There is no war. No betrayal. No survivors guilt. No depression. No bad husbands. No single motherhood. No fear. There is no diabetes, high blood pressure or dementia. I would say there are no girdles, but I think she thought we should all wear girdles, so that's for me, not her.

    Instead: There are symphonies, opera, theater and ballet. There is dark chocolate. There are Sunday drives and restaurants and travel. There are swimming pools where she can spend as much time in the sun as she wants getting a deep, dark tan. There is lifelong learning and a stock market which only goes up. The movie theaters all play romantic British period dramas and she can understand every word. There is a beautiful new outfit every day with matching shoes and purse. And she never has to worry because everything is always on sale.

    Thank you, Mamie, for always being there, a constant in our lives. And thank you for being such a strong example. I will miss you forever.

    Submitted by: Zoe Beckerman, granddaughter of the Deceased, daughter of Susan Thompson.

  • Oneg Chair Wanted
  • Your synagogue needs a volunteer to coordinate Oneg Shabbats for our Monthly Friday Night Services at the Ethical Society Building. The Oneg Chair will identify volunteers for each Oneg and coordinate their support to purchase refreshments, set up before services and clean up after services. Please respond by e-mail to if interested.

  • An Angel's Gift: Memories of A Debbie Friedman Concert
  • I heard the songs of an angel that night
    And I became devotional, emotional
    That I was among the lucky ones
    Lifted skyward by your generous gift of song
    "And you shall be a blessing, evermore."

    There were
    Healing songs, redemptive songs,
    Spiritual beauty reaching
    Mind, body and spirit
    Deep down to my very soul.
    "And you shall be a blessing, evermore."

    Here was a prophet-poet-cantor
    Singing and caressing
    Her heaven-sent guitar
    Like it was an ancient Hebrew lyre
    The two instruments, guitar and lyre,
    Becoming as one beat--
    To the rhythm of angels' wings--
    "And you shall be a blessing, evermore."

    Now I hear the sound of thunder
    Above me;
    I think it must be the sound of angels
    Applauding as they gather 'round you
    In the center spotlight of the
    Hallelujah Court
    Singing with you,
    To you, for you:
    "And you shall be a blessing, evermore."

    c--Roy Shenberg

  • Leyv Ha-Ir Purim Celebration!
  • A wonderful Purim Party, with 30 people in attendance. Open to the community, with food, entertainment and lots of drink!

    Photo (right): Rabbi Julie Greenberg & Hazen Jack Kessler

    Photo (below): Purimspieler's: Michael Meketon, Karen Zeitz, John Mason, Joan Goldberg, Iris Newman, Sue Frank (costume provider)

    :: 215-629-1995