In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Rabbi's Message
Bagels & Books Recap
May Yahrzeit
Listserv Reminders
Update from POWER
My Path To Judaism
Looking Ahead


Kabbalat Shabbat & Bat Mitzvah of Mozi Greenberg, Friday, June 22, 7:30 PM


Mozelle (Mozi) Greenberg, daughter of Rabbi Julie, will be Bat Mitzvah during Shabbat Services at the Ethical Society. Our community is invited.

Marking Lifecycle Events

Please remember Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City when you have any occasion to send a greeting card to someone. 


While we are happy to receive contributions in any amount, for a minimum $10 contribution we will gladly send one of Marci Fleet's lovely art cards created for this purpose to the recipient of your choice.


Make a donation to your congregation and honor someone you care about at the same time. It might be a note of sympathy, a message of congratulations, get well, or a shout-out on a happy occasion. Sue Frank will gladly send along either one of Marci's cards, or one she will customize one based on your suggestions. Sue will also compose a note that carries your thought to the recipient.


Please use the 
contribution form on our website, which contains the mailing address for your contribution, PO Box 15836, Philadelphia PA 19103. You can also

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


Contact Leyv Ha-Ir
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May 2012
Dear Friends of Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City,  

Happy Spring (for real this time) to all. We hope you had a joyous and meaningful Passover.

Along with the holidays of Passover and Shavuot, spring also means it's time for Leyv Ha-Ir's annual meeting.  All members are invited to elect a new Council and discuss our community's future. The annual meeting will be held Sunday, May 6 at the Kennedy House Community Room (see LHI Calendar May 2012 below for more details).  In addition to the usual activities and reports, we will be discussing some of the details of Rabbi Julie's sabbatical, which will begin after Yom Kippur.

Our nominating slate includes a couple of open executive positions. Please consider how you might be able to help your community, either by serving in an "official" position or on a committee. But most of all your participation matters, so please plan to attend this important meeting.

See you then or some time soon,

Bobbi, Susan, Iris and Patricia

LHI Calendar May 2012

Saturday,  May 5, 10 AM, Shabbat Morning Minyan 

Join us at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square, for a lay-led service, Torah discussion, and veggie potluck lunch.


Sunday,  May 6, 11:30 AM, Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting of LHIAll members should come for brunch and a business meeting. We'll be in the Community Room of the Kennedy House, 1901 JFK Blvd., 30th Floor. Brunch will be served at 11:30 AM and the meeting will begin at 12:30 PM. This will be a great opportunity to learn more about upcoming plans, elect new officers and Council, and approve next year's budget.


Friday,  May 11, 7:30 PM, Friday Night Service 

Rabbi Julie and the LHI choir will lead us in Friday night prayers as we welcome the Sabbath Bride. We'll be at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square.


Monday, May 14
, 7 PM, Council Meeting All members are invited to join us at Laura Jacob's. Call 215-629-1995 for more information.


Tuesday, May 15, 6 PM, ALLIES (library project) meeting at

Rodeph Shalom.  (see POWER article below for more info).


Friday, May 18, 6:30 PM, Shabbat home dinner/service Join us for a 45-minute lay-led service and a veggie potluck supper. We'll be at Karen Z.'s home in South Philly. Contact Karen at or LHI at 215-629-1995 for directions and to tell her what you'll be bringing.


Sunday, May 27, 10 AM, Shavuot   Rabbi Julie and the LHI choir will lead as we celebrate the giving of the Torah. We'll be in the Community Room on the 31st floor of the Kennedy House, 1901 JFK Blvd.

Sunday, May 27
, 1 PM, Susan Budenstein Memorial  Susan Budenstein's family will sponsor a memorial service 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.


Take a complete look at Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir upcoming activities. 


Rabbi's Message 
Rabbi Julie Greenberg
by Rabbi Julie Greenberg


Dear Chevre,


 As we approach Shavuot, I am thinking of the teaching that 600,000 families stood at Sinai, each hearing a unique part of the revelation. Only when they put all their perspectives together did they have the whole Torah. What does this teach us today?


Each of us has a piece of the truth, each of us has a unique and valuable perspective. So when we live or work together, an important spiritual practice is to accept each other's contributions with complete respect. We may disagree or not understand but our attitude, since we are standing together at Sinai, can be one of real curiosity about what the other has to contribute.


What gets in the way of open curiosity? I think a worldview that focuses on right/wrong, good/bad makes it difficult for us to listen well. If you are right then I must be wrong, so it is natural for me to be defensive. A Jewish understanding is that we all have some of the truth. I hope this encourages us to see situations with an appreciation of complexity and diversity.


I am looking forward to receiving Torah together on Shavuot.


Love and Blessings, 

Rabbi Julie 


April Bagels & Books Recap




John Mason leading discussion

Sunday, April 15, fifteen members and friends of Leyv Ha-Ir met for "Bagels & Books".  John Mason led a lively discussion on "The Treasury of American Jewish Folklore".  


A lovely brunch was followed by a birthday celebration for two members of LHI. 

Happy Birthday Bev and Pat




May Yahrzeit


May This Soul be Bound in the Book of Eternal Light:




Gloria Goldstein

Leyv Ha-Ir Listserv Reminders
faithways illustration

To Post a Message - just send an email to


Leyv Ha-Ir Event Postings - will be posted by Beverly Hayden using the information on our web calendar.


Other Event Postings - You can post information about other events or information of interest by sending an email to


Contact Beverly or Bobbi if there are questions about the listserv.


Passover Seder!

Forty-five people attended our Second Annual Passover Seder on April 7th. Rabbi Julie is shown with two participants who found the afikomen.  Lucky kids!!

Passover 2012
Update from POWER (Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild)


Many of you are now familiar with LHI's involvement in the POWER project -- Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild.


The main long-range focus of POWER has been to focus on the airport expansion as a means of securing more jobs and job training for underserved city residents. POWER is holding a Leadership Assembly at Rodeph Shalom on June 12 to gain City Council members' support for initiating  a city ordinance to promote economic justice. We will be signing postcards to support this goal at our Annual Meeting on May 6.

 In addition to the airport job and training ordinance, POWER member congregations have been researching more immediate job opportunities. Among these is Rodelph Shalom who has developed an ALLIES (A Lively Library In Every School) project. Out of the 250 Philadelphia schools, only 47 have full-time libraries and librarians. There is no law in Philadelphia that mandates a public school must have a library (although private schools and prisons must have one).

Rodeph Shalom has graciously invited Leyv-Ha-Ir  and St. Paul's Church to work on the library project.  Currently, members of the committee have met with several key organizations including APSAC (Association of Philadelphia School Librarians), WEPAC (West Philadelphian Alliance for Children) and Library Build, to research different ways of initiating libraries in public schools. A local neighborhood school will be selected as a target library

project. It was decided at the April 19th meeting that three subcommittees will be formed to continue work on ALLIES. These include direct service, public policy and public awareness. Any of our congregants who are interested in participating in research and development of the ALLIES library project are encouraged to attend future planning meetings. The following meetings will be held at Rodeph Shalom: May 1 at 6 p.m. (Reading Related Volunteerism), May 15 and June 19.  Please join us in supporting such a worthwhile project.


For further information, please contact Susan Thompson, thom5@comcast.netor Beverly Hayden,



My Path To Judaism
by John O. Mason


John O MasonI was brought up in a rural township in upstate Pennsylvania, and I was made to attend Sunday school in a little Methodist church. That was the religious practice I went through; but I knew there was a world beyond that township and the people I grew up with. I have always read extensively, about other religions, particularly Judaism; there is a Hasidic saying that many people not brought up Jewish were born with Jewish souls. That was how it was for me.


          I started my conversion process in 1990. At the Israel Independence Fair that May, I found the booth from the Reconstructionist movement for organizing a congregation in Center City Philadelphia (which later became Leyv Ha-Ir), and I left my contact information. We started as a group of people meeting in living rooms, and we have flourished. Leyv Ha-Ir is better than a family for me.


          Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael provided me with a study program for my conversion: read the Encyclopedia Judaica, which I found in the Paley Library of Temple University; visit a number of synagogues in the area, to know the variety of Jewish worship; read about Kashrut and Israel; and read Basic Judaism by Milton Steinberg, which explains the basic beliefs of Judaism. I also took conversion classes: Introduction to Judaism through the Reform movement, and Jewish Alive and American, through the Reconstuctionist Rabbinical College.


          Right after Yom Kippur in 1994, I went through the Mikveh, and I became a full-fledged Jew; in March 1998 I took part in a Bnei Mitzvah group. Entering the Jewish faith is the best thing I ever did. My next goal -- a trip to Israel.