In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Message from Jessi
Salon Fundraiser
Rabbi's Message
POWER Update
Purim Party
Pre-Passover Workshop
LHI Online Gift Shop
April Yahrzeits
Listserv Reminders
Looking Ahead
Shavuot service
May 14 
We'll be celebrating the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai with Spiritual Leader Jessi Roemer. Join us at the Leisure Lounge (2nd floor) of the Penn Center House, 1900 JFK Blvd., 7:30 PM.

Annual Meeting June 2
Please plan to attend this important meeting.  Come for the brunch, stay for the meeting!
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.


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
Join Our List
Join Our Mailing List
Find us on Facebook!

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


Jewish Exponent
Contact Leyv Ha-Ir
Voice Mail:

APRIL 2013
Dear Friend of Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City,   


Spring is here, at least according to the calendar. Hopefully we will feel it soon as well. Often, people are looking for changes or new beginnings at this time of year, whether it's getting outdoors more, attending more cultural events without the worry of really bad weather, or just something more personally meaningful. Leyv Ha-Ir has a full calendar for April with many opportunities for you to get out and enjoy a variety of experiences. In addition to our monthly services, we will have our first ever Salon, a fundraiser organized by, and with many thanks to, Marsha Hyman. Also, many of us will attend a major POWER meeting on April 21. Details on these activities and more are in this newsletter.
We often hear from members and friends that they couldn't come to one of our services or events because they made other plans for that time. Why not make a Leyv Ha-Ir event that appeals to you as your priority this coming month? We hope to see you soon.


Bobbi Cohen, Roby Jacobs, and Iris Newman

Your Executive Committee


Saturday, April 06, 10:00 AM, Shabbat Morning Service

Join us at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square, Second Floor, for a lay-led service and discussion of the Torah portion. Stay and schmooze at our veggie potluck lunch.


Monday, April 08, 7:00 PM, Council Meeting

All members are invited to our Council meeting at Sandy Brown's home. Call 215.561.5149 for exact location.


Friday, April 12, 6:30 PM, Home Shabbat Service and Dinner

Join us at Susan Thompson's home for a 45-minute lay-led service, followed by a veggie pot-luck dinner. Call Susan at 215.923.4040 or email her at to RSVP and tell her what what you'll be bringing.


Friday, April 19, 7:30 PM, Kabbalat Shabbat Service

Join us as we welcome the Sabbath. Spiritual Leader Jessi Roemer and the LHI choir will lead us in Friday night prayers.  We'll be at the Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square.


Saturday, April 20, 7:00 PM, Fundraising Salon

This first-ever event is sure to be a fun evening. Hosted at Joan & Phil Steel's home, we'll enjoy a variety of performances from members and others. See article below for more detail.


Sunday, April 21, 3:00 PM, POWER Call to Action 

37 congregations will come together to ask our city's leaders the important questions that will make Philadelphia a city with opportunity for all. At Deliverance Evangelistic Church, 2001 W. Lehigh Ave., Philadelphia. Transportation from center city is being arranged. Please call Susan Thompson at 215.923.4040 if you haven't already committed to attend, and our voice mail at 215.629.1995 if you can offer a ride or need one.  


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. 

Cantor Jessi
Letter from Jessi


Dear Leyv Ha-Ir Hevre,


Happy Spring!


Here we stand, at the very end of Pesach, just as we stood a month ago on the heels of Purim. I hope that your sedarim, discussions, meals, questions, and journeys during this past week have been meaningful and nourishing!


The week of Pesach is traditionally referred to as zman cheruteinu - the time of our liberation. The Passover story ends with the Hebrews standing at the other side of the sea, trying to assimilate what has just happened: The Egyptian soldiers have drowned. After hundreds of years of slavery, the Hebrews are finally and completely free of Pharaoh! It is a moment of jubilance and praise, but it is also a moment of awe and sheer relief.


This moment at the sea is one we return to every morning and evening in our tradition, all year round, when we sing the Mi Chamocha prayer. We sing it to remind ourselves never to take our freedoms for granted. We sing it to re-capture not only the sacredness, but the sweetness and innocence of the moment when we first attained our liberation.


But we cannot remain forever in that moment of rapture and innocence. Teacher Joe Laur poses the question: What comes after liberation? What are the next steps? We have attained freedom; now it is aleynu - upon us - to decide what to do with it.


As we embark on the Omer, the period after liberation during which our ancestors wandered in the desert, we have the opportunity to identify our own deserts, the spaces of contemplation through which we must pass on our way out of Mitzrayim (our narrow places) and into a full, three-dimensional existence. And as we wander, counting down the weeks to Shavuot, we have the chance to decide proactively: How, specifically, shall we use the freedoms and privileges granted us? How can we employ them for greater good?


Many of us know about the fairly recent ritual of placing an orange on the seder plate. (This practice has spawned its own set of variants: even newer rituals have us placing a tomato to support migrant workers.) But few people know that this ritual was originally created to assert a place specifically for gays and lesbians in Judaism. As the ritual spread, the original intent was blurred and the explanation became a more widely "acceptable" version about the inclusion of women.


This ritual of the orange is an example of a next step: A small thing we can do with our freedom to raise awareness about situations in which many are not yet completely free.


It is fitting that during this time of liberation and question-asking, the U.S. Supreme Court has been considering cases of marriage equality and human rights for gays and lesbians. It is a moment of hope; this Spring, many members of the LGBT community may feel themselves to be standing at the sea, hoping and praying for the waters to part.


Regardless of how the Supreme Court judges rule these particular cases, all of us together have the power to eventually part that sea, if we put our minds to it. When a critical mass of their constituents sends the same message, for example, Congressional Representatives pay attention! As we step into the next season and phase of our ancestral journey, I invite everyone to consider: How will you use your freedom, your privilege, to uplift and grant freedom to others?


Hag sameach, and I'll see you at Sinai.


-       Jessi


You can read about the full journey of the orange ritual here:

Cocktail party for salon
A Special Fundraising Evening

Leyv Ha-Ir presents our  
First Fundraising Salon.  
An evening of Music, Song, and Laughter.
An evening of Food, Drink, and Friends.

Entertainment includes comedy by Theresa Candelaria, barbership quarter singing by Harmony Forever, original music by Jessi Roemer and a special surprise from Clown Babes: Charlie, Cherry and Soleil.

Wine and hors d'oeuvres will be served.

Saturday, April 20, 7:00 PM at
Joan and Phil Steel's home, 323 Spruce St., Philadelphia

Admission is $36.00 per person with advance reservations by Wednesday, April 17. $40 after April 17 or at the door.
Reservations may be made by email to or by phone to 215.629.1995.
Payment may be made at the door or in advance by sending a check to Leyv Ha-Ir, P.O. Box 15836, Philadelphia, PA 19103
or you can use PayPal by clicking on the Donate button here.

Your attendance will benefit your congregation, Leyv Ha-Ir!
Rabbi Julie Greenberg
A Letter from Rabbi Julie


Dear Chevre,


By the time you read this, I imagine you will have celebrated the freedom journey, Pesach, at one or more seders. We have survived Pharoah, crossed the Red Sea and now we stand facing our own freedom. What will we do with the vast and amazing opportunity we have to live our lives? That is what our ancestors had to address and that is what each one of us has to .


In Jewish teaching, opportunity and obligation are in rich relationship. Freedom means responsibility and responsibility allows for freedom. I see this dynamic at work in my experience training our puppy, Ashby Greenberg: the more obedient he is, the more freedom he gets. If he comes reliably when he is called, he gets the privilege of running freely in the woods. If he acts trustworthy around my house, not chewing the shoes, the sofa, the table legs, then he can have free reign rather than be caged in a crate. Discipline is actually liberating which is why soon after the exodus from Egypt, we find ourselves standing at Sinai, taking on the yoke of ethical, communal commitments.


I hope later this month, on April 21, you will consider joining me at a major POWER event, from 3:00 - 5:00. Congregations from all across the city are coming together to meet with elected officials about employment, education and immigration rights in this city. Our presence will make a difference that day. You can sign up to come, if you haven't already, by contacting me or Beverly Hayden or Susan Thompson. More info is included in this newsletter. We need you on April 21!


At this season, I start thinking about what book we will choose for our annual One Book, One Congregation reading. The title will be revealed at the annual meeting but in the meantime if you have suggestions of a great, readable, relevant book for this year, let's talk!


Love and Blessings from Your Rabbi, Julie

Power Logo
An Update


1. April 21 Call for Action
This event is a Call to Action and we are asking Leyv Ha-Ir members/friends to join us in this important community meeting.

Called "Building a City of Opportunity that Works for All," more than 3000 people of faith and the Philadelphia community will stand together to proclaim a vision for good jobs, great schools and a pathway to citizenship.

Please stand with us, together, to show our support for these goals. Rabbi Julie has been working diligently to get this action and support off the ground. Let's not let her down.

SUNDAY, APRIL 21, 3:00 TO 5:00 PM

A short ride from Center City and close to public transportation. We will endeavor to secure transportation  too. Please call our voice mail, 215.629.1995, to let us know that you will joining us, leaving contact information to reach you.

Click here for more info on accompanying flyer.

2. ALLIES (A Library In Every School)
At our Kabbalat Shabbat service on Friday, March 15, Principal Laureal Robinson joined us to talk about Spring Garden School.  She talked about some of their needs and expressed gratitude for our contributions which will enable every student at the school to take home their own book for summer reading.  We plan to stay connected to Spring Garden School and to offer our support however we can.

Laureal Robinson and Bobbi 3-15-13
Bobbi Cohen and Principal Laureal Robinson
LimmudPhilly logo
Learning for All, April 26-28

This year's program looks fabulous with many new and interesting presenters. 

You can learn more about it and register at

Remember to use discount code, LP13LEYV, when registering!

A Fun Time was had by All

Led by Spiritual Leader, Jessi Purimshpiel 2013
Roemer with Hazzan Jack Kessler.

A wonderful Purimshpiel was performed, thanks to Karen Zeitz for the script.

Purim 2013 Finkelstein's
Rave Reviews Received

Spiritual Leader Jessi Roemer led a lovely pre-Passover workshop at the Kennedy House on March 21. We sang some songs, talked about seder memories, and made rituals for our own preparations. Jessi introduced us to "Dekkaz", poems with 10 syllables, 2 in the first line, 3 in the second line and 5 in the third, (a form created by Rachel Bagby.)  Here are a few:
Just four
Best everPrePassover workshop 3-17-13
Under my own roof
Family time
Eat, drink, ask questions.

Spilled wine
Who did that
Doesn't matter - cleaned up

Greetings from the Leyv Ha-Ir Gift Shop. This month we are featuring THE SHEMA EARRINGS.
   earrings Shema turq silverearrings Shema pink gold
Hand-made and available in either gold or silver plate with pink or turquoise floral stones; the Shema in gold or silver. Your choice! The length is 1 1/2" long. Cost is $18.00 plus $2.50 for shipping per pair.

Place your order by writing  and enclosing your check to
Leyv Ha-Ir, P.O. Box 15836, Philadelphia, PA 19103
indicating what your purchase should look like., i.e. gold or silver/pink or blue.

Direct your questions to Beverly Hayden,


Click here to go to the complete gift shop. Please be patient as it may take a couple of minutes to open.

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


Samuel Goldberg


Irving Gussman 




faithways illustration

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