In This Issue
Upcoming Events
Message from Jessi
POWER Update
Tour and Service at the Little Shul
LHI Online Gift Shop
Photos from Recent Events
May Member Birthdays
May Yahrzeits
Listserv Reminders
Looking Ahead
Annual Meeting June 2
All members are urged to come to this meeting in the William Penn House Community Room, 1919 Chestnut Street. A light brunch will be served.

Tour & Service at The Little Shul June 14 
See article for more details. 
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:

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


"And when you reap the harvest of your land, you should not wholly reap the corner of your field, neither should you gather the gleaning of your harvest; you should leave them for the poor, and for the stranger: I am Adonai your God."  (Leviticus 23:22).  This verse immediately follows, and is part of, the instructions for observing the holiday of Shavuot. (The Book of Ruth is read on this holiday because Ruth came to the attention of her future husband Boaz by gleaning in his fields.).
How should we observe this commandment if we don't have a wheat field to make available for gleaning? Most literally, if you have a vegetable garden, give surplus veggies to poor people - there are organizations that facilitate this. If you don't have a garden - or if you do - give money or volunteer time to one of the many agencies and organizations that do this work.
April has been fun, with the Salon and exemplary Kabbalat Shabbat, Shabbat morning service and home Shabbat. We're looking forward to a good May, and to seeing you at our events.


Bobbi, Roby, and Iris N.

Your Executive Committee


Saturday, May 04, 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, May 13, 7:00 PM, Council Meeting

All members are invited to our Council meeting at Joan Goldberg's home. Call 215.561.5193 for exact location.


Tuesday, May 14, 7:30 PM, Shavuot Service
Join us for Shavuot service as we celebrate the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai, with Spiritual Leader Jessi Roemer. We'll be in the Leisure Lounge of the Penn Center House, 1900 JFK Blvd.

Friday, May 24, 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.

Friday, May 31, 6:30 PM, Home Shabbat Service and Dinner

Join us for a short (45 minute) lay-led Kabbalat Shabbat service, followed by a veggie/dairy potluck dinner. We'll be at Karen Zeitz' in South Philly. Contact Karen at 215-568-5150 or for directions and to tell her what you'll be bringing. 


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
DRASH: Kedoshim 4/19/13

Shabbat Shalom.


The essence of this week's Torah portion is in its title. But first, a word about titles: Almost every writer will tell you that a title should be very carefully chosen; it should evoke the heart of the piece of writing; if you were to boil the piece down to its essence, that's what the title should be.


Torah chapters, for the most part, are not titled as carefully; each portion is typically titled with the first or second word in the portion's first sentence. That has its own poetic effect; the title words come to take on a little extra weight in our understanding of the portion. But overall, Torah titles are chosen pretty formulaically -- except for this week's parsha: Kedoshim: "Holy." Kedoshim is the fourteenth word in this chapter. Specifically, it means "holy" in the plural, referring to the community of Israelites whom God is addressing through Moses. It comes at the end of the first sentence: "And YHVH spoke to Moses, saying: 'Speak to all the congregation of Israel, and say to them: Be holy, for I, your God, am holy.'"


Whoever titled this portion waded a ways into the text to pull out this word, and make extra sure that we get the point: We are supposed to be Kedoshim. We have it in us. We must try.


This week in Tablet Magazine, Shai Held wrote a piece entitled, "Why First Responders Are Jewish Heroes." I liked this piece because rather than seeking to exalt the actual Jews engaged in heroic acts - as we often have a tendency to do - he instead suggests that all first responders - Jewish and non-Jewish - embody in their work the highest ideal of Judaism: "To walk in God's ways." We, Held says, should all model ourselves on what they do. This means "to bring a little bit of God's love and compassion to the widow, the orphan, the Alzheimer's patient, and the bombing victim." The scarier other people's circumstances, the more important it is for us to run towards them. "You want to be religious?" he writes, "Learn to be present for other people when they are in pain. All the rest is commentary." You can read the full Tablet article here


I think this last sentence is key, because while what first responders do is symbolic of what we all should do - run towards a problem rather than away from it -- Held broadens the concept of holy work beyond that of first responders. Some people are very good in a crisis -- some have the skills and stomach to assist injured people where they fall. Others are better at transporting, operating on, cooking for people, caring for their children, mending their homes, writing the stories of those who are suffering, teaching, creating art that gives voice to the voiceless, the list goes on. The point is to identify your skills - whatever they are - and use them to help, rather than run away.


The other instruction in this article, and the instruction in this week's portion, is to instill habits of generosity into our daily actions: Always leave a portion aside for the poor. Pay your workers fairly. Do not judge; do not speak ill of people. Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor. These are things that we can all do, in addition to offering up our unique skills to help each other.


Why is this useful this week? At this moment in our country, and in the world, when senseless violence, legislative incompetence, hazardous accidents, climate change and continuing war can leave us reeling and unbalanced, kindness and connection are the hook for us to hang onto. We come together. We act - for good. At the local level: On April 21, thousands of people in Philadelphia will gather together with POWER to demand fair wages and working conditions for 3,000 Philadelphia Airport workers. At the national level: On April 9 there was an interfaith congressional call-in day to prevent gun violence. At the international level: The organization ( is doing globe-wide grass roots organizing to solve the climate crisis. These are just a few examples of folks coming together to do the holy work of taking care of our planet and each other.


We must strive to be Kedoshim. We have it in us. We must try.



Power Logo
An Update


POWER Public Action Meeting:  April 21, 2013
POWER 4-21-13 Rabbi Bobbi Hugh
Leader Hugh Taft-Morales of Ethical Humanistic Society of
Philadelphia, Rabbi Julie Greenberg and President Bobbi Cohen
of Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir

POWER crowd 2
3500 people assembled

POWER 4-12-13 Superintendent Hite
School Superintendent William Hite committed to work with POWER

Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir was proud to be a part of the
POWER (People Organized to Witness, Empower & Rebuild)
Public Action Meeting. The Philadelphia Interfaith community, 40 citywide congregations, proclaimed its commitment to help secure good wages and access to proposed airport jobs, improve schools by increasing parent involvement, and ease a pathway for inclusion of immigrants.

Television, radio and newspaper media and City Council members were part of the assembled. It was a very exciting and meaningful assembly! Progress in these endeavors will
be reported in future newsletters.  

Kudos to our members for making this
a memorable event.
Little Shul interior
A Very Special Kabbalat Shabbat on June 14

The Little Shul, formally known as Congregation Shivtei Yeshuron Ezras Israel, is being featured as part of Philadelphia's Hidden City Festival. Leyv Ha-Ir will have a special program there on the evening of June 14. At 7:00 pm we will be given a tour of this historic synagogue in South Philly, followed by our own Kabbalat Shabbat service. There will be a time for sharing your experiences growing up Jewish in one of Philadelphia's neighborhoods, and of course an Oneg Shabbat.


Please mark your calendar to attend. The Little Shul is located at 2015 South 4th Street, between McKean St. and Snyder Ave. The Route 57 bus goes there and there is street parking. You can read more at:


The Little Shul website:
Recent Exponent article

Bat Mitzvah Story here 

Ribbon Necklace

This month's featured item at the Leyv Ha-Ir Gift Shop is this lovely ribbon necklace with Gold and Silver Plate Star of David. It is available in the colors shown above plus white.
Price  $18.00 plus $2.50 shipping and handling.
Necklace for May 2013 newsletter
Place your order by writing and enclosing your check to
Leyv Ha-Ir, P.O. Box 15836, Philadelphia, PA 19103.  Be sure to include the item name (ribbon necklace) and color.

Direct your questions to Beverly Hayden,


Click here to go to the complete gift shop. Please be patient as it may be a little slow to open.
Passover Seder 2013
Passover Community Seder
Choir Passover seder 2013




Salon (Our First Ever!)
Salon 2013  attendees

Salon 2013 Theresa
Theresa Candelaria made us laugh with her comedy.

Harmony Forever, Phil Steel's Barbershop Quartet, entertained us with lively music.

Happy Birthday
Please join us in extending birthday wishes to these members:

Frann Shore - May 9

Charlotte Weiss - May 19

Shirley Adelman Kenig - May 20

Maria Mackey - May 20

Myrna Shenberg - May 26

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


Gloria Goldstein





faithways illustration

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


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