In This Issue
Upcoming Events
POWER Update
Annual Meeting Recap
Member Profile: the Steel's
July Member Birthdays
Listserv Reminders
Looking Ahead
Home Shabbat at Myrna's
August 3 
Spending Shabbat morning at Myrna Schlanger's home in NJ has been a summer highlight for many of us for a number of years. Please plan to come.  Transportation can be arranged from the PATCO High Speed Line.

One Book, One Congregation
August 25
We are reading "The Dignity of Difference" by Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks. We'll meet at Laura Jacobs' home for brunch, a book discussion and to welcome back Rabbi Julie. 
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
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Jewish Exponent
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Voice Mail:

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


What do we mean when we say that Leyv Ha-Ir is a community, beautiful and special? It is open and welcoming to everyone.


At Shabbat morning services we partake in each others' explorations of Torah, and seek out ethical thinking and behavior. With rabbinic-led services we come together to open up to pray; express gratitude; listen, in Shemanu, to each others lives; mourn; and sing. During education seminars and Bagels & Books we open up to each others' understanding and knowledge. 


The sum of all this is not rote and religious routine for our members, but rather the making of deep connections that sustain us through our sometimes challenging lives, for the week ahead, the seasons' changes.


Special thanks and best wishes go out to Michael Meketon, who has inspired us in so many ways. His presence will be missed after his move to Carlisle, PA this summer, although he promises to keep up connections with us as his life, too, has been enriched by LHI.


Bobbi, Roby, Myrna Schlanger, Iris N. and Sandy 

Your Executive Committee


Saturday, July 6, 10:00 AM, Shabbat Morning Service

Join us at Iris N.'s home for a lay-led service and discussion of the Torah portion. Stay and schmooze at our veggie potluck lunch. Contact Iris at 215.561.0228 or for exact location. 


Monday, July 8, 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.


Monday, July 15, 7:00 PM, Tisha B'Av Commemoration
We will be commemorating the destructions of the Temples in Jerusalem and other tragedies that have afflicted the Jewish people through the chanting of the Book of Lamentations. Join us at Bobbi Cohen's home, 1901 JFK Blvd., Kennedy House Apartment 1208 in Center City. Like last year, we will be led by Rabbi Alanna Sklover. For more information, contact Bobbi at 215.236.0689 or


Friday, July 19, 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. Our host is Bobbi Cohen at 1901 JFK Blvd., Kennedy House Apartment 1208 in Center City. Please call 215-236-0689 or email to RSVP and let Bobbi know 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. 

Power Logo
Our Major Tikkun Olam Project
by Susan Thompson


POWER has been very active on a number of issues, with the major current focus on restoring major funding to Philadelphia's educational system. POWER congregants, clergy, parents and students have participated in numerous vigils, marches, rallies and press conferences over the past months.


The Pennsylvania Senate Finance Committee gave the preliminary OK on 6/24 to a bill that would allow the city government to enact a $2 tax on every pack of cigarettes. Philadelphia's City Council had already approved the tax, but it still needs state authorization. It would raise an estimated $45 million for the city's troubled schools next fiscal year. The state bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee. If successful, it could go before the full Senate by 6/28. If the bill makes it to the House, it could face serious obstacles. Mayor Nutter hopes to send an additional $28 million to the schools by improving tax collections.


Philadelphia is also asking the state to contribute an additional $120 million and the Teachers Union to make concessions of at least $120 million to next year's school budget. We are still awaiting the results of these negotiations.


Parents from Spring Garden School met with representatives from POWER, Leyv Ha-Ir, Rodeph Shalom, and St. Malachy's to strategize about how to get more parents involved during the 2013-14 school year. Principal Robinson has suggested some summer volunteer opportunities, including painting a mural in the cafeteria and cleaning up several storage rooms. These ideas will be discussed with congregants, parents and students in the next few weeks. Stay tuned and we will keep you posted.


POWER will be looking to adopt a broader statewide perspective to effect education funding changes over the next few years. Other districts like Erie and Chester-Upland are among several Pennsylvania districts that are experiencing problems similar to Philadelphia's. By banding together with other under-funded districts POWER hopes to address a statewide funding formula that needs to be changed.


POWER hoped that City Council would attach a living wage amendment to the 2-year airport expansion contract recently signed with US Airways. Unfortunately, Council did not support the amendment, in part because of much pressure from the airlines. Another contract will be renegotiated in 2 years. Hopefully, by then, POWER will be able to see that those airport workers who make less than minimum wage move up the pay scale.


We have learned a great deal in the last year and have generated much press. POWER is now on City Council's, legislators' and the Governor's radar.


Thank you to all who participated in letter writing and telephone campaigns related to the education and jobs bills. It is an uphill climb and much remains to be done.
Sunday, June 2, 2013

Twenty-three members attended the annual meeting to vote in a new slate of officers:
President - Bobbi Cohen, second year of two-year term
First Vice President - Roby Jacobs, second year of two-year term
Second Vice President - Myrna Schlanger
Secretary - Iris Newman
Treasurer - Sandy Brown
Council-at-Large - Jay Butler, Larry Finkelstein, Joan Goldberg, Patricia Saddier
Annual meeting 2013 Patricia and more
A full slate was voted in; the first full slate in several years.  Good luck to all!!

The budget for the coming year was approved.

Jessi Roemer, Spiritual Leader, for the past year opened the meeting with a "deep-felt thanks" to our community.

Some committee chairs gave reports on activities of the past year and requests for additional committee members. 

A special thanks was given to Michael Meketon who will be leaving Philadelphia.  Michael will continue on with some LHI duties. Thank you Michael! You will be missed!

Phil and Joan Steel, by John O. Mason


Joan Steel was raised in Atlantic City, and she attended the local Conservative synagogue where "my mother was very active. It was due to her and the women (of the synagogue) that they built the Hebrew school and Sunday school next to the synagogue." Phil Steel was born in Philadelphia, and was raised as a member of Rodeph Shalom; "I remember," he says, "my father taking my brothers and me on the subway to Sunday school, from Logan down into (Center City)."


"I went to college for two years," said Joan, to George Washington University. Then she married Phil, who says, "We both (he and Joan) went to high school in Atlantic City; that's where we met." Phil continues "I went to the University of Maryland, and I have a Bachelor's degree in Foreign Trade." They married in 1956.


How did they find Leyv Ha-Ir? Phil says, "We were members of Or Hadash for almost thirty years. It was the first synagogue formed at the Rabbinical College, for the (rabbinical) students, and it gradually grew, and it became our own synagogue with our own rabbis. We moved into town, and Or Hadash is in Fort Washington. We moved into the city, and it's not as convenient to get there, and we were not going as regularly to services. We found Leyv Ha-Ir, and we really love it. It's perfect for our situation, (with) wonderful people involved in the congregation, very meaningful, that's what drew us."


Part of the Steels' participation in Leyv Ha-Ir has been hosting a Salon in April in their home in Society Hill. "Last year," said Phil, "I gave a talk on a Sunday afternoon, and we hosted a Shabbat service once."


Phil's talk "was basically about my ancestors when they first got here (to the United States) in 1733, it really started there, and then carried up through the ages." One of the ancestors served in Valley Forge; another was Uriah Levy, the first Jewish Commodore of the United States Navy and veteran of the war of 1812. He purchased Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello, restored it, and preserved it for our country. The home actually passed on to Phil's cousin's nephew, Jefferson Levy, who used it as a summer home until 1923, when he sold it to the trust that administers it today.


In the Steel home, there is a vast collection of antique toys and arcade games. "We were riding in Lancaster one day, forty years ago" Phil recalls, "and we saw this shop that said, 'Old Toys,' and we said, 'Let's look at that.' We walked in, and enamored by it all, to see these old toys, that started us collection. We traveled around the country, and to Europe with an antique toy collector club." "We were struck by it, it was like a conversion," adds Joan.


Phil is also active in a barbershop quartet, which performed at the Salon in April. "I've been a singer since I was a little boy," he says, "and in college I got involved with barbershop quartet singing, and stayed with it for fifty-five years."


Phil's firm is now in its 93rd. year, supplying precision components used in the precision measuring and medical industry; parts for meters, pace makers, ink jet printing, semi conductors, etc.  They are all made in Switzerland, where he and his 2 sons spent months in several factories they represent, to learn the manufacturing processes. Phil  is currently CEO where his sons are the company officers.


The Steels also possess a terrific wine cellar; "We enjoy wine," says Phil. "This house was build in 1815, and it came with a wine cellar, and somebody had to fill it."

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

Jeremy Weiss - July 1

Jonathan Weiss - July 3

Sol Volk - July 9

Michael Meketon - July 10

Johanna Moss - July 14

Donna Finkelstein - July 26

Sharon Wallis - July 26

Elaine Erenhouse - July 31

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