In This Issue
Calendar for September
Rabbi's Message
POWER Update
Fall Education Series
Seashore Retreat
Ethical Society Waltz/Swing Party
Shalom Center Fundraiser
BZBI Invites Us...
October Member Birthdays
The Great Turning
Rabbi's Erev Rosh Hashanah Sermon
Looking Ahead
Sonic Theology Plays South Philly!    
Our own cantor and choir director, Jessi Roemer, will be performing with her group, Sonic Theology, at The Little Shul on Saturday, November 16 at 8:00 PM. Leyv Ha-Ir is a co-sponsor for the concert. Seating is very limited, and tickets are available now here
Waiting for a
Harmony Song
by Roy Shenberg, 2013/5774

The world's breathlessly a- waiting
For your harmony song
Bring it on,
Bring it on,
Bring it on
We're waiting eagerly
So that we may get along
Sing your song        
Sing your song
Sing your song
Teach us to sing together
In peaceful harmony
So our minds be full of  wisdom
And our hearts full of glee
We have waited for your song
So long
Our souls cry-out to sing
Bring it on
Bring it on
Bring it on
Let the words of peace you teach us
Carry over land and sea
Every town, every village
Singing four-part harmony
We'll sing your song
Loud and strong
Bring it on
Leyv Ha-Ir Listserv

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 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.

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 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
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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:

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


It is unusual that all High Holiday Festivities take place in September. We started this year right after Labor Day, and ended up with Simchat Torah on the 26th. It did feel like fall, however, when we gathered in the Sukkah on Pine Street. The fragility of our own existence, our wanderings through personal and communal deserts and hard work during the Days of Awe culminated in Sukkah joys and Torah dancing!  We hope that everyone in the LHI community was touched somehow this season and that some good intentions and sweetness lingers on in the months to come. New opportunities for your enrichment are for the taking; just take a good look at our October calendar and beyond!


Before we move too far away from our rich holiday season, we want to thank EVERYBODY who helped make the high holidays at Leyv Ha-Ir happen! Many, many of our members and other volunteers pitched in to collate packets, set up, clean up, check you in, provide the break fast and lots more. It took our whole village and we loved doing it so that our larger community has a comfortable and welcoming place to worship and spend time during the holidays.


And we must be doing something right as we have a number of new members and many more expressing interest to join us as members. A huge Leyv Ha-Ir welcome to all of you!  Please let us know if you have any questions or if there's some way we can ensure a smooth transition into our congregation.


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

Your Executive Committee


Saturday, October 5, 10:00 AM, Shabbat Morning Service,

Join our lay-led minyan for a Shabbat morning service, Torah discussion and pot-luck veggie/dairy lunch.  

Location: Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Sq., second floor front.


Sunday, October 13, 11:00 AM, Education Program 

"Making Sense Out of What Does Not Makes Sense in the Bible" will be Rabbi Julie's topic. Brunch will be served.  

Fee: $10 for members, $15 for others.  

Location: Kennedy House, 30th Floor Community Room, 1901 JFK Blvd.  Please register in advance.


Monday, October 14, 7:00 PM, Council Meeting

All members are invited to our Council meeting.

Location: Iris Newman's home. Call 215.561.0228 for exact location.


Friday, October 18, 6:30 PM, Home Shabbat Service and Dinner 

Join us at the Logan Square area home of Enid and David Adler for a lay-led Friday night service followed by a pot-luck veggie/dairy dinner. Contact the Adlers at 215-761-9925 or for directions and to tell them what you'll be bringing.


Friday, October 25, 7:30 PM, Kabbalat Shabbat Service  

Rabbi Julie Greenberg will lead our Friday night service, with Cantorial Soloist Jessi Roemer and the Leyv Ha-Ir Choir.  

Location: Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Square, 1st Floor Auditorium 


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

Rabbi Julie Official Photo

Dear Chevre,


Many people have asked how it feels to me to be back with Leyv Ha-Ir~Heart of the City after a year of sabbatical. The closest analogy I can think of is the experience of loving to be on vacation and then loving to be home. That's what it has felt like to be on a wonderful sabbatical and then come back to the bimah here in this congregation.


Now that we've come through the fall holy days, we're ready to harvest all the good intentions and ideas for the New Year. I hope you'll keep stepping in to build what has been called "Jewish density" in your life. Ben Weiner coined the concept in an article published at He is speaking of the overlapping, interconnecting tissue of a culture which has been called by others "dense particularity." In some places and times Jewish density was easy to come by, for instance in the shtetl or in the lower east side of New York in the nineteen teens.


But for us in this day and age, we have to bring more consciousness to growing Judaism in our lives. Growing Jewish density in our lives requires intention and planning. There are so many opportunities within our community and in our city for making Judaism a really important part of your life culturally, socially, politically and spiritually.


For people who want to learn more, I will be ordering self-programmed books that teach the aleph-bet for beginners and siddur/prayer Hebrew for more advanced students. You can work in these books on your own or with a chevruta/learning partner. If you are interested in learning how to do a D'var Torah/Torah Talk or how to lead the Shabbat prayer service, consider joining the lay minyan that meets on many Shabbat mornings. It's a mitzvah to show up to be counted in the minyan and there are great opportunities if you want to take on new leadership roles with support and guidance from peers.


If you are interested in being more involved in the congregation's social justice work, I welcome you to join me in building the state-wide network that will put funding for public education at the top of the priority list amongst voters in the upcoming election for Governor.


Please let me know if you are interested in any or all of the above. I am looking forward to a wonderful year of learning, caring, praying and growing together.


Love and Blessings, Rabbi Julie
Power Logo
Our Major Tikkun Olam Project


Leyv Ha-Ir members, President Bobbi Cohen, Beverly Hayden, and John O. Mason took part in the fall Leadership Assembly of Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild (POWER), on Monday, September 16, 2013, held at Bright Hope Baptist Church.


Leyv Ha-Ir's participation in POWER is designed to involve our community in making Philadelphia a better place for everyone. POWER is focusing on: a Full and Fair Education Funding Formula; a Living Wage and Economic Justice at the Airport and elsewhere; and a Pathway to Citizenship.


The group broke into clusters to discuss, help formulate and facilitate a series of House Meetings. This intention of House Meetings is to get more people involved in working towards these goals.


Be on the alert! Susan Thompson, Bobbi Cohen or Beverly Hayden may soon be contacting you to attend these informal meetings. They will be informative and fun. Please participate!

Bring Torah to Life
Led by Rabbi Julie


A three-part educational program with Rabbi Julie.

Sunday, October 13, 11:00 AM
Kennedy House Community Room, 30th Floor
1901 JFK Blvd.

Discussions continue on November 17 and December 15.

Does reading the Bible raise questions for you? Have you come upon contradictions, outdated values, and, perhaps, some misinformation?


There is much to discuss and Rabbi Julie will help us make sense of what does not.  


Join us for a delicious brunch, an interesting class and a   lively discussion.

$10/members; $15/all others
Register by emailing or leave a voice message at 215.629.1995.
Save the Dates: March 7 - 9, 2014
It's been a while since we've had a Leyv Ha-Ir Retreat at the famed Port-O-Call in Ocean City, New Jersey, and we're having it again at this beautiful location. Those of us who participated in the past recall how spiritually uplifting the weekend was.

Rabbi Julie was inspiring, congregation members contributed their expertise to help facilitate workshops, and the rest of us actively shared in an exciting and enlightening marathon.
Experience a spiritual, intellectual, emotional and physical adventure in one weekend. Enjoy a wondrous Havdalah service. And bundle up at the crack of dawn to join hands on the beach for a magnificent sunrise.
So prepare yourselves for a wonderful weekend. Plan to arrive in time for Friday night services, and leave Sunday morning. Stay tuned for details about costs, our theme, rides, and other information.
Come Waltz and Swing

The Leyv Ha-Ir community has been invited to attend a Waltz/Swing Party, sponsored by the Ethical Humanist Society, and the Philadelphia Chapter of the St. John's College Alumni Society. Proceeds will benefit Camp Linden, the children's summer camp program operated by the Ethical Humanist Society of Philadelphia. The camp provides an opportunity for Philadelphia inner-city children to experience the wonders of nature in a bucolic setting on the Brandywine in Chester County. Sounds like a lot of fun for a great cause!

Friday, October 4, 2013
8:00 to 11:00 PM
At the Ethical Society Auditorium, 2nd Floor

Live and recorded music
Dress: Anything from black-tie to casual

Tickets: $18 per person in advance here
$20 per person at the door
Price includes soft drinks and light refreshments.
Additional donation for premium beverages.For parking discounts see
An Important Celebration


Please follow the link below to find out more about an awesome birthday celebration that is planned for two extraordinary leaders whose prophetic voices changed the world.  


On the evening of Nov. 3, 2013 Gloria Steinem and Arthur Waskow will share reflections on what it means to be 80. I'll be there and I hope you will be too.


Rabbi Julie


at BZBI Member Prices

Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel (aka BZBI) has graciously offered Leyv Ha-Ir members discount pricing for many of their programs.  Included are:

The first Sunday of every month, dance your heart out to familiar Israeli classics as well as the newest tunes. Legendary Israeli folkdance teacher Don Schillinger will offer family dancing (5 pm to 6:30 pm), followed by instruction and dancing for teens and adults (7 pm to 9 pm.) Whether you've only mastered the mayim step, do line dances in your sleep, or are looking for a fun way to introduce your kids to one of Israel's national pastimes, you'll find your groove on Sunday nights.

Dates: The first Sunday of every month: October 6, November 3, December 1, January 5, February 2, March 2, April 6, May 4, and June 1.

Family Dancing: 5 pm to 6:30 pm. Pay at the door: $5 per person, $4 BZBI and LHI members, children under 4 are free.

Israeli Dancing for Adults and Teens: 7 pm to 9 pm. Pay at the door: $7 for adults, $6 for BZBI and LHI members, $5 for students under 21. 

Sweeten your Sabbath by helping your child or grandchild to make their very own challah at the Shabbat bakery. The second Friday of every month, drop in between 12 and 3 to knead, roll, braid, and brush a challah for the whole family to enjoy. Cooking together is always fun, especially when the results are delicious, guaranteed. Dates: Friday October 11, November 8, December 13, January 10, February 14, March 14, April 11, May 9, and June 13. Price: $10 per challah, $8 for BZBI and LHI members and BZBI preschool students.
For more information: Susana Smotkin,

This fall, BZBI will be reading Jonathan Tropper's This is Where I Leave You. Choose one of three book clubs to suit your schedule, and enjoy discussing the book and its Jewish themes with new and old friends (snacks provided). In the winter, we'll all be reading the One Book, One Jewish Philadelphia selection, and a third book in the spring (TBD.)

Dates: Choose your first meeting, and please email the book club leader so she knows how many people to expect or for more information.

Monday, November 4, at  - Sally Brown's book club, meeting at her home,

Tuesday, November 5, at 7:15 pm - Erin Cooper's book club, meeting at BZBI,

Wednesday, November 6 at 7:00 pm - Carmi Levine's book club, meeting at her home,
Happy Birthday
Please join us in extending birthday wishes to these members:

October 1 - David Adler,
                 Diana Keat-Glickman
October 3 - Fred Gorenstein
October 15 - Phil Steel
October 29 - Rabbi Julie Greenberg
May These Souls be Bound in the Book of Eternal Light: yahrzeit
There are no member yahrzeits this month.
September 21 Event at the Clothespin

Many concerned citizens gathered at
center city's Clothespin sculpture to observe
the "Great Turning" from planetary destruction to sustainability. This day was celebrated world-over. Rabbi Julie was  tweeting locations around the globe to spread this message. Many Leyv Ha-Ir members attended.
Calling You to be a Wild Goose


Rabbi Julie Greenberg

Welcome! Welcome! As we step through the gates of Rosh HaShana into this New Year, I share these words from Mary Oliver


"...Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again.

Wherever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination,

Calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting-over and over announcing your place in the family of things."


I love the image of the wild geese at this season, calling, calling, breaking through isolation and loneliness. In our world there is a spiritual crisis of loneliness. It can seem that you don't matter, that you're in it alone. That you don't know how to make a difference and the guides and supports are few.  The big problems of the world seem so complicated and it's hard to understand the intricacies. Even our own families and relationships are bewildering and challenging many times and it's lonely to try to figure out how to handle them and make things better. The issues of love and loss are immense and each person is trying their best to live through them.  Being human can be a lonely mission. There's a deep current of loneliness in our culture and yet it's all too easy to feel shame about feeling lonely.


But the wild geese are calling you, no matter how lonely you are, over and over announcing your place in the family of things.


Not only the wild geese are calling but also the Shofar is calling.

In the course of these days, if you join in for each holy day you will hear the shofar up to one hundred times.


The rabbis said that the voice of the shofar is our unarticulated, mute yearning for a better world. During the course of a year, disappointments and difficulties start to spin cobwebs around clear vision to the point that it seems silly and utopian to hope for basic goodness in the world. It starts to seem silly to think that the leaders of our city and state should unite to fund education for every child, it starts to seem silly to imagine a world where there is enough food and health care and work for all. It starts to seem silly to treat your loved ones with the assumption of good will, benefit of the doubt, kindness.


During these ten days we will return to clarity, we will do teshuvah and allow ourselves to come back to the simple clear vision,

A world with clean water and fresh air where we all belong,

A world where education is a right for all.  

A world where there is dignity in difference and no one will be mistreated because of the color of their skin or the continent they were born on.

A world where we remember that compassion truly is a better path than suspicion and greed.


The mute call of the shofar says, it's really NOT so complicated. Let all the obfuscations and the divisive myth that our interests are in conflict fall by the wayside. The ideas that it's all too complicated or already too much of a mess or that we are each too powerless and small to make things right are debilitating ideas that separate and disempower us. At this time of year we do teshuvah to return to awareness of our place in the whole.


The truth is that this is the wonderful world that God created for us and we know what is good. We know that heating our planet beyond the zone that sustains life does not make sense. We know that good education involves well-funded, well respected teachers, families that function in a context of living wage work, and communities that value and support education. We know that treating our loved ones and ourselves with kindness and respect is good. It's really NOT very complicated.


The wild geese know. The shofar knows.


These holy days call us back into community to re-align with God's goodness. Torah doesn't give us position papers on how to create peace or fix urban education or improve our family relationships. Torah gives us eternal values that guide: you are a child of God, you belong to the human family, and so does everyone else on the face of the planet.


You are intimately connected to the rest of the world through the air you breathe, the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the place you live. On these holy days we get to reconnect with what is important and to re-claim our place in the ecosystem of life. We wake up to what is true and to what really matters.


Starting your New Year in visible, visceral community reminds you how interconnected are our very beings. The practice of showing up together at these moments highlights the question, what is called forth from me in response to my fundamental interconnectedness?


I think that one kind of accountability that is called forth is that we need to become the wild geese, the shofars, for each other, calling each other to remember: you are needed, you matter, you belong. We get to remind each other throughout the year that compassion and caring, for ourselves, for our families, for our city and for the world really is not beyond our capacity, in fact it is our God-given mission.


Returning to clarity is also a return to joy. It's depressing to think that everything is hopeless and too complicated. The speed of technical innovation might make you feel obsolete. (I was recently told that I am a digital immigrant whereas my children are digital natives.) But what this world really needs is not a faster gadget or a trickier device. What the world needs is the basic wisdom that our faith tradition has to offer. Each one of us is a representative of that great wisdom. When we return to clarity we hold essential religious values and we act on their behalf: that every person, made equally in God's image, is worthy of a decent life; that we were given this earth as stewards of God, not to rape and pollute and pillage, but to sustain and protect.


May this journey into the New Year be a return for you to boldness of vision, to renewal of hope, to remembering who you really are and why you are here.  May you be a wild goose for those you love and for those in need; may you be a shofar calling those around you out of their loneliness. May you have a great New Year.