In This Issue
Looking Ahead
Ethical Society MLK program
Honor Martin Luther King Jr on Sunday, January 18, 5:30 PM, at the Philadelphia Ethical Society, with a free screening of the award winning documentary "James Baldwin: The Price of the Ticket", followed by a discussion and optional vegetarian dinner for $15.00.  Proceeds benefit Camp Linden. The film runs 87 minutes. Reservations can be made here.

The Jews of Shanghai
Bobbi Cohen will be presenting her talk on this fascinating piece of Jewish history in early February. Please look for more information on the date and location.
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Chesed Reminder
A reminder that we have a Chesed (acts of loving kindness) committee who will do their best to offer assistance to LHI members in need. If you find yourself in that situation please call and we'll see how we can be helpful.

Joan Goldberg 215-561-5193
Pat Wisch 215-563-1894
Margie Wiener 215-563-8998
Marking Lifecycle Events
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Dear Friend of Leyv Ha-Ir ~ Heart of the City,   


As we enter the month of December we are moving towards the lights of Chanukah during this darkest time of the year. The sight of the candles and the dreidels makes us happy, but the need for heavy winter coats may not bring us much joy.

As small as Leyv Ha-Ir is, our big heart wants to send messages of Tikkun Olam (social justice).  We hope for something like the miraculous Chanukah oil that lasts for the world around us: for money for Pennsylvania school funding, for the ability to peacefully protest unarmed boys being killed by police, for mindfulness of poverty in Philadelphia and resolution of conflicts in Israel. Our rabbinic and lay leadership gives us the example that we can make a difference and bring some brightness into these dark places.  Aleynu: what do you want this world to be is often asked during Kabbalat Shabbat Services. What is your vision/answer?

We send you Light and Shalom!

Bobbi, Roby, Larry, Phyllis and Claire

Your Leyv Ha-Ir Executive Committee 


Saturday, December 6, 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 Building, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Sq., Collier Room, 2nd floor front

Contact LHI at 215-629-1995 or for questions.  


Sunday, December 7, 10:00 AM, RRC Community Day of Learning 

The focus will be on Reconstructionism 101 and Tikkun Olam. Full details are available by clicking here.   


Monday, December 8, 7:00 PM, Council Meeting

All members are invited to our monthly Council meeting.
Location: Evy Simon's home in Center City. 

Contact Evy at or 215-593-5248 for exact location.  

Friday, December 12, 6:30 PM, Home Shabbat Service and Dinner Join us at Joan and Phil Steel's Society Hill home for a lay-led Friday night service followed by a pot-luck veggie/dairy dinner.
Please contact Phil at for the exact address, to RSVP and let them know what you are bringing. 

Sunday, December 14
, 10:45 AM, Singing Circle
This will be an extra special Singing Circle as we welcome niggun master Joey Weisenberg.  See the article below for more information.
Cost: $15 (price for this special Singing Circle only)
Location: Penn Center House Leisure Lounge, 1900 JFK Blvd., 2nd floor
Contact LHI at 215-629-1995 or for questions. 

Friday, December 19, 7:30 PM, Chanukah Kabbalat Shabbat Service

Rabbi Julie and Jessi will lead us in our annual Kabbalat Shabbat Service. Bring your Chanukiah (menorah) for communal light, and enjoy our annual "latke-thon." 

See more information in an article below. All are welcome. 

Location: Ethical Society, second floor  


Saturday, January 3, 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 Building, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Sq., Collier Room, 2nd floor front

Contact LHI at 215-629-1995 or for questions.


Sunday, January 4, 10:45 AM, Singing Circle
Come be a part of it.  You don't need ability, just a love of music. Jessi Roemer will lead us in song. This is part of our monthly series. All are invited; bring your friends and a beverage for yourself.
Cost: $5 (to cover the cost of room rental)
Location: Penn Center House Leisure Lounge, 1900 JFK Blvd., 2nd floor
Contact LHI at 215-629-1995 or for questions.  


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

December 2014

Dear Chevre,

Many of you have expressed your support for our congregation's social justice campaign to achieve fair, full funding for Pennsylvania's public schools. We do this work with the interfaith organization POWER, lifting up the moral value of decent education for all. Recently I was able to offer testimony at the public hearing held by the state's bipartisan Basic Education Funding Commission. Many people from POWER also spoke, addressing different aspects of the funding crisis. Thank you to all of you who have participated in our voter engagement efforts, rallies, phone calls to elected leaders, hands-on work at the Spring Garden Elementary School and in other areas of this mitzvah work. Here's what I shared at the hearing (we had a strict limit of two minutes each):

November 19, 2014
State Legislative Commission on Basic Education Funding   
City Hall
Rabbi Julie Greenberg

Call and Response: Our children are worth more.
                             We can't wait any longer.

Commission Members, Thank you for listening to the primary stakeholders in Philadelphia's education system. My name is Julie Greenberg. I am the mother of five children and have been a parent in the Philadelphia public school system for 17 years. I am also a rabbi with a congregation in center city so I have witnessed hundreds of families struggling to make decent education decisions for their children. I am not going to recount problems because you already know about them.
I am here to say something else. The voters of Pennsylvania elected you because you said you are ready to lead. We want you to lead the way towards solutions for the problems of Pennsylvania's public schools. As part of that mission it is important that you address FULL as well as fair funding and that your report be ready in time for this coming year's budget cycle. We can't lose another year.
But in conjunction with this mandate, we have a promise for you. We are here to say there is an enormous people's movement backing you up as you forge creative solutions. We are city, suburban, rural. We are white, black and brown. We are Christians, Jews and Muslims. We range in age from 5  - 85. POWER is building a statewide movement of faith communities standing up for our values. When you do the right thing, we will help get your key numbers, 102, 26 and 1. We promise we'll be right there with you
We need to think bigger than the scarcity model that says there is not enough, we can't afford this. Once someone said to Rose Kennedy, mother of nine children, including John F. and Bobby and Ted Kennedy, "You have too many children." Rose turned to the person and asked, "which child should I not have had?" Here in Pennsylvania, I don't want to be asking the question, "which child should we not educate?" Rose Kennedy knew that these are matters of values and priorities, not just numbers.
At the Orientation for my daughter's public ninth grade this year, her new school leaders were ecstatic that they had one guidance counselor for the 700 students in their school. Our kids deserve a bigger vision. They're worth it. And we won't wait.
Thank you.

Blessings to All,
Rabbi Julie
With Joey Weisenberg, Niggun Master

Guest Leader Joey Weisenberg will join Jessi Roemer for a Pre-Hannukah Niggunim Workshop. This Master teacher and composer will take us on a musical, mystical journey with some of the niggunim (wordless melodies) that abound in our tradition!
Open to anyone who loves to sing.  
Good voices are not required.  
You don't need to be a Leyv Ha-Ir member.
Attendance at prior sessions is not necessary.  

TIME:      10:45am - NOON
               1900 JFK Boulevard, 2nd Floor Leisure Lounge
COST:     $15
BRING:   A beverage (water, coffee, tea, etc.)
                 267-614-4012 or
For more about Joey Weisenberg, click here.
Let's light up a winter Shabbat evening

On December 19 we will celebrate the lights of Chanukah in the darkness of December during our Kabbalat Shabbat Service. Bring your Chanukiah (Menorahs) and if you can make latkes to bring that would be de-light-ful too! We will meet upstairs at the Ethical Society where an oven is available to heat latkes. If you like, bring applesauce or sour cream, other snacks or Chanukah gelt, chocolates, some beverage, or any goodies to light-en up our gathering. For planning sake, please let me know what is being brought by sending at email to Looking forward to a good time again!

Roby Jacobs
Available on our website

Did you know that you can read Rabbi Julie's High Holiday
sermons right on our website?  Just look at the right column of this page,, and click on the one you'd like to read. Sermons from past years are there as well.
For LHI opportunities

Yes, I know we are all good people. What we actually need at this time are people willing to take on these responsibilities being transitioned from Beverly Hayden:

Newsletter Editor - collect articles for each month's edition, coordinate with Bobbi Cohen, suggest changes to format of newsletter.

Parking - Coordinate with the city Streets Department for our on-street parking permits for Friday night and High Holiday services. Most of this work happens once a year. Send parking tickets issued incorrectly to city contact.

Publicity - list all LHI services and other programs on various online calendars. Coordinate other publicity if requested.

If you are interested in any of these, please contact Bobbi Cohen at or 215.514.7329, or Roby Jacobs at or 215.546.8965.

Many thanks to Larry Finkelstein for taking over our contractual relationship with the Ethical Society!

Thank you,
Bobbi Cohen
Walking All the Way Through Life Together: End of Life in a Sacred Community


Our fall education series, led by Rabbi Julie and guests, stimulated thinking and discussion about three end of life issues. The first session focused on "Why I Hope to Die at 75", a controversial article by Ezekiel J. Emanuel in the October edition of The Atlantic, that revealed a wide range of individual preferences regarding life and death, often based on touching personal and family experiences. Shirley Adelman Kenig composed a beautiful poem (below) about those experiences, which she read at the start of the next session (see photo). The second session turned to the more practical aspects of  caring for the deceased from death through burial. The third and final session explored implementing many of our learnings within the Leyv Ha-Ir community to support members as they enter the last phases of their journey. Stay tuned for developments.

A Jewish Road
by Shirley Adelman

I travel by coach and train,
to meet a small community,
travelling a Jewish road,
               to the unknown.

The Rabbi listens,
               with an open heart.
Her smile as welcoming
               as a new day.

One by one they share
a loved one's
The circle closed congruent
               like the life,
leading to the last breath.

Others recall,
shackling death.
               The neshama hovering
between worlds.
Annual Center City Residents Association Event

Members of Leyv Ha-Ir took part in an interfaith Thanksgiving service, held in the sanctuary of First Presbyterian Church, 201 South 21st Street, on Tuesday, November 25, 2014.

The service was sponsored by the Center City Residents' Association. Other participating congregations were First Unitarian Church, Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion, Peace Islands Institute, Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel, and Trinity Memorial Episcopal Church. Participants, including Leyv Ha-Ir's Roby Jacobs, read portions of the service, which included prayers and hymns from the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions. After the service, participants joined in a reception and dinner.

by John Mason
May These Souls be Bound in the Book of Eternal Light:  



Bertha Blai


Susan Singer