In This Issue
Looking Ahead
Our Community Passover Seder will be on Saturday night, April 4.  It will again be in The Philadelphian's lovely social room.  Please mark your calendar and plan to attend.  Details will be available soon.  Please contact Donna Finkelstein at or Bobbi Cohen at if you would like to help with the planning or setup of the seder.
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Contact Beverly or Bobbi if there are questions about the listserv.

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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Jewish Exponent
Contact Leyv Ha-Ir


Dear Friends of Leyv Ha-Ir,


We may still be in the heart of winter, and more snow and cold may come our way. However, Tu B'Shevat, in early February, heralds in the rising of the sap in the trees and the blooming of the almond trees in Israel. Here in Philadelphia, your synagogue is also blossoming and our calendar is full of events in which you can partake. None of this just happens on its own. Planning, teamwork and much energy go into making it all happen. The Annual Meeting in early June will be here sooner than you think. Please do consider what you can do for Leyv Ha-Ir in addition to what Leyv Ha-Ir can do for you! We need your commitment to take on roles and tasks in order that we can continue to function and be creative.


Meanwhile, stay warm and well,


Best regards,

Bobbi, Roby, Larry, Phyllis and Claire

Your Leyv Ha-Ir Executive Committee 


Sunday, February 1, 11:00 AM, The Jews of Shanghai Presentation and Brunch

Bobbi Cohen will present a talk of the history of Jews in Shanghai, the relationship between the Jews and the Chinese, and what you might find if you go there. More information is in the article below. 

Cost: $10/member, $15/nonmember

Location: Kennedy House Community Room, 1901 JFK Blvd., 30th floor

Contact LHI at 215-629-1995 or to register.


Saturday, February 7, 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, February 8, 10:45 AM, Singing Circle

Join a dedicated group of people who love music regardless of their ability.
Cost: $5 to defray the cost of the meeting room
Location: Penn Center House Leisure Lounge, 1900 JFK Blvd., 2nd floor
Contact LHI at 215-629-1995 or for questions. 

Monday, February 9, 7:00 PM, Council Meeting

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

Contact Bobbi at 215-514-7329 for exact location.  


Sunday, February 15, 11:00 AM, Rabbi's Education Series, Shabbat Leadership

All are welcome to this first session of Rabbi Julie's spring education series.  See article below for additional information.

Brunch is included.

Cost: $10/member, $15/nonmember

Location: William Penn House Community Room, 1919 Chestnut St., 1st floor

Please register by leaving a message at 215.629.1995 or sending an email to


Friday, February 20, 7:30 PM, Kabbalat Shabbat Service 

Rabbi Julie and Jessi Roemer will lead us in prayer as we welcome in Shabbat. All are welcome.  

The service will be followed by Kiddush and Oneg Shabbat. 

Location: Ethical Society, 1906 S. Rittenhouse Sq., first floor auditorium  

Friday, February 27
, 6:30 PM, Home Shabbat Service and Dinner
Join us at the home of Phyllis Gottlieb and Natan Szapiro in Center City for a short lay-led Friday night service followed by a pot-luck veggie/dairy dinner.

Contact Phyllis at or 215-983-0353 for the exact address, to RSVP and to tell her what you are bringing.  

Saturday, March 7, 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, March 8, 2:00 PM, Purim Celebration 

Join us for Purim and enjoy a unique reading of the Megillah, skits, songs, costumes, tasty treats and more
Location: William Penn House Community Room, 1919 Chestnut St., 1st floor

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


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

February 2015

Dear Chevre,

This is the actual Jewish calendar year of the biblical shmita and yovel, the sabbatical for the land that takes place every seventh year and the Jubilee year that takes place every fiftieth year in which resources are supposed to be redistributed. I spoke about these biblical ethical commands during the High Holy Days and you can now find those sermons on our website. Now, some months later, it's time to revisit these important themes.
In relation to earth issues, the whole world has been undergoing what sociologist Robert Jay Lifton calls a "swerve:" a time in which consciousness radically changes about something. Increasingly people are aware of dangerous climate disruption, caused by human activity. If you'd like to learn more from a credible source, check out this link to hear James Hanson, NASA's former chief climate scientist, in a TED talk.
We have a local challenge brewing right here in Philadelphia. There is a proposal to make this city an "energy hub" akin to the Gulf region for processing fossil fuels. I have been working with an environmental coalition that is calling for a renewable energy hub, not a plan that involves spewing more fossil fuels into the atmosphere. We are working with labor groups, anti-racist groups and earth focused groups to transform the vision of what Philadelphia. can be. The September issue of Philadelphia magazine had an in depth investigative report about the Philadelphia energy hub idea if you want to find out more. I will keep our community abreast of further study and action opportunities related to this work.
As involved Jewish citizens, especially in this year of shmita and Jubilee, it is upon us to keep educating ourselves and to make informed decisions about our earth. What are your thoughts and ideas about this? Let's keep talking!

Many blessings,

Rabbi Julie

Rabbi Julie visiting a twelfth century synagogue in Fez, Morocco.

Please read about ways you can help

We did it before - we will do it again. Please contribute to the annual book drive which will enable each of the students to take a book home for the summer and to keep them as well. Be generous! Send your check, payable to Leyv Ha-Ir, to
P.O. Box 15836, Philadelphia 19103 with a notation "Book Drive."

Opportunity #2
Want to help out at the Spring Garden School? The librarian, Christina Asman, has asked For help in shelving books etc. The time would be 8:30 am - 9:30 am Wednesday and/or Friday. Contact Christina at

Save March 22, 4:00 to 6:00 PM (door will open at 3:30) for this Choir and Music concert featuring music from the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Traditions. Last year's event was wonderful and this year's should be even better. Tickets are only $10. and benefit the important work that POWER is doing for our city. The concert will be held at St. Malachy's Catholic Church, 1429 N. 11th St. Free parking is available in the lot behind the church. Purchase your tickets here.

...and the great work we did!

On January 19, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, members of Leyv Ha-Ir, Ethical Society and Rodeph Shalom were assisted by students of the Spring Garden School in refurbishing the school cafeteria. A job well-done and topped off with pizza for all.

Presented by Bobbi Cohen


Many people are unaware that since the mid 1800's there have been multiple waves of Jewish migration from Europe and the Middle East to Shanghai, China. A vibrant international city, Shanghai welcomed Jews with open arms. This session will explore the history of Jewish Shanghai, the relationship between the Jews and the Chinese, as well as what you can see and learn for yourself if you are lucky enough to go there.

Bobbi was fortunate enough to have lived in Shanghai, China for 6 months while working on a project there. That was the beginning of her exploration of The Jews of Shanghai. Bobbi is currently Co-First Vice President of Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir. 

New series, new topics

1st Session -- Shabbat Leadership - February 15
Take the next step in Shabbat leadership by strengthening your skills to create sacred space, build community and lead the key Friday night home blessings. Bolstering these skills can help you bring joy and connection to your community. Rabbi Julie will offer personal coaching and a forum for shared feedback about Shabbat hopes, dreams and desires, as well as teaching the basics of leading blessings. Being a leader involves way more than simply reciting words in Hebrew. Our community needs what each of us has to bring to the Shabbat table. Please join in!

2nd Session -- Giving Feedback to our Reconstructionist Movement - March 22
Reconstructionist congregations across the world have been asked to study an important question and give feedback about our thoughts, concerns and desires. The question has to do with rules for rabbis in romantic partnership.

There is currently a policy in place at RRC that if students are partnered, the partner must be Jewish at two stages of the student rabbi's journey: when the student enters the seminary and when the student leaves the seminary at graduation. At any other time, students are not scrutinized or judged about whether or not their partners are Jewish.

The College is proposing that this rule be abolished and that students be allowed to choose love partners at all stages of their careers, regardless of whether the partner is or is not Jewish.

This is a controversial proposal. On the one hand, traditionally Jews were expected to partner only with other Jews. On the other hand, in the modern world rabbis serve many, many interfaith couples and often love people themselves beyond the lines of Judaism.

We will grapple this issue, learning about its history and hearing views from all sides. And then we will share some of our understandings with the larger movement. In this way, we will be part of the movement's wrestling with the question of Non-Jewish Partners for Rabbis.

3rd Session -- Jewish Personal Growth - April 26
Judaism has a strong tradition of supporting personal growth. These teachings are especially embodied in a movement called Musar. The central premise of Musar is that the ultimate purpose of each of our lives is to make this world a better place, and that integral to the work of repairing the world (Tikkun Olam) is the work of elevating the level at which we each individually behave in the world (Tikkun Middot). Through Musar practice, we are offered a way of becoming more patient, more trusting, more reliable, more forgiving and so on. Each character trait that we cultivate is called a middah (virtue or value). Rabbi Julie will guide the group and also offer some individual guidance for staying emotionally well regulated by using spiritual tools from Jewish tradition.

All sessions are from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and include brunch.
Cost per session: $10/members, $15/nonmembers

Please RSVP to 215.629.1995 or
Joyful sounds in the heart of the city

Sunday, March 15, 2015
Penn Center House - 1900 J.F. Kennedy Blvd., 2nd floor Leisure Lounge

10:45 am  - 3:30 pm


* Drumming Workshop with Joey Tayoun

* Music from Different Jewish Traditions with Jessi Roemer

10:45 am to 12:00 noon
Drumming Workshop
12:00 noon to 1:30 pm
Lunch and Schmooze
1:30 to 3:30 pm
Music from Different Jewish Traditions

Full day including catered lunch - $50
Drumming Workshop only - $15
Afternoon program with Jessi + lunch - $40

To register, please send your check, payable to Leyv Ha-Ir and marked "Retreat," to:
Congregation Leyv Ha-Ir
P.O. Box 15836
Philadelphia, PA  19103

Please note that we need to reach a minimum number of people by February 20 in order for this program to take place, so please send your registration check as soon possible.

Questions?  Evy Simon - or 215-561-7474/215-593-5248
Planning for next year

This is the time of year when the lay leaders of Leyv Ha-Ir start to think ahead to next year.

A nominating committee is forming under the leadership of Past President Bobbi Cohen, in accordance with our by-laws.  The committee will identify and confirm potential Executive and Council-at-large members and present a slate at our annual meeting in early June. 

If you are interested in either serving on the committee or moving into (or staying in) leadership, please email Bobbi at  If you would like to be on the Executive Committee or Council, please include a paragraph about what you would like to do and why you would be a good candidate.

If you have any questions, please contact Bobbi at or 215.561.5149.

Your Synagogue will THANK YOU and you will be glad you did!
Rabbi Julie and Larry Finkelstein participated in this important action in December, 2014.

May this soul be bound in the Book of Eternal Light:  



Joan Rumberg