JCC Newsletter – Parshat Lech Lecha
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JCC Newsletter – Parshat Lech Lecha

As we prepare to enter 紅葉/kōyō I welcome everyone back from their summer holidays and High Holidays. The most common refrain I heard from people the past month runs something along the lines of “I cannot believe how much my parents aged.” Please do not feel alone in what can be a very draining experience...

JCC Newsletter – Parshat Noach
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JCC Newsletter – Parshat Noach

Kabbalat Shabbat. How did a 15th-16th century innovation of the Jewish mystic Rabbi Isaac Luria in Tzfat take on such a significant role in contemporary Judaism? The answer boils down to people’s work schedules. Rabbi Luria used the precedent of Kabbalat Shabbat’s closest antecedent, the Friday night ‘Magen Avot’, which was formulated in medieval times...

JCC Newsletter – Parshat Bereshit
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JCC Newsletter – Parshat Bereshit

Sunday School this past week rocked the house. I am surprised we were not pelted with quail eggs by our neighbors and that the good folks at the Koban did not use a no-knock warrant to see what was up with all the noise emanating from our patio Sukkah where we danced with the lulav...

JCC Newsletter – Shabbat Chol haMoed Sukkot
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JCC Newsletter – Shabbat Chol haMoed Sukkot

Please find below the Kübler-Ross rundown of where we are in the Jewish calendar. Denial: Chazzan Yoni Roth’s arrival from Israel to lead High Holiday services is imminent. The Japanese government will lift all visa restrictions in spite of the Olympics and record COVID numbers. Anger: How dare MOFA and the MOJ not change their...

JCC Newsletter – Parshat Haazinu and Sukkot
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JCC Newsletter – Parshat Haazinu and Sukkot

“These Jews and their f@!$%#& tree houses” the now resigned-in-disgrace former Governor of my home state of New York, Andrew Cuomo, was said to describe Sukkot. Regardless of how you feel about the Festival of Huts, we invite you to celebrate in our luxurious, patio sukkah above where the old JCC swimming pool used to...

JCC Newsletter – Shabbat Shuva/Parshat Vayelech
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JCC Newsletter – Shabbat Shuva/Parshat Vayelech

Aliyah. Plural: Aliyot. Noun. The Cambridgestein-Websterowitz Dictionary defines the term as ‘elevation’ or ‘the act of being elevated’. In the Jewish vernacular, receiving an Aliyah refers to a synagogue honoring an individual/family by ‘calling them up to the Torah’ to recite three short blessings prior to a section of Torah and one short blessing afterwards....

JCC Shabbat Newsletter – Parshat Nitzavim and Rosh haShana
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JCC Shabbat Newsletter – Parshat Nitzavim and Rosh haShana

The ‘twice-a-year’ Jew. A contemporary product of declining affiliation rates and rising secularism across an enlightened post-modern western civilization? Hardly. Over 80 years before a woman would be formally ordained as a rabbi in 1972, the “Girl Rabbi of the Golden West” Ray Frank preached the following Kol Nidre message in a Spokane, Washington synagogue...

JCC Shabbat Newsletter – Parshat Ki Tavo
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JCC Shabbat Newsletter – Parshat Ki Tavo

Please make your reservations for in-person services and meals ASAP by submitting via e-mail (or fax!) the Excel form found on the right side of our High Holy Days website: https://www.jccjapan.org/high-holy-days-2021.html While we greatly appreciate the generosity of those who purchase seats, this year due to the ongoing pandemic it is also imperative you let...

JCC Shabbat Newsletter – Parshat Shoftim
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JCC Shabbat Newsletter – Parshat Shoftim

The Rabbi Car. Much ink has been spilled on what type of vehicle a pulpit rabbi ought to drive, including this 2009 gem from Vanity Fair: https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2009/09/what-should-a-rabbi-drive Even though my family owned multiple rust bucket jalopies, we slept more soundly knowing that at least our spiritual leader’s dreaded beige 1992 Mercury Grand Marquis did not...

JCC Shabbat Newsletter – Parshat Ki Teitzei
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JCC Shabbat Newsletter – Parshat Ki Teitzei

More than in most years, the High Holidays have completely snuck up on us. Rosh haShana begins on the evening of Labor Day (US), Monday September 6th. As impossible as this sounds, it also means that for the second time in the last decade Hannukah will coincide with Thanksgiving weekend. I apologize for the America-centric...