JCC Newsletter – Vayetze
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JCC Newsletter – Vayetze

You are not alone. A song lyric that may remind you of Michael Jackson or Dear Evan Hansen depending where you fall on the generational divide. Many JCC’ers reported a variation on the same theme after returning from their first trips since COVID: “I can’t believe how much my older my parents got.” This statement...

JCC Newsletter – Toldot
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JCC Newsletter – Toldot

本音vs 建前 Honne vs Tatemae With the exception of the enduring centrality of the fax machine, there is little expats enjoy discussing more about Japanese culture than whether the aforementioned concept of separating one’s true feelings and outward behavior represents an insincere façade or, quite the opposite, an essential component in maintaining social harmony. Although...

JCC Newsletter – Chayei Sarah
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JCC Newsletter – Chayei Sarah

BBYO is Launching in Japan!The Jewish Community of Japan is excited to be working with BBYO to launch a local chapter that will serve the post-B’nai Mitzvah audience (teens 13 to 18) fun and meaningful experiences. BBYO is the largest pluralistic Jewish Youth Movement in the world reaching 70,000 teens in 725 chapters across 60...

JCC Shabbat Newsletter – Vayera
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JCC Shabbat Newsletter – Vayera

Young Professionals. The Junior League. NextGen. UJA-Generosity. Nearly every urban environment contains a cohort of folks in their 20s and 30s who will change the Jewish world. But before they do that, or maybe in order to do that, they like to get together and enjoy themselves. These are the stock of Abraham and Sarah...

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....