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 countries. BBYO is a nearly 100 year-old organization with hundreds of thousands of alumni around the globe including in our community. BBYO is a teen-led organization meaning that local teens will help organize events, reach out to their peers to join, and step up for all kinds of leadership roles. BBYO is currently in Shanghai and building new chapters in Tokyo and Singapore. In the near future, BBYO hopes to build an interconnected year-round network of teen leaders across Asia that will be plugged into the global network. You can learn more about BBYO by checking out this website.

When travel channels open back up, BBYO is excited to host teens from Japan at global gatherings including our flagship experience in February, BBYO International Convention (IC), as well as dozens of summer camps and travel programs.

Save the Date: The first event for BBYO Tokyo will take place on Sunday, November 7th after Hebrew School around noon. More details will be shared soon! All events will be open to every Jewish teen in Japan regardless of affiliation.

If you have questions or want to connect, please reach out to Rabbi Andrew or BBYO Staff Member, Ryan Ladd (rladd@bbyo.org), who is based in Washington, D.C. and working with the community.


On Friday night, October 29th, at 7:30 PM, we will offer our chaverim at the Jewish Community of Japan a mostly lay-led sing-and-pray-like-only-GD-is-watching Kabbalat Shabbat service. In addition to Bimkom Rabbi/Cantor, Shari Berman, we have the delightful queen of the Sh’ma prayer, Tomomi Saito as our lovely MC and amen-gal!

Shari will open with a five-minute Jewish Summer Camp-style medley which will either take you back to another era or give you some insight on Shari’s meshuganah Zionist Youth group/camp days. Shari will also share some ma’ariv music videos and an 8-minute d’var Torah on Parshat Chayeh Sarah.

If all that were not exciting enough, we hope to have Rabbi Yehoshua and Rebetzin Ashira Zehavi on with us from Syracuse, New York. They are beautiful musicians and they will add to the music and the interpretation.

Shari Joy Berman and Tomomi Saito are inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Kabbalat Shabbat with Tomomi, Shari and Friends
Time: Oct 29, 2021 07:30 PM Hirosaki, Nikko, Osaka, Sapporo, Tokyo

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 957 1929 8514
Passcode: Shalom

On Saturday night at 5:30pm, the Scheers (virtually) invite you into our home to help the community bring in a new week with a musical havdala service and community catch-up. Please find the link at the bottom the newsletter.


Sigd Ethiopian Jewish Holiday/文化の日
Wednesday November 3rd
Time: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Venue: Zoom (link will follow in a standalone email)
We are working to confirm the participation of an Ethiopian rabbi but in case he is unavailable due to his own community’s Sigd planning in Israel, we will learn about the holiday from JCC Member Yonas Seme and Tali Scheer who visited the community in Gondar as part of a trip she took with JDC-Entwine. Sigd Sameach!

Shabbat Parshat Toldot in-person services/B’nai Mitzvah Family Shabbat
Saturday, November 6th
Kiddush Sponsored by the Seme and Semaya Families in honor of the first celebration of the Ethiopian-Jewish holiday of Sigd in Japan.
Services: 10:00am – 12:00pm
Kiddush: 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Thank you to Todd Walzer for leyning the full Torah reading and Lea and Micah Epstein for leading services and the Haftarah. Mazal Tov to Todd, Lea and Micah on the anniversary of their B’nai Mitzvot.

Lehrhaus Lecture Series presented by Professor Adam Komisarof, PhD
Intercultural Communication in Japan: An Opportunity to Be Challenged, An Opportunity to Grow
Thursday, November 11th
Time: 7:30 – 8:30pm
Venue: Zoom (please find the link in the event-specific email)

Family Shabbat in-person at the JCC
Friday, November 12th
Services: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Dinner: 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Please visit https://www.jccjapan.org/shabbat-bento-dinner.html to book your dinner reservations by November 11th at 2pm.

You are not alone! Support group for children of aging parents
Wednesday, November 17th
Time: 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Venue: Zoom (link will follow in a standalone email)

Oneg Shabbat in-person at the JCC
Friday, November 19th
Sponsored by the Sheldon Family in honor of Eli’s Bar Mitzvah
Services: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Nosh and Refreshments: 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Shabbat Parshat Vayishlach
Bar Mitzvah of Eli Sheldon
Saturday, November 20th
Services: 10:00am – 12:00pm


Mazal Tov to the Imperial Family on the marriage of their daughter (no longer Princess) Mako of Akishino to Kei Komuro, a kaishain of the very Jewish sounding law firm Lowenstein, Sandler.

Mazal Tov to our beloved Tokyo Yakult Swallows on capturing the Central League Pennant. May the team’s success endure into the playoffs and the Japan Series. In baseball as in Judaism, Ya Gotta Believe!

Thank you to Professor Adam Komisarof, PhD for volunteering to lead the first of our ‘Lehrhaus Lectures’ on Intercultural Communication. An additional thank you to Jerry Rosenberg who already signed up for the following lesson which will be on the History of the Jews in Japan. We are open to volunteers on subjects as varied as medicine, finance, law, science, culture, education, commerce, etc. The community would greatly benefit from hearing about whatever subject you have spent your lifetime pursuing.

The first meeting of the ‘You are not alone! Support group for children of aging parents’, facilitated by Rabbi Andrew, will be held over Zoom on Wednesday, November 17th from 5:30pm – 6:30pm. The event is open to everyone fortunate enough to still have a parent in their lives whether their mother/father are on the other side of the world or just outside the 23 Wards. Through five years spent working on a palliative care interdisciplinary team, I learned how the process tends to go for families financially, logistically and of course emotionally. I hope to help dispel some myths and more importantly hold space for people to share their own experiences.

Rabbi Andrew, Tali and Asher will be away 11/22-1/20. As my grandma from Pitkin Avenue in East New York, Brooklyn used to say “You’re better off!”

Regards from Rabbi Carnie Rose who led our community in the very late 20th century. He sends his best to everyone and is glad to hear the JCJ has not yet folded.

In the following weeks and months, we will roll out several new features in the newsletter including a message from the board, featured members, a Japanese column and member recipes. If you would like to volunteer for any of the above, please reply to this e-mail.

Shabbat Parshat Chayei Sarah
Candle Lighting: 4:31pm
Havdala: 5:27pm