JCC Newsletter – Haazinu and Sukkot

Two Ambassadors and a Member of the Knesset walk into a Tokyo synagogue for Kol Nidre. No, that’s not the start to a terrible rabbi joke. It really happened! The JCC was honored to host everyone who passed through our doors for the first Yom Kippur with Chazzan Yoni Roth since 2019 capping off an exciting High Holiday Season 5783. The crowd ran the gamut of Japan’s Jewish community including Shabbat regulars, every-so-oftens, once-in-a-whiles all the way to people who had not set foot in a synagogue in over twenty years. Together, we formed a beautiful tapestry of Jewish life in the small fishing village we call home. Bon voyage to Chazzan Yoni and son Yoav. Thank you for your singing, chanting, shofar blowing, dates, etrogcello and mentschlichkeit. We can’t wait for your return in 5784. Thank you to our Ba’al Korehs Todd Walzer, David Tropp, Henry Tropp, Raphael Sitbon, Daniel Sitbon assisting and the inimitable Jack Halpern for his beautiful rendition of the Book of Jonah. Of course we can never express enough gratitude for the diligent 7 day per week efforts, late night WhatsApp/e-mail answering of Tal, Ayako-san, Kyoko-san in the office and Ozawa-san and Izaki-san in the kitchen for preparing the best High Holiday meals this side of the Pacific.

If you think there is rest for the weary, think again because in just a few days we bring in the harvest festival of Sukkot. Typhoon permitting, we will sit under the stars and enjoy our meals in the style of our ancestors who wandered the desert in huts decorated with PET bottles. Ok the last part is a more recent tradition and signifies our annual Sukkah Decorating Event this Sunday at 9:30am. We are eager to welcome you back to the JCC for Sukkot services Sunday evening, October 9th at 6:00pm and again Monday, October 10th at 10:00am. Reservations already closed for the first two meals but are still open for next Friday night, October 14th. Don’t delay. Reserve today!


Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, October 7th
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner with reservation: 7:00pm

Erev Sukkot
Sunday, October 9th
Services: 6:30pm
Dinner with reservation: 7:00pm

Sukkot Day 1
Monday, October 10th
Services: 10:00am
Lunch with reservation: 12:00pm

Kabbalat Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot
Friday, October 14th
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner with reservation: 7:00pm

Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot
Kiddush Luncheon Sponsored by the Rosenberg, Leviton, Tischler and Yeskel Families in honor of Rabbi Shari Berman’s rabbinic ordination
Saturday, October 15th
Services: 10:00am

Erev Simchat Torah
Dance with the Torah!
Pizza, Refreshments and Drinks
Monday, October 17th
Services: 6:30pm

Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, October 21st
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner with reservation: 7:00pm

Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, October 28th
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner with reservation: 7:00pm

Shabbat Parshat (Henri) Noach
Saturday, October 29th
Kiddush Sponsored by Joanne Yoshida and Family in honor of the New Year 5783, and to give thanks to you all at JCC for being a ‘home’ to me over the holidays
Services: 10:00am
Kiddush: 12:00pm


Holocaust Survivor and Educator Hedy Bohm
English with Simultaneous Japanese Translation
Saturday, October 29th
8:00pm on Zoom
Registration Link

Jewish Jazz Night Live with Selim Benba
Saturday, November 12th
7:00pm at the JCJ

Speaker Series: Ambassador Rahm Emanuel

If you have an idea for an event or a topic you would like to share with others, please visit our website.


Joanne Yoshida doesn’t live in Tokyo. In fact, Joanne Yoshida doesn’t even live in Japan but when she did it was in Ōita, Kyūshū. As you might have read above below Shabbat on October 29th, that did not stop Joanne Yoshida and Family from answering the call for Kiddush sponsorships several newsletters ago. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you Joanne for your generosity. We can’t wait to welcome you back at the JCC. L’chaim!

The tourists are coming! The tourists are coming! Actually, they have already started trickling in. If you would like to provide the mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim/Welcoming Guests via Shabbat hospitality to anyone visiting our community, please contact the rabbi. Alternatively, if you know anyone coming to Japan who is interested in staying in our newly renovated guestroom decorated exclusively with Scandinavian furnishings (Ikea) then please have them contact us via our website. Thank you to those who already reached out.

Are you in a bicultural Jewish-Japanese relationship and sometimes feel like you or your partner doesn’t quite appreciate the nuances of late 19th/early 20th century Jewish history? The New National Theatre of Tokyo comes to the rescue by presenting Tom Stoppard’s new play Leopoldstadt. The semi-autobiographical work, exclusively performed in Japanese translation, just opened to rave reviews on Broadway. Make your New York friends jealous by telling them that not only did you see Leopoldstadt, but that you did so in Tokyo for a fraction of the price!

Yiddish Club with Jack Halpern: Meetings have started monthly in-person at the JCJ. Please contact Jack at jack@cjki.org if you are interested to join. All levels are welcome, from beginner to advanced. Much more than just language, the club enjoys exploring Yiddish culture as well.

Shabbat Parshat Haazinu
Candle Lighting: 4:59pm
Havdala: 5:54pm

Candle Lighting Night 1: 4:56pm
Candle Lighting Night 2: 5:51pm
Havdala: 5:50pm