JCC Newsletter – Haazinu/Yom Kippur

Steve and Phyllis Goldstein, $5400. Adam and Susan Schneiderman, $3600. Harry and Rachel Blumberg, $1800…

On and on a typical Yom Kippur Appeal will go for 5-15 minutes depending on the size of the congregation. In what is no doubt the most peculiar institution in synagogue life, a board member ascends the bimah following Kol Nidre to give a stemwinder of a speech about how the community needs our support. After what is usually an inspiring call to arms and/or wallets, some version of the above occurs whereby each family’s contribution is recorded out loud in front of everyone. For good measure, a printed list may even be tacked to a bulletin board. The names and numbers lead to no shortage of raised eyebrows with the hope being that like yeast, a little bit of peer pressure helps to raise the dough.

What may seem like a gauche, nouveau riche tradition shockingly has its roots in an attempt at egalitarianism. Early 20th century synagogues were viewed with suspicion as pet projects of machers, the well-heeled bunch who hired and fired rabbis as they pleased, decided who got which aliyot to the Torah and generally ran communal institutions as their own personal fiefdoms. Nobody outside of the inner circle was privy to the details of the synagogue exchequer, money in or money out.

The Yom Kippur Appeal started off as a radical idea. Open to all. Men and women. City fathers and recent arrivals. Unlike the auctioning of synagogue honors, itself a controversial practice, the Yom Kippur Appeal came with nothing but a sense of satisfaction at having supported the community. There was no quid pro quo, sale of indulgences or absolution. Like the first Israelite census carried out via the offering of half-shekels in the Sinai desert, the Yom Kippur Appeal challenged each congregant to stand up and be counted.

Ah, but how to keep track of people’s contributions given Yom Kippur’s prohibition on writing anything down? In 1933, the Brooklyn Jewish Center at 667 Eastern Parkway created the familiar pledge card with its turn-down flaps listing various amounts ranging from $5 to $500. Tablet has a fascinating article on an even more ancient and convoluted method to keep track of donations called the Alyias Donation Book whereby strips would be maneuvered up, down and across so that their letters would properly align to form the name as well as the address of a donor. Nowadays, we use a QR code.

Tokyo being a city where Jews values discretion and a shorter worship service, donation details are not announced broadly nor have they been for some time if ever. Instead, a board member speaks about the merits of supporting the miracle that is the Jewish Community of Japan so that our children, grandchildren and their grandchildren will have where to gather for Yom Kippur in Tokyo many years from now.

Gmar Chatima Tova. May we all be sealed for good in 5784.


Kabbalat Shabbat Shuva
Friday, September 22nd
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner with reservation: 7:00pm

Erev Yom Kippur
Sunday, September 24th
Before-the-fast meal with reservation: 3:45pm
Kol Nidre: 6:00pm

Yom Kippur
Monday, September 25th
Services: 9:00am
Yizkor: 11:30am
Mincha and Neilah: 4:00pm
Break-the-fast cakes, soft drinks, coffee and tea (all invited): 6:15pm
Break-the-fast meal with reservation: 6:30pm

Erev Sukkot
Friday, September 29th
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner in the Sukkah by reservation: 7:00pm

Sukkot Day 1
Saturday, September 30th
Services: 10:00
Lunch in the Sukkah by reservation: 12:30pm
Maariv Services: 6:00pm
Dinner in the Sukkah by reservation: 7:00pm

Sukkot Day 2
Hebrew School Family Service
Sunday, October 1st
Services: 9:30
Lunch in the Sukkah by reservation: 12:00pm

Shmini Atzeret Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, October 6th
Services: 6:00pn
Dinner in the Sukkah by reservation: 7:00pm

Shmini Atzeret Shabbat Service with Yizkor
Saturday, October 7th
Services: 10:00
Lunch in the Sukkah by reservation: 12:30pm

Erev Simchat Torah Service
Saturday, October 7th
Services and Dancing with the Torah: 6:00pm
Pizza, refreshments and drinks


Gernsheim Duo Classical Music Concert
Anna Gann, soprano, and Naoko Christ-Kato, piano, will perform live at the JCJ works by respected German-Jewish composers whose works were largely lost and forgotten in the Holocaust. They are dedicated to ensuring these works are not lost to future generations.
Thursday, October 5th at 7pm at the JCC
Registration Details

”Masha the Rich Man”
Maria Raykhman, Ukrainian-German singer/artist, performing live with her autoharp. More info and recordings here:
Thursday, October 19th at 7:30pm at the JCC
Registration Details

JCJ Platinum 70th Anniversary
Saturday, November 11th in the evening
Featuring 70s music, food and cocktails

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Rosh Hashana rocked our proverbial socks off so much that we’re leaving our leather shoes in the closet for Yom Kippur. Considering the biggest bone of contention was whether people preferred matzah balls that were sinkers or floaters, it is safe to say things went off without a hitch. Everything incredible that took place is thanks to the hard work of Chazzan Yoni, Tal, Ayako-san, Lena, Izaki-san and an army of chefs, cooks, bakers and waitstaff in addition to our pinch-hit security folks in Eyal and Liel. Everything that went wrong you can blame on the rabbi as per JCJ tradition.

Mazal Tov to the 3(!) Honeymooning Couples that spent Rosh Hashana with us! Flying in from Peru, the US and Israel the triumvirate brought a sense of unrestrained jubilation to our welcoming in 5784.

Mazal Tov to the Magnificent 9(!!!) post-B’nai Mitzvah who will represent Japan at the inaugural BBYO Asia Pacific Regional Convention in November. Our community stepped up to send the largest delegation outside of the host city of Singapore to what promises to be an exciting, enlightening and most importantly enjoyable convocation of Jewish teens throughout Asia. We even have a teen on the waitlist who will hopefully get and bring us to double digits. Kudos to our two chaperones who will accompany the participants. Let’s bring back the gold to Tokyo, the gold being a great time had by all with infinite connections between communities across APAC.

On these contemplative days leading up to the Day of Atonement, we offer our deepest apologies to all the JCJ and I have hurt or offended in the past year.

Yiddish Club with Jack Halpern: 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’s monthly meetings explore Yiddish culture as well.

Shabbat Parshat Haazinu
Candle Lighting: 5:21pm
Havdala: 6:16pm

Yom Kippur Candle Lighting: 5:18pm
Yom Kippur Havdala: 6:13pm