JCC Newsletter – Kedoshim

Sefirat haOmer. No, also not an autocorrect or typo. The term references the practice of counting seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot. Before you think ugh rabbi, thanks for sharing another esoteric Jewish practice that has no practical significance in my life, know that Sefirah is a mitzvah taken directly from the Torah.

Not impressed by a Biblical commandment? Well, the Talmud teaches us Sefirah is also significant for being the period when 12,000 pairs of Rabbi Akiva’s students passed away passed away for the sin of not treating each other with respect. On the 33rd day, known as Lag baOmer, the plague ceased.

Just in case you are more likely to send me a question about Lurianic Kabbalah than whether your meat spoon fell in your dairy pot, Lag baOmer is also the yahrzeit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, author of the authoritative Kabbalistic text known as the Zohar. During the Omer, we climb up and down the Ein Sof’s Sefirot making internal tikkunim where possible. I am very much not a Kabbalist so apologies if the previous sentence made no sense to those of you who are.

There you have it: Torah-based Mitzvah, Talmudic narrative and even Jewish mysticism. Sefirat haOmer really has it all. Missed the first two weeks since second seder and just starting now? No problem! (but no bracha) Tonight (4/28) begins the 13th day of the Omer, which is one week and six days of that sweet Omer goodness. Unlike our ancestors who had to remember to count the Omer while putting out fires set by Cossacks, nowadays there are multiple free smartphone apps which take care of everything for you including nightly reminders. See if you can make it all the way to Shavuot. Just like the Loto 6, you’ve got to be in it to win it!


Family Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, May 13th
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner with Reservation: 7:00pm

Family Shabbat Shabbat Parshat Emor 
Saturday, May 14th
Mother’s Day Kiddush Sponsored by the Bodenheimer Family
Services: 10:00am
Kiddush: 12:00pm

Shabbat Parshat Behar
Sophie Leviton’s Bat Mitzvah
Saturday, May 21st
Services: 10:00am

Shabbat Parshat Bechukotai 
Saturday, May 28th
Kiddush Sponsored by the Scheer Family in honor of Asher’s 1st Birthday
Services: 10:00am
Kiddush: 12:00pm


NPO Kokoro Yom HaShoah Commemoration led by Fumiko-san
Streamed Live from the JCC on Zoom
Tuesday, May 2nd at 4:00pm
Event Page and Sign-up 

Lehrhaus Lecture Series presented by Jack Halpern
The Adventures of a 12-Language Polyglot — the joys and pains of learning a new language —
Jack Halpern serves as the Founder of the CJK Dictionary Institute and Director of the Japan Yiddish Club
Date: June 9th
Venue: In-Person at the JCC

If you have an idea for an event or a topic you would like to share with others, please reach out to Events Chair Sherry Greenfield at sherry@greenfield.net


We express our condolences to the Tanaka family on the loss of their, Japan’s and the world’s matriarch Kane who passed away at the age of 119. Her life brought meaning to the Hebrew expression and Torah verse עד מאה ועשרים/May you live until 120.

We express our condolences to the Hatch family and the larger LDS community on the loss of former US Senator Orrin Hatch. Senator Hatch exemplified the phrase אוהב ישראל/a friend of Israel and the Jewish people. He composed a Chanukah song (not THE Chanukah song) and wore a mezuzah around his neck for four decades.

This past Sunday, we hosted 200 LDS attendees at the JCC. The event began by honoring Senator Hatch’s legacy. Longtime friends Mike Alfant and Doug Hymas co-led a recitation in Hebrew and English of the Yizkor prayer for Senator Hatch, a symbol of the enduring bond between our communities. Thank you to David Semaya, Mike Alfant, David Parker, Lea Epstein and Micah Epstein for volunteering their Sunday afternoon to help out.

On Wednesday night, we held our annual Yom HaShoah Commemoration featuring the Beit Shalom Choir, readings by our Sunday School students and TAs Sophie Leviton, Kayla Kleiman, Mona Ichikawa, Lea Epstein, Micah Epstein and Jeremy Epstein and a keynote by Ambassador Gilad Cohen representing the State of Israel. We were also honored to host Ambassador Paveł Milewski of Poland. Thank you to David Semaya, Sherry Greenfield, Arie and Tal for organizing.

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.

Wishing everyone a restful and reflective Gōruden Wīku. May we never again experience Sutei Hōmu Wīku.

Shabbat Parshat Kedoshim
Candle Lighting: 6:13pm (תרי”ג מצוות)
Havdala: 7:14pm