“For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens…May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.”
So wrote George Washington to the Touro Synagogue of Newport, Rhode Island in 1790. These words are usually studied as an example of the central role that free exercise of religion played in the still nascent country.
It is also a textbook example of the Jewish community’s inability to collaborate. Earlier in 1790, Congregation Mickve Israel of Savannah, GA sent their best wishes to the new president without consulting any other Jewish bodies. Not to be outdone, Jewish leaders from New York, Philadelphia, Richmond and Charleston drafted a joint missive. Newport refused to join and sent their own. Ever the courteous Virginian, George Washington replied separately to each letter forever reinforcing the then still radical idea that Jews would be able to practice our faith anywhere in the United States of America. The enduring legacy of Washington’s words is echoed in the above links to each of the still extant synagogues who composed words of congratulations to our first president.
Happy 4th of July to all who are celebrating and for those who are able don’t forget to vote in the House of Councillors election on July 10th. My money is on the Party to Protect the People from the NHK.
Friday, July 8th
Dinner with Reservation: 7:30pm
Shabbat Parshat Chukat
Kiddush Open for Sponsorship
Saturday, July 9th
We are looking for volunteers to join the Events Committee. If that sounds like something you would be interested in, please message Sherry below.
JCC night out at Jingu Stadium to cheer on our beloved Yakult Swallows against the dreaded Chunichi Dragons will happen on Sunday, September 4th at 6:00pm. Continue checking the newsletter and your e-mail for when registration details will be finalized.
Condolences to the Halivni Family and Klal Yisrael on the loss of Rabbi David Weiss Halivni zt”l. A Holocaust Survivor, Rabbi Halivni eschewed denominational labels. Not a stranger to the Far East, in 1996 Halivni traveled to the University of Nanjing where he helped start the first center for Jewish studies in China and addressed the country’s first academic meeting of Chinese, Jewish and Israeli scholars.
Newsletter will be on hiatus during the rabbi’s home leave beginning week after next. If you want to sign up for the thankless task of writing it while the rabbi is away, please reply to this e-mail.
Yiddish Club with Jack Halpern: Meetings have started monthly in-person at the JCJ. Please contact Jack at firstname.lastname@example.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 Shlach
Candle Lighting: 6:43pm