JCC Newsletter – Parshat Haazinu and Sukkot

“These Jews and their f@!$%#& tree houses” the now resigned-in-disgrace former Governor of my home state of New York, Andrew Cuomo, was said to describe Sukkot. Regardless of how you feel about the Festival of Huts, we invite you to celebrate in our luxurious, patio sukkah above where the old JCC swimming pool used to be. If you don’t know about that, come and hear from some of our more seasoned members about days gone by when the JCC had 40(!) employees. From what I hear, that did not include an assistant rabbi but I can dream no?

While we have thankfully been getting a pretty healthy response to our Sukkot meals, especially on Shabbat, we really need your help making the minyan. Weekday holidays are always tough in Tokyo and this year is no exception. If you can commit to showing up the morning of Tuesday, September 21st and/or for the following week’s Simchat Torah services please let me know.

I never understood why as a people we have no problem filling the sanctuary on a fast day that involves constantly reminding ourselves of everything we did wrong the previous year but then the following week on a holiday whose primary purpose is celebrating a new season while dining al fresco we say, eh I think I will pass. To paraphrase a conversation between Moses and the Lord of Hosts, “who knows anymore with these people?”

In any case, we very much look forward to welcoming you on Sukkot.


Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat will begin on Zoom at 5:00pm.

Next Kiddush available for sponsorship is 10/25.

Events (Please note revised times)

Sukkah Decorating (Thank you Lauren Rose for last week’s class)
Sunday, September 19th
10:00am – 11:30am

Erev Sukkot
Monday, September 20th
Services: 6:30PM – 7:00PM
Dinner in the Sukkah: 7:00PM – 9:00PM

Sukkot Day 1
Tuesday, September 21st
Services: 10:00AM – 12:30PM
Lunch in the Sukkah: 12:30PM – 2:30PM

Erev Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot
Friday, September 24th
Services: 6:30PM – 7:00PM
Dinner in the Sukkah: 7:00PM – 9:00PM

Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot
Saturday, September 25th
Services: 10:00AM – 12:00PM
Lunch in the Sukkah: 12:00PM – 2:00PM
Sake in the Sukkah sponsored by Tali, Asher Adi and Rabbi Andrew Scheer in honor of their 4th Wedding Anniversary. Attempted sponsorship co-opted by Rabbi Binyamin and Efrat Edery who insisted on covering the bill.

Shmini Atzeret and Erev Simchat Torah
Tuesday, September 28th
Services and Dancing with the Torah: 6:30PM – 8:00PM
Pareve Pizza, Refreshments and Drinks to help elevate the ruach.

Simchat Torah
Wednesday, September 29th
Services: 10:00AM – 12:00PM


いってらっしゃい (Itterasshai) to a member of the Semaya family who will get to spend some quality time with his אמא and אבא in the Sunshine State. To quote my mother, “don’t forget the sunscreen! At least SPF 50. It’s for your own good. You’ll thank me one day.”

A Groisen Yashar Koach to our High Holiday Chazzanim Yoni Roth on Zoom and David Tropp in person with Todd Walzer and Jack Halpern assisting in leyning the Torah. Rabbi Andrew requests mechila/forgiveness for making the case to bring back Yoni next year all the more pressing with his attempt at leading Kol Nidre.

Thank you to our gabbait and rabbi-in-traning Shari Berman for so deftly assisting us while concurrently preparing to lead services in Kona. We are forever grateful to Jonathan Tischler and Steven and Lauren Rose for facilitating the complicated technical components of internationally hosted Zoom services.

ごちそうさまでした (Gochisousama deshita) to Izaki-san and Ozawa-san for their tireless efforts in preparing the menu and all of our delicious dishes over the High Holidays. From the seasonal Japanese tempura that happened to coincide with our Rosh haShana Seder simanim to a bagels and lox break-the-fast that would have been the envy of even the most urbane Barney Greengrass-eating Upper West Sider, we could not have possibly enjoyed more delicious and memorable meals.

おつかれさまでした (Otsukaresama deshita) to Kyoko-san, Arie-san and Tal-san in the office for their diligence in the herculean task of successfully completing all of the logistical and financial details necessary to ensure that we were able to celebrate the holidays together as a community. Much midnight oil was burned on weekends, days when the office is usually closed and deep into the night.

Acharon acharon chaviv, last but certainly not least, thank you to our President David Semaya and the entire JCJ Board for their vision in seeing to completion a High Holiday season celebrated simultaneously in different modalities across time zones to maximize the greatest possible participation in a safe and sacred manner.

It is not too late (read: never too late) to contribute to our Yom Kippur Appeal. Thank you to the various board members for not reading everyone’s donations out loud like I, and I am certain many of you, grew up with.

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. We promise, bli neder, this will actually happen at some point. If you would like to volunteer for any of the above, please reply to this e-mail.

Parshat Ha’azinu
Candle Lighting: 5:27pm
Havdala: 6:22pm

Sukkot Day 1
Candle Lighting: 5:23pm

Sukkot Day 2
Candle Lighting: 6:18pm
Havdala: 6:16pm