JCC Newsletter – Parshat Noach

Kabbalat Shabbat. How did a 15th-16th century innovation of the Jewish mystic Rabbi Isaac Luria in Tzfat take on such a significant role in contemporary Judaism? The answer boils down to people’s work schedules. Rabbi Luria used the precedent of Kabbalat Shabbat’s closest antecedent, the Friday night ‘Magen Avot’, which was formulated in medieval times so that people who arrived at synagogue late due to work did not have to walk home alone in what were then the dangerous highways of the Dark Ages. Fast forwarding several centuries, some of our American members may recall the term ‘Oneg Shabbat’ from their youth. To quote a 2006 article by Professor Jeffrey Gurock “Friday evening worship would permit the individual to engage in prohibited activities on Saturday and yet at the same time participate in some type of Sabbath observance.” Like having your cake and eating it too. What’s not to love?

In case you are picturing rabbis accommodating Jewish Madison Avenue AdMen like David Deutsch, lawyers with names like Weil, Gotshal, Kramer, and Gottlieb and budding Wall Street masters of the universe like the Salomon Brothers and Ivan Boesky, you are exactly right. People wanted to be Jewish but not that Jewish. Foreshadowing the modern expression “Saturdays are for the boys”, Shabbat morning services were viewed as too great an imposition into the leisure time of an overworked, rising upper middle class. Why build all these new country clubs to compete with a Winged Foot inaccessible to Jews if there was no time to play?

To celebrate the enduring nature of Kabbalat Shabbat, this week we will host BOTH in-person Family Shabbat at 6pm as well as our final Zoom Friday night service (at least for a while) at 4:30pm for those Jews living in more outlying areas of Japan like Aomori, Aichi, Nikko, Yokosuka, Kawasaki, Setagaya, etc. I thank our dedicated Friday night JewMers (Jew + Zoom?) for always finding a way to welcome the Shabbat Kallah/Sabbath Bride to Tokyo. By nature of our presence at the vanguard of the dateline, she swings by Tokyo before anywhere else most months of the year. We hope to return to weekly in-person Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat with dinners like in the before times but that requires additional discussion. As a temporary replacement, we will attempt a few different types of Shabbat related Zooms including Thursday night mishmar and Saturday night havdala to see what works best for the community.


Zoom Kabbalat Shabbat will begin at 4:30pm this week and then go on indefinite hiatus. We’ll try a mix of Thursday and Saturday nights and see what resonates with the most number of people. Thank you for keeping your feedback constructive and respectful.

All kiddushes sponsored through the end of November.

The Hanukkah party (Date TBD) is open for sponsorship.


Shabbat Parshat Noach in-person services
Saturday, October 9th
Deluxe Kiddush and Brooklyn Lager sponsored anonymously in thanks to Reb David Tropp for beautifully leading services over Yom Kippur and Sukkot.
Services: 10:00am – 12:00pm
Kiddush: 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Thank you to Todd Walzer for leyning.

Shabbat Parshat Vayera in-person services
Saturday, October 23rd
Oktoberfest Young Professionals Kiddush sponsored by Lauren and Steven Rose in honor of their 5th Wedding Anniversary. Hot Dogs and Spiked Seltzer sponsored by the Andreu Family.
Services: 10:00am – 12:00pm
Kiddush: 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Thank you to David Tropp and Shari Berman for leyning.

Shabbat Parshat Toldot in-person services
Saturday, November 6th
Kiddush Sponsored by the Seme Family and Semaya Family in honor of the first celebration of the Ethiopian-Jewish holiday of Sigd in Japan.
Services: 10:00am – 12:00pm
Kiddush: 12:00pm – 2:00pm
Thank you to Todd Walzer for leyning the full kriah in honor of the anniversary of his Bar Mitzvah.

Shabbat Parshat Vayishlach
Bar Mitzvah of Eli Sheldon
Saturday, November 20th
Services: 10:00am – 12:00pm


The JCC expresses our deepest condolences to Jerry Rosenberg on the loss of his brother, Stan Rosenberg.

In the coming months, the JCC will introduce a bi-monthly ‘Lehrhaus Lectures’ series inviting members of the community who are highly skilled and knowledgeable in a specific subject to share their expertise. The idea is based off a similar concept known as the Lehrhaus/House of Free Study founded by Franz Rosenzweig in Frankfurt Am Maim 100 years ago. Topics range from finance, law, medicine, journalism, culture, politics, arts, philosophy, etc. If you would like to volunteer to speak on your chosen field, please reply to any newsletter e-mail.

We would like to start offering support groups for those with aging parents. If this is a subject that resonates with you, please reply and let me know you are interested. Details will follow in next week’s newsletter.

It is not too late to contribute to our Yom Kippur Appeal. I wish I knew how to make the ask more…appealing. (rabbi joke)

Following the example set by 小泉進次郎Koizumi Shinjirō, the Scheer family will be on paternity leave in the US from late November – late January. For some, this will cause deep consternation. For many others, a sense of tremendous relief. The Religious Committee and Education Committee are working サービス残業 to ensure services, classes and programming are maintained while the Scheers are away introducing Asher Adi to his grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, family and friends.

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. If you would like to volunteer for any of the above, please reply to this e-mail.

Shabbat Parshat Noach
Candle Lighting: 4:57pm
Havdala: 5:52pm