JCC Newsletter – Parshat Vayelech and Yom Kippur

NB: Kol Nidre has been rescheduled to 6:00pm to maximize access for people coming from work and those with small children. Candle lighting and the fast begin at 5:03pm.

While the High Holiday season is simultaneously fulfilling and frenetic, what follows just a week afterward is positively delightful. You may recall last year’s ode to the once or twice yearly Jew who like Japan’s famous sakura annually reemerge in all their splendor only to disappear until the following year. For millennia, Jewish communal leaders sought to understand the anthropological phenomenon. After much meditation and study of our great sages, it really makes perfect sense. When one’s only synagogue experience all year consists of prayers focused on the fragility of life and imminence of mortality coupled with fasting and beating our chests, well it shouldn’t come as a surprise that people get burnt out. That is a shame because this disengagement occurs at the worst possible time.

Less than one week after Yom Kippur, the festival of Sukkot begins whose core ritual revolves around dining al fresco. We are especially blessed in Japan as the first day of Sukkot this year coincides with スポーツの日 Sports Day and Columbus Day so with any luck, your office is closed and the kids are out of school. Reservations are open for dinner on Sunday dinner 10/9, Monday lunch 10/10 and Shabbat lunch in the Sukkah on 10/15. If we exceed capacity our Sukkah’s capacity for any meal, we’ll let you know and figure out an alternative.

Thank you to Chazzan Yoni Roth, Aaron Kleiman, David Tropp and Todd Walzer for making our Rosh Hashana services so incredible. A special debt of gratitude is reserved for Adam Brownstein who kicked off our guilt-free Yom Kippur Appeal Campaign with good humor. Thank you to Ambassador Rahm Emanuel and Amy Rule for honoring us with your presence as well as Kenneth Weinstein who was the previous (and maybe future?) nominee to be US Ambassador to Japan. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the JCC this Shabbat Shuva and then again on Yom Kippur.


Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, September 30th
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner with Reservation: 7:00pm

Shabbat Shuva/Parshat Vayelech
Kiddush sponsored by the Dooley family (Maureen and Parker Dooley, sons Benjamin and Joshua) in memory of Maureen’s brother Michael Joseph Contract and parents Louis and Diane Selib Contract
Saturday, October 1st
Services: 10:00am
Kiddush: 12:00pm

Erev Yom Kippur
Tuesday, October 4th
Before-the-fast dinner with reservation: 3:45pm
Candle Lighting and Fast Starts: 5:03pm
Kol Nidre: 6:00pm

Yom Kippur
Wednesday, October 5th
Services: 9:00am
Yizkor: 11:30am
Mincha and Neilah: 4:00pm
Fast ends: 5:58pm
Break-the-fast cakes, soft drinks, coffee and tea (all invited): 6:15pm
Break-the-fast meal with reservation: 6:30pm

Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, October 7th
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner with reservation: 7:00pm

Erev Sukkot
Sunday, October 9th
Services: 6:30pm
Dinner with reservation: 7:00pm

Sukkot Day 1
Monday, October 10th
Services: 9:30am
Lunch with reservation: 12:00pm

Kabbalat Shabbat of Chol HaMoed Sukkot
Friday, October 14th
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner with reservation: 7:00pm

Shabbat Chol HaMoed Sukkot
Kiddush Sponsored by the Rosenberg, Leviton and Tischler Families in honor of Rabbi Shari Berman’s rabbinic ordination
Saturday, October 15th
Services: 10:00am
Lunch with reservation: 12:30pm

Erev Simchat Torah
Dance with the Torah!
Pizza, Refreshments and Drinks
Monday, October 17th
Services: 6:30pm

Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, October 21st
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner with reservation: 7:00pm

Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, October 28th
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner with reservation: 7:00pm

Shabbat Parshat (Henri) Noach
Saturday, October 29th
Kiddush Sponsored by Joanne Yoshida and Family in honor of the New Year 5783, and to give thanks to you all at JCC for being a ‘home’ to me over the holidays
Services: 10:00am
Kiddush: 12:00pm


Holocaust Survivor and Educator Hedy Bohm
Saturday, October 29th
8:00pm on Zoom

Jewish Jazz Night Live with Selim Benba
Saturday, November 12th
7:00pm at the JCJ

Speaker Series: Ambassador Rahm Emanuel
Thursday, November 16th
7:00pm at the JCJ

If you have an idea for an event or a topic you would like to share with others, please visit our website.


The tourists are coming! The tourists are coming! Actually, they have already started trickling in. If you would like to provide the mitzvah of Hachnasat Orchim/Welcoming Guests via Shabbat hospitality to anyone visiting our community, please contact the rabbi. Alternatively, if you know anyone coming to Japan who is interested in staying in our newly renovated guestroom decorated exclusively with Scandinavian furnishings (Ikea) then please have them contact us via our website.

The New National Theatre of Tokyo is presenting Tom Stoppard’s play Leopoldstadt beginning in mid-October. The entire cast visited the JCC to gain a better understanding of the play’s central themes, Jewish history and identity. While the opportunity to see Fiddler on the Roof in Japanese has long since passed, tickets remain available for all performances, all of which will be exclusively in Japanese.

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.

Shabbat Parshat Vayelech
Candle Lighting: 5:09pm
Havdala: 6:04pm