JCC Newsletter – Parshat Vayishlach

It is the JCC’s distinct honor to host the Bar Mitzvah of Eli Sheldon this Friday night and Saturday. You would be forgiven, by me at least, for the family’s name not being immediately evident to you. LCDR Ben, Jessica, Eli and younger brother Josh hail from our small but very committed cohort of military families. Although a fairly high security clearance prohibits LCDR Sheldon from sharing too much about his work, rest assured that the residents of Japan sleep more soundly at night knowing he and Submarine Group 7 do not rest in their defense of the country we call home. The Sheldons, especially mom Jessica, have planned quite the celebration for Eli so please join us in-person if possible to show Eli how proud we are of his accomplishment. There is also a Zoom link below.

Little bit of military trivia. Who were two of the most famous Jews to fight the corruption of defense contractors? The answer: Judah the Maccabee of the Hanukkah story and Admiral Hyman Rickover, Father of the Nuclear Navy. Many of the extant documents from the story of the Hasmoneans are not treatises on Judaism or military strategy. They are purchase orders for things like lulavs and etrogs. One of the most fascinating works I studied in rabbinical school was written in the hand of Judah himself, berating his supply officer for acquiring substandard sets of the four species for Sukkot and requesting a refund for the defective product. Over two thousand years later, the career of a Polish-Jewish child refugee who ascended to the upper echelons of the US Navy would be done in by his refusal to pay General Dynamics for substandard work. Rickover’s total of 63 years of active duty service make him the longest-serving naval officer, as well as the longest-serving member of the U.S armed forces in history.

While it remains unclear whether LCDR Sheldon will challenge ADM Rickover’s career longevity, what is certain is that we are privileged to invite Eli up onto the bimah this Shabbat to lead services in celebration of his Bar Mitzvah. Mazal Tov!


Eli Sheldon’s Bar Mitzvah weekend is here! Please join us for in-person Kabbalat Shabbat and Saturday morning services.


Oneg Shabbat at the JCC
Friday, November 19th
Sponsored by the Sheldon Family in honor of Eli’s Bar Mitzvah
Services: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
Nosh and Refreshments: 7:00pm – 8:00pm

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

Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, December 10th
Services: 6:00pm – 7:00pm

Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, December 17th
Services: 6:00pm – 7:00pm


Please sign up for the Second Harvest Food Bank project HERE.

Thank you to Professor Adam Komisarof for leading an insightful seminar on intercultural communication in Japan and globally. Our next Lehrhaus Lecture on the history of the Jews in Japan will be led by Jerry Rosenberg. Time/date are TBD but figure late January or early February.

Thank you to everyone who called into Wednesday night’s caregiving group. I especially appreciate the numerous people who pinged me afterwards to see how it went and those who did not share in the moment but for whom bearing witness to others provided some catharsis. We will reconvene in the new year which should provide additional fodder for conversation as people visit relatives and loved ones.

Rabbi Andrew, Tali and Asher will be away 11/22-1/20. Each day we have spent serving the community has only reinforced our decision to move here knowing full well that we would be away from family for the birth of our first child. Thank you for being so kind to us. We’ll miss you.

Carmel Rosenthal and the religious committee are diligently working on a service schedule for December and January. Please note Friday night services will be held in-person on 12/10 and 12/17.

Shockingly, there is a demand that we continue the newsletter in my absence. During this time, we will roll out several new features 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 or be in touch with Sherry Greenfield who has altruistically volunteered for this thankless position.

Shabbat Parshat Vayishlach
Candle Lighting: 4:14pm
Havdala: 5:12pm

Bar Mitzvah of Eli Sheldon
Nov 20, 2021 10:00 AM Tokyo time

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Meeting ID: 842 9203 6353