JCC Newsletter – Shlach

JCC Newsletter – Shlach

Since we celebrated Mother’s Day a Shabbat late, it only makes sense that the dads of our community should receive the same honor. Who is the greatest ABBA ever? No, I am not referring to ‘Dancing Queen’ and its eponymous nod to Shulamit, the first century daughter of Israeli King Herod. Greatest Abba means who does Judaism consider the model father figure in the Torah?

There is not exactly stiff competition. Jacob? Sons Simeon and Levi chastise their dad in the Dinah Incident for not protecting their sister, not to mention Jacob’s outward favoring of Joseph leading to all kinds of family strife. Isaac? Twin boys Jacob and Esau weren’t exactly buddy-buddy. Adam? Besides Cain murdering Abel, he was a regular Ward Cleaver.

But what of Abraham? It would be natural to think that the man who nearly sacrificed his son Isaac would be at the bottom of the list. But in the charmingly anachronistic catchphrase of legendary Jewish broadcaster Warner Wolf ‘Let’s go to the videotape’. Genesis 22:2 reads “Take your son, your only one, Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there…” 12th Century French commentator Rashi writes that we are actually witnessing a dialogue. Abraham exclaimed to God, “Take my son? I have two sons”. God answered him, “Your only son”. Abraham said, “This one is the only son of Hagar and the other is the only son of Sarah”. God then said, “the one whom you love”. Abraham replied, “I love both of them”. Whereupon God said “even Isaac”. To this day, in recognition of those paternal instincts, every person who converts to Judaism is referred to as a son or daughter of Abraham.

So for all the otōsans out there, the next time your kids ask you who is your favorite, you can answer that just like Abraham, you love them equally. Happy Father’s Day to each of our JCC Abba’s, their Abba’s and the Abba’s before them (who were probably called Totty and eventually Zayde) all the way back to Avraham Avinu/Abraham our Father.


Shabbat Parshat Shlach
Shabbat Mevarchim Tammuz
Father’s Day Kiddush sponsored by Ernie Singer in commemoration of his father Robert’s 8th yahrzeit
Saturday, June 25th
Services: 10:00am
Kiddush: 12:00pm

Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, July 8th
Services: 6:30pm
Dinner with Reservation: 7:30pm

Shabbat Parshat Chukat
Kiddush Open for Sponsorship
Saturday, July 9th
Services: 10:00am
Kiddush: 12:00pm


We are in the process of planning a JCC night out at Jingu Stadium to cheer on our beloved Yakult Swallows against the dreaded Chunichi Dragons on Sunday, September 4th at 6:00pm. Continue checking the newsletter and your e-mail for when registration details will be finalized.


Condolences to Rabbi Shari Berman on the passing of her brother Alan Steven Berman, age 64, on June 20th (Sivan 21) in Boston, MA. In Shari’s words, “he was the true l’dor vador of our family, Avraham Shmuel ben Yitzchak Itsek ben Avraham HaLevi named for our paternal grandfather and our maternal great grandfather Samuel Abarbanell. Alan was a career salesman in tech and other industries. He was also a weightlifter/wrestler who could bench press 250 lbs. at age 15. His son Brian and daughter Ashley blessed him with five grandchildren. May we learn from Alan to listen to our bodies and see a doctor when we need one.” May the family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Happy Birthday to Eithan’s Abba, Stephen ‘Shalom’ Baker. May you continue to bring your Lincoln Square Synagogue energy to the friendly confines of the JCC and Tokyo’s Jewish community at large.

Best of luck to Israel in figuring out its 5th election in three years. Naftali Bennett seems poised to wrap up his tenure as the shortest serving elected Prime Minister…vis a vis time in office at least. Although Bennett is 5’6”/170cm tall, in terms of height David Ben Gurion was far shorter standing in at only 4’11”/150cm. Who is next on the PM Carousel? Nobody knows but that won’t stop us from discussing it at kiddush.

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 Shlach
Candle Lighting: 6:42pm
Havdala: 7:46pm