JCC Newsletter – Sukkot

As we put the finishing touches on our sukkah and scramble as every other year to procure sets of lulav and etrog, let’s pull back on this frenetic High Holiday season just a bit. Historically, the ‘can’t miss’ Sukkot event at the JCC has not actually been on the holiday itself. The Sunday morning spent decorating the sukkah has proved an annual JCC tradition without equal carried out on the same rusty, rickety ladders as our spiritual forebears in the 1960s. Tokyo’s young Israelites design their own decorations with parents and friends so that the sukkah feels just a little bit more like the home it is meant to become for the eight-day festival. The intergenerational nature of hanging up plastic grapes and paper chains contributes significantly to the broader Jewish culture of Tokyo, perhaps even more than any specific religious practice as outlined in the Torah and elucidated in the Talmud’s Tractate Sukkah.

While mellifluous chazzanut/chanting of liturgy can ring in your ears and the message of a sermon resonate for a bit, events leave memories that last a lifetime thus inspiring future generations to provide for their children what they themselves experienced. One Yom HaShoah many years ago, a friend explained that while of course we mourn all who perished, we should also reflect on the traditions and culture that formed the lifeblood of once thriving communities. When we try to imagine Europe’s forgotten Jewish civilizations from the Spanish Inquisition to the Shoah, focusing on one city helps us bear witness to what once was.

On Friday night, October 6th Shmini Atzeret we have the privilege of hosting Professor Hanna Grzesiak of Warsaw University who will speak on ‘The Jewish Community in Poznan: Past and Present’. Following services and dinner by reservation in the Sukkah, Professor Grzesiak will share about the Jews of Poznan as well as the contemporary Polish-Jewish landscape led by Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich, formerly the clergyman of none other than your JCC. Despite being Christian herself, Professor Grzesiak has dedicated a tremendous amount of her scholarship to Jewish history including her current work on the Jewish diaspora in Asian countries. Dinner reservation not necessary to come for the lecture. Please join us for what promises to be unforgettable evening.


Erev Sukkot
Friday, September 29th
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner in the Sukkah by reservation: 7:00pm

Sukkot Day 1
Saturday, September 30th
Services: 10:00
Lunch in the Sukkah by reservation: 12:30pm
Maariv Services: 6:00pm
Dinner in the Sukkah by reservation: 7:00pm

Sukkot Day 2
Hebrew School Family Service
Sunday, October 1st
Services: 9:30
Lunch in the Sukkah by reservation: 12:00pm

Shmini Atzeret Kabbalat Shabbat
Lecture on The Jewish Community in Poznan: Past and Present
Friday, October 6th
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner in the Sukkah by reservation: 7:00pm
Lecture to follow after dinner

Shmini Atzeret Shabbat Service with Yizkor
Saturday, October 7th
Services: 10:00
Lunch in the Sukkah by reservation: 12:30pm

Erev Simchat Torah Service
Saturday, October 7th
Services and Dancing with the Torah: 6:00pm
Pizza, refreshments and drinks

Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, October 13th
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner by reservation : 7:00pm

Shabbat Bereshit
Kiddush tentatively sponsored
Services: 10:00am
Kiddush: 12:00pm

Kabbalat Shabbat
Friday, October 20th
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner by reservation : 7:00pm


Gernsheim Duo Classical Music Concert
Anna Gann, soprano, and Naoko Christ-Kato, piano, will perform live at the JCJ works by respected German-Jewish composers whose works were largely lost and forgotten in the Holocaust. They are dedicated to ensuring these works are not lost to future generations.
Thursday, October 5th at 7pm at the JCC
Registration Details

”Masha the Rich Man”
Maria Raykhman, Ukrainian-German singer/artist, performing live with her autoharp. More info and recordings here:
Thursday, October 19th at 7:30pm at the JCC
Registration Details

JCJ Platinum 70th Anniversary
Saturday, November 11th in the evening
Featuring 70s music, food and cocktails

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


Chazzan Yoni kicked us into high gear with a beautiful Kol Nidre followed by JCJ board member Adam Brownstein’s impassioned plea to help keep Jewish life thriving in Japan while we help our friends at the Tokyo Holocaust Education Resource Center. Everyone who passed through our doors felt a tremendous sense of achdut/unity especially at the packed and exceptionally delicious break-fast. We were honored by the presence of US Ambassador Rahm Emanuel, Amy Rule, Israeli Ambassador Gilad Cohen and everyone who joined us throughout Yom Kippur.

The post-YK nijikai crowd was treated to an ancient Jewish practice called Kiddush Levana. Consider the month of Tishrei’s moon sanctified!

Yiddish Club with Jack Halpern: 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’s monthly meetings explore Yiddish culture as well.

Candle Lighting Night 1: 5:11pm
Candle Lighting Night 2: 6:05pm from a pre-existing flame
Havdala: 6:04pm