JCC Newsletter – Vayeshev

The World Cup semifinals did not leave Jews with a lot of great options.

Croatia? Despite the embassy’s geographical proximity to the JCC, they are basically fascist until today. No tears were shed in Israel on their loss to…

Argentina? Home of the world’s only kosher McDonald’s outside of Israel to be sure but also enthusiastic refuge of Nazi war criminals, site of the 1992 attack on the Israeli embassy and more recently the final resting place of Alberto Nisman, the assassinated Jewish prosecutor who was set to finally bring justice for the victims of the 1994 AMIA JCC-Buenos Aires bombing.

Morocco? While the historical record indicates Sultan Mohammed V protected Jews during the Vichy occupation not more than 20 years later, 250,000 Jews fled pogroms amid a rising Arab nationalist tide for the safe harbor of Israel. HIAS, funded largely by American Jews, was forced to pay a bounty of $100 a head for the first 50,000, and $250 for every Jew thereafter, to King Hassan II for the privilege of emigration.

Which leaves us of course with France. Perhaps no other country in the world represents the pinnacle and absolute trough of Jewish history more than Gaul. A nation that boasted the finest Torah scholars the world has ever known but then subsequently burned 24 wagonloads of Talmudic manuscripts in front of Notre Dame before expelling every Jewish resident by the 14th century. A nation where the Jewish Alfred Dreyfus could rise to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel before being railroaded into a false conviction for treason. A nation that emancipated its Jews before any other and then willingly rounding them up for Drancy. A nation that lately has been the site of numerous anti-Semitic terrorist attacks but continues to boast the world’s 3rd largest Jewish population, thriving in many respects with the best falafel outside of Israel and some say in the entire world.

Out of these imperfect choices and due to the many JCC members who hail from L’hexagone, we will be flying the Tricolor and hoping for French Victory…which to an American sounds like a contradiction in terms but nevertheless Allez Les Bleus!


Kabbalat Shabbat in memory of Raji Krishnaswami z”l
Star Wars VII: Return of the Pikes
Friday, December 16th
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner with reservation: 7:00pm

Shabbat Parshat Vayeshev
Kiddush Sponsored by the Bass Family in honor of David’s arrival back on Japanese shores
Saturday, December 17th
Services: 10:00am
Kiddush: 12:00pm

Kabbalat Shabbat – Chinese Food Bonenkai
Friday, December 23rd
Services: 6:00pm
Dinner with reservation: 7:00pm

Shabbat Parshat Miketz/Rosh Chodesh Tevet/6th Day of Hanukkah
Three Torah Take-Out!
Kiddush Open for Sponsorship
Saturday, December 24th
Services: 10:00am
Kiddush: 12:00pm


Community Hanukkah Celebration
Sponsored by Arron Besant and Hotaka Matsui
Sunday, December 18th
4:00pm – 7:00pm at the JCJ
Registration Details

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


Wishing everyone a happy first night of Hanukkah this Sunday and hoping to celebrate together with you at the JCC.

We were honored to host a large AJC-Kakehashi group last Friday night who enjoyed every minute spending time with our community. Kudos to Jerry Rosenberg for arranging the visit and then just two days afterwards leading a Zoom which attracted nearly 250 (mostly retired) New Jersey Jews to call in and learn about the Jewish history of Japan.

The Furusato Nozei deadline is fast approaching. While JCC membership cannot yet be paid for with this incredible program, you are more than welcome to donate your mangoes and mikan for all to enjoy. If you recently moved to Japan and are unfamiliar with Furusato Nozei, google it and you will be pleasantly surprised to see your tax dollars get you something tangible and often delicious in return. If you live in Japan as a diplomat or under SOFA status, well then you probably earn in USD which at least this year was way more lucrative than receiving an occasional ‘free’ box of apples from Aomori-ken. If you’ve lived here for a while and your AUM rivals the GDP of a small Pacific Island nation-state, then you can probably afford to buy your own fruit.

The JCC will be on intersession from Sunday, December 25th – Monday, January 9th. Wishing everyone safe travels whether you’re flying to the other side of the world or taking the Saikyo Line to finally experience TeamLab.

Please join us for our Friday Night Bonenkai on December 23rd when as the Torah teaches, we will dine on Chinese food. Please reserve on our website. https://jccjapan.jp/shabbat-meals-sign-up/

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 Vayeshev
Candle Lighting: 4:11pm
Havdala: 5:12pm