JCC Newsletter – Yitro

This week we hear from JCJ board member Sherry Greenfield

I first arrived in Japan in 1989 for a one-year adventure to teach English (how many people have heard that story before?). Long story short, met my husband Masa the first month in a local community orchestra, got married in a Jewish wedding in Philadelphia nine years later, and now blessed with three children: Kent (almost 21), Mona (15) and Rina (11). I still play in that orchestra, btw, although my husband is now playing professionally.

Learning is my passion – in my professional work (talent development, coaching), my personal interests (certifications in teaching and coaching), and my family’s education. It is also reflected in my work as Events Chair for the JCJ with a focus on Jewish history and culture. If you have a particular interest to learn, or knowledge or skills to share, please let me know! I aim to instill a sense of community that complements our religious services and Sunday school program.

Although not from an observant background, being Jewish has always been part of my identity. It was easy growing up in New Jersey to ‘feel’ Jewish. Not so in Japan. I need to be more proactive to give my children that sense of identity. They go to Japanese school, so Judaism can feel remote for them. It’s not easy! I have much to share about this journey of infusing Jewish identity to my family and plan to run a series on Jewish life cycle events, including one on raising Jewish children in Japan.

I am deeply appreciative of our beautiful building with a resident rabbi – many communities in Asia aren’t so fortunate – otherwise it would be nearly impossible to give my children that sense of identity. As a member of the Board, I feel we are stewards of this community to make sure it remains for future generations. I joined the board a few years ago and it is so rewarding to contribute. Please reach out if you have any suggestions or questions!

Photo of daughter Mona’s bat mitzvah in 2020, our first zoom bat mitzvah at the JCJ!

In-person services will resume after Rabbi Andrew returns and depending on the state of the pandemic.

UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day January 27
Tokyo Holocaust Education Center presents “Holocaust Denial: European and American Responses”
Speaker: Dr.Ayaka Takei, Professor at the Gakushuin Women’s College. Dr. Takei is one of the leading scholars of Holocaust and Jewish history and modern German history in Japan.
Opening messages
H.E. Mr. Gilad Cohen, Ambassador of Israel
H.E. Dr. Clemens von Goetze, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany H.E.Mr. Paweł Milewski, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland
Lecture by Professor Ayaka Takei
Discussion with Q&A in Japanese and English (simultaneous translation)
Prior registration required Registration link
Date: January 27, 2022
Time: 7:30 – 9:30pm
Venue: Zoom (link provided after registration)

Lehrhaus Lecture Series presented by Jack Halpern
The Adventures of a 12-Language Polyglot — the joys and pains of learning a new language —
by Jack Halpern, head The CJK Dictionary Institute and director the Japan Yiddish Club
New date TBD

Purim Bash – live Klezmer music and more!
Save the date: March 16, 2022 at the JCJ

If you have an idea for an event or a topic you would like to share with others, please reach out to Events chair Sherry Greenfield at sherry@greenfield.net

Sunday School
This Sunday, January 23, will be a Tu B’shevat seder via Zoom. See Marsha’s email for more details. In person will begin January 30. Please keep a watch for announcements if any other updates. You can always check the JCJ Online Calendar for the schedule.

Yiddish Club with Jack Halpern
Started meeting 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.

Rabbi Andrew, Tali and Asher will be back soon. Fingers crossed for a smooth reentry and quarantine

Shabbat Parshat Yitro
Candle Lighting: 4:38 pm
Havdala: 5:38pm