JCC Shabbat Newsletter – Rosh Chodesh Av/Parshat Mattot-Masei

JCC Shabbat Newsletter – Rosh Chodesh Av/Parshat Mattot-Masei

JFK. For some, the acronym represents the name of a president whose assassination shattered a nation’s innocence. To others, those three letters printed on thick paper stock signify an arrival home at a dilapidated airport adjacent to the pothole-filled, under construction since its opening in 1971 Van Wyck Expressway. When it comes to Saturday mornings at the JCC however, JFK stands for ‘Just For Kiddush’, a tradition as old as synagogue life itself. For those of you who skim over the below Services section since communal prayer excites you as much as transferring at Shinagawa-eki, we invite you to show up at noon to enjoy the more social aspect of the JCC.

Following the never (read: often) disappointing Dvar Torah or rabbinic sermon at 11:45am, congregants stream downstairs discussing the deep insights (read: casual observations) they heard and kibbitz about the week, the Swallows and life in Japan. The JFK’er strategically enters the JCC at noon, sitting in the (Citrin?) lounge awaiting the arrival of the sanctuary folks. There is always a homemade spread, sponsored by a member or by the JCC, paired with a curated selection of beverages. Your rabbinic family were known as prolific JFK’ers at their previous house of worship, usually making something up about having prayed at another area synagogue which the other attendees knew made no sense but had the good taste not to question. As much as we would love to see everyone at 10am, we welcome you no matter when you walk through our doors even JFK.


We invite you to in-person Shabbat services this Saturday morning (7/10) at 10am. Please RSVP by replying to this e-mail. Social distancing guidelines will be maintained. Thank you to Todd Walzer and David Tropp for leyning the Parsha and special Rosh Chodesh portion.

A Deluxe Kiddush has been sponsored by the Kimoto Brownstein Family in memory of Adam’s paternal grandmother, Sophie Katz Brownstein whose yahrzeit we observe this Shabbat.

This week’s ShaBeer will involve a blind taste test of two of the titans of the Japanese macrobrew scene: Yebisu and Suntory Premium Malts. Only the most dedicated sararīman (サラリーマン) who frequent nijikai (二次会) and sanjikai (三次会) is rumored to be able to tell the difference. Test your luck and lived experience this week at Kiddush.

Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat will begin on Zoom at 6:00pm through July 23rd.

Schedule for Summer Shabbat morning 10am in-person services: 7/10, 7/31, 8/14, 8/28

Next Kiddush available for sponsorship is August 14th.

Havdala followed by the Tisha b’Av Service reading of Eicha / Lamentations will take place at the JCC on Saturday night, July 17th at 7:30pm. Please RSVP by replying to this e-mail.


In-Person Shabbat Morning Services
Kiddush sponsored by the Kimoto Brownstein Family
Date: Saturday, July 10th
Time: 10:00am – Noon

Havdala/Tisha b’Av Services
Date: Saturday, July 17th
Time: 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Mornings at the JCC
Date: Wednesday, July 28th
Time: 10:00am – Noon

In-Person Shabbat Morning Services
Date: Saturday, July 31st
Time: 10:00am – Noon


The JCC acknowledges the deep pain and loss of those suffering from the landslides in Atami, Shizuoka-ken. Our Jewish responsibility demands that we respond to these tragic events in a way that helps those on the ground. We are organizing a mission to the affected area. If you would like to participate, please reply to this e-mail.

We welcome back from summer holidays and other adventures members from the following families. Looking forward to reuniting in Hiroo and introducing you to Asher Adi.

おかえりなさい (Okaerinasai) to members of the Semaya, Klein, Rosenfeld and Siegel families.

Mazal Tov to the Bleiweis family on Stella’s Bat Mitzvah last Shabbat at Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, Maryland. In case you missed it, Stella gave an absolutely smoking Dvar Torah which I encourage you to watch at the 1:17:00 mark if you scroll down on the following link: https://www.bethelmc.org/spirituality/watch-live/

Mazal Tov to Eva Izsak-Niimura on her birthday.

Mazal Tov to Avi Koki Schaefer of Suita-shi, Osaka-ken who will represent Japan at the Tokyo Olympics on the men’s basketball team. To read more about Avi’s amazing story see here: https://www.heyalma.com/18-things-to-know-about-jewish-japanese-basketball-player-avi-schafer/

In the following weeks and months, we will roll out several new features in the newsletter 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.

Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Av/Parshat Matot-Massei
Candle Lighting: 6:41pm
Shabbat Ends: 7:44pm