JCC Shabbat Newsletter – Parshat Re’eh

Last year while up way too late at my shviger*’s home in Denver, I ended my Rosh haShana Dvar Torah with “May we merit to appreciate what we have taken for granted, that next year we will shed tears of teruah, when we stand in our sanctuary and hear the shofar blasts together.” Well, it is hard to believe but those High Holidays I foretold are fast approaching. As you may have gleaned from a survey we sent out, in just about one month the JCC will host both in-person services AND offer a virtual option with our Chazzan Yoni Roth from Israel. We are preparing to host holiday lunches and dinners in an o-bento style including to-go options. Please be on the lookout for e-mail’s to sign up for services and meals.

I don’t think our current state is how anyone thought we would still be living nearly 18 months into COVID. But we are also past the point of being surprised or caught flat-footed. The best we can do, and will do, is follow the guidance of public health authorities as to how we can observe our faith in the safest manner possible while also respecting and making accommodations for those who do not yet feel comfortable joining in-person gatherings.

What has become imminently clear throughout the entire pandemic however is the immense challenge we face as perhaps one of the only Jewish communities in the world of similar size without a doctor (no, a PhD in Russian Literature doesn’t count) as a member. As the son of doctor for two synagogues, I can attest to hearing middle of the night phone calls from presidents and rabbis seeking guidance on whether aliyot ought to be paused for the week or loud singing drastically curtailed. It is truly our shame that no member of the medical profession, at least that I am aware of, is in any way affiliated with the Jewish Community of Japan. In addition to the noble efforts of the JCJ100 Campaign, let us add the JCJ1MD campaign to our priorities for 5782.

*Yiddish word for mother-in-law with pejorative connotations and used in jest. Please e-mail Jack Halpern for further etymological context including the Klezmer Klassic “Sha, Sha, Di Shviger Kumt”.


Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat will begin on Zoom at 5:30pm through August 27th.

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

Next Kiddush available for sponsorship is TBD.


In-Person Shabbat Morning Services
Kiddush sponsored by the Seme Family
Date: Saturday, August 14th
Time: 10:00am – Noon

In-Person Shabbat Morning Services
Kiddush sponsored by the Andreu Family
Date: Saturday, August 28th
Time: 10:00am – Noon


The JCC recognizes the untimely passing of Michael Van Zandt. We express our deepest condolences to Naoko, Hannah and Anne. To contribute towards Hannah and Anne’s education, please visit https://donorbox.org/michael-vanzandt-family-scholarship

The JCC received 100 tickets to the Chiune Sugihara exhibition being held on the 8th floor hall of the Nihonbashi Takashimaya S.C. Main Building through Monday, August 23rd. If you would like to pick up tickets, please reply to this e-mail.

The Ōmiya Library is hosting the exhibition “History and me: How memories of the Holocaust relate to each of us” from Aug. 10 to 15, coinciding with the 76th anniversary of the end of World War II in Japan. For more details, please click the following links.
English: https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20210728/p2a/00m/0na/031000c
Japanese: https://watashi-to-rekishi.studio.site/

Please see the following article in Jewish Renassaince Magazine featuring JCC members Jerry Rosenberg, Tomomi Saito, Jonathan Tischler and Emi Tischler: https://jewishphotolibrary.smugmug.com/PUBLICATIONS/Jewish-Renaissance-London-England-summer-2021/i-P64CXjF/A

おかえりなさい (Okaerinasai) to the Epstein Family!

いってらっしゃい (Itterasshai) to those families moving their kids into college, especially those of you in the Research Triangle.

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.