A community of communities

June 2015

Fri, 06/26/2015 - 3:51pm -- Rabbi









"Adonai shall guard your going out and your coming in, from this time forth and for ever."


                                                    -Psalm 121:8


This past week, the sun rose and set on the longest day of the year. Summer officially arrived. As the season shifts, we are in a time of transition in our synagogue. Rabbi Spicehandler completed her term as Visiting Rabbi. Elana Shaw finished her last official day as Program Director and Kate Lawn stepped into this new role with great enthusiasm. In the coming week, the Zeff family will return to Philadelphia! We look forward to welcoming Rabbi Zeff back to GJC beginning on July 1st, to reconnecting with Cheryl, Zeke, Avi and Mati and to hearing about their adventures in Israel. Our tradition calls attention to liminal moments, granting us prayers, poetry and ritual to guide us from one place to the next. May the Holy One be with all of us on our journeys these summer months, shaping our exits and our entrances for life and for peace, for now and for all time.

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Tue, 06/23/2015 - 3:12pm -- Rabbi







We who believe in freedom cannot rest.

We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.                  

                         -Bernice Johnson Reagon


We sang these words last night; Jews, Christians and Muslims from forty-four different Philadelphia congregations who gathered together to grieve and to pray in the wake of the horrific massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. We sat beside each other in the pews of Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church as we listened to words of comfort and calls to action from Reverend Mark Kelly Tyler and other religious leaders. The worship choir of Mother Bethel moved us to tears and to our feet with their voices. We remembered Depayne Middleton Doctor, Cynthia Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, The Reverend Honorable Clementa C. Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, The Reverend Dr. Daniel Simmons Sr., Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, and Myra Thompson, those whose lives were hatefully taken from them as they came together in their house of worship Wednesday evening to study and to pray.  Bishop Dwayne Royster, the Executive Director of POWER: An Interfaith Movement, said, "Today, we grieve. Tomorrow, when we wake up, we work. Today, we mourn. Tomorrow, we recommit." May this Shabbat restore our hope and give us the strength to recommit to working for a country free from hatred, racism and gun violence and a world of dignity and justice for all.

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