Groups & Activities

People of the Book

GJC’s Jewish Book Reading Group meets at 7:15pm on the second Tuesday of each month at GJC’s Quitman Library. We read fiction and nonfiction books of Jewish interest written mostly, but not solely, by Jewish writers and chosen by the group. Volunteer group members lead the discussion. For more information, please contact Nan Myers.

Click here for People of the Book’s 2019-2020 book list.

For book listings from past years, please see People of the Book Archives.

GJC Choir

The GJC Choir is an all-volunteer group of singers that performs at High Holiday services and at other holiday celebrations, programs, and community events throughout the year. Directed by Rabbi Zeff, the choir sings a mix of traditional liturgical pieces, contemporary music, and new compositions, many written especially for the group. The choir rehearses on Wednesday nights from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, and rehearsals are always full of laughter as well as singing and learning. The choir season begins with weekly rehearsals for the High Holidays in the summer and stretches through the High Holidays to Hanukah and beyond, ending with our ever-popular Purimspiel performance in early spring.

We are always happy to welcome new members! If you are interested in joining the choir, please contact Natalie Lyalin at or 215-844-1507 x16.

Interfaith Hospitality Network

GJC is part of a network of a dozen congregations in Northwest Philadelphia, that take turns hosting temporarily homeless families while they look for permanent homes.

The Northwest Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network (NPIHN) provides temporary family and child-centered shelter for homeless families in the calm and comforting setting of our Northwest-area churches and synagogues, hosted by nurturing congregational volunteers. Staffed by a full-time family services director, NPIHN offers counseling and life-skills training to all guests at the YWCA day center in Germantown. Each year NPIHN helps approximately 20 families transition to permanent housing and to a life of self-sufficiency. We are proud that our guests call us “the shelter that’s not like a shelter.”

GJC has been hosting guest families for the last 10 years. We host the overnight guests in our Religious School classrooms three times a year, for two weeks each rotation. Two GJC hosts stay in the building at all times when our guests are with us. More than 100 synagogue members are active in the program as volunteers.

People can get involved in many ways. Volunteers can shop, cook, serve meals, stay overnight, play with children, spend 3-hour shifts on weekends, and help to move guests in and out of the building.

Interested in learning more? Contact

Israeli Dancing

The Germantown Jewish Centre Israeli dance group meets on Sunday mornings from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM from September through June, and on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-9:00 PM during the summer. Under the guidance of an experienced teacher (Grant Shulman), the sessions begin with instruction and review before moving on to intermediate level dances. It is an informal, friendly, and inclusive group, and always welcomes new dancers! $5 per session. For more information, please contact Grant Shulman at or Tamar Magdovitz at

Parshat HaShavua B’Ivrit

Once a month (usually the first Saturday) a group of GJC congregants meets in the Quitman Library at 11am to discuss the weekly Torah portion entirely in Hebrew.

Softball Team

GJC participates in the Delaware Valley Synagogue League (DVSL), a summer softball league that includes 21 teams from 17 Conservative, Reconstructionist and Reform synagogues (and one Jewish funeral home), all loca

ted on the north and west side of the Schuylkill River. There is also a second league for synagogues on the other side of the Schuylkill. The DVSL is divided into two divisions.

We play in the West, which includes eight teams from Montgomery County and two from Philadelphia. The East Division includes five teams from Montgomery County, four from Bucks County, one from Northeast Philadelphia, and the funeral home. Each team plays 16 games from the beginning of April through the end of July, followed by several rounds of playoffs, until a champion is crowned.

As would be expected of a team from Germantown Jewish Centre, we are one of the few teams that fields a co-ed lineup. Our goal is to have fun while representing GJC. The DVSL is a very competitive league, which is a modified fast pitch league. While this is only our fourth year of participation, we are progressing and becoming more successful each year.

The members of our team, which is supported by the GJC Men’s Club, represent a cross section of GJC membership and constituencies, including the Charry Sanctuary, Dorshei Derekh and Minyan Masorti davening groups, the Early Childhood Program, the Religious School, the clergy, the Board of Directors, various committees, and, of course, the Men’s Club. Additionally, some close relatives of team members are also active in the Women’s Club. Our team members include educators, healthcare professionals, Jewish communal workers, attorneys, college students and recent college graduates in various professions. We also have more current and future rabbis than any other team in the league.

Team members during the 2011 season include Dan Berdugo, Dan Berman, Rabbi Kevin Bernstein, Sophia Bernstein, Bonnie Buyum, Akiva Dworkin, Tracy Feldstein-Gardner, Ari Fish, Eli Fish, Joel Fish, Josh Hirsch, Jake Kriger, Ben Kripke, Joe Kripke, Ned Kripke, Curt Pontz, Michael Posner, Ben Sacks, Jeffrey Shoulson, Andy Ufberg, Steven Wade, Ivan Wolnek and Rabbi Adam Zeff.

We wish the GJC Softball Team continued success and enjoyment of our national pastime! While the 2011 roster is full, you may contact team co-captains Joel Fish or Ned Kripke if you are interested in participating in the future. —Photo by llie Seid