פרשת שמות
From Landscape with Moses and the Burning Bush by Domenichino, 1616
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Shabbat Parshat Shemot

21st of Tevet, 5780

January 17th - 18th, 2020

Candle lighting: 4:36 PM     Havdalah: 5:37 PM




The Society of Ethical Culture
Bronx, NY 10471



Kiddush following davening, is generously sponsored by
Nahum Palefski and Ayla, Charlie and Robbie, in honor of  Molly's birthday.

May Molly have good health, success and joy, ad me'ah v'esrim shana.


Dear Kehilah Members and Friends, 

For those of you who davened with us this past Shabbat, it was great to see you!  
And for those of you who were unable to attend, we hope you are able to join us at future tefilot.
After a series of shiurim, and based upon overwhelming communal interest, our Kehilah has now expanded the roles for women during Kriyat haTorah.

This past Shabbat women were called to the Torah for aliyot and women participated in reading from the Torah. 

This will be the Kehilah's practice going forward.

If you would like to read from the Torah on any given Shabbat, please contact Rosh Kehilah Najman directly at: 

Now more than ever we need your support, and we encourage you to renew your membership with the Kehilah for 2020 today.
In addition to our basic membership of $500, we are introducing a new Chai Membership of $1,800
If you believe in the mission of the Kehilah, if you are excited about the dynamic programming changes, we encourage you to support us. 

The Kehilah will be meeting roughly every other week from January through June at the Society for Ethical Culture.

Below is a calendar of dates for the first half of 2020 when the Kehilah will be meeting: 

January 25
February 8
February 22
March 7
March 28
April 4
April 25
May 9
May 30
June 13
June 20
June 27

Please mark your calendars and join us early and often!

Finally, we also ask that you to consider renewing your membership for 2020 soon. 

Now more than ever we need your support.

In addition to our basic membership of $500, we are introducing a new
Chai Membership of $1800.

If you believe in the mission of the Kehilah, if you are excited about the dynamic programming changes, we encourage you to support us. 

Thank you for your generous past support and we look forward to seeing you NEXT SHABBAT, January 25th.

Rosh Kehilah Dina Najman
President Jonathan Konovitch

The Kehilah Sunshine Committee

wishes a Happy Birthday to...

Danny Hirsch

Malka Hirsch

Molly Palefski

May they have good health, joy and success, ad me'ah v'esrim shana.


Happy Anniversary to...

Carolyn & Howard Graybow.

May they continue to share their life together, ad me'ah v'esrim shana in good health.


Have a birthday, anniversary, graduation, etc., let us know!

We would love to mention you in our bulletin.
While the Kehilah would like to meet weekly, the following dates are secure through June, 2020
Please plan to join us for davening:

Shabbatot through the end of June, 2020:

January 11

January 25

February 8

February 22

March 7 (Shabbat Zachor)

March 9 (Purim Night)

March 28

April 4 (Shabbat HaGadol Luncheon)

April 25

May 9

May 28th-29th (Tikkun Leil Shavuot)

May 30 (Shabbat/Shavuot)

June 13

June 20

June 27


Sunday-Thursday night
7:00 - 10:00pm

Friday night   
40 minutes after candle lighting.
No appointment necessary

Saturday night 
7:00 - 10:00pm

Keilim Mikveh open during daylight hours only
An Environmental Message

7 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint in 2020

-Dial it down. Moving your thermostat down just two degrees in winter and up two degrees in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of carbon dioxide per year.
-Turn it off. 
-Use cold water. 
-Switch to e-billing. 
-Buy local. 
-Go solar.

A Short Vort for Shabbos:

The first encounter Moshe will have directly with Hashem is at the burning bush.  It is there that Hashem will give over his first of many instructions to Moshe.

Hashem commands Moshe to not come close and take off his shoes since the place he is standing on is holy.

וַיֹּאמֶר, אַל-תִּקְרַב הֲלֹם; שַׁל-נְעָלֶיךָ, מֵעַל רַגְלֶיךָ--כִּי הַמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה עוֹמֵד עָלָיו, אַדְמַת-קֹדֶשׁ הוּא.


The straightforward explanation is that since the place upon which Moshe is standing is holy, out of respect, Moshe needs to take off his shoes.

As Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch explains:  A person who takes off one's shoes in a holy place demonstrates that they are devoting themselves to the holiness of that place.  

We see this with birkat Kohanim.  The Kohen removes his shoes to completely devote himself to the holiness of the floor of the Azarah.  The more a person attaches himself to a holy place, the more he will be able to feel its holiness.

Yet, perhaps this moment in time conveys to us a deeper message - that of the leadership role Moshe is about to acquire.  There is great significance in the removal of Moshe's shoes.  

When an individual wears shoes, one will feel mostly the larger stones and obstacles on the ground. Shoes allow the shoe-wearer to become removed and disconnected from the smaller pebbles on the road. However, a barefoot traveler feels every minute depression or elevation on the ground one walks on.
Therefore, Hashem instructs Moshe that before assuming any role or direct connection with Hashem, he needs to remove his shoes so that he can feel every nook, every bump along the way.  This is a critical message for leadership.  A leader must consider not only the larger general problems.  A leader serves his or her community by being cognizant towards the pain, the needs and the struggles of each member under one's leadership.  A leader must remember that he or she is the representative of a whole that is the sum of many parts.  Hashem instructs Moshe to identify, as much as he will be able to, the struggle and plight of each and every member of Bnei Yisrael.

Moshe removes his shoes, and in doing so, will be able to sense as clearly as possible the needs, the concerns and the personal struggles of his people.  Moshe cannot become a leader who shuts himself out to the smaller issues and concentrate his energies only upon the more general problems.  He must feel the pain of every single commoner under his rule.  With this new role he will take on, Moshe bears the responsibility to identify as much as possible with the plight of each and every Jew.

May it be that Hashem instills within all our leadership the sensitivity and perception to care for and internalize the requests, desires and requirements of each and every individual and see him or her as a significant member with infinite value.  May these leaders serve as a role model for each of us to do the same.

Shabbat Shalom.

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