פרשת שופטים

Parshat Shoftim

2nd of Elul, 5780

August 21st - 22nd, 2020

Candle lighting: 7:26 pm

Havdalah: 8:25 pm





4503 Fieldston Rd.
Riverdale, NY 10471


Please note the following details:

The service:

  • The Kehilah will be davening in our satellite location (where we have our sukkah).  Located in the back lawn of the home of: 
    Jessica and Chad Haller

  • There will be a separate entrance for the women’s and men’s sections (at the right and left side of the house respectively).

  • Davening will begin 30 minutes earlier at 8:30 am (to minimize davening in the heat of the day).  

  • The ba’al Tefilah and ba’al Koreh will be more than 12 ft. away, wearing a mask.

  • The gabaim will call aliyot from their seats.

  • The aliyot will be done, taken one step forward, looking at the Torah and then reciting a Bracha.  Each person called up will ensure that they are at a safe 12 ft. distance from the ba’al korei after taking a step forward.

  • Hagbah and Gelilah will be performed by the ba’al korei.

  • The ba’al korei and ba’alei tefilah who hold the Torah, will do so with gloves on.

Protocols in place for those attending davening:

  • We will be limiting attendance to 12 men and 12 women above the age of bar/bat mitzvah.

  • To sign up for a place in davening, please click here to fill out the form for Kabbalat Shabbat.
    To sign up for a place in davening, please click here to fill out the form for Shabbat Morning.

  • We request that anyone who is healthy and has not had known exposure to someone with Covid-19 feel comfortable coming.

  • Anyone can sign up regardless of membership.

  • Those who feel that they can sit or stand in a designated place or section are encouraged to sign up.

  • Chairs will be provided and will be wiped down prior to davening.

  • All attendees must wear masks (including Ba’al tefilah and Ba’al Kriyah)

  • We ask that everyone bring their own siddur and chumash.  If you don't own a siddur or chumash, please let us know and we can loan you one of the shul's for the time being.

  • Please bring your own Tallis.

  • Please bring a hat.

  • Please bring your own water bottle.

  • Please make sure to use the bathroom before davening.

  • There will be one bathroom available for emergency only.

  • After Tefilah, there will be no kiddush and no congregating.

  • The davening is weather dependent.  If it is raining, please plan on joining us the following week.


If you have any questions or comments, please let us know. As we have expressed before, we will continue to reevaluate the situation on a regular basis; we hope to be back to regular davening as soon as possible.


Looking forward to our davening together in a safe and meaningful way.

*Please note earlier davening time to ensure that davening takes place in a cooler climate.

August 23rd - 27th


Davening at 7:25 pm

We will daven privately and then have a minyan for those who are saying Kaddish.

            Password:  113089


The Kehilah is pleased to inform the community that The Kehilah of Riverdale is planning to meet for all the tefilot of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur:

The Riverdale Y 
Outdoors on the Patio deck in the back of the building.
5625 Arlington Avenue, 
Bronx, NY 10471

Please click HERE to fill out the form regarding the Yamim Noraim schedule and sign up for outdoor tefilot.

Please feel welcome to join us!

Yahrzeit Commemoration

for Last Week and this Coming Week

25th of Av
Shlomo ben Chaim v'Chana (Steven M. Licht), a"h
Father to Lisa Licht Hirsch (and Daniel Hirsch), James Licht (and Dina Najman), grandfather to Malka, Avital and Elan Hirsch, Yonatan, Akiva and Amittai Najman-Licht. 

5th of Elul
Ruth Metzger, a"h
Mother to Leon Metzger (and Emily Blum), grandmother to Gabriel, Ethan and Renee Metzger.

5th of Elul
Avraham ben Yishayahu David HaLevi Turok, a"h
Father to Michael Turok (and Adrienne Goldfeder Turok), grandfather to Eitan, Gilad, Avi and Dan Turok.

7th of Elul
Elizabeth Franks, a"h
Mother to Paul Franks (and Hindy Najman), grandmother to Marianna and Ezra Najman-Franks.

9th of Elul
Yehuda Yonatan Najman, a"h
Father to HaChazzan Chaim Najman (and Dr. Sherrell Najman), grandfather to Yehuda, Hindy, Dina and Danny Najman.

25th of Elul
Miriam bat Avraham, a"h
Mother to Maura Shaykin (and Leonard), grandmother to Emma and Joseph Shaykin

May each neshama have an aliyah and may each neshama be a mailitz yosher for his or her family, for Klal Yisrael and for the world.
The Kehilah Membership Drive for 2020

Time to Renew your Kehilah Membership!

Please renew your membership or consider becoming a member of The Kehilah

The Kehilah would like to thank all those who contributed to The Kehilah with renewing membership and contributing end of year donations.

Please remember to renew your membership for 2020.

Your membership and financial support over the past year has enabled The Kehilah to meet regularly at the Society for Ethical Culture.  It has allowed us to expand our programming to include events on every holiday of the Jewish calendar year. 

We continue to have a great deal of programming planned for the 2020 year.
The Kehilah needs your support. 

To become a member and/or donate, please select one of the following choices:

Through Paypal click on the donate button:

If you would like to send a personal check, go through a charitable foundation or charitable fund, please: 

Send a check made out to "The Kehilah" to:
The Kehilah
P.O. Box 78
Bronx, NY 10471
Or –

Go to our website at: and click on the

Membership tab.

The Kehilah, Inc. is a congregation incorporated under Article 10 of the New York State Religious Corporations Law. Under federal tax code, a contribution to a synagogue which complies with 501(c)(3) requirements is automatically exempt.


Once again, thank you for your generous support.

With deep appreciation,

Rosh Kehilah Dina Najman, Marta d'Atra

Jonathan Konovitch, President

William Scheiner, Fundraising Chair

The Kehilah Sunshine Committee

wishes Happy Birthday to those who celebrated birthdays this past week and will celebrate this coming week:

Ezra Najman-Franks

Marion Stein

Wishing them good health, joy and fulfillment ad me'ah v'esrim shana in good health.

flag of Israel | History, Meaning, & Illustration | Britannica

As many students begin to leave for their year in Israel, we wish them a great deal of success in their learning, they should stay healthy and well and enjoy many enriching, educational and meaningful experiences while learning in Israel.
צאתכם לשלום

ובואכם לשלום

We will miss you!

A Short Vort for Shabbot

Parshat Shoftim

As we begin this new month of Elul, we are reminded that this is a time for self reflection and improvement.  We say “l’David Hashem Ori v’Yishi” (the Psalm written by King David) twice daily - in Shacharit and Maariv.  We recite the words of David haMelech declaring that we are completely dependent on Hashem and request to dwell with Hashem all the days of our lives. This chapter of Tehilim concludes with the declaration: “'קוה אל ה' חזק ויאמץ לבך וקוה אל ה” – Hope to Hashem, strengthen yourself and God will give you courage; and hope to Hashem. 
We emphasize that Hashem is the all powerful.  No matter how successful, how knowledgeable, how beloved we are in our lives, it is Hashem alone upon Who we ultimately depend.  David HaMelech the most powerful and successful king of his time expresses his depth of belief in God and no one else. But, this was also a declaration against arrogance, something that David haMelech, along with all Monarchs of Israel are commanded not to internalize. 
In this week’s parsha – Parshat Shoftim, the establishment of a Monarchy within Bnei Yisrael and the laws that apply are discussed.  The very last pasuk of this section about kings explains the reasons for all the laws for kings.  In Chapter 17, verse 20, the Torah says it is  “In order that his heart does not rise above his brothers, and he does not stray from the law right or left…”

"לְבִלְתִּי רוּם-לְבָבוֹ מֵאֶחָיו, וּלְבִלְתִּי סוּר מִן-הַמִּצְוָה יָמִין וּשְׂמֹאול..."
The Ramban, Nachmonides, seems to understand this pasuk as a warning to each king, not to elevate himself above his people.  A king must find a way to keep himself away from arrogance. The Ramban asserts that ultimately, only God is King and is worthy of exaltation and of grandeur.  This is a potentially difficult task for a king, given that he will be a person demanding respect and prestige. We contribute to this perception as well.  Chazal teach us that upon seeing a king, the bracha of “Baruch Ata Hashem Elokainu Melech haOlam sheNatan nikvodo l’vasar vaDam”. – Blessed are You, Hashem, our God, King of the universe, Who has given of His glory to human beings.  We impose a distinct honor and glory upon monarchs.  But, the Ramban explains that this commandment should be understood as a warning to kings to not place himself above the nation.  How much more so: If a king who is placed in a position of honor and prestige is forbidden to be conceited, so too, all people should avoid the trait of arrogance.
 Earlier in sefer Devarim, we have been warned against having a sense of superiority over others.  In Chapter 8, pasuk 11, we are warned:


הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ, פֶּן-תִּשְׁכַּח אֶת-ה' אֱלֹקֶיךָ, לְבִלְתִּי שְׁמֹר מִצְו‍ֹתָיו וּמִשְׁפָּטָיו וְחֻקֹּתָיו, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם.

"Beware, lest your forget Hashem your God in not keeping Hashem’s commandments, and His ordinances and His statutes, which I command you this day.”

The Semag – Sefer Mitzvot Gadol (Rav Moshe Coucy) explains that earlier, all of Am Yisrael were already commanded to not allow the arrogance of their success to inhibit their remembering that it is God Who is responsible for our prosperity.  So, why does the King in Parshat Shoftim need to be reminded once again if there has already been a commandment against conceit earlier?
Perhaps, the Ramban is speaking about an arrogance that the king might have toward others.  The sense of placing a person above the people who he rules, namely a king, runs the risk of seeing oneself above other individuals instead of seeing himself as equal to all the other human creations in the world.  A king must see those who he leads as equals, who he is in service of, not the reverse.
The Semag, is speaking about the idea of forgetting God in one’s life.  Moshe is warning the people to remember to depend on God.  To stay clear from arrogance toward Hashem and a feeling of self-sufficiency where there is no place for God in one’s life.  To be cognizant of Hashgacha P’ratit, of Divine Providence whatever you face in life.
As we ready ourselves for standing before Hashem on Yom HaDin, where we declare Hashem as the Universal King, let us remember that no matter our successes in leadership, in our families or placement in our positions, Hashem is the Ultimate Power and it is He upon Whom we depend.  Simultaneously, we must see ourselves as equal members of the collective where each person has infinite value. 

No matter one’s position in society, be it a person in a political, social or religious position of power as well as any member of society, each individual is equally deserving  of Kavod haBriyot (human dignity).  This is how we must ultimately see ourselves vis a vie our relationship with God and with others. 

This self understanding helps to prepare us as we ready ourselves to stand before the King of Kings, haKadosh Baruch Hu during this Elul season.
Shabbat Shalom.


In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and its massive impact on New York’s Jewish
community, the Hebrew Free Burial Association is, unfortunately, busier than ever. Since March 1st, they have conducted more than 218 burials, up from 79 a year ago. 

Unfortunately, in many of these cases, family members are unable to attend the burial due to the statewide lock down or their own health. Plus, with the backlog of thousands of unclaimed bodies currently being stored in refrigerated trailers by the NYC Medical Examiner’s office, some of which are Jewish, hundreds more burials are anticipated to take place in the weeks to come.
[Watch this video: See how HFBA is operating during the COVID-19 pandemic]

This increase in volume of burials has created a critical fiscal emergency for this important communal organization. Due to this tremendous surge in burials, the Hebrew Free Burial Association is currently facing a $650,000 shortfall and needs everyone across the broader Jewish community to rise to the occasion to help them perform this tremendous mitzvah.

Each burial in Mount Richmond Cemetery costs more than $5,000. This includes some of the following costs:
 Tachrichim (burial shrouds) – $54
 PPE equipment (for all people involved in the burial) – $100
 Daily cost to operate 40 foot refrigerated trailer (includes generator rental and fuel) – $150
 Tahara – $250
 Kosher coffin (simple pine box) – $300
 Grave opening – $650
 Additional grave digger needed due to COVID-19 – $650


1) DONATE NOW to help cover some of the costs of these burials:
2) Thank you to those who have donated more than 2,000 taleisim in the last few weeks, but don’t need more of these at this time. We respectfully ask that you please focus your giving solely on our extreme financial needs at this time.
Please open your hearts and participate in the highest mitzvah one can perform by supporting the Hebrew Free Burial Association TODAY.
The Hebrew Free Burial Association devotes its resources to chesed shel emet (the ultimate act of loving kindness), burying indigent Jews with dignity and respect. It is the only agency in the New York metropolitan area dedicated to assuring that every Jew, regardless of financial means or religious affiliation, receives a dignified, traditional Jewish funeral and burial.
An Environmental Message

Eat cool
Dine on salads and sandwiches instead of large, protein-rich meals when the weather is hot, as these can warm your body up. Oven- or stove-top cooking heats up your house as well.
Community Happenings at the Riverdale Y:

Riverdale Y Sunday Market
There are still a few spots remaining for the Riverdale Y Sunday Market. After an amazing first two weeks, come join us to see what the entire community is talking about. You must register for a time slot, for more information or to register, please visit

KCI Community Food
KCI Community Food provides fresh Kosher food delivery to anyone in the community. The economic downturn has affected many people, and the Met Council and UJA Federation of New York are helping the community get these food resources to help. Please call (646) 647-1380 or email All requests are confidential, and all food is delivered to your door. 
Copyright © 2020 The Kehilah, All rights reserved.

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