פרשת וארא

שבת מברכין החודש
והוצאתי והצלתי וגאלתי ולקחתי

Shabbat Parshat Vaera

28th of Tevet, 5780

January 24th-25th, 2020

Candle lighting: 4:44 PM     Havdalah: 5:46 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!


Rosh Chodesh Shevat, 5780

Rosh Chodesh will be:

This coming Sunday evening, January 26th

through Monday, January 27th daytime.


On Sunday evening, 1st of Shevat:

In Maariv:
-Ya'aleh v'Yavo in Shmoneh Esrei

On Monday, 1st of Shevat:
In Shacharit:
-Ya'aleh v'Yavo in your Shemoneh Esreh
-Half Hallel after Shacharit Shemoneh Esreh
- No Tachanun
- No Lam'natzaiach
-Musaf for Rosh Chodesh 
-Barchi Nafshi

In Mincha: 
-Ya'aleh v'Yavo in Mincha Shemoneh Esreh
-No Tachanun

Chodesh Tov!!!

Dear Kehilah Members and Friends, 

For those of you who davened with us for Parshat Vayechi, 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 - like this coming Shabbat.
After a series of shiurim, and based upon overwhelming communal interest, our Kehilah has now expanded the roles for women during Kriyat haTorah.

Women are called to the Torah for aliyot and paricipate 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 THIS SHABBAT, January 25th.

Rosh Kehilah Dina Najman
President Jonathan Konovitch


Wishes a Happy Birthday to...

Rabbi Dan Levy
Rosh Chodesh Shevat

Molly Palefski
January 25th

Malka Hirsch
January 25th

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


Have a birthday, anniversary, mazal tov, announcement...let us know!!!
While the Kehilah would like to meet weekly, the following dates are secure through June, 2020
Please plan to join us for davening:

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, June 7, 2020
at the home of Joyce Marcus
629 Kappock St.
Riverdale , NY 1046
Presenter:  To be announced

We will discuss “The Jews of Harlem”
By: Jeffrey S. Gurock

The Jews of Harlem follows Jews into, out of and back into the renowned metropolitan neighborhood of Harlem over the course of a century and a half. It analyzes the complex set of forces that brought several generations of central European, East European and Sephardic Jews to settle in Harlem, and it explains the dynamics that led Jews to exit this part of New York.
Gurock has populated his book with fascinating tales of Jewish Harlem’s development with all people, Jews and African Americans who gave the community life and vitality.
We look forward to seeing you on June 7th.
Ruth Licht-
Sherry Najman
If you would like to share an important part of the book, we’d love to hear your opinion.
 In case you missed it 
The Kehilah book club met at the home of Dorothy Feldman. The book discussed was “A Woman of No Importance” by Sonia Ponell. Dorothy Feldman led the discussion. All present eagerly shared their ideas and opinions. We thank Dorothy for being an excellent hostess and preparing  delicious treats. We ate cheesecake miniatures and chocolate chip cookies in addition to other “goodies”.
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
Hang onto your phone
Most of us hold onto our cell phone  for only two years.
However, producing a common smartphone releases the equivalent of 178 pounds of carbon dioxide, about as much running a modern refrigerator for a year. That is one of the biggest reasons that the global carbon footprint of smartphones is projected to increase by 730 percent this decade.
While some companies are making strides in reducing the environmental impact associated with producing our favorite mobile devices, hanging onto your phone for longer than two years is one way to make a difference.

For more information, go to:

A Short Vort for Shabbos:

Parshat Vaera

Before Hashem begins the affliction of the Eser Makkot, the Ten Plagues, upon Egypt, Hashem informs Moshe that Hashem will "harden Paro's heart." Hashem tells Moshe that Paro will refuse to release Bnei Yisrael despite the horrific plagues placed upon his land and his people. 

וַאֲנִי אַקְשֶׁה, אֶת-לֵב פַּרְעֹה; וְהִרְבֵּיתִי אֶת-אֹתֹתַי וְאֶת-מוֹפְתַי, בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם

And I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt.
Chazal raise the question of how we reconcile this pasuk with the doctrine of b'chira chofshit - human free will. In Shmot Rabbah (13:4), Chazal quote the Amora, Reish Lakish, who quotes this pasuk in Vaera alongside a verse from Sefer Mishlei.  In Perek 3, pasuk 34, we read:

אִם-לַלֵּצִים הוּא-יָלִיץ...
When it comes to the scoffers, He will scoff...
Reish Lakish understands this idea of leitzanut - scoffing or cynicism, to mean that Hashem warns a person once, twice and then three times.  If this person does not change his or her course, Hashem shuts this person's heart from Teshuva, from repentance.  If a person is a scoffer, if he or she repeatedly resists change and is pursuing evil and cruelty, Hashem will make sure that this individual continues on this path.  Even though a person is normally granted free will, there are situations where  God will not allow this person to repent.  It is when one has this deep and rigid quality of leitzanut which gets in the way of his recognition of the truth and inhibits that in others as well.
Reish Lakish explains that this quality of leitzanut was at the core of Paro's persistence in his sinfulness.  This is the reason, says Chazal, that Paro was punished in such a devastating manner with the plagues. These plagues were orchestrated in such a way where the appreciation of God's supreme power was unavoidable.  If one chose to resist by digging in their heels and refusing to recognize Hashem's hand in these events, then it is clear that he or she  embarked on a path that one cannot remove themselves from.  Reish Lakish attempts to connect this idea of a scoffer alongside the 10 plagues to emphasize Paro's desire and choice to scoff and ignore the truth of God's existence and power.  With each passing plague, Paro convinced himself that Egypt and the Egyptians would be able to withstand such strength, force and power.  Paro insisted on denying these truths and attempted to dishonestly claim that whatever is being experienced is surmountable. 
Reish Lakish suggests that given Paro's insolence and inability to shift focus in acknowledgement of the truth and valuing what was honest, HaKadosh Baruch Hu's gave Paro his autonomy to continue on his course.  Paro's heart was hardened because he led himself to the unyielding and rigid mindset of dishonesty.  As Chazal note, nothing is more contrary to Hashem than falsehood. 
In our own lives, we must make every effort to embrace the truth,  We must confront it, and work through it even when difficult.  In doing so we strengthen our bond to Hashem and all that is productive.
Shabbat Shalom.

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