The New Shul

Parshat Shoftim

This week’s parashah, Shoftim, begins:  “You shall assign judges and officers for yourself. . . and judge the people with righteousness.”   An anonymous commentator cited in Itturei Torah found a deeper meaning beneath the surface of that verse.  He read it, not as a teaching about public justice, but as a teaching about how we grow as individuals.

He read the first clause with special emphasis on the words “for yourself,”  to mean that we must judge ourselves — we must hold ourselves strictly to account — before we have the right to judge anyone else.  He read the second clause, “and  judge the people with righteousness,” to mean that, if we have  fulfilled the first clause and held ourselves to account, then our judgment of others will be kinder,  i.e. we will tend to see them as righteous and overlook their faults.   In other words, if we have taken responsibility for our own shortcomings, we will be less likely to project those shortcomings onto others.

During the month of Elul, our task is to examine our lives in preparation for the Days of Awe, to judge ourselves as if from God’s perspective.  One practical way to know if we are succeeding is to see if we are growing more patient and compassionate toward the people around us.  May this time of self-examination also be a time of greater closeness to our family, our friends, and our community.

  • Shabbat services at The New Shul are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm, and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. This Shabbat morning, September 3, we will celebrate the bar mitzvah of Aaron Jost, son of Alisa and Charles Jost.  The kiddush is sponsored by the Jost family.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to noon on Shabbat mornings. Learning services for children this Shabbat are:  “Munchkin Minyan” for ages 2 to 4 from 11 to 11:30 am, and “Beyond Bim Bom” for grades K to 3 from 10:30 to 11:15 am.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • On Monday September 5, Labor Day, The New Shul community will serve meals to the hungry at St. Vincent de Paul’s Jackson St. dining room. Please let us know if you can help.
  • Join us for Friday night dinner at The New Shul on September 9, after the 6 pm service. The cost is $18 per adult and $9 per teen/child under 18. No charge for children under 5. Please send in your payment by Tuesday September 6 to make your reservation.
  • On Thursday September 15 at 7:30 pm, join us at The New Shul for a pre-Rosh-Hashanah workshop for adults:  “Gather Your Words:  Preparing For The Days of Awe.”
  • S’lihot is on Saturday night Sept. 24.  Join us at 9 pm for a screening and discussion of the film “Metalic Blues” by Danny Verete (2004) as a text on teshuvah, followed by the S’lihot service.