Jewish Community of Riderwood

Welcome to the website for the Riderwood Jewish Community (RJC). The RJC invites you to experience our warm and vibrant Jewish life at Riderwood Village. The RJC was established to provide a focus for the spiritual, cultural and educational activities for all Jewish residents. All are welcome to participate.

May/June 2020

In full compliance with Riderwood policy, ALL in-person RJC-sponsored services, classes and events are cancelled until further notice.  Any changes will be posted here and on RJCFlash.  We continue to pray for the health and welfare of all our friends, neighbors and loved ones and a speedy end to this scourge affecting the world.

Shabbat Services

Friday, May 22: Reb Lisa will once again lead us in a pre-recorded Shabbat service.  It will be broadcast on Riderwood TV Channel 972 throughout the day and will repeat on Friday, May 29 and again on Friday, June 5.

June 12: Reb Lisa will lead a pre-recorded Shabbat service.  It will include a delayed Shavuot Yizkor service.  It will be broadcast again on Friday, June 19.

June 26: This will be Reb Lisa’s final RJC service this year.  Please see details below.  It will be broadcast again on Friday, July 3.

All services will be broadcast on Riderwood TV channel 972 on Fridays at 8:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 5:00 p.m., and 10:30 p.m., and on Saturday morning at 1:00 a.m.  Please check the Riderwood Reporter each week to confirm these broadcast times.

If you would like to watch viz Zoom, please check RJC Flash several days in advance or click here.

A Special Shabbat Service on June 26

Please join your friends and neighbors as we bid an official farewell to Reb Lisa Levine as she officiates at her final RJC Erev Shabbat service on Friday, June 26.  We’ll have some special readings, music, and a tribute to celebrate her year with us at Riderwood.

Although this will be Reb Lisa’s last service with us, she is not moving away.  She will be staying on and will visit our neighbors in Arbor Ridge when it is again safe to do so.

We greatly appreciate all her efforts in creating a warm and welcoming Shabbat atmosphere.  So whether you watch the service via Zoom or join us on Channel 972, we hope you’ll tune in and virtually wish her well.

A Message from the RJC President

Somehow, time goes on, whether or not you are having fun. In these last weeks, I have learned how to spell concierge and quarantine. I have listened carefully to Riderwood’s Executive Director Gary Hibbs every day and marveled at the great job he and the Riderwood staff have been doing, even though they were hired for totally different skills.

I have been able to take a walk nearly every day, even if it means not recognizing other walkers I know, because they, like myself, are sometimes dressed as though they are robbing a bank. I am doing well trying to master the contents of the activity packet. I have come to accept meals of pasta dishes with potatoes as a side dish. I have had enough peas to last me forever. Yet, I am well served by Dining Services Director Jeff Kimbell and staff.

On behalf of the RJC, I thank Reb Lisa, Sidney Kirschner and TV Studio Manager Chris Taydus, for bringing us Shabbat services via Riderwood TV and Zoom. Finally, I marvel at the way both residents and staff are handling a completely different life. May we continue to live well and soon get back to living as we expected.. — Howard Ledder

Ritual Roundup

Sidney Kirschner writes about “Evolving Customs for Our Shavuot Holiday.”  Shavuot begins Thursday evening, May 28.  Click here to read.

Here is a lovely poem appropriate to the holiday written by Alden Solovy from his book This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day published in 2017 by the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

“G-d on Tiptoes”

What if G-d arrived unannounced?
No smoke. No thunder.
A gentle appearance of radiance and love.

What if G-d snuck in on tiptoes?
No earthquake. No blast of the shofar.
A luminous presence of wonder and glory.

What if G-d’s voice whispered in your ear,
So quietly that you had to hold your breath to hear?
A silent surrender of hope and faith.

What if holiness packed the empty space with light
As your lungs filled with the one divine breath
Together with every other living being?

What if G-d’s voice was as near
As your willingness to listen quietly
To the Soul of the universe,
As a sense of calm and peace
Passes through you?

What if that moment
Is now?

Residents are always welcome to submit material for publication in the Bulletin as well as this web page. Essays, poems, anecdotes, stories of interest, etc. will be considered for publication. Please submit your text for review to Elaine Mondschein  (cubby WC-514 in Village Square).

Click here for the May column, “Looking Forward,” by RJC’s immediate past president Bert Kaplan.

Click here for the June column, “Looking Forward,” by RJC’s immediate past president Bert Kaplan.

Opportunities to Connect, Share and Learn

Check out these opportunities for us to stay connected during these times of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Information on each is located throughout this web page.

* Friday evening Shabbat services

* Chavurah Project

* RJC Book Club

* Hebrew Prayerbook Language Course

*RJC Support (phone)

* RJC cares Shabbat Get-Together (aka the Manischewitz Social Group

* RJC Presents Programming.  Suspended for now.  Click here for some interesting links.

*RJC Flash


RJC Chavurah Project

 “Try to remember, and if you remember then follow, follow, follow …”
from the musical comedy “The Fantastics” (1965)

Remember those glorious days when we could meet for dinner at Riderwood’s restaurants and also enjoy classes and concerts together.  Back then we had started the Chavura Project to help newcomers to Riderwood and long-time residents meet people, form dinner groups, expand their circle of acquaintances, and make connections with people who have similar interests.

Several new dinner groups, a Torah discussion group, a Jewish history discussion group and a music group were all being formed when the Covid-19 virus changed our world.  We are now looking forward to a new world, closer to the one we had enjoyed and one in which we can meet again face-to-face in our chavurot.  The Chavura Project remains somewhat in suspended animation and will spring back to life as soon as possible.  In fact, we will try to get some study groups to meet by Zoom even now.  One study group that had started several months before the Covid-19 virus is meeting very successfully in that way.

If you are new to Riderwood, or a long-time resident and if the current restrictions make you want to meet more and more people, please click the link below to sign up and tell us about your interests.  Also, if you want to join a Zoom Happy Hour we will put you in touch with others with similar interests.

If you submitted the sign-up sheet recently or after the lock down, you are not forgotten and will be contacted when we open up.  If you once submitted a sign up sheet but did not hear anything, it means that your interest was not shared yet by at least three others.

Thank you for your interest in the Chavurah Project!  Click here for the sign up sheet link.

Jewish-Themed Music Chavurah

Join one of the newest chavurot!  We’re having a great time exploring a wide range of Jewish-themed music ranging from klezmer, Israeli and Yiddish to current and past popular music and Broadway musicals by Jewish singers and composers.  If you’re interested in learning more about this chavurah, please call Mina Sweet.

RJC Book Club

The RJC Book Club meeting will take place on Saturday, June 27, at 2:00 p.m. via Zoom.  You can join the Zoom meeting by computer or phone.  To join by computer, enter this link:  Once connected to Zoom. enter Meeting ID 894 9937 2101.  By phone, call 301-715-8592 and follow the prompts.  It is Meeting ID 894 9937 2101.

We will be discussing the book The Song of the Jade Lily by Kristy Manning.  The book tells two intertwined stories, one in Shanghai during World War II, the other in present-day Australia and London.  Jewish refugees went to Shanghai during the war in desperation when they were  turned down admittance by other countries.  Meanwhile, the Japanese takeover of Shanghai affected both Jewish and Chinese residents, then and after the war.  The story is both beautifully narrated and memorable.

Please contact Susan Samuel if you have any problems connecting.

ALL PARTICIPANTS: This connection information will be used for future Book Club meetings held via Zoom so you may want to keep it handy.  It will be repeated in subsequent issues of the RJC BULLETIN until we can resume face-to-face meetings.

Anyone who is interested or has questions about the group, please contact one of the Co-Chairpersons, Marcia Price or Susan Samuel.

New Course Starting on Prayerbook Hebrew – via Zoom!

The in-person Hebrew language course on how to phonetically and interpretively read prayer services cannot be offered due to the Covid-19 distancing restrictions in place at Riderwood.  Reb Lisa Levine, the instructor, has offered to teach the prayer book Hebrew class remotely via her Zoom Meeting Room.  To participate students will need a computer or iPad with camera capability.  The time, frequency, instructional text, and cost will be determined by student and instructor agreement. Please contact Sylvia Sunshine if you are interested in participating in this very enabling course!

Manischewitz Social Group aka RJC Cares Welcome Shabbat Get-Together

RJC CARES will have a get-together, via Zoom, on Friday, May 29 at 4:00 p.m. prior to Shabbat services.  The get-together will be a way for people to socialize through Zoom since we can’t meet in person.  If you are interested in joining the Zoom group, contact Al Jacobs.

RJC Cares Support

The RJC Cares Committee offers support to members of our community.  There may be a time when a member needs a friendly visitor (as we are allowed) or emotional support.  If you, or someone you know, would welcome some help during a time of need, please call Marilyn Tublin.


Two Rabbinical Thoughts on “Social Distancing” (in case you missed it last month)

Rabbi Reuven Fink of Young Israel of New Rochelle urged people to try to look on the bright side of social distancing.  “There are some positive elements that can be found in looking at our predicament,” he wrote.  “It slows down the pace of our frenetic lives.  That can be positive.  It can give us more time with our families.  Maybe that book that we never got around to reading can be read now.  Maybe we always wanted to find time to learn Torah.  We now have that opportunity.”

Here is an encouraging prayer attributed to Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky of Congregation B’nai David-Judea in Los Angeles.  Thanks to Riderwood residents Jim and Sue David for calling this prayer to our attention via Chatterwood.

Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place.

Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern.

Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise.

So, as we keep a level of social distance, let us all remain spiritually near to each other by responding to this health emergency with love and care for everyone’s well-being.

May Adonai give us the wisdom to continue to react appropriately to this crisis and heal those who have been infected.

A New Way to Communicate: RJCFlash

A new email group has been created as a vehicle for quickly notifying RJC members of urgent events and issues of immediate importance to the Riderwood Jewish Community.  In recognition of the purpose of the group — just-in-time communication to RJC members — the name of the group is RJCFlash.  Please download the ground rules and instructions for joining the group here.

RJC Archives: Now Updated and Available

The long-awaited inventory of the RJC Archives is now available!  The RJC has an excellent collection of Judaica books, DVDs and CDs.  Residents have an opportunity to check out items for their reading, viewing and listening pleasure.  Detailed instructions for borrowing or donating are available here.  The complete list of DVDs, CDs, and books is available here.  It will be updated periodically.



pencilThe Riderwood Jewish Community was established in 2000 with the opening of the Riderwood community. It has a Constitution and Bylaws and is administered by an all-volunteer board. Officers are elected at the annual meeting held each December.

For a complete list of officers and board members, as well as contact information on our rabbis, please click here.  For the Constitution and Bylaws (all one document), click here.

RJC Board meetings usually take place on the first Tuesday of the month.  However, meetings are now virtual via Zoom until further notice.

RJC membership is open to all. Annual dues are $54 per person per calendar year. Please consider becoming involved to make this organization even better!   You may download the form here.

This web page is updated monthly in conjunction with the publication of the RJC Bulletin. The Bulletin is published at the beginning of each month and distributed via e-mail or print version to each Jewish resident. Print copies are also available at the Riderwood Sales Office at Town Center and at the Pastoral Ministries Office at Village Square. This web page was last updated May 22.  To contact the web page editor, please email to Leslie Montroll at


High Holiday Sermons Fall 2019: Here are links to the five sermons given by Rabbi Devorah Lynn this fall: Erev Rosh HaShanah, Rosh HaShanah Morning, Kol Nidre (Erev Yom Kippur), Yom Kippur Morning, and Ne’ilah(the closing service of Yom Kippur).  Click on each one to read and/or print it.  Thank you again, Rabbi Lynn, for your inspiration, your wit, and for sharing!

Volunteer Opportunities

For a complete list of volunteer opportunities, please click here.

RJC Cares

caringRJC Cares is here to provide a friendly visitor or emotional support to any member of our community.  If we can be of help, please contact Marilyn Tublin or Arlene Bennof. If you would like to volunteer to participate in this RJC project and be available should a need arise, please call Arlene.


Being Prepared for the Journey’s End

While none of us like to think about death – for ourselves or a loved one – we all know it is inevitable. To assist you with the many considerations in planning a Jewish funeral, and gathering important information you should have on hand for your family, the Riderwood Jewish Community has just completed a report specifically written for Jewish residents of Riderwood. You may obtain a copy of this 12-page paper from Reverend James Bell in the Pastoral Ministries Office. Or, you may choose to print it yourself by clicking here.


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