||R. Riff was born in Bobrisk, in the guberniya (province) of Minsk, Russia in 1893. In 1913 he was ordained by R. Raphael Shapiro of the Volozhiner Yeshiva. Soon after he came to the United States and settled in Camden, NJ.
R. Riff led the Congregation Sons of Israel in Camden for almost 50 years. In the late 1960s, changes in Camden's demographics and the imminent construction of interstate highway Route 676 caused Congregation Sons of Israel to move to a new building in Cherry Hill, NJ.
When R. Riff stepped down from the pulpit in the late 1960s he retired to Israel, where his wife passed away. He returned to New York due to an illness, where he passed in October of 1976. In addition to his work in Camden at Sons of Israel, R. Riff was the President from 1958 until 1976 of the highly respected Ezra's Torah charitable organization. The Rabbi Naftali Riff Yeshiva in South Bend IN, which operates as a high school and as a rabbinical college, was named in his memory.