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Shabbat Bulletin - April 2, 2016

​Friday Night’s Oneg Shabbat


We have a Part time Rabbi!

Jeff Shabes was very pleased to announce on Friday night that Rabbi Eli Courante has been hired as our part time rabbi. We all look forward to working together to create a vibrant, supportive, and creative religious community.

The Friday night Oneg Shabbat was well attended and a huge success. Cantors Marcel Cohen and David Edwards, together with Reuven Grajner (before Shabbat) on the piano, led the lively participatory singing and services.
The meal was excellent as usual, and everyone enjoyed themselves.

Shabbat Shalom,

For a change, I am about to do what a Rabbi is expected to do; I am going to speak of tradition.

There is an old tale of a Schule that did not know whether their local tradition required sitting or standing during Kaddish recitation. Then, one of its leaders found a very old member who knew purportedly exactly what the tradition was supposed to be. So they approach him, and rather than giving a straightforward advice, this alter yid says they should try doing it in different ways.
After the first such service experiment, the hopeful Gabbai approaches him and says everybody stood and recited Kaddish. "Is that the tradition?" - "No, it's not the tradition", was the reply. Next time, the Gabbai tells him the whole congregation sat during Kaddish - only to hear that, too, was not the tradition. Now, at a loss, the Gabbai comes to say the congregation is confused and divided. Some people, he says, chose to sit, others stood tall, they started arguing, and quarreling with each other, and the whole service turned into one big fight.
- Oh! - exclaims the old man, - Now, that is our tradition!

Some traditions are more fun than others. Don’t we all love Purim, adults and kids alike? What a great carnival story, such drama, such passion! Mordechai calls upon Esther to approach the King, and she is scared, she is mortified. There are rules, she says rather obviously, there is protocol. You have to first apply for an audience, fill out your T1 and T4 forms, wait patiently, be called by name, jump through the hoops, and then, eventually, if you are lucky, you get to see the king. And if you try to just come uncalled, there is even a good chance you won’t get to see him at all, though should you somehow be able to get through uncalled, there is an even better chance he’ll throw you to jail and call the hangman, and you won’t even be the first wife he’s done it to. And only - only! - should he happen to be in a good mood, and wish you well too, only if he likes you, he can take his golden sceptre and point at you, and that will save your hide nigh literally by the skin of your teeth.

It is then that Esther says the key phrase – not only illuminating the focus of the holiday but perhaps the entire essence of Yiddishkeit (for me, at least; some can see their Jewishness very differently, and that’s perfectly fine, for we are not people known for our overwhelming power of consensus). She says: considering all options, I will approach the King against the protocol, shelo ka-din, I will cast my lot, take my chances, and if that’s the end of it, so be it.

We had a ritual committee meeting yesterday (a great meeting, too; lots of good things in stock for us now), and came up with a question of whether we can afford innovating something that risks somehow disrupting, changing the existing protocol, the tradition. Moreover, we considered introducing some rituals irregularly, breaking the usual, the “norm”.
Can we afford to do something like that? Especially when people are used to something, it might be hard for them to see the tradition being broken, the customs deviated from.

We all have to face the King. There is an inscription above the Ark in our Sanctury: Da lifnei Me ata omed, "Know before whom you are standing". One way or the other, every Shabbat or once in a blue moon, joyfully or solemnly, we all have to face the King.
There is no lack of dogma in our midst. You will find steadfast traditionalists who know the entire Halachah inside out, and can tell us exactly at what time we should pray, and how we have to visit the washroom, and why some ways of eating, praying or thinking are superior to others. You too may well be of their number, and that is perfectly fine, if it means you found your own path and your own weltanschauung (yes, it is a word; look it up ;-).
Yet mostly we are followers of Queen Esther. We are those who face the King shelo ka-din, without following the protocol.

There is a great irony about being non-conformist. No sooner anyone does anything unorthodox, outstanding, something that challenges existing norms and leads to progress and success, all of a sudden there are hundreds, thousands of followers. They come out of the woodwork, pushing and shoving and crying: "Me, me!", each of them willing to be the best at repeating the same daring deed. If any of those revolutionaries and nonconformists could speak to us from the world-to-come, they cry out, they would scream at us: "Don't try to mimic me! don't try to be me! Try to be you!"

And that is what Queen Esther teaches us.
Tradition is like that a freshly baked Shabbos challah over Kiddush; if it ain’t broken, break it. It will only get better.
Do your best of being you. Whatever you are about, express it to the utmost. The mitzvot, the Jewish tradition, geschrieben as it is, was meant to bring us joy and not suffering, to serve as a toolkit and not straitjacket. Do not keep the protocol merely for the sake of keeping it, just as you wouldn't break it for the sake of breaking it. Rather, do the things you "cannot not do".

You, and I, and all of us are non-conformists, essentially stiff-necked, substantially rebellious, and irrevocably Jewish; we are the ones who come to the King shelo kadin. That is the tradition!

Rabbi Eli Courante




April 3  Phyllis Broder
April 4  Ellen Dagan
April 4  Esse Goldberg
April 4  Maja Malc
April 5  Wanda Feldman
April 5  Tammy Remez


April 8  Jonathan & Dora Usher


April 2  Paula Malamude, mother of Rick Kardonne
April 6  Henry Wildbaum, father of Jenney Finkelshtain
April 8  Raphael Yelin, nephew of Sheldon Richmond


Quotes of the Day - Sayings for Prayings

The person who says it cannot be done, should not interrupt the person doing it.

(Chinese Proverb)

There are palaces that open only to music.

(Hillel Zeitlin)




7:30-8:30 pm

Parsha of The Week


with Judy Hazan


Join this lively group every Wednesday night at 7:30 PM at The Lodzer where we study the week’s sedra together. Classes are informal and no prior knowledge or preparation is required. The purpose of the class is to learn the story of the parsha, determine its most important elements and tie its morals and lessons into our daily lives. This is open to the public and there is no cost.

For more information contact:

Judy Hazan 416-704-1693


after the kiddush

Pirke Avoth

Discussion Group

with Jonathan Usher


Every shabbat, after the kiddush there is a vibrant discussion of one Mishnah of Pirke Avoth.

Read Jonathan’s Pirke Avoth Discussion Points for the week at the end of this

Shabbat Bulletin.


April 2

Kiddush Lunch


This week’s kiddish is

sponsored by the

Lodzer Congregation

Torah Times

Shabbat Services: 9:30 am.

Torah Reading: Triennial Year 3

Shemini (pg. 449)

1: 11:1-8

2: 11:9-12

3: 11:13-19

4: 11:20-28

5: 11:29-32

6: 11:33-38

7: 11:39-47

maf: Numbers

Ch. 19:1-22 (p.652)

Haftorah reading:

Parah Ezekiel  36:16 -38 (p. 999)

Candle Lighting: 7:27 p.m. – Friday

Havdalah: 8:36 p.m. – Saturday

April 3 - 13



The Passover Food Drive, a project of National Council of Jewish Women of Canada, Toronto will be packing and delivering over 2500 boxes of food, to those in need within the Toronto Jewish community.

Monetary donations are vital to this cause, as we purchase 90% of the Kosher for Passover Food.

Family Day, Sunday April 10, 2-5pm.  Please call to register.

Delivery Day: Sunday April 17,  8.3am-11.30am.

Volunteers needed


To Donate  416.633.5100 or donate online:

Please fill a volunteer form


April 4

7:30 pm


Book Chat

with Cathy Zeldin

The Coffee Trader


A Turk placed two small bowls before them. They were smaller than any drinking vessels Miguel had ever seen and contained a liquid black and thick as mud.
“What is this?” Miguel asked.
“It’s coffee. Have you not tried it yet?”
“I have,” Miguel said, as he picked up the bowl and held it closer to an oil lamp, “but it seemed a different thing than this altogether.”
“This is how the Turks drink it. They boil it three times in a copper pot to darken and distill it. In their native land, they often serve it with great ceremony. But Amsterdammers have no time for the frivolity of ritual. Be careful. Let the powder rest at the bottom.”
“When I drank it before,” Miguel said, eyeing the drink skeptically, “it was made with milk. Or sweet wine. I can’t recall.”
“The Turks believe that combining milk and coffee causes leprosy.”
Miguel laughed. “I hope not. You seem to know a great deal about coffee. What else can you tell me?”


Hi Everyone,
It's Book Chat time again!  We're meeting this Monday, April 4 at 7:30 pm at the shul to discuss "The Coffee Trader" by David Liss.  We'll also choose our next book and date, so please bring some suggestions for future reads.
Looking forward to seeing everyone,


We'll meet this Monday, April 4, at 7:30 pm at the shul. Please join us.


For more information contact

Our Next Book


Alice Hoffman digs up a little piece of history and imagines an amazing love story about the parents of Jacobo Camille Pissarro, one of the greatest painters of all time.


April 9

1 Nisan

Rosh Chodesh

Kiddush Lunch


To sponsor a Kiddush

please call the office


O heavenly Father, the approach of another month reminds us of the flight of time and the change of seasons.
Month follows month; the years of man’s life are few and fleeting.
Teach us to number our days that we may use each precious moment wisely.
May no day pass without bringing us closer to some worthy achievement.
Grant that the new month bring life and hope, joy and peace to all Thy children. Amen.


The meditation after the Prayer for the new month, read on the Sabbath before the new moon.

From: Sabbath and Festival Prayer Book, 1985.



April 16

Kiddush Lunch



To sponsor a Kiddush

please call the office



May 5

War Museum

1 Vimy Pl,

Ottawa, ON


International Holocaust Remembrance


Canadian National Yom Hashoah Commemoration Event, led on behalf of the Canadian Government, at the War Museum in Ottawa. This event occurs annually on Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, as defined in the Israeli calendar. The Canadian Society for Yad Vashem organizes and runs this event in conjunction with other Jewish Holocaust commemoration Organizations as part of the “Zachor Coalition”.
Attended annually by more than 500 dignitaries, Holocaust survivors, students and members of the communities from across Canada


Haymishe Humour -- by Frank White and associate

Printed Announcements and Notices from Houses of Worship (not ours)

1.  Ladies, don't forget the rummage sale.  It's a chance to get  rid of things not worth keeping around the house.  Bring your husbands.

2.  The Fasting and Prayer Conference is next Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.  Lunch is included.

3.  Don't let worry make you sick - let the church help.

4.  For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

5.  Next Thursday, there will be a tryout for the choir.  They need all the help they can get.

6.  Irving and Hannah Cohen were married here on October 25.  So ends a friendship that began in their school days.



Pirke Avoth Perek 1 Mishnah 17

Note: The commentary is taken from Ethics from Sinai by Irving M. Bunim and Visions of the Fathers by Abraham Twerski. Some sentences of the commentaries have been taken verbatim (in quotes) and others have been summarized. All relate to Mishnah 17.

The Questions are my own.

Simeon his son [Judah Halevi’s son] said: All my days I have grown up among the Sages, and I have found for the body nothing better than silence; not learning but doing is the main thing; and whoever talks overly much, brings on sin.

“Tradition in general considers silence to be praiseworthy.”  “Not learning but doing is the main thing….  among the unlearned, where talk often enters about trivia, silence is a virtue. But among the learned , where Torah and creative discussion can flow, in what sense is silence ‘good’? “People build their entire personalities on self-induced tastes and distinctiveness in food, drink  and dress. These physical matters shouldn't be permitted to become central and paramount. ‘For matters concerning the body, for physical matters, the less talk the better. ’When the body rests and is quiet, the soul can expand and thrive.’

“…finally all agreed that learning is greater [than deeds] since learning will lead to deeds.” “But since leaning is looked upon as only a means, it would appear that the essence, the important thing , is truly the deed.”

There is a story of a person who is told by G-d that he will win a lottery. After years of praying he still hasn’t won. He finally speaks directly to G-d who advises him thus – “Buy a ticket.”

Question: How often do we express ourselves by deeds rather than words and are deeds ignored or appreciated?  Will things like cooking supper be appreciated  by the husband as much as a compliment? Are acts that are expected, also appreciated?

“Without adequate knowledge, proper deeds are impossible. But since learning is looked upon as only a means, it would appear that the essence, the important thing, is truly the deed. Our own Jewish community often appears to be sinking by the sheer weight of its own wordiness. Conferences, conventions and commissions continue to grind out reams of paper with endless words. We bemoan, we bewail, we diagnose and prescribe. But all these are no substitute for actions and deeds of meaning. Certain historic moments call for action, and nothing else will do.”

The moral is obvious. Like Nahshon ben Aminadab who walked into the Red Sea before the waters would part for Moses, we need to take action ourselves and not wait for G-d to work his magic.  

Similarly the Israelites accepted the Torah by saying “We will do and we will listen”. This indicates that doing often precedes full understanding of the significance of the actions.

Question 1: Does lack of action describe our Jewish leadership or Jewish volunteering?

Question 2:  How does this relate to Purim and in particular to Queen Esther?

Talking too much in general can lead to evil.”  Perhaps the best example of adding words or talking too much bringing problems is the American World War 11 warning that Loose lips Sink Ships.

Visions of the Fathers

“How wise the prophet was in comparing speech to an arrow … because once a word leaves you it cannot be retrieved, regardless of how deeply you may regret having uttered it. It is noteworthy that R’ Shimon does not say that silence is a boon to the neshamah, but rather to the body. We may suffer great physical discomfort and depression because of excessive and unwise speech… there is a way of communicating that is more effective, and which will permit one to keep speech to the necessary minimum. That method of communication is action.

“Superfluous speech often indicates a lack deeds.

“We may be negatively affected by what we hear just as we may cause harm by what we say. It is as important to be as selective about our hearing as about our speech.

“The traditional approach [of psychiatry] was based on the theory that    insight will change behaviour. The contemporary approach , which is much more effective, is to change the pathological behaviour first. This is evident in R’ Shimon’s statement: ‘It is not the theory that is of primary importance, but rather the action.”

Question: Are we back to the statement “We will do and then we will understand.”?



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Office Hours

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Jeff Shabes, Pres.

Harvey Storm, 1st Vice Pres.

Jonathan Usher, 2nd Vice Pres.

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Marilyn Richmond, Secretary                                              

Board Members

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Rafi Remez

Frank Steiman

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Honourary Member

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Rabbi Eli Courante

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