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Shabbat Bulletin - April 16, 2016

Shabbat Shalom -- Healing the broken (Parsha Metzora)

The task of the kohen, the priest, was to examine the person with the skin disease — a disease that might not only affect the body, but also the soul — and determine whether it was dangerous. If it was, the kohen would declare the person “impure” and he or she would be quarantined outside of the camp.
But the task didn’t end there.
During the period of isolation, the ill were cared for by the kohen, even if it meant putting his sanctity in danger. The kohen was to check the condition of the sick people and determine when they were healed. The kohen then enacted an elaborate ritual so the afflicted person could return to the community and to his or her home.
I didn’t know, when I first studied my parasha, that I would grow up to be a rabbi. I didn’t know that someday I would be a leader of a community and that people would sometimes come to me with broken hearts or broken lives, looking for spiritual healing. I didn’t know that I would be called upon to create new rituals to help people navigate difficult and complicated transitions. Nor did I know that sometimes it would be necessary for me to intervene in situations where people needed to be quarantined, taken out of the community because they were dangerous to themselves or someone else. For me this has sometimes meant intervention with substance abusers, with people involved in domestic violence or with people whose bitter divorces were hurting their children. I didn’t know then that people wouldn’t always appreciate the diagnosis, that it took courage to say, “Tameh! Tameh! This is not acceptable. This behavior is dangerous to the community.”
But I know it now. And I know that it is also my challenge to discern when it would be safe and appropriate to welcome them back into the community.
I also didn’t know that sometimes the community would want to cast out people who shouldn’t be cast out: the sick, the lonely, the elderly, the poor, those who no longer fit in or those who are different. The task of the kohen was to bring them back so that the community could be whole.
That, too, is the rabbi’s task.
But this is not just the work of the rabbi. Our tradition challenges us to become a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. This is the work that each of us must do: to reach out to those who are outside, to those who are sick or poor, to those who are hurting, to those whose hearts are broken. Not only must we find a way to bring them in, but we must also model through our own lives and our own caring that G-d awaits their return and that healing can come from brokenness.
So this difficult Torah portion teaches us something very important: We need to confront what is broken in our world to begin to fix it. None of us is perfect. Neither is our world. So this Torah portion challenges us as well to think about politics, about social inequality, about healthcare, about civility in political discourse … about all sorts of issues that make me want to say: “Tameh! Tameh! This is not acceptable.”

What I understand most powerfully now is that the first steps are seeing what is wrong, diagnosing the illness and recognizing the danger. But we can’t stop there. The work must continue until each of us, working together, can make our communities whole.

By Laura Geller - a senior rabbi of Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills - edited by Jonathan


Rabbi Eli Courant (he likes to be called Rabbi Eli) will be presiding over a minimum of 26 Shabbat services at The Lodzer as well as the Yom Tovim and all of the major holidays (except for Pesach) when his schedule permits. The Rabbi will perform B'nei Mitzvot, weddings and funerals as required and is available for counselling and visitation.

Rabbi Eli has a kosher travel business that requires his attendance at various destinations throughout the year. His status as our Rabbi is on a part time basis, which of course is reflected in his remuneration. Currently, the Rabbi is in Europe leading several trips. He will return to us at the beginning of June. If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting this dynamic Rabbi, please come for a Hamishe Shabbat Dinner at the shul on June 10th. Please call the office for tickets.

Follow Rabbi Eli's exploits here in the Shabbat Bulletin and on our website:
"Where in the world is Rabbi Eli" under

"Rabbis' Corner"

baruch hu shemo  (a new Lodzer tradition - Thanks Rabbi Eli)

Baruch shemo or baruch hu shemo ... means “Blessed is G-d’s name.” (Literally, it’s “blessed is his name” but of course G-d has no gender.) It’s a little addition that some people like to make to the blessing, when the blessing includes the Name of G-d, or rather, the stand-in for the Name.  (example: Baruch Atah A… congregation: baruch hu shemo)

In congregations where this response to the Name is common, service leaders often pause slightly for it, so that it will not obscure the rest of the words of the prayer.

Jewish prayer is active and interactive. We sing, we chant, we have choreography, and depending on the custom (minhag) of the congregation, there is room for improvisation. This is one example of the way that Jews make the traditional prayers our own. (coffeeshoprabbi)



April 19  Hedy Steinberg

April 20  Dina Wolfe


April 17  Abe Martin, father of Sonny

April 17  David Steiman, father of Frank

April 20  Margaret Haber, mother of Ellen Dagan

April 20  Margaret Zeldin, mother of Cathy

April 22  Joyce Goldberg, mother of Judy Hazan




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 15

Beth Radom has extended

an invitation to the Lodzer to

join them for

Kabalat Shabbat April 15th

(Today was the deadline to RSVP)



April 16

8 Nisan

Kiddush Lunch


This week’s kiddush is sponsored by Dora and Jonathan Usher for their birthdays, anniversary and successful move to their new home.


Torah Times

Shabbat Services: 9:30 am.

Torah Reading: Triennial Year 3

Metzora (pg. 473)

1: 14:33-38

2: 14:39-47

3: 14:48-53

4: 14:54-15:07

5: 15:08-15

6: 15:16-28

7: 15:29-33

maf: 15:31-33

Haftorah reading: Sabbath Hagadol:

Malachi 3, 4-24  (pg. 1005)

Candle Lighting: 7:44 p.m. – Friday

Havdalah: 8:53 p.m. – Saturday


April 23

15 Nisan


Kiddush Lunch


To sponsor a Kiddush

please call the office



(Count me in that group!)


May 5

War Museum

1 Vimy Pl,

Ottawa, ON



There may be some seats available on the bus.

Call the office for details.

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

Israel is “the only possible memorial standing” for the victims of the Holocaust.

Israeli President Shimon Peres


May 16

7:30 pm


Book Chat

with Cathy Zeldin

Our next book is "Marriage of Opposites" by Alice Hoffman, the author of the beautiful book

"The  Dovekeepers".


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.



The last book read was "The Coffee Trader".  Even though some didn't enjoy the book, We can't deny that it's full of fascinating history and culture regarding Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews living in Amsterdam in the time when coffee trading hit the commodities market.


4 out of 5 stars to those that

persevered to the end

We'll meet next on Monday, May 16, at 7:30 pm at the shul. Please join us.


The book following “The Marriage of Opposites” is this year's winner of Canada Reads, "The Illegal" by Lawrence Hill.  It is a timely, relevant story given the refugee situation in the world today.

Thanks to everyone who supports our Book Chat group.  It's lots of fun.

For more information contact

Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman_w250.jpgMarch 16, 1952 to “alive and well”


Passover Q&A -- part of our Jewish learning series in the Shabbat Bulletin

Passover is approaching. At the seder table, every Jewish child will be retold the story of Moses and the Pharaoh, and how G-d brought boils, locusts, hail and the other plagues onto the Egyptians. Yet in spite of this overwhelming evidence of G-d's intentions, Pharaoh refused to let the Jews go, until a tenth plague, the death of the first-born children was inflicted on every Egyptian home, passing over the Jewish homes. Only after this tragedy did the Pharaoh relent and let the Jews leave slavery and Egypt to begin their journey to the promised land.

In the face of such overwhelming evidence why did the Pharaoh refuse to release the Jews after the first nine plagues.
The Pharaoh was still in de Nile.

Largest Rare Gefilte Fish Caught in the Wild  (thanks Susan)



As we are at the end of the competitive gefilte fishing season, it should come as no surprise that Jacob Fishman caught a 40 pound gefilte in Lake Lanier. After reeling in and weighing the giant gefilte, he quickly placed it in a tub full of jellied broth.

The record-breaking fish will feed more than 150 people and be topped with a carrot slice at Passover meals around Atlanta.

The Gefilte population has dwindled to dangerous lows and it is by only a miracle that one this large has been caught and served with a side of horseradish.
Fishman said that he's simply taking some time to savor his achievement. When asked what he plans on doing next, Fishman responded, "dayenu, isn't this enough?"


Pirke Avoth  Perek 2  Mishnah 1 - Part 1

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. The Questions and Note are my own. All relate to Perek 2, Mishnah 1

Rabbi said: Which is the right course that a man should choose for himself?  That which is distinguished, honourable for him who adopts it, and brings him distinction, honour from people.“

“Rabbi” is Rabbi Judah haNasi, who codified the Mishnah.”

This is a long Mishnah. It divides into two parts – We will deal with the second part next week.

Ethics from Sinai

“Here he [Judah haNasi] comes to set a ‘right course’ to follow within the context and content of the Torah’s commandments. Given the obligation to observe the mitzvoth, the question remains: how shall they be observed.” How much tz’dakah is the right amount to give? When are you hurting the community by giving too little and when are you hurting yourself by giving too much?

Question: Is the essence of Torah an instruction book of what actions to take and the ideal amounts or limits of those actions?

“But to be sensitively aware of the needs of others, we must ourselves, at some time, feel the pinch of deprivation, the thirst for recognition, the thrill of pride. He who believes himself never to have sinned can never have the humility, the compassion and the empathy to understand the plight of one enmeshed in the talons of temptation.”

Question: Must we then have either sinned or wanted to sin to be sympathetic to others? Is this the point of the prodigal son story, but not of the story of Cain and Abel?

“If at any time a man deems himself completely heavenly or spiritual, he has in effect made himself into an idol. If you deny yourself all physical pleasures and attempt to reject your basic humanity, you are climbing too high; you are imagining yourself a deity. If you are all spirit, you lose the common touch, and will share nothing with your fellow human beings.”

Question: Does Judaism differ from Buddhism on this?

“The Jew should choose a way in life which reflects glory on the Almighty and brings honour to the Creator…. Now, we do not fulfill our duty to the Almighty merely by being fine and decent to our fellow.  Justice, righteousness and loving-kindness are indeed the “foundations of His throne. “ But there is a further area of purely religious values, the depth of Divine worship and personal communion with the Almighty, which must not be overlooked.”… Human reason can perceive the worth of certain moral values and urge justice and kindness as the religious life. … Human reason cannot generate, fathom or validate a halachah, a normative way of life in which the Almighty delights, through which man will surely “cling to the Lord”. And so Rabbi Judah haNasi teaches: choose a path that is right in the sight of man and beautiful in the sight of your creator.”

Do not make of yourself an idol. Don’t think that you are holy. For humans we should have human holiness – that is we should hallow activities on earth, and sanctify  everyday normal life. Those who try to be angels are often inhuman, not superhuman. On the other hand, human frailties and shortcomings, if they are faced and accepted, will make a person more human and humble, more tractable and mellow.

Question: Who does this apply to? The pompous self-righteous person, the ultra -orthodox, all of us in dealing with criminals and the not-in-my- backyard syndrome? How does it relate to this week’s bulletin’s D’var Torah.

The right course that a man should choose

“There are two methods of choosing…. You can take out what you like and discard the remainder, or you can pick out the undesirable units, eliminate them and retain the remainder. … Rabbi Judah may be pointing to … the need to eliminate the negative… [to]discard what is evil and unwholesome.” The almighty has left His work unfinished so that man can continue it, striving toward completion; in doing so, man becomes a partner with the Almighty in the Divine task of creation.” We are like bread where the grain must be separated from the chaff, sifted and cooked before it is a finished product. Circumcision is another an example of this.

Question: In improving ourselves is it helpful to look at ourselves as part of an  unfinished creation, or should we simply be looking to be more moral, healthier, richer, etc.

Visions of the Fathers.

“A good guide to behaviour is for us to ask ourselves. ‘Am I really proud of what I am doing?” and give this question a few moments of serious thought.”

“The intent of the mishnah is not that one should elicit glorification from others, but rather that one should act in a manner that will cause people to respect the principles which he represents.” It is not enough  to do what is best for oneself but one must also do what is best for the sanctification of G-d.

“…consider to fragility of your perceptions. [remember Rabbi Eli’s talk about misperceptions] To see and hear correctly may be above and beyond you…. The Torah is the manufacturer’s guide to proper and optimal operation of the apparatus He created.”

ייִדיש קערס


מייַ איר פאַרקויפן אַלץ און צוריקציענ זיך צו Florida פּונקט ווי קלימאַט ענדערונג מאכט עס אוממעגלעך צו לעבן דאָרט.

may ir farkoyfn alts aun tsuriktsyen zikh tsu Florida punkt vi klimat enderung makht es aummeglekh tsu lebn dort.

(see below for translation)


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Office Hours

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