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Shabbat Bulletin - June 25, 2016

Rabbi Eli’s sermon – portion Naso, 12 Sivan/July 18, 2016

I almost never write down my sermons, preferring to speak off the cuff. This is one of the exceptions, where I committed it to paper to the best of my memory, to share it with you.

It is a great mitzvah to always be in the state of happiness
From the teachings of R’ Nachman of Breslov

Last week, I spoke about the importance of having fun. The importance of being positive. The importance of living a life worth loving, bringing joy to ourselves and those around us.

I mentioned the mitzvoth, which also are to be a source of happiness, and how they are often misused nowadays to become a straightjacket rather than a toolkit.

We talked of how Shabbat was a gift of having one day when you are bound to rest without asking yourself whether you can afford it – comparing it to the image of an observant Jew in our day and age, watching the clock and wondering how long is it till he can call his boss or go online. We spoke of the gift of prayer as an opportunity to bare our soul before our Maker – comparing it to a service that has more prayer than soul, more protocol than meaning, more quantity than quality… Yep. I may be loath, as a Rabbi, to say that, but we do need to pray less, and we definitely need to find more meaningful ways and forms of prayer – which is a worthy subject for another day.

Last week, I spoke about the importance of having fun. The importance of being positive. In our portion, there are the laws of a Nazirite, someone who voluntarily vows to refrain for a certain period of time from certain pleasures of life, such as having a haircut or drinking wine. The Torah says that at the end of the period of his vow, the Nazirite had to bring an offering reserved for atoning one’s sins. I suggest to you that’s because otherwise he would see himself holy and pious, and never realize that there is something fundamentally wrong with declining the permitted and healthy things bestowed by Heaven upon humankind.

Essentially, the Torah says to the Nazirite; ok, we get it. You have to make a sacrifice, you need to suffer a bit; you must be Jewish, in other words. Sure, have it your way, but don’t think for a moment that it makes you a better person than those who don’t do the same. In fact, turning away from joy is somewhat of a transgression, a sin. That is something we have to remind you – appropriately, by letting you bring yet another sacrificial offering, this time to cleanse yourself.

Last week, I spoke about the importance of having fun. The importance of being positive. That was roughly 40 hours before the tragedy struck at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

It is very difficult to be in any way positive in the wake of a massacre. We justly think ourselves to be fortunate to live in a society where you can be gay, straight, left, right, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, anarchist, green, black, pink, or heliotrope, without fearing being open and comfortable about your identity. So whenever wanton violence shatters our ideals, when it bursts our bubble of being, the impact is devastating.

Of course, any issue of such proportions is bound to be highjacked by the bodies carrying political and perhaps economic interests. It’s a given, it’s inevitable. The left will use the massacre, say, as a vehicle for propelling its gun control demands, while the right will see a new opportunity to bash Muslims. The media either, generally speaking, won’t help.

Such is the nature of the beast. Bad news, gory news, disturbing images of fear and horror will always sell better than pictures of peace and abundance. Media is not to blame; they merely provide the supply. We, the public, provide the demand.

That side of human nature goes back to the pre-historic times. When you sat by the dying fire, the scary, the unknown was strangely captivating. If I were a medieval priest, instead of having a conversation right now I’d be excitingly scaring you with stories of hell and eternal damnation, using readily available frescoes depicting suffering of the hapless sinners – all that, ages before Quentin Tarantino, or Silence of the Lambs. Cute and fluffy also sells, but way fewer people will bother to look at a story of a healthy smiling baby than one of a dead baby.

When calamity strikes, media responds with a vengeance, viciously looking for directions to attack, to blame, to shock and shake. So even if you want any positive reports it’s so easy to miss them behind the barrage of pointing fingers, calling names, and camps laying blame at each other’s door. You could even think there is no positive news. That is seldom true, however dark and gloomy the occasion.

At least 2 Jewish Orthodox congregations in North America went last week to gay night bars to express solidarity with the victims of terror. And at least one Muslim congregation went to express condolences at a local gay community house. That’s highly unusual, bordering on pretty amazing (maybe I’m out of touch with the night bar scene, gay or otherwise, but the image of a bunch of guys with tzitzit and yarmulkes in an African-American gay bar does not seem typical to me), yet surprisingly few newspapers reported on that.

(In fact, even when Yishai Schlissel, the Israeli Orthodox terrorist, attacked – for a second time – participants of a Pride Parade in Jerusalem, one of whom died of her wounds, we did not see that kind of a passionate reaction of solidarity on the part of the Orthodox society.)

To stop being a problem, to stop feeding the frenzy of negativity, we need to become part of the solution. How do we learn to see the positive when it hides from us? First, we can actively seek it out. And if that is not enough, we must create the positive, with our own hands.

Have you heard about Ronny Edry? Ronny Edry is not a politician. He is not a journalist. He is not a popular blogger, nor a charismatic rabbi, nor any other kind of public figure. Ronny Edry is a graphic designer from Ramat Gan. 4 years ago, he was waiting in line at his local convenience store when he overheard the discussion between the owner and one of the customers. “Look at Iran, - the owner was saying. – Soon enough, they’ll be sending ten thousand missiles our way”. – “You are wrong, - was the client’s equally agitated response, - It will be ten thousand missiles… every day!”

We must remember, of course, that for many years now there has been a general feeling in Israel that “this day, this very moment is our last chance to do something about Iran, and if we don’t seize that chance, it’s going to be the end for us”.

The conversation bothered Ronny. He came home, and being what he is (not a politician, not a journalist, not a public figure), he made a poster. The poster features Ronny and his young daughter holding an Israeli flag. The inscription reads: “Iranians we will never bomb your country. We ❤ you.” He posted it on his Facebook page and went to bed. Next morning, Ronny woke up to see people from all over the world making similar posters about Iran and Israel – many of whom were Iranians (those afraid to show their faces for fear of authorities posted partial pictures of their faces, their hands, even feet or passport covers sometimes). And the message is universally the same. A paper heart, a smile, a simple note: “Israeli friends, we love you, we will never hurt you, we do not want war”. The two parallel movements, Israel Loves Iran and Iran Loves Israel, gained momentum; you can research it further on Google and check out TED talks given by their respective creators.

Ronny Edry is not naïve, he does not think a kind message and a paper heart will solve our deep and vast problems overnight. But he threw light where there was darkness; he created a burst of positivity where a sea of negative was to be seen, and he deserves every possible credit for that.

The weekly Torah portion, Naso, has its share of less than pleasant things to convey (consider the law of the “Sotah” alone; a woman whose husband would put her through the ordeal of a trial by bitter water at the Temple to quench his own jealousy). Even so, right after the sad, the unpleasant, the bitter, it teaches us to end everything on a positive note, conveying the message of blessing that Aaron and his children were commanded to use:

May God bless you and protect you; May God shine His light upon you and give you grace; May God turn His face to you and give you peace.


Note: Sermon added to rabbi-eli-blog under the Rabbis’ Corner


Quotes of the Day


Gretchen Rubin:

Never start a sentence with the words

“No Offence”

What you do every day matters more than what you do once in awhile.



June 19  Honey Spitzen
June 21  Joyce Brown
June 24  Roman Perelshtein

June 26   Lily Silver Markowitz
June 27  Henry Epstein
June 29   Meir Schwartz
July 1      Barbara Peters


June 19  Henry & Alicia Harris

June 28  Rick & Reisa Grunberg
June 30  Joseph Rosenberg &

              Hedy Steinberg


June 19  Avram Drewnowsky,

              father of Elliott
June 20  Henry Gardner,

              father of Gerri Goldberg
June 23  Simcha Rosenbloom,

               husband of Helen
June 24  Gerald Tolkin, husband of Jacqueline

June 25  Bernard Steinberg father of

              Hedy Steinberg
June 25  Abraham Usher, father of Jonathan
June 26  Anna White, mother of Frank
June 30  Henry White, father of Frank
July 1      Joseph Klein, father of Harley

Annual General Meeting:

The annual general meeting was well attended.
The suggested amendment to the By-laws was passed.
Future programs were discussed.
There is a great need and opportunity for our members to participate
in the many committees and functions that we anticipate to have during the year. All members were asked not only to attend more functions, but to volunteer in order to help our shul, and to gain insights, experience, friendships and  enjoyment from the activities.

At Special Meeting in 2015, the Board was mandated to investigate hiring a rabbi and to investigate amalgamation with both a larger synagogue and a smaller synagogue.
At the AGM in 2016,  the Board reported to members in attendance the results to date:A rabbi had been hired part-time,  research has been done with Beth David (larger) and with Beth Radom (smaller)

A vote was taken and approved as follows:

1) stay the course keep on as we are. Even though we are losing money we are still in good shape and can continue and we especially want to give the new rabbi a chance. Also we must do fundraising.
2) continue talking to Beth David     No
3) continue talking to Beth Radom   Yes

Members agreed to continue services and education with the rabbi and cantor and B'aal Koreh, to continue with Shabbat and Wed. classes, and to fundraise.

This Past Shabbat


Rabbi Eli led a very interesting discussion group on euthanasia immediately after the kiddush.

Needless to say, everyone there was dying to hear his presentation.





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

Loose Tongues are worse than wicked hands.

Let your words be soft and sweet, because some day you may have to eat them.

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.



7:30 pm


Book Chat

with Cathy Zeldin


The Book chat is on hold until further notice.

Have a nice summer

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

For more information or to suggest books to read, please contact


June 25

19 Sivan



9:12 AM


9:30 AM

Kiddush Lunch


Allen and Ida Sidenberg

on the baby naming of

their granddaughter.


This week’s kiddush is

co-sponsored by:


The Presement Family


Max’s Bar Mitzvah.


Torah Times

Torah Reading: Triennial Year 3

Parashat Beha’ alotcha

1: 10:35-11:9

2: 11:10-18

3: 11:19-22

4: 11:23-29

5: 11:30-35

6: 12:1-13

7: 12:14-16

mafir: 12:14-16


Zechariah 2:14 - 4:7

Candle Lighting: 8:45 p.m. – Friday

Havdalah: 9:53 p.m. – Saturday


June 25



Pirke Avoth


On over!



Don't Miss the Birthday

celebrations at Naot

Brand Stores:

5891 Leslie St.  
Pickle Barrel Plaza

7700 Bathurst St. Unit 11
Promenade Circle


This is a reminder: To thank all of you for your many years of patronage, on June 25th (see locations below...please note our Outlet is closed for this event), we are celebrating Naot's 70th Anniversary! Join us for cake, refreshments, draw prize, specials, gifts with purchase and more! Mark your calendars and come out early and enjoy the festivities!


June 26

Earl Bales Park

12 PM to 6 PM

Earl Bales Park

Arts and Music Festival

Everyone is invited for an afternoon of great free live music outdoors in the park along with food booths, art vendors, kid zones, games, prizes and more.



July 2

26 Sivan



9:12 AM


9:30 AM

To sponsor a Kiddush

please call the office




July 6

7:30 PM


Rabbi Yaakov Menken-w200.jpg

Rabbi Yaakov Menken

Director of Project Genesis, home of

Tweets on Torah, anti-Semitism, and Coffee. #JewishLivesMatter


#BDS isn't about Israel the country, but the People of Israel. Follow the @ShofarProject .

Guest speaker for Judy’s Parsha of the week, Rabbi Yaakov Menken, the founder and director of will be speaking on Pursuing Peace in Turbulent Times: A discussion of Jewish ethics, Jewish studies and anti-Semitism as well as discussing his newly formed The Shofar Project.


July 7

1 Tamuz

Rosh Chodesh

(4th Month)

17th of tammuz.jpg




Our Mission:
The best way to fight

anti-Semitism is with Jewish

values and education.

By informing Jewish students of the true roots and underlying reason for this pernicious hatred, we can give them moral clarity, pride in their Jewish identity and firmness in their defense of Israel – and also inspire them to learn more.

We are Proud to be Hated

by the Haters of Israel.

The underlying root of anti-Jewish hostility is and has always been hatred for the Jewish mission and impact upon civilization: Divine Ideals of morality and conscience.


Actions are morally right in virtue of their motives, which must derive more from duty than from inclination. (www)


Conscience is the capacity to discern how G-d’s law applies in concrete situations. (www)

Mazel Tov

The Bernard Betel Centre for Creative Living
Our Journey to Gold
Honouring 50 Years of Volunteer Engagement

א יידיש ווינקל

א איד איז א גרוסער בעל-צדקה.
פאר א ״גוט מארגן״, גיט ער אפ א ״ גוט יאר״.

A Yid is a groisser Baal Tz'dokeh; far a " gut morgen" git er op a " gut yor ".

A Jew is very generous, for a "good morning", he'll give you a " good year.

Learning from our Sages.
It is accepted protocol among Yiddish speakers to respond to a greeter with a finer greeting than one received.R' Yehonasan Eibeschutz used to hurry to greet enemies of the Jewish people. When he was asked why he hurried, he explained that if those said enemies were to greet him first, he would be obliged to respond with " Good Year", something he definitely did not wish.


א איד א למדן גיט זיך אן עצה.

A Yid a lamden git zich an eitza.

A learned Jew finds a way.

Torah study provides a Jew with insight into all areas of life.

Jacqueline - a yiddisher kop

Enough With the Gefilte Fish. I’ll Have Sushi.  (tnx Jackie)


Orthodox and Hasidic Jews living in Brooklyn are increasingly turning to sushi because it provides more dietary flexibility. Sushi Meshuna in Borough Park is among the restaurants in the area that offer kosher sushi.

“It used to be that what defined a Jewish community was a synagogue and a kosher butcher,” ... “Then it was a kosher pizza shop. Now it’s a kosher sushi shop.”

“You don’t have to be hungry to eat it,” ... “It’s very easy; you have your protein, carbohydrates and vegetables all in one.”

Dry Bones VS “We ❤ you.”


Cute Kid -- Let’s keep him that way.


Pirke Avoth Perek 2 Mishnah 9

Note: This commentary is taken from Ethics from Sinai by Irving M. Bunim and Sage Advice, by Yitz Greenberg. Some sentences of the commentaries have been taken verbatim (in quotes) and others have been summarized. All relate to Mishnah 9. The Questions are my own.

Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai received the oral tradition from Hillel and Shammai. He used to say: If you have learned much Torah, do not hold yourself worthy, since for this you were created.

Ethics From Sinai

Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai smuggled himself out of Jerusalem in a coffin in order to plead with Vespasian, the future Roman emperor, for the city of Yavneh and its scholars so that Torah could continue after both Jerusalem and the Temple would be in ruins. “He realized that with the loss of Jerusalem, Judaism must depend solely on Torah and its scholars. The Torah became, in effect, Israel’s portable Temple. It alone could assure the survival of the Jewish people. Having risked his life for Torah, having dedicated his life to master it, he is well qualified to speak as he does here: “If you have achieved much for Torah do not consider yourself worthy of special applause and unusual commendation. Do not bask in assumed glory. It is your duty and obligation to labor for and in Torah. Yours was not a deed performed beyond the call of duty. It is for this purpose that you were created.”

“The Almighty created you with a mind, with the capacity to think and learn. You were given this most precious instrument to use for the study of Torah. No great distinction is due a person who utilized a tool for the purpose for which it was designed. This is as it should be.”

Question 1: Should this change our views of the importance and status we place on doctors, lawyers or garbage collectors? Should we judge them by what they do with their given abilities?  

Question 2: This deals with Torah, not as a history book, nor as a prayer book, but as a moral instruction book. Can Torah be used universally as a tool for a better and more meaningful life?

“… Torah is not a thing from which a Jew can “empty” or divest himself. A person can remove his jacket or his hat and still be ‘himself’. But the authentic Jew cannot sunder himself utterly from Torah, because ‘it is your life.’ There is a certain irreducible core which a person cannot remove from himself without running the risk of eradicating his identity. Torah is our breathing and our heartbeat, the very life-spirit of Jewry.”

Question 1: Does this apply when a great many non-orthodox Jews have little knowledge and training in the intricacies of the Torah?

Question 2: Is this a current problem with our immigration     policy i.e. that culture, and cultural change - take years or generations to accomplish.

“If you would measure whether you have learned much Torah or little, you must first know how much Torah you are capable of learning. True , you have studied and achieved much, but perhaps this this barely half of your true potential. We tend to underestimate the powers of the mind…Perhaps you are doing finest can do far better.”

Question 1: As above, do we admire a person for what he has done with his life, or should we look at what, with his great abilities, he could have done with his life?

Question 2: With our little knowledge of others, how do we know what he really could have done with his life?

“Our text can also be rendered: … If you have studied much Torah, do not keep it to yourself; spread the good word: let others benefit from what you have mastered,”

“”Through His prophet the Almighty says, “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom nor the strong man glory in his strength, nor the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories, glory in this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who practices kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for in these things I delight, says the Lord.”

”… let him who glories , glory in this: that he understands that when the strong man exercises his strength for the sake of justice and when the rich man uses his wealth to promote kindness and righteousness – then is there something to glory in. … Such are the purposes for which the Almighty bestowed these blessing to begin with. “For this very purpose were you created.”

Question 1: Can this be summarized as - Be thankful for the  gifts of ability and opportunity that you have been able to use successfully?

Question 2: Are we programmed to do certain things in life and  are we able to find those things?

Question 3: Are some societies better than others at letting    people discover their true purpose?

Sage Advice

Rabban - “A special title for  great rabbi, the equivalent of ‘teacher-rabbi of the generation’ or  ‘a teacher’s teacher.’”

“The lesson from Rabban Gahanna’s life is that no one should say,’I am too small for the job.’ Step up and take responsibility for the situation , and you can grow and become great.”

The Bear Doesn’t Care -- So, Why Should We?


(Remembering ORLANDO)


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Plant Your Yarmulke and Help The Environment!

Idea for environmentalists for your next celebration - Seed paper kippot makes a paper kippah that is impregnated with flower seeds so that it can be planted in the garden after it is used. Sarah has a sample and it will be available to look at this Shabbat.


“Kippot Pileup.”  The perfect term to describe the drawer or shelf that contains dozens of yarmulkes from Jewish weddings, bar mitzvahs and bat mitzvahs you’ve attended over the years.  We all have one.  It may come in handy for holiday dinners, but typically most of these treasured kippot will never again see the light of day.

Mike Glaser, fellow sufferer of Kippot Pileup, recognized an opportunity to make a change that would have a positive impact on the environment. Mike founded Circles of Life, a forward-thinking company that makes and sells biodegradable plantable kippot.

At his own wedding, Mike gave his groomsmen yarmulkes from their own weddings to prove this point (and recycle!).  The rest of the guests wore seed paper kippot.


Circles of Life kippot are made with thick oaktag paper containing wildflower seeds from the Rocky’s.  The plants can grow pretty much anywhere, indoors or outdoors.  One yarmulke can grow plants to cover 5 or 6 square feet.

Daily Minyan

Sunday – Friday: 9:00 am

We alternate with Beth Radom

on Sunday - check the schedule

posted on the side door.

Run by Arthur Zins

includes Breakfast following.

Come Daven, Fress & Schmooze,

then join in on a walk.

Saturdays: Shabbat Service

Birkot ha-Shachar 9:12 AM
Yishtabach 9:30 AM

includes Kiddush Luncheon

Cemetery plots for sale to members in good standing (three years minimum).

If you are a member (3 years or more) and want to buy a plot, the cost per plot is $2500.

If you know anyone wanting a plot - the person can pay three years' membership dues and then be entitled to buy a plot.

This is an opportunity to purchase before prices increase.

Please call Sarah Senior, Lodzer Office Administrator,

for more information and to order:  416-636-6665


Please consider sponsoring a kiddush, or contributing to the building, programming, or any specific interest fund, by phoning the shul office at


Lodzer committee

members needed!

Help is always needed at the shul. Volunteer for a committee – you’ll be appreciated! Just call the office – 416-636-6665 and put your name in. The committee Chairperson will contact you.

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Remember family and friends by purchasing a leaf on our tree of life or a sanctuary seat plaque. Call the office at


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Please call the shul office if you need support or if you know of one of our members who may need support. It remains confidential.


Office Hours

Monday through Thursday

9 am - 1 pm and 2 pm - 4 pm


9 am to 1 pm


Jeff Shabes, President

Harvey Storm

Jonathan Usher

Morry Nosak

Marilyn Richmond                                

Board Members

Joe Ber

Henry Epstein

Roz Greene

Judy Hazen

Rafi Remez

Frank Steiman

Arnie Yudell

Honourary Member

Leon Pasternak

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Gabbai: Arnie Yudell

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Jonathan Usher


Charles Greene

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Sarah Senior


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Men: Thank God We’re Not Women!

In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis have a hard time explaining gender differences in commandments and blessings, including whether women can shave their beards.

... in the traditional morning prayer, men thank God “shelo asani ishah,” “for not making me a woman.”

To read Tablet’s complete archive of Daf Yomi Talmud study, click here.