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Shabbat Bulletin - December 17, 2016

With thanks...


Last weeks kiddush

was sponsored by

the Grossman Family

in honour of

Daphna’s 50th birthday

Always a treat to hear Daphna read from the Torah.

Yasher Koach!


As Rabbi Eli was away through most of the previous week, the early bird $180 promotional period was extended until Friday, December 16th.

Call Sarah or email to register now and take advantage of the discount!

<<< Rabbi Eli’s D’var for 20161210 - VAYETZEI >>>

Spoiler alert!

May we all be blessed with the wisdom of our forefather Jacob who realized eventually that even the brightest of streetlights will not help you find something that just isn’t there.  Shabbat Shalom, RE...

New 'Jolly' Lodzer rabbi leads shul's 'reinvigoration'

Reads the headline from the December 8, 2016 ‘The Canadian Jewish News’ (Frances Kraft)

The original news release sent to the CJN about the rabbi (as told to Susan Yellin)

New rabbi brings knowledge and humour to the Lodzer

TORONTO, Nov. 16, 2016 – The Lodzer Centre Congregation is pleased to welcome Rabbi Eli Courante as its new rabbi.

Rabbi Eli, as he likes to be known, grew up in a religious Refusenik family in Odessa, when an historic wheat-for-emigration deal between Russia and the United States was reached and he and his family were allowed to move to Israel in 1987.  The family lived in Jerusalem, where he was ordained as a rabbi and did his military service in the paratrooper division.

Rabbi Eli’s credentials include a teaching stint in Ohr Somayach yeshivah, a year in Siberia and the Russian Far East providing spiritual and pastoral services to Jews throughout the area, and later, taking charge of the wines and spirits Kashrut at the Rabbinate of Jerusalem.

Fluent in five languages and conversant in eight others, including Serb-Croatian and Korean, Rabbi Eli was drawn to Canada when invited to take the pulpit at the B’nai Israel Congregation of St. Catharines, Ont. After 11 years there, he came to Toronto as associate rabbi and educational director at Beth Torah Congregation.

“We are very pleased to have Rabbi Eli, his wife Irina, and their two young daughters as part of our conservative egalitarian congregation,” said Jeff Shabes, president of the Lodzer. “His sense of humour, along with his vast knowledge, makes him an insightful speaker and a welcome addition to our shul.”

Rabbi Eli is also an award-winning scotch taster and critic as well as an avid traveller and co-founder of a unique tour company, Gämla Tours, which boasts the first mobile kosher kitchen, enabling observant Jews to explore far-away destinations in Europe and Asia. (One of his chefs previously worked at a Micheline-star restaurant.)

In fact, he will be taking the Lodzer on a Jewish exploratory tour of the Baltic States next summer; other members of the Toronto community are invited to participate.

Rabbi Eli's approach to tradition, liturgy, rites and customs denotes the innovative spirit he brings to the Lodzer community, reminding people that rules and commandments were given to us to keep us happy, not perturbed.

The rabbi says he finds the Lodzer to be a unique synagogue.

“This is a synagogue built by survivors. They are some of the warmest people you will ever meet. That's how they learned to sustain the cycle of life, and they raised their children in the same spirit, too. Many others have joined and taken up that spirit of life and joy.”

About the Lodzer Centre Congregation

In 1953, four friends had a dream – to organize a Lodzer Society. Within a few months, the founding 90 families became the Lodzer Mutual Benefit Society. Over the next decade, the Lodzer Mutual Benefit Society made generous donations to Israel. In 1981 a committee erected the building that stands today – the Lodzer Centre Holocaust Congregation. A synagogue built in the memory of the victims of the Shoah was born.

For further information, please contact:

Rabbi Eli Courante
Jeff Shabes, president

Making a difference to our shul

As everyone knows, with our shul’s new rabbi and new direction, we are making changes to our services and programming, and becoming more of a community. The Board discusses procedures and suggested innovations on a monthly basis.
If you have any suggestions please give them, in writing to Sarah, and, if you wish to speak at our monthly Monday night Board meeting about your ideas, concerns, or interests, again, please let Sarah know.
It is your shul. We want and need your input.

Making a Difference for Yourself

Rabbi Eli is eager and very happy to speak to our congregants on a one-to-one basis about personal or shul issues. As he has no official office hours, please call Sarah to make an appointment.
Rabbi Eli will return your call as soon as possible.

The Lodzer Music Festival - Sundays at 7

Hope to see you all this Sunday, December 18 at 7 PM.

Israeli Music presented by Cantor David Edwards


Kudos Marcel - a lot of fun had by all!

(Did you hear the one about, “The Jewish Tie Salesman?”)

Check out the videos from our “Sundays at 7” series on YouTube

  1. The History of Klezmer Music - Raisa Orshansky and Viktor Kotov

  1. Where Does that Tune Come From? - Charles Heller

  1. The Songs of the Yiddish Theatre - Faye Kellerstein

  1. Jewish Music of North Africa - Cantor Aaron Bensoussan

  1. Jewish Role in Jazz/Israeli Jazz Scene - Reuven Grajner

  2. The Golden Age of Cantorial Music - Cantor David Nemtzov

  3. Jewish Music of The Middle East (part one) - Cantor Aaron Bensoussan

  4. Jewish Music of Eastern Europe - Raisa Orshansky and Viktor Kotov

  5. Jewish Music of The Middle East (part two) - Cantor Aaron Bensoussan

  6. The last in our series “Sundays at 7” - don’t miss it - December 18

Free of charge. Donations are welcome.
Refreshments will be served following each presentation.
This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada


Happy Birthdays to:

Dec. 13  Seymour Goldlust
Dec. 14  Selma Opler
Dec. 16  Minnie Peters

Dec. 20  Gloria Riesel
Dec. 21  Carrie Manley
Dec. 22  Marilyn Richmond’s 70th
Dec. 22  Gerald Lew
Dec. 23  Michael Spigelman


Dec. 10  Jack & Carole Abrahams
Dec. 14  Josef & Cindy Ber
Dec. 16  Morris & Nicole Anidjar

Dec. 20  Reuben & Jenny

Dec. 21  Brian Goldman &

             Tamara Broder


Dec. 12  Belle Klein, mother of Harley
Dec. 13  Eva Kushner, mother of Betty Siegel-Snyder
Dec. 15  Peter Friedenrich,

             husband of Ester, father of Ricki Black

Dec. 18  David Kaufman, husband of Esther
Dec. 19  Max Lew, brother of Sidney
Dec. 21  Salima Dagan, mother of Isaak
Dec. 21  Isaac Daniels, father of Dina Wolfe
Dec. 21  Sam Fischer, father of Nina Rubin &

             Gloria Riesel
Dec. 22  Ralph Zweig, father of Warren

Stars of David - Frank Sinatra - The Sinatra-Israel Connection


...On vinyl, on screen, on stage, he was charismatic, hypnotic, confident. Off – stage the notes were often sour. His desperate desire for the high life, power and acceptance by the King makers often got him into trouble – with others, and within himself.
Despite all the contradictions, mood swings, and messes, one of his relatively few noble consistencies was Israel. He did Israel “our way” starting at a time when most stars, especially non-Jews, wouldn’t stand up, or gave a Pissaluto (Italian fig)...

...It’s been speculated that his love for “Jews” started when an affectionate neighbor gave him a small mezuzah which he proudly wore around his neck for years. He donated a quarter of a million dollars in Israel Bonds to honor her. But his admiration for Israel was far more complex.
In Israel, he found a piece of himself; a whole country of gritty, courageous underdogs who had survived – as he had. Could there be anything nobler; more personal to Mr. S.?...

...The King with the shaky crown died, ironically on May 14, 1998-- exactly 50 years from the official declaration of Israeli independence. The words on his grave marker are: "The Best Is Yet to Come."
Perhaps the greatest sadness is … he was one of the greats, but didn’t believe it. And the greatest joy? Millions of Israelis are better off for his courage and his comfort. (aish)

"I lived in a plenty tough neighborhood. When somebody called me a 'dirty little Guinea', there was only one thing to do-break his head. When I got older, I realized that you shouldn't do it that way. I realized that you've got to do it through education. Children are not to blame. It is the parents. How can a child know whether his playmate is an Italian, a Jew or Irish, unless the parents have discussed it in the privacy of their homes." (Frank Sinatra)

Frank Sinatra

Zol di Neshoma hoob’n an aliya

Zol der Kranke hoob’n a refuah

Zol di Yidden hoob’n a yeshuah

Zol zein sholom im Eretz Israel

May the soul have an aliya

May the ill one be healed

May Jews have salvation

May there be peace in Eretz Israel

Yiddish Credits: FrankSteiman, DavidB, DoraU

Happy Birthday “Ol’ Blue Eyes” (December 12, 1915)

RE (inspired) - I did it my way

We've been watching the young Jacob, our forefather, grow up. He starts out as this ultimate avoider of confrontation, not making good choices in his dealings with: Esau's loss of his birthright to Jacob, and later with: Jacob's deception of their aged and blind father, Isaac, in order to receive Esau's birthright/blessing from Isaac, spawning a conflict between the descendant nations of Jacob and Esau.

Jacob does not live in an ideal world. Freedom of choice does not exist: Where to live; who to marry; your choice of profession. However, Jacob stayed in the family business as a shepherd, chose where he lived and whom he married. (Who pulled those strings?)

You learn from the good as well as from the bad.

Jacob was forced to run to his uncle Lavan, because Esau wanted to kill him. Lavan was a man so dishonest, so crooked, that if he ate nails, he would probably poop corkscrews. (Corkscrews are just crooked nails.)

Jacob  liked Rachel, Lavan’s daughter. He worked 7 years for her.  But when Jacob married, his uncle Lavan gave him Leah instead of Rachel, (as G-d’s punishment.)

Jacob worked for another 7 years and married once again. Worked some more. Found himself in and out of fortunes as he tried to rise to the top. All the while giving birth to a number of children along the way.

Life had a way of hardening Jacob, getting cheated out of a small fortune, he no longer avoided problems and started to confront them head on, which was definitely an asset for Jacob moving forward.

Jacob learned to balance his own choices between what served his own best interest and what could be done to help serve his fellow man.

As Jacob's maturity and sense of responsibility grew, he realized that his life was under the scrutiny and control of the all mighty - carefully orchestrated. G-d was everywhere.

Sometimes the hardest decisions we have to make are the ones that G-d wants us to make ourselves. G-d sets up the scenario, we make the choices.

On the highway of life, do not be the guy in the right, be the guy in the smart.

Shavua Tov


Find your own path to peace within yourself and with your neighbour. End War!

You have the resources to feed the entire world. End starvation!

See the good in all people. Root out prejudice!

Clear away slums and give hope. End despair!

Search out cures and provide healing. End disease!

Become instead of merely to wish. Do instead of just pray!

Find the drive, courage and determination to live for the long term. Change!

Reader’s Digest version of  "Prayer alone is not enough" by Rabbi Jack Reimer

Rabbi Eli’s D’var Torahs are posted to: RABBI ELI’S BLOG

Here’s the direct link to last weeks D’var:

<<< Rabbi Eli’s D’var for 20161210 - VAYETZEI >>>



December 14

7:30-8:30 pm

Shul Kiddush



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


December 15

7:30 PM

Beth David

Hear Executive Director Geoffrey Clarfield, of The Mozuud Freedom Foundation, tell the story of John Henry Patterson



Patterson of Judea

The Irish Maccabee


Colonel Patterson WW1

Colonel John Henry Patterson was an Irish soldier and engineer born on 10th Nov 1867 in Forgney, Co Westmeath to a protestant father and Catholic mother. He joined up at the age of 17 and rose quickly through the ranks. He was assigned to Kenya by the British Government in 1898 to supervise the construction of a bridge over the Tsavo river for a massive railroad project. Unfortunately, railroad workers were constantly being slaughtered by the most notorious man-eating lions in recorded history. Two maneless but huge lions, working together, were estimated to have killed and eaten well over a hundred people working on the railroad.
Night after night, Patterson sat in a tree, hoping to shoot the lions when they came to the bait that he set for them. But the lions demonstrated almost supernatural abilities, constantly breaking through thorn fences to take victims from elsewhere in the camp, and seemingly immune to the bullets that were fired at them.

His story continued


December 16

Services start

6:15 PM

Dinner following



Chicken Noodle Soup

Garden Salad

Honey Garlic Chicken

Chinese Fried Rice

Stir Fry Vegetables


Reserve by

Monday, December 12


Members $35

Member’s Children $15

(Under 5 $5)

Non-Members $45

Non-Member’s Children $20

(under 5 $5)

Bring Your Own Kosher Wine (unopened bottles only)


December 17

17 Kislev



9:12 AM

Led by

Frank Steiman

Please help us out by coming early…

We need a minyan to start!


9:30 AM

Kiddush Lunch


This week’s kiddish

is sponsored by

Esther Kaufman

in memory of

her husband


Torah Times

Torah Reading: Triennial Year 1


Genesis 32:4 - 36:43
1: 32:4-6 (pg. 122)
2: 32:7-9
3: 32:10-13
4: 32:14-22
5: 32:23-30
6: 32:31-33:5
7: 33:6-20
maf: 33:18-20


Obadiah 1:1 - 1:21 (pg. 137)

Candle Lighting: 4:23 p.m. – Friday

Havdalah: 5:32 p.m. – Saturday



December 18

7 PM




12 Heaton St.




Israeli Music.

Presentation by:

Cantor David Edwards


December 24

1st Night of




This holiday season we should celebrate the joy of our sister and separate religions and so it gives me great pleasure to wish all Jews a hearty Happy Hanukka and to our Christian brothers and sisters a joyous and Merry Christmas. (drybones)


December 25

On the

2nd Night of


5 PM


Shul Kiddush



“We’re Cool with Yule!”

Rafi’s Annual


Chinese Food and a Movie

I eat Chinese food on Christmas
Go to the movie theater, too
'Cause there just ain’t much else to do on Christmas...
When you’re a Jew'

Movie, to be determined.

Deadline for reservations is

Friday December 16


December 30

1 Tevet, 5777

Rosh Chodesh

7th Night of




On the 10th day of the Jewish month of Tevet, in the year 3336 from Creation (425 BCE), the armies of the Babylonian emperor Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Jerusalem. Thirty months later—on 9 Tammuz 3338—the city walls were breached, and on 9 Av of that year the Holy Temple was destroyed. The Jewish people were exiled to Babylonia for 70 years.  chabad


December 31

8th Night of




Celebrate every night of Chanukah
with song, hot latkes and
gifts for the children.


January 1




January 2

(last day)

Dec 3 to Jan 2

Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre

Gallery Hours

M-F 9a-9p

Sa-Su 9a-7p


In our Gallery:
I have placed my bow in the clouds: paintings by Marla Powers.
Colourful gouache paintings using the Hebrew letters of the Torah, Siddur, and Psalms.

Marla is Zeesy Powers' mother. Zeesy is the artist who painted the hangings in our elevator. We’ve been friends for a long time. Jonathan


Located in the Jacobs Lounge on the main floor of the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, the Gallery provides a platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their talent, share their stories and connect with the community through visual art.

Our exhibitions draw the viewer's attention to corners of everyday life, often challenging pre-existing opinions of culture, religious identity and social issues. Celebrate the powerful world of images and painting at The Gallery at the JCC.


January 8

11am - 12 noon






Shul Kiddush


Georgann Burke


Georganne Burke is a seasoned veteran of political activities in the United States and Canada. She has spent the past ten years in a variety of roles with the Conservative Party of Canada, and in the offices of ministers and MPs. Her special area of expertise was in outreach to cultural communities.


Advocacy Training Workshop

We are very fortunate to have political consultant, Georgann Burke, as the facilitator of this training.

Georgann is an experienced political organizer with a special expertise in outreach to ethnic, cultural and religious communities.

For those who would like to learn how to be most effective when approaching their MPs or MPPs on behalf of the Yazidi cause, this training has been set up for you.


January 19

7:30 PM

Shul Kiddush


Book Chat

with Cathy Zeldin


a saga inspired by true events of a Holocaust survivor's quest to return to Poland and fulfill a promise

Great Book Chat this past Dec. 8th.  Nine people braved the cold to discuss  Daniel Silvia's Black Widow.  We all agreed that he is a prolific and popular author who has been translated into many languages.  I look forward to his next book.

We made a date change and a book switch.  We will next meet on Thursday February 9, 2017 to discuss Karolina's Twins by Ronald Balson.  This is a slightly fictionalized  true story of two childhood friends one of whom, as young women during the Holocaust, makes a promise to the other.  We meet her as an elderly woman determined to fulfill this promise.  An excellent book, in my humble opinion.

At the following meeting on March 23 we'll discuss Yiddish for Pirates.  We are all on library waiting lists and unlikely to receive this book any earlier.  It has become wildly popular since being shortlisted for the Giller Prize.


January 22

7:00 PM

Shul Kiddush


No charge

Donations welcome



Sponsored by

Arthur Zins

Joe Warner




Come and hear how Jewish Canadian War Vet and antitank gunner, Joe Warner, volunteered to fight against the Arabs with 700 other Canadian Vets to secure the 1948 borders of Israel.

“The first time you see a dead body, you are shaken up terribly and it scares the hell out of you… but then it gets to the point when it is an everyday occurrence.  When we were taking Hill 113, we had a supply truck come up to us and some of the guys were leaning up against dead bodies for support – you become hardened… but you are always scared.  Anyone who is not scared needs to be in an insane asylum.  And when someone near you gets hit, you wonder, why him and not me?”


February 12

1 - 3 PM




Shul Kiddush


Come meet with Yazidis



Project Abraham, the initiative of the Mozuud Freedom Foundation to help save Yazidis from genocide, is…

(Details to follow)

All are welcome to join us to hear about the latest updates in Yazidi news, Project Abraham developments, planned events, and how concerned people can help.


March 23

7:30 PM


Shul Kiddush


Book Chat

with Cathy Zeldin


Set in the years around 1492, Yiddish for Pirates tells the story of Moishe, a young man who, enchanted by maps and seeking adventure, leaves the shtetl to join a ship’s crew. There he meets Aaron, our ribald yet philosophical parrot narrator who becomes his near-constant companion. With a beakful of Yiddish jokes, this wisecracking bird guides us through a swashbuckling world of pirate ships and exploits on the high seas.

Telling the tale of a gay,

Yiddish-speaking parrot.

But the Inquisition is a dangerous time to be Jewish, and once he makes landfall Moishe falls in with a band of hidden Jews trying to preserve forbidden books. When all Jews are expelled from Spain, he travels to the Caribbean with the ambitious Christopher Columbus, a self-made man who loves his creator. Driven by circumstance but also by a thirst for gold, Moishe becomes a pirate and seeks revenge on the Spanish while searching


April 6


Payment in full is due.


the Baltic States

With Rabbi Eli

August 7-16, 2017

Full details at


Seize the opportunity!



April 11

Time TBA



Passover Seder
2nd Seder

Full Kosher Dinner
Full Seder Service
$75 per person

Limited Seats Available.

Reserve NOW. 416-636-6665

The Miracle Of The Middle East - Talk about before and after

All the before pictures show the great progress the Arabs made with the land.

The after pictures show how the Jews destroyed the same land in the last 60 years.

Just imagine how well off the surrounding countries would have become if they didn't spend their time concentrating on destroying Israel. (source:forwarded e-mail - Thanks!)

Eilat - 1963.jpg

Eilat has become the ultimate resort city with hotels and beaches packed with thousands of Israeli vacationers and tourists from around the world, who come to relax in the country’s southernmost spot.
In the winter it mainly attracts tourists from Europe who prefer vacations in a warmer and more pleasant climate while Israelis flock to the city in the summer. The combination of a hot climate, a tropical sea and a breathtaking background of wild, bare granite mountains has turned it into a tourist gem all the year round.
Eilat’s location made it strategically significant during the many historical periods in which it served as a port – starting in the days of King Solomon, through the Nabataeans, the Romans, the Arabs, and the Crusaders, all of whom ruled the Land of Israel.

The Arava region north of the city and the Eilat Mountains is an arid desert. But in between the exposed mountains there are many nature and beauty spots as well as archaeological and historical sites, which make Eilat a good starting point for special trips in the area, such as camel treks, jeep tours and more.

Eilat now.jpg


Pirke Avoth Perek 3 Mishnah 12

Note: The ‘Commentary” sections in italics are taken from Ethics from Sinai by Irving M. Bunim and Visions of the Fathers by Twerski.  Some sentences of the text have been taken verbatim (in quotes) and others have been summarized. All relate to Mishnah 9.  The questions are my own.

He used to say: Anyone whose deeds are more than this wisdom, his wisdom shall endure; but anyone whose wisdom exceeds his deeds, his wisdom shall not endure.

“In this Mishnah we have the distinctive Jewish view of wisdom, which differs so essentially from the classic Greek view. For Aristotle, the function of man, his highest virtue and his ultimate purpose are the attainment of the contemplative life, the exercise of his reason. For Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa wisdom and knowledge are only means to an end… great is study because it leads to action. The Almighty requires not merely high thoughts but good deeds. No one in the throes of hunger has ever benefited from another’s high thoughts alone. The medieval Jewish philosopher Judah haLevi makes it very clear that Greek philosophy is only a blossom and bear no fruit…. Jewish thought, however, requires ‘fruit’: tangible accomplishment in the world of reality, practical achievements in reforming the heart of man.”

“Wisdom that is not translated into deeds perishes with its possessor; it disappears into oblivion.”

“This world is the arena for action, for doing, for creativity. Wisdom is only the means to this end, the guide and mentor to the deeds that ought to be done.”

Question 1: Do you prefer the Greek or Jewish idea of wisdom and its purpose?

Question 2: Is the emphases on our world by Jews and the emphasis on the afterlife by Christians an important difference between the two religions?

“If a person’s wisdom is greater than his deeds, and he does not translate his wisdom into blueprints and guidelines for actual behaviour” [it is] “wasted effort and produces more wasted effort.”

Question 1: Do your good ideas, your wisdom, or your complaints translate into action or behaviour and what procedures can we put into place to ensure that they do?

Question 2: Is there any validity to the expression - “Do as I say, not as I do.”

“In this connection we might recall the Talmudic account of how an angel teaches the child Torah while it is yet in its mother’s womb, and then, as the child is born, it promptly forgets everything. This too appears so futile - but only if the child will do nothing in its lifetime to relearn and use that knowledge. If a person lives in this world seventy years or more, amasses a wealthy knowledge, until his mind's full of facts and figures, and does nothing with it, he is certainly no better off than that child. Wisdom that is not translated into deeds perishes with its possessor; it disappears into oblivion.”

Question: Is teaching “doing” or a concrete action,  and if not, if there a problem with   professions such as teaching, counselling, and the clergy?
“But never underestimate wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom is essential for proper religious observance. And there must be knowledge for performing right deeds.”

“ For his knowledge tells him how to observe the mitzvoth; thus his learning increases and augments his goods deeds both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Question 1: Do you agree with each of the above statements?

Question 2: Is Torah mainly an instruction manual for living and acting?

“All the deeds listed in this Mishnah above involve strong feelings and emotions; for they deal with love for parents, love of people, respect for fellow men. These emotions, if unchecked by the ‘mirror’ of Torah, can lead you astray. Parents can advise you wrongly, and you many continue to obey them blindly; love of people can lead to a Munich, the failure or refusal to take stern measures against evil; mercy can allow an Agag, king of the Amalekites to live, against the express command of the Almighty, and as a result his descendant Haman rise up generations later. Therefore says the Mishnah, all these deeds are clearly important, but only if Torah is held up over against them as a ‘mirror,’ to serve as a check and a standard. “

“If you wish to know how to accomplish all these other worthy actions, you must have the necessary education and knowledge: you must have a thorough grounding in Torah…. his knowledge tells him how to observe the mitzvoth; thus his learning increases and augments his good deeds both qualitatively and quantitatively.

Question 1: What qualities do we acquire from a grounding of Torah that will help us      make better decisions?

Question 2:  2. Do you use Torah as a “check” or standard” in making major decisions?

Question 3: Is the idea of “equivalency” a valid way of judging cultures and religions  and of  showing respect for your fellow man?

Question 4: Does Torah help us decide how much and where to make donations?
Visions of the Fathers

“I have always felt that these communities {university cities} were somehow different than other cities I visited, and I even felt a bit ill at ease there. But I was unable to identify the feeling or why it was somewhat unpleasant. When I came to this mishnah, I realized that what was bothering me was that the communities may indeed be citadels of knowledge, but it is knowledge that remains unapplied. … The mishnah says that this state of affairs makes the knowledge of questionable value. The denizens of the ivory towers are not always completely in touch with reality.”

“It is related that a scholar once boasted about his learning. ‘I have done the entire Talmud.’ he said. ‘Is that so?’ someone remarked. ‘You may have done the entire Talmud, but what has the Talmud done for you?’”

Question: What concrete or general ideas have you learned from Torah?


This past Saturday night after the discussion group on this week’s Pirke Avoth, nine
Members, (plus three non-members,) of our congregation attended an information and fund-raising meeting to prevent the continuing genocide of the Yazidi people.

Celebrating Freedom. An evening to champion the rescue of the Yazidi people at the Zoomerplex downtown. Wine and horderves preceded the event.

Event Video on Mozuud Facebook page

The event was attended by people of the major religions, races, and colours. The studio audience was filled to capacity, with over 150 in attendance. It was a small but important act of support by each of them.

The meeting along with our government’s knowledge of the problem but their lack of action, was a clear example of this week’s Pirke Avoth Torah lesson, that knowledge without action is meaningless.

Our Lodzer congregation is helping by providing space for Project Abraham meetings. We, as a congregation and individually, could be doing a lot more.


Peter Kent; Armen Yeganian; Rev.Majed El Shafie; Mirza Ismail; Jennifer Breedon

Photo Credit: Gary Rose

Wise Proverbs

Do not be wise in words - be wise in deeds.

Not to have felt pain is not to have been human.

What you don’t see with your eyes, don’t invent with your mouth.

A pessimist, confronted with two bad choices, chooses both.

Haimishe Humour - The Jewish Tie Salesman

A fleeing Taliban terrorist, desperate for water, was plodding through the Afghan desert when he saw something far off in the distance. Hoping to find water, he hurried toward the mirage, only to find a very frail little old Jewish man standing at a small makeshift display rack - selling ties.

The Taliban terrorist asked, "Do you have water?"

The old man replied, "I have no water. Would you like to buy a tie? They are only $5."

The Taliban shouted hysterically, "Idiot Infidel! I do not need an over-priced western adornment. I spit on your ties. I need water!"

"Sorry, I have none, just ties - pure silk, and only $5."

"Pahh! A curse on your ties! I should wrap one around your scrawny little neck and choke the life out of you, but I must conserve my energy and find water!"

"Okay," said the little old Jewish man. "It does not matter that you do not want to buy a tie from me, or that you hate me, threaten my life, and call me infidel. I will show you that I am bigger than any of that. If you continue over that hill to the east for about two miles, you will find a restaurant. It has the finest food and all the ice-cold water you desire. Go In Peace."

Cursing him again, the desperate Taliban staggered away, over the hill.

Several hours later, he crawled back, almost dead, and gasped, "They won't let me in without a tie…"

Not intended to be political, nor racist - just funny


The Key To Something More
Posted on June 7, 2002 (5762) By Rabbi Label Lam | Series: Dvar Torah

In order to get a perspective on the Chanukah story it might be helpful to look through the prism of two Chanukah-like stories that are really the same. Allow me to explain.

In Israel there is a man who at one time was Israel’s top comedian, entertainer, actor etc. His name is Uri Zohar. In mid career he started to study Torah and became a devoted scholar and educator. When I was in Jerusalem I went to listen to him giving a local class to a small group. At the end of the session he told this most amazing story. He had recently received a surprise call from an old friend from the bohemian days and he told us what it was that had motivated the call.

It was a Saturday afternoon, a Shabbos, and his friend like many others who live unaware of the laws of Shabbos, found himself at the beach for a long afternoon of frolic and fun. As the day was winding down he packed up his stuff and made his way to the car. He reached into his pocket for the keys but came up empty. So he searched the other pants pocket and became concerned as realized the keys were not there either. His wife just shrugged when asked if she had the keys.

They walked back to the place where their blanket had been, turned over the trash can and retraced their steps a few more times before deep panic set in. All the cars had already left the parking lot. The sun was a fiery ball setting over the Mediterranean Sea and soon they would be standing there in darkness.

In a fit of madness and desperation this man began to walk across the beach to the ocean. (Uri got up from his chair with a dramatic flair to act out the next episode.) He waded out into the sea up to his thighs and cried to the heaven with all his being, “Elochim! Elochim! Give me my keys!” Just at that moment, amazingly, the fellow became aware that there were his keys floating atop the water and touching his leg. He returned the car shaken and that night after Shabbos gave a call to his old friend Uri, asking, “Where should I begin…Kashrus….Tefillin…Shabbos!?”

Now if that story sounds farfetched and on the other side of the ocean, I heard the same story here in the New York area. A young family who had recently started observing Torah and Mitzvos also registered their children in Yeshiva a few months before this story happened. The father had taken his children and a few others out to a large park in Riverdale, after school for some recreation before homework dinner and bed.

When it came time to head home. Guess what!? He couldn’t find his keys, in either pocket. His son watched him anxiously as his father danced that little jig one does when looking for keys. In a moment of inspiration the young boy, only a few months new in the art of prayer, taught a lesson even the great ones can learn from. He picked up his ball, the one he had just been playing with and held it to his chest as one would a Psalms or a prayer book and he said ever so sincerely, “Hashem, help my father find his keys, please.” Then he flung the ball aimlessly. When he went to pick up the ball, amazingly, there was his father’s keys touching the ball.

We ought not to be too surprised that such an event can happen. We say thrice daily in prayer the words of King David in Psalm 145, “Hashem is close to all those who call Him, all who call to Him in truth.” The answer is different when the call is a call of truth. In the Chanukah story we find a few good men able to overcome distant odds due to the sincerity of their mission.
When any part of hidden goodness is revealed even under pressure, and the heart becomes pure with purpose, the response can be dramatic. Nothing is lost in Hashem’s world. The A-lmighty can find anyone and anything; a jar of oil, a job, a kid, or a set of keys. So when what the person seeks most urgently is delivered magically to his hands-he may have actually found the key to something more.

Good Shabbos!

Text Copyright 2001 Rabbi Dovid Green and Project Genesis, Inc.

Historic Photos of the Jews (to be presented over the next number of weeks)

A few minutes of history so we never forget the hardships and ENJOY every moment of life.


Taken in Buchenwald just after its liberation by the photographer Margaret Bourke-White, this image is so powerful not just because it shows the pure joy of liberation, but because it turns these men who we have almost turned into mythic creatures into normal folks. The kind that celebrate with champagne and cigarettes.


This photo has made the rounds after the recent passing of Rabbi Herschel Schachter, depicted leading this Shabbat service shortly after the liberation of Buchenwald . There is something beyond moving about this image that shows the prisoners, still in their garb, still in their prison, but liberated and celebrating the most important day of the week.

(Author unknown - currently making the e-mail rounds as a ppt.)

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Christmas vs Chanukah

Christmas is one day - the same day every year - December 25.


Jews love Dec. 25th. It's another paid day off work. We go out for Chinese food and then see a movie. Others go Israeli dancing.

Chanukah is eight days. It starts the evening of the 24th of Kislev, whenever that falls. No one is ever sure. Jews never know until a non Jewish friend asks when Chanukah starts, forcing us to consult a calendar so we don't look like idiots. We all have the same calendar, provided free with a donation from either the World Jewish Congress, the kosher butcher, or the local Sinai Memorial Chapel (especially in Florida).

Christmas is a major holiday.  

Chanukah is a minor holiday with the same theme as most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat.

Christians get wonderful presents such as jewelry, perfume, stereos...  

Jews get practical presents such as underwear, socks, or the collected works of the Rambam which looks impressive on the bookshelf.

There is only one way to spell Christmas.



No one can decide how to spell Chanuka, Chanukah, Chanukka, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannuka.

Christmas is a time of great pressure for husbands and boyfriends.  
Their partners expect special gifts.

Jewish men are relieved of that burden. No one expects a diamond ring on Chanukah.

Christmas brings enormous electric bills.

I have a Chanukah bush.

LED is the way to go.

Candles are used for Chanukah. Not only are we spared enormous electric bills, but we get to feel good about not contributing to the energy crisis.


Christmas carols are beautiful. Silent Night,  
Come o Ye Faithful.....

Personal favourite:

O holy night

(with the following substitution)

“Oh night when I was born”

Chanukah songs are about dreidels made from clay or having a party and dancing the horah. Of course, we are secretly pleased that many of the beautiful carols were composed and written by our tribal brethren. And don't Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond sing them beautifully?

A home preparing for Christmas smells wonderful.  
The sweet smell of cookies and cakes baking. Happy people are gathered around in festive moods.

A home preparing for Chanukah smells of oil, potatoes and onions. The home, as always, is full of loud people all talking at once.

Women have fun baking Christmas cookies.


Women burn their eyes and cut their hands grating potatoes and onions for latkes on Chanukah. Another reminder of our suffering through the ages.

Just for the record,

I do the peeling!