Shabbat Bulletin‎ > ‎



Shabbat Bulletin - December 31, 2016


Last Week’s Kiddush

was sponsored by

Sheldon Richmond

in honour of

Marilyn’s 70th birthday.

If you haven’t paid your High Holy Day Pledge please call the office, in order to get your 2016 tax receipt for your donation. Thanks...

The Lodzer Music Festival - Sundays at 7

  • Videos now linked in our members area

Frederik Pohl (1919-2013)


A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam.

You can't really predict the future. All you can do is invent it.

Science fiction is the very literature of change.

Siddur Dedications


This siddur was donated


Arthur Zins

in memory of his dear parents

Jack and Bella Zins


To honour RAFI REMEZ

for organizing 'Chrismuchah 2016'
complete with Chinese food and movie

par excellence !

To all we cherish

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


This siddur was donated


Doris Greening & Arthur Zins

On the occasion of

Marilyn Richmond’s 70th birthday.

Marilyn, have a wonderful

and Happy Birthday !

The commercialization of Christmas - let's be done with it...


“Rats. Nobody sent me a Christmas card today. I almost wish there weren't a holiday season. I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it?”


“Let's face it, we all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big eastern syndicate, you know.”  

(A Charlie Brown Christmas 1965)

Charlie Brown's message, decrying (publicly denouncing) the commercialization of Christmas, is even more relevant today than it was in 1965.

(Lee Mendelson)

Commercializing our sacred love is the least we can do for our country.

People are looking for a better quality of life, not more stuff.

JU/ My take on Christmas is that it is not a Jewish holiday - it is a Christian holiday - but it has disintegrated from a Christian holiday into a commercial buying spree motivated by greed and the idea of self-aggrandizement through gift giving.

Question 1:

If we don’t want Jews to celebrate Christmas because it is a Christian holiday, do we want Jews to celebrate something that goes against the best of Jewish values and principles?

Question 2:

How might we participate in the secular "spirit of Christmas" without the Christmas part? /JU

"Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus" (1956)

A short story by the late science fiction writer Frederik Pohl.

In "Happy Birthday, Dear Jesus" (1956), Pohl describes a society where consumerism totally rules the Christmas season. Friends send each other cards telling how much they plan to spend on each other, with the numbers rounded off to the nearest fifty cents in order to preserve discretion.

The story, not his most memorable piece of work, perhaps because science fiction was not considered true literature in those years, or because it simply came too early: with memory of the Depression still looming in people’s minds, few were ready to criticize consumerism.

The story is prophetic (accurately predicting) to the point of nearly being a description of today’s commercialism, and it deserves a wide reading.

The religious significance of the holiday is all but forgotten as familiar verses are revised into advertising jingles:

'Tis the season of Christmas, and all through the house,  St. Nick and his helpers begin their carouse.  (a noisy, lively drinking party)
The closets are stuffed and the drawers overflowing,  With gift-wrapped remembrances, coming and going.
What a joyous abandon of Christmastime glow!  What a making of lists! What a spending of dough!
So much for the bedroom, so much for the bath,  So much for the kitchen -- too little by half!
Come Westinghouse, Philco! Come Hotpoint, G.E.!  Come Sunbeam! Come Mixmaster! Come to the Tree!
So much for the wardrobe -- how shine Daddy's eyes,  As he reaps his Yule harvest of slippers and ties.
So much for the family, so much for the friends,  So much for the neighbors -- the list never ends.
A contingency fund for the givers belated,  Whose gifts must be hastily reciprocated.
And out of the shops, how they spring with a clatter,  The gifts and appliances words cannot flatter!
The robot dishwasher, the new Frigidaire,  The doll with the didy and curlable hair!
The electrified hairbrush, the black lingerie,  The full-color stereoscopic TV!
Come, Credit Department! Come, Personal Loan!
Come, Mortgage, Come Christmas Club, Come ---

Pohl was unapologetic about his use of actual companies and brand names in his stories, taking aim at sacred cows of the corporate era.

JU’s Christmas Tree Rant

A brief argument in support of Jews not having a Christmas tree

First I think we should consider the nature of Christmas and the Christmas tree.

Christmas is a holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Christian messiah. It was a construct from a pagan religion. Many pagan cultures worshipped evergreens, saw them as symbols of immortality, and used them to ward off evil spirits. During the Roman mid-winter festival of Saturnalia, which was morphed into Christmas, houses were decorated with wreaths of evergreen plants, along with other antecedent customs now associated with Christmas.

The Christmas tree is described by Wikipedia thus

Candles and Christmas lights represent Christ, the Light of the World. "I am the light of the world. No follower of mine shall ever walk in darkness; no, he shall possess the light of life" (John 8:12). "The light shines on in the darkness, a darkness that did not overcome it" (John 1:5). Candles and Christmas lights also remind us that we are to be light to others, to show them the way to Christ.  Lord, be my Light in the darkness and help me to be a light to others, to show them the way to you. When all seems hopeless, help me to remember that the darkness cannot overcome Your Light. You are the eternal Brilliance of God. May Your Light be my hope, my God. Amen.

CHRISTMAS TREE: About the year 1500, Martin Luther, inspired by a snow covered fir tree, brought a small tree indoors and decorated it with candles in honour of Christ’s birth. By the 18th century, the custom of decorating a Christmas tree was well established in France, Germany, and Austria. Thus, the Christmas tree represents the original Tree of Paradise, the burning bush which spoke to Moses, the branch of Jesse from which Jesus was born, the life-giving tree of the cross of Christ, and the tree which St. John the Apostle saw in the Book of Revelations whose leaves have medicine for the people and which yields fruit each month for the healing of the nations. Because it is green year-round, the evergreen tree represents hope. Its needles and its narrow crest point upward, turning our thoughts to heaven. Because the tree is cut down and then erected again, it is a symbol of Christ’s resurrection. Lord, may I see Christmas trees as a sign of hope and as reminders of the many trees that figure in salvation history. I thank You, Lord, for turning the tree of Adam and Eve’s sin into the tree of life through the cross of Christ. Because of the tree on which Christ died, You have given us the promise of eternal life. We praise you forever. Amen.

I think we can now say that Christmas and Christmas trees don’t only represent a secular good-will but they are highly related to the Christian faith.

The modern Christmas tree seems to represent a combination of the above combined with an excessive emphasis on uncontrolled spending. In many respects it has lost both its pagan and Christian meanings and has become a symbol or celebration of commercialism.

We can now say that the Christmas tree represents joy to the world, a strong belief in Christianity and its symbols, and excess commercialism. Joy to the world or Tikkun Olam fits in well with Judaism but the other factors do not.

The other factor is that when inter-marriage is about 50%, when most Jews are non-practicing in a serious sense, and when many Jews are taught that the moral codes etc of all religions are equal, is there a danger that celebrating with a Christmas tree will help speed assimilation? I think so. At the very least, I don’t think it is worthwhile ignoring any issue that may speed assimilation.

Lastly, we have taken in many foreign traditions into Judaism, such as the flood story and made it Jewish by adding a morality or Jewish flavour to it. If we could do this with Christmas trees, I would not oppose the tradition. However at the moment this is not done. We simply celebrate it as a secular holiday that is related to Christianity.
Until we make Christmas trees into something Jewish, I feel the dangers of assimilation from imitating part of Christmas by having a Christmas tree and all it now represents, is inadvisable. /JU


Lighten up... Merry Christmas!

Rabbi Eli chimes in - “Thank you for sharing your feelings.”

The fear of assimilation that you express (below) is very natural, it was a source of concern for generations of our ancestors before us, and to an extent, has prevented our people from indeed losing our unique culture, faith, and tradition, and from vanishing without a trace, being dissolved in other cultures and peoples.

JU/ I agree that we should look at the sources of our customs and acknowledge that they were taken from other cultures and traditions. There is however the risk of doing so at Chanukah -- the temptation to abandon ship.

I view a "good taking" of other traditions as taking a foreign tradition and putting it in a Jewish context to make it into a Jewish ritual is a good thing. However I find that those Jews that have Christmas trees, don’t understand or celebrate Chanukah the way it should be celebrated. It would be different if Jews gave some sort of symbolic Jewish meaning to a Christmas tree, but they do not. Without context, Christmas for Jews simply becomes a step towards assimilation - towards equalizing all religions - the secularization of all religions.

If our children have a Christmas tree and celebrate Christmas like our neighbours, then they are saying that all religious holidays are of equal value and it doesn’t matter if we celebrate Christmas or Chanukah as they are both “happy" holidays. But Christmas and Chanukah are more than simply “happy” holidays. Chanukah celebrates the survival of Judaism and Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ. To celebrate the birth of Christ by having a Christmas tree is one big step to losing Jewish identity.

Canadian Jews are assimilating or intermarrying at a rate of 50%. I believe that this is because they don’t know the value of Torah and their own customs. Having a Christmas tree allows Jews to ignore their own traditions and advances the cause of assimilation. I do not think that we, as Conservative Jews, want that. /JU

In other words, like many other fears this particular one has positive survival value. Also, like many other fears, it has the potential to backfire, incapacitate us, and turn counterproductive.

Throughout our long and troubled history, we have absorbed thousands of traits initially foreign to our culture. You'd be hard pressed to find a single innovation of those thousands that was not initially met with fear and suspicion. Whether it was about starting a choir in the Schule ("the way Goyim do"), or adopting particular Christian/Islamic/Zoroastrian/ancient pagan practices (no matter how innocuous) in Jewish liturgy, you could bet doughnuts to dollars that at least some of the mainstream crowd would react in protest, asking where was this slippery slope going to end.The answer to which probably is: it isn't going to end. Judaism is a live religion and a vivid lifestyle that has never stood still, and continues to evolve, whether we like it or not (indeed, whether we want to acknowledge it or not).

As a matter of fact, if we were to build a time machine and travel a couple thousand' years back in time, we'd be shocked to discover the enormous difference between our practices and those of our forefathers. Which of us holds the "true" Jewish tradition? - I believe we all do. Evolution and adjustment is our tradition.
You suggest that Chanukah might be the wrong time to inspect our borrowed and adopted heritage. It is probably a little late for that particular sentiment, especially in the North American environment. After all, Chanukah is originally a very minor Jewish holiday; it's no match to, say, Shavuot.It's not even referred to as Chag, a festival (technically, saying Chag Sameach on Chanukah is incorrect thus, it's merely a celebration, or jubilation). Chanukah likely would have stayed minor too, both in social significance and in the extent of practices, be it largely not for its seasonal coinciding with one of the main celebrations of the hegemonic population in our land. Whether initially expanded to "keep up with the Joneses" or simply help our Jewish children feel pride and admiration for their heritage rather than perceive a deficiency in comparison with their Christian peers, it quickly turned into a major warm and happy celebration for the whole family. It could be argued perhaps that the shift devalued in some sense our tradition, even sent out the wrong message of Chanukah and Christmas being on par. Or, we can view it as a valuable tool that kept families who found themselves on the margins of Jewish ways, within the realm of Judaism.

Far be it from me to call upon anyone to put up a tree for Chanukah, even when using it as a prop for their Menorah. My aspirations are much more moderate than that. It is my hope we find it in us not to castigate someone who does that anyway. I do understand where you come from (at least I think so), and our views are not different, it's not even the matter of optics, merely of angle. Where you see a family who debased a 2,200 year-old custom by adding an alien element from a foreign culture, I see people who keep honouring their Jewish heritage even if they (clearly) have little knowledge or understanding of its wealth and intricacies.

This is the very spirit of Conservative Judaism, an ideological movement born out of embracing inclusivity; as long as you were Jewish and pursued Jewish ideals, it said, there is always a place for you in our tent.

With that thought, wishing you and yours a beautiful, warm, and inspiring Chanukah, time of family happiness, love, celebration, and miracles!

Rabbi Eli

The bulletin prefers to steer clear of any discussion related to secularization.

To rather lead by positive example.

Neither shaming nor blaming will serve us well.

For myself, Christmas only reaffirms that I’m glad I’m a Jew.

(I’m heading out for an evening of Latkes. Cheers…)


Happy Birthdays to:

Dec. 22  Marilyn Richmond’s 70th

Dec. 26  Israel Koplowitz

Dec. 29  Faye Kellerstein 70th

Jan. 2  Barbara Barkin
Jan. 6  Brian Goldman


Dec. 24  Frank & Sylvia White

Jan. 6  Allen & Ida Sidenberg


Dec. 24  Margaret Remez, mother of Rafael
Dec. 25  Pearl Golden, mother of Bluma Nemirov
Dec. 29  Rivka Super, mother of Dora Usher
Dec. 30  George Biro, father of Peter
Dec. 30  Morris Weisman, husband of Ester

Jan. 1  Nathan Kushner, father of Betty Siegel-Synder
Jan. 3  Thelma Wolman, mother of Anita Johnson
Jan. 4  Yechiel Rutkowski, father of Ida Sidenberg



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


2 Tevet



9:12 AM

Led by

Frank Steiman

Please help us out by coming early…

We need a minyan to start!


9:30 AM


Torah Times

Torah Reading: Triennial Year 1

Parashat: Parashat Miketz

1: 41: 1-4 (p.155)
2: 41: 5-7
3: 41: 8-14
4: 41: 15-24
5: 41: 25-38
6: 41: 39-43
7: 41: 44-52
maftir: 41: 50-52

Special Readings:
Numbers 7:48-59 (p. 599)


Zechariah 2:14-4:7 (p. 987)

Candle Lighting: 4:32 p.m. – Friday

Havdalah: 5:41 p.m. – Saturday



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 4

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


January 7

9 Tevet

Kiddush Lunch


This week’s kiddish

is sponsored by

Faye Kellerstein

for her 70th birthday

A Lubavitcher hasid wakes up from a coma and rushes to Brooklyn to thank the Rebbe for his good fortune.

He tells the guard at 770, “I’ve come to see the Rebbe.”

The guard says, “The Rebbe died.”

“I’ll wait,” says the hasid.


January 8

11am - 12 noon






Shul Kiddush


Georganne 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, Georganne Burke, as the facilitator of this training.

Georganne 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 11

7:30 PM



Public welcome

Free Admission



CIJR Toronto is hosting an accomplished Israeli speaker

Shachar Liran-Hanan







Shachar is the CEO of My Truth, a grassroots, non-profit organization comprised of IDF reserve soldiers who seek to share the values and experiences of Israeli soldiers and show the high moral standards they strive to meet.


Judy’s POW group welcome!


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



Public welcome

Free Admission

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 when they become available)

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!)

Haifa 1920.jpg

Haifa has the country’s largest port, a particularly active beach and is the home of the World Center of the Bahai Faith. Haifa is a symbol of outstanding co-existence and tolerance. Nine percent of the population consists of Arabs. Surrounded by abundant nature sites, the city contains an interesting mix of modern neighborhoods and older districts; churches and mosques; mountain and sea. Haifa also boasts many institutions devoted to culture, art and science which offer an array of festivals and activities.

Haifa now.jpg


Pirke Avoth Perek 3 Mishnah 14

Note: The words and sentences in italics are taken from Ethics from Sinai by Irving M. Bunim and from Visions of the Fathers by Rabbi Abraham Twerski.  Some sentences of the text have been taken verbatim (in quotes) and others have been summarized. All relate to Mishnah 14.  The questions are my own.

Rabbi Dosa ben Horkinas said: Sleep in the [late] morning, wine at midday, children’s talk, and attending the meeting places of the ignorant, remove a man from the world.

Ethics from Sinai

“We are truly blessed if the Almighty grants us long and healthful years. But in what sense can we regard ourselves as “living” if we fritter away our days and years … in trivial pursuit. Life, if it is to be more than mere animal existence, must be meaningful, creative and productive.”

Question 1:  What makes a job or a life meaningful, creative and productive? Is it service to others, and what does that mean?

Question 2:    Is working in the garden, having an unnecessary job, or reading the paper trivial pursuits? Does any activity that we are passionate about give our life meaning?

Question 3:  Is there something about Torah study that should give our life more meaning than the other activities, i.e. if it is a life guide or connects us to spirituality?

“Are sleeping in late, drinking, and playing cards ways to avoid the meaningful services of  Shaharith, Mincha, and  Ma’ariv? These activities that just pass the time  “are not only trivial: they are actually harmful, for they can interfere with a  Jew’s performance of his religious obligations. Such activities can indeed ‘draw a person form this world’”

Question1: Here again we run into the idea of a double loss. We waste

                   time and that prohibits us from doing something useful.

                   Do you agree with the idea of a double loss? Is it  necessary             

                   to mostly do something ‘useful’? How do you define

          something “useful”?

Question 2 : Is attending shul services “useful”?

Question 3: Is there a cycle of frittering away time? i.e. late nights

                     lead to trouble getting up in the morning which leads to a

                     desire for wine to make you happier which leads to cards

                     in the afternoon and then more wine and late nights.

Question 4:   Do lazy habits picked up as children continue a pattern of

                     laziness or frittering away time in adulthood and old age?

Question 5:  Is there a pattern of continual poverty or lack of success in

                    certain groups? Is this cultural or religious?

“Again, certain parents are so ‘practical’ that they cannot see any use or purpose in Torah study or Yeshivah education. If you cannot show them that an activity will lead directly or indirectly to earning money or deriving immediate pleasure, they consider that activity superfluous.”

Question: Is that why our children do not come to services – they are

                  too busy with lessons and sports on Saturday and Sunday  


“Such ‘practical people’ might well incur the Sages’ wrath:  … To continue interpreting our Mishnah: As our hypothetical individual grows older he is reduced to ‘child’ talk.’ With his physical strength weakening , his interest in life waning, he is reduced to idle chatter, insipid games or ‘therapy’ concocted by well-meaning social workers to fill the sterile end-phase of a sterile life. Since he never cultivated the enduring values of religious worship or Torah learning, he has gradually let himself be drawn out of this world.”

Question: Is this what happens when the elderly live in retirement  homes?

“The Mishnah teaches elsewhere: Ignorant people in old age, as they grow older, their minds grow more distraught and confused … Not so the old who are learned in Torah: As they grow older, their minds grow more settled (orderly, mature). Indeed, life confirms this observation every day. The elderly rabbi, the scholar, even the professional person has storied up a vast amount of learning and interests. He does not regard retirement with anxiety but with pleasurable anticipation. It will give him the leisure to read and write, and to wisely observe the passing scene. But the ignorant person who has lived all his years for physical sensations of pleasure and has wasted his time with trivia, is lost as he approaches old age. He finds himself with less and less to do, and with the lack of anything meaningful to occupy his mind. The only “world’ he has even known is already inexorably passing him by. “

Question: Again, Is this the type of person who ends up in a retirement home?

In addition, “There is always a wide gulf between the generations. The older father or grandfather represents an age gone by; no one is interested any longer in the way things were done in his time.  … If he gives his children a traditional Jewish education, and they in turn transmit it to their children, he can always talk with the young ones about something ever fresh and timely in Bible or Talmud. … Indeed this sharing of values and ideas truly reinstates grandfather, not as the tolerated ‘old man’, but as the revered and respected head of the family, the fountainhead and source of tradition.”

Question: Sounds good. Is it realistic?

Sayings of the Fathers

“On several occasions the Talmud states that R’Yehudah HaNasi  wept, saying, “It is possible for a person to achieve this entire world in one brief moment’ (Avodah Zarah 10b) . He would say this when he noticed a person redeem himself after wasting away an entire lifetime. Why should such an observation cause sadness and move him tears? Because even though a person did  redeem himself in one moment, a wasted lifetime is a terrible tragedy. Just think of what that person could have accomplished had he lived properly all his life!”

“… I have been using the term ‘escapism’ to refer to any of the many ways which people may employ to avoid coping with reality.” Escapism has deleterious consequences, because when reality problems arise and are not dealt with appropriately, they invariably get worse. Reality poses many challenges for most people. The only way this can be managed constructively is to face them and deal with them. … This is equally true whether one tries to escape reality by rendering oneself oblivious to it by means of mind-altering chemicals, by daydreaming, by indolence, or by another behaviour that does not deal effectively with the problem at hand. These behaviours virtually ‘ remove a person from the world'. The Talmud could not have found a more accurate description…. Similarly  engaging in juvenile behaviour or spending hours at the racetrack or another pastimes do indeed distract one from reality and remove him from the world in which he was intended to achieve something. … The colloquial expression that refers to pastimes as ‘killing time’ is most appropriate.”

Rabbi Dosa ben Horkins

“Rabbi Dosa ben Horkinas (or Archinas) was one of the early tanna’im of the first and second generations, in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. A contemporary of Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai, he apparently studied in his youth in the School of Hillel. Yet in the days of the Temple he was one of the noteworthy Sages, often giving the deciding opinion in disputes on Jewish law, A man of wealth, he lived on after the destruction of the Temple to an unusually old age, to the days when Rabban Gamliel 2 became nasi in Yavneh. Though he was too old to come to the beth Midrash in Yavnah, he continued to take an active interest in the learned discussions. His opinions and rulings were held in great esteem, and the Sages would come to his house to learn from him. According to one source, he had grown blind; but his memory remained crystal clear. Although a man of strong views, he believed it necessary, in cases of dispute, to bow to the central authority of the nasi and his court.”

The Wisdom of Judaism (Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins)

The essence of religion

“The Torah begins and ends with acts of Kindness.”   South 14a

“In Buber’s words, the core teaching of Hasidism is that {You} cannot approach the divine by reaching beyond the human; {You} can approach {God} through becoming human . To become human is what {you have} been created for.“

“The age-old custom of warmth and hospitality in the Jewish tradition, I believe, rests on the assumption that all Israel is one family. A Jew who saw a brother or sister, an aunt or uncle, or a cousin who was traveling alone and had no place to eat a meal would invite that person home. When you consider every Jew part of your family, it goes without saying that hospitable treatment is to be expected in any such encounter - including encounters beyond the circle of the Jewish people. This is the way of the Jew.”

Haimishe Humour - International Businessmen

A Catholic, a Protestant, a Muslim and a Jew were discussing business during a dinner.

Catholic: "I have a large fortune... I am going to buy CITIBANK!"

Protestant: "I am very wealthy and will buy GENERAL MOTORS!"

Muslim: "I am a fabulously rich prince... I intend to purchase SABIC*!"

They then all wait for the Jew to speak…

The Jew stirs his coffee, places the spoon neatly on the table, takes a sip of his coffee, looks at them and casually says: "I'M NOT SELLING!"

(SABIC* (Saudi Basic Industries Corporation) is the only Muslim company in the Forbes 500 rich list.)


Note for the D’var Torah

Since Rabbi Eli’s sermon a few weeks ago, we have been noticing areas where actions, not only words, are required.
Here is another of those occasions - this time in this week’s parsha./ju

Dreamers and Doers -- Parshas Miketz
Posted on June 7, 2002 (5758) By Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky.

Horatio Alger could not have written it better. This week, Yoseph is transformed from a brutalized, libeled and mocked slave into the Viceroy of Egypt, the world’s most powerful nation. In a matter of moments Yoseph, derided as a Hebrew slave, is elevated by Pharaoh to second-in-command and holds the key to the world’s food supply.

Let us analyze the events that led to this rise in power. Pharaoh dreams a bizarre scene. Seven corpulent cows are devoured by lean ones. Diseased wheat stalks consume healthy ones. There is no trace of either the fat cows or robust stalks. Pharaoh woke up in a cold sweat. What could it mean?

Not one of Pharaoh’s advisers was able to interpret the dreams in a meaningful manner. Pharaoh’s butler recalls his own strange dream of two years back. He tells Pharaoh that some Hebrew slave translated it accurately. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to interview him.

Pharaoh released Yoseph from jail and narrated the dream to him. Yoseph, after stating that it is Hashem who interprets all dreams, explained that seven years of famine will ultimately come and devour seven years of plenty that will precede them. The famine will be so powerful that the years of plenty will vanish without a trace. Like the fat cows and healthy stalks that were devoured without a sign, there will be no trace of the good times.

What happened next is startling. As if on cue, Yoseph begins to counsel Pharaoh, the ruler of the most powerful nation on earth, exactly how to preempt the imminent disaster. “And now Pharaoh shall appoint a wise and discerning man who will oversee the seven years of plenty.” Yoseph then devises a plan to store the bounty of the good years in order to preserve it for the famine. He also arranges a method of distribution for the population (Genesis 41:33-37). Yoseph is extremely fortunate. Pharaoh picks him as the “wise and discerning man”!

Upon reading this section, I was amazed. Yoseph’s interpretations followed rejections to a host of other interpretations, all by advisers who were well acquainted with the king. Yet, Yoseph, a lowly newcomer, who had received his first bath and haircut moments earlier, supplements his interpretation by declaring to the King of Egypt exactly how to resolve the ensuing problems. This happened even before the king acknowledged his approval of the dream’s interpretations! How dare this slave, released hours ago from prison, add his advice on domestic agricultural policy to the foremost ruler of the world?

A young American who was engaged to an Israeli girl entered the study of the Gerrer Rebbe in Jerusalem. “I am soon to be married and have no friends or relatives in Israel. I was told that the Rebbe has insight in these matters. Perhaps the Rebbe can guide me in my decision.” The young man laid some architectural plans on the table and the Rebbe peered over them intently. After a few moments, the Rebbe suggested a few changes that the soon-to-be-married fellow understood, but was not sure if he would be able to convey them to the Israeli builder.

The young man returned to his Yeshiva that afternoon elated. A few of his friends were astonished, not only that he gathered up the courage to discuss a mundane apartment with a great tzaddik, but that the Rebbe gave him time and advice in the matter. The young man searched the Yeshiva for someone who was fluent in Ivrit to accompany him to discuss the changes with the architect. A few days later, he went to the building site accompanied by an Israeli friend who began to explain the Rebbe’s suggestions to him.

The builder’s face turned white. “How do you know about these suggestions? The Rebbe of Ger was here just a few days ago and made the same suggestions. He said it would improve every house in the development. How do you know about these suggestions?”

Yoseph understood the challenge that lay before him. It would be thoughtless and irresponsible to interpret a dream and walk away. If he had the solution to the problem, it was his duty to suggest it. That was not without risk. Pharaoh might have considered him a yenta. How dare a lowly slave with intuitive powers tell the King of Egypt how to conduct domestic policy! However, Yoseph went beyond his initial calling. He felt that if the whole solution to the problem was in his hands, then withholding it was just as rash as misinterpreting the dream.

The ball was thrown his way and he knew he had to do more than just catch it. He had to carry it.


I don’t know what it is about altitude, but flight above 36,000 feet can affect your brain chemistry, it can also affect your taste. Case in point- two of my children are Food Scientists, they informed me that tomato juice tastes better while traveling in a plane as opposed to being on the ground.  The number one beverage of airlines is tomato juice. Is this true? I had to look it up to obtain the answer.

What I am going to state here should never be divulged to your children, I don’t know how it would affect them or you for that matter! If you find the following information disturbing, I suggest a simple remedy. Just give them two Hanukkah presents instead of one.  That should do it.

Where was I, oh yes - while sitting on the airplane on my way to Austria (lived there for two years) I initially did not realize that a number of passengers were Israeli, I don’t think the stewardess realized it either. During the flight, they all wore reindeer antlers and as I mapped the plane's location, I noticed that we were flying close to the North Pole, I guess this was the shortest route to my destination. I assume the Pilot was a Jolly old man with a beard and the plane was probably loaded with luggage and presents.

While flying I am going to wing it (pun intended) and tell you the story of Hanukkah, it will be up to you to interpret the facts.


menorah, St Andrews Square Edinburgh (Isi Davis)

I would have loved to have presented this as a Dvar Torah, but unfortunately at 36,000 feet that will not be possible.

The holiday of Hanukkah commemorates two very different elements. Celebrating the military victory by the Hasmoneans over the Hellenists, Syrian Greeks in around 164 BCE, and the miracle of the Menorah.

The oldest eye witness account can be found in 1 Maccabees, which documents the military victory. 2 Maccabees written a few generations later, also focuses on the military achievements. There is no mention of the miracle of oil in either two books, neither is there any account in the Hebrew bible. In addition the great first century historian Josephus makes no mention of the miracle of the oil.

The Hanukkah story begins when Antiochus IV, decided to consolidate a single culture and religion in the region. Seeing Judaism as a threat, Antiochus outlawed Jewish practice and influenced Greek culture, he tried to influence Hellenism in the temple in Jerusalem. Scrolls were burnt and Jews were killed for refusing to give into Antiochus decree. Jews fought against Jews.


Was a form of Judaism in the ancient world, that combined Jewish religious tradition with elements of Greek culture- Wikipedia
Hellenism provoked an uprising by the countries priests called Maccabees. According to some scholars the revolt began due to internal fighting between religious fundamentalist and reformers. Hanukkah then celebrates the rescue of Judaism from cultural assimilation. What may be interesting is that assimilation is taking place today without any violence at an alarming pace.

What about the oil that becomes an integral part of Hanukkah? As the story goes, the Greek Hellenists destroyed all elements of Jewish religion, including the Menorah that stood within the temple. Oil was destroyed,  in order to make suitable oil, not ordinary oil, it had to be ritual oil, supposedly or miraculously it lasted for eight days and eight nights. Whether this miracle actually happened is questionable?

I suspect the story of the miraculous oil burning for eight days and nights may have been an attempt by later Rabbis to invent the story to cover up the event of Jews killing Jews. I also wonder if the Maccabean Civil War and revolt was necessary for the survival of Jewish identity?

A number of holidays challenge Jews today, especially when you consider Christmas falls near or at the same time as Hanukkah. Not withholding that Christmas on its own questions the existence of Santa Clause and places Jesus in the background. There are also parallels between the two religions. Gifts, trees or bushes, food and song. Although Hanukkah is not a religious holiday, we in the diaspora, enjoy days off work and some may even attend Christmas parties or parades as well as last minute shopping.

The dreidel or sevivon is a custom associated with Hanukkah. Rabbis have tried to find a connection between the dreidel and the Hanukkah story, other than one 19th century rabbi  who maintained that Jews played with the dreidel in order to fool the Greeks, if they were caught studying Torah.  The letters nun, gimmel, hey and shin, which appear on the dreidel in the Diaspora, stand for a different meaning to that of the dreidel in Israel.

Hanukkah also engulfs our senses. Latkes are a traditional food at Hanukkah. Latkes can be made of potatoes, mixed with matzo meal, eggs and fried in oil. There are debates on which toppings are the best. Latkes originated in Eastern Europe, not ancient Israel. They were first made with curd cheese rather than potatoes.  Greek Jews eat fried fish with asada cochin.  Jews of India enjoy Neyyappam, a kind of sweet cake. Syrian and Lebanese Jews celebrate with atayef, cheese filled pancakes deep fried. Sephardic Jews traditionally feast on hojaldre puff pastry with cheese.


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.


This is actually a cleaned up version of a photo posted by u/FTZ on Reddit.
It depicts his grandfather, recently liberated from the Holocaust, aiming a gun at a Nazi soldier.
It’s hard to know just what is happening in this photo or what happened afterwards, but it starkly depicts another side of the liberation of the Jews.

Whether this photo inspires or depresses, it shows us just how complicated the idea of justice can be, and how Jews have still struggled with it so many years after the Holocaust.

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

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

 - (Led by Frank Steiman)
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.


Please consider sponsoring a kiddush, or contributing to the building, programming, or any specific interest fund.

If anyone has tickets for any event that they would like to donate to the shul please let the office know. It is a simple way to raise money for our synagogue so please donate spare tickets and bid generously.

Tree of Life or

Seat Plaques
Remember family and friends by purchasing a leaf on our tree of life or a sanctuary seat plaque.

Siddur Dedications

As you know, we now use the new-new siddur. For the low-low price of $18 per book these may be dedicated to your loved ones, yourself, family members and as gifts, or simply to support the shul.

Please call Sarah to purchase a book dedication.

Lodzer Sisterhood Cookbooks

Great Gifts – just $20 each

Contact the Office at



Chesed Committee

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.


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-on-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.


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

Rabbi Eli Courante

Cantor Marcel Cohen

B’aal Koreh:

Harvey Bitterman


Arnie Yudell

Rafi Remez

Shabbat Handout:

Judy Hazen


Charles Greene

Office Manager:

Sarah Senior


Who we are - Contact Info


Bar and Bat Mitzvahs

High Holy Days 2016

Rabbi’s Corner

Shabbat Bulletin

For submissions/feedback:

Help us get the word out:

Share the bulletin!

Lodzer Office

Sarah: 416-636-6665

For all business related e-mail:

Office Hours

Monday through Thursday

9am - 1pm and 2pm - 4pm


9am to 1pm

Arabs see UN resolution as step towards destruction of Israel

Islamic expert analyzes the positive response of the Arabs to the recent anti-Israel UN resolution condemning Jewish settlements.  (Eliran Aharon, 25/12/16)

Dr. Ephraim Herrera, an expert on Islam, sees the Islamic response to the recent anti-Israel resolution in the UN Security Council as part of their new war against Israel.

"Fatah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad all see the Security Council resolution condemning Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as a historic achievement. The Security Council is now on record that Israeli control of all areas beyond the 1949 armistice line is invalid," said Herrera in an interview with Arutz Sheva.

He said, "This is a further step for the Palestinian Arabs in their new war. The Muslim world realized that classical war against Israel has been a failure. The present war is a war over world consciousness and is being waged diplomatically, economically, politically, and legally in order to cause the collapse of the state of Israel".

He noted that "Abbas said a long time ago that he would never recognize the State of Israel as a Jewish state - and is demanding the return of millions of refugees to Israel. The process of arousing international pressure to the point that not a single country defended the right of the State of Israel to even part of Judea and Samaria, is for them a primary way of pursuing their goal. They’re now calling for using this resolution as leverage to help reach their final goal."


The HAMAS makes frequent use of radical Islamic motifs,

both in order to broaden its ranks

and as a weapon against those whom it defines as its enemies.

Security Council approves 'anti-settlement' resolution
UNSC approves resolution calling on Israel to end "settlement activities". United States abstains.  (Elad Benari, Canada, 23/12/16)


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will reassess its ties with the United Nations following the Security Council vote calling for an end to Israeli settlement activity.

He said the move contradicted traditional American policy not to dictate terms of a permanent peace agreement on Israel.

“Over decades, American administrations and Israeli governments had disagreed about settlements, but we agreed that the Security Council was not the place to resolve this issue,” he said. “As I told [U.S. Secretary of State] John Kerry on Thursday, friends don’t take friends to the Security Council.”  (source)


Obama just took a parting shot at Israel — and Trump — at the UN  (Vox)

"President Barack Obama has decided to go out with a bang: In a stunning diplomatic rebuke of Israel, the United States on Friday abstained on a controversial United Nations Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory, allowing it to pass easily.
By abstaining — instead of vetoing the resolution, as the United States has reliably done to similar measures for decades — the Obama administration allowed the highly symbolic measure to make it through the chamber.

It was the first time in nearly 40 years that the Security Council has passed a resolution critical of Israeli settlements. It was also a firm rebuke of both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had strongly argued against it, and President-elect Donald Trump, who had taken the highly unprecedented move of weighing in Thursday and pressing for the measure to be vetoed. The measure demands that Israel “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem,” and declares that the establishment of settlements by Israel has “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” (source)

-Dry Bones- Israel's Political Comic Strip Since 1973

Canadians for Balfour 100


Canadians for Balfour 100 is committed to intensive Pro-Israel public education.

The Balfour Declaration, issued by the Government of Great Britain on November 2, 1917, acknowledged the 4,000 year old connection of the Jewish People to the land of Israel and the right to the reconstitution of a Jewish homeland there. That Declaration ultimately led to the creation of the Jewish State, the State of Israel, in accordance with accepted International Law.

Canadians for Balfour 100 is not a political lobby. Our mission, leading up to and following the 100th anniversary of that Declaration, is to join with like-minded groups and people, to educate the world - and, particularly our students and youth - about those irrefutable legal rights and the assertion of them, notwithstanding the implacable distortion of history by those bent on the destruction of that State and of that People.

"The public needs to know the truth." - Founding member, Goldi Steiner