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Shabbat Bulletin - February 11, 2017


Bal Tashchit - you must not destroy

Tu Bishvat is our chance to be green and increase our devotion to being responsible caretakers of the earth.

Commemorating our connection to the land of Israel

In the midst of our North American winter, we are reminded that in the Land of Israel it is the beginning of spring. The first tree to blossom in Israel is the almond tree, signifying the start of the new agricultural year.

To cultivate and guard the land

Tu Bishvat, a holiday that has really no requirements for observance has evolved into a wonderful celebration that includes experiencing the fruits of the land of Israel, exercises in how we can become better guardians of our earth and prime opportunities to increase our environmental consciousness. Each Tu Bishvat, we are afforded the opportunity to deepen our commitment to what it means to take care of the earth.

Let’s use this holiday as an opportunity to play our part in fulfilling the mitzvah of Bal Tashchit and keep taking steps in preserving our earth and conserving our resources.

Nancy Seifert Gorod

A Reason to Celebrate!  (Gary Rose, 20170130)


Last Sunday my wife Debbie, my mother in-law Betty (89 years young), and I were invited to celebrate the arrival of our first Project Abraham Yazidi sponsored family at the home of Hayder Essw in Richmond Hill.  His cousins, the Mado family, had arrived from Turkey last Wednesday evening to be reunited with existing family already in Canada.

Saadi Mado, his brother, and his sister, had not seen their parents, two brothers, their sister in-law with her children in over two years.  With the help of Project Abraham, Canadian and Jewish Friends of the Yazidis, and the Yazidi Human Rights Organization – International, in conjunction with the Office of the Archdiocese of Toronto (ORAT), they are now reunited.   More importantly they are safe from the fear they had been living in, without food, adequate heat, medical care, and protection from harm.  By comparison they are now truly living in a land of milk and honey.

True to Yazidi hospitality, Hayder’s house was an open door to friends, family, and the Yazidi community.   We were welcomed with hugs and kisses to a house filled with children, men, and women, joyfully celebrating.  They could not have thanked us enough, and made us more welcomed.   They served us tea in little glass cups, offering us nuts and fruit, and filled us with the stories that lead them to Canada.


Hayder's son Azad told us about the gas station their cousins owned, and how an Al-Qaeda suicide bomber blew it up.  The two cousins, badly burned, were sent to a hospital where another cousin, a medical doctor, looked after their badly burned bodies, not recognizing that he was attending to his own family members.  They died a few days later.

Hayder told us about going to school in Iraq and being taught how evil Jews were by his Muslim teachers.  His family learned, without even knowing a single Jew, to fear us.  And now he knows that Jews are not his enemy; they are among the very people who helped him and his family get to Canada. He now knows the lies he was taught, the propaganda, the ideology of hate, and now knows that has nothing to do with reality.  He and his family now embrace the Jewish people - and all the people of Canada. The truth really does set you free.

As if this was not enough, we were then ushered down into Hayder’s basement where a feast was set out in Yazidi fashion.   Plates of rice, bread, pickled vegetables, meat, and bowls of soup were laid out on the floor. We ate crossed-legged as the children played, everyone taking pictures on their cell phones, passing food, smiling, laughing, and being thankful that the terror they were in has ended for them.

Most of the work for Project Abraham is still ahead.  There are five more families currently in our refugee pipeline. More money needs to be raised.  More government lobbying needs to be done.  Our volunteer Resettlement Groups will work with the Yazidis to help them get jobs, places to live, learn English, and acclimatized to Canada.  It does not stop here.   But it sure is a wonderful feeling to do good for a people who pray for the well-being of strangers in the world before they pray for themselves.  We need more people like the Yazidis in Canada.


Yasher Koach!

Bimah Matters

Confirmation Bias

We take in facts to support our biases. Therefore to really learn to argue we should prepare the opposition’s argument.

Flipping between cnn and Fox news

Is it that mainstream media is lying, or is there an element of truth to both sides?

What if I told you, “Your beliefs don’t make you a free thinker.

The ability to change your beliefs based on new information does.”

The Plague of Darkness
The Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness spreads over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.”

Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days.

No one could see anyone else or move about for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.

MC - explains

In the plague of darkness where the Egyptians “could not see their brothers”, the Israelites still had light. This is because the Israelites always helped their brothers and so brought light into the world.

Who was the best female financier in the Bible?

Pharaoh’s daughter – she went to the Bank of the Nile and withdrew a Prophet.

Then the prophet grew great, until it was able to bail-out the Jews!


Happy Birthdays to:

Feb. 5  Sam Nadler
Feb. 5  Faye Rotstein
Feb. 5  Esther Weisman
Feb. 6  Brenda Ladowski
Feb. 7  Ricki Black

Feb. 11  Rebecca Greenberg
Feb. 15  Robert Berger


GORNISHT - Call Sarah!


Feb. 5  Yochevet Band, mother of Brenda Ladowski
Feb. 6  Rose Edelman,

            grandmother of Nina Rubin and Gloria Riesel

Feb. 14  Joseph Shabes, father of Jeff
Feb. 16  Arie Schwartz, father of Meir
Feb. 16  Barry Walton, husband of Frieda
Feb. 17  Rabbi Menachen Pasternak, father of Leon

Ward X - Mann on a Mission

Born into an Orthodox Jewish family in Tost, Upper Silesia, Germany in 1899, Ludwig Guttmann at the age of 18, volunteered to be an orderly at the local Accident Hospital for Coalminers.

Did you think you would make plans and life would follow you obediently?

Dr Ludwig Guttmann, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, 1948

It is amazing to think that not that many years ago

the treatment of paraplegics was generally regarded as a waste of time.

To rescue these men & women from the human scrapheap and to return most of them..

to the community as useful & respected citizens.

If ever I did one good thing in my medical career

it was to introduce sport into the treatment and rehabilitation programme

of spinal cord sufferers and other severely disabled.


Dr Ludwig Guttman

founder of Paralympics worldwide honour of Dr. Guttmann's initiatives
in his field of neurology and in organizing the Paralympics, for which he also had several health facilities named in his honour.

Another reason, we should be proud of our Jewish people. (Arthur Zins)


Take Your Soul to Work - By Erica Brown

Day #117 - On Kindness:

In your leadership, do one small act of kindness today for someone who is not expecting it.

Day #118 - On Excess:

“As a leader you can model restraint or excess”

As a model of excess, Mae West, a sex symbol for decades, said:

    “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful”
    “Marriage is a great institution. I’m not ready for an institution yet.”
    “I wrote the story myself. It’s about a girl who lost her reputation and never missed it.”



February 8

7:30-8:30 pm

Shul Kiddush



This is an excellent program that has been going on for many years.
Please show your support of the class; the significance of Torah; and the importance of Torah study, by attending./ju

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


February 9

7:30 PM

Adath Israel

37 Southbourne Ave

Free Admission

Dessert Reception



The Sabbath of Song

The Song at the Sea that Moses and the Children of Israel sang after the miracle of the Splitting of the Sea.


At the blast of Your nostrils, the waters piled up,
The floods stood straight like a wall,
The depths froze in the heart of the sea.



February 11

15 Shevat

Tu Bishvat



9:12 AM

Led mostly 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 co-sponsored by

iLan Baldor and family

in memory of his mother

Tmina Baldor


Jeff Shabes

in memory of his father

Joseph Shabes


Torah Times

Torah Reading: Triennial Year 1

Parashat: Exodus - Beshallach

1: 13:17-22 (pg. 265)
2: 14:1-4
3: 14:5-8
4: 14:9-14
5: 14:15-20
6: 14:21-25
7: 14:26-15:26
maftir: 15:22-26

Haftarah : Judges

4:4 - 5:31 (pg. 281)

Candle Lighting: 5:24 p.m. – Friday

Havdalah: 6:33 p.m. – Saturday



February 12

1 - 3 PM





Lower Sanctuary


Kiddush Rm.

Come meet with Yazidis


Project Abraham:

The initiative of the Mozuud Freedom Foundation to help save Yazidis from genocide.

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.

Looking forward to seeing you there.

Coordinator/Project Abraham


Don't miss our next Project Abraham meeting on Sunday (February 12th) from 1 - 3 pm at Lodzer Synagogue (12 Heath St.).  It promises to be an exciting one!

  • Meet members of our new-arrived families

  • Learn about other Yazidis soon on their way to Canada

  • Hear about our round-table meeting in Ottawa with Michelle Rempel (MP) and the amazing coalition that has been formed as a result

In case you haven't seen it yet, here is an article that Gary wrote about a wonderful afternoon we spent with the Yazidi community.

A reason to celebrate


February 12

7:30 PM

Darchei Noam

864 Sheppard W



Film - Mekonen:

A Journey of An African Jew

Mekonen was fortunate to attend the Hodayot High School, which educates children from troubled backgrounds and helps integrate them into Israeli society. Mekonen became a decorated officer in the IDF, while staying true to his Ethiopian roots and culture.

Mekonen is an uplifting and inspiring film that will move audiences and show viewers that anything is possible with the right attitude, tools and support.

Film - Mekonen_w250.jpg

February 17,



February 17 was chosen because it was the date in 1948 when the Arab League approved a law for its member states placing severe sanctions against their Jewish populations.

By rejecting the United Nations’ partition plan of 1947-1948, Arab states had "launched their double aggression of a war against the nascent Jewish state and assaults on their own Jewish nationals, resulting in two refugee populations, Palestinian refugees and Jewish refugees from Arab countries."

Commemorating Jewish Refugees
Forced out of Arab countries

In the last century

A day of national commemoration for the over 850,000 Jews who were forced out or who fled their homes in Arab countries during the middle of the last century.

The Secretary General of the Arab League must “accept historic accountability for the humiliation, the suffering, and the losses incurred by innocent Jewish victims of the Arab world’s declared war against the State of Israel.”


February 18

22 Shevat



9:12 AM

Led mostly by

Frank Steiman

Please help us out by coming early…

We need a minyan to start!


9:30 AM




Nefesh B'Nefesh | #LiveLoveIsrael


February 23

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

I apologize for all the changes recently, but Book Chat tries to be flexible to accommodate regular attenders as much as possible.

We will next meet on Thursday February 23, 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.

Let's keep these dates so that we can meet before Pesach which begins April 10.  There's lots of time to read both books before then.

Happy New Year to everyone,


March 11

13 Adar





6 PM

Mincha service with Torah service

6:30 PM

Seudah Shelisheet

(light snack)

7 PM

Maariv and Havdallah

Followed by

Megillah reading



March 12

14 Adar






9 AM

morning minyan

Megillah, 2nd reading

Lodzer Sanctuary

6 PM




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 9



April 19

Book Early!


Join Rabbi Eli for…

Passover in Campania

April 9-19, 2017

Pesach in Italy Village resort by the Tyrrhenian Sea in Campania, Southern Italy located between Naples and Rome. 200 private entrance townhouse-style apartments, soccer, volleyball, tennis courts, mini-golf, 2 swimming pools. Affordable vacation in Jewish environment with glatt kosher Italian cuisine, and abundant choice of day trips.



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


August 7



August 16


Payment in full is due

April 6


the Baltic States

With Rabbi Eli

August 7-16, 2017

Full details at


Seize the opportunity!


Egyptian Spy Ashraf Marwan

saves Israel in 1973 Yom Kippur war

Ashraf Marwan_w585.jpg

Ashraf Marwan (1944 - 2007) was the son in law of the Egyptian president, Gamal Abdel Nasser and worked at the president's office.

Marwan, code named "Angel", alerted the Mossad a mere 24 hours before the Arab armies' surprise 1973 Yom Kippur attack began which ultimately saved many Israeli lives, but resulted in the death to many of his own countrymen.

He worked as an Israeli spy for more than 30 years until 1998 and till then, Egypt never came to know about his treachery and the disservice he had been doing to his nation.

Sometimes 1 in a million amongst our enemies, comes through with flying colours for us, Jews. An unusual alliance : Ashraf Marwan - a diamond in the rough. (Arthur Zins)


Hebrew Classes at the Lodzer

Hi Everyone,


There is a lot of interest and much progress has been made in planning our conversational Hebrew classes.

We want to offer 2 classes:  one on Wednesdays at either 10:30-11:30 am or 1:00 -2:00 pm, depending on the group's decision;  the second on Thursdays at 7:00-8:00 pm.

You can choose your class based on your availability, but we also want to place people according to reading level as much as possible.

See Yona Nadler after Shabbat services

to assess your level in reading and conversational Hebrew.

There will be 10 week sessions. The cost is $15.00 per class/$150.00 per session.

Classes begin Wednesday March 1 and Thursday March 2.

If you have any questions please contact me at or speak to Yona Nadler.


Thanks, Cathy

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!)

Tvería 1949.jpg

Teveria is an Israeli city on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee. Its Old City holds important Jewish and Christian pilgrimage sites including the Tomb of Maimonides and Abulafia (Etz Chaim) Synagogue. The waterfront features the restaurant-lined Yigal Allon Promenade, a marina and a fish market. South of the city, Hamat Tiberias National Park is home to famed mineral hot springs dating to antiquity.

Tvería now.jpg


Pirke Avoth  Perek 1 Mishnah 2

Note: This commentary is taken from Ethics from Sinai by Irving M. Bunim. Some sentences of the commentaries have been taken verbatim (in quotes) and others have been summarized. All relate to Mishnah 2. The Questions are my own.

Ethics from Sinai

“Simeon the Just was one of the last survivors of the Great Assembly. He used to say: The world stands on three things: on Torah, Divine worship, and acts of loving-kindness.”

Since the Sages said many things, the phrase ‘he used to say’ means that “this phrase was constantly on the lips of the Sage who said it, [and] was central to his world view.”

“…the three pillars  upon which the world of Judaism rests are Torah, the study and fulfillment of the Torah; avodah, service to God; [and] g’milath hasadim, man’s kindness in action to his fellow man.”

Torah, avodah, and deeds of loving-kindness uphold the world: they hallow it, elevate it and justify its existence with glorious purpose.”

Giving to charity by itself is not enough. Similarly going to shul by itself is not enough. All three legs of the stool must be satisfied to lead a proper Jewish life. In Torah the mind is dominant, in prayer the idea of speech or expression is the main element, and in acts of loving-kindness it is the deed that is important. These three functions deny Solomon’s idea that all is vanity and introduces us into an important and purposeful world.

“The purpose of Torah in our daily life is to elevate us to a higher plane. Through Torah study we increase our knowledge, we broaden our mental horizons, we extend the frontiers of our understanding. For profound  avodah and acts of loving-kindness, you must have Torah first. “Scripture tells us of the Divine injunction to King Saul to destroy every last Amalekite. In a mood of kindness King Saul spared Agag their  King. During this interval of reprieve Agag fathered offspring, from whom there descended Haman, the wicked Agagite of the Book of Esther, who almost succeeded in annihilating the Jewish people. Thus, misguided mercy, kindness not tempered by Torah, can lead to the most cruel consequences.”

Question: Does this apply to today’s circumstances where we admit Syrian refugees who

                 may be potential terrorists or promoters of sharia law, or should

                 loving-kindness prevail?

“Many maintain that the Torah and its teachings must be shaped and modified to  meet modern-day conditions and be in step with the times. The entire purpose of Judaism, however, is precisely the reverse. It is our hope to shape the times to the Torah; to transform our environment until it fits the Divine teachings; to elevate prevailing conditions to the level of the Torah rather than lower the teachings of God to current standards.”

Question: Should Torah could be modified by interpretation? The  above statement disagrees. Which ideas would you modify by interpretation -kashrut laws, restrictions on Shabbat, the role of women? Have these laws already been modified?

Divine Worship. Prayer represents institutionalized religion, the relationship between man and G-d, and spirituality. It elevates our aspirations to a higher level and unites our world with the world above. The purpose of divine worship is to connect to G-d, to man, and to the spiritual, to appreciate the beauty of our natural world and of our very existence, and to bring meaning to our existence.  It deals with man’s relationship to man – how one should act at work, at home, and at play. We should learn the wide significance of the function of prayer for it to be more meaningful. It was suggested that we can increase membership, not by adjusting the length or nature our prayers, but by explaining their significance.

“The primary ‘service of God’ that is possible for us today is prayer. Through this experience man can commune with the Almighty, truly feel the presence of God and elevate his soul into the higher reaches of spirituality. The vehicle for the achievement of all this is the text of our prayers: these are the sacred words of the Prophets and Psalms, into which an inexhaustible wealth of meaning and inspiration has been poured.”

“… prayer has  a transcendent function of cosmic proportions: to unite the world below with the world above. In that mysterious realm of ultimate being which encompasses the spiritual structure of the universe, there are considerations which require a dynamic relationship between our world of appearance and the world of pure being. Torah is the channel through which movement takes place from heaven to earth. In prayer we have the reverse movement; human aspirations elevate the lower spheres to the upper.”

There is the story of the Holy Ark being transported back from our enemies in a cart pulled by oxen when the cart began to tip. When Huzzah grasped the ark to avoid it from falling he was struck dead. Why? Because the problem was not with the Ark but with the oxen. This example applies to bringing people to shul. “The issue is not one of more or less convenience, but rather that for so many our people genuine prayer has become a lost art. The need to commune with God is buried under layers of trivial distracting activities subsumed under the constitutional right of the ‘the pursuit of happiness.’ Uzzah layed hands on the Ark when the trouble all along was with the bearers and carriers of the Ark. It is the tragic though something good-intentioned fallacy of our times.”

Question: Should classes on the value of prayer be a compulsory part of shul membership?

Acts of Loving-kindness. These most interestingly words relate not only to giving charity or paying taxes, acts done from a feeling of obligation, or good deeds, but to acts done with kindness, thoughtfulness, concern, understanding and love. They transform a good deed to a whole new level. They encourage us to truly consider the plight of the “other” when doing a good deed such as helping a friend, visiting at a hospital, giving to a favourite charity, or even paying our taxes. They encourage us to, with mindfulness, actively support all forms of beneficial social and political action.

“Deeds of loving kindness” may be in the plural not only as there are many deeds but because they benefit both the recipient and the donor.  

“The importance of this teaching for the modern Jew lies in its call for totality and balance… one is required to be a total Jew by making a total commitment to Torah, avodah and g’milath hasadim.” “Judaism, in a sense , resembles a tripod , a structure resting on three legs. Remove any one of the three supports and the structure will collapse.”

The Wisdom of Judaism (Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins)

Turning an Enemy into a Friend

“Who is the greatest of all heroes? One who turns an enemy into a friend.”

Avot d’Rabbi Natan 23:1

“Being among the smallest and weakest nations the world for most of its history, the Jewish people has relied on its inner spirit, its intelligence, and its moral power. … The effectiveness of this talmudic principle, then, is the contrast it draws between one kind of strength and another. In fact, it redefines the concept of strength. The highest kind of strength, the Rabbi argues, is not brute power, but moral muscle. Someone who can achieve an enormous act of strength without lifting a finger, but rather by exercising clear judgment,engaging in compassionate and empathic listening, and using timely tuned skills in negotiation and conflict resolution - such a person is the most powerful person in the world.”


Writer, lecturer - speaks all over the world on Judaism, psychology, environmental stories, etc. Co-author, CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE JEWISH SOUL (was on NYT Best-seller list), JEWISH STORIES FROM HEAVEN AND EARTH, JEWISH GUIDED IMAGERY, THE WISDOM OF JUDAISM - and many others. Winner, Jewish Book Council Award.

Humour - engineering conversions

Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter: Eskimo Pi

2000 pounds of Chinese soup: Won ton

1 millionth of a mouthwash: 1 microscope

Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement: 1bananosecond

Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour: Knot-furlong

365.25 days of drinking low-calorie beer: 1 lite-year

Half of a large intestine: 1 semicolon

Shortest distance between two jokes: A straight line.

1000 aches: 1 kilohurtz

Basic unit of laryngitis: 1 hoarsepower

453.6 graham crackers: 1 pound cake

1 million microphones: 1 megaphone

10 cards: 1 decacards

1 kilogram of falling figs: 1 Fig Newton

1000 cubic centimeters of wet socks: 1 literhosen

2 monograms: 1 diagram

8 nickels: 2 paradigms

3 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital: 1 I.V. League

2000 mockingbirds: 2 kilomockingbird

Historic Photos of the Jews

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

A Holocaust Survivor Skydives For 85th Birthday

The moment I saw this image of this Holocaust survivor who went skydiving in San Diego with his grandson (not pictured), I knew this was the image I had to end this post on. Nothing better depicts the unlimited future for Holocaust survivors and their descendants.

Nothing better encapsulates the true freedom we can have when we use our past to grow instead of hold us back. Nothing is more beautiful than a man once in bondage, and now in a world of total freedom. May we all realize how we’re also flying through the sky.

(With thanks to Author unknown)


Parshas Beshalach - Like a GPS

Rabbi Label Lam

It happened when Pharaoh sent out the people that G-d did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines, because it was near, for G-d said, “Perhaps the people will reconsider when they see a war, and they will return to Egypt.” So G-d turned the people toward the way of the Wilderness of the Sea of Reeds…HASHEM went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them on the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so they could travel day and night. HASHEM spoke to Moshe saying, “Speak to the Children of Israel and let them turn back and encamp before Pi-ahirot, between Migdol and the sea, before Baal-tzephon you shall encamp before opposite it by the sea. Pharaoh will say of the Children of Israel, ‘They are imprisoned in the land; the Wilderness has locked them in!’ I will harden the heart of Pharaoh and he will pursue them, and I will be glorified through Pharaoh and his entire army, and Egypt will know I am HASHEM!” And so they did! (Shemos 13:17-22 and 14:1-4)

Here we have the unfolding of an ultra-dramatic “chase seen” which we know ends well. We are granted a perfect insight into the strategic thinking that spared the Children of Israel from frightening disappointment and how Pharaoh was misled and lured into the trap of thinking the Children of Israel were blundering when they were really under strict super supervision and surveillance at every step. We the reading audience have the best human seat in the house to enjoy the ultimate of theatrics.

It’s clear to us that the Children of Israel were not real lost and floundering in the Wilderness, but to the earthly human observer, like the participants such as the Children of Israel and Pharaoh and his army it sure felt and looked just the opposite. Maybe that’s why it takes not just a poetic soul but a prophetic soul like Dovid to declare with confidence, “HASHEM is my shepherd, (therefore) I lack nothing! (Tehillim 23:1)

I remember it like yesterday although it was more than 31 years ago. It was at an Aufruf at Yeshiva Ohr Somayach in Monsey before the development of their beautiful sprawling campus. We were all crammed into the Beis Midrash for the Kiddush.

Michael, the Chosson-groom was captivating the listeners in the room with his tale of how he ended up at Ohr Somayach in Jerusalem where his eyes were opened to up the excitement of Torah life. He and his companion Debra had completed their doctorates in family counseling, although they were not married, and they decided to travel throughout Europe before settling down to practice.

While in France, Michael explained, they met a little old man on a bicycle who asked them why they are here in France and asserted that they should go to Israel which was not in their plans at all. When they reached Greece where the Mediterranean Sea makes Israel accessible they altered their course and set sail for Israel. While they were traveling in the north of Israel, in the mystical artsy area of Sefad they were confronted by another little old man on a bicycle who suggested strongly that they go to Jerusalem and look into a Yeshiva and discover their heritage.

At that moment one of the most charmingly humorous and utterly elegant lines I’ve ever heard were uttered by Reb Nota Schiller the Dean of Ohr Somayach Jerusalem who was sitting there listening with his arm draped around the back of the chair of Joe Tannenbaum zl a true giant of generosity and Jewish philanthropy. Rabbi Schiller said to Mr. Tannenbaum in a tone just audibly enough for the assembled, “Joe, you don’t know how expensive it is to put these little men on bicycles all over the world!”

Michael and Debra came to Jerusalem, based again on the suggestion of a little old man on a bicycle. He checked into Ohr Somayach, and she into Neve Yerushelaim from curiosity at first. Their touring ended right then and there but their journey had just begun. After a while they were reintroduced. Now they have a wonderful Jewish family.

What looks like a confusion to the casual observer and what feels like chaos to the protagonist may very well be a well-orchestrated and finely directed play. On stage there are all types of actors guiding and prodding each player to their destination just like a GPS.
DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and

Daily Minyan

Sunday – Friday: 9:00 am

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.

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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


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Join Rabbi Eli for Pesach in Southern Italy

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Prayer alone is not enough

Memories of our survivors - Freda Kon

This is Sheldon, Reporting From Poland

Interesting life Events
To become a closer, most knowledgeable community we would like to hear some of your stories - an interesting vacation or experience, your work or personal successes or failures, or an incident that changed your life or was significant in your life. Every life is interesting and unique, and we can all learn from, and enjoy, others’ experiences.  We encourage you to share yourself with your community.


The Politically Correct Megilla  (by Eric Sommer)


Chapter I

And it came to pass in the third year of the reign of Achashverosh, King of Persia, that the King threw a great party.  And it was during that party, that the King became intoxicated and called for his wife Vashti to come dance naked in front of the guests.  Now, Vashti was a liberated woman, and was not at all ashamed to display her body in public ("my body, my choice," she used to say). But she was certainly not going to do so at the behest of a male chauvinist like her husband.  So she refused to appear, and the following morning, in addition to a major hangover, Achashverosh had one royal-size sexual harassment suit waiting for him. Public opinion quickly turned against the King, and he was forced to settle out of court for an undisclosed sum of money.

Chapter II

It was after those events that the King missed Vashti, and wanted to find a new wife.  He consulted his inner circle of advisors, which, in accordance with multi-cultural practices, consisted of, among others, one woman, one Indian, one Ethiopian, and one handicapped person, who was also rumored to be gay. One of his advisors, Memoochan, suggested holding a beauty contest, attended by all the fairest maidens in the land.  But his female advisor informed him that Memoochan was a Neanderthal living in the dark ages, and that beauty contests where men gawk at women walking around in swimsuits had long ago gone out of fashion. Instead, she suggested giving a test in such subjects as physics, literature and music, and the most intelligent woman would be made queen.  And the King, already lagging in the public opinion polls, had no choice, and he said to make it so.

Now it just so happened that in the Kingdom of Persia there lived  a young Jewish girl named Esther who was very beautiful, but much  more importantly, had a 195 IQ.  Having successfully sued her  parents for termination of custody, she had been living with her uncle Mordechai. Esther aced the test and was chosen to be the new queen.  Only, the homosexual community objected to the word "queen", and the feminists didn't like the whole gender-based title thing, so it was decided that she would just be called "Royal Person."  So Esther was crowned Royal Person of Persia and was married to King Achashverosh, though she kept her own last name. And being that Esther was an intelligent woman in her own right, and had no intention whatsoever of sitting quietly next to the King looking pretty, she was given her own staff of 15 and an office in the west wing of the palace.


Chapter III

It was after those events that King Achashverosh elevated his advisor Haman to be his chief advisor.  There were some protests by the African-Persian community because he hadn't selected an African Persian to be his top advisor, but the appointment went through anyway.  It turned out the Haman was a big anti-Semite, and he asked the King's permission to kill all the Jews, which he got. So Haman sent out a proclamation to all the lands in the kingdom outlining his plan. Distressed, the Jews sought a court-issued injunction to stop Haman from sending it.
But Haman was defended by the head of the Persian Civil Liberties Union, who ironically was also Jewish, and who claimed that the injunction would violate Haman's right to free speech.  And the injunction was not issued, so the proclamation was sent.


Chapter IV

And Mordechai knew of all that had happened, and he donned a black ribbon as a sign of mourning.  And Esther sent a messenger to Mordechai to console him, but he would not be consoled.  Then Mordechai sent word back to Esther that she should go the King and ask him to stop the impending killing of all the Jews. Esther replied that other social issues, such as the environment and harassment in the workplace were more pressing, but Mordechai persuaded her as to the urgency of the matter, and she agreed.
Mordechai suggested calling all the Jews to synagogue for three days of fasting and prayers, but Esther thought that was way outdated, and instead called for a non-denominational candlelight vigil, and it was so.


Chapter V

And it came to pass on the third day that Esther put on her smartest business suit and went to see the King.  The King offered Esther up to half his assets, which he was actually required to give her anyway, based on their pre-nup. Esther told the King that she had come to invite him and Haman to a big party she was throwing the next day. The King was very excited, and both he and Haman showed up to Royal Person Esther's party. The King, for his part, was careful not to violate the out-of-court settlement he had made with Vashti, and there was none of that "dance naked" stuff that night.
The party was a big hit, with performances by Fleetwood Mac and crowd favorite Barbra Streisand. And Esther informed the King that both he and Haman were also invited to her next party, being thrown the following day in Martha's Vineyard.
Upon leaving the party, Haman spotted his old nemesis Mordechai, which ruined his night. Haman's wife advised Haman to build a gallows 50 amot tall and ask the King to have Mordechai hanged the next day.  She further advised him to quit referring to her as "Haman's Wife."  And he built the gallows.

Chapter VI

That night, the King had trouble sleeping.  He called for his servants to bring him a video to watch, but since having gotten rid of all his stag films as part of his sensitivity training following the Vashti debacle, all they had left were a bunch of movies filmed in Montana and produced by Robert Redford.
So they brought him the royal archives instead, and there he read that Mordechai had done him a big favor a few years back.  Just then, Haman came in, and the King asked him what to do for someone to whom he owed a favor.  Haman suggested maybe an ambassadorship to some insignificant but warm-climate country, or maybe letting him spend a night in the palace's "Lincoln Bedroom."  But the King decided to have Haman lead Mordechai around on a horse throughout the streets of Shushan.   However, the animal rights activists got wind of the King's plan, and they went nuts, so it was decided that Haman would just lead Mordechai around on foot.  And it was so.  When he was done leading Mordechai around, Haman walked home, despondent.
But no sooner had he returned home than the King's messengers arrived to bring him to Esther's second party.  Haman's wife realized that her husband was doomed and commented that she had always known he would never amount to anything.

Chapter VII

And the King and Haman came to drink with Royal Person Esther. And it was during the party that Esther shocked the King by telling him that someone in that very room was plotting to kill her and all the other Jews.  "Who is that man?" yelled the King.  To which Esther replied "What makes you so sure it's a man?  You don't think that a woman is capable of killing all the Jewish people?" After an awkward silence, Esther told the King that it was, in fact, a man, and it was none other than his chief advisor Haman!
The King stormed out in a fit a rage and meanwhile Haman begged at Esther's feet for her to spare his life. He told her how he had grown up in a broken home, was raised by a crack-selling mother and had never had a normal childhood.  Esther declared Haman to be a product of society's failure to protect its children.  So Haman's crime of "attempted genocide" was reduced to "issuing proclamations without a license" and he was given the relatively light sentence of five-to-seven years. After serving just two years of that sentence, he was given time off for good behavior and paroled.  And the following year, the residents of Shushan elected Haman as their mayor, his being a felon notwithstanding.  Meanwhile, Esther convinced the King to come to terms with his anger and latent feelings of hostility towards women, and the King entered a 12-step program and when he was through, his anger had subsided.

Chapter VIII

That day, the King gave Esther Haman's house, and she told the King that Mordechai was her uncle.  And Mordechai asked the King's permission for the Jews to rise up and kill their enemies.
But Esther would have no such thing, and instead, she arranged for a dialog being the Jewish leaders and the leaders of the people of Shushan.  And while they couldn't overcome all their differences, they did agree to joint-author a letter of mutual acceptance and tolerance.

Chapter IX

And in the twelfth month, the month of Adar, on the day when the Jews were supposed to have been exterminated, the Jews held a three-day conference of the Leaders of Jewish Organizations.
And during that conference, they agreed that a holiday should be established-the holiday of Purim.  A holiday of charity and gift-giving.  A holiday of brotherly love.  A holiday where alternate-side-of-the-street parking rules would be suspended.
A holiday where Jewish kids could dress up like Ninja Turtles and Power Rangers and not have to feel that they had missed out on something by not celebrating Halloween.  And a proclamation was sent out to all the King's lands, in all 127 languages, plus Ebonics. And the Jews were careful not to mention G-d's name, lest any of the gentiles be offended.

Chapter X

And King Achashverosh--the kinder and gentler King Achashverosh-levied a tax across the land, to raise money to pay for welfare and public television. And the great deeds of Royal Person Esther and her uncle Mordechai were duly recorded in the annals of Persia.

[Note - making the rounds, author unknown - ed.]