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.The Jewish People - Landowners since 1917 - Countdown to Balfour 100.

Shabbat Bulletin - February 25, 2017

Faye - Condolences on the passing of your dad.

Making Shul and Judaism an important part of our Lifestyle

The Doctors' Minyan:
A bi-monthly study session dedicated to the Halachah and Jewish ethical standards related to various aspects of health and medical care.

The first session is on Sun, March 5th: the service will be followed by study over breakfast, led by Rabbi Eli.

Upcoming topic: Organ Donation and Postmortem.

We invite all doctors, nurses, healthcare providers, medical students, and anyone interested in having a lively discussion and good breakfast in great company.

Unless you are a regular Sunday minyan attendee, please let us know you are going to attend, for purposes of setup and breakfast preparation.

Tone-Deaf Choir' Purim Performance

If you have a good musical ear, ample vocal abilities, and confident posture, this one is not for you (however, please do join the Talent Show).

Otherwise, if you never even considered singing solo, come join our tone-deaf choir!

Rabbi Eli promises to lead.

The first practice before the Purim performance will take place at The Lodzer on March 5th, 11 AM.

No prerequisites: just bring your best mood, and feel adventurous.

Rabbi Eli’s recommended reading:

This editorial comes from my Rabbi's study. It is an inspiring and thought-provoking piece.  RE

The Chief Rabbinate and Its Disgrace:  Who Is an Exceptionally Great Sage?

February 1, 2017 by Nathan Lopes Cardozo

As the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and some of our halachic authorities seem to have taken a path that results in causing people great pain, thereby making Judaism repulsive in the eyes of millions of Israelis and Jews around the world, it may be worthwhile for them to take notice of a remarkable observation made by our Talmudic Sages.

Read the full article in its entirety

Further down in the bulletin

How many years ago?
A poem for the Yahrzeit of Samuel Richmond,

Shlomo ben Yechiel v'Elka, Shevat 26 5777

When I was a baby he put me on his shoulder at his wedding
How many years ago?
When I was a little boy he came home with a baby
How many years ago?
When I was a young boy he took me to see his new truck
How many years ago?
When I was a teen he took me on trips with his family
How many years ago?
When our mother died he took me to the funeral home
How many years ago?
When I went away to university he drove me
How many years ago?
When I was looking for a job he told me things in plain terms
How many years ago?
When I asked him about retiring he said only if you have things to do
How many years ago?
When I saw his body in the morgue and I rode with the hearse to the Panama airport warehouse
How many years ago?
When I think about him he is with me in memory
How many years ago?
No years ago.

Sheldon Richmond
Feb 22, 2017


Life  Moments


Feb. 18  David Birkan
Feb. 18  Bluma Nemirov
Feb. 19  Ronald Feldman
Feb. 19  Harley Klein
Feb. 21  Mary Gelman
Feb. 23  Cheryl Klein

Feb. 25  Esther Factor
Feb. 28  Hugh Freedman
Feb. 28  Morry Nosak
Mar. 1   Cantor Morris Goldlust
Mar. 2   Sheila Winston
Mar. 3   Dora Usher


GORNISHT - Call Sarah!


Feb. 18  Ruth Martin, mother of Sonny
Feb. 18  Chaim Spitzen, father of Irving

Feb. 22 Samuel Richmond, brother of Sheldon

Feb. 27  Miriam Shievitz, mother of Alan
Mar. 2   Abraham Bernick, father of Selma Opler
Mar. 3   Saul Lichtblau, husband of Fela
Mar. 3  Josef & Golda Ber, grandparents of Josef
Mar. 3  Paul Yellin, brother of Susan


Our member Faye Kellerstein’s father, Philip Zucker passed away this past Shabbat afternoon.
Faye will be sitting shiva at her home on Wednesday and Friday afternoon this week from 1:30 till 3:30 p.m. and would welcome shiva visits from Lodzer members who are able to come. 17 Hearthstone Cr., Toronto



Take Your Soul to Work - By Erica Brown

On Immortality - It’s hard to face death without thinking of Woody Allen:

“ I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work… I want to achieve it through not dying.”

“Death doesn’t really worry me that much. I’m not frightened about it… I just don’t want to be there when it happens..”




February 22

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 23

7:30 PM

Shul Kiddush


Book Chat

with Cathy Zeldin


Karolina's Twins

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

We will meet this 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.


February 25

29 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

Kiddush Lunch

Sponsored by...


Roman & Lily


in honour of

the birth of a


Torah Times

Torah Reading: Triennial Year 1

Parashat: Mishpatim
1: 21:1-6 (pg. 306)
2: 21:7-11
3: 21:12-19
4: 21:20-27
5: 21:28-32
6: 21:33-36
7: 21:37-22:3
maftir: Exodus

30:11-16 (pg. 352)


2 Kings 11:17 - 12:17 (pg. 992)

Candle Lighting: 5:42 p.m. – Friday

Havdalah: 6:52 p.m. – Saturday



February 26



Israel advocacy training workshop

2 - 8:30 PM

Village Shul

1072 Eglinton W.

$20 in advance

$25 at door

Israel Advocacy Day

2:10 Public Speaking 101;

harnessing apathetic people;

lessons learned

3:10 Walls, immigration & Trump;

social media;

Balfour declaration

4:10 Legal remedies;

campus update;

promoting Israel

5:10 Inspiring Zionism;

Israel advocacy on campus

6:30 Indigenous rights argument;

shared values;

Muslim reform?

7:15 Keynote: The immigration of Jew hatred.

8:30 Dessert reception  

Anti-Semitism -- has not only not gone away but is expanding exponentially and the Jewish Nation is again like David facing Goliath.

While Israel is a growing country with a growing economy, numerous Nobel Prize winners, a vigorous press, and a highly literate and expressive population, it is facing a Europe where anti-Semitism is again fashionable and a Muslim world whose Jihad is striking fear and confusion in many Jewish and Christian hearts and whose growing influence threatens all democracies.

For these reasons, we have to go back to the Balfour Declaration of 1917 to understand what it is that we are missing and why it is incumbent upon the GOI, with the support of the Diaspora, to engage in serious Hasbara.


February 27

1 Adar

Rosh Chodesh


Karate lessons

For Seniors

Join us

with open hands

and Kick back!

Kiai - Sen!


Our very own Black belt, David Birken, will be leading the class

Karate for Seniors

Right here at the Lodzer Dojo!

Mondays and Fridays, 10 - 11 AM

After morning minyan

$5.00 fee, (donation to the shul,) per class waived for those that attend the morning minyan.

Bring sneakers, and a yoga mat or thick towel for floor exercises.

Learn a Dynamic new skill for Fun and Focus - at YOUR own pace!

Morning Minyanaires - developing body, mind and spirit - we daven, fress, sometimes walk, and now… kick butt.

Focus, Respect, Self-Control

“If you can’t do it slow, you can’t do it fast”


March 1

10:30-11:30 am or 1 -2 pm



March 2

7:00-8:00 pm

Start Dates


Hebrew Classes

at the Lodzer

10 weekly sessions.

$15.00 per class/$150.00 per session.

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

Contact us before Feb. 22.

Contacts: Yona Nadler;



March 4

6 Adar



9:12 AM

Led mostly by

Frank Steiman

Please help us out by coming early…

We need a minyan to start!


9:30 AM






March 5

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



The Yazidis are beginning to arrive and, while there is much to celebrate,  there is also so much to do.  There is something for everyone.  Please get back to me if you are interested in getting involved in any of the following:

1. Become part of a resettlement group (RG) to help the new arrivals to settle and integrate into their new life.

2. Help with the application process.

3. We are beginning an ESL conversation class for our Yazidi community.  We need English-speaking helpers…

4. We are ready to approach corporations to ask for sponsorship of Project Abraham.  If you have a connection to…

5. Bring more people to Project Abraham to help out.

Have a great week!  Debbie


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!


November 2





The Balfour Declaration, written as a letter on November 2, 1917, from British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to British Jewish leader Baron Lionel Walter Rothschild, pledged British support for a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine. The declaration is one of the iconic documents in, and represents one of the great moments of, Zionist history.

“His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

Arthur Balfour


Jewish Curses - A guide and coloring book


Dry Bones

A Continuing Lodzer Mitzvah - we can be a helping hand

Debbie Rose is the Coordinator for Project Abraham, an initiative of the Mozuud Freedom Foundation to help save Yazidis from the genocide being perpetrated against them in Iraq.

They have been primarily involved in private sponsorships for family reunification in the GTA.  One of their Yazidi community members, Wisam, has been here for over a year and is expecting his parents to be arriving from Turkey within the next couple of months.  He has been supporting his wife and daughter with a part-time shipping job in a bakery and sending whatever remaining money he can to his parents to keep them alive while they wait for immigration to Canada.  Once they arrive, he will need to find larger living space and will definitely need to move forward in his earning ability.

Wisam has 5 - 6 years of construction experience from the time when things were better in Iraq.  His strengths are in his ability to do hard manual labour, working with concrete, the laying of bricks and ceramic tiles, working on high scaffolds, and all aspects of outside trim including the installation of doors and windows.  He also has a Canadian driver's license.

Wisam's English skills are still at a beginner stage but we are working with him to bring him up to speed on the necessary vocabulary for this industry. We know his language skills will continue to improve as time goes on.

He had an opportunity to do some temporary work with a company on a demolition site last week and the feedback we received was that he was well-liked by the crew and that he was a hard worker.  

If you know of an organization that might use Wisam’s services as a conscientious, hard-working and reliable employee, please let Debbie know at 416-756-9760, e-mail her at, or speak to her at shul this Shabbat. She and our shul would be extremely grateful for any help or leads you can give.

Pirkei Avos

The world endures on three things - justice, truth and peace...

Our country’s moral compass has surely gone awry in recent times, as our priorities seem now to favour the wealthy accumulating more wealth at the expense of any other concern.

Last week’s class discussed our society’s emphasis on what to be, rather than who to be, that is teaching competence in tasks rather than emphasizing values and the kind of people we wish to become.

Pirke Avoth Perek 3 Mishnah 19

Note: The portions in quotes are taken from Ethics from Sinai by Irving M. Bunim and Visions of the Fathers by Rabbi Abraham Twerski.  All relate to Mishnah 19. The questions are my own.

Everything is foreseen [on high]. Yet freedom of choice is given; and the world is judged with goodness, and all is according to the majority of deeds.

Ethics from Sinai

“Nothing is hidden from the Almighty: He sees and knows everything. He is omniscient. Yet, except in rare instances, He does not interfere with a man’s decisions and the exercise of his free will. There is strict accountability; the scales of absolute justice operate precisely throughout. For every deed and act there is reward or punishment.  He weighs and balances, and issues a judgment which is utterly fair to the individual act in question, to the composite record of the total human being, and the complex network of relationships in which the person is embedded.”

Question: Is punishment G-d’s will, or do bad deeds eventually just return, in unknown ways, to bite you?

This paragraph deals with G-d’s foreknowledge versus man’s free will. The solution is that G-d knows the choice we will make, yet we have freedom of action.  “His way of knowing, His kind of knowing, is in another dimension, entirely outside our ken. Thus we have no right to assume that any conflict exists… All things lie before Him in a compressed, instantaneous now, as it were. Hence, if the Almighty knows the future, He knows it not because He fixes certain controlling forces, which later determine the choice, but because before Him the future event of the person choosing is taking place now, so to speak.”

The world is judged with goodness.

“Judaism teaches that in Divine judgment good is emphasized: it far outweighs evil. Thus the rigours of strict justice are tempered by mercy and loving kindness.” Perhaps the reason that man continues to exist despite the evil is that he is judged on the past, present, and future.

“We can also interpret this phrase to mean that the ‘world is judged for the sake of the good’ or ‘for a good purpose’. If the Almighty must sometimes punish or chastise someone, He does so for the person’s own good and benefit.”

Question: Are these suppositions satisfactory?

Yet all is according to the majority, the multitude of deeds.

“… it is sometimes extremely difficult to reconcile this principle  - ‘ the world is judged for the good’ – with the actual facts as we perceive and experience them. … It requires faith to believe that the principle holds good eternally and everywhere – faith that were we able to see a whole picture, the complete ramifications and consequences of every person’s every action, in the past, present and future, we would understand the good involved in every judgment that must be borne. We can truly appreciate how ‘the world is judged with goodness’ only if and when we can perceive ‘the multitude of deeds’ that are involved.”

“In his infinite wisdom and infinite power, the Almighty has designed the world as it is because it thus best suits His purposes and the purposes of His world. “

Jewish thinkers point to nature and its phenomena: they urge us to examine the human, the animal and the vegetable kingdoms, and man himself, for overwhelming evidence of the goodness of the Creator, His infinite kindness and wisdom. … On the other hand, there have been other thinkers … who have focused on other aspects of nature and existence which are seemingly cruel and rapacious and apparently irrational. To them nature seems harsh, stern and rigorous.”

“We may have been born free and unequal in our temperaments and talents, but ultimately it is your decisions, and your deeds which shape your character and your destiny.”

Question 1: Does this indicate how we should treat people?

Question 2: Does this indicate that  people are all different, but all interesting?

“…  actions tend to create permanent dispositions and traits in character… when you repeat an action many times, the cumulative effect creates a habit pattern which becomes a permanent structure of response. From a person who performs charitable deeds, you become a charitable person. All, therefore, is according to the multitude of deeds.”

Question: Can a person change their character by performing many mitzvot?

Visions of the Fathers

“This mishnah addresses one of the most difficult issues in Torah philosophy: namely the apparent conflict of two principles of Judaism. We believe that God has  omniscient knowledge, and knows everything that was, that is, and that will ever be. We also believe that man has total freedom of will in ethical and moral, matters, and at any moment he is absolutely free to choose whether to do right or wrong.”  

‘This dilemma has placed theologians throughout the ages… If one looks closely, Rambam does not explain in a way that enables us to reconcile the two principles, but rather explains why it is beyond our understanding.” “just as God is beyond our comprehension, so are what we refer to as His attributes beyond our comprehension. Thus, when we refer to God’s knowledge, we have  no inkling what that knowledge is like. While our concept of knowledge is such that foreknowledge is incompatible with free choice, God’s knowledge does not conflict with free choice. What then, is God’s knowledge like? That is something we cannot possibly understand, any more than we can understand God Himself. It is clear the Rambam does not reconcile the two principles to comply with our understanding. Rather he tells us why we cannot understand.”

“… if it were to our advantage to  understand how foreknowledge and free-will can coexist, God would not have concealed it from us.”

Question: Is Rambam’s explanation above, or the previous explanation that the foreknowledge that God has is a different type of knowledge, satisfy you on the question of the conflict between there being an all knowing God and free- will?

“As we have pointed out earlier, there is a system of Divine justice, and God, as it were, is bound by His own system. He can indeed forgive when forgiveness is merited, but He does not step out of His system. … While forgiveness as a result of proper teshuvah is within Divine justice, to overlook something {like a sin} would be a breach of justice.

Question: Is therefore praying for forgiveness without proper teshuvah useless?

“The Talmud states that she measure of reward for a good deed is far greater than the measure of punishment for a sin. How does the comply with Divine justice?”

Answer: “The intention behind an act warrants an appropriate response. The benefactor's intentions are that everyone should benefit from his act. A sinful person, who was not strong enough to resist temptation and did indeed do wrong, was only interested in satisfying his desire, but did not wish anyone to be harmed thereby. A good deed is therefore rewarded many times over, whereas the punishment for a sin is limited to the act itself. … The world is judged according to the abundance of the act, but only when it is an act for good, but not one of sin.”

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 in 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.”

Humour or Negative Stereotype?

An old Jewish man was finally allowed to leave the Soviet Union, to emigrate to Israel.
When he was searched at the Moscow airport, the customs official found a bust of Lenin.
Customs: What is that?
Old man: What is that? What is that?! Don't say 'What is that?' say 'Who is that?'.
That is Lenin! The genius who thought up this worker's paradise!
The official laughed and let the old man through.

The old man arrived at Tel Aviv airport, where an Israeli customs official found the bust of Lenin.
Customs: What is that?
Old man: What is that? What is that?! Don't say 'What is that?' say 'Who is that?'.
That is Lenin! The sonofabitch! I will put him on display in my toilet for all the years he prevented an old man from coming home.
The official laughed and let him through.

When he arrived at his family's house in Jerusalem , his grandson saw him unpack the bust.
Grandson: Who is that?
Old man: Who is that? Who is that?! Don't say 'Who is that?' say 'What is that?'
That, my child, is eight pounds of gold!

Jonathan explains:

Yes, undoubtedly somewhat negative but also showing cleverness.

In South Africa money could not be taken out of the country so it was common to brag about where it was hidden - mostly in jewels that were placed in Hamentashen, latkes, or other places the security guards would not look.


Parsha - Mishpatim - Defining a Moral and Just Society
JANUARY 22, 2014

Sometimes an article in the newspaper reminds you of something in the Torah and makes you think in new ways about verses you have read many times before. On January 2, 2014, the New York Times featured an article on its op-ed page about young girls in Haiti being sold into slavery by their families. Their story drew my mind to this week’s Parashat Mishpatim, which opens with a discussion of slavery, specifically the eved ivri (Hebrew manservant), and the amah ivriya, (Hebrew maidservant).

Parashat Mishpatim (Exod. 21–24) presents a very long series of laws. They range over many subjects—slavery, murder, dishonoring parents, inflicting damage on person or property, stealing, and finally kind treatment of widows, orphans, and resident aliens.
The traditional commentators are troubled by the apparent lack of logical order of the many laws. I also wonder why the rules of slavery head this long list. Many of the topics that follow are standard for a law code and even relate back to the Ten Commandments of last week’s parashah—not to strike or curse parents (21:15,17), not to murder (21:12), and not to steal (22:1). But why begin with slavery? The traditional answer is that since the Israelites had just been freed from slavery in Egypt, they should be sympathetic to the indignities suffered by slaves. The first of the Ten Commandments speaks of God taking the people out of Egypt, the house of bondage; and so slavery, in this reprise and expansion of the Ten Commandments, is mentioned first.

But I think there is a broader and deeper answer. Note that slavery begins the list, and laws regarding the widow, the orphan, the poor, and the resident non-Israelite appear toward the end (22:21–26). So bracketing the long series of laws is the sense that society can only function morally if it concerns itself with its most vulnerable members. As Abraham Ibn Ezra, a 12th-century Spanish commentator, says, when trying to understand the order in which the laws are presented, “the main principle is that a person should not commit an act of violence by applying force to someone weaker than he is. And the first instance of this is taking control of someone’s body and forcing that person to become a slave.”

Yes, this is the measure of a just society: it is one that protects those less able and less powerful from those who are more able and more powerful. In fact, all the laws of Mishpatim are variations of that same principle—not to take someone else’s life, body, or property. Once the Torah has laid down the principle of not exploiting the vulnerable, it can then go on to discuss the common topics of law codes.

But let’s think more about slavery. Parashat Mishpatim first speaks of a man, presumably destitute, who sells himself into slavery, and then of a father, also presumably destitute, who sells his daughter into slavery. The male Israelite slave, the eved ivri, goes free in the seventh year. The slave girldoes not. The terms of purchase are that the buyer himself, or his son, marry the girl, most likely taking her as a concubine (21:8,9). Should the man who bought her fail to do so, the Torah continues, she goes free without owing him any portion of her purchase price.

How do we respond to these stark words today? We could approach them as do the rabbis of the Talmud who note the Torah’s attempt at decent treatment of the girl. She might be better off as a maidservant in the family that purchased her instead of back with her own impoverished family. Wishing to impose even more humane restrictions, the Rabbis stipulate that a father may only sell a daughter who has not reached puberty; once a girl does reach puberty, she goes free if not yet married to her owner or his son. But the Torah’s words do not convey these helpful ideas. We later find in the book of Jeremiah that God asked the people to free all their Israelite male and female slaves (34:9), for no Israelite should serve as master to another Israelite, for only God is the master of them all. But the people did not listen, and kept their slaves.

When I recently read Nicholas Kristof’s article about young girls as slaves in Haiti (linked earlier) in light of these verses, I shuddered. What he describes is almost exactly what the Torah spoke of: impoverished families selling their young daughters to rich families. The poor family receives some money in exchange for the young girl. She gets some schooling paid for by the rich family. But the girls are slaves. They are often mistreated and exploited. Some escape and are able to start a better life for themselves. Many can’t. Such an institution, even with rabbinic limitations, is a reprehensible way to treat a girl. I know that the Rabbis of the Talmud stated that as a result of their legislation, anyone who purchases a Hebrew slave is actually purchasing a master for himself (Bavli Kiddushin 22a). As high-minded as that sounds, the reality of slavery in the modern world, and probably in the ancient world as well, is horrific. I wish the Torah (or Talmud or medieval Jewish law codes) had issued a clear statement—not just implied the idea by putting slavery at the top of the list—that, without exception, one human being has no right to own and enslave another.

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.

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

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The Chief Rabbinate and Its Disgrace:

Who Is an Exceptionally Great Sage?

As the Israeli Chief Rabbinate and some of our halachic authorities seem to have taken a path that results in causing people great pain,[1] thereby making Judaism repulsive in the eyes of millions of Israelis and Jews around the world, it may be worthwhile for them to take notice of a remarkable observation made by our Talmudic Sages.

The Talmud discusses the identity of a Gavra Rabba, an exceptionally great person or Torah Sage. It quotes a most remarkable observation made by the well-known Sage Rava, who states:

“How foolish are some people who stand up [out of respect] for a Sefer Torah but do not stand up for a Gavra Rabba” (Makkot 22b).

When asked what is so exceptionally great about these men, Rava ignores their astonishingly vast knowledge of Torah, and even their outstanding ethical and religious qualities. Instead, he notes their power and courage to change the obvious and literal meaning of a commandment as mentioned in the Torah. This is, to say the least, most remarkable!

The example that Rava gives is very telling:

While the Torah commands the Beit Din (Jewish court) to administer 40 lashes for certain offenses (Devarim 25: 2-3), the Sages reduced them to 39.[2] This courage, says Rava, to change the literal meaning of the text, is what made them into extraordinarily great people. They recognized the authority vested in them to interpret the biblical text in accordance with the spirit of the Oral Torah. This authority gave them the right, even the obligation, to change the literal meaning of certain biblical texts if it became clear that a deeper reading, as well as the spirit of these texts called for such a move. In our case, they concluded that the number 40 could not to be taken literally and should therefore be reduced to 39.

For this reason, Rava maintains that these Sages should be respected even more than the actual Sefer Torah, the biblical text. After all, the text is only the frozen aspect or outer garment of the living organism, the essential Torah. It is only in the Oral Torah as explained by the Sages that the real meaning of the text becomes apparent (See Thoughts to Ponder 514 – ).

Still, this cannot be the full meaning of Rava’s statement. If the power of the Sages is revealed in their willingness to change the meaning of a text (such as in the case of the number 39 instead of 40), one should ask the following: Why didn’t Rava quote the first case ever mentioned in the Torah, concerning which the Sages changed the specific biblical number to a smaller one, and use that to prove that they are great people?

It is well known that earlier, in the Book of Vayikra (23:16; Torat Kohanim ad loc. 7), the Sages changed the number 50 to 49. This was in the case of the Omer period, during which the Torah requires counting a full 50 days between the first day of Pesach and the festival of Shavuot, which would then fall on the 51st day.

After carefully studying the text, the Sages reduced the number of these days to 49 and stated that the 50th day, not the 51st, should be Shavuot.

It is remarkable that Rava didn’t bring this case to point out that their willingness and courage to reduce the number of days earned them the title of Gavra Rabba. This is especially surprising because the Talmud always brings proof for a specific teaching from the earliest biblical source possible, never a later one. In our case, however, the proof of the Sages’ courage is learned from a verse mentioned in Devarim, toward the end of the Torah! This is perplexing. Why didn’t Rava use the earlier verse, in Vayikra?

The answer is obvious. Changing the meaning of the biblical text, or reducing a number, is not enough for a Sage to warrant the title of Gavra Rabba. It may show great courage, but it does not reflect the essential component of an exceptionally great person and Torah Sage.

One becomes a Gavra Rabba when one discovers a way, by hook or by crook, to reduce the pain of fellow human beings! When a Sage finds the means, through biblical interpretation, to mitigate the legal punishment of another human being, only then can we speak of a Gavra Rabba, an extraordinarily great person. This is especially remarkable when the person being punished is not a righteous man but a sinner, or a criminal, who deserves lashes!

In our case of 40 lashes prescribed by the Torah when certain offenses have been committed, it is an act of mercy to find ways to reduce the offender’s sentence and administer only 39. Such initiative and courage shows absolute moral greatness.

But in the case of reducing 50 days to 49, so as to make Shavuot fall one day earlier, there is no alleviation of human pain, so neither the Talmud nor Rava characterizes the Sage in question as a Gavra Rabba, however brilliant he may be.[3]

The message is clear: Only when making a sincere effort to reduce the pain of one’s fellow human beings can one be called a great person!

Chief Rabbis, as well as other halachic authorities who do not apply this approach, are not only inadequate religious leaders, but they also become an obstacle to Judaism and should step down.  Allowing them to maintain their authority is a sheer disgrace.

February 1, 2017 by Nathan Lopes Cardozo


[1] A few examples: 1) Get Zikui ; 2) forbidding a man to serve in the capacity of chazzan if he owns a Smartphone – ; 3) rejecting conversions by prominent Orthodox Rabbi Gedalia Dov Schwartz – , and undermining an Orthodox conversion by New York’s Rabbi Haskel Lookstein – ; 4) not allowing religious girls to do national service – ; 5) not allowing women to don tallit and tefillin or read from the Torah at the Kotel –

[2] Makkot 22a. In earlier days, Jewish Law would sometimes demand physical lashes under very specific circumstances, but only if offenders would be able to endure them without risking their life or health. It therefore could have happened that the court would administer only a few lashes, since more would have created a health problem. Tormenting anyone, even a criminal, is absolutely prohibited.

[3] This idea is based on an oral teaching that was transmitted to me in the name of one of the pre-Holocaust Chassidic leaders whom I’ve been unable to identify.

The world is a magical place full of people

waiting to be offended by something.

Proceed with Caution

Private Members’ Petition M-103

Not the tank, but just as deadly.

M103 Heavy Tank 1950–74.jpg


Looking good!


Disturbing, nonetheless.

M-103: Systemic racism and religious discrimination
That, in the opinion of the House, the government should: (a) recognize the need to quell the increasing public climate of hate and fear; (b) condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination and take note of House of Commons’ petition e-411 and the issues raised by it; and (c) request that the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage undertake a study on how the government could (i) develop a whole-of-government approach to reducing or eliminating systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia, in Canada, while ensuring a community-centered focus with a holistic response through evidence-based policy-making, (ii) collect data to contextualize hate crime reports and to conduct needs assessments for impacted communities, and that the Committee should present its findings and recommendations to the House no later than 240 calendar days from the adoption of this motion, provided that in its report, the Committee should make recommendations that the government may use to better reflect the enshrined rights and freedoms in the Constitution Acts, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“It is ill-conceived and it is a slap in the face to other religions and to other races,”

O’Leary told The Post

If you’re going to cut someone's head off,

I really don’t care if it’s

religiously or racially motivated.

French Jews should sacrifice yarmulke

in struggle against radical Islam

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen says French Jews should give up the wearing of yarmulkes as part of the country’s struggle to defeat radical Islam.


“Honestly, the dangerous situation in which Jews in France live is such that those who walk with a kippah are in any case a minority because they are afraid,” Le Pen said, using the Hebrew word for yarmulke. “But I mainly think the struggle against radical Islam should be a joint struggle and everyone should say, ‘There, we are sacrificing something.’” Referring to French Jews, Le Pen added: “Maybe they will do with just wearing a hat, but it would be a step in the effort to stamp out radical Islam in France.” Marie Le Pen

Re: Religious headcoverings

I can’t see the difference.


Will I still be able to wear my bag?


“It is the test of a good religion

whether you can joke about it.”
G.K. Chesterton

It is the ability to take a joke, not make one,

that proves you have a sense of humor.
Max Eastman

“The first step towards true enlightenment

is to lighten up on yourself.”

“Surviving dangerous times

requires a sense of humor.”
Robert Ferrigno, Heart of the Assassin

“The ability to recognise and respect

individual differences is the beginning

of successful relationships”
Aniekee Tochukwu Ezekiel

A person without a sense of humor

is like a wagon without springs.

It's jolted by every pebble on the road.
Henry Ward Beecher

The scariest people in the world

are the ones with no sense of humour


It works for us!

Le Pen is a leading contender in the upcoming French presidential contest, with a recent poll showing her advancing to the second round of balloting in May but still losing handily to front-runner Emmanuel Macron. Her political party, the National Front, was founded by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who routinely minimized the Holocaust. The younger Le Pen has sought to move the party past her father’s controversies, but French Jewish leaders still consider the National Front anti-Semitic.

Trump is looking pretty good, right about now.


Charles Greene,
22 Feb 2017, 19:05