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

Shabbat Bulletin - March 4, 2017

The Lodzer congregation looks forward to Naomi Nemerof

again being our Ba’al Koreh this week.

Making Shul and Judaism an important part of our Lifestyle

As a special treat...


Cantor David Young

The Lodzer welcomes

Cantor David Young

and his choir

this coming Shabbat.

Cantor David Young has loved music, singing, and chazzanut ("cantoring") for as long as he can remember.

Shule, was an ongoing experience, one that became an integral part of his life.

Being a Cantor involves continued practice and dedicated voice training and exercising.

Although his passion is music, he is also a Chartered Accountant by profession, serving as the City Auditor for the City of Brampton until 2006 and the CFO of Downsview Park Inc. until 2013.  He also operates his own income tax and accounting practice.

Cantor David Young shares his busy life with his wonderful wife Beverley and their three children, Rebecca, Shira and Jacob.

Rumour has it... a duet is in the works? (tnx Rafi)

Conversational Hebrew Classes at the Lodzer


Planning for the Lodzer Hebrew classes is on-going.  The starting date has been revised to after Pesach.  We are trying to provide classes to meet the needs of the people who are interested who present at many different levels.  We will keep you posted.

Please contact or speak to Yona Nadler if you have questions.
We will keep you posted.

Thanks for your patience.

אֲנִי לֹא מֵבִין.  אֲנִי לֹא יוֹדֵעַ.  אני לא יכול לדבר עברית.  האם מישהו כאן דובר אנגלית?

Book Chat - Karolina's Twins

On February 23 we had a rousing, informative discussion about a book we all agreed was excellent,  Balson's "Karolina's Twins", which prompted many of us to want to read his previous books "Once We Were Brothers" and "Saving Sophia".

Our next meeting is Thursday, March 23 to discuss "Yiddish for Pirates" by Gary Barwin.

Following that our next book is "Fleeing the Hijab" on Thursday, May 4.  This is Sima Goel's true account of her escape from 1980's Iran as a Jewish teenager.

Join us for interesting and enjoyable discussion even if you haven't read the book as we begin with a plot summary.  Cathy...

Keep the e-Bulletin interesting - contribute.


Life  Moments


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

Mar. 5  Rayner Brand
Mar. 5  Arnold Yudell
Mar. 6  Leo Zaidman


Mar. 9  Isaak & Ellen Dagan

Mazel Tov - Call Sarah!


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

Mar. 4   Sarah Dworkin, mother of Fay Ingber,

             grandmother of Jeff Shabes
Mar. 4    Tilly Isaacson, mother of Jacqueline Tolkin
Mar. 6    Bella Rochwerg, mother of Alisa Schwartz
Mar. 8    Sam Bederman, husband of Elyssa
Mar. 8    Gut’l Golub, father of Eda kardonne
Mar. 9    Harry Ber, father of Josef
Mar. 10  Paula Malet, wife of Dennis
Mar. 10  Leah Yudell, mother of Arnold


Take Your Soul to Work - By Erica Brown


“You shall be holy.”

Choices are placed before leaders all of the time, every day, every hour. These choices potentially separate leaders from others. Striving for excellence through continuous improvement both for the company and for the self makes life a ladder of challenge. Push yourself a little harder and get one step closer to transcendence.

Imagine a ladder of holiness. What rung are you on

and where would you like to be on that ladder?




March 1

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


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

Kiddush Lunch

Sponsored by

Simon Jackson

(with thanks)


Torah Times

Torah Reading: Triennial Year 1

Parashat: Terumah
1: 25:1-5 (pg. 326)
2: 25:6-9
3: 25:10-16
4: 25:17-22
5: 25:23-30
6: 25:31-33
7: 25:34-40
maftir: 25:37-40

1 Kings 5:26 - 6:13  (pg. 336)

Candle Lighting: 5:51 p.m. – Friday

Havdalah: 7:01 p.m. – Saturday



March 5

Morning Minyan

9 AMtefillinnSunrise_w150.jpg

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 morning service will be followed by study over breakfast, led by Rabbi Eli.

Today’s 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 if are going to attend, for purposes of setup and breakfast preparation.


March 5

11 AM








Can’t Sing?

Why don’t you join



Purim Ensemble

And prove them all wrong!

(For the vocally challenged)

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.


Be so good they can’t ignore you.

Steve Martin

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' Purim Performance

Rabbi Eli promises to lead

“Fortunately, the Almighty is compassionate, kind, understanding, and hopefully also tone death.”


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 6

Week 2

Karate lessons

For Seniors

Join us

with open hands

and Kick back!


Upstairs Hall

Kiai - Sen!


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

Karate for Seniors

Right here at Dojo Lodzer!

Mondays and Fridays, (10 - 11 AM)ish

After morning minyan & kiddush breakfast

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

Bring sneakers, and optionally a yoga mat 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 11

13 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


Physicians' Duty to

Report Patients.


In Ontario the law requires that physicians report patients who, in the opinion of the physician, may be unfit to drive for medical reasons.

Chag Purim

Chag Gadol la Yehudim


March 11

13 Adar


6 PM




6 PM

Mincha service with Torah service

6:30 PM

Seudah Shlishit

(light snack)

7 PM

Mariv and Havdalah

Followed by the

Gantzeh Megillah


"SO! You want to find out


Come ACT with Achashverosh!

MUNCH with Mordecai!

HUM with Haman!


ENTERTAIN with Esther,

as we transform the Lodzer into


DATE: Saturday, March 11, 2017
TIMES:  Mincha  6:00 PM
Seudah Shlishit  6:30 PM
Mariv/Havadalah 7:00 PM
Followed by the Megillah

The FUN continues

Sunday, March 12 at 9:00 AM

and then in the evening.


March 12

14 Adar


9 AM





6 PM


9 AM

morning minyan

Megillah, 2nd reading

Lodzer Sanctuary

6 PM


Lodzer Centre Purim Party

Mincha Service 5:45 PM
Light Dinner Buffet and Talent Show

6:00 PM

Adults $25.00 per person
Children under 13 free

($9.00 at door with no reservation)

Please call the office to RESERVE

by March 7


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


May 4

7:30 PM

Shul Kiddush



Dr. Sima Goel


Book Chat

with Cathy Zeldin

Fleeing the Hijab_w200.jpg

Fleeing the Hijab

Sima Goel's true account of her escape from 1980's Iran as a Jewish teenager.

I desired a different life where I could speak my mind and read whatever I pleased.

Sima believed that if you have nothing to die for, you have nothing to live for.



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

To: Refugees - Study Pirke Avoth! ( ju inspired )

You are a 15 year old refugee on the run. You have no food and no phone.

Having fled your native country, you are captured along with others and transported by bus to a remote area near an airport, then divided into small groups.
You are given an identification number, a new name and a whole identity that you have to commit to memory.
Your belongings consist of a backpack with warm clothes, a water bottle and extra shoes.
As part of the refugee vetting process, over the next 10 weeks, you are asked to discuss a number of issues. What you say will determine whether you are sent back where you came from or welcomed to your new home.
You are questioned on ethics, human rights, global issues like the plight of refugees, poverty, inequality, hunger and, generally, what it means to be a good person and a good global citizen in today's world.

Question: Should Canada adopt such a vetting process for refugees?

Question: Should such a program concentrate on the problems of refugees or encourage children to take part in politics so that they or their children don’t become refugees?

You Will be Assimilated. Resistance is Futile.

Pirkei Avos

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

Pirke Avoth Perek 3 Mishnah 20

Note 1: The sections in regular type are taken from Ethics from Sinai by Irving M. Bunim and Visions of the Fathers by Rabbi Abraham Twerski.   Sentences of the text in quotes have been taken verbatim. All relate to Mishnah 20.  The Questions are my own.

He used to say: Everything is given on pledge, and a net is spread for all the living;  the shop is open, and the Shopkeeper allows credit; the ledger is open, and the hand writes; and whoever wishes to borrow may come and borrow; but the collectors do regularly make their rounds every day and exact payment from man, whether he is aware of it or not; and they have on what to rely; the judgment is a judgment of truth and everything is prepared for the banquet.

Ethics from Sinai

“Everything in this world of ours is mortgaged to the Ruler of the universe: our health, our children, our homes, our hopes and our future; in fact, our very lives.”

“Man has but to desire, to need, and the Almighty creates the possibility and the means for granting his wish.”  The “Shopkeeper [Satan] makes His rounds, as it were, looking for customers.” “The world is yours for the asking, be you wicked or righteous.” And our ‘Shopkeeper’ also employs a ‘puller-in’ in the form of greed, temptation, the evil inclination… But make no mistake: the Almighty’s billing department is very efficient… How do you settle or reduce this account?...The only currencies that are acceptable are good deeds, meritorious actions, meaningful projects of lasting worth, Torah values that inform and guide your life. If you have the ‘cash’ now, it is taken in payment. If you are short on ‘cash’ you may borrow against the future. Nothing, however is given away gratis. Nothing may be left ultimately unpaid…  Since everything is on pledge, they collect their due whether you realize it or not, whether you consent or not…Very often they collect in the most unexpected ways, in way that you never wanted them to use... For your devotion to Torah and good deeds you receive reward; for your neglect of them there is punishment; measure for measure.” In summary, there is lots of temptation to do wrong, which can be offset by good deeds etc., but there will eventually be recompense demanded for evil deeds.

Question: Do you believe in balancing good and evil; and in a judgment day to balance the score?

And everything is prepared for the banquet.

“Everything in his world is actually only a preparation for the ‘banquet’ in the world to come. … Our existence here on earth is merely a short interval between two eternities; the oblivion until birth and the eternity that follows our death. .. If our path is straight, our actions sincere, our values worthwhile, we will have achieved an eternity of bliss. On the other hand, should our path be crooked, our actions hypocritical and our values derived from the gutter, then we have nothing to look forward to.”

Question: There seems to be either heaven or obliteration. Is this your view of the afterlife?

Everything is given b’eravon, on pledge

“The Jewish people are all in the same boat. We must constantly remember our mutual and collective responsibility.”

Question:  In regard to conflicts between Reform, Conservative and Orthodox Jews, and conflicts over Israel and Judea and Samaria, are we in the same boat but paddling in different directions?

They have on what to rely

“Man cannot avoid his fate... Our own feet carry us to our destiny… We sometimes cannot understand evil or suffering because we can judge events only from the vantage point of this world.”

Question1: Is our destiny determined by our actions?

Question 2: How does this related to the  nature versus nurture


And the judgment is a true one.

Here we often will find the wicked prospering and the righteous suffering. However, if we take all of Heaven’s judgments together – the judgment on life in this world and what is in store for the righteous and the wicked in the world-to-come, then we may realize (or at least assume)  that the judgments are correct and true. For, as our Sages explain, if a good man has only a few sins staining his record, he is far better off paying the penalty for them here so that he can enter the world-to-come with an unsullied spirit. Therefore, though Heaven subjects him to suffering and tribulation in his lifetime, it does so for his ultimate good. And the reverse is true for the wicked: whatever good reward they happen to merit, it is given them here on earth.”

Question 1: Do you agree with this assumption?                 

Question 2:  Does this appear to favour the wicked while they are living?

Visions of the Fathers

“The use of parable has been a most effective tool in Jewish history….However we must remember that a parable is only an illustration, and we must not take it literally.”

“Western civilization has become very business minded, probably more than in the past. Many more people are invested in the market, and many more people are tuned in to the economy This preoccupation with economic ideas seems to have had a deleterious effect on our personal lives. The rules of economics are based primarily on profit or loss.” The person who takes great reckless risks and succeeds is “not thought of as irresponsible, Rather, he is hailed as an economic wizard. On the other hand, if someone takes great caution, assiduously adhering to the rules of economics and seeking advice from the best sources, but his business venture turns out to be a total failure,, he is considered a schlimazel. People will flock to the former for advice, and will shun the latter. Profit is good, loss is bad. How one came to make the decisions that resulted in success or failure is irrelevant. Good and bad are dependent on the outcome, not on intentions. That is the way economics operates, and indeed, that is how economics should operate.”

“Morality and ethics, however, are just the reverse. Good moral and ethical behaviour is determined by intentions rather than outcome.” The morality of a doctor is determined not by whether the operation is successful but whether the operation was really needed in the first place, that is, whether the operation was performed for more income or out of necessity for the patient. It is the intention, not the outcome that is important in this context.

Similarly, whether a person is a good parent should not be judged by the child’s success but by the  effort and intention put into parenting. “In these examples, as in all other phases of ethics and morality, we must not allow the rules of economics to determine our behaviour or feelings.”

“The problem is that when we are totally absorbed in economics, we might not even realize that there is another set of rules. We must be able to disengage ourselves from economic concepts and adopt the rules of ethics and morality that are appropriate to our personal ands spiritual lives. Let us therefore use this mishnah as a valuable analogy, but we must remember that our lives are not business enterprises.”

The Wisdom of Judaism (Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins)

Does a Sin Contaminate a Scholar?

Even though a nut may have its shell soiled, what’s inside is still valuable; in the same way, a scholar who has sinned still holds valuable knowledge inside Hagigah 15b

“ A nut that is disqualified on the outside is not disqualified from tasting delicious.”

“What the Rabbis are saving, I believe, is that even the most distinguished scholars and leaders of the generation are prone to missteps from time to time, and this does not, need not, and should not totally tarnish their reputation in terms of the good things that have accomplished.”

Look at King David and Bill Clinton.

Humour or How about “possible”?


Some people are too scared or something to think things can be different.

The world’s not exactly… shit.

I guess it's hard for people who are so used to things the way they are - even if they're bad - to change. 'Cause they kind of give up. And when they do, everybody kind of loses.

(Pay it Forward - Trevor McKenney)

It’s possible.


Parshas Terumah - Bring G-d out of the “House of Worship”
Posted on June 7, 2002 (5757) By Rabbi Yaakov Menken | Series: Lifeline

“They should build a Tabernacle for Me, and I will dwell among them.” [25:8]

The Ohr HaChaim notes that the verse does not conclude “and I will dwell within it,” but “within them.” The goal, the reason to build the Temple, is not merely to create a House for G-d, but to sanctify a place for Him within the people.

In Western societies, it is easy to be influenced by the notion that religion is something we leave in the “House of Worship.” We go, we pray, and then we leave to go deal with other aspects of our lives. This may be a common view, but it is contrary to the Torah’s outlook on the relationship between G-d and human beings.

“They should build a Tabernacle for Me, and I will dwell among them.” If someone goes next door to borrow a cup of flour, G-d goes along. A man enters a store – and G-d observes the transaction. He goes home to talk with his wife over dinner, and HaShem hears the conversation. In all of these cases, Mitzvos of proper conduct and honesty must guide us, and they are just as much a part of our religious obligations as saying the Shema and blowing Shofar.

We have this sort of relationship with HaShem, because we asked. The Medrash says that HaShem offered his Torah to every nation of the world – and we are the ones who responded “na’aseh v’nishma,” we will do and we will listen. We said we would do, immediately, even while we listened and tried to understand, because we wanted HaShem in our lives. And we still want His influence.

How do we bring him into our homes and our communities? By demonstrating that we desire His presence. In order to build the Tabernacle, materials were needed. How were they acquired? “And HaShem spoke to Moshe, saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel, and take offerings for me, from every man whose heart moves him shall you take my offerings.'” [25:1-2]

We bring HaShem into our lives by doing more than required, by going beyond the “letter of the law.” The Tabernacle was built by gifts from those who wanted to go beyond their minimum requirements. Not only must we avoid behavior which would reject His influence, we must also go over and above that which we are commanded to do, in order to express our interest in bringing Him closer.

Text Copyright © 1997 Rabbi Yaakov Menken and Project Genesis, Inc.
The author is the Director of Project Genesis.

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

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

None Shall Escape-1944-w580.jpg

The only Hollywood wartime film to visualize the Holocaust,

None Shall Escape (1944)

None Shall Escape, a vintage WWII drama first released in 1944, was screened by TJFS at the Al Green Theatre this past week.

Lester Cole, who would be prosecuted under McCarthyism as one of the Hollywood Ten, was the screenwriter; Samuel Bischoff, Columbia Pictures’ in-house producer, conceived of the film after hearing President Franklin Delano Roosevelt speaking about war crimes and post-war accountability.

“When victory has been achieved, it is the purpose of the Government of the United States, as I know it is the purpose of each of the United Nations, to make appropriate use of the information and evidence in respect to these barbaric crimes of the invaders, in Europe and in Asia. It seems only fair that they should have this warning that the time will come when they shall have to stand in courts of law in the very countries which they are now oppressing and answer for their acts.” —FDR

Hollywood and the Holocaust
Jan-Christopher Horak; Director, UCLA Film & Television Archive

On October 5, 1943, President Roosevelt declared that “the ringleaders and their brutal henchmen must be named and apprehended, and tried in accordance with the judicial process of law.” In Moscow, the Allies signed the “Moscow Declaration Concerning German Atrocities in Occupied Europe” on October 30, 1943. This document stated clearly that all alleged war criminals would be extradited to the countries in which they had committed war crimes, to be tried by local authorities under national jurisdictions. Less than three months later, Columbia Pictures released None Shall Escape, a film in which a war criminal is lead to the bar for atrocities committed in occupied Poland.

It is the only Hollywood wartime film to visualize the Holocaust: In one of their first acts, after invading Poland, the Germans shoot a propaganda film, during which a soldier kicks a Jew out of the food line. This is a reference to Feldzug in Polen (1940), one of the first Nazi documentaries about the war. Later the occupying Army converts the synagogue to a stable for horses, burning Torah scrolls in a symbolic reference to the so-called Reichskristallnacht. The Jews are treated worse than animals, as a young Polish woman complains.

The film’s set piece, however, is the massacre of the town’s Jewish population. Herded into cattle cars at the railroad station, for transport to the death camps, the Rabbi calls for mercy, then when he is rejected, for revolt. The Jewish men, women and children are then gunned down by machine gun fire, as they attempt to fight. Thus, the film not only visualizes the mass murder of Polish Jews, the first and only American film to do so, but also pays tribute to Jewish resistance in Warsaw, Vilna, and other towns in the Shtetl. (According to scriptwriter Lester Cole, Harry Cohen, the Jewish production head at Columbia, wanted to have the scene removed, because he did not believe that Jews could fight.) The image of the Jew as victim, was commonplace in non-Jewish as well as Jewish circles. Hannah Arendt, for example, wrote in an unpublished wartime essay: “Instead of fighting back - or thinking about how to become able to fight back, refugees have got used to wishing death to friends or relatives; if somebody dies, we cheerfully imagine all the trouble he has been saved.”

In the aftermath of World War II, Hollywood continued to ignore the historical reality of the genocide of European Jewry, despite the fact that newsreels of the liberation of concentration camps had shocked Americans. In the immediate postwar period, anti-Communism became the order of the day for Hollywood, leading to the production of numerous films that merely substituted Nazis for Communists, e.g. The Red Danube (1940).

Not until 1959 was the subject of the Holocaust broached in an American feature film, when Columbia released The Diary of Anne Frank, directed by George Stevens.

from "This is Your Life - Preserving Holocaust Survivor Testimonies on Early Television"

The world is a magical place full of people

waiting to be offended by anything.

Proceed with Caution...

Should robots count in a minyan?

Rabbi talks Turing test

Theoretically speaking, say a robot walked into your office and said, “Rabbi, I want to count in the minyan.” Would that be enough evidence for you to count him?


Not necessarily. For the purposes of this discussion, I would accept the position of the Jerusalem Talmud in the third chapter of Tractate Niddah that when you are dealing with a creature that does not conform to the simple definition of “humanness” — i.e. born from a human mother or at least possessing human DNA, but it appears to have human characteristics and is doing human things — one examines the context to determine if it is human. When something looks human and acts human, to the point that I think it might be human, then halachah might consider the threshold to have been crossed.

This makes sense from a Jewish ethical perspective as well. Oftentimes Jewish ethics are about the actor, not the one being acted upon. If I see something that for all intents and purposes looks human, I cannot start poking it to see if it bleeds. I have a responsibility to treat all that seem human as humans, and it is better to err on the side of caution from an ethical perspective.

the Imitation Game - Alan Turing

A criterion proposed by Alan Turing in 1950 for deciding whether a computer is intelligent. Turing called it "the Imitation Game" and offered it as a replacement for the question, "Can machines think?"

A human holds a written conversation on any topic with an unseen correspondent (nowadays it might be by electronic mail or chat ). If the human believes he is talking to another human when he is really talking to a computer then the computer has passed the Turing test and is deemed to be intelligent.

Turing predicted that within 50 years (by the year 2000) technological progress would produce computing machines with a capacity of 10**9 bits, and that with such machinery, a computer program would be able to fool the average questioner for 5 minutes about 70% of the time.

The Loebner Prize is a competition to find a computer program which can pass an unrestricted Turing test.

Julia is a program that attempts to pass the Turing test.

Robyn says, "julia are you a human?"
 Julia says, "Is the Pope Polish?"
 Robyn says, "yes, julia, but are you human?"
 Julia winks at Robyn.
 Robyn says, "julia, are you a computer?"
 Julia is offended by Robyn's suggestion.
 Robyn says, "julia, are you a woman?"
 Julia says, "I am female."
 Robyn says, "and, julia, are you human?"
 Julia says, "Not when I'm having my period, Robyn."
 Robyn laughs



Sandra Solomon at Masjid Toronto mosque.

My name is Sandra Solomon. I am an ex Muslim who lived in the Saudi Arabian society governed by 100% Sharia law.

I suffered a lot in Saudi Arabia from the teachings of Islam because of the lack of women rights.

I was neglected, ignored and forbidden to sharing my thoughts on Islam to the point where I was always under risk of being murdered by honor killing from my brother, who attempted to kill me just because I refused to wear the hijab [head scarf].

They forced me into a marriage. Islamic forced marriage is nothing less than institutionalized rape. Do not dare to think otherwise.

I took my child and escaped Saudi Arabia because of the imminent threat of my execution for not following Islamic Sharia [Islamic Law] without question and came to Canada for its freedom.

I came to Canada to live under secular and Constitution Democratic system of law. A law that respects me as a free human being that has the right to live and think and be critical of anyone and anything without living in fear for my life and my child’s life .That is why I am in Canada. I am a subject of Canadian law. Not Sharia [Islamic] law.

I am a victim of Islam and it is my duty to warn others of its true nature. But unfortunately Sharia law is not leaving me. I was surprised when I found that it has followed us here to Canada. There are three Canadian imams on Canadian soil calling for my execution. Their names are, Shahryar Shiakh [“Punishment for apostasy is death”], Ahmad Abdul Qader Kandil [who said that enemies of Islam to be killed, crucified or their limbs cut off] and Said Rageah [who said that person who insults Mohammad may face execution in Islamic State]. All three of them in Canada are openly calling for my execution. Relying solely on the teaching of Quran and Hadith plus the book called human right in Islam distributed at Dundas square [“Islamic Shari’ah decrees execution for the person who apostatizes”].

Ladies and gentlemen, criticism of an ideology and political authority is the most important aspect of free democracy. And for this, the imams all call for my death they do so on the Islamic grounds that I speak truths about Islam, its founder, Mohammad, and that I no longer accept the Islamic ideology, all of which are death penalty crimes under Islamic law, and which Islamic States like Iran, Saudi Arabia, The Islamic State, Afghanistan, Pakistan and dozens of more convict and execute. We see it here in Canada when Muslim girls refuse the hijab like the Shafia girls.

I am standing here in your mosque today, asking for you to show me the tolerance you ask of all Canadians. To accept me for whom I am and the free choices I made to be something other than Muslim. My God, is a God of love and mercy. I offer it to you, and ask you for it in return .My criticism of Islam are [sic] of the ideology, the teachings and scriptures. Not any individual Muslim. Criticizing ideology is not just legal in Canada; it’s the foundation of democracy. Whether it is a religious authority, or political, no person, book, or ideas are above criticism and scrutiny.
I want to thank the Mayor of Mississauga Bonnie Crombie for her answer when she comforted me about my concern regarding M-103, when she said to me, “this is Canada. We have one set of laws there is no Sharia law. The beauty of Canada is that we are free to openly criticize anyone and anytime. We have one set of laws and there is no Sharia law in Canada and there will not be Sharia law in Canada.”

When I asked her if I’m I allowed to criticize Islam and Muhammad the founder of Islam without fearing for my life, she said “this is your right. This is Canada “.

Therefore I’m here to ask you the same question. Can I criticize the Quran and Muhammad the founder of Islam, without fearing for my life and my child’s life?

And I would love to get the answer form the Imam [Ahmed Shihab] and it’s really, I’m here with the message of love and peace. I don’t hate Muslims. I’m here to deliver these flowers to you with all respect and I’ll continue my journey in Canada. I have concern about my life and I would love to get an answer from you Muslims to tell me: Am I going to be killed, or my child is going to be killed or harmed by anyway for me openly criticizing Islam? I want to be comforted.  inContext