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Nothing is ever lost... We do second chances.

Shabbat Bulletin - May 20, 2017

Making Shul and Judaism an important part of our Lifestyle

Give God, Others and Yourself a Second Chance

Pesach Sheni

A year after the Exodus, G‑d instructed the people of Israel to bring the Passover offering on the afternoon of the fourteenth of Nissan, and to eat it that evening, roasted over the fire, together with matzah and bitter herbs, as they had done the previous year just before they left Egypt.

“There were, however, certain persons who had become ritually impure through contact with a dead body, and could not, therefore, prepare the Passover offering on that day. They approached Moses and Aaron . . . and they said: ‘. . . Why should we be deprived, and not be able to present G‑d’s offering in its time, amongst the children of Israel?’” (Numbers 9:6–7).

In response to their plea, G‑d established the 14th of Iyar as a “Second Passover” (Pesach Sheni) for anyone who was unable to bring the offering on its appointed time in the previous month. inContext


The prisoners of Buchenwald never dreamt they would be given a second chance. They didn’t know if they would survive that day let alone what life they would ultimately lead. Of course when imprisoned they could not observe any Jewish holidays including Pesach. They couldn’t partake of the matzah, marror, seder or hagadah and never imagined celebrating a transition from slavery to freedom again.

buchenwald_Rabbi Schacter led a Pesach Sheini Seder-w590.jpg

Shiku Smilovic, in his autobiographical memoir tells the following about that day after the liberation:

“All Jews were invited by Rabbi Schacter to attend services and to eat Matza, since it was Pesach Sheini that day. The second Pesach, for Jews that couldn’t observe the holiday of Pesach at the proper date. Rabbi Schacter brought Matzos and distributed them to everyone. Rabbi Schacter started to deliver his sermon, when suddenly he was interrupted by a fellow prisoner. When he heard the Rabbi say, “We know what you have gone through” The man screamed and said: “No one, but no one, can dare say that he knows what we went through unless, he or she was there! Only they can say, I know what you went through!” He continued at the top of his voice with quotes from the Torah and other scriptures. He was no plain ordinary every day Jew. He spoke with authority. “Why did G-d forget about his children? And we were devastated, just because we are Jews?” he continued. “Before we make a blessing and eat this Matza. We want a Din Torah with the Ribono shel olam: Why? Why the little children? They didn’t have a chance to sin yet? Why so many thousands of true dedicated Talmidei chachomim (Jewish learned men), that were sitting and learning yomam v’lyla day and night? You can take your matzos back to America. I don’t want them, as far as I am concerned. The rest of you: you are free! You can do what your heart desires!” Rabbi Schacter did not interrupt the man and he let him finish. He moved his fists towards his heart and said, “Chotosi Uvisi Pushati Lefonecha: Please, may I have your forgiveness?” The man raced up to the Rabbi and embraced him for a while. The rest of us just stood there in silence, and our tears did the talking. After that scene we all decided to have some Matzo anyway. We made the blessing of al achilas matzah in unison. I am sure that this blessing was heard in heaven, and all the Angels answered Amen.”

Pesach is formally the only mitzvah for which we are given a second chance, in truth we always have second chances. And on April 27th, 1945 the survivors of Buchenwald observed Pesach Sheni and through it gave Hashem a second chance.

Whatever happens in life – between us and others or between us and Hashem – never stop believing in second chances.  inContext

siddurDedication-Leon Pasternak_w400.jpg





A Change Is Gonna Come

There have been times that I thought I couldn't last for long
But now I think I'm able to carry on
It's been a long, a long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will

Songwriter: Sam Cooke

Yes, it’s been a long time since the world turned its back, on the Jews of Europe, - World War II. From the Nazi rise of power, through to the outbreak of war, the world had access to a wide range of information and evidence about the Nazi’s actions and policies towards the Jews. Whilst, there may have been responses from individual politicians and some organizations, there was little protest from governments at the time. This political weakness encouraged Hitler to continue his brutal policies against the Jews.

I attended the showing of the film Beyond Paranoia, May 10, 2017 at the Lodger Synagogue.  Moderated by film maker Monique Schwarz.
As the film depicts, Anti-Semitism is alive and well and maybe thriving in your neighborhood, in particular at the very body that was established, The United Nations, which chartered the Declaration of Human Rights. Unfortunately the United Nations is rife with Anti-Semitism. The title Anti-Semitism in the United Nations, was carefully chosen. It does not charge the UN, an independent world organization with Anti-Semitism. Instead the UN expresses openly its policies and it expresses its dislike for Israel.  These Anti-Semitic states are themselves ripe with human rights violations, which have not been challenged. Instead Israel has been virulently demonized whenever possible.


March 25th 2011- Tim Uppal, former MP for Edmonton, was responsible for the initiation of Bill C-422, The National Holocaust Act.  Before that Canada was the only allied nation without a Holocaust monument, in its Capital.


The monument was to be a lasting tribute to the victims of the Holocaust and a symbol of Canada’s diversity.  Since then, the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem was privileged to carry out the annual National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremonies, in Ottawa.

Every year, I have attended these ceremonies and have had the rare opportunity of hearing first-hand experiences from survivors as well as dignitaries. I have also met with some members of Parliament and most recently with the Israeli Ambassador to Canada, his Excellency Mimrod Barkan.  The Ambassador, was my niece’s boss at the Israeli Embassy in Paris.  Since I am a member of the Zachor Coalition- Maramoresher Society of Toronto, I have also had the opportunity to be part of the Candle Lighting ceremonies in the past. This year I thought it would be befitting that my wife, who is also a member and other members of the Zachor Coalition, light a candle with, The Hon Rona Ambrose.  For the past two years I have met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Elizabeth May QC MP leader of the Green Party, the Hon. Thomas Mulcair, leader of the NDP and The Hon Rona Ambrose, Interim Leader of the Conservative Party.  The masters of ceremonies was Fran Sonshine, National Chair, Canadian Society for Yad Vashem.
Although, the various leaders of the parties spoke to the audience, regarding how important it was to remember the Holocaust, they never mentioned Israel once. All the leaders stayed until the completion of the ceremonies except, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who left shortly after his speech to the audience.

One of the highlights of the ceremony was a video and testimony by Felix Opatowski, who I understand passed away last year and one of our shul members’ father. A book was written commemorating him, Gatehouse to Hell.  May he be remembered by all who knew him.


Felix Opatowski was born in Lodz, Poland, on June 15, 1924. He was liberated in Austria by the US army on May 9, 1945, and worked at a US army base where he married his wife, Regina, in 1947. Felix and Regina arrived in Toronto in 1949; they were married for 69 years. Felix passed away in 2017.

Felix Opatowski is only fifteen years old when he takes on the perilous job of smuggling goods out of the Lodz ghetto in exchange for food for his starving family. It is a skill that will serve him well as he tries to stay alive in Nazi-occupied Poland.

With dogged determination, Felix endures months of harrowing conditions in the ghetto and slave labour camps until he is deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in the spring of 1943, where he is recruited as a runner for the Polish Underground and implicated in the plot to blow up the crematoria.


Gatehouse to Hell is a candid memoir and heart-rending account of a teenage boy who comes of age in desperate conditions, putting himself at risk to help others, forming bonds of friendship and holding onto hope for the future.

Following his testimony, a candle lighting ceremony took place. Each of the leaders spoke about the Shoah. The Hon Thomas J. Mulcair, leader of the NDP spoke about the experiences of his wife’s Grandparents as Jews, during the war. To me his speech gave some validity to his commitment to the memory of the Holocaust.

It’s rare that I become emotional, but when The Hon. Rona Ambrose, Interim Leader of the Conservative Party, Leader of the Opposition spoke, she could hardly keep her composure. Ms. Ambrose, took the ceremony very seriously and there was a constant flow of tears in her voice, I will admit I too shed a tear.

For more information, I encourage anyone interested in attending next year’s ceremony to contact Sarah, at the Lodger Synagogue. Isi Davis (full story + pics)


On the first Pesach, we have a seder. What do we have on Pesach Sheni?
We just have fun!


We are the Lodzer Morning Minyanaires


Always a good breakfast following!

One of the best ways to attract people to the tradition is for the person teaching and representing Torah to exude love for people, and through personal warmth draw people in. When people see that the teacher of Torah is a good and loving person, they assume that the Torah which shaped the teacher is good and loving. They then draw closer to the Torah out of a desire to be like him or her.

Zingers from Pirke Avoth | Perek 1, Mishnah 10 | From the Irving Greenberg commentary


Life  Moments


May 14  Sidney Lew
May 15  Jack Abrahams

May 21  Zelda Krupski
May 24  Freda Kon
May 25  Frank Steiman
May 26  Allen Sidenberg



Mazel Tov! - Call Sarah.


May 13  Shae Golden, father of Bluma Nemirov

May 16  Isaac Sosner, brother of Sarah Moshe
May 16  Elka Pillersdorf, mother of Rachel Weisman
May 19  Rafuel Nosak, father of Morry

May 20  Simon Abrahams, father of Jack
May 21  Abraham Zeldin, father of Cathy
May 23  Rose Gould Lefko Cohen,

           mother- in –law of Helen Gould
May 26  Milton Yudell, father of Arnold



Take Your Soul to Work - By Erica Brown

On Irritation

We can feel it coming on in meetings, at airports and at lunches that drag on: that slight annoyance, slight impatience, slight anger, slight vexation that we call irritation. It’s not full-blown to the point of exasperation. Exasperation would be too dramatic. Anger has outlets. Irritation stews and festers. … Sometimes irritation becomes our oxygen, taking up lots of unnecessary space in our emotional landscape.

Inside the Lodz Ghetto
A record of atrocity and resistance, buried in a wooden box

Memory Unearthed features the photographs of Polish Jewish photographer Henryk Ross (1910-1991), one of the official Lodz ghetto photographers. From 1940 to 1944, Ross took work-permit identification card photos for the ghetto's ever increasing Jewish population consolidated into Lodz ghetto by the Nazi regime. He also took “official” images, promoting the ghetto's work efficiency , and at the same time he documented the grim daily life in the ghetto: suffering and despair, starvation and diseases, the exploitation of the workers, the deportation of thousands to death camps at Chelmno and Auschwitz.

Even with Ross's official status as an employee of the Jewish Council (Judenrat) in the Department of Statistics, the subject matter of his photographic work was restricted and scrutinized, and he took many risks while capturing images of what he called the "total destruction of Polish Jewry."

Hoping to preserve the historical record contained in his negatives, Ross buried them at the time of the ghetto's liquidation in the fall of 1944. Upon liberation by the Red Army in January 1945, he excavated his box of negatives to discover that only half of the 6,000 negatives survived. He would spend the remainder of his life working with the images to tell his story of the Lodz ghetto. Some 200 of these indelible scenes are included in Memory Unearthed, comprising a visual and emotional meditation on a harrowing moment in history.
Organized by the Art Gallery of Ontario


A man who saved the Torah from the rubble of the synagogue on Wolborska Street.

0526 - Iyar 18 -  Lag B'Omer.jpg




May 17

7:30-8:30 pm

Shul Kiddush


All are



to the public

at no cost


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.

Judy Hazan 416-704-1693


May 18

7 - 8 PM

4th Session

Kiddush Room

The cost is $150.00 for 10 classes.  We request a minimum commitment of $75.00 for 5 classes.


Hebrew Classes

Our Hebrew class started April 27 with our excellent, energetic teacher, Ayala.  The 7 Lodzer members who attended all seemed pleased.  Although we're not yet fluent, we began learning in a fun, supportive environment.

We meet every Thursday from 7:00-8:00 pm at the shul in the kiddush room.   If you're interested and didn't register, please contact me.



May 18

7:30 - 9:30 PM

Isabel Bader


93 Charles St. W.




Action Group

Jordan Peterson, Professor at U of T, battling for Freedom of Speech on campus

Salim Mansur, Professor at Western University, an outspoken critic of Political Correctness and a Muslim Zionist

Ezra Levant, Media Activist with Rebel Media and defender of Human Rights

Join us for a compelling CONVERSATION on:




This event is of great interest to Canadians, as Canada historically supported the Balfour Declaration and the Mandate for Palestine, which was then incorporated by the United Nations in 1948 and which once again affirmed Israel's right to exist, according to international law.


May 20

24 Iyar



9:12 AM

Led by

Frank Steiman

Please help us out by coming early…

We need a minyan to start!


9:30 AM

Torah Times

Torah Reading:

Triennial Year 1

Parashat: Behar-Bechukosai
Leviticus 25:1 - 27:34

1: 25:1-3 (pg. 531)
2: 25:4-7
3: 25:8-13
4: 25:14-18
5: 25:19-24
6: 25:25-28
7: 25:29-38
maftir: 25:35-38

Jeremiah 16:19 - 17:14
(pg. - 551)

Candle Lighting:

8:23 p.m. – Friday


9:32 p.m. – Saturday

This week’s Kiddush Lunch

Is sponsored by

The Lodzer Synagogue

In honour of


Leon Pasternak appreciation for  Leon's dedication and hard work and for his help in having the vision of a building for the Lodzer Mutual Benefit Society come to fruition.

Leon Pasternak is a dedicated member and Board Member and still holds his position as Honourary Board Member.

We hope the many members who know Leon and even those who just know about him will attend to pay tribute.

Even those who do not know him at all are in for a treat just by hearing about this special Lodzer person.

Please send or bring cards/letters of thanks to the shul for Leon which we will give to him on this day or give your card to him in person.


May 22

Week 12

Karate lessons

For Seniors

Join us

with open hands

and Kick back!

Mondays & Fridays


Kiddush Breakfast

(10 - 11 AM)ish

Dojo Lodzer

Upstairs Hall

Kiai - Sen!


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

Karate for Seniors

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

Wear sneakers and non-restrictive clothing.

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… we kick butt.

Karate Kata 1 - Heian Shodan

Karate Kata 2 - Heian Nidan

Focus, Respect, Self-Control

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

One thru ten: Ichi, Ni, San, Shi, Go,

Roku, Shichi, Hachi, Kyuu, Juu.


May 27

2 Sivan


Rosh Chodesh


It’s Hat Day!



9:12 AM

Led by

Frank Steiman

Please help us out by coming early…

We need a minyan to start!


9:30 AM


David Young


This week’s Kiddush

Is sponsored by

Lily Silver


Syd Markowitz

In celebration of

Freda Kon’s

95th birthday and the aufruf for her

This is what 95 looks like!


Freda (Franka) Kon is from Lodz, Poland. Freda and her family lead a nice, normal life when the tragedy of the Holocaust descended upon them. They were put into the Lodz Ghetto, where they would stay for the next four years, condemned to slave labour and starvation.  But as a young woman, in a community with so many other young Jews, Freda was resilient, and she recalled how they managed to find ways to bring at least some joy into their lives.  Freda's insights there are compelling, and they speak to the resistance that went on, even in the darkest moments.  In 1944, the tragedy of the Shoah persisted, and Freda and her family were deported to Auschwitz- Birkenau; Freda subsequently was sent to Stutthof, and was forced on a death march at the war's end. Freda attributes her survival to her mother's spirit, as the two were together through the duration of the Shoah. At war's end Freda married and had a child before emigrating to Canada.

In 2014 Freda and her daughter travelled to Lodz, where Freda participated in ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the ghetto.

Crestwood students Sy Greenberg, Alix Postan, Lindsey Swartzman, and Katherine Charness interviewed Freda in May 2011.  

Savannah Yutman and Scott Masters visited Freda in July 2015, where she updated her interview and shared the story of her recent travels to Poland.

CRESTWOOD - videos


May 31

6 Sivan




...the lesson of Shavuot: the Torah cannot be a limiting document. Rather, it must be for all Jews. If we fail to heed this lesson, we will alienate more and more Jews from observance and respect for their Jewish identities. This, in turn, will lead to a situation where, increasingly, many will choose to marry outside of their religion entirely or outside of Halachah. These developments could end up denying us a sizable Jewish future in the State of Israel. The result will be that the Jewish state as we know it will no longer exist.



June 2

Oneg Shabbat

Reserve Now!

Children Under 13yrs $20

Non Members $50

Members $40

Call Sarah!


A special Oneg Shabbat

in honour of Marcel Cohen.

Please join us for prayers, dinner, and fun for this sad but happy event. He has been our beloved cantor for 3 years.

Our Chazzan and Punmeister, Marcel Cohen is heading for the "Big Apple".

D-G’s best friend


June 4

Lodzer AGM

9:45 AM


This is an excellent opportunity for you to bring your ideas, suggestions and opinions to an open forum to guide the Lodzer Centre Congregation in its future direction.

Volunteers and Executives Needed

We need volunteers for next year’s Board. The qualifications are common sense, a willingness to work at an interesting project, a few interesting ideas, and a love of the Lodzer.

Benefits: You will be working with interesting, nice, stimulating people who have the same qualifications, and you will earn mitzvah points for you and your family.


June 11

Time TBA




Earl Bales Park

Come meet with Yazidis

Our first Project Abraham PICNIC at Earl Bales Park.

Details to follow.

If anyone would like to join our Picnic committee to plan the logistics around food and picnic games, please let me know.


Project Abraham is moving into a whole new level of activity. Come and hear all about it!

Our meetings are an opportunity for all volunteers to:

hear the latest news on the Yazidi situation overseas

receive an update on all Project Abraham activities

be brought up-to-date on government/lobbying efforts

meet members of our Yazidi community
find out where help is still needed

We would love to have you join us!


June 15

8:00 PM

Book Chat

with Cathy Zeldin

Shul Kiddush


Elif Shafak


“Turkey has begun to find its literary voice”


The Bastard of Istanbul is a cross-continental family saga. It examines, in loving detail and with much humour, two families: one living in contemporary Istanbul and Turkish, the other in San Francisco and Armenian.

It appears initially the two have nothing in common. But don't be fooled. Turkey is the classic metaphoric haunted house, sitting astride the continental divide; consequently, from inside its many rooms the past and present are still largely at war…

The two families do not know it, but long fingers are reaching from the blighted past to inextricably bind them. The conduits that will bridge the gap, that privilege, belongs to the young. And they are a spunky crew.
19-year-old Asya, (the bastard,) is a modern Turk, rebellious, outspoken, and belligerently without a past, in more ways than one. She is also the youngest of a household of several generations of women, the men having died mysteriously at a young age.

Armanoush is sensitive and searching for her Armenian roots in, of all places, the American desert. Her curiosity about the "genocide" of the Armenians compels her to finally meet the enemy on their own turf. Thus she deceives her family and flies to Istanbul to learn more about her beloved grandmother's past. She cannot know what a Pandora's box she is opening, and what a hidden blessing she will find.

It's an intriguing premise that allows the horrors of what took place in 1915 to slowly surface.


July 27

8:00 PM

Book Chat

with Cathy Zeldin

Shul Kiddush


If we decide to take a break over the summer, I'll advise of the new date.

The House of Wives-w200.jpg

Two women compete for the affections of their opium merchant husband in a tale of friendship, fortune and rivalry in colonial Hong Kong.

In 1862, a young Jew from Calcutta named Emanuel Belilios leaves his dutiful wife Semah and sets sail for Hong Kong to make his fortune in the opium trade.

There, he grows into a prosperous and respectable merchant, eventually falling in love with his Chinese business partner's daughter Pearl, a delicate beauty twenty years his junior.

As a wedding present, he builds for her the most magnificent mansion in Hong Kong.

Then Semah arrives unannounced from Calcutta to take her place as mistress of the house...and life will change irrevocably for all of them.

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






We need volunteers

to work on the

Lodzer’s 65th anniversary

call Sarah

The Lodzer Congregation had first formed in 1953 as a mutual benefit society for survivors from Lodz Poland who made it to Canada, in 1981 it formed itself into a Conservative synagogue. When Rabbi Kaufman joined the Lodzer in 2002, women had been permitted aliyot but were not counted in a minyan. A three-month trial was put in place permitting women to be counted: this period came and went without any undue comment. The by-laws of the synagogue were amended to reflect the new reality.

All for one and one for all

Squirrels and Religion

The Presbyterian church called a meeting to decide what to do about their squirrels. After much prayer and consideration, they concluded the squirrels were predestined to be there and they shouldn't interfere with God's divine will.

At the Baptist church the squirrels had taken an interest in the baptistery. The deacons met and decided to put a water slide on the baptistery and let the squirrels drown themselves. The squirrels liked the slide and, unfortunately, knew instinctively how to swim so twice as many squirrels showed up the following week.

The Methodist church decided that they were not in a position to harm any of God's creatures. So, they humanely trapped their squirrels and set them free near the Baptist Church. Two weeks later the squirrels were back when the Baptists took down the water slide.

But the Catholic Church came up with a very creative strategy. They baptized all the squirrels and consecrated them as members of the church. Now they only see them on Christmas and Easter.

Not much was heard from the Jewish synagogue; they took the first squirrel and circumcised him. They haven't seen a squirrel since.

Pirkei Avos

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

Pirke Avoth Perek 4 Mishnah 7

Note: This commentary is taken from Ethics from Sinai by Irving M. Bunim. Some sentences of Bunim’s commentary have been taken verbatim (in quotes) and other have been summarized. All relate to Mishnah 7. The Questions are my own.

R. Tzadok said: Do not separate yourself from the community; do  not take the role of a counsellor-at-law; make of it [the Torah] neither a crown with which to make yourself great, nor a spade with which to dig. And indeed, so Hillel used to say: He who makes personal use of the Torah [exploiting it for selfish gains] shall perish. Hence you can learn that whoever derives personal benefit from [exploiting ] the words of Torah, is arranging for his life to end in this world.

This discussion will deal with the last two  sentences. The first sentence has been covered by previous chapters.

“Literally translated [the last par at of the Mishnah] reads, ‘whoever derives a personal benefit (neheneh) from the words of the Torah, takes his life out of the world.”

“Now. to ‘use’ the Torah, to exploit it for personal profit, is obviously a desecration. For it bespeaks an attitude of superiority to the Torah, a dominion over it that permits exploitation. The sacred Word is no longer a revered source of inspiration and guidance; it becomes a ‘thing’ to be manipulated for selfish ends. There is corruption here… ,” “The deleterious , corrupting effect spreads to all those about who witness such callousness and cynicism. Our loyalty to Torah, our reverent study and observance, should inspire others to emulate our ways. But when it is suspected or noted clearly that someone’s piety  and religiosity is motivated by self-interest, it will inspire no one. It will bring no one close to Divinity.” Personal profit includes enjoyment  or pleasure from the words of the Torah; “ In fact it is, in a sense, more perilous to derive personal honour and glory from the Torah than to make it yield a financial profit.  While Torah study was not meant to bring a cash profit… it is destined to bring honours upon the observant in the Hereafter.”

My Examples of people motivated by self-interest:

                       Those that use  synagogue membership to enhance

                        their status or esteem,  to get clients, or to boost their ego by

                        showing or bragging about their knowledge.

Question 1: Does the behaviour of Jews inspire others? Is each of us

                    a light unto the nations?

Question 2:  If so why do we have a bad  reputation as financial cheaters?

                     Is it because we use legalistic arguments in the Torah to win

                     an unfair advantage?

Question 3: Do you believe that pure Torah study will bring honours and

                    benefits now and in the hereafter?

“The true man of Torah will shun even the privileges and honours that are extended to him.” “But be it noted that such thoughts should inform only the scholar, they should not be used as an excuse for others to neglect him and remain indifferent to his welfare, refusing to support him or accord him proper honour.”

Question: Do we have an obligation to support and honour the

                   “true man of Torah”? Do you know such a person?”

“As far as we are concerned, let us remember that when the devout scholar accepts something from us, it should be a source of merit and satisfaction for us.”  

“Interestingly enough,” … the “concluding words of R. Tzadok in our mishnah can be interpreted in quite a different direction: He who derives true enjoyment from the words of Torah, studying it lish’mah in sincere devotion to know and understand it, that man lifts his life out to the world. In other words, his life rises above this world , with its sordid pursuits and trivial occupations; it rises above the mess of drivel, the meaningless sound and fury that we call the world of entertainment. Once you learn to enjoy and appreciate the discussions and profundities of Hillel and Shammai, the penetrating wisdom of Rambam and the great Commentaries on the Written and Oral Torah, you move into a richer and higher world;  you become elevated, lifted above the prosaic, mundane noises and distractions of everyday life. You have begun to experience the values and joys of eternity.”

Question 1: Can you give an example of this? This sounds like

                    becoming a guru. Is it?

Question 2:  How does a guru (a spiritual teacher) differ from a tzadik?

Question 3:  Should we strive for the state of existence described in the last

                     sentence of the above paragraph?

Question 4:  How does this differ from following the right path?”

Israel 21c header_w592.jpg

Israel Is Changing The World


Gamila Hiar, a Druze grandmother from northern Israel, created a soap empire that has attained celebrity status, favored by the likes of Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Angelina Jolie and Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli. For close to 50 years, she’s been making Gamila Secret from 15 herbs and plant extracts native to the Galilee such as almond, avocado and lavender. These award-winning soaps are sold in about two dozen countries across the world.


Gamila Hiar was born on August 20, 1940, in a village called Peki’in in the Galilee of northern Israel. Her devotion to make nourishing skin care products started at the age of 20, when she sacrificed a few hours of sleep each night to make soap after her daily chores. She was inspired by her father, an expert on plants and an authority on medical herbs. Within a few years, Gamila Hiar discovered her talent to mix the right herbs and cook them in a specific order to create a substance with a nourishing effect. After more than 40 years, Gamila Hiar developed a secret recipe formula based on her wisdom of nature: Gamila Secret.

Gamila Secret is made from no less than fifteen fully active wild herbs, born in a base of shea butter and six pure plant oils, including first cold pressed olive oil. The process of controlled cooking, with ingredients being added at different moments to accomplish the best result, is the real secret.

•  100% natural and totally free of synthetic substances;
•  Based on vegetable oils, including first cold pressed olive oil plus a melange of fifteen local herbs;
•  Controlled cooking process, with ingredients being added at the right moment;
•  For a daily treatment of face, hands, foot and total body;
•  Suitable for every type of skin, for men, women and children;
•  Not tested on animals.

Now, failure to be sharia compliant -- on your own property -- can result in an enormous fine!

John Alabi, a 52-year-old Ontario man, is being issued what amounts to a "sharia ticket" for $12,000 by the province’s Human Rights Tribunal.

His sin? He didn’t take his shoes off in his Muslim tenants’ unit (where they prayed) when he was showing the space to potential occupants.

So John now has to pay his $12,000 for injury to his former tenants' feelings and dignity. And John must also take an e-course on “Human Rights in Rental Housing.”

John told me worried his case will set a precedent for other landlords who will also have to become sharia compliant.

When did a failure to remove one’s shoes in a Muslim prayer space become against the law in Canada? When did failure to make your property sharia-compliant become punishable by fine? Isn’t there supposed to be a separation of mosque and state in this country? If so, why is sharia law being pushed on John to the tune of $12,000?


Crowdfunding to pay the fine is not the answer.

Excerpt from Human Rights Tribunal

Respondent’s Facebook page

[52]        The applicants sought to admit into evidence a copy of the respondent’s Facebook page. I admitted the document as I found it to be relevant to discerning the respondent’s views on religiously-based accommodation requests by Muslims.

[53]        In January 2016, the respondent shared a Facebook post that appears to be intended as a “joke” about a devout Arab Muslim. The respondent did not himself write the post but he shared it with his Facebook friends and, by doing so, it appeared on his Facebook page. The post tells the story of a devout Arab Muslim who got into a cab in London and asked the driver to turn off the radio. According to the post, when the driver asked why, the passenger replied that there was no music, especially Western music, in the time of the Holy Prophet. The post then says that the cab driver switched off the radio, stopped the cab and opened the door for the passenger to get out.

[54]        According to the post, when the passenger asked what he was doing, the cab driver said

In the time of the Holy Prophet, there were no taxis, no bombs, no plane hijacks, no west invented loud speakers in mosques that woke up newly born, the elderly and the sick at unearthly hours, no suicide attacks, no RDX, no AK 47, only PEACE everywhere. So shut up, get down and wait for a camel.

[55]        One of the respondent’s Facebook friends commented on his sharing of the post by saying that it should be taken down as it was divisive and did nothing to bring communities together. The respondent replied by posting a notice that said “This is my Facebook I post what I want. Don’t like it? Unfriend me.”

[56]        At the hearing, the respondent testified that he shared the post because he found it funny. He said that he had freedom of speech and could post what he wanted on his Facebook page. The respondent testified that he did not share the post to attack anyone. He said he shared it only because it made him laugh.

Where’s Judge Judy when you need her?

A devout Muslim got into a cab in London. She politely asked the 'Cab Driver' to turn off the radio because her religious doctrine forbade her listening to Music.
The Cab Driver politely asked her.. "why?".
His passenger replied:
"In the time of the Holy Prophet there was no Music, especially Western Music, which is the Music of the Infidel."
The Cab Driver politely switched off the radio, stopped the Cab and opened the door for his passenger to disembark.
The Arab Muslim was surprised and asked him:
"What are you doing?"
The Cab Driver answered:
"In the time of the Holy Prophet, there were no Taxis, no Bombs, no Plane Hijacks, no west invented Loudspeakers in Mosques that woke up newly born, the elderly and the sick at unearthly hours. Definitely no Suicide Attacks and no AK 47;
Only 'PEACE' everywhere.
So shut up, get Out of my Taxi and wait for a Camel.

Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here.

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I have patiently read through and forborne comment on a lot of material that I find questionable in what is supposed to be the communal expression of a Jewish congregation.  I'm not a member of your congregation and it's a free country.

However, I found your apparent post-election endorsement of Marine Le Pen in the May 13 bulletin to be really beyond the pale, if you will pardon the expression.  I appreciate you may prefer Mme. Le Pen's views on some subjects over those of M. Macron.  But there is another dimension to Mme. Le Pen, most recently summarized in

Marine Le Pen's National Front: Old brand, new spin

...the French Republic is, and has always been, one of Western Europe’s most multireligious and multicultural countries. France’s citizens include half of Western Europe’s Jews and the continent’s largest population of Muslims. French politics, for more than a century, has essentially been a showdown between those who accept this fact and those who oppose or deny it.

Marine Le Pen falls squarely into this latter tradition. The French presidential candidate leads a party, the National Front, devoted almost singly to denying the citizenship and equality of religious and ethnic minorities.

She has managed to persuade many French voters, and a surprising number of overseas figures, that she has put her party’s legacy of intolerance and discrimination behind her, disowned the anti-Jewish rage of her father, the party’s founder, and become something else – a woman of the working people, a media-friendly voice of popular rejection of mainstream politics.

[Marine’s party]… “an organization that, at its highest levels, is awash with Hitler admirers and Holocaust-denying far-right nationalists, including within Marine Le Pen’s inner circle.”

...[Marine] Le Pen’s electorate still adheres to anti-Semitic beliefs although she tries to distance herself from open anti-Semitic positions.

unless, of course, you believe that any suggestion of anti-Semitism in the National Front is just fake news produced by the leftist media conspiracy.

I no longer wish to be reminded that there is even one congregation in my city and country foolish enough to believe that "my enemy, because she is also the enemy of my enemies, is my friend".  ⇐ You're right. Lesser of two evils.

Antisemitism is a distraction to the real problem that is only gaining momentum. It's a shame that the National Front and even our own Green Party don't see that.

We need not risk our lives and civilization in order to help people who wish to destroy our culture, democracy and religion.

Supporting Le Pen

The Lesser of two Evils


The question has arisen as to whether it is proper for Jews to support Le Pen, as she is said to be anti-Semitic and anti-immigration. To answer the question one must look closely at the facts, the suppositions, and Judaism. First let us look at Le Pen. Is she anti-Semitic? The Globe says that she and her party are anti-Semitic. However, an article by Daniel J. Solomon in the May 7th edition of the Forward, a prominent Jewish paper, questions her anti-Semitism. It says “She promised to serve as “the best shield” for French Jews, presented as a femme libre and avoided overt racist language. She even purged her old man from the party with a moxie that would make King Lear’s daughters blush.” Obviously they are unsure as to whether or not she is anti-Semitic. It is easy to suggest that a party that was anti-Semitic or had anti-Semitic people in it, is still anti-Semitic, as was done to the Canadian Social Credit party. However based on the facts that she rid the party of her anti-Semitic father and clearly stated her support for Jews, I am willing to give her the benefit of the doubt that she is, for whatever reason, no longer politically anti-Semitic. If she were anti-Semitic, I would have to ask myself whether her anti-Semitism was worse for French Jews than the anti-Semitism that is arriving with the Syrian refugees, and I would have to favour her mild anti-Semitism.

What does Judaism or the Torah say about the question?
There is a strong feeling among Jews that we must support refugee immigration because we were immigrants to America and because we were slaves in Egypt. The latter, gives us a religiously bound sympathy for others who are oppressed. Judaism itself however supports self-defence and standing up for one’s rights. The relevant commandment in the Ten Commandments is usually interpreted as thou shalt not murder - not that thou shalt not kill. Pirke Avoth says “If I am not for myself who will be for me?” It is clear that Jews are expected to defend themselves. The Israelites conquered the land of Israel. It was given to them by G-d, and they took it by force.Thus Judaism accepts self defence as necessary, so there is no Jewish reason for Jews to accept immigrants who might be harmful to Jews and to their adopted country.

Are the Syrian immigrants the same as the Jewish refugees who came to Canada in the early 20th century?

Most Jews would say that we should continue with immigration from Syria based on the fact that we were immigrants to Canada and we have been successful in the country and made the country a better place. Will that be the same for Syrian refugees? In France the refugees are often misogynous, which the Jews never were; they have set up “no go zones” which Jews never did; and their religion proselytizes and wants to change France into a Muslim country, which Judaism certainly did not do. Generally, although many Syrians have become excellent citizens, many others have not accepted French values nor integrated into the general French culture. Jews, on the other hand have integrated with the general population so much and have adopted local values to such an extent that the intermarriage rate is now close to 50%. In addition many of the Syrian refugees are anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, and anti any religion other than their own brand of Islam. They wish to bring their culture to their new land, not relinquish the culture of the land that has brought them to being refugees.

I think it is clear that the Syrian refugees include many anti-Semites, Islamists who would set up an Islamic state in France, and terrorists. Historically a great many come to permanently live on welfare, and set up no-go zones. They are not the same as the 20th century immigrant Jews to Canada who only wanted to integrate into the political system and culture of their new country.  The Syrians do not only include unfortunate people who would work hard to benefit themselves and their new country. Unfortunately it is impossible to distinguish between the future good Syrian refugee and one who, one way or the other, will simply drain or try to destroy France as it now exists.

What should the attitude of Jews then be towards these unfortunate refugees? Do we take the chance of giving up our own Jewish and secular rights in order to give others their potential to experience and participate in our culture? In the recent French elections we have Le Pen who comes from a party with a history of anti-Semitism but says that they are no longer anti-Semitic and Macron who would continue to have France open to immigration.

It is thus reasonable for Jews to say that admitting refugees, some of whom are anti-Semitic and might well harm Jews and France, is not in either France or Jewish  best interests.

It is well beyond time for Jews to look at the cold hard facts about the amount of anti-Semitism and the ideas and culture which Syrian refugees bring with them, and decide whether they will benefit the country and increase anti-Semitism. This question applies to Canada as well as to France./JU

Wash, rinse, repeat...

“On Remembrance Day, the Israeli nation, as one big family, bows its head and unites with the memories of all of the fallen of Israel’s wars, as a moral obligation to those who in their death commanded us to live, so that we may be worthy of them” Ya’alon

That was the opening scene of the movie “Beyond Paranoia” -- a moment of silence, accompanied from start to finish by air-raid sirens.

The movie ended, cutting back to the sirens winding down and all of Israel getting back to their daily lives.

A moment of silence please for anti-semitism.

Links… I was planning to check out.

King of Jordan speech that shocked the world "Jordan is Palestine, Palestine is Jordan"

This single-celled bug has the world’s most extraordinary eye

The Secret History BDS Hides From You

Marine Le Pen's powerful new ad “In The Name Of The People” will blow you away

Sharia Law Advocate to Give Commencement Speech at Taxpayer-Funded University

SICK: The Tweet EVERYONE Is Talking About Right Now

How Is Muslim Immigration to Sweden Working Out?


Lodzer Shabbat-Bulletin,
19 May 2017, 03:15