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12 Heaton Street, M3H 4Y6  (416) 636-6665




Sweetness can only exist alongside bitterness


Shabbat Bulletin - May 27, 2017




Making Shul and Judaism an important part of our Lifestyle yomYerushalayim-w590.JPG

O Jerusalem!

From the heights of Mount Scopus I greet thee,
Peace unto thee, O Jerusalem!
From the peak of Mount Scopus I gaze,
And bow low in rapt adoration.
Through all the ages I've dreamt to behold thee,
I yearned and yearned for the light of thy splendor.
Jerusalem, O Jerusalem, shine forth for thy exile returns
Jerusalem, O Jerusalem, thy ruins I soon shall rebuild.


Jerusalem as seen from Mount Scopus





A recipe for disaster?

Liberal democracy is a form of government, a political system. It is a representative democracy in which the ability of the elected representatives to exercise decision-making power is subject to the rule of law, and moderated by a constitution that emphasizes the protection of the rights and freedoms of individuals, and which places constraints on the leaders and on the extent to which the will of the majority can be exercised against the rights of minorities (see civil liberties). A liberal democracy has elections, a multiplicity of political parties, political decisions made through an independent legislature, and an independent judiciary, with a state monopoly on law enforcement.

Generally it is seen that liberal democracy involves an uneasy marriage of two components: a liberal element that limits the scope and reach of government in the name of preserving individual freedom, and an element based on popular sovereignty that calls for majority rule, as expressed at the ballot box. A main modern theorist of Liberal democracy is Larry Diamond, who sees Liberal democracy as the combination of democracy and constitutional liberalism.

Diamond outlines an eleven point conceptualisation:

Electoral outcomes are uncertain, opposition vote is significant and no group that adheres to constitutional principles is denied the right to form a party and contest elections.

The military and other democratically unaccountable actors should be subordinate to the authority of elected civilian officials.

Citizens have multiple channels for expression and representation such as diverse independent associations and movements which they have the freedom to form and join.

Individuals have substantial freedom of belief, opinion, discussion, speech, publication, assembly, demonstration and petition.

There are alternative sources of information (including independent media to which citizens have politically unfettered access).

Executive power is constrained by the autonomy of the government institutions such as an independent judiciary, parliament and other mechanisms of horizontal accountability.

Civil liberties are effectively protected by an non-discriminatory, independent judiciary whose decisions are respected and enforced by other centres of power.

Citizens are politically equal under the law.

Minority groups are not oppressed.

The rule of law protects citizens from human rights abuses.

The constitution is supreme.

The rights and freedoms protected by the constitutions of liberal democracies are varied, but they usually include the rights and freedoms mentioned in the conceptualisation as well as the rights to due process, privacy, property and equality before the law. In liberal democracies these rights (also known as "liberal rights") may sometimes be constitutionally guaranteed, or are otherwise created by statutory law or case law, which may in turn empower various civil institutions to administer or enforce these rights.

Liberal democracies also tend to be characterized by tolerance and pluralism; widely differing social and political views, even those viewed as extreme or fringe, are permitted to coexist and compete for political power on a democratic basis. Liberal democracies periodically hold elections where groups with differing political views have the opportunity to achieve political power. In practice, these elections are nearly always won by groups who support liberal democracy; thus the system perpetuates itself.

The term "liberal" in "liberal democracy" does not imply that the government of such a democracy must follow the political ideology of liberalism. It is merely a reference to the fact that liberal democracies feature constitutional protections of individual rights from government power, which were first proposed during the Age of Enlightenment by philosophers advocating liberty. At present, there are numerous countries ruled by non-liberal political parties - for example parties that uphold conservatism, Christian Democracy, social democracy, or some forms of socialism - which are considered to have liberal democracy as their form of government.



  • a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, racial or ethnic origins, etc., differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry.

  • a fair, objective, and permissive attitude toward opinions, beliefs, and practices that differ from one's own.

  • interest in and concern for ideas, opinions, practices, etc., foreign to one's own; a liberal, undogmatic viewpoint.


Pluralism as a political philosophy is the recognition and affirmation of diversity within a political body, which permits the peaceful coexistence of different interests, convictions and lifestyles. Political pluralists are not inherently socialists (who put equality as their guiding principle), liberals (who place liberty as their guiding principle) or conservatives (who place tradition as their guiding principle) but advocate a form of political moderation. Nor are political pluralists necessarily advocates of a democratic plurality, but generally agree that this form of government is often best at moderating discrete values.


Social responsibility is an ethical framework and suggests that an entity, be it an organization or individual, has an obligation to act for the benefit of society at large. Social responsibility is a duty every individual has to perform so as to maintain a balance between the economy and the ecosystems.


Social responsibility and its love for freedom will survive.

We may not.


Popper concluded that we are warranted in refusing to tolerate intolerance: "We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant."


Tolerant societies have a reasonable right of self-preservation that supersedes the principle of tolerance: "While an intolerant sect does not itself have title to complain of intolerance, its freedom should be restricted only when the tolerant sincerely and with reason believe that their own security and that of the institutions of liberty are in danger." John Rawls


Most minority religious groups who are the beneficiaries of tolerance are themselves intolerant, at least in some respects. In a tolerant regime, such people may learn to tolerate, or at least to behave "as if they possessed this virtue" Michael Walzer


Re: Boundaries on freedom of speech.

Popper asserted that to allow freedom of speech to those who would use it to eliminate the very principle upon which they rely is paradoxical.

Rosenfeld states "it seems contradictory to extend freedom of speech to extremists who... if successful, ruthlessly suppress the speech of those with whom they disagree."


Can our liberal democracies survive the extremist threat?




All Minions are equal under the law.


We are the Lodzer Morning Minyanaires


Always a good breakfast following!


“If a person does not continually learn and grow,

then he or she is declining both intellectually

and with regard to understanding life.”

That is why the shul, and our excellent volunteers, provide POW, Pirke Avoth, Book Chat, Karate lessons and now Conversational Hebrew./JU


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




Your Life  Moments





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

May 30  Sylvia White
May 31  Harvey Storm
June 1    Isaak Dagan




May 29  Rafael & Tammy Remez
June 1    David & Barbara Peters



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

May 27   Zenek Wajgensberg, father of Dorothy Tessis
June 1    Sima Anidjar, mother of Morris
June 1    Jack Coresky, father of Barry Corey
June 2    Louis Nadler, father of Sam





Take Your Soul to Work - By Erica Brown

On Decision Making

“For some people, good decision making is about speed. If you’ve made a decision quickly, you can often get out of it quickly without being dragged down into ambivalence and torment.  For others, a good decision is made thoroughly and slowly, weighing the pros and cons carefully so that the consequences are laid out. Taking a lot of time, getting a lot of advice, considering all the possible contingencies, creates greater confidence and mental preparedness.  Schwartz {Barry Schwartzz in The Paradox of Choice} advises that we narrow our choices to three and pick one. It hurts to close an opportunity, but it may hurt more to keep every opportunity open.”




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


Portrait of a couple.











May 24






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 25


7 - 8 PM



Kiddush Room



Hebrew Classes


Conversational Hebrew is being offered at the Lodzer on Thursdays at 7:00 -  8:00 pm.


If you're interested please contact Cathy at

Hebrew Conversation_w250.jpg


May 27


2 Sivan




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



Torah Times


Torah Reading:

Triennial Year 1


Parashat: Bamidbar

1: 1:1-4  (Pg. 568)
2: 1:5-16
3: 1:17-19
4: 1:20-27
5: 1:28-35
6: 1:36-43
7: 1:44-54
maftir: 1:52-54


Hosea 2:1 - 2:22 (pg. 582)


Candle Lighting:

8:29 p.m. – Friday



9:38 p.m. – Saturday


This week’s Kiddush

is sponsored by

Lily Silver and Syd Markowitz on the occasion of

the Aufurf of Narin Silver

to Perla Manahan

and to

Freda (Franka)  Kon’s

95th Birthday



May 29


Week 13


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 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!


Cantor Marcel’s Cohen’s

Grand Send Off To New York


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


Deadline with no exceptions:

RESERVE NOW 416-636-6665


June 3


9 Sivan




9:12 AM

Led by

Frank Steiman



Please help us out by coming early…

We need a minyan to start!



9:30 AM


If Roses grow in Heaven Lord, please pick a bunch for me.
Place them in my Mother's arms and tell her they're from me.

Tell her that I love her and miss her, and when she turns to smile, place a kiss upon her cheek and hold her for a while.

Because remembering her is easy, I do it every day, but there's an ache within my heart that will never go away.



This week’s Kiddush is

sponsored by Helen Gould

for the yahrzeits of

Sally Myers


Rose Gould Lefko Cohen



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 10


16 Sivan




9:12 AM

Led by

Frank Steiman



Please help us out by coming early…

We need a minyan to start!



9:30 AM



This week’s Kiddush

is sponsored by

Rick & Eda Kardonne

for their 50th Wedding



June 11

10AM - 2:30PM




in the park


Earl Bales Park

Project Abraham

“Family-friendly” Picnic



If you can help out with planning  and/or activities on the day of the picnic, please let us know.

What to bring to the picnic: Food, water and soft drinks for yourself and for as many people as your household invites.

Gas/propane BBQs are allowed - no charcoal BBQs - to cook food.

Also bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on, toys to play with, soccer balls, Frisbees and anything else you need to have fun!

Suggestions: Take pictures of your family and friends in the park. You may want to share some of the food that you bring - and in turn taste what others bring to the picnic.

Note: More details to follow – but right now we need your help to organize this FUN event!

Let us know...Debbie.


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.


June 17


23 Sivan




9:12 AM

Led by

Frank Steiman



Please help us out by coming early…

We need a minyan to start!



9:30 AM


We all need a reason to live


We all need to feel needed. We all need to have a sense of purpose. Having a purpose is far more important than having money or a comfortable life. It is even more important than our health. A life that is healthy but purposeless is like a blunt pencil. It has no point.

Purpose comes from serving others. When we know that we are giving, that we are contributing to the world, that we can make other people happy and help make their lives better, then life is worth living because we feel we need to be here.  (edit: Aron Moss)



Only when it is dark enough

can you see the stars.

July 4,






Raid on



On June 27, 1976, four terrorists belonging to a splinter group of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine boarded and hijacked an Air France Airbus A300 at Athens. With President Idi Amin's blessing, the terrorists divert the airliner and its hostages to Entebbe Airport in Uganda. After identifying Israeli passengers, the non-Jewish passengers are freed while a series of demands are made, including the release of 40 Palestinian militants held in Israel, in exchange for the hostages.

The Cabinet of Israel, led by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, unwilling to give in to terrorist demands, is faced with difficult decisions as their deliberations lead to a top-secret military raid. The difficult and daring commando operation, "Operation Thunderbolt", will be carried out over 2,500 miles (4 000 km) from home and will take place on the Jewish Sabbath.

While still negotiating with the terrorists, who now numbered seven individuals including Palestinians and two Germans, the Israeli military prepared two Lockheed C-130 Hercules transports for the raid. The transports refuelled in Kenya before landing at Entebbe Airport under the cover of darkness. The commandos had to contend with a large armed Ugandan military detachment and used a ruse to overcome the defenses. A black Mercedes limousine had been carried on board and was used to fool sentries that it was the official car that President Amin used on an impromptu visit to the airport.

Nearly complete surprise was achieved but a firefight resulted, ending with all seven terrorists and 45 Ugandan soldiers killed. The hostages were gathered together and most were quickly put on the idling C-130 aircraft. During the raid, one commando (the breach unit commander Yonatan Netanyahu, brother of future Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), and three of the hostages, died. A fourth hostage, Dora Bloch, who had been taken to Mulago Hospital in Kampala, was murdered by the Ugandans on Idi Amin's orders.

With 102 hostages aboard and on their way to freedom, a group of Israeli commandos remained behind to destroy the Ugandan Air Force fighters to prevent a retaliation. All the survivors of the attack force then joined in flying back to Israel. <<40 years later>>


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




Christmas Eve - Jews be banned!

In 1814 Norway ratified the constitution that brought it into the enlightened age in all ways except one: the inclusion of Jews. No Jews were to be permitted to come and settle in the new and independent state of Norway. It took the poet Henrik Wergeland to open his compatriots’ eyes to their mistake.


Who cannot call to mind a storm, a tempest
so fierce he thinks that Heaven no worse can send?

So begins Wergeland’s epic poem.

On “Christmas Eve” a Jew by the name of Old Jacob is wandering from place to place selling a variety of things in order to do little more than survive. It’s Christmas Eve and the weather deteriorates to such an extent that a full blizzard is raging about the old man.

In such a storm—it was the eve of Christmas—
when the tall night o’erstrode the cowering day—
thro’ Sweden’s wilderness, the Tived forest,

an old Jew heavily was plodding onward

It was by no means accidental that he is crossing from Sweden into Norway, for Sweden’s borders were far more open to such a traveler. But once on the other side, in Norway, he hammers at the door of a house, and those inside wave him away, telling him in no uncertain terms that he will not find shelter from them.

‘Jew!’ thereat/at that place cried terror-stricken
together a man’s and a woman’s voice.
‘Then keep outside! We have nothing to pay with.
Misfortune shouldst thou bring into our house,
this night when He was born thou slewest!’

When Old Jacob goes back out into the storm he finds a young child, a little girl. She is one of the daughters of the family that has just sent him on his way. But the poem states that the old man is more affected by the cold and the hard-heartedness they have shown him than by the bitter chill of the wind and the snowflakes. He hugs the young girl close to him as the storm worsens and the dark envelops them, but in the morning the family finds both frozen to death.

This is their response when they go out into the new day:

‘Oh, God hast punished us! The storm has not, but our own cruelty has killed our child!’

When the Norwegian people read this poem the message was hardly difficult to discern. It was they who had banished Old Jacob from their homes—perhaps not literally, but figuratively speaking. It was they who had refused him shelter. Wergeland pulls no punches—it has been because of the so-called Christian values of the family on whose door the old man hammers that they do not let him in.  inContext



Chill out, Old Jacob!




Memories of our survivors - Freda Kon - As told to Susan Yellin

As Holocaust Education Week ends, it’s important to remember that the Lodzer was built by survivors of the Shoah. Many are no longer with us. But here is the story of one of them, Freda Kon, who is alive and well and living in Toronto.


In 1944, Freda Kon made a promise: a vow she has steadfastly kept all these years.

At the time, Freda (Franka) Szpigiel was 22, surviving in the hell that was the Auschwitz concentration camp after first being rounded up with her family in Lodz and then sent to a number of other detention camps.

At Auschwitz an unknown woman approached her, showed the numbers on her arm to Freda and told her: “Maybe you are going to live through the war. Maybe. Our number indicates that we are going to the crematorium soon. But you, you should tell the world what happened here because otherwise nobody will know about it.”

Since that day, Freda has told her story a number of times, including as part of noted director Steven Spielberg’s Film and Video Archive of the Shoah.  But her account bears repeating because it speaks to the inner strength of many Jews during the Second World War who endured incessant beatings, slave labour, starvation and the loss of dozens of friends and family.

Freda tells of how she, her mother and sister managed to survive after German troops rolled into Lodz in 1940 when it was closed off as a ghetto for Jews. Even walking around the ghetto was difficult, like the time a German guard stopped her suddenly and forced her to wash toilets and floors in a nearby theatre, not knowing what would happen to her afterwards.

Before they closed the ghetto, German troops rounded up Jewish men, including Freda’s father, and took them to a field where horses were running free. The soldiers put the men on the horses then whipped both man and animal. Many fell off and were trampled under horses’ hooves. But Freda’s father, Yechiel, had come from a small town and was used to riding horses. He survived -- this time.  

Starvation was constant. “One night we heard there was a bakery that was selling bread,” she says. “Everybody in the family stayed for two hours each in the middle of the night to be there when the bakery opened. When it did open, the owners and others pointed to the Jews, who were then pulled out of the line. A boy came to me and pointing at me he said in Polish: you are a Jew. I swore at him so he let me go and I got the bread.”

When the ghetto was created, people started organizing the area into a mini-city – with a hospital, stores and workplaces.

Freda got a job in a kitchen set up for professionals, like doctors and lawyers. It was there at the age of 17 that she met Lolek Kon, the love of her life and the man who would one day be her husband.

Lolek eventually went to Freda’s father and told him that he wanted to marry his daughter, but her father told him war was not a good time to get married.

They left Lodz suddenly in 1944, when German soldiers packed the residents of the ghetto 80 people to a train car, gave them no food or water and sent them on to Auschwitz.

When they arrived, the men and women were separated.  Some were immediately led away to the camp’s notorious gas chambers, where about 1.1 million people died during the war. “Lolek’s mother put her arm around my shoulder and said: ‘Don’t cry. You will be with Lolek again.’  And that was the last word we heard her speak.”

Others were told they were going to get a shower and were told to strip, shaved and forced to sit naked on the floor for hours. Some, like Freda, her mother and her sister, were then told to get up and leave and were given clothes.

Every day the only nourishment was a bowl of thin soup and a piece of bread no bigger than a fist, says Freda. Her family survived because her mother, Bluma, hid all the bread and allotted a certain amount to the three of them every day.  

From Auschwitz the three women were sent to Stuffhof and forced on a death march, unbeknownst to them that the war was coming to an end.

They walked for eight days in ankle-deep snow, sleeping at night in barns where the horses, cows and pigs let them use their bodies to warm up the prisoners’ hands and feet. “Til today I remember those animals and I love them for it.”

At one point, Freda’s mother suddenly stopped and said she was not going another step, even while a soldier threatened to shoot them.  Oddly enough, when they refused to budge, the soldier left.

The next morning, they made their way to city hall and stayed in the area until they were liberated by the Russians.

One day, a Russian soldier came up to them and asked them who they were. “We’re Jews,” Freda said. “Impossible,” said the soldier. “All the Jews are dead.” Then he made her write down something in Yiddish and told them he was sending the note to his parents to prove to them amidst all the death, some Jews still remained alive. The soldier, of course, was Jewish.   

Freda, her mother and sister slowly travelled back to Lodz, honouring a pact they had all made before the war to go back to their hometown if they survived.

When they arrived, they discovered their home had been taken over by someone else who wasn’t about to let Freda and her family back in – a situation that befell many survivors.

The trio went to a registration centre where the Jews entered their names to let other surviving family members know they had made it through the war. Freda, who was hired on at the centre, would come home to her waiting mother every day with the sombre news that no one they knew had made it back. She said to her mother, “we have to forget it.”

A week later, May 24, she had just come home from work when she heard someone banging on the door. “I ran to the door and I opened it and standing there was my fiancé,” she says, still smiling at the memory. “He came in and told us that my brother was alive, that his father was alive, but that my father perished. Lolek knew he had to come back that day because it was my birthday because if there was any day that I would be back, it would be then.”


The two married on October 6, 1945. They spent three more years in Poland, where they had their daughter Lily. Two years, later the family all went to Israel where they spent two more years, stopped in France to visit relatives and finally to Canada.

When in Toronto, word spread that Lodz survivors often congregated at Blady’s butcher shop on College Street, where Freda says a bowl of hot soup was ready for every newcomer.

It was here that the first seeds of the Lodzer Mutual Society were planted, a group that later bought the property on Heaton Street in North York where the Lodzer Centre Congregation still stands.

And it is at the shul where you will occasionally find Freda Kon, a vibrant 94 years old, still holding fast to her 72-year-old promise.

CRESTWOOD - videos




Pirkei Avos

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

Pirke Avoth Perek 4 Mishnah 8


Note 1: This commentary is taken from Ethics from Sinai by Irving M. Bunim and from Visions of the Fathers by Abraham Twerski. Some sentences have been taken verbatim (in quotes) and others have been summarized. All relate to Mishnah 8. The Questions are my own.


Note 2: In Mishnah 6, we studied studying Torah for its own sake, studying to

            teach, and studying  to practice.

           In Mishnah 7 we studied the benefits of studying and respecting Torah.

           This week, in Mishnah 8  we will study the place of man in the universe,   

           and respect for Torah scholars.


Ethics from Sinai


R. Yose said: Whoever honours the Torah will himself be honoured by people; but whoever dishonours the Torah will himself be dishonoured by people.


“The human being is indeed a unity, a single, indivisible entity of body and soul; the two are integrally inseparably interrelated. For this reason our Judaic tradition requires us to rise in respect at the entrance of a great rabbi or scholar.” “If we have a high regard for the scholar, it is because … he has come to know the wisdom of Divinity and the verities of the Eternal. Any kind of Torah activity, be it study with the mind, worship with the heart, or action with the limbs - if it is done right, it must engage the entire person and pervade his total entity, the whole organism, with sanctity. Hence, ‘whoever honours the Torah, his body will be honoured by people.’ Not only the mind but the physical person will be regarded with reverence.”


“To us this may appear obvious.: A person is a person, and he cannot really be subdivided or considered in separate parts. Yet it is interesting that the Talmud notes a certain blindness in some to see this: How foolish are these other people: they rise [in respect] before a Torah scroll, but not before a great sage. In the synagogue, when the Holy Ark was opened, or when a scroll was carried by, they would stand in reverence for the Torah. But when a saintly scholar passed by, these same people felt no obligation to show reverence. Yet wherein does the sanctity or holiness of a scroll actually lie? It is only a great length of parchment on wooden rollers! Obviously its holiness lies in the words of Divinity that are written on it; before them we rise in respect. But surely, the scholar or rabbi who has studied this sacred Heritage has the words of God etched on his mind and memory. He is no less a bearer of Scripture, a living Torah scroll and observance, his body has become sanctified through it, and no less than the Torah itself it deserves reverent honour.”


Question: Has our congregation ever risen at the entrance of a great rabbi or a

                Torah scholar? Should we, and who decides?


“Only when a man honours the Torah, can he be considered  above all other species of existence, the height of creation. It has been noted that man in this physical aspect leaves much to be desired … He is ugly and helpless at birth, useless in old age. And throughout his life his physical capacities are surpassed by other creatures. Man’s only redeeming feature is his mind; with it he can transcend the limitations and delusions of physical existence to serve a higher purpose. With his mind he can study the Torah and live in harmony with the higher, spiritual dimensions of existence. When he does this he becomes above all creatures, for he is truly the crown of creation. But if he desecrates the Torah, not only does he forfeit the crown, but he becomes the very lowest of creatures. He sinks to a level lower than they, as he violates the true purpose of his existence, and thus betrays his maker… If you O man, do not fulfill your human potential, then the lowly insect ranks above you. The gnat is truly and fully a gnat; it withholds nothing, it distorts nothing. The arrogant man is not truly and fully a human being in his spiritual life: his self-centredness shuts out Divinity.”


“If your life is clear and pure, in harmony with Torah and Divinity, you are the spiritual man of whom the Creator conceived before all else. If you are impure, if your life is beclouded, distorted and defiled with impurity, you are a human animal and no more. As an animal you rank last in the order of creation.”


Question: We normally say that humans or their souls go to an after-life, but that

                 animals who have no souls do not (except for Roy Rogers’ horse

                 Trigger and his dog Bullet). Does this mean that humans who rank after gnats etc do not have an after-life?


“A man who honours the Torah by studying it, until he is deemed a scholar, should see to it himself that his body is in turn honoured by people. The Torah scholar has a special obligation, because people associate him with the holy, to constantly present a faultless physical appearance… The Talmud warns that ‘any scholar on whose clothes there is a greasy stain, deserves death.’ He who honours the Torah and would continue to bring it honour, should be most careful with gufo, his physical appearance.”


Questions: 1.Is he right about our position in the scheme of things being

                      dependent on our knowledge of Torah?

                   2. How do you feel about rising in the presence of a righteous

                       man, and comparing a righteous man to the Torah?

                   3. Describe an honourable person. Who do you know who would

                       you would consider to be an honourable person?

                   4. Can we be honourable people without Torah?

                   5. What must we do to become an “ honourable person”?



Visions of the Fathers


“One who truly respects and values Torah will be willing to learn from anyone, and far from impinging on his dignity, it makes him even more honorable.”


“A cheap earthenware cup full of gold dust has great value for what it contains, but if it is full of sand it has very little value. Man’s body is nothing but an earthenware vessel for the spirit. … If a person honours Torah by living according to the principles of Torah, thereby developing his spirit, his body is respected for what it contains. If he abandons spirituality and strives only for the pleasure the body seeks, his body as such commands little respect.


Question: Is this last statement true? Should it be?



Rabbi Yose  


“This tanna of the second century CE belonged to a distinguished family that had originally migrated back from Babylonia. The son of a noted Sage (head of the beth-din in his native Sepphoris), he was one of Rabbi Akiba’s five last and most important pupils, who came  to be called ‘The Restorers of the Law.’ This same select group received rabbinic ordination from R. Judah b. Bava during he persecutions by Hadrian - an act which cost Rabbi Judah his life, although the disciples escaped.


One of R. Yose’s most famous students was R. Judah haNasi, who included in the Mishnah many halachoth in his name. A master of aggadah (ethical teachings, moral tales, etc.) he was also extremely systematic, and thus is regarded as the author or editor of Seder Olam Rabbah, a chronological history from Creation to the time of Hadrian. Many ethical maxims of his are recorded in both the Mishnah and G’mora. Opposed to controversy, he sought to find a systematic way of deciding between the conflicting teachings of the Schools of Hillel and Shammai. He was apparently a good tanner by trade, and the proud father of five sons, noteworthy scholars in their own right.




Israel 21c header_w592.jpg

Israel Is Changing The World


Israeli company SoftWheel is revolutionizing the wheel by replacing traditional spoke-and-rim hubs with an innovative automatic suspension system that absorbs shocks, offering more energy efficiency and better maneuverability. On wheelchairs, SoftWheel gives the ability to descend stairs and go over uneven terrain smoothly. On bikes and cars, it means tires that will never go flat.


Reformulating Newton’s Third Law Of Motion
Newton’s Third Law is “Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.” With a regular spoke-and-hub wheel fitted with traditional shock absorbers, obstacles exert forces on the bicycle that cause vibration to the frame & riders’ body, and decrease forward momentum – the obstacle’s “action” causes these “reactions,” resulting in a less comfortable and slower ride.

But SoftWheel’s cutting-edge wheel engineering & design, placing the 3 suspension arms inside the wheel, allows the hub and suspension to “react” inside the wheel. The “action” of each obstacle causes a “reaction” limited to inside of the SoftWheel. The net result is much less vibration to the frame or rider’s body, and the preservation of more forward momentum.

Specifically, we developed 4 new technologies that confine reactions to obstacles within the wheel itself, helping SoftWheel improve the riding experience, comfort and energy-efficiency of transportation.
1. In-wheel SuspensionTM
SoftWheel’s core innovation are the 3 suspension arms built inside the wheel rim, equidistant around a central hub, that absorb shocks from any direction.

2. Adaptive RigidityTM
SoftWheel’s patented technology keeps the 3 suspension arms rigid and strong like spokes, but when encountering obstacles, automatically compress to absorb the shock.

3. Rapid Shock-ResetTM
After impact, SoftWheel’s 3 suspension arms reset quickly, absorbing almost all of the shock. After ⅓ turn of the wheel, the 3 suspension arms are immediately ready to go.

4. Single-piece Rigid RimsTM
All SoftWheel rims are built extremely rigid and strong. They offer as much stability and as fast a ride as the highest-quality regular rims on the market.


SoftWheel is improving the lives of wheelchair riders worldwide… AND in 2017 SoftWheel is launching its bicycle wheel! “From my first pedal stroke it was clear to me that this is a completely different take on suspension” says Neil O’Brien, Elite Bike Racing Champion & SoftWheel’s Velo Alchemist “Plus the wheel looks so different, the moment you see it, you wanna ride it.”  video




The Genius of Judaism


Bernard-Henri Lévy

How do you see Israel’s regional position today, given the tumult around it?


In the turmoil of our time, in the earthquakes which are shaking the whole area, Israel appears more than ever as a pole of stability and of democracy. I always feel, and I say this in my book, it’s a model of democracy not only for the Middle East but for the world!

Look at how we French deal with terrorism. I saw how you Americans dealt after September 11, 2001, with a state of emergency. And I compare our two attitudes – American and French – with the attitude of Israel, which is in a state of emergency not just for two years, or fifteen years, but since the very day of its birth, 69 years ago. Israel, frankly, has an exemplary attitude, which is to deal with emergencies without giving up on democratic values.


I don’t see any other example in modern history of a country that has had to face a constant state of war, a constant state of emergency, having in its own space a very strong minority who might be tempted to take the path of the adversary, and yet sticks so firmly to its principles. Never forget that you have in Israel a number of Arab parliamentarians, which we in France don’t have. Don’t forget that the Arabic language is an official language of Israel. And don’t forget that even in the moment when you have some Arab cities inside Israel demonstrating against Israeli policy, as during the Gaza war, there was never any step towards what might be called a state of exception – depriving this part or that part of society of its democratic and civil rights. It never happened. This is a fact.


Another thing. See the debate in Europe about multi-ethnicity, about minorities. Even in America, this debate about minorities and civil rights was a huge deal in the sixties and apparently the battle is not completely over, as you see with the Black Lives Matter movement. Well, see this problem of multi-ethnicity in Israel! The Hebrew State can really be considered as model of dealing with this matter of multi-ethnicity. Because, at the end of the day, what is Israel? Israel is people coming from the west, from the east, from the south. People coming from Europe, people coming from Russia, people coming from the Arab world. People of every different possible ethnicity. And all of them made so quickly, nearly overnight, a nation! I don’t see any other examples of that. So Israel has a very peculiar place in the world.


It’s striking that many of the countries that have profoundly impacted your experience and thinking – Bosnia, Bangladesh, Kurdistan – are all Muslim countries that have rejected the path of Islamism. What is it that’s different about those societies?


The most important political and ideological battle of our time is inside Islam, between Islamism and democracy. If there is a clash of civilizations, it is inside the Muslim world, between the democratic civilization and the fanatical non-civilization. This is the question of today. For all of us – Americans, Europeans, people all over the world and, of course, inside the Muslim world – this battle inside Islam, between Islam and Islam, is absolutely crucial. Therefore, for the last 20, 30, 40 years, I try to deal with that. I am looking for the light in the darkness. I am looking for the sparks of democracy, for the sparks of human rights, in a world that has also a strong inclination towards fanaticism – I mean by that the Muslim world.


One of the common points of all my commitments you just quoted is to stand at the side of those who, inside the Muslim world, fight for democracy, fight for tolerance, fight for the values of civilization. They might be the minority, they might be very lonely, but they are the salt of the earth. And as a man and as a Jew, I feel the duty to extend them my hand.




Bernard-Henri Lévy’s new book, The Genius of Judaism


The Genius of Judaism is a breathtaking new vision and understanding of what it means to be a Jew, a vision quite different from the one we’re used to. It is rooted in the Talmudic traditions of argument and conflict, rather than biblical commandments, borne out in struggle and study, not in blind observance. At the very heart of the matter is an obligation to the other, to the dispossessed, and to the forgotten, an obligation that, as Lévy vividly recounts, he has sought to embody over decades of championing “lost causes,” from Bosnia to Africa’s forgotten wars, from Libya to the Kurdish Peshmerga’s desperate fight against the Islamic State, a battle raging as we speak. Lévy offers a fresh, surprising critique of a new and stealthy form of anti-Semitism on the rise as well as a provocative defense of Israel from the left. He reveals the overlooked Jewish roots of Western democratic ideals and confronts the current Islamist threat while intellectually dismantling it. Jews are not a “chosen people,” Lévy explains, but a “treasure” whose spirit must continue to inform moral thinking and courage today.


Under the Cover

The New Guise of the Oldest Form of Hate

There are persuasive reasons for a Jew of my stripe to try to ignore the mental leprosy of anti-Semitism.

One is that its adherents include too many mediocre minds whose feeble arguments gain credence simply in being refuted.

Another is that there is so much beauty in living Judaism, so many thoughts with the power to elevate the soul and give it reason to hope, that one yearns to focus on those and to share them.

Still another, as expressed by most of the rabbis, sages, and thought leaders who inhabit this book (if they did not actually voice it, they were thinking it so strongly that it did not need to be articulated), is that the last thing for which a Jew is made is to engage in a quarrel that is, in the final analysis, a quarrel of anti-Semites with themselves.

And this last reason: New explosions of hatred have erupted everywhere, explosions of which the Jews are not the specific targets. These developments appear designed to put entire countries, and even the world, in a state of siege and emergency response.

The fact remains that anti-Semitism exists.

Some had thought it dead, obsolete, cast aside.


It is back.

Making new connections.

It has even begun to strike and to kill—to growing indifference—in French cities.

And, moreover, because observers of the phenomenon often seem blind to its new reality and, believing that they are confronting it, grapple only with its shadows, I see no option but to begin by describing the new guise of the oldest form of hate.

the virus and its mutations

For, in the beginning, are words.

Anti-Semitism is a very special form of madness, one of the features of which has always been, at every step in its history, choosing the right words to make its madness look reasonable.

At bottom, it is a language of pure rage, of brute violence without logic, which knows that it is never more convincing, never so strong or blessed with such a bright future, as when it succeeds in dressing up its resentment in legitimate-looking clothes.

And the anti-Semite is someone who, at the end of the day, has always managed to make it appear as if the hate that he feels for some is no more than the effect or reflection of the love he claims to feel for others.

There was the time when the anti-Semite said, “I don’t hate the Jews so much as I adore the Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Jews so viciously abused.” That was the Christian argument against a deicidal people.

There was the time, epitomized by the Enlightenment and its methodical nonbelief, when the anti-Semite corrected the first proposition, going so far as to reverse it: “These people must be detested not because they killed Christ but because they invented him.” That was the agnostic if not atheistic anti-Semitism of those who, like Voltaire, faulted the Jews not for being deicidal but for having invented monotheism.

Toward the end of the nineteenth century, when the capitalist mode of production was firmly established, there arrived a third form of hate, which consisted of saying, “We don’t care if the Jews invented or killed Christ—we are not firm enough in our belief or unbelief to give this matter the importance that devotees on both sides gave it over the centuries. We are socialists. We care about the underdog and, filled with this concern, with our consuming love for the sacred common man, determined to find and break the chains that hold him down, we have no choice but to declare that the Jews are at the center of the most extensive system of extortion ever devised by man. And it is for this reason that we go after them.” That was the anti-Semitism of French polemicist Édouard Drumont, of the segment of the workers’ movement that opposed the pro-Dreyfus party, which was perceived as the incarnation of the “banker’s spirit” and the “mercantilist mind.” It is that of the socialists who saw Dreyfus himself as the clandestine conductor of the gang of “rapacious crows,” as the “yids of finance and politics,” or even as a naked pretext employed by the “Jewifying and swindling crowd” to “wash away all the stains of Israel” (from a manifesto dated January 19, 1898, and signed by most of the socialist pundits of that time, including the great Jean Jaurès). It is the socialism for imbeciles that swears not to have anything against Jews (really, nothing!) but everything (really, everything!) against “Jewish capitalism” using Dreyfus’s name to “rehabilitate” itself and “prevail” in the war it is waging against “the emaciated Christian nobility” allied with the “clerical” minority of the bourgeoisie (from the same manifesto).

More recently there was a fourth strain, contemporaneous with the triumph of the life sciences, which made possible a vision of the world unknown in ancient times (and, in particular, in the Christian age, when the monogenesis of the sons of Adam was never really disputed). That fourth strain was the racist vision of the world. “Like the socialists, we are neither Christian nor anti-Christian. We really don’t care whether the Jews are tied to the deadly world of money. But what is in fact worrisome is that they constitute another race, an impure, mongrel race. And we find ourselves in the regrettable position of observing the ravages that that race has caused in the healthy and beautiful Aryan races.” This is a wholly separate strain of anti-Semitism, distinct in its mottoes and its consequences. Born with Renan, Vacher de Lapouge, Chamberlain, and Gobineau, it is the anti-Semitism that made possible Hitler’s Final Solution.

Four forms of anti-Semitism, each distinct from the one that preceded it.

Four forms that had to differ in order to resonate with the spirit of the era, adapt themselves to the era’s capacities for action and perhaps to what it wanted to hear—and so to expand their audience and propagate optimally within the social echo chamber.

Forms that are like so many faces of the same demon spirit, which take over from one another, replace one another, and are, in Hegelian parlance, successively “relieved,” either because the earlier face was no longer consistent with the sensibilities or the ideological needs of the new period (What does a follower of Voltaire care about the theme of a deicidal people? What does a follower of Hitler care about eliminating oppression?) or because the mask cracks and the alibi can no longer disguise the plainly criminal foundation for which it has served as a screen (as in the moment when Jaurès, who not only signed but also wrote most of the manifesto of January 19, 1898, cautioning the proletariat against taking sides between the two “rival bourgeois factions” that were tearing each other apart over Dreyfus, understands the trap into which he has fallen and chooses Zola’s side) or because the mechanism put in place proves more criminal than anticipated (as was the case with the many anti-Semitic Catholics who realized, at the end, the unsuspected scale of the crimes committed in the name of Catholicism; as with the disciples of Maurras or even of Drumont, some of whom recoiled in horror before the evidence of the gas chambers and the reality of extermination!).

beasts cured of the plague?

That is where we stand today.

That is precisely what is happening, once again, in the early years of this century.

There are still anti-Semitic Catholics, of course, but they are an isolated minority who keep a low profile when, by chance, they score a point, as when they persuaded John Paul II to canonize one of his predecessors, Pius IX, who believed Jews were “dogs” that could be heard “barking in the streets” and “bother us wherever we go.”

There are still followers of Voltaire, unreconstructed tormentors of priests, die-hard secularists, who continue to think that the religion of the One God is the mother of all dictatorships, an insult to the freedom of the mind, a disease—and that the only way to get rid of Christianity is to hit it over the head or, even better, to pull it up by the roots, which, as everyone knows, are Jewish. But this, too, is marginal; it is a rear-guard struggle. Apart from a few God-is-dead throwbacks and oddly wired Nietzscheans, as well as those who mix everything up and confuse the fundamentalist deviations of theo-political Islam with Islam writ large, not too many people believe that the war on faith is an urgent matter.

The habit of equating Jews with money and the Pavlovian diabolization that results from that equation have not been relegated to ancient history. But on this score the words of Georges Bernanos are borne out. In an article entitled “The Jewish Question—Again,” which appeared in a Brazilian newspaper on May 24, 1944, Bernanos asserted that Hitler had “dishonored” anti-Semitism. An awful thing to say, of course, because it implies that anti-Semitism could be “honorable.” But it expresses the terror that gripped the heirs of Socialism for Dummies when they discovered the vast cemeteries that Nazism had strewn around Europe, for which the tale of “moneyed Jews” was partly responsible. And the same remark might explain today how neither the financial crisis nor the patent misdeeds of globalized capitalism, nor, in France, the path taken by the young minister of the economy, Emmanuel Macron, through a bank with a name (Rothschild) that was, along with that of the Foulds and Péreires, one of the targets of Drumont’s La France juive, will succeed in re-inflaming, except residually, the fevers of the era of the Dreyfus affair.

As for racist anti-Semitism; as for the idea that it is genes or consistency of biological or cultural traits that make Jews a legitimate target of hate; as for the will to “free the race,” that is, to relentlessly and mercilessly “destroy” the foreign “forces” that are corrupting its healthy, glowing purity; as for the charge that had been made to a “horrible little Jew” (Georges Bernanos is speaking) named Adolphe Crémieux for naturalizing “en masse” a whole “horde” of Algerian Jews who had “nothing to do” with France, shared none of its “history” or “values,” and did not even have the merit, like their Arab neighbors, of having formed military units to go and shed their blood in France’s wars: Well, here we are at the heart of what Hitlerism indeed rendered practically inaudible. Tiny cells—sure. Handfuls of illiterates nostalgic for the Third Reich—that, too. But crowds of Europeans dreaming, seventy years after Auschwitz, of “destroying” the “Jewish race . . . ​by any means”? A political force calling for the revocation of the decree that I have to thank for the fact that, like many other children of soldiers in the French African army of 1943, I today am French? A mass movement calling, as did Drumont and Bernanos (not to mention Wagner and Chamberlain), for the “excision” of the Jewish “tumor”? No, we will not see that again.

In other words, anti-Semitism can reappear as a major force only by assuming a new guise.

It can recommence firing people up and mobilizing them on a grand scale only by acquiring a new way of speaking and a new sales pitch.

And that, in fact, is what has been happening for the last two or three decades with the gradual articulation and accumulation of a set of propositions that are, I repeat, new enough not to be fatally compromised by the criminal scenes of the past and, even more importantly, appear to be in step with present-day sensibilities, emotions, and preoccupations—and even with current notions of what is just, true, and good.

the foundations for future ravings

Proposition no. 1: We have nothing against the Jews. We reject in word and deed the toxic ideology that was anti-Semitism in ages past. But we must regretfully point out that being Jewish seems, in a great many cases, to be defined by allegiance to Israel, which is (1) illegitimate, because it was planted where it did not belong, and (2) colonialist, racist, fundamentally criminal, and even fascist in its attempts to silence the voices of its opponents. And so, despite our goodwill and anti-racist vigilance, despite the sympathy that we have always had and continue to have, in principle, with this victimized people and its ageless ordeals, we do not see how we can consider those who call themselves Jews innocent of this fascism. This is the anti-Zionist argument. It goes as follows: “How nice the Jew seemed during the war the world waged for him. But then came Zionism and, with it, the conversion of victim into executioner and the tragic and ruinous dialectic by which the Jew declares war against the world. No, that is not acceptable.”

Proposition no. 2: We have nothing (truly, nothing) against the Jews, they say. Their suffering over the centuries inspires universal compassion. But it strikes us that the central argument of Zionism—the argument on which the right of Israel to exist is based and justified, and which is trotted out like a “moral sledgehammer” (the phrase was used by German novelist Martin Walser during a 1999 debate over the form of the memorial planned for the center of Berlin) whenever one raises the objection of the unforgivable spoliation that lies at the source of that existence—is the chapter in their history of suffering referred to as the Holocaust. So, they continue, what about this “Holocaust”? Is it not obvious that it is a murky crime whose historical verity has yet to be fully established? A misfortune that, if not wholly imaginary, is exaggerated by survivors and the children of survivors, who have made it into a religion? And even if not imagined or exaggerated, even if the numbers are accurate and the killing procedures are as described in the abundant literature associated with the “Holocaust industry,” what are six million deaths on the scale not only of world history but of the wars of the twentieth century? And what is the purpose of the insistent claim to be the survivors of an unprecedented crime, unique in the annals of history and incomparable to any other, if not to make people feel guilty and, in the name of an infinite debt, demand limitless reparations? The reader will have recognized the more or less radical facets of this strange rant, which we know as Holocaust denial, Holocaust revisionism, and negationism. And we can see how a second terrible complaint is set up: How pathetic that these unscrupulous people lay claim to a dubiously exceptional status in order to build a state the very principle of which is unjustifiable! Shame on these traffickers in cadavers, who stop short of no lie, no moral swindle, no trick of memory, to arrive at their criminal ends! They deserve not only hate but scorn, these brazen calculators who, to quash the legitimate objections that their underhanded actions inspire in good people, dare to manipulate something that, since time immemorial, humanity has held sacred: the memory of their dead.

Not an easy read




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

Cantor David Young

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

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Sarah: 416-636-6665


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Office Hours

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The world is a magical place full of people

waiting to be offended by anything.

Proceed with Caution...




Liberal democracy

by first grade teacher

A first grade teacher explained to her class that she is a liberal Democrat. She asks her students to raise their hands if they were liberal Democrats, too. Not really knowing what a liberal Democrat was, but wanting to be like their teacher, their hands flew up into the air.  

There was one exception. A girl named Lucy had not gone along with the crowd. The teacher asks her why she has decided to be different. "Because I'm not a liberal Democrat."  

"Then," asks the teacher, "What are you?"  

"Why I'm a proud conservative Republican," boasts the little girl. The teacher, a little perturbed and her face slightly red, asked Lucy why she is a conservative Republican.  

"Well, I was brought up to trust in myself instead of relying on an intrusive government to care for me and do all of my thinking. My Dad and Mom are conservative Republicans, and I am a conservative Republican too."  

The teacher, now angry, loudly says, "That's no reason! What if your Mom was a moron, and your dad was a moron? What would you be then?" The teacher paused and smiled.  

"Then," Lucy said, "I'd be a liberal Democrat."




Quote Mining for Confirmation Bias

We are against the majority tyrannizing the minority.

But we are definitely against the minority tyrannizing the majority.


Democracy has turned out to be not majority rule

but rule by well-organized and well-connected minority groups

who steal from the majority.


Even if you are a minority of one, the truth is the truth.


Truth is essential in a democratic process.


Man discovers truth by reason only, not by faith.






Lodzer Shabbat-Bulletin,
30 May 2017, 13:57