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



For that moment when you realize

that a life manual is a good thing to have


Shabbat Bulletin - June 3, 2017




Making Shul and Judaism an important part of our Lifestyle






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The problem of Jonah and the people of Nineveh

As everyone knows, G-d told Jonah to visit Nineveh and tell the people there that unless they changed their behaviour, G-d would destroy them. Nineveh was Israel’s enemy, and so Jonah did not want to do God’s bidding. To convince Jonah of the righteousness of His actions, G-d caused a hurricane to blow and almost destroy Jonah’s ship and the sailors that were running it, then tossed Jonah into the belly of a whale. Jonah immediately saw the logic of what G-d was doing to save Nineveh and did His bidding. Jonah warned the people of Nineveh that they would be destroyed if they did not change their ways. The people of Nineveh were duly frightened, repented and for a while changed their ways. Then, when the danger was passed, they forgot about G-d and went back to their old practices and became stronger and stronger and meaner and meaner. 50 years later, as their strength now greatly exceeded that of Israel, they conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel (the ten tribes) and dispersed them all over the world.

Near the end of the story G-d tells Jonah that the people of Nineveh too were His people and therefore he saved them. Jonah was never sure that was the right move as God’s kindness resulted in the destruction of ten of the tribes of Israel. Was it worth it?

Today our leaders are letting in more and more refugees, many of whom dislike our civilization. Like G-d with the people Nineveh, we are doing the same kind of thing. However, are these immigrants, many of whom dislike our civilization, going to defeat us and our civilization and make us second-class citizens 50 years from now? That is the question that the story of Jonah now raises./An interpretation by Jonathan Usher.



Reading the Torah will not make you a better person

unless you think about it




More Cheese, Please!


We are the Lodzer Morning Minyanaires


Always a good breakfast following!

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But when I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” The Roman hedonists proclaimed: Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. The sages’ counterpoint is: You only live once - so do a mitzvah today.”


Zingers from Pirke Avoth | Perek 1, Mishnah 14 | From the Irving Greenberg commentary




Your Life Moments





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

June 5  David Bottner
June 5  Matthew Grossman
June 5  Sydney Markowitz
June 5  Alan Shievitz
June 6  Sarah Moshe
June 7  Roslyn Greene
June 7  Mark Johnson




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

June 7  Michael & Debbie Spigelman



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

June 3  Sally Meyers, mother of Helen Gould
June 4  Stanley Tessis, husband of Dorothy
June 4  Joseph Tschaschnik, husband of Esther
June 7  Avram Drewnowsky, father of Elliott
June 8  Henry Gardner, father of Gerri Goldberg




The Circle of the Spirit_590x300.jpg

The Circle of the Spirit - By Peter Gold

“Regardless of time and place, human beings cherish a common desire for happiness and a wish to avert suffering. From the very core of our being we yearn for contentment. In my own limited experience, the source of all happiness is love and compassion, a sense of kindness and warm heartedness towards others. Our world is rich in traditions possessing methods for developing these qualities. Lately, people seeking such methods have turned to communities that, living in harmony with nature, retain strong commitment to cultivating the inner environment. .”

Message from His Holiness, Tenzin Gyatso, the Daai Lama of Tibet

- Navajo & Tibetan Sacred Wisdom




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 nurse feeding children in an orphanage.



A boy searching for food.








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.



May 31





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


June 1


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


June 2


Oneg Shabbat


The Deadline for reservations has passed!




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


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


Torah Times


Torah Reading:

Triennial Year 1


Parashat: Naso
1: 4:21-24 (pg. 586)
2: 4:25-28
3: 4:29-33
4: 4:34-37
5: 4:38-49
6: 5:1-4
7: 5:5-10
maftir: 5:8-10


Judges 13:2-13:25 pg 602

Candle Lighting:

8:35 p.m. – Friday



9:44 p.m. – Saturday



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 5


Week 14


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.


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, transportation 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




Refugee Blues 1939

Poem by WH Auden

Say this city has ten million souls,
Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes:
Yet there's no place for us, my dear, yet there's no place for us.

Once we had a country and we thought it fair,
Look in the atlas and you'll find it there:
We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now.

In the village churchyard there grows an old yew,
Every spring it blossoms anew:
Old passports can't do that, my dear, old passports can't do that.

The consul banged the table and said,
"If you've got no passport you're officially dead":
But we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive.

Went to a committee; they offered me a chair;
Asked me politely to return next year:
But where shall we go to-day, my dear, but where shall we go to-day?

Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said;
"If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread":
He was talking of you and me, my dear, he was talking of you and me.

Thought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky;
It was Hitler over Europe, saying, "They must die":
O we were in his mind, my dear, O we were in his mind.

Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin,
Saw a door opened and a cat let in:
But they weren't German Jews, my dear, but they weren't German Jews.

Went down the harbour and stood upon the quay,
Saw the fish swimming as if they were free:
Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away.

Walked through a wood, saw the birds in the trees;
They had no politicians and sang at their ease:
They weren't the human race, my dear, they weren't the human race.

Dreamed I saw a building with a thousand floors,
A thousand windows and a thousand doors:
Not one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours.

Stood on a great plain in the falling snow;
Ten thousand soldiers marched to and fro:
Looking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me.

WH Auden


WH Auden does what a blues writer would do: takes a single main theme and makes variations on it, leading to a particularly powerful finale. The theme of this 'song' is the abuse of human rights experienced not only by German Jews but by other Jews and by refugees anywhere.

'Some in mansions, some in holes' - but no home at all for the refugee.

'Once we had a country': now, not only no home, but no country either. In the Jews' case, since the exodus from Palestine in the 1st century, many had, where and when they could, taken the nationality of whichever country they grew up in. From the end of the 19th century many Jews hoped to emigrate to Palestine, but this was not easy: the country was also the home of Arab Palestinians, and Palestine itself had long been run by foreigners. (From 1922 till 1948, the administration of Palestine was British.)

'Old passports': out of date and officially invalid and non-renewable for Jews.

'The consul': representing a country to which the refugees wanted to travel.

'a committee': officially set up to try to help refugees, but with its hands tied politically.
a public meeting': one of a number of such meetings held in countries receiving Jewish immigrants - there was resistance to strangers 'stealing our jobs'.

'they must die': it is generally agreed that Hitler gave an order to exterminate Jews, for whom he held a lifetime's hatred.

'poodle in a jacket': the Jews were treated as lower than animals - and later the Nazi officials would speak of them as sub-human.

'fish swimming as if they were free': even animals seem to have more freedom than the Jewish refugees.

'no politicians': the decision to destroy the Jews was a political decision; a decision to go to war is a political decision.

'a building with a thousand floors': copious accommodation? A vast ghetto? An image of Babel, and the many races of the world? None has room for the Jews.

'ten thousand soldiers': troops looking for Jews to send them to labour camps, from which few emerged? Or, later, the death squads sent to find Jews and kill them? Either way, this 'song' arrives at its terrifying ending: the refugees are being deliberately hunted down, and, as the preceding tension-building stanzas have made clear, they have nowhere at all to go.

Imagine it.


So wrote WH Auden in 1939, in his poem “Refugee Blues”. He was writing about German Jews fleeing Hitler but, sadly, his words are still appropriate for many people in today’s world. The fate of so many is still hanging in the balance, but for some there is hope and a helping hand. inContext

Youtube: Refugee Blues




Pirkei Avos

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

Pirke Avoth Perek 4 Mishnah 9


Note 1: This commentary is taken from Ethics from Sinai by Irving M. Bunim. and Visions of the Fathers by Rabbi Twerski. Some sentences of the commentaries have been taken verbatim (in quotes) and other have been summarized. All relate to Mishnah 9. The Note and Questions are my own.


His son R. Ishmael said: He who avoids involvement with the law rids himself of enmity, robbery, and invalid oath taking; while he who takes pride in laying down the law is foolish, wicked, and arrogant of spirit.


Note 1: This Mishnah is a warning that with higher duties come higher responsibilities and greater danger of doing harm.


Note 2: Involvement in the law here can be as a claimant or a judge. Bunim doesn’t deal with involvement with the law as a lawyer or a criminal.



Ethics from Sinai



As a claimant you shouldn’t claim all that is rightfully yours. It is more important to be righteous, and not go for every last penny that is owed.


Taking people to court brings resentment and anger. If you are willing to forego some assets, you will avoid controversy and keep your friends. Acquisitiveness is contagious and if you go for the last penny, so will they.


“You need not insist on the letter of the law. There is a higher level of relationship than justice, a higher ‘law’ by which to live: righteousness.”


Question 1: Do you agree that legal conflicts should be avoided even if they

                    result  in a small loss?

Question 2:  Is it true, not only for legal conflicts, but for all interactions between


Question 3: Has this been your experience? Have you an example?


“Sometimes, believing yourself to be right, you will take an oath and make statements that are actually false: in the zealous pursuit of your rights you may ‘take the name of the Lord your God in vain’. Abstain, remove yourself from litigations and lawsuits, … and you will remove yourself from hatred, robbery and swearing falsely…”


“ To keep a  community living and working smoothly, we need the lubricating oil of good will; everyone must be ready to act with charity and ‘give a little.’ Otherwise friction mounts until the machinery of human relations breaks down and the community destroys itself.”


“… havoc and ruin can befall an entire city or nation if its people ruthlessly insist on rigorous justice in every least matter, and refuse to abide by mercy.”



Question 1: Is this true?

Question 2: Does this apply to the rigidity and nature of the ultra-

                    orthodox communities?

Question 3: Does this apply to Muslim communities?



As a judge, there are different problems.   


“It is no easy matter to render a fair and objective decision in a civil or criminal case. Should you be swayed by subjective factors or outright bias, your decision is tantamount to robbery: you are robbing the person whom you unjustly find guilty. Furthermore unjust decisions (or even just ones, imposed on people who cannot accept them graciously) are certain to win you enmity. And then, in the course of trying cases you are bound to have people take worthless, false oaths, by which you will perhaps be swayed.”


“Our text may refer to a judge who insists on imposing a hard-and-fast ruling rather than work toward a compromise that two disputing parties can accept. In conflict and argument a settlement is always to be preferred, as it smooths ruffled feelings and leaves no aftermath of bitterness and resentment in its wake. Let a person in his conceit ram home a decision that declares one person right and one person wrong, and he has surely embarked on a path fraught with danger.”


Being a judge is a prestigious job. If you are not qualified for it, if your

ambitions or the prestige of the job override your reason,  

becoming a judge will result in disaster and also reflect badly on the Torah.

“Our ambitions and desires must in some way be commensurate with our  talents. If we permit our wishes, dreams, ambitions to outrun our abilities, then … we have an oversized heart’; our emotions are running away with us.”


“A hair’s breadth lies between right and wrong, between truth and falsity, between justice and injustice. Only if he is fully aware of the gravity of his task can a judge discharge his duties properly.” Perhaps because of this the beth din requires three judges. “And for a judge the road to hell can easily be paved with conceit and pompous pride.”


Question: Is this your opinion of the job of being a judge?


The idea of decision making and not being qualified to make decisions

applies particularly to lay opinions used to determine Jewish religious practices. Lay people think that their opinions are as valid as those of the authoritative views of rabbis.


The Reform movement “rejects the shulhan aruch, the traditional Code of Jewish law that for us is the compendium of religious observance. “Well and good: the lines are drawn. Dissension and rejection of precepts are nothing new in historic Judaism.” Leaders of the Reform movement are like the evil son in the Haggadah.


Question: Any comments?


The Conservative movement. “While they diverge and deviate from the rock-bottom of Jewish tradition, they quite simply deny that they do so.” “They talk from at least two sides of the mouth at once, while having their cake and eating it too.” They say that “They are likewise ‘developing and adapting’ Judaism, thus remaining ’traditional’!” The Conservatives simply change the rules, like permitting driving on Shabbat to suit their convenience. They violate Jewish laws by driving cars and justify it by saying that that is the only way their congregants will come to pray, and that is the greater good. This is bad thinking that will only lead to the complete loss of obeying religious laws. … “ Once Conservative laymen and congregants learn that they may ride to the synagogue on the Sabbath, they will lose no time in extending the sanction for other destinations as well.”… The Conservatives say that Hillel and Shammai also disagreed, but this is different as they were both interpreting the Talmud and they were both sages, the first more lenient than the latter. You must follow one school or the other. You can’t pick and choose whichever interpretation appeals to you.

“Strictness in itself is not a principle in observing the Torah, nor is ease and creature-comforts. The schools of both Hillel and Shammai start out with Halachic principles; and both Schools have truth and validity. Each applies its thinking consistently and logically to all cases. Each way, therefore, can be proper and acceptable in Talmudic times - but only when it is followed consistently, faithfully and honestly.” The Conservatives make their decisions, not based on Torah, but  based on creature-comforts. Their leaders preside over the disintegration of Judaism.



Question 1: Is Bunim, the author, and the Orthodox taking that hard  

                    line against Reform and Conservatives Jews that they say should

                    be avoided?

Question 2: What is the real rationale of the Conservative movement

                   for their changes or parting from Orthodox tradition of


Question 3: Is there a difference between the types of conflicts between the Orthodox and the Conservatives, and those between Hillel and Shammai?




Visions of the Fathers


“How careful one must be to avoid bias by personal interest can be seen from an incident involving the chassidic Rabbi of Apt, who sat as a judge on a beis din (rabbinical court). On the third day of the proceedings, the Rabbi of Apt abruptly withdrew from the case without giving any reason. The following Friday night when he put on his Shabbos kaftan, he found in his pocket an envelope with money which one of the litigants had placed there as a bribe, assuming that the rabbi would promptly find the money.

The Rabbi then explained t, ‘During the first two days of the proceedings, I was totally objective. On the third day, I felt myself drawn to favour one of the litigants. I had no idea why, but having lost my objectivity, I withdrew from the case. It was only later that I discovered I had been offered a bribe.’ The rabbi pointed out. ‘One can see how powerful the influence of a bribe can be. It had affected my objectivity even though I was not consciously aware of it.’”


In another case a couple came to Rabbi Feinstein for a get (halachic divorce). “They brought their dog with them and the dog was put in a separate room. The get was given. “When the couple was about to leave, the door to the room where the dog had been placed was opened , and the dog promptly ran to the husband, joyously jumping at his master as devoted dogs will do. R’ Feinstein called the couple back, tore up the get and demanded. ‘I beswear you to tell the truth! This woman is not your wife is she’? The stunned husband reluctantly admitted that his wife had objected to the divorce, and he therefore brought another woman to pose as his wife.’  Rabbi Feinstein explained to the onlookers. ‘This was no clairvoyance on my part. When the door was opened, the dog promptly ran to the husband , and did not acknowledge the woman. Had this been the wife, the dog would have run from one to the other.’




Israel 21c header_w592.jpg

Israel Is Changing The World


Tell an Israeli his or her idea is preposterous, and you’ve just given that inventor a reason to see it through. Whether it’s planting crops in the desert or developing a nationwide missile shield, most groundbreaking Israeli innovations were initially deemed impossible. This ability to achieve the seemingly unachievable comes from a combination of Israeli chutzpah, inventiveness, necessity and a healthy attitude towards failure.


Secrets To Israel's Innovative Edge

More than 250 global companies have R&D labs in Israel today, with 80 of them being Fortune 500 companies. Two-thirds are American tech giants such as Facebook FB +0.15% and Apple AAPL +0.18%, but there is an increasing presence by Chinese and Korean players such as Huawei and Samsung. Some build greenfield operations, while others acquire smaller companies which they build upon – out of HP ’s eight R&D facilities in Israel, seven evolved from buyouts. “If you’re a multinational company today, one of your assets would be a R&D center in Israel,” says Yair Snir, a director of M&A and business development at Microsoft MSFT +0.02% EMEA. “Especially if you’re looking for an innovation hub and adding an extra mile to do things differently.”




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.



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Jeff Shabes, President

Harvey Storm

Jonathan Usher

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Marilyn Richmond                                

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The world is a magical place full of people

waiting to be offended by anything.

Proceed with Caution...






For more than four decades, Bernard-Henri Levy has been a singular figure on the world stage - one of the great moral voices of our time. New Europe’s foremost philosopher and activist confronts his spiritual roots and the religion that has always inspired and shaped him - but that he has never fully reckoned with.”

The Genius of Judaism by Bernard-Henri Levy
Excerpts - compiled by Jonathan Usher

On studying Torah and Talmud

“Had I not discovered, with such wonder,the Torah and then the Talmud, I might not have been able to continue writing.”

“Another thing about which I have not said enough is the feeling of indescribable glory that coursed through me, like a ray of light from within an  opaque shell, when I understood that those pages contained not only the entire mental apparatus needed by someone seeking to close the parentheses of philosophical and political atheism without yielding to the murky appeal of a return to magic, occultism, and, at bottom, religion but also the resolution of most of the impasses into which my young self had strayed, the answer to so many questions that my theoretical work had left hanging. They also contained provisions for the human and political adventure that I had begun Bangladesh and that I sensed was gathering force.”   “I knew that that sense of glory would never leave me. I understood that I was experiencing a source of knowledge that would accompany me to the end of my days.”

On the nature of anti-Semitism - past and present

“The fact remains that anti-Semitism exists. Some had thought it dead, obsolete, cast aside. Wrong. It is back. Making new connections. It has even begun to strike and to kill - to growing indifference - in French cities.”

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.”

Anti-Semitism went through the following phases in history

“The early Christian phase  was - “ I don’t hate the Jews so much as I adore the Lord Jesus Christ, whom the Jews so viciously abused.”
The Enlightenment phase of agnostics or atheists like Voltaire who “faulted the Jews for not being deicidal but for having invented monotheism.”
3. Towards the end of the 19th century - the socialist phase which said, “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 centre of the most extensive system of extortion ever devised by man.
The mid- 20th century strain - “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.”

“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.”

Present anti-Semitic Arguments

“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) colonist, racist, fundamentally criminal and even fascist in its attempts to silence the voices of its opponents. And so, despite our goodwill and antiracist 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.”

“The above 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.’ “
“… the argument on which the right of Israel to exist is based and justified , and … trotted out like a ‘moral sledgehammer.’ …   Is it not obvious that it is a murky crime whose history ical 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 … 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, … if not to make to make people feel guilty and, in the name of infinite debb, demand limitless reparations?”
“Whether the Holocaust is a fiction or a detail does not matter. … There have been many other crimes in contemporary times, some of which are being committed right now under our eyes. One, in particular, involves the Palestinians, an , in this matter, the survivors of the Holocaust are not innocent, to say the least. Doesn’t all this noise about the Holocaust make one wonder about the absence of noise about these other crimes? … while noisily observing yesterday’s default, we are prevented from seeing, on our doorstep, the faces of future victims still living and still able to be saved:…”

Note 1: Levy then argues that anti-Semitism from Arabs will not be a problem and that, since in the 1930’s the anti-Semitism was with the elites of society and now it is with the dregs of society, the situation is different.

Note 2: Levy is mostly talking about France in relation to his arguments and the book as a whole.

What Does it Mean to be a Chosen People?
The Dialogue at Mount Sinai

It will be noted first, that at no point does the biblical text mention election or choice. Words were available in Hebrew to express that idea. There was the word behira, which signifies both ‘free will’ and ‘choice’ , and that would have expressed what the stock phrase implies in the words ‘chosen people’. But that is not the word that was selected and it does not appear, to my  knowledge, in any of the verses that touch on this story.

“And second, this gift is not a gift at all , because it is accompanied by a condition: It is because this people is receptive hat they are precious: because they are open to the Word of God that they are treasured; for better or for worse, this quality of being treasured is tied to the unconditional faith that they swear when declaring in a nearby verse, that they would obey and they would understand, that they would begin by obeying and then later, much later, they would come to understand what they had been asked to do and had done.
It will be observed, third, that God had offered this gift - sorry, he had proposed this pact ( it is because you are unconditionally receptive to my voice that I deem you a treasured people) to Edom, to Ishmael, and probably (Deuteronomy 14-2) to ‘all the people on the face of the earth.’
And it was only after the entire earth had refused, after the other peoples had, without exception, found a good reason to wriggle out of it, that, in desperation, he had turned to this small group of people who finally accepted him.
It will be observed , fourth, that this gift, if there had been one would have been a poison apple. Suppose Israel does not honour its part of the agreement. Imagine that it is not up to this ‘alliance’ that it has committed to. Suppose that it does not do what it will one day come to understand.. Well, in that case, absolutely all the texts are in agreement. The curses will be proportional t the blessing of the segula and the Jews, unfaithful to their promise, the Jews, who choose God but forget him, the Jews, who are a treasure  but who squander the treasure that they are, will be as the last of the last, the lowest of the low, no longer the head but now the tail, no longer the cream of humanity but the dregs. Here in verse 3 on the very first day of this very first transaction does not Rashi say that the terms of the contract, the worlds that God speaks are ‘harder than tendons’ that the promise is not much of a gift, being nothing but the ‘particulars’ and ‘punishments’ that are  to accompany disloyalty?

… It is the nature of this treasure not to be manifest. By definition it is intimate, hidden, something that one keeps secret, secrecy itself, the secret being. That is the essential point. And we must not fail to take its measure. These people are a treasure, but the others do not know it. These people are a treasure, but they do not really know it themselves. That they are a treasure has been announce to them, but they do not understand the news too well.

And in the meantime , what do we do? … There are rules for them to follow. There are detailed instruction for them to observe. Above all, there is the Torah, written and oral, which they are responsible for learning, studying, and passing on. All peoples read the Torah, of course. They read it to a greater or lesser degree, but they read it: We all know that the Christians and Muslims ratified the essence of the written Torah. But the citizens of the treasured people have a duty to read it in a certain way: fervently, passionately, using all of their mind, all of their mental strength, and sometimes, their life, too, in the fierce, depleting hand - to -hand combat with the text that is known as study. And more important, hardest of all, is approaching the Torah (and this, according to the Talmud, is the most enigmatic but most essential point) as if it had ‘seventy faces’.
… … That the Torah has faces, means, first , that the act of reading it brings it to life and that the reader animates it by making it his own. The same word is used for appropriation of the Torah through study (kinyan Torah) as for possessing a woman through love (kinyan ishah)  and the fact that the same word is used demonstrates that we are operating within the same discourse of love, within the same logic of reinvention of the other through the love that one bears for him or her and through a form of reading that Levinas would have described as being akin to a caress.

‘Caress’ in turn applies two things. That the Torah is not ‘taken’,  that one does not ‘appropriate’ its reality ,or, more precisely … that the Torah is not a ‘reality’, that it is not something that one can hold ( in the sense of possessing it) in the the ‘now’,  that it is instead, a ‘real’ that resists being seized and that can only be grazed. But, most of all, the metaphor implies that the text is a living thing, full of verses that are themselves living, desired, desiring, endowed with a soul, and sometimes capricious. They are not the frozen, closed, rigid being that fanatics take them to be.  

But hold on! The idea that the Torah has faces must also be grasped in its literal sense. Those faces are the faces of the subjects who appropriate it, their actual faces, indistinct up to that point, not fully formed, but that duty will help to make distinct or, perhaps, to escape from the shipwreck in which, like each of us, they might have perished. Because it takes on the face of the subject who studies it, one can say that the Torah calls the subject to an encounter with himself and reveals to him his true face. One can say that it is, as the philosophers contemporaneous with, again, Jaques Lacan would say, literally given to the subject. Or better, that the adventure of study is an adventure in subjectification and that the subject of the commentary, its topic, is I - as a subject.

This is the opposite of the Gospels , which announce ‘good news’ and invite the faithful to fusion and martyrdom - that is , to the consummation of existence on the fire of adoration of the One.

It is the opposite of the Koran which means ‘recitation’ and exhorts the faithful to regain their voice through that of God, to immerse the capacity for speech in the profuse, infinitely repeated utterance of the name of Allah, and finally ( except perhaps in Shi’ism), to dispense with commentary, which is superfluous where it is not inappropriate and illicit.

The Torah is an infinite book. The Torah is a book on a human scale, a human-like book. The Torah is a book composed, ultimately by the people who discover themselves in it. It is a book that, as Maimonides said in the last words of his Guide for the Perplexed, invites me to be me, stimulates my singularity, and helps move me to the apex not my narcissistic and phenomenologically individuated self but rather into the self-other, who discovers himself in what he has learned.

Does not the Zohar say that the messiah will come only after the reservoir of souls of Israel has been emptied? When each of the subjects to come from the Jewish people will have come to be a subject - by finding his face in the Torah? Is it not said that each man is a letter and that the book of the world will be written when no letter is missing and the entire alphabet of humanity is suitably spelled out?

But again: That those faces should be seventy in number and not, for example, twelve , as in the twelve tribes of Israel, that Rashi should choose, when given a number to these possible faces, the number of infinity extended - that is, the number of the nations - provides us a last bit of information that, if we understand it rightly is perhaps the most decisive. It tells us that all subjects - absolutes all, with no exceptions - have their place in the Torah and in it will find their face.  It means , as is said in Exodus, that God did not come solely for the individuals gathered that day at the foot of Mount Sinai, to whom he announces that they will be his treasure from that day forth, but for all those who are not there with them that day but are the objects of the same redemption.

It is the full “humanism of the other” … that is expressed in the verse. It is the height of Sinai, which is there, ultimately, so that all people may ascend it with their gaze.  It is the whole of man, man complete and unabridged, all of humanity, the entire human herd that God pastures in every latitude and every age, it is Adam, the already born and those still to be born, it is all of us who are offered, as a promised land is offered, to man and to intelligence.

And everything occurs as if the Jew were none other than the one who, being present from the very first moment, still and always alongside men with them, accompanying the nations in secret and helping them to name themselves, leading them in silence to an inner encounter that they want without knowing it, that they hope for while fearing it ( hence the ambivalence of the nations’ desire, seeing their guide both as a scapegoat and as evidence of their possible fulfillment and redemption …) - it all unfolds as if the Jew were none other than this: In the best case, man unique,that man at the culmination, man who is the true subject of messianic times. Otherwise, among the most [pessimistic and gloomy of us, among those who have said goodbye not to messianic hope but to its concretization, the Jew is the other name of an assuring, reassuring, confirming proof that man has substance, that there is still a singularity  and unity to man - in short, that being human has meaning, even it, in everyday life, in the culture, amid the turmoil of nature and the world, one has something the feeling that it all adds up to nothing or, in any event,  that nothing proves this “humanity.” Far from being a separate being who …would turn his back on the nations, the Jew exists only as a function of the nations, in his relationship with them and for them.

He could be sufficient unto himself: he could enclose himself in his houses of study, in what is sometimes called ‘Jewish life’. But that would be a terrible mistake! Being a Jews has its whole and proper meaning when it exposes me to something outside myself, when implies a passage through time and a peregrination within what is still called, for the time being, History.

… in short, the nations that adhere to some simple rules that unity the human species….put themselves in great peril when they refuse to expose themselves to that which is exposed to them - that is, when they sever and cast away the Jew in them.

Reading the Jewish text, reading it as it should be read, is to generate a universal…. This other universal that escorts human beings on the path of their history and to the centre of their substance I propose to call by a new name: the ‘secret universal’. Because that is, ultimately, what the story of the treasured people is really about.

What is essential is to grasp that no pride is attached to the unconscious knowledge of being a ‘treasure’. No national or tribal vanity. No sort of exclusivity , communitarianism, or sectarianism. Nothing resembling scorn for others or diminution of their merits. And the very idea of a privilege, of greater dignity, the very idea of an added increment of sacredness derived from the simple fact of being Jewish (by mother or by name), is completely foreign to the profound genius of Judaism.

The truth is that there is no hypostasis {an underlying hypothesis} of the holy nation.
It is holy but in the perspective of the ‘world of truths’ that is to be attained, but obviously not in this world, … there is no ‘social’ identity to this nation with a closed core defined and delimited once and for all. Jewish thought detests, above all else, the idea of legions of the faithful ‘clothing themselves in the garments’ that others ‘have worn before them’ - that is, to speak plainly, and the Kabbalah sometimes speaks very plainly, legions mechanically repeating verses chanted in the same form by others before them.

In short,, no sanctification of land, politics or society. And the nation? Even more so! There is even less sense, if this were possible , in the idea of a Jewish nation that, individually and collectively, would be rooted in holiness! The idea of a fast track and special access to the holy of holies, the idea that because one is Jewish one is on God’s short list and that there is nothing left to do but show up, and enjoy it, and congratulate yourself for the good luck that deposited you one fine day at the foot of the little mountain: That may be what some Jews believe; it is most assuredly what the anti-Semites are thinking with their fantasy about the chosen people and its election; but for Moses, faced with Korah and the Korah impulse {to say that the whole nation is holy and equal to Moses}, it is the worst of errors, the most monstrous of superstitions, and it certainly is not what he understood up there when God spoke to him.

Who is Jewish. What is certain and clear is that having that name without knowing the secret name that lives within it is the best way of turning one’s back and not hearing the outcry of divine intelligence. It is quite an adventure to be a Jew. Very beautiful;. But it is also a heavy load. Rare are the Jewish lives, the truly Jewish lives, that experience fully, even not for their entire lives, the test of being Jewish. … We are Jews one day, les so the next day, and Jews again day after that.




Collective Punishment

1949 Geneva Convention
According to article 33 in the fourth convention, the treaty states, “No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed.” Meanwhile in article 50 of the same convention, it states, “No general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, shall be inflicted upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they cannot be regarded as jointly and severally responsible.”

In regards to Israel, it would appear that collective punishment most of the time is unjustly administered.  Israel it appears is always held to the highest standards, even if one group or individual may or may not be at fault. Isi Davis


Don’t use collective punishment.

It’s not fair on those that have done nothing wrong.








Charles Greene,
1 Jun 2017, 18:36