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




A free man thinks of death least of all things;

and his wisdom is a meditation not of death but of life.
Baruch Spinoza (The Ethics - Part IV, 1677)


Shabbat Bulletin - June 24, 2017



Making Shul and Judaism an important part of our Lifestyle


The Lodzer Synagogue is proud to support the social action of our members and all that they do to support our local community, Israel, and communities in need around the world.




Where in the world is Rabbi Eli?


As much of a misnomer as Greenland, both lands would be far more accurately titled were they to trade names with each other.

Always a personal favourite, Iceland has most anything a nature lover can long for; magnificent lava fields, hot geysers (the phenomenon gets its name from a local village), imposing ice formations and shining glaciers, mystical green lights dancing in the sky on a crisp winter night, black sand beaches, bubbling geothermal year-round warm springs, powerful volcanoes, and the best super-jeep terrains on the planet.

One should be just a grateful for what is not here: Mosquitoes do not exist in Iceland, nor does McDonald's.

Iceland boasted total literacy and democratic government for over 1,000 years.
They wrote the best and wittiest sagas ever (even though beer remained illegal here until 1989. There is not a single forest on the entire island, and anyone who wants to name their baby something not previously used in Iceland must have it approved by the Icelandic Naming Committee. (Mind you, there are no last names here, only first and patronymic. Which means that if your name is Chayim - assuming the committee approved it - and your father is Moyshe, you'll appear in all your papers, as well as the phone book, as Chayim Moysheson. And yes, your sister Sarah would be Sara Moyshesdottir.)

Now that you think you know everything there is to know about Iceland, I'll tell you about Iceland Jews; surprisingly, they are not among those entities that Iceland is most famous for.

While Jews as such (Gyðingar, lit. "God's people") were known in Iceland for many centuries - Gyðinga Saga, retelling the First Book of Maccabees, was written in 1260s - the first Jew didn't actually come here till 1625, and even he was a Polish convert to Christianity.

Whatever Jews, practising or not, came to dwell here in the 300 years that followed, it practically was always from, or at least by way of, Denmark - under whose rule Iceland remained till 1944.

In the 1940's and early 50's, there were hundreds of Jewish soldiers and officers manning the naval air station in Keflavik. A Rabbi chaplain was present at the base at all times, and the High Holy Day services saw 450 to 650 in attendance.

Since then, the staff of the base was decimated, and most of the Jews left the country.
There are 50-100 estimated Jews here, and the first Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services in half a century were run by a Chabad Rabbi from the US 4 years ago.

The Jewish community in Reykjavik hasn't even gotten around to claiming official recognition (which would guarantee them a subsidized Shul and governmental grants). However, they do meet occasionally to discuss it.

Nu, so are we Jewish or what?

Meanwhile, the famous Halgrim church is probably the closest thing to a synagogue you will find in all of Iceland.
Iceland today has a mixed record when it comes to its history with Jews on Israel. In the last decade, anti-Israeli calls peaked in a 2015 call by the Reykjavik City Council to boycott Israeli products (a decision that was retracted a week later). At the same time, open racism of any kind is rare in Iceland, and anti-Semitism is as little known here as the Jews themselves are.
Even for a tiny island state with a smaller population than that of Markham, fewer than 100 Jews are a drop in the bucket.

Let me know if you want to be the Shofar blower in Reykjavik for this year's Rosh HaShanah. They just may have a vacancy.

Trivia tidbits:
2 rather well-known Jews "of Iceland".
The famous pianist Vladimir Ashkenazi lived here between 1968 and 1978. When registering his children with his last name, he had to seek permission of the Naming Committee. So now when choosing a name for your Icelandic baby you can choose between Thor, Sigurd, Ari, Ashkenazi, and other traditional Viking forenames.

The last First Lady of Iceland, Dorrit Moussaieff, is an Israeli citizen, and a great-granddaughter of the great Bukharan Rabbi Shlomo Mousaief, one of the founders of the Bukharim quarter in Jerusalem. In 2003 she married the president of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson on his birthday (May 14), which happens to be the Independence Day of Israel (Gregorian date). However, the couple has no children, so the name Moussaief is not on the menu for your Icelandic baby. You may want to try Ashkenazi instead.
Regards from Geysir,










A book review by Jonathan Usher

I found the ideas in this book to be unique, provocative and educational. It is a “quick” read but slow because of the number of ideas that must be processed.  

Hartman proposes that when our ideas of morality conflict with the directions or laws of the Torah, the principles of universal morality must prevail. The essence of Torah is to be good to your fellow man and when the laws of the Torah, for any reason, conflict with this prime directive, then current reality must be the intended result of the scriptures and must be dominate.

The first two paragraphs are from the book jacket -

“ In Putting God Second, Rabbi Donniel Hartman tackles one of the modern life’s most urgent and vexing questions: Why are the great monotheistic faiths - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam - chronically unable to fulfil their own self-professed goal of creating individuals infused with moral sensitivities and societies governed by the highest ethical standards?

“Hartman identifies the primary source of religion’s moral failure in what he terms its ‘autoimmune disease,” or the way religions so often undermine their own deepest values. While G-d obligates the good and calls us into its service, Hartman argues, God simultaneously and inadvertently makes us morally blind. The nature of this self-defeating condition is that the human religious desire to live in relationship with God often distracts religious believers from their traditions’ core moral truths.”

“It is precisely when the idea of being chosen by God meets a human being imbued with self-worth, that the seeds of arrogance, self-aggrandizement,and ultimately moral blindness can flourish. Instead of chosen-ness being a catalyst to serve God, it co-opts God into the service of human kind. When a self-confident human encounters God, he or she can catalyze the God Manipulation that blinds humanity to the needs of others who they do not believe are as worthy as they to sojourn so close to God. Both religiously inspired humility and religiously inspired self-regard continues the germs of religions autoimmune diseases. Completing the paradox however, is that not only are they the cause - they are also the cure. The moral blindness of the humble believer that is the essence of God Intoxication must be countered precisely  by the sense of empowered self-worth that demands human beings be put first.”

He sites Hillel’s statement that “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbour: this is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary …”  as a basis for the idea that when there is a conflict, morality always takes precedence over G-d’s direct commandments. He states that the way to come close to G-d is to act morally. Opening commandments is simply a way to act morally.

“Following the doctrine of Hillel, the purpose of religious systems, commandments, and laws is not to determine moral good in the first place. Rather, they function to remind us of that which we already know, and their primary role is to condition us to overcome the most significant cause of moral mediocrity, which is not lack of knowledge but weakness of character.”

Hartman next suggests that a perfect God can give an imperfect scripture because the scriptures were written for people to understand according to their culture, knowledge and understanding. As the latter changes, the scriptures might need to be reinterpreted according
to the culture, knowledge, and understanding of later Torah students. That is, the Torah was written for the understanding of an earlier less knowledgeable audience. The scriptures are therefore written for Jews to know the will of God in a particular timeframe and must be adjusted over time.

The value of Judaism is that “Faith can be a quality that moves a religious person from good to great. For religion can be a system that, while not defining the good, can push, prod, remind, teach, and enable its implementation by addressing our all-too-common deficits, not of knowledge but of inner moral conviction.”

Hartman returns to the importance of Scripture saying - “For the religious person, God is both transcendent and immanently ever present - an ideal of radical otherness and holiness and an agent involved in this world, concerned with human behaviour , responsive to our needs - and both of these aspects of the divine play key roles in empowering people to live conscious , courageous, meaningful lives. … Walking with God is not limited to doing what is just and right, but enables the opening of ones’ soul to the infinite.” /JU


Put God Second

In order to fulfill religion’s true vision for humanity—an uncompromising focus on the ethical treatment of others—religious believers must hold their traditions accountable to the highest independent moral standards. Decency toward one’s neighbor must always take precedence over acts of religious devotion, and ethical piety must trump ritual piety. For as long as devotion to God comes first, responsibility to other people will trail far, far behind.  (from hardCover)






Tribute to Marcel from a  “treble-maker”

By Faye Kellerstein

When I heard that Marcel Cohen was hired as the new cantor, I knew this was a major development in the Lodzer Synagogue's history.

I wanted to in-choir about singing with him for the high holidays.

Did you get my note? I asked him (in the e-mail). I heard you have 3 male singers, but you could surely add two women, one alto and one soprano, (myself and Carole M,) to complete the chords.

“That wouldn’t harm-any one, would it?” I asked.

There has been a minor setback, Marcel replied. We’ve had to scale back on singers because the shul can’t afford to pay them as in past years.

I did not appreciate his tone! He was a little too sharp for my liking, so I told him flatly to please give it a rest.

At the first rehearsal, I knew that the choir was in serious treble; no one could find the key (both to the door and to the score)

Marcel told us, “We need to guit-ar act together. You are all singing so-lo, that no one can hear you. It sounds ten-or twelve miles away, too muffled, and too “shleppy”. That’s a musical term that means slow and draggy.

Pick up the speed. Just du-et!

Presto, the choir began to accelerate to a fever pitch and began to sound like a runaway train. We need a conductor! Marcel concluded.

That is not my forte. I’m the chazzan, Robert Loewen (Marcel’s vocal coach) will be the conductor and also help the choir to find the key.

Marcel and Bob both worked hard to fix whatever was baroque in the choir.

We sang a capela. (That’s Italian, in Yiddish it’s pronounced a kepele)

That means we wear kipas (but not my brother’s kipa.) Naturally, I would have loved to have an orchestra accompany us, but the shul does not condone too much sax and vio-lens.

Yasher Koach Faye




So, an E-flat, a G-flat and a B-flat walk into a bar

and the bartender says,

“I’m sorry, we don’t serve minors.”

That struck a chord.

Be careful with those puns, they’ll get you in treble.

But they’re key to our humour

and very noteworthy.


We are the Lodzer Morning Minyanaires


Always a good breakfast following!


Naturally, the sages advanced and praised the study of Torah. Still, they concluded that doing good, i.e. action on the Torah’s instructions, not studying about what to do, is the essence of Torah. Talk is cheap; action costs and counts.

The wise and righteous man had trained himself to assess all his words before speaking them…. As a result, he found that he was speaking at least three -quarters less than in the past!

Zingers from Pirke Avoth | Perek 1, Mishnah 17 | From the Irving Greenberg commentary




Your Life Moments




June 19  Honey Spitzen
June 21  Joyce Brown

June 24  Roman Perelshtein
June 26  Lily Silver
June 27  Henry Epstein
June 29  Meir Schwartz




June 28  Richard & Reisa Grunberg
June 30  Joseph Steinberg & Hedy Steinberg





June 18  Henry White, father of Frank
June 18  Gabriel Broder, husband of Phyllis, father of Tamara and Eytan
June 19  Joseph Klein, father of Harley
June 23  Charles Goldlust, brother of Morris

June 25  Nechemiah Golub, brother of Eda kardonne
June 25  Gil Kardonne, son of Rick & Eda kardonne
June 26  Moshe Birensztok, husband of Sara
June 30  Esther Malet, mother of Dennis
June 30  Rose Stolberg, mother of Esther Steiman

The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live.





Take your Soul to Work, by Erica Brown

On Being Silly


“Mix a little foolishness with your serious plans. It is lovely to be silly at the right moment.”


On Satisficing


Satisficing is the combining of the words “satisfy” and “suffice” - and means to choose an option that is not optimal but that seems best given the alternatives.

C.S. Lewis - “True humility is not thinking less about yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”




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


Men hauling cart for bread distribution.



"Soup for lunch”

Group of men alongside building eating from pails.



Food pails and dishes left behind by ghetto residents who had been deported to death camps.








June 21



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 22


7 - 8 PM



Kiddush Room



Hebrew Classes


We have 2 Hebrew classes remaining in this session;  June 22, 29.    When our teacher returns from Israel in late July, we'll decide when to reconvene, likely in September.


If interested... contact

Hebrew Conversation_w250.jpg


June 23


6 PM


$20 BBQ


Park adjacent to

Beth Radom

Kabbalat Shabbat

in the park


Beth Radom is hosting a Kabbalat Shabbat in the Park adjacent to the shul  and the Lodzer Centre is invited to join them on Friday, June 23.
The service begins at 6pm and is open to everyone.

They are also having a BBQ immediately following.  There is a charge and guests must register by June 20th.
Non-Members $20.00 per adult, $15 per child

Please call Miriam to register. 416-636-3451 x24

shabbat in the park june 23_w250.jpg


June 24


30 Sivan


Rosh Chodesh Tamuz




9:12 AM

Led by

Frank Steiman



Please help us out by coming early…

We need a minyan to start!



9:30 AM





Cantor Marcel Cohen



Taking a Bite of

the Big Apple!

Torah Times


Triennial Year 1


Parashat: Korach

1: 16:1-3 (pg. 638)
2: 16:4-7
3: 16:8-13
4: 16:14-19
5: 16:20-35
6: 17:1-8
7: 17:9-15
maf: Numbers 28:9-15  (pg. 695)

Haftorah: Isaiah 66: 1-24 (pg. 944)

Candle Lighting:

8:45 p.m. – Friday



9:53 p.m. – Saturday


June 25


Drop-off begins at 10:15 a.m.


Volunteers needed to help with sorting


Yazidi come from 11 - 12 noon


Shul Kiddush


Clothing Bazaar

Many people have kindly collected clothing and household items for our Yazidi families and, at this stage, we aren't sure who needs what.  So we have decided to have a bazaar where all Yazidis can come to see what is there and select what they want.

We have collected a lot of women's and children's clothing but I believe there is a need for men's clothing as well. Any items not taken will be donated to another charity.



June 26


Week 17


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.


July 1


7 Tamuz




9:12 AM

Led by

Frank Steiman



Please help us out by coming early…

We need a minyan to start!



9:30 AM


Dry Bones

Jewish Curses Coloring Book


May you grow so rich that your widow’s second husband never has to worry about making a living.


May you have a large store, and whatever people ask for, you shouldn’t have… and what you do have, No one should want.


May you lose all your teeth except one… and in that one tooth you should have a toothache.


May you find a gold piece on the sidewalk and be so arthritic you can’t pick it up.


May you smell so bad that goats, skunks, pigs will refuse to ride in the same wagon with you.


May your wife eat matzahs in bed and may you roll in the crumbs.

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 into 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 11


17 Tamuz



Fast of Shiva

Summer Sadness

Pain doesn’t wait for the “right” time of year.

“The purpose of a fast is both to pray for salvation, but also to get rid of distraction and privilege and think about what we can do better in the world,”

Fasting in the Bible is like a hunger strike. “It’s a way of a human being saying to God, ‘Please change this, or I refuse to eat. It’s a way of getting at injustice in the world.”

Fasting as a petition instead of penitence.

In the Roman siege of Jerusalem, which this fast remembers, the Jews were barricaded in the city, cut off from food and water, dying slowly, inevitably, in full view of their captors. They knew they couldn’t possibly survive, but they tried anyway. Each day alive was a victory.

Despite that our tradition dwells on suffering, Judaism is an uplifting, celebratory religion.

“The goal of Jewish life is celebrating and emphasizing life. But mourning and death are part of life, and three weeks out of the year — between this fast and the fast of Tisha B’av — are geared toward experiencing collective national loss and entering that emotional religious space.”  inContext

Fast of Shiva Asar BTammuz_w250.jpg

The 17th day of Tammuz is a day of mourning for Jewish people. It marks the anniversary of five calamities.


On this day in the year 1313 BCE, Moses broke the tablets of stone that were inscribed with the Ten Commandments and the idol of “the Golden Calf” was erected.


On this date in the year 423 BCE, the daily sacrificial offerings were discontinued in the run up to the destruction of the first temple.


In the year 69 BCE Jerusalem’s walls were breached, which resulted in the destruction of the second temple.


Finally, the Roman military leader Apostomus burned a Torah scroll, possibly around 50 CE. This may have contributed to the Bar Kokhba revolt, the last war between the Romans and the Jews between 132 and 135 CE.


The 17th of Tammuz marks the start of the “Three Weeks” (Bein HaMetzarim), which is a period of mourning marking the destruction of both the First Temple and the Second Temple in Jerusalem.


September 7


8:00 PM

Book Chat

with Cathy Zeldin


Shul Kiddush




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


Coming Spring 2018


To Volunteer, contact:

Jeff Shabes

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




‘The Spinoza Problem’

by Irvin Yalom




By Ron Charles February 21, 2012

Among the innumerable treasures the Nazis stole from Europe during World War II was a collection of books displayed at the Spinoza Museum in Rijns­burg, Holland. Compared with the Rembrandts and Vermeers nearby, these antique volumes weren’t particularly valuable, but the Nazi officer assigned to carry out this little act of plunder said the books were of “great importance for the exploration of the Spinoza problem.”

The Spinoza problem? Was that a subset of the Jewish Question? Or was it some other species of insanity Hitler’s minions were pursuing? accessible introduction to Baruch Spinoza, the 17th-century rationalist who laid the foundations of the Enlightenment, and a convincing analysis of Alfred Rosenberg, the ideologue who articulated Hitler’s theories of racial superiority.

The story moves — a little — along two distant tracks. In Amsterdam in 1656, we see a young Jew walking against the flow of his neighbors going to synagogue. Though once considered the rabbi’s most promising student, Spinoza has stopped attending services, stopped pestering his teachers with impertinent questions: Whom did Adam and Eve’s children marry? How could Moses have written about his own death? Are we guilty of idolizing the Scriptures? He’s the sort of eager kid who seems arrogant just because he’s the smartest person on Earth. Under the penetrating light of his intellect, the Torah sounds to him contradictory, mythological and — worse — imprisoning. He has decided to discover, through logic alone, essential truths that are not buttressed by political fears, social prejudices or theological conventions. Without any sense of the moment, this innocent young scholar has bravely opened the way for biblical criticism that will eventually remake Western civilization.

In alternating chapters, we switch to the early 20th century to follow the life of Alfred Rosenberg, a pompous student weaned on the crackpot histories of Houston Chamberlain (he was a British-born German who promoted the superiority of the Aryan race and married Wagner’s daughter). At school, Rosenberg is a loner, the butt of pranks, but after delivering an anti-Semitic speech that offends his Jewish headmaster, he’s hauled into the office and subjected to a sharp debate about the inanity of his racial theories. To no avail. “Excavate anywhere in his mind,” his history teacher sighs, “and we run into the bedrock of unfounded convictions.”

For any parent or teacher, this is a troubling scene: How do you enlighten a young bigot? When is it too late to change the trajectory of an evil person’s life? Rather creatively, the headmaster orders Rosenberg to memorize a long passage of Goethe’s memoir in which the German master speaks of being roused from despair by Spinoza’s “Ethics.” Alas, that assignment doesn’t change the boy — we know it won’t — but Yalom imagines that it plants an incurable irritant in Rosenberg’s conscience: How could Goethe, “the eternal German genius,” have worshiped the work of a Jew?  inContext

Dutch Portuguese Rabbi Nathan Lopes Cardozo

arguing for the lifting of the ban on

bad boy Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza, Dec. 6, 2015.


Nathan Lopes Cardozo, an influential Orthodox rabbi, began his address by holding up a portrait of Spinoza that Cardozo’s father, a secular Jew, had drawn in the 1940s while he was living in hiding from the Nazi occupation.

“He was our family’s only rabbi,” Cardozo said of Spinoza.

Cardozo said he opposes Spinoza’s observations on Judaism, which he said were “deliberately biased” and “ultimately based on Spinoza’s utter ignorance” of the Talmud. Still, lifting the ban “would remove a huge stigma from Judaism as being dogmatic and narrow-minded, as Spinoza mistakenly argued.”  inContext


Philosophy has no end in view, save truth.

Faith looks for nothing but obedience and piety.
Baruch Spinoza (Theological-Political Treatise, 1670)





Pirkei Avos

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

Pirke Avoth Perek 4 Mishnah 12


Note 1: This commentary is taken from Ethics from Sinai by Irving M. Bunim and Visions of the Fathers by Rabbi Abraham Twerski.. Some sentences of the commentaries have been taken verbatim (in quotes) and others have been summarized. All relate to Mishnah 12. The Questions are my own.


R. Me’ir said: Reduce your occupation with business matters and occupy yourself in the Torah; be humble in spirit before every man; if you have neglected the Torah, there will be many causes for neglecting it in your way, but if you have toiled in the Torah, He has reward aplenty to give you.


Ethics from Sinai


“If you live in your faith as a Jew, the Torah cannot be a secondary, extracurricular, spare-time hobby; it is to be  your first and foremost vocation, your primary concern and interest, your veritable life work. If you would live with a Jewish sense of values, occupy yourself less with business and more with Torah. Let this rule determine you life-style; let this rule guide you in allocating your time, your energy, and your money. …

Torah, the voice of Divinity speaking to man, is the concern, the career and occupation of the knowing authentic Jew.”


Question 1: Is following Torah a way of life?


Question 2: Should retired seniors spend more time learning Torah?


“In his rule of life there is no need to pit all your strength and wits in an endless struggle to amass defences and guarantees against the poor house. … if you observe the Torah in poverty, you will ultimately merit to observe it amidst material plenty. … Set strong boundaries on work time if you would learn the Torah regularly.”


Question: How much time spent on Torah per day is reasonable and beneficial?


“Rabbi Meir was an excellent scribe, and every week he would work just enough to earn three s’la’im : one sela provided food; the second, clothing; with the third he supported other scholars.”


Question: Would you be comfortable earning just enough to survive?



“R. Me’ir continues: When you do make the Torah your main occupation, be careful that you do not succumb to the occupational disease of the intellectual: arrogance and false pride. Do not try to emulate some college professor who wouldn't deign to speak with you because you are not on his intellectual level, or fatuous students in some school who feel that the ordinary man is far beneath them. Such an attitude of snobbery, R.Meir indicates, in not only incongruous for Torah scholars; it is a falsification, a corrupt betrayal of Torah itself. If you have indeed reached the state of making Torah your primary occupation, then conduct this ‘main business’ of yours on a proper basis, in the knowledge that Torah itself thrives only in humility, and requires humility of you if it is to have meaning.”


Question: Does this apply more to rabbis who graduate from rabbinical college than to

rabbis who get their certificate from a senior rabbi?


“At any time that you decide to neglect the Torah to stay out of your study group and see a show instead, you can always find a group of ‘neglectors’ to go along with you. The course of action that is devoid of Torah will usually be a more popular and appealing one, and will easily attract like-minded fellows. But this means that at every choice you have both a temptation and a responsibility. You will be tempted to take the easy path of pleasure for it is gratifying to be popular and have company while you enjoy yourself. But it is a responsibility, for you may be the one to ‘start the ball rolling’: beyond neglecting the Torah yourself, you may be the ‘key figure', who prevails on the others to do the same…. If you neglect the Torah, you put yourself on an equal level with the large faceless crowd of mediocrities, the  undistinguished uneducated, who are all about us. If you will not work with Torah to let it give dignity and meaning to your existence, then you forfeit the opportunity to enrich and exalt your life with a higher meaning. In that case, there will be other … mass produced Jewish illiterates, to keep you company. On a par with you, they will join you readily.”


Question: Is this the usual “Conservative” or “Reform” Jew?


It is always possible to find an excuse not to study Torah. Not having time is simply an excuse to do something else that you find more important or perhaps you just want to waste time with your friends. “Hence our text might be interpreted: If you neglect the Torah, you put yourself on an equal level with the large faceless crowd of mediocrities, the undistinguished uneducated, who are all about us. If you will not work with Torah to let it give dignity and meaning to your existence then your forfeit the opportunity to enrich and exalt your life with a higher meaning.”


Question: Are we a faceless crowd? Do things other than Torah have the equivalent

spiritual value?


“If you really want to learn something worthwhile, with all your hear and soul, you can find the time.”


Question: Does Pirke Avoth require a morality or spirituality that is beyond most of us?


“To travel on the road of authentic Judaism, you must have some minimum knowledge to provide a ‘road map.’You must know the Law if you are to observe it and avoid its violation. If you will not study, how many finer points of Judaic practice, how many uplifting observances, splendid occasions for mitzvoth may there be, of which you  will never know… If you neglect the Torah, many wise, inspiring practices of your faith may remain…empty and meaningless for you, failing to add their richness to your life.”


Question: Does a lack of knowledge of Torah result in a lack of interest in

our Shabbat services?  Why do we go to shul?


When a man dies his material fortune is lost and will be replaced, but, if he is a Torah scholar,  the uniqueness of his being is not lost . “Each human being is essentially unique. When he immerses his life in the Torah, until he lives in its luminosity, a unique expression of Torah emerges. There have been, there will be other scholars, sages and saints. But this peculiar combination of traits and abilities, as it organically interacts with and is informed by the word of God, is unique and irreplaceable. Through no other human being will the Torah’s holy light shine and be refracted quite the same.”


Bunim compares the life of the Jew to that of a  salesman. As long as the salesman goes out on the road and makes sales, his supervisor will pay his expenses. When he ceases to sell, the supervisor will no longer pay his expenses. It is the same with Jews. As long as they study Torah and do G-d’s will, G-d will provide for them. However when they cease to do G-d’s will, G-d retracts his providence from them. For religious Jews there is therefore no need to fear poverty.


“Similarly, when the rich Jew decides to stop his religious practices and learning, G-d will cease providing for him and he will lose his wealth.”



Comment: Here again R. Me’ir talks about material wealth. He is not

talking about spiritual wealth.


“In the tradition of our faith there is nothing derogatory or harmful about honest labour. …But Judaism has no praise for the person who becomes completely immersed in the struggle for existence to the exclusion of everything else. Some part of each person must be kept free so that it knows both the struggle for existence and the meaning of existence. “This is the hallmark of the man of Torah: with his constant sacred study he lifts himself above the anonymous mass that submerges itself in the common meaningless existence of an unthinking herd.”



Question: Is life without Torah (in the wide sense of the word)  basically   meaningless?



The meaning of Torah study or “toiling in the Torah” -

“ The verb implies more than mere mechanical observance of laws and rituals, or a reading the Torah as great literature. It implies sustained hard work.  Nothing less can really make the Torah your own, a part of your internal life… At one point Scripture begins, ‘ If you will walk in  My statutes and keep my commandments.’ In his Commentary, Rashi … interprets that the verse can only mean …  that you shall toil with the Torah… in order to keep and maintain the precepts. “It is far more than its usual meaning in academic circles. It is immersing yourself in Torah,  becoming deeply involved in the studies, labouring long and diligently, concentrating with every fibre of your being, leaving behind all scholarly detachment.”  “He must, as it were, enter the Torah and envelop himself utterly in its words, its concepts, its atmosphere…. Only intensive relentless, concentration and perseverance can make it ‘work through,’ to bring to the deeper levels of awareness and understanding the ‘abundant reward’ that attends upon Divine illumination.”


Question: Does this mishnah say the opposite to Rabbi Nachman. It is not joy that we should seek but to study Torah and do His commandments in order to live a better life?



Visions of the Fathers


Think of a mother working, and at the same time being aware of her infant child sleeping nearby.  “At the slightest sound, the baby totally occupies her mind. That is how it should be with Torah. Although we may engage in work or business, we should not be totally distracted from Torah. Furthermore, being engaged in work or business shouldn't have to distract us from Torah at all. When we work and transact business according to the teachings of Torah and with the kavannah that we are doing so, we are indeed engaged in Torah.”


A person may be engaging in Torah while conducting their business. “Consciously applying Torah teachings while working or transacting is engaging in Torah rather than in business.”


Question: Do we know Torah or Pirke Avoth well enough to apply their principles to our daily lives?




Israel 21c header_w592.jpg


In recent years Israel has emerged as the ultimate hipster haven.

Israel is leading global trends in music, art, fashion, food, festivals, lifestyle and more.


Amit Shimoni has done the impossible. This Israeli designer-illustrator is making people smile when they see politicians.

Shimoni, 29, is the artist behind Hipstory, an illustrated series that depicts world leaders as hipsters and fashionistas — from Hillary Clinton to Theodor Herzl, Barack Obama to George Washington, David Ben-Gurion to Angela Merkel, Donald Trump to Vladimir Putin, Nelson Mandela to Mao Zedong.

Formal suits and ties are replaced with tank tops, denim, studded vests and Hawaiian shirts.

“Part of the purpose in drawing them like this was to make people look at these leaders and smile,” Shimoni tells ISRAEL21c from his Tel Aviv studio. “I want people to reflect on our leaders, our society and ourselves.”  inContext




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 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.


Lodzer Sisterhood Cookbooks
Great Gifts – just $20 each

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.

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


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, 1st VP

Judy Hazen, 2nd VP

Morry Nosak, Treasurer

Marilyn Richmond, Secretary

Board Members

Frank Steiman

Henry Epstein

Joe Ber

Leon Pasternak (Honourary)

Rafi Remez

Roz Greene

Sid Markovitz


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

For submissions/feedback:


Help us get the word out:

Share the bulletin!


Lodzer Office

Sarah: 416-636-6665


Office Hours

Monday through Thursday

9am - 1pm and 2pm - 4pm


9am to 1pm




It’s no Wonder...


The world's 5 sexiest accents, according to single men

Move over French accent; there’s a sexier tone that makes American men swoon.


“The one thing most men can agree upon is that there's just something special about a woman with an accent. Accents have a tendency of taking our minds to unknown, and exotic places, adding a touch of mystery and intrigue to the speaker”


Israel came in at No. 1 on the list.

"Israeli accents conjure up images of the Mediterranean”


1. Israeli - The accent of the lead character of “Wonder Woman,” portrayed by rising Israeli actress Gal Gadot, could be one reason American men are getting so weak in the knees when they hear the former Miss Israel pageant winner speak.


2. Colombian - Fans of "Modern Family" know that Gloria Pritchett's accent is one of the television show's funniest go-to applause lines. Played by Colombian actress Sofia Vergara with comedic aplomb, Gloria's character on the successful sitcom has turned the Latina actress into everyone's idea of the dream wife.


3. Australian - Actress Margot Robbie role as the wife of Leonardo DiCaprio in "The Wolf of Wall Street" really turned heads. Not just for her stellar acting, but for that Long Island accent she had that masked her true Down Under roots.


4. French - still ranks in the top five. Carolyn Jones as Morticia Addams?


5. Southern - From movies like "Sweet Home Alabama" to "Walk the Line," the Nashville-raised actress Reese Witherspoon doesn't stray too far from her Southern roots. And if there was any doubt about it, her accent (and mannerisms) are all too- eal. inContext




Rudolf Höss Gallows

What goes around comes around


Photo Credit: Dennis Jarvis

A replica of the gallows where the first commandant of Auschwitz, SS-Obersturmbannfuhrer Rudolf Höss, was hanged on 16 April 1947, after conviction by the Polish Supreme National Tribunal. The execution site was adjacent to Crematorium I. It stands where the headquarters of the camp Political Department (Gestapo) once stood. Dennis Jarvis


Rudolf Höss - Death Dealer of Auschwitz


Rudolf Höss was history's greatest mass murderer, the architect and SS Kommandant of the largest killing center ever created, the death camp Auschwitz, whose name has come to symbolize humanity's ultimate descent into evil. Responsible for exterminating 2,5 million people in World War II, he was a mild-mannered, happily married Catholic who enjoyed normal family life with his five children despite his view of the crematoria chimney stacks from his bedroom window.

At peak efficiency Auschwitz had the capacity to 'get rid of ten thousand people in 24 hours,' as Rudolf Höss would testify during the War Crimes Trials after WW2. Witness after witness, document after document produced irrefutable evidence of the crimes committed, and no witness was more shocking than Rudolf Höss, who calmly explained how he had come to exterminate 2,5  million people.


Counting corpses with the cool dedication of a trained bookkeeper, he went home each night to the loving embrace of his own family. An affectionate husband who kissed his wife morning and night, and tucked his children into bed.

Watching millions of innocent human beings dissolve in the gas chambers, burning in the crematoriums, and their teeth melting into gold bars, Höss wrote poetry about the beauty of Auschwitz.

And when he had an affair with an Auschwitz prisoner, he extricated himself by sending her to the gas chamber…  inContext





Isi’s daughter Laura is hanging in there...


With its amazing rock formations and stunning mountain scenery, the Grimsel canyon is one of the most stunning locations to canyon in the world. The Grimsel trip starts with a 50m rappel and continues with amazing jumps, awesome ziplines and cool slides.




Fly free as a bird, gliding weightlessly in the air… one of mankind’s oldest dreams comes true. This sport has fascinated our international guests for over 15 years. Get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful Jungfrau Region with your expert pilot – and without any previous experience on your part. Run a few steps downhill and soar into another dimension. See the earth fall away beneath you and fly free – a fantastic feeling. Our pilots all have many years of experience and a few thousand flights under their belts. We’ll gladly bring you closer to the world of paragliding. An unforgettable high-flying experience for everyone.