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


Our Western democracies will not prevail unless we re-embrace our Judeo-Christian heritage.

Our support for Israel should not be based on guilt, but rather on pride in our common roots and values.

Defending Israel simply means defending our values and our way of life.

Former president of the Italian Senate, Marcello Pera

Shabbat Bulletin - January 13, 2018

Your Life Moments


Jan. 6  Brian Goldman

Jan. 7  Rafael Remez

Jan. 18  Dennis Malet


Jan. 6  Allen & Ida Sidenberg


Jan. 8   Yochevat Goldberg, mother of Alla Kabacznik

Jan. 8   Harry Zaidman, father of Sally Berger and Leo Zaidman

Jan. 9   Abraham Kliger, father of Debbie Spigelman and Frieda Walton

Jan. 11 Zvi Waserman, father of Jack and uncle of Reisa Grunberg

Jan. 12  Susan Pasternak, wife of Leon

Jan. 13  Brenda Grossman, mother of Matthew

Jan. 14  Hinda Daniels, mother of Dina Wolfe

Jan. 14  Rose Kliger, mother of Debbie Spigelman and Frieda Walton

Jan. 16  Abraham Jackson, father of Simon

Jan. 16  Louise Yellin, sister of Susan

Jan. 17  Pearl Steiman, mother of Frank

Jan. 18  Manya Garfinkel, mother of Barbara Peters

Jan. 18  Henry Rotberg, father of Cheryl Klein

Rosh Chodesh service

with Cantor David and his Choir.

Remember - Don’t Forget - Take Action

Synagogue General Fund

Charles & Roslyn Greene

Alla Kabacznik

Rafael & Tammy Remez

Jonathan and Dora Usher

Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund

Eda Kardonne

Kiddush Fund

Barry & Nancy Corey

Prayer Book Fund - Siddur Dedication

Arthur Zins

Remember with your mouth, don’t forget with your heart,

take action as not to forget.

Jonathan and Dora Usher would like to thank our Lodzer family

for their support and love at this difficult time,

and ...

Happy Birthday and thanks to Rafi for all that he does.




January 13


26 Tevet


Rosh Chodesh


Rabbi Eli



David Young

B’aal Koreh:
Harvey Bitterman



9:12 AM

Led by

Frank Steiman


9:30 AM

Please help us out by coming early…

We need a minyan to start

Torah Times

Triennial Year 2

Parashat: Vaera

Exodus 6:2 - 9:35

1: 7:8-13

2: 7:14-18

3: 7:19-25

4: 7:26-29

5: 8:1-6

6: 8:7-11

7: 8:12-15

maf: 8:12-15

Haftarah: Ezekiel 28:25 - 29:21

Candle Lighting:

4:45 p.m. – Friday


5:54 p.m. – Saturday

Shabbat Va’era

Exodus 6:2-9:35

We are told of the relationship between God and the Jewish people and of the promise to give the Land of Israel to the people.

Moses is told that he should go before Pharaoh to ask him to allow the Israelites to depart. Twice Moses responds by saying that Pharaoh will not listen and explains that, because of a speech impediment, he is not the right person to represent the Jewish people.

God answers by declaring that Moses’ brother, Aaron, will accompany him as the spokesman.


January 14

Drop-off and set-up begins at 10 AM.

Volunteers needed to help with setup and sorting…

and clean up.

Yazidi come from 1 - 3 pm

Shul Kiddush


Clothing Bazaar

Plans are coming along nicely for our January 14th bazaar.  If you'd like to help and haven't yet informed me, please do so we can coordinate the team.

We still need drivers (to bring Yazidi and return them home) and shift workers (10 am - 1:30 pm and 1:30 - 5 pm) to unpack and display donations and help clean up the leftovers.  

This time we have a truck coming from Out-of-the-Cold to take away the extra clothing.

Winter outerwear, toys, bedding, towels, and household goods are the biggest needs.

Many thanks for your help!


January 14

Shul Kiddush


6:30 pm

(starts on time)

All Welcome

No Charge

Please inform Sarah that you’ll be coming.



As the Bard taught us,

the Schule must go on.

The Winter's Tale;

Sunday Nights with Rabbi Eli

Has the Biblical text remained unchanged through the ages?


January 18

8:00 PM

Book Chat

with Cathy Zeldin

Shul Kiddush


If you haven't attended before, please feel free to join us.  Having read the book is not a prerequisite to come out and enjoy this group, share thoughts and pick up ideas on books you'd like to read.

Book Chat

City of Women

By David R. Gillham

It is 1943 - the height of the Second World War - and Berlin has essentially become a city of women. In this page-turning novel, David Gillham explores what happens to ordinary people thrust into extraordinary times, and how the choices they make can be the difference between life and death.

City of Women by Gillham

It is 1943 - the height of the Second World War - and Berlin has essentially become a city of women.

Sigrid Schröder is, for all intents and purposes, the model German soldier's wife: She goes to work every day, does as much with her rations as she can, and dutifully cares for her meddling mother-in-law, all the while ignoring the horrific immoralities of the regime. But behind this façade is an entirely different Sigrid, a woman who dreams of her former lover, now lost in the chaos of the war. Her lover is a Jew.

But Sigrid is not the only one with secrets.

A high ranking SS officer and his family move down the hall and Sigrid finds herself pulled into their orbit. A young woman doing her duty-year is out of excuses before Sigrid can even ask her any questions. And then there's the blind man selling pencils on the corner, whose eyes Sigrid can feel following her from behind the darkness of his goggles.

Soon Sigrid is embroiled in a world she knew nothing about, and as her eyes open to the reality around her, the carefully constructed fortress of solitude she has built over the years begins to collapse. She must choose to act on what is right and what is wrong, and what falls somewhere in the shadows between the two. inContext

March 8, Stranger in the Woods

by Finkel.

April 26, The Painter from Shanghai by Epstein.

June 7, The Break by Vermette.


January 20


4 Shevat


Shabbat Bo

Moses and Aaron continue to plead with Pharaoh to let the Israelites go free. Because he refuses, the Egyptians are punished with plagues of locusts, darkness, and finally, the death of their firstborn. Pharaoh tells Moses, “Be gone from me!” That midnight Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt and proclaims that each year, on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month, a festival lasting seven days will be celebrated in order to recall their liberation from Egypt.


January 25

7:30 PM

CIJR Presents,

at the Lodzer

The Jews of Bulgaria

All welcome.

No charge.


Dr. Miroslav Marinov

Born and raised in Bulgaria. He is a graduate of the University of Sofia and the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences where he received a doctorate in philosophy. He is a writer, editor and translator, mostly from Russian and Bulgarian. He has authored two books; “Saved: Japan and the Jews in World War 11” and “Holocaust Averted: Bulgarian Jews in World War 11.”

Dr. Marinov immigrated to Canada in l990. Since coming here, he has been deeply involved in anti Israel and anti Semitic issues. He is a Director of the Canada Israel Friendship Association, and counters anti-Semitic actions in his writing and videos.

The Jews of Bulgaria

In the dark days of WW2, when the Nazi killing machine was rolling over Poland, France, the Netherlands, Czechoslovakia – one country refused to abandon its Jewish citizens. Not only did Bulgaria save all of its 50,000 Bulgarian Jews, but by the end of the war their numbers rose to 52,000. Bulgaria was the only European country to save its entire Jewish population from deportation and annihilation. Yet the saving of the Bulgarian Jews is little known to the world.

“a historical blackout”

After the war, the Communists took over. “Growing up in communist Bulgaria, the Jews were hardly ever discussed,” The government was anti Israel, spewing propaganda that labelled Zionism “the new form of racist discrimination”. But Zionism was a very strong element in the lives of Bulgarian Jews and, “they were on a collision course with the Communist regime. Most – 90% – emigrated to Israel. ”Today there are less than 2,000 Jews left in Bulgaria. “We are probably approaching the time when Jewish life in Bulgaria will be only a nice memory,”



January 27





In memory of 6,000,000 who were murdered only because they were born Jewish.

For ever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity, where the Nazis murdered about one and a half million men, women, and children, mainly Jews from various countries of Europe.


1940 - 1945

The scratches of the living

are now the message of the lost.

These scrałches were made by Jews as they died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

We can only imagine their suffering.

In the panic and dread of those rooms of death...

Dying men, women, children left these marks

A message to a future they would not see

A silent scream from those who perished.

"We were here. We lived. Remember"

On International Holocaust Remembrance Day

We honor these victims.

And all the Six Million.


January 31

Tu Bishvat

Bal Tashchit

you must not destroy

Tu Bishvat is our chance to be green and increase our devotion to being responsible caretakers of the earth.

Commemorating our connection to the land of Israel

In the midst of our North American winter, we are reminded that in the Land of Israel it is the beginning of spring. The first tree to blossom in Israel is the almond tree, signifying the start of the new agricultural year.

To cultivate and guard the land

Tu Bishvat, a holiday that has really no requirements for observance has evolved into a wonderful celebration that includes experiencing the fruits of the land of Israel, exercises in how we can become better guardians of our earth and prime opportunities to increase our environmental consciousness. Each Tu Bishvat, we are afforded the opportunity to deepen our commitment to what it means to take care of the earth.

Let’s use this holiday as an opportunity to play our part in fulfilling the mitzvah of Bal Tashchit and keep taking steps in preserving our earth and conserving our resources.

It’s the Jewish “Earth Hour”


February 3


Shabbat Service

9 AM



470 Glencairn



I have heard contemporaries of mine who lain Torah today who learned from your father, z'l, and they still know how to do it 40 years later!

When he read Torah, it was mesmerizing! Every word was clear and meaningful and deliberate. Just amazing!

Cantor Marcel Cohen

Join us as we mark the first yahrzeit of our Shamash, Baal Koreh, and renowned Bar Mitzvah teacher. Mr. Zucker was a Torah scholar, teacher, survivor, zaida, and a beloved part of the Shaarei Shomayim community. To commemorate his yahrzeit, Mr. Zucker’s students will read from the Torah on Shabbat, February 3, Parshat Yitro. Join us for a special Kiddush and a lecture on Torah Cantillation in Mr. Zucker’s honour.

Remembering Zayde

By Eric Stutz


February 11

Shul Kiddush


1 - 3 pm

Meeting in support of

the Yezidis

All Welcome

No Charge


Project Abraham

This is a wonderful opportunity for all volunteers to receive updates on the Yezidi situation both in Iraq and here in the GTA, on Project Abraham activities, and to network with other volunteers.

March11 Apr8 May6 June10 July8 August5 Sep9 Oct7 Nov4 Dec2




While we sleep peacefully in our beds,

the Yazidi people of Iraq and Syria are being driven from their homes, the men and boys crucified and killed, while the women and children are raped and enslaved.

Those who manage to escape have become refugees within Iraq, Syria, Jordan and abroad.

Ignore the plight of others

at your own peril.


February 20

7:30 PM

CIJR Presents,

at the Lodzer

All welcome.

No charge.

Prof. Emeritus Sally Zerker,

York University

Debunking the Occupation Myth

Jewish Legal & Indigenous right

to Israel

“Occupation,” “occupiers,” “occupied land.” These words have become a common refrain, repeated incessantly by Palestinian propagandists as justification for their killing of Israeli  women, children, old folks, army recruits and even visitors to Israel. I think it’s time to get it straight, once and for all — about the whole notion of occupation, about who are the occupiers of the land of Israel and the West Bank and who are the occupied.



April 18


3:30 - 6 PM


War Museum


Please book the bus through Sarah

before Feb 16th.

It’s a full day trip.

We will be attending a+s a group.

You’ll typically have only 1 hour to explore the site.

Word has it that Jeff Shabes will be lighting a candle this year. (Jeff also has nice hair.)

Canadian Society for Yad Vashem


The National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony commemorates the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust and pays tribute to the survivors who rebuilt their lives in Canada. Many survivors participate in the event. The program includes a personal account by a Holocaust survivor, as well as addresses by the leaders of major Canadian political parties.

The theme of the 2018 National Holocaust Remembrance Day Ceremony is “Remembering the Past, Shaping the Future: The Importance of Remembering the Holocaust”.

An informal reception will follow the Ceremony.

“It should be a very emotional and worthwhile experience.”


May 27, 2018






We need volunteers

to work on the

Lodzer’s 65th anniversary

Help us Sell Ad Space in the

Lodzer Synagogue

Sixty-fifth Anniversary

Tribute Book

To Volunteer, contact:



June 24


July 28





June 24-July 8, 2018

Let yourself be blown away by the biggest annual Jewish music festival in the world in old Krakow, spend a Shabbat in the ancient Kabbalistic town of Tzfat, relax with a glass of wine in upper Galilee, admire the grottoes of Rosh ha-Nikra, float in the Dead Sea, feel alive in Jerusalem like never before - all that, in the company of our Rabbi and Cantor, enjoying their warm personalities; enhanced stories; inspiring presentations; entertaining programs; and much more.

<click for full details>

Northern Israel

Tsefat - Caesarea - Tiberias

When you think of Northern Israel, you may picture taking in beautiful vineyards, hiking in the Golan Heights or swimming in the Kinneret, and you would be correct. But Northern Israel also has a lot to offer those looking to learn more about Israel's history. When you get worn out from all the outdoor recreational activities the area has to offer, [checkout what the region has to offer.]

Tsefat, an ancient Galilean city, has the highest elevation of any city in Israel. With its fresh mountain air, cobblestone streets and unique architecture, Tsefat is truly unlike anywhere else on earth. In addition to boasting gorgeous views, it is the center of Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism) and Israeli art. Appropriately, strolling through Tsefat, visitors often feel like they're in a beautiful painting.  inContext

Take a walk with us through the ancient cobblestoned city that is infused with art, music and spirituality.

Licensed tour guide Adam Budenstein calls Safed (Tzfat) a “beautiful, mystical, magical place. Every stone has a different story to it.”

Surrounded by the mountains and forests of the green Upper Galilee, Safed is world-famous for its winding alleyways and old majestic synagogues, its Artists Quarter and its musicians, its history of kabbalah and spirituality.

“But we're not disconnected from the rest of the world at all,” says Budenstein. “This is a place where people actually come to connect and I would invite you to come and connect yourselves.”

Caesarea is the ancient Roman capital of Judaea/Palestine, housing impressive ruins on a fully-fledged Roman town. And no Roman town would be complete without an amphitheatre in which to enjoy the sadistic spectacles that were so popular at the time. The city was built by King Herod in 22 BC, and with it the amphitheatre that served as a venue for a mass execution of Jews who had revolted against the Romans between 66 and 70 AD. The thousands of captives were taken from Jerusalem where they had unsuccessfully defended the city, and killed en masse in Caesarea for the crowd's entertainment. 65 years later, 10 sages who had been taken during the famous Bar Kochba revolt were tortured center stage, to the public's delight.

Every five years, Herod's port city hosted the gladiatorial games, sporting competitions, and performances. The amphitheater was the foremost venue of entertainment, and going to see people fight to the death was the equivalent of going to see a movie. Human life then was shorter and death was a much more common aspect of it, so it is difficult for us in the 21st century to compare moral values and understand how it could have been considered entertainment. The theater was also the biggest social meeting place, bringing people together from all over the city and indeed the empire.

This is the oldest Roman amphitheater still standing east of the Mediterranean. It seats 4,000 spectators, a huge number for the time. For 500 years, the amphitheater was the center of entertainment in the region. It was home to classic Greek & Roman theatre, and later the genre of pantomime developed, and mime plays were performed which made jokes about the local Jews.

Over the years the amphitheater underwent many renovations. The ancient marble floor covers an older Herodian floor, extra ornamental sculptures and pillars were added to the entrance, and in the fourth century a pool was built into the stage for water sports competitions.

Today, the amphitheater is one of the most prestigious concert locations in Israel. The ancient setting brings a special atmosphere to a modern performance and spectators get to experience the venue as it would have been used 2000 years ago, just with music rather than fighting. All Israel's biggest artists have performed there, as well as international stars as diverse as Julio Iglesias and Macy Gray. inContext

Maimonides’ tomb, located in central Tiberias, has become one of the most important Jewish pilgrimage sites in Israel. Considered among the greatest sages of the Jewish people whose analytical abilities are admired to this day, Maimonides, known as the Rambam (the acrostic of his name), was also a physician to the Muslim ruler Saladin. He composed a special healers’ prayer, the Jewish equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath, which physicians often make a point of visiting the tomb to recite.

Maimonides died in Cairo in 1204 and his remains were later re-interred in Tiberias. The walkway to the tomb is symbolic – seven columns on either side are inscribed with the names of the 14 chapters of his famed codification of the Mishnah, the Mishneh Torah, and a stream of water flows along the sides. A large metal structure over the tomb complex symbolizes a crown, indicating the great respect accorded Maimonides in Jewish tradition. incontext



Jewish Ethics in Torah and Customs

the after Shabbat discussion group led by Jonathan Usher

Based on A Code of Jewish Ethics Vol.1 by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin.

Patience, it is returning this week.

The Auschwitz praxis was based on a new principle: for one portion of mankind, existence itself is a crime, punishable by humiliation, torture, and death. And the new world produced by this praxis included two kinds of inhabitants, those who were given the "punishment" and those who administered it.

Emil Fackenheim

rabbi and philosopher

June 22 1916 - September 19 2003

"Where was God at Auschwitz?"

For the eminent philosopher and rabbi, Emil Fackenheim, who died in Jerusalem at age 87, it was imperative to seek an answer to this most vexing question. Even if there were no rational explanation, at least one should be able to derive moral lessons aplenty.

After the Holocaust Jews must "not to despair of God and not to despair of man" - be actively Jewish.

Jewish survival "denied Hitler a posthumous victory". Only a strong Israel could prevent Jews vanishing from history.

“There will be true peace in Jerusalem when both Islam and Christianity come to worship there, not in spite of our being there, but because of it" 1995

Fackenheim was a late convert to Zionism. Born in Halle, eastern Germany, he witnessed the twilight glow of the Haskalah, that extraordinarily fruitful, century-long encounter between Judaism and the Enlightenment. He imbibed post-Hegelianism at Halle University, and enrolled at the Haskalah-oriented Hochschule für die Wissenschaft des Judentums in Berlin. After studying under Dr Leo Baeck, he was ordained a reform rabbi in 1938.

Fackenheim's generation believed "the God of Israel had found a home in Germany". One 17th-century Fackenheim fought in the 30 years' war; Emil's father, Julius, founded the Jewish sports club in Halle to drum Prussian discipline into his community. Young Emil, too, regarded himself as equally German and Jewish.

So it came as a rude awakening when, on November 9 1938 - Kristallnacht - the Nazis demolished synagogues across Germany, including the one in Halle. Fackenheim was sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, but released after three months. In 1939, he escaped to Scotland, to be joined by his parents, and studied briefly at Aberdeen University. He was then deported to Canada and interned as an enemy alien for 16 months. His elder brother, who had remained in Germany, died in the Holocaust.

Fackenheim quickly made Canada his home. From 1943 to 1948, he was rabbi at Temple Anshei Shalom in Hamilton, Ontario, took his PhD and joined the philosophy faculty of Toronto University, becoming a full professor in 1960. He also married Rose, a convert to Judaism, and raised four children.

He became a master interpreter of Kant, Hegel and Schelling, reviving subversive biblical and talmudic texts that spoke directly to the existential uncertainties confronting 20th-century humanity. He cherished the "quiet voice of God" over the imposing deity at Sinai; he linked ancient Greek thinkers to the rabbis who wrote midrash, or homiletic discourses on the Bible.

Initially, he avoided analysing the Holocaust; it was obscene to view genocide as divine judgment, he argued. Yet he relented, saying that philosophers had a duty to address supreme evil and "torture and murder that became ends in themselves".

He found solace in the kabbalistic paradigm of tikkun olam - mending a shattered world. Relating small acts of courage and charity in the camps could help humanity salvage shards of goodness and justice, thereby reaffirming a seemingly absent God. He posited triumph over the Nazi "hegemony of death" by recasting Heidegger's concept of transcendence in religious terms.

In 1967, Fackenheim's life changed once more. Before the six-day war, Jews everywhere feared that Israel was facing a second Holocaust, and, notwithstanding Israel's military victory in that conflict, Fackenheim henceforth insisted that the Jewish state could no longer be taken for granted.

In 1984, he moved to Jerusalem to teach at the Hebrew University's institute of contemporary Jewry. Somewhat unwittingly, he found himself dragged into political controversy. He marched against the Oslo peace process, and castigated what he called the newfangled victim-becomes-victimiser argument. Yet he vigorously refuted Israelis who equated Yasser Arafat with Hitler. Paradoxically, he enjoyed more prestige in America and Europe than in his beloved Israel, probably because he never fully mastered Hebrew.


In the twentieth century, men -- all of us -- find themselves compelled to commit or condone evil

for the sake of preventing an evil believed to be greater.

And the tragedy is that we do not know whether the evil we condone will not in the end be greater than the evil we seek to avert or be identified with.

The "Jewish Question" for the Twenty-first

Century: Can We Survive Our Success?

Chapter One - An America without Jews.

Comment by Ju - After some seriousness, Dershowitz digresses into some jokes to indicate general awareness of the problem.  

In 1937 Jews were nearly 4% of the population. Now they are just over 2%. This suggests that by the middle of the next century the remains of the Jewish community will be a small group of ultra-orthodox who have relatively little involvement with the general community.

The main factors fueling these trends are intermarriage, assimilation, and wildly disparate birthrates.

“At present, the majority of mixed marriages end the Jewish family identity, both religiously and communally, if not immediately then in one or two generations.”

It is not racist for a deeply committed Jew to not marry a non-Jew because they feel strongly about the continuity of the Jewish people, even if he rejects the strictures of the Halakah.  

“What do you call the grandchildren of intermarried Jews? Christians.

Woody Allen tells a story of the Jewish theist who marries a Catholic atheist and fought over which religion their children should be taught to reject.  He also tells the joke about the child of Catholic-Jewish parentage who never goes to confession without his lawyer.

Pascal’s wager: the notion that faith is a worthwhile gamble, since we lose nothing if we believe, and G-d does exist, but we risk spending eternity in hell if we don’t believe and G-d turns out to be real.

A Jewish businessman warned his son against marrying a “shiksa”. The son replied, “but she’s converting to Judaism”. “It doesn’t matter”, said the old man said, “A shiksa will cause problems.” After the wedding , the father called the son, who was in business with him, and asked him why he wasn’t at work. “It’s shabbos”, the son replied. The father was surprised: “But we always work on Saturday. It’s our busiest day.” “I won’t work anymore on Saturday, the son insisted, “because my wife wants us to go to synagogue on Shabbos.”  “See,”  the father said. “ I told you that marrying a shiksa would cause problems.”

Morality - It’s just math.

An Ivy League professor explains chaos theory, the prisoner's dilemma, and why math isn't really boring.

Elena Holodny

Jan. 4, 2018

Steven Strogatz interview:

[On the question of] how order emerges out of chaos. Even though we talk about it as “chaos theory,” I’m really more interested in the orderly side of nature than the chaotic side. And I love the idea that things can organize themselves. Whether those things are our system of morality or our universe or our bodies as we grow from a single cell to the people we eventually become. All this kind of unfolding of structure and organization all around us and inside of us, to me, is inspiring and baffling. I live for that kind of thing, to try to understand where these patterns come from.

Holodny: What do you mean by "the organization of morality"?

Strogatz: Yes, that's a strange phrase. The reason I said that is — maybe you’re familiar with game theory and the prisoner's dilemma?

I’m thinking here of this incredible computer study that was organized by a political scientist called Robert Axelrod. … In the 1980s, he asked the world’s leading game theorists from psychology and economics and computer science — all kinds of different disciplines — to submit computer programs to play prisoner’s dilemma against each other ... It was a repeated prisoner’s dilemma. Everybody played everyone many times … And the question was, “What would do well in the kind of environment where everyone is using all of these different strategies?”

The prisoner's dilemma is a standard example of a game analyzed in game theory that shows why two completely "rational" individuals might not cooperate, even if it appears that it is in their best interests to do so. It was originally framed by Merrill Flood and Melvin Dresher working at RAND in 1950. Albert W. Tucker formalized the game with prison sentence rewards and named it, "prisoner's dilemma" in 1992, presenting it as follows:

Two members of a criminal gang are arrested and imprisoned. Each prisoner is in solitary confinement with no means of communicating with the other. The prosecutors lack sufficient evidence to convict the pair on the principal charge. They hope to get both sentenced to a year in prison on a lesser charge. Simultaneously, the prosecutors offer each prisoner a bargain. Each prisoner is given the opportunity either to: betray the other by testifying that the other committed the crime, or to cooperate with the other by remaining silent. The offer is:

If A and B each betray the other, each of them serves 2 years in prison

If A betrays B but B remains silent, A will be set free and B will serve 3 years in prison (and vice versa)

If A and B both remain silent, both of them will only serve 1 year in prison (on the lesser charge)

What strategy is best suited to handle moral conflicts?

The payoff and temptation to win at all costs where the winner takes all exceeds

co-operating and/or compromising which exceeds

a stalemate or no resolution or utter chaos

which exceeds the suckers/losers payoff.

The rules are simple. The score in each round depended on the opponent's strategy. All strategies met in pairs and they played 200 rounds in each match. The strategies could choose to try to win over the opponent, or to cooperate.

The winning strategy accumulated the most points overall throughout the tournament.

What this showed was that the winning strategy was the strategy that people called “tit for tat.” It begins by cooperating on the first move and then does whatever the opponent did. So if the opponent [tried to win - winner take all] as they say, then they will [also try to take all] in retaliation. And so it’s a very simple strategy — it was actually the shortest program that was submitted to the tournament. Only four lines of FORTRAN, the computer language of the era in 1980. So it was the shortest program, and was very simple-minded, but it ended up winning.

Keep in mind here: These programs are not trying to be goody two-shoes. They’re trying to win. These are self-interested individuals. These are egoists, these are free market people, they’re capitalists, they’re try to do anything to win. So there’s no sense of morality here. This is just “What does it take to win?”

Now, to come to the punch line, when Axelrod analyzed what programs tended to do well in this prisoner’s dilemma tournament, the ones that did well had four properties: Be nice, be provocable, be forgiving, and be clear. ["Nice" means to cooperate; "provocable" means to immediately defect in retaliation when the other player defects on you; "forgiving" means not to hold a grudge, e.g., someone resumes cooperating with you, and then you resume cooperating and don't continue to punish them.]

So what emerged from the prisoner’s dilemma tournament was: be nice, provocable, forgiving, and clear, which to me sounds a lot like the ancient morality that you find in many cultures around the world. This is the “eye for an eye” morality, stern justice. This is not the New Testament, by the way. This is the Old Testament. And I’m not saying it’s necessarily right; I’m just saying it’s interesting that it emerged — it self-organized — into this state of being that the Old Testament morality ended up winning in this environment.

There’s a footnote to this story that’s really interesting, which is that after Axelrod did this work in the early 1980s, a lot of people thought, “Well, you know, that’s it. The best thing to do is to play ‘tit for tat.’” But it turns out it’s not so simple. Of course nothing is ever so simple. His tournament made a certain unrealistic assumption, which was that everybody had perfect information about what everybody did, that nobody ever misunderstands each other. And that’s a problem, because in real life somebody might cooperate, but because of a misunderstanding you might think that they defected. You might feel insulted by their behavior, even though they were trying to be nice. That happens all the time.

Or, similarly, someone might try to be nice, and they accidentally slip up, and they do something offensive. That happens, too. So you can have errors … watch what happens, if you have two “tit for tat” players playing each other, and everybody is following the Old Testament, but then someone misunderstands someone else, well, then watch what happens. Someone says, “Hey, you just insulted me. Now I have to retaliate.” And then, “Well, now that you’ve retaliated I have to retaliate because I play by the same code.” And now we’re stuck in this vendetta where we’re alternating punishing each other for a very long time — which might remind you of some of the conflicts around the world where one side says, “Well, we’re just getting you back for what you did.” And this can go on for a long time.

But you could say morality came from evolution — it's natural selection, which is all we're talking about here — trying to win at the game of life. If natural selection leads to morality, I think that's pretty interesting. And that came from math!

So in fact what was found in later studies, when they examined prisoner’s dilemma in environments where errors occurred with a certain frequency, is that the population tended to evolve to be more generous, more like New Testament strategies that will “turn the other cheek.” And would take a certain amount of unprovoked bad behavior by the opponent ... just in order to avoid getting into these sort of vendettas. So you find the evolution of more and more generous strategies, which I think is interesting that the Old Testament sort of naturally led to the New Testament in the computer tournament — with no one teaching it to do so.

And finally, this is the ultimately disturbing part, is once the world evolves to place where everybody is playing very “Jesus-like” strategies, that opens the door for the [the player who always defects] to come back. Everyone is so nice — and they take advantage of that.

I mean, the one thing that’s really good about “tit for tat” is that … the player who always defects — he can’t make much progress against “tit for tat.” But it can against the very soft, always cooperating strategies. You end up getting into these extremely long cycles going from all defection to “tit for tat” to always cooperate and back to all defection. Which sort of sounds a lot like some stories you might have heard in history. Countries or civilizations getting softer and softer and then they get taken over by the barbarians.

So anyway, I mean, it’s all just stories. But what I meant when I said “morality is self-organizing” — because it’s an interesting question for history: where does morality come from? And you might say morality came from God — OK, that’s one kind of answer. But you could say morality came from evolution; it's natural selection, which is all we’re talking about here, trying to win at the game of life. If natural selection leads to morality, that’s pretty interesting. And that came from math!

In memory of Dan Usher

(Econometrician and former professor of economics at Queen’s University)

Man is the measure of all things.

In Conversation

Charles:\> I'm drawn to the fact that morality is just a numbers game. Scientists and mathematicians should be ruling the world. (Maybe a philosopher or two.)

Jonathan> Well, I knew that, but religion is primarily an instruction book on how to play the numbers game. Religion is not to win but to maximize happiness while playing the numbers game. The numbers game is the same, but the objective is different. For me, it makes religion even more amazing. Whether there is a G-d behind the whole thing is a completely different question. My bet is yes.

Charles:\> “Tit for tat” may have got civilization to where it is today, but it’s not necessarily the best way to move forward. We need a new algorithm. (or another 10,000 years to evolve further)

Judaism - leading by example

Early on in my career, I concluded that we were living in possibly the most remarkable period of Jewish history ever—with Jews situated right in the middle of one of the greatest human civilizational transformations of all time. The vast majority of Jews were living in post-modern civilization—an extraordinarily dynamic and magnetic culture that was sending its messages through an unprecedented number of channels and communications media. American Jews were living in the most open and welcoming society ever—the United States of America. After living for two thousand years behind the shelter of ghetto walls, we were fully integrated now and playing in the major leagues of culture. Unless Judaism could speak persuasively in the presence of the other value systems, unless it could offer a richer life, Jews would assimilate. I wanted to work on making sense of Judaism and demonstrating and advocating for its capacity to enrich life in our society.

A person should have a good eye,  be a good friend and a good neighbour and have a good heart

A good eye - means someone who does not look askance or with envy at what others have; who develops a generous giving spirit and who

does not begrudge another for what he or she has.

A good friend - cultivates friendship, which is the best aid to being a good person

A good neighbour - (1)has developed the trait of helpfulness or concern for those with whom they come into contact. (2) Gets involved with grassroots initiatives in their community and (3) has developed the ability to empathize and understand people he encounters, as it is a key to living a good life.

A good heart - is synonymous with goodness of character and a warm, loving attitude toward other people. A good heart leads to all the other virtues.

Perek 2 Mishna 9

The Still Small Voice - The Story of Jewish Ethics

William B. Silverman

(1913–2001), of Nashville’s The Temple Congregation Ohabai Sholom

“outspoken support for civil rights

will NOT bring harm to the Jewish community”

The Troopship Dorchester

"The ship's bells rang; it was one o'clock in the morning of February 2, 1943 - A few moments later, a torpedo from a German submarine exploded into the troopship Dorchester, transporting American soldiers to Greenland. Many men were trapped, and many perished. Those who survived and were able to move fought their way out of the wreckage up to the deck as the lifeboats were lowered. Captain Greenspun issued orders to the crew: 'Abandon ship.' The winds lashed at the mangled transport. The grim-faced men on deck knew that the ship was going down, and that they would have to jump over the side and swim to the wildly bobbing liferafts. In a few more minutes it would be too late.

"Four chaplains ran among the men, urging them over the side. Each one ripped off his life jacket and gave it to a soldier. Flares revealed the deck crowded with men struggling to find a place on the last raft. Those flares also showed something that the survivors will never forget. The four chaplains had decided to go down with the ship. They stood arm in arm, their heads bowed in fervent prayer. They were four men of God, each wearing the uniform of an officer In the United States Armed Forces. They were four men representing three different faiths, Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish; John P. Washington, a priest; Clark V. Poling and George Lansing Fox, ministers, and Alexander D, Goode, a rabbi. They were four men praying to the same God as the Dorchester disappeared from view and sank beneath the icy waters of the North Atlantic, May the story of the Four Chaplains be an inspiration to everyone devoted to the cause of Brotherhood."

Telushkin on Vegetarianism

Many of the truths that matter most are brief but powerful.

In their book, The Nine Questions People Ask About Judaism, Dennis Prager and Rabbi Telushkin explain: "Keeping kosher is Judaism’s compromise with its ideal of obtaining food without killing, namely vegetarianism. Ideally, according to Judaism, man would confine his eating to fruits and vegetables and not kill animals for food."

Realizing that it would be hard if not impossible to curb humans from their craving for meat, Torah does not ordain absolute vegetarianism, which would be the ideal, but instead ordanes kashrut.

Accordingly, laws of kashrut come to teach us that Jew’s first preference should be a vegetarian meal. If however one cannot control a craving for meat, it should be kosher meat, which would serve as a reminder that the animal being eaten is a creature of God, that the death of such a creature cannot be taken lightly, that hunting for a sport is forbidden, that we cannot treat any living thing callously, and that we are responsible for what happens to other beings, (human or animal,) even if we did not personally come into contact with them.

Kosher does not mean "clean" nor "holy" or "blessed" by a Rabbi. Kosher means proper. The purpose of the laws of kashrut is to help us choose guidelines to what is proper in our habits in this basic human activity of eating, and our treatment of living things in general.

Torah Today: A Renewed Encounter with Scripture - Pinchas Peli

“The dietary laws are intended to teach us compassion and lead us gently [back] to vegetarianism.”

---Rabbi Shlomo Raskin

“A higher form of being kosher is vegetarianism.”

---Rabbi Daniel Jezer

“If you do not eat meat, you are certainly kosher… And I believe that is what we should tell our fellow rabbis.”

---Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Haifa, Israel

Is it possible?



Participants will be notified by e-mail of scheduling changes.


Karate lessons

For Seniors

Join us

with open hands

and Kick back!

Mondays after

Kiddush Breakfast

(10 - 11 AM)ish

Dojo Lodzer

Upstairs Hall

Shul donations


Kiai - Sen!


Our very own Black belt, David Birken, is leading the class

Wear sneakers and non-restrictive clothing.

Karate for Seniors

Learn a Dynamic new skill for Fun and Focus - at YOUR own pace!

Safe, friendly,
keep fit exercise classes
Build strength and vitality
Learn Self-defense

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

Karate Kata 3 - Heian Sandan

Karate Kata 4 - Heian Yondan

Focus, Respect, Self-Control

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

Seniors - Tough as glass



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


7 - 8 PM

Kiddush Room

There will be

no Hebrew

class on

January 11.


Hebrew Classes

Conversational Hebrew classes are on-going at the shul on Thursdays from

7:00 - 8:00 pm.

If you, or someone you know is interested in joining this fun, interactive learning group please contact


קח עוד כוס קפה



Kiddush lunch

A Code of Jewish Ethics

Jewish thinkers don’t talk all that much about love. All too often we leave that to Christian theologians. But in this excellent volume, Rabbi Joseph Telushkin puts the commandment to love at the center of Jewish theology and experience. This is a book that will change the way you think about–and practice–Judaism.”

Ari L. Goldman

Saturdays after Kiddush Lunch discussion group with Jonathan Usher.

Based on A Code of Jewish Ethics Vol.1 by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin.

Telushkin covers topics such as love and kindness, hospitality, visiting the sick, comforting mourners, charity, relations between Jews and non-Jews, compassion for animals, tolerance, self-defense, and end-of-life issues.

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.

Want to contact the Rabbi?
Rabbi Eli is eager and very happy to speak to our congregants on a one-on-one basis about personal or shul issues. Please e-mail him at with your phone number and he will call you 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

Syd Markovitz

Rabbi Eli Courante

Cantor David Young

B’aal Koreh:

Harvey Bitterman


Arnie Yudell

Rafi Remez

Shabbat Handout:

Judy Hazan


Charles Greene

Office Manager:

Sarah Senior


Who we are - Contact Info


Bar and Bat Mitzvahs

High Holy Days 2017

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