Shabbat Bulletin‎ > ‎


Call the office to purchase tickets for our 65th Gala

(details in the event calendar will be updated when they become available)


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


Sensitivity to others - “Let it be”

If you did a little harm to your neighbour,

let it be in your eyes as if it were much.

And if you did a great good to your neighbour,

let it be in your eyes as if it were only a little.

And if your neighbour did a small good thing for you,

let it be in your eyes as if it were a great thing.

And if your neighbour did a very bad thing to you,

let it be in your eyes as if it were of little import.


Perception & Ego

Shabbat Bulletin - January 27, 2018

The Winter's Tale;

Sunday Nights with Rabbi Eli

Past Events

Has the Biblical text remained unchanged through the ages?

Isi had an unusual question regarding

The Torah Scribe and Spitting

Here's a couple of rules from the scribal rule book of the Hida (Hayim Yosef David Azulai, late 18th century, Mediterranean regions), Torat Ha-Shelamim (chapter 18)

8. The quill should be made from a reed, not from a feather.

9. When the quill is ready for writing, he should put its tip in his mouth and roll it around in his spit (rir). He should say: Just as this spit is pure before it leaves the mouth, so shall this quill be pure when I write the holy Torah with it. This is because rir has the same numerical value as kadosh (holy) [210].

I don't write with reeds, myself, but I'd guess they're more flexible - easier to write with - if you soak them a bit before use, hence this custom. inContext

The mindset of a Jew of the late Second Temple era, and some common myths about the origins of the Rabbinic Judaism.

We are naturally biased to think of our forebears as people who held much the same values and strove for much the same goals and objectives that we hold sacred in their memory to this day - merely by using different means and ways, such as were available to them in their times. But... did they really?
Rabbi Eli Courante

Rabbi Eli explains the major paradigmatic shift that occurred in Jewish worldview with the destruction of the Temple, and dispels some common myths about the origins of the Rabbinic Judaism.

Friedlander; the man who forged the Jerusalem Talmud. A scandalous tale of intrigue and ingenuity, great talent and colossal waste.

For centuries, the Jerusalem Talmud on the Order of Kodshim was lost to the world. Since the mid-19th c. various rabbis and scholars of Jewish doubted it ever existed to begin with.

Then, one day in 1905, a man appeared to the communities of northern Hungary. Introducing himself as Shlomo Yehudah Algazi, Sephardic rabbi from Turkey, he presented the scholars with the greatest treasure that serendipitously fell in his possession...

Watch Rabbi's Eli's exciting lecture on what happens next...

Also checkout: Rabbi Eli’s Blog

As the Bard taught us, the Schule must go on.

Your Life Moments


Jan. 19  Arthur Zins (70 years young)

Jan. 31  Esther Bloch


Jan. 20  Irving & Honey Spitzen


Jan. 20  Louis Hercberg, father of Helen Storm
Jan. 21  Jack Rosen, father of Norm
Jan. 22  Thelma Pechenick, great aunt of Pearl Rosen
Jan. 23  Elik Lew, father of Sidney
Jan. 25  Yochevet Band, mother of Brenda Ladowski
Jan. 26  Rose Edelman, grandmother of Nina Rubin and Gloria Riesel

Jan. 27 Joseph Steiman, grandfather of Frank

The Four Seasons of Life - Youth

Remember - Don’t Forget - Take Action

Synagogue General Fund

Reuben & Jenny Finkelshtain

Helen Gould

Rebecca Greenberg

Norm & Pearl Rosen

Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund

Barbara Peters

Prayer Book Fund - Siddur Dedication

Isi Davis

Arthur Zins

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

take action as not to forget.


Shul Ongoing Programs

Mondays after

Kiddush Breakfast

Karate for Seniors with black belt, David Birken

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


7:30-8:30 pm

Parsha of The Week with Judy Hazan

Learn the story of the parsha, determine its most important elements and tie its morals and lessons into our daily lives.

Thursdays (monthly)

8 pm

Book Chat with Cathy Zeldin

Share thoughts and pick up ideas on books you'd like to read


7:30-8:30 pm

Conversational Hebrew Classes with

Interactive conversational Hebrew learning group

Saturdays after

Kiddush Lunch

“A Code of Jewish Ethics” discussion group

with Jonathan Usher

Find out why it’s not a good idea to eat your neighbour.

Full  Details

can be found at the very end of the bulletin

before Shul Business




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 racial 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


11 Shevat

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

This week’s Kiddush

is sponsored by:

The Baldor Family

for the Yahrzeit of

their mother Tmina

Torah Times

Triennial Year 2

Parashat: Beshelach

Exodus 13:17 - 17:16

1: 14:15-20

2: 14:21-25

3: 14:26-15:21

4: 15:22-26

5: 15:27-16:3

6: 16:4-7

7: 16:8-10

maftir: 16:8-10

Haftarah for Ashkenazim:

Judges 4:4 - 5:31

Candle Lighting:

5:03 p.m. – Friday


6:12 p.m. – Saturday


Shirah  Beshalach

Exodus 13:17-17:16

The name of this Torah portion comes from its second word translated as “when he set forth,” describing Pharaoh’s actions in regard to the Israelites. Unfortunately, Pharaoh changes his mind and pursues the Israelites up to the shore of the Sea of Reeds. A miracle occurs and the waters part, enabling the entire community to cross safely to freedom, and Miriam, the prophetess, leads the people in song.


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


18 Shevat



Exodus 18:1-20:23

Moses and recommends the selection of a leadership team of trustworthy people of the community in order to share the burden. After three months in the wilderness, the Israelites camp at Mount Sinai where the Ten Commandments are revealed to Moses.


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 10


25 Shevat

This week’s Kiddush

is co-sponsored by:

Faye Kellerstein for the yahrzeit of her father Philip Zucker


Jeff Shabes for the yahrzeit of his father Joseph


Exodus 21:1-24:18

This Torah portion is filled with mishpatim, rules or laws, that will serve as the foundation for the emerging Israelite community.


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.



March 1


April 17

14th Annual




Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) is an international series of events that seek to raise awareness of Israel’s apartheid system over the Palestinian people and to build support for the growing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

University campuses worldwide will commence with their annual IAW indoctrination.

Thanks to the Palestinian led BDS (Boycott, Divestments, Sanctions) movement, young minds everywhere will be exposed to questionable propaganda whose goal is to portray Israel in a negative light.

The BDS movement claims to be an inclusive, anti-racist, human rights movement. inContext


Misinformation repeated,

becomes truth.


March 8

8:00 PM

Book Chat

with Cathy Zeldin

Shul Kiddush


Book Chat

Stranger in the Woods

by Michael Finkel

Stranger in the Woods

by Michael Finkel

Do you ever think about getting away from the world? Ever contemplate taking a break and relaxing out in the woods by yourself for while? Well, one guy decided to do just that…for 27 years.

Christopher Knight was confounded by the idea that passing the prime of your life in a cubicle, spending hours a day at a computer, in exchange for money, was considered acceptable, but relaxing in a tent in the woods was disturbed. Observing the trees was indolent; cutting them down was enterprising. What did Knight do for a living? He lived for a living.

“I just hate the general public.”


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




$$$ Call Sarah



A Beatles Tribute


Lodzer Synagogue

Sixty-fifth Anniversary

Tribute Book


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>

Travelogue of an Armchair Traveller

BEIT HATFUTSOT - The Museum of the Jewish People

Heroes – Trailblazers of the Jewish People

Humans have always needed heroes. In most cultures, the hero is the person who saves us from external danger. He – the traditional hero is usually male – vanquishes our enemies and our fears in times of war and turmoil. The people are saved and the hero earns an everlasting fame and respect.

This innovative and inspiring new exhibition at the Museum of the Jewish People reveals that heroes are a vital part of Jewish culture. Jews, like every other people, teach the new generation about the values and actions they should pursue through its choice of heroes. Heroes are the subject of countless stories and dreams. They are our role models.

But there is something special, unusual about the Jewish hero. We have always understood that there are many different ways to be a hero.

The new exhibition Heroes – Trailblazers of the Jewish People is a refreshing view of what it really means to be a hero. Visitors will meet different types of Jewish heroes throughout our history including scientists, intellectuals, leaders, revolutionaries, cultural figures, athletes and more – men and women with unique talents. This remarkable and diverse selection represents the heroism of our people through history, while showing that success has many different faces.

These heroes will inspire children – and their parents – to ask who is truly brave, and to identify their own personal heroes and role models. The exhibition will illustrate that being a hero comes from conquering our worst instincts and daring to think and act differently from the crowd – anyone can be a hero.

Heroes, celebrates the ongoing heroism of Jewish life and history. It is part of Beit Hatfutsot’s commitment to representing the pluralism and vitality of Jewish culture and to being truly the Museum of all the Jewish People. inContext


ISRAEL - a many faceted experience. Not only history which you will remember and cherish, but an experience that will be implanted in your hearts and minds, and will accompany you all the days of your life.

Promoting  TRAVELODZER 2018


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.

Telushkin discusses how we should judge other people,  giving them the benefit of the doubt and if possible looking at incidents sympathetically and as if standing in their shoes. Generally he discusses how difficult it is judge people correctly  and favourably. Lashon  hara is harmful.  This led to the question of whether Judaism is too generous with our sympathy to our enemies and too unwilling to see evil when it is there.  We decided that one day a month, beginning with Monday Jan. 22nd,  we would  try to think  of the good qualities of  people we meet, and try to see them in the best possible light.

Ethics & Morality - Universal Morality

A Torah Perspective on National Borders

and Illegal Immigration

The issue of immigration has figured in American politics for many years. Politicians have used it as a banner issue in many campaigns, and proponents of both the closed and the open door, or of amnesty or enforcement for illegals, have used their immigration stance as a defining issue.

As Jews, we are keenly aware of the need to immigrate. To those fleeing reactionary regimes in Central Europe or the pogroms of the czars, America’s open doors offered shelter and opportunity. And when America kept its doors tightly shut as the Nazi menace grew ever more deadly, we suffered the agony of those who were left to die.

Burned into our minds are images like those of the hundreds of refugees on the St. Louis, seeking to escape Hitler, being refused entrance to the United States and Cuba. Instead of being offered a haven from the storm, these Jews were sent back to Europe while Coast Guard boats patrolled to make sure no one slipped off. This is something real to us, not just an abstract argument.

But when approaching a topic as sensitive as immigration, it is important to keep in mind that policies cannot be based solely on emotion, however sincere. There must be some criteria by which we can confidently evaluate positions and give a thoughtful, critical response. The Torah offers us just such a set of criteria, based on its integrated view that every human choice is cosmically significant.

There are many questions surrounding the whole immigration debate: Do countries have the right to admit newcomers only under certain conditions? Can a country make sure that the influx of immigrants will not disrupt its own labor market? Does a country have the right to insist that its laws be respected and its culture honored?

The point of this article is not to offer a magic solution to a very complicated and sensitive problem. It is to show how many of the issues in the debate about immigration have already been discussed in the Torah, and to share the insights of these discussions. It is our belief that while every country and situation is unique, the application of Torah principles can bring some order out of the chaos of today’s heated political immigration debate.

The Morality of Borders

Before beginning any discussion about migration across borders, we first have to ascertain whether countries have the right to enforce their borders at all. While all the countries of the world assert that right, there are some people who say that no country has a right to exclude anyone. It is one world, they assert, into which we are all born, and all have a right to live where they choose. To interfere with that would be discriminatory and anti-democratic.

As one British barrister put it:

Controls are authoritarian. Their most fundamental assumption is that freedom of global movement by migrants, immigrants and asylum seekers is to be determined not by those who wish to move but is to be restricted by those claiming an absolute franchise and right of occupancy over where they wish to move.

If the heavens and earth and all of mankind are created by one G‑d, what does the Torah, G‑d’s instruction manual, tell us about One World–ism? Does it recognize national boundaries as legitimate?

In the poetic song of Ha’azinu, Moses proclaims:

When the Most High gave nations their lot, when He separated the sons of man,

He set up the boundaries of peoples according to the number of the children of Israel.

It is clear that from a Torah perspective, national boundaries are both natural and providential. They reflect a divine purpose in the world, and therefore that purpose must be upheld.

Every nation differs from every other nation absolutely in several aspects: its land, its language, its clans and its peoples.

Such national characteristics are easily observable, though it is morally important to recognize that such stereotypes do not dictate individual behavior. Japanese and Britons wait patiently in queues for trains and buses. Compare that to the scene in a New York City subway at rush hour, or at a crowded Tel Aviv bus stop when there are only a few seats left. The Italian language is melodic, and lends itself to romantic and passionate lyrics; the German language lends itself to scientific and philosophical precision, or to the epic and the serious in poetry and song. Such generalizations reflect some real truth, which the Torah recognizes. These national characteristics, and the distinct bounded lands that give rise to them, are part of G‑d’s providential plan.

Being satisfied that the Torah recognizes the concept of borders, we can now consider the reasons people have offered for supporting and opposing keeping those borders closed, as well as the Torah’s view on the subject

The proponents for open immigration in the United States point to (among other things) humanitarian concerns, the need for inexpensive labor or labor that most citizens don’t want to do, and the energy of the self-selected who choose to come to a country because they really want to be there.

On the flip side, the proponents for limiting or denying immigration point to security concerns, worries about societal and cultural cohesion, negative influence on the sense of national purpose, exploitation of government entitlement benefits, increasing unemployment of the native population, and causing a drop in wages by increasing labor supply.

It is true that often the reasons given in support of a certain position have only been rationalizations masking the proponents’ own bigotry. But, granted that sound arguments can always be misused—are the reasons given in the American debate ever justifiable in the light of Torah? Which reasons, in their best presentation, are deemed worthy of consideration by Jewish law and teaching?


Although the Torah’s focus is on Israel, and every country has its own unique challenges and concerns, one can nevertheless extrapolate the Torah’s view from there.

Commenting on the verse “Iron and brass are your locks,”  which is part of Moses’ blessing to the tribe of Asher before his death, Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki (Rashi) explains:

The mighty men of Israel would dwell in the border towns and lock the frontier so no enemies could enter; it was as if it were closed with locks and bars of iron and brass.

The borders posed a unique danger, and Jewish law mandated that authorities search out the real motivations of those who would enter the country. It cautioned that a deadly danger could lurk, and we should be wary of all who wish to cross it. So much so, that we are permitted to transgress the holy Sabbath for these security concerns. As the Code of Jewish Law puts it:

In a border city, even if the non-Jews approach you [ostensibly] regarding straw and hay, one must violate the Shabbat to repel them, lest they take over the city and proceed from there to conquer the land.

Modern-day Israel, too, knows the need for stringent control of its borders. The construction of the wall separating the rest of Israel from the PA areas almost completely ended the spate of bombings that killed so many civilians a decade ago.

Obviously, the challenges facing Israel are not necessarily the same as those facing other countries such as the U.S., and they may require different and unique solutions. Mexicans and Canadians don’t pose the same threat to national security as do Hamas, Syria and Egypt. Nevertheless, the Torah recognizes that security is a real concern that needs to be addressed.

Cultural Coherence

In addition to security concerns, Jewish law recognizes that there are ideological dangers as well. Expounding on the negative commandment of not allowing idol-worshippers a holding in the land of Israel, Maimonides writes:

When Israel [meets the conditions for observing the Jubilee], it is forbidden for us to allow an idolater among us. Even a temporary resident or a merchant who travels from place to place should not be allowed to pass through our land until he accepts the seven universal laws commanded to Noah and his descendants, as the verse states: “They shall not dwell in your land”—i.e., even temporarily. A person who accepts these seven mitzvot is a ger toshav, “resident alien.”

It is not foreignness per se that is the problem, but rather a certain pernicious foreign ideology that is typified by the name “idolatry.” The reason for this is that the Torah sees idolatry as the root of evil, and portrays its effect on the Jewish nation as thoroughly destructive.

The acceptance of the seven mitzvot is clear evidence that a person has turned away from idolatry and now accepts G‑d’s governance. It is only then, accepting the Sovereign of the land, that he can dwell in the land or pass through it.

Rabbi Menachem Meiri (1249–c. 1310) further explains that we must take a very broad view of the definition of a “resident alien” in the light of the achievements of Abrahamic religion in civilizing the world and taking it beyond the idolatrous mindset. Though he does not name the seven mitzvot, he still insists that those who enter the Land must share a belief in G‑d and a disciplined lifestyle that flows from it.

While it is clear that idolatry is antithetical to everything that Judaism stands for, what needs to be asked in the present debate is whether there is something that is equivalent to that today that in the US. Is there something today that is equivalent to idolatry, something that poses a legitimate threat and is not just the imagining of xenophobes?


With regards to charity when there are limited resources, Jewish law sets clear guidelines for our priorities. Poor relatives come before others, and the poor of our own city come before the poor of another city. It is implicit that this principle applies not only to charity but to other economic questions as well, for limited resources will always require tough decisions to be made. And for tough decisions to be made well, a sound order of priorities is needed.

Building on this, the Talmud asserts that a community can forbid competition that is so cutthroat as to be unconcerned with its effect on another’s livelihood. Rav Huna extends this principle to restrict outsiders’ access to a town’s markets—but at the same time, he opens a door:

Rav Huna the son of Rav Yehoshua said: It is quite clear to me that the residents of one town can prevent the resident of another town [from setting up in competition in this town], but not, however, if he pays taxes to that town; and that the resident of an alley cannot prevent another resident of the same alley [from setting up in competition in his alley].

Thus, according to this rule, a community can keep its markets closed to outsiders, unless a person becomes a member through paying taxes. By participating in the economic responsibilities of a town, one gains access to the town’s economic privileges.

Many rabbis are of the opinion that, in light of this, it would appear that Jewish law allows any Jew to move into any other Jewish community in any city or country, as long as he or she pays the taxes; the people of the city cannot stop him or her.

However, other major voices disagree. And they read the above phrase by Rav Huna as referring to those who already pay taxes to the town, i.e., those who are already residents. Their reading allows room for what came to be called the Right of Settlement (chezkat hayishuv) to arise in Jewish law.

The Right of Settlement, as its name indicates, is a right to live in a certain place. One must possess such a right in order to settle in a city or a community; no one can act as if they may simply settle wherever they might wish, even if they join in the burden of the city by paying taxes.

While these restrictions never applied during times of trouble or when there was a clear and present danger to the immigrants, in general, immigration was restricted by this rule. Advocates of this power to restrict immigration advanced several reasons in its support. Some rabbis cite the issue of the displeasure of the non-Jews with a rapid influx of Jews, and that the safety of the present community is at stake. Others cite economic problems: with limited economic opportunities, unrestricted immigration would take bread out of the mouths of the present community. Others say that it is based on the sovereign rights of the local ruler, for all political rights devolve from the ruler. Others cite the rabbinic mandate to seek tikkun olam—making life better by addressing current social problems that affect the lives of the community.

What is clear is that rabbis and communities in our past shared many of the modern concerns. However, we also can see that since there were great rabbis who opposed restrictions on settling, as long as one paid taxes, and there were many communities that did not ever accept chezkat hayishuv, we therefore cannot say that the debate is one-sided. Hence, while the case for legitimate immigration restrictions may be strong, it must not stop us from being troubled by the distress of those who need to move, and from being spurred by their desire for freedom.

The Compact: Mutual Expectations

It is true that verse tells us that “one Torah and one law shall there be for you and the stranger who comes to live with you.” However, the prophet also proclaims:

Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to G‑d for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.

This implies that we must not only conform to the laws of the city to where we migrate, but also to devote ourselves actively to its welfare, not just merely comply with its rules. As Rabbi Yehuda Loew (Maharal of Prague) puts it:

Since the prophet commanded us to pray to G‑d for the place to which we were exiled, how could we ordain something the opposite of that, G‑d forbid, thereby transgressing the prophet’s words? To the contrary: the sages warned us to accept the sovereignty and the rule of the nations. After G‑d decreed that we should be under their authority, it is proper for us to accept their rule, and not to act as if the decree were void.

At the same time, we are instructed that “the ger who lives with you should be considered by you as a native among you, and you should love him as you love yourself, for you were gerim in the land of Egypt; I am your G‑d.”

Both the newcomer and the current citizen are obligated by the bonds of a common humanity to respect each other: the community by acceptance of their persons, and the immigrants by the acceptance of the community’s laws and way of life. The Bible is offering no privileges without the responsibilities of the law. Love flows from the mutual respect of those bearing shared responsibilities for a common goal.

Expectations Not Met: Illegal Immigration

Until now we have discussed instances of legal immigration. But what about someone who comes over the border illegally?

The Talmud speaks of a case in which people who refused to accept laws seem to be rewarded. This is objected to on the basis of a commonsense principle: ein chotei niskar, the sinner should not be rewarded by law for his misdeed.

This is a principle which is found in English and American law as well, and is known as the doctrine of ex turpi causa, meaning, as Lord Mansfield put it, “No court will lend its aid to a man who founds his cause of action upon an immoral or an illegal act.”

However, at the same time we find in the Talmud a rabbinic enactment called takkanat hashavim, an enactment for the benefit of those who wish to repent:

Rabbi Yochanan ben Gudgeda testified . . . concerning a stolen crossbeam that the thief builds into a mansion, that the victim takes only the value of the beam as compensation, but may not force the thief to return the beam itself. This was enacted for the benefit of those who wish to repent.

While strictly speaking, under biblical law, one would have to return the stolen object itself, the sages decreed that he may keep the beam and just pay for it, for if he were to be required to return the beam itself it would impose great hardship upon the thief, and would make any thief wishing to repent reluctant to do so.

In other words, sometimes you have to be a little lenient and have some compassion on those who transgressed the law, if you wish that they turn themselves in and repent. Amnesties in law work on the same principle—a little leniency can encourage better compliance in the end, as with the many states that occasionally offer amnesties for tax penalties, and as a result not only spare the expense and the disruption of countless prosecutions, but also collect a lot of delinquent taxes. Can the takkanat hashavim be read in this expansive way, and be applied as a support for amnesty for those in violation of immigration laws?

We also still need to ask: how might the use of the principle of ein chotei niskar apply to the modern debates over immigration? Would that balance out the principle of takkanat hashavim, or overrule it?

Would the principle of ein chotei niskar require that an illegal immigrant leave the country and get to the back of the line before being considered? Keeping in mind the principle of takkanat hashavim, would some other method establish him or her as someone now truly committed to accepting the community’s sovereign laws, or would any such flexibility undermine the credibility of the law? Would a lack of compassion undermine the community’s own commitment to the law?

Additionally, what about those who have not themselves willfully transgressed the law, such as children brought over by their parents: do we extend punishment to them as well?

It is with these lingering questions, rather than definitive conclusions, that we leave off. For it is our hope that the sources cited above have been thought-provoking, and will serve as a starting point for the policymaker and lay person alike. inContext

Combating Secularism - Finding relevance in Torah.

The Banter of past and present Bulletin Editors

Although this is a fine assessment of the problems facing the West with regard to immigration, perhaps the greater insight comes from realizing that the Torah, purely as an instruction book, has answers to many  current social problems.  This article deals with Torah insights into

1. Jewish sympathy for immigrants, as we were once immigrants

2. The morality of borders

3. Honouring the laws of the new country

4. Securing the security of the country by its current citizens

5. Responsibilities of the new immigrant to the new country

6. illegal immigration and

7. leniency.  

The Torah emphasizes the duty of the country to protect its security, and the responsibilities of  new immigrants to follow the culture and laws of their new country.  

Jonathan Usher

Re: Is there something today that is equivalent to idolatry, something that poses a legitimate threat and is not just the imagining of xenophobes?

Secularism/Atheism transcends borders.

No defensible moral framework regards foreigners as less deserving of rights

than people born in the right place at the right time. (Alex Tabarrok)

Some conditions do apply!

Is there a reason why we just can’t all live in peace? (Fellow ROMEO, George Scott)

We are animals.

The "Jewish Question" for the Twenty-first

Century: Can We Survive Our Success?

Chapter One - An America without Jews.

“There are today more individuals of Jewish background in positions of power and authority in the United States than ever before,. But it is questionable whether there is any more “Jewish Power” - that is power employed on behalf of the Jewish people - now then in the previous postwar decades. These individuals who have achieved success, prominence, and influence have done so as individuals, not as Jews.”

“The fact that some Jewish individuals have achieved success disproportionate to their numbers in the general population tells us nothing about the power of the Jewish people. It may tell us something about lowering of the barriers of discrimination, about the work ethic of many Jews, and about the American creed of meritocracy.” (p. 59)

If the “Jewish mystique” is genetically based, why not spread the “superior” genes as widely as possible? Then one should seek a clever mate without regard for religious background. Whatever differences may have been created by past patterns of procreation ceased to exist some time ago, even if it could be shown that they have left some continuing genetic residue. Thus the genetic argument  no longer makes any sense.  

“This “Holocaust argument” for Jewish survival is very powerful - at least to the generation of Jews for whom Auschwitz and its immediate aftermath is an actual memory. But its emotional impact is not nearly as great on the younger generation, for whom the Holocaust is yet another in the long chain of historical tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people.” There is no more reason for Jews to continue to exist because Hitler wished to destroy them then there is for people to have abortions because Hitler prohibited them.

Jonathan Usher

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.

Your friend’s honour should be as precious to you as your own.

Love your neighbour as yourself

Do unto others what you would have others do unto you

Empathize with the other person

A bad temper repulses and/or beats down others in your life

Since you do not know the day of your death - it might be today or tomorrow - repent today.

If you act as if today is your last day on earth, you will stop sinning and regret whatever evil you did to others.

In Rabbi Eliezer’s view, contemplating death causes people to become more caring and compassionate.

Perek 2 Mishna 10



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



7:30-8:30 pm

Kiddush Room

Dates to be


Book Chat

with Cathy Zeldin

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.

March 8, Stranger in the Woods

by Finkel.

April 26, The Painter from Shanghai by Epstein.

June 7, The Break by Vermette.


8 PM


in the foyer


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 they 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