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1953 - 2018

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


Shabbat Bulletin - June 23, 2018

From Rabbi Eli

The Red Heifer

When in Rome...

The great paradox of the Red Heifer is its controversial ability to carry remedy against itself; indeed, the very ashes of the red heifer that purifies all the impure people coming into contact with them, turns any pure person who touches it in preparation... into impure!

We have probably heard by now so many different explanations of this unusual law. Starting with, "indeed it's inexplicable, even King Solomon was stumped by it; are you trying to be wiser than the officially wisest guy ever?", to: "the red heifer is on a level of its own, purer than the impure but less pure than the pure ones"; from "everybody who tries to cleanse others should start with themselves", to "Well, what's the big deal with that simple binary code of purity on/purity off switch"? (Yeah... maybe the source of that last one was not entirely Rabbinical but none the worse for wear; we were only married for less than a year when my Rebbetzin who is a software engineer offered that insightful spin into the Biblical law.)

Let's hold that thought for a moment.

3 months ago, I shared with you on Shabbat the news of a growing conflict between the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and the Jewish community of Rome. The new bone of contention was Carciofo alla Giudia, the famous Jewish-style artichoke. This dish has been the staple of Jewish Roman cuisine for (literally) thousands of years, and when the Rabbinate announced it could no longer certify it as kosher in good faith (pun intended) for the fear of not being able to check the vegetable properly for insects before deep-frying it whole, as the recipe requires, the Jewish community of Rome was aghast. The general feeling was that the Rabbinate is attempting a mere demonstration of power, at the expense of one of the oldest and most symbolic traditions the community has, hallowed by generations of Rabbis and cooks alike. Various representatives of the Rabbinate, meanwhile, offered variations of reaction, from the official 'We are very sorry but it cannot be helped, it's not our call, the Halachah says that', to the very unofficial: 'Kashruth wars are fun, and easy to win'...

3 months later, sitting in my friends' kitchen in the old Trastevere neighbourhood of Rome, I learned of the further development of the struggle. Apparently, by now we can see three different schools of thought. Let us name them by the Italian communities that embraced each respective approach.

There is -

  • The North approach: the Jewish communities of Milano and Florence accepted the new ruling and worked to reinvent the dish by cutting the 'chokes up before deep-frying it. Here we have a new tradition, not quite Roman but nonetheless Jewish in its core.

  • Rome approach: an absolute majority of the Jews in Rome stay faithful to the classical recipe.

In fact, all of the city's kosher restaurants but one continue to serve Carciofi alla Giudia - but now you can also buy, in the old Ghetto, t-shirts and cups with maximas like: 'There is no Pope in Judaism' and 'Io sono carciofo' (I am artichoke - that later one a transparent and humorous albeit grim allusion to the expressions of solidarity with the periodical Charlie Hebdo whose employees were attacked by terrorists for their cartoons.)

  • The South approach: Rabbi Piperno, the chief Rabbi of southern Italy (based in Naples) brought forth a small but enthusiastic team of Jewish scientists who just patented an ultra-sound device said to be able to discern with certainty whether there are any insects in your artichoke (Yep! We are all Jewish; the Rabbinate is not the only one who will try to solve a problem by offering to sell you something.)

It was at that point in the conversation (returning to last week's portion of Korach), it struck me that the three above approaches could be a great illustration of various takes on the upcoming portion of Chukkat and its law of the heifer. If it is your position that it is the process of purification that is important for everyone, you will see everyone as impure - some because they have touched the heifer ashes and others, precisely because they didn't.

If you hold that pure is pure and impure is impure, you will struggle to maintain the line between what you know to be clean and good, and that which is clearly not.

And if you think you have the solution (whether in the shape of the ashes or the form of a super-duper miracle ultra-sound anti-insect canon) you will try to apply it no matter what, and be none the worse for wear.

Here is a thought I want to leave with you; perhaps the whole point of the enigmatic law of the red heifer is to keep us wondering and trying to wrap our brains around it. As in the old fable where neither standing nor sitting for the Kaddish was "the tradition" for an old congregation; rather, the tradition was arguing about it! Perhaps the message the Torah wants us to internalize is a warning, a reminder that when all you have is a hammer, everything around very quickly starts resembling a nail...

Wishing you Shabbat Shalom from Rome, I also need to come clean; while not taking any definitive position (officially) on this Kashruth conundrum, I am at least 1/8 an artichoke. Apparently, one of my grandfathers was half an artichoke. If that bothers you, come to me, and we'll talk about racism in our history.

Rabbi Eli

Your Life Moments


June 19 Honey Spitzen

June 21 Joyce Brown

June 21 Sam Waserman

June 24  Roman Perelshtein

June 26  Lily Silver Markowitz

June 27 Henry Epstein

June 29  Meir Schwartz


David & Beverly Birkan

June 28  Richard & Reisa Grunberg


June 19  Esther Malet, mother of Dennis

June 19  Rose Stolberg, mother of Esther Steiman

June 21  Max Anidjar, brother of Morris

June 21  Nayim Dagan, father of Isaak

June 23 Morris Bitterman, father of Perry and Harvey

June 23  Irving Gula, brother of Esther Steiman

June 29  Goldine Landis, mother of Lorraine Landis

Remember - Don’t Forget - Take Action

Synagogue General Fund

Dora & Jonathan Usher

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

take action as not to forget.



Participants will be notified by

e-mail of scheduling changes.



7:30-8:30 pm

Shul Kiddush


All are



to the public

at no cost

Classes resume

October 3rd


Our last class before summer break will be Wednesday June 27th.

Parsha of The Week

with Judy Hazan

Join this lively group every Wednesday night at 7:30 PM.

Parsha of the Week PLUS Haftorah.

Tanach without the tedium!

Classes are informal and no prior knowledge or preparation is required.

No knowledge or Hebrew required.

Judy Hazan 416-704-1693


7-8 pm


Upstairs foyer

Summer Break


Hebrew Classes

with Ayala

Conversational Hebrew classes are ongoing. If you, or someone you know is interested in joining this fun, interactive learning group please contact



8 PM


Kiddush Room

Summer Break

Book Chat

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.

If interested contact:

Stay tuned… for upcoming books and dates.


Karate lessons

For Seniors

Join us

with open hands

and Kick back!

10 AM

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



Kiddush lunch

Stay awhile and chat.

1.4 2.1 2.8




June 23

10 Tamuz


Candle Lighting:

8:45 PM Friday



9:12 AM

Frank Steiman


9:30 AM

Cantor David Young

Rabbi Eli

Ba'al Koreh:

Harvey Bitterman

Shabbat ends:

9:59 PM Saturday

This week’s Kiddush

is sponsored by

Perry & Sonia Bitterman

and Harvey Bitterman

for the Yahrzeit of

their father

Morris Bitterman

Torah Portion

Parashat: Chukat

Numbers 19:1-22:1

We all engage in some sort of behavior that we want to change. Whether it's our unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, unproductive thoughts, destructive actions, or poor character traits…


Sometimes it's the negative association and impact of our poor behavior that serves as the catalyst for change to take place.

One must hit rock bottom before

serious change can take place.

When we think about our negative behavior and truly get fed up about it, instead of getting upset at our inability to change, use that frustration, pain, and discontent as the very reason to change. aish


June 24


Bathurst Lawn Cemetery, Lodzer Section  

Zenia Rybowski



June 24


2nd annual picnic

at Earl Bales Park

A photography walk, clown, face-painting, hula hoops, soccer and so much more will all be part of the fun!

Our picnic committee is working hard to create an amazing event for June 24th!  A call for a few adults (Kids Activity Ambassadors) to help out with facilitating children's activities at the picnic is being made. These volunteers would lead/supervise activities such as rope skipping, soccer, hula hoops and also assist our clown and fact painter if the need arises.   If you would like to help out in this way, please contact Nick Pandit


June 26

7:30 PM



at the


Free Admission

Ann Samson

YouTube part: 1, 2, 3, 4

The Jews of India

Immigration, Transition &

Indo-Israel Relations

Part 4 of 4

India has an unbroken record of over 2,000 years of hospitality to Jews. Mrs. Ann Samson, a leading spokesperson for the Indian Jewish Community of Toronto, will provide an overview of the history, sociological structure, unique customs and traditions of this fascinating and often overlooked Jewish community. Her presentation will be followed by a question and answer period. An educator and active community member, Ann Samson is one of the founders of Congregation Bina of Indian Jews.


June 30

17 Tamuz

Rabbi Shmuel Yaakov Weinberg


Rabbi Weinberg was known for his unwavering commitment to truth, his masterful logic, and his painstaking clarity in revealing the nuance of every word in the Bible and in Maimonides' code of law. He lived with the reality of the modern world through the lens of Torah, and had supreme confidence in the Torah's ability to stand up against any philosophy or scientific theory. He produced generations of Jewish leaders, and was the mentor of his younger brother, Rabbi Noah Weinberg zt"l, the founder of Aish HaTorah.


The Three


Fast of Shiva


June 30

17 Tamuz



July 21

9 Av

Erev Tisha B'Av

Summer Sadness

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

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

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

Fasting as a petition instead of penitence.

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

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

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

Fast of Shiva Asar BTammuz_w250.jpg

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


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

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

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

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


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


July 8

Shul Kiddush


1 - 3 pm

Meeting in support of

the Yezidi

All Welcome

No Charge

July8 August5 Sep9 Oct7 Nov4 Dec2


For those who are new, our monthly meetings are wonderful opportunities to network with other volunteers and get the latest news on our Yezidi community in Richmond Hill and what's happening in Iraq, an understanding of the larger project and new developments that are taking place.  Some of our best ideas and activities have come out of our Project Abraham meetings.

Hope to see you there!


Executive Director

Project Abraham/Mozuud




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.


August 12


per person

Lodzer BBQ

Enjoy the Summer

Erev Rosh Hashanah is just around the corner

September 9th @ 6:55 PM

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

Ba'al Koreh:

Harvey Bitterman


Arnie Yudell

Rafi Remez

Shabbat Handout:

Judy Hazan


Charles Greene

Office Manager:

Sarah Senior


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Lodzer Office

Sarah: 416-636-6665

Office Hours

Monday through Thursday

9am - 1pm and 2pm - 4pm


9am to 1pm


Lodzer Shabbat-Bulletin,
20 Jun 2018, 07:55