Habit or Intention? The Week's End, May 17, 2024
By: Yacov Fruchter
May 17th 2024
"And when you will offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Lord, offer it that it may be accepted (lirtzonchem)"(22:29).Rashi, the 11th century sage interprets the word "lirtzonchem" for our Torah portion Emor as having a double meaning. He explains, God will only accept our offering/gratitude if we offer it with full "knowledge and intention".While habit (keva) is central to Jewish practice and...
The Rest is Commentary: Go Learn: The Week's End, May 10, 2024
By: Rabbi Steve Wernick
May 10th 2024
This week’s Parashah is Kedoshim. Rashi comments that this parashah holds the keys to the holiness of the Torah. It begins, “You shall be holy, for I, A-donai your God am Holy.”In the Parasha, several commandments are given for actions that one should take to maintain the functioning of society within the new land of Israel. They include everything from rules for justice in mediating...
Holocaust Remembrance: Beth Tzedec Volunteers Deliver Shoah Yellow Candles to 2,200 Members
By: Jonathan (Jonny) Ain
May 3rd 2024
Every year, Beth Tzedec undertakes a poignant tradition to commemorate Yom HaShoah through its annual Shoah Yellow Candle initiative. This deeply meaningful project, a collaborative effort of the entire congregation, involves volunteers in a hands-on initiative that reaches every corner of the Beth Tzedec community. Led by Beth Tzedec member, Adam Rachlin, Chair of the program, and...
The Three Yoms: The Weeks End, May 3
By: Rev. Lorne Hanick
May 3rd 2024
Every year, but particularly in a Jewish leap-year, I am struck by the confluence of reading the Torah portions of Acharei Mot (this Shabbat) and Kedoshim (next Shabbat) in the period that we mark and then celebrate the three modern “Yoms” – Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom HaZikaron (Remembrance Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers)...
Purim at Beth Tzedec
By: Jonathan (Jonny) Ain
May 1st 2024
Our Purim celebrations this year were nothing short of spectacular, with over 1,000 community members gathering at Beth Tzedec to join the festivities. From spirited Megillah readings to lively festivities, our community truly embraced the essence of unity and celebration, demonstrating the vibrancy and spirit that defines our Congregation. Here's a glimpse into the memorable programs that...
Laughing and Learning with Comedian Alex Edelman
By: Jonathan (Jonny) Ain
May 1st 2024
Beth Tzedec continues to solidify its reputation as a hub for community gatherings, and the recent Unplugged with Alex Edelman event was no exception. On Sunday, April 14th, our community had the privilege of hosting a special evening with Alex Edelman, a renowned comedian, writer, and producer fresh off his Broadway tour for 'Just For Us.' The event was a resounding success, drawing...
Perfection Versus Completion: The Week's End, April 26, 2024
By: Cantor Sidney Ezer
Apr 25th 2024
From the second night of Pesach until Shavuot, we count the forty-nine days of the Omer, the seven-week period known as S’firah. Leviticus 23:15 outlines the instructions emphasizing that the seven weeks must be תְּמִימֹת “complete.” There is a midrash which challenges the translation of “complete” and replaces it with “perfect”: “Rabbi Chiya taught: ‘Seven perfect...
Charoset: A Mélange of Ingredients and Identities: The Week's End, April 19, 2024
By: Cantor Audrey Klein
Apr 17th 2024
The Haggadah teaches us that the great rabbi Hillel combined the three key symbols of Passover—the paschal sacrifice, the matzah, and the maror (bitter herbs)—into one bite, a “sandwich” if you will, in order to fulfill the commandment, “They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs” (Numbers 9:11). Since the destruction of the Temple, the practice of...
A Nation of Superheroes: The Week's End, April 12, 2024
By: Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin
Apr 11th 2024
I am blessed to be a frequent traveler to Israel. When I visited in December, the experience was challenging. That rabbinic mission was mostly what is being called disaster tourism. I can’t unsee the destruction on the kibbutzim and while they are less frequent, I still get nightmares. Back then, many Israelis were still paralyzed and so many men and women had been called up to their military...
We are Connected: The Week's End, April 5, 2024
By: Rabbi Lara Rodin
Apr 4th 2024
As I pack up my apartment in Manhattan and prepare to move to Toronto full-time, I find myself soaking up all of New York City’s greatest attractions. Last week, as part of this last hurrah of exploration, I visited the Invisible Worlds Immersive Experience at the American Museum of Natural History. In addition to being interactive, child-friendly, and beautiful, the exhibit was clear:...
Six Months in Hell: A Rally in Solidarity of the Israeli Hostages
By: Beth Tzedec
Apr 3rd 2024
Today, it is 180 days that hostages have been kept in hell by Hamas. Our own Senior Rabbi Steven Wernick will be speaking at the Six Months in Hell rally of solidarity this Sunday. The event will be a rally denoting the six months in which the hostages have been held in Gaza, calling for their release, calling for Hamas to surrender and for all Canadians to stand with Israel. A simultaneous...
The Last Kaddish: The Week's End, March 29, 2024
By: Aviva Chernick
Mar 28th 2024
אָבִינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִםזָכִיתִי לְהַשְׁלִים אֲמִירַת קַדִּישׁ לְעִלּוּי נִשְׁמַת אָבִי-מוֹרִי,מֵאָז עֲלִיָּתוֹ לְגִנְזֵי מְרוֹמִים וְעַד עַתָּה.Our Father in Heaven, I have been privileged to complete the recitation of Kaddish to elevate the soul of my...
A Prayer For This Purim
By: Beth Tzedec
Mar 22nd 2024
Written by Rabbanit Esti RosenbergTranslated by Leah HartmanWith the consent of G-d and with the consent of the congregation, we are permitted to rejoice, Purim is permitted to enter and to be, to enter through the gates, to answer the Beloved Who is knocking. And all the wounded and the captives, the kidnapped and the fallen, the injured and the soldiers, from last Purim until this Purim, they...
An Ending that isn't Really an Ending: The Week's End, March 15, 2024
By: Daniel Silverman
Mar 15th 2024
This Shabbat we conclude the Book of Exodus. Unlike the ending of Genesis, which marks the transition from the stories of our forefathers and foremothers into the story of the Israelite nation, the Exodus ending does not clearly demarcate the conclusion of a narrative arc. In fact, the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers flow together as a single unit, focussed on the Israelites’...
The Menorah is an Almond Tree with Cretan Apples: The Week's End, March 8, 2024
By: Rev. Lorne Hanick
Mar 8th 2024
The menorah is an almond tree with Cretan apples. A shining tree, it has branches, flowers, almond-shaped calyxes and even knobs (kaftorim). In the Babylonian Talmud, Menahot 28b, Rabi Shmuel asks, “What do the knobs (kaftorim) resemble? A sort of Cretan apple.” The Cretan apple was a delicacy in the Ancient Near East. Inside the outer layer of fruit was a tart juice. The sages saw...