Our Spiritual Leadership

Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Rabbi Emeritus 

Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl is Rabbi Emeritus of Beth Tzedec Congregation and remains involved in the life of our community on a part-time basis. He was appointed as a member of the Order of Canada, the highest civilian honour in our country, in 2022. 

During his 26 years as leader of the largest synagogue community in Canada, the focus of his rabbinate included a commitment to family education, lifelong learning and care for the housebound, hospitalized and homeless. Rav Baruch initiated the development of a "synaplex" of innovative ritual and educational opportunities to encourage more participation in synagogue life. 

Beyond the synagogue, Rav Baruch is past president of the Toronto Board of Rabbis (2012 to 2015) and currently serves as vice-chair of the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus. He helped to organize three Path of Abraham missions to bring Jews, Christians and Muslims to the Holy Land to explore the challenges of three religions, two nations and one land. The next study mission will take place in February 2022 under the auspices of St George’s College of Jerusalem.

Rav Baruch was featured in the documentaries “The Secret of San Nicandro” for CBC and “Amazing Communities” for Israel television. He offered a prayer to open a session of the United States Senate and helped to organize the Solidarity Vigil and Memorial following the Yonge Street killings in April 2018. He is regularly called upon by the media for comments about issues facings Canada and the Jewish community.

Rav Baruch served on the Board of UJA Federation of Toronto. His service to the community was recognized in 2016 with the Gordy Wolfe Award for Lifetime Jewish Communal Professional Leadership.

A member of the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards of the Rabbinical Assembly for two decades, Rav Baruch also served on its Executive Committee, chaired its international convention and is a past president of two of its regions. He was awarded a Coolidge Fellowship to pursue research in an interfaith community at the Episcopal Divinity School at Harvard University, received a doctorate in Jewish Philosophy from the Jewish Theological Seminary and is a Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute of Jerusalem. He is the author of scholarly articles in the area of Jewish philosophy and mysticism. 

Rabbi Frydman-Kohl was awarded a Master of Law degree in Dispute Resolution by Osgoode Hall/York University Law School and serves as a professional mediator.

He and Josette have been married for forty-nine years. They are the parents of Yakov (married to Sarah), Rafi and Amir (married to Amanda), and the grandparents of Ilana, Amichai and Shachar, all born in Jerusalem.