Sermons

My Trip ~ Yom Kippur ~ 10 Tishri 5780 / 9 October 2019
By: Rabbi Steve Wernick
Oct 9th 2019
Mourning in our tradition is both private and public.  When we visit the graves of our loved ones, as many of us did this past Sunday for Kever Avot, we generally do so privately.  And of course, each of us come here today, with the personal memories of family and friends whose lives have impacted ours.  Yet Yizkor is the public observance for the community of...
What We Stand For ~ Yom Kippur ~ 10 Tishri 5780 / 9 October 2019
By: Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin
Oct 9th 2019
Soon after returning home to Toronto this summer, people told me that I needed to get a Mirvish subscription. While I appreciated the tip, I have seen most of what is coming to town this year in New York on Broadway.  Before I had a child, and the cost of babysitting was added to the cost of the evening, I saw a lot of fabulous and not-so-fabulous theatre. With the exception of the...
Let Us Vow ~ Kol Nidre ~ 9 Tishri 5780 / 8 October 2019
By: Rabbi Steve Wernick
Oct 8th 2019
Jody and I were married in 1992. We honeymooned in Europe on our way to Israel for a year, and spent Rosh Hashanah at the Great Synagogue in Florence. One of my most vivid memories, though, is not the grandeur of the synagogue, nor the unique nusah,dating back to the Spanish Expulsion of 1492. Rather, what I remember most clearly is the security. There were police guards with Uzi machine...
It’s About the Journey, not the Destination ~ Kol Nidre ~ 9 Tishri 5780 / 8 October 2019
By: Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin
Oct 8th 2019
The year 5779 has just ended, but it will be remembered for many moments and events in our personal and collective journeys.  One day, April 11, 2019, stands out as a guidepost for me.  It started out as a regular day. I took my daughter Ariella to school. I went in to my former shul to do some work. Then I got in my car to drive off to two events, both of them off the Long...
In An Age of Anxiety; Shlaymoot ~ Rosh Hashanah ~ 1 Tishri 5780 / 30 September 2019
By: Rabbi Steve Wernick
Sep 30th 2019
Since I’ve arrived, not only have the Raptors won the NBA Championship, but Bianca Andreescu won the US Open and Beth Tzedec celebrated its most well-attended Selihot ever! Maybe we can build on this momentum and this will also be the year my classmate and good friend Rabbi David Wise changes his email from “lastcup67” to “lastcup20” as the Leafs win the Stanley...
It Is Time To Thrive ~ Rosh Hashanah ~ 1 Tishri 5780 / 30 September 2019
By: Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin
Sep 30th 2019
There is a story found near the very beginning of the Talmud. Rabbi Yohanan fell ill. His friend Rabbi Hanina came to visit him and asked, “Is your suffering, are these afflictions, dear to you?” Or, “is this enjoyable for you?” While answering in the affirmative might have made him look macho, Rabbi Yohanan bravely said to Rabbi Hanina, “I welcome neither this...
Loss and Love ~ Shavuot ~ 7 Sivan 5779 / 10 June 2019
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Jun 18th 2019
“So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the Eternal made her conceive, and she bore a son... Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom, and became his nurse. The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.” (Ruth...
Mountains of History and Hope ~ Pesah Day 8 and Yizkor ~ 22 Nisan 5779 / 27 April 2019
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
May 6th 2019
How many of you saw Schindler’s List? You may recall one of the last scenes, when survivors places pebbles onto his gravesite. The cemetery is located on Mt. Zion, just outside the Old City of Jerusalem. Last month, as part of our "Path of Abraham/Sharing Perspective" study mission, I brought Muslims, Christians and Jews to a site on Mt. Zion identified, since the 12th century, as King...
Passover 2nd Day 2019 / 5779
By: Rabbi Shalom Schachter
Apr 29th 2019
H̱ag Sameaẖ. There are many advantages to being an Israeli and some would claim that the greatest benefit is to have only one seder All of us who have survived two sedarim and who are here this morning deserve a special pat on the back Y’yasher Kochachem. Turn to the person on your left, without leaning to your left and shake their hand. How do we make the...
Leadership ~ Yitro ~ 26 January 2019 / 20 Shevat 5779
By: Rabbi Shalom Schachter
Jan 31st 2019
Today we are reading Parashat Yitro. Last Shabbat we read Parashat Beshallah. Moses successfullygot the Jews out of Egypt, acrossthe sea of reeds and safe after the attack initiated by Amalek. Moses demonstrated his leadership as a diplomat in representing God to Pharoah and in uniting the Jewish people to leave Egypt. Moses demonstrated his leadership in amilitary context to defeat the...
The Strange Case of the Circumcision at Night ~ Shemot ~ 29 December 2018 / 21 Tevet 5779
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Jan 7th 2019
Bizarre. Strange. Perplexing. Enigmatic. That’s how Bible scholars describe the three verse narrative from our Torah portion about Tzipporah, Moshe and their new-born son. Here is the story-line: Moshe has fled Egypt after killing a man for abusing a Hebrew slave.  He meets the daughters of Yitro near a well and chases away the shepherds who are harassing the women. Yitro...
Testing: Then and Now ~ Toldot ~ 10 November 2018 / 2 Kislev 5779
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Nov 12th 2018
Today marks the 100th anniversary of the November 11 agreement that ended the First World War. Today also marks the 80th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the organized riot that revealed to all, in dramatic fashion, the true intent of the Nazi regime. These were times of great trial and testing. During the past two weeks, we have also been witness to and participants in great trial and...
After Death—A Tree of Life ~ 3 November 2018 ~ 25 Heshvan 5779
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Nov 4th 2018
My colleague Rabbi Ethan Linden of Camp Ramah in Berkshires wrote: It is a Tree of Life to those who hold fast to it and all of its supporters are happy. I have been holding, clinging, but this week, I have not been happy. I’ve been saddened. I’ve been broken. Branches of our Tree of Life have been broken. They have been snapped off of the tree. There has...
Shofar for Our Souls ~ 2 Rosh Hashanah 5779 ~ 11 September 2018
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Sep 28th 2018
Josette joins me in the hope that this year will be a shanah tovah, one of blessing for you and your family, the people of Israel and the world. Rosh Hashanah is saturated with memories. Occasionally, we are so overwhelmed by these memories that we cannot speak, we cannot articulate why they are so significant. But they remain at the core of souls, at the heart of our inner...
The Faith of a Heretic ~ Rosh Hashanah 5779 ~ 10 September 2018
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Sep 28th 2018
What beliefs sustain you? What commitments guide you through life? What is so important that you would makes sacrifices for them?  I invite you to reflect on these questions today. As you do, I have a confession to make.  This past year, I became a heretic. Heresy, which comes from a Greek word which meant “choice," came to mean a freely chosen opinion at variance with an...