Sermons

Joseph and Egypt, Jews and Society ~ Vayigash ~ 7 Tevet 5780 / 4 January 2020
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Jan 4th 2020
Although most of us focus attention on the plea of Yehudah and the reunion of the family of Yaakov, the conclusion of the weekly reading directs us to consider the relationship of Yosef’s extended family with the resident population of Egypt. Notice that Yosef “acquired all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh,” excluding only the lands of the Egyptian priests. Egypt was transformed into an...
Standing Proudly in the Centre ~ Vayishlah ~ 16 Kislev 5780 / 14 December 2020
By: Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin
Dec 14th 2019
From Friday through Tuesday, I was in Boston, though I could have been in any large hotel anywhere in the world. I was there as a delegate at the 20/20 Judaism conference, a collaboration between the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and the Rabbinical Assembly. My participation served two purposes. I was there to learn and bring back to Beth Tzedec skills and best practices,...
Thinking about Sarah ~ Hayyei Sarah ~ 25 Heshvan 5780 / 23 November 2019
By: Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin
Nov 28th 2019
In this week’s parashah, we read at the beginning of chapter 24, “Abraham was old, advanced in years, and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.” Commentators go in all directions with this verse. Rashi looked to gematria and said that the word had the same numerical value as “ben”, so he understood this verse to mean that God blessed Abraham with a little boy or a son....
Waving Through a Window ~ Noah ~ 4 Heshvan 5780 / 2 November 2019
By: Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin
Nov 2nd 2019
If we were only to read the Torah, without any commentary or midrash, we would not know much about what went on in Noah’s Ark, save a basic architectural blueprint. It was about 155 meters, or one-and-a-half Canadian football fields long. What did the people do all day long? What did they think about? What did the people do all night long? How could they sleep in a zoo? What did they...
Fractals of Holiness ~ Beresheet ~ 27 Tishrei 5780 / 26 October 2019
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 26th 2019
This has been another great week at Beth Tzedec. Yom Tov with a musically superb Hallel and our special Hattan and Kallah for Simhat Torah. Shemini Atzeret Yizkor with Cantor Ezer’s special touch and Rabbi Fryer Bodzin’s poignant and powerful sermon: from now on, each of us will think of chairs in a different way. And a spectacular cantorial concert on Thursday evening. We are also...
Chairs ~ Shemini Atzeret ~ 22 Tishrei 5780 / 21 October 2019
By: Rabbi Robyn Fryer Bodzin
Oct 21st 2019
My husband proposed to me on April Fools’ Day, on April 1st. Emet. True story.  I said yes. And then immediately, I called my Bubby Ethel.  As she was the only living grandparent between the two of us, and she lived here in Toronto, we decided to get married in Toronto.  And then she died, two months before the wedding.  This was 12...
My Trip ~ Yom Kippur ~ 10 Tishrei 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 Tishrei 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...