Sermons

Elevator Speeches ~ On One Foot — Rosh Hashanah Day 2 — 22 September 2017 / 2 Tishrei 5778
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 11th 2017
Shana tovah. Josette and I hope you will be have a year of good health, much love and many blessings. Building Faith in Canada I’m still a little tender. Last week, I was building affordable housing in Scarborough with other faith leaders. Buddhists and Bahai, Muslims and Mormons, Protestatnts and Catholics, Jews and First Nations - we were all working hard to construct walls, install...
Geography of Hope — Rosh Hashanah 1 ~ 21 September 2017 / 1 Tishrei 5778
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 11th 2017
Emily Dickinson wrote: In this short Life that only lasts an hour How much — how little — is within our power As I watched hurricanes in Texas, the Caribbean, Florida and Bangladesh, forest fires in British Columbia, heat in San Francisco, and earthquakes in Mexico, I was anxious for friends and strangers, for personal safety and about our planetary plight. As I saw...
The Great Tekiyah - Yom Kippur Neilah — 30 September 2017 / 10 Tishrei 5778
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 11th 2017
As we enter Neilah, the service that marks the closing of the gates of this sacred and soul-stirring day, I think of the bugle call of the last post that Josette and I heard this summer at Fort Henry in Kingston. The sense of loss, memory and hope that accompanies this music. On Remembrance Shabbat, when Cantor Ezer gives voice to the plaintive notes, we witness tears in the service....
Rembrandt and the Akedah: Torah Introduction - Rosh Hashanah Day II 5778
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 1st 2017
On the wall of my home is a copy of a drawing by Rembrandt, depicting the scene of the binding of Isaac (Akedat Yitzḥak). The original hangs in the National Gallery in Washington. Rembrandt, who loved to illustrate Biblical characters, had earlier painted a portrayal of the subject which is on exhibit in the Hermitage. In the oil painting, Avraham is about to slaughter his son. Yitzhak...
Laughter and Judaism: Torah Reading Introduction - Rosh Hashanah Day I 5778
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 1st 2017
Schwartz, an elderly man, is resting peacefully on the porch of his small hotel outside Boca when he sees a cloud of dust up the road. He walks out to see who could be approaching: It is a Southern farmer with a wagon. “Good afternoon,” says Schwartz. “Afternoon,” says the farmer. “Where you headed?” asks Schwartz. “Town.” “What do you have in the...
Balak ~ 8 July 2017 / 14 Tammuz 5777
By: Rabbi Shalom Schachter
Jul 13th 2017
While this week’s parashah is titled Balak, it should really be called Bilaam since the story is more about Bilaam than Balak. Balak was the King of Midian while Bilaam was a prophet, albeit one who was not Jewish. Balak summons Bilaam to curse the Jews because he was seeking supernatural powers to prevent the Jews from getting to the promised land. Bilaam, however, states that he can...
Wilderness & Nation-Building: Hukkat — Canada Day 150 — 1 July 2017 / 7 Tammuz 5777
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Jul 5th 2017
Our recent Torah portion finds the people of Israel near the conclusion of their 40 year journey through the Wildness, from Egyptian slavery to the Land of Promise. “And the children of Israel journeyed and camped in the plains of Moav, across from Jericho of the Jordan.” (21.35). But, we all know that there were still many tasks ahead. Michael Walzer explores some of these issues in...
Creating a Jewish Future: Korah and Contemporary Jewish Challenges - Rosh Hodesh Tammuz - June 24, 2017 / 30 Sivan 5777
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Jun 25th 2017
Many of you read the book or saw the film “Moneyball”  Even if you didn’t, you probably are aware of a development that is occurring in many areas of professional sports. Sabermetrics is the data-driven analysis of baseball statistics that measure in-game activity. Sabermetrics is an attempt to evaluate players, through computer driven analysis and evidence in addition to the gut...
Option B for Naomi - Shavuot Yizkor 5777
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Jun 5th 2017
I want to add my thanks to those of Norman Bacal and the lay leadership of our Congregation to recognize our good friend, Mary Ellen Herman, who has dedicated the Banquet Hall of our Congregation in memory of her late husband, Michael Herman. Mary Ellen’s leadership gift is a statement of faith in the future of our Congregation. I am grateful to her and the Herman family for...
Wade in the Water - A D'var Torah by Rev. Marili Moore on the Seventh Day of Pesah, April 22, 2017
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Apr 24th 2017
Wade in the Water,Wade in the Water, children.Wade in the Water,God’s gonna trouble the water. Wade in the Water,Wade in the Water, children.Wade in the Water,God’s gonna trouble the water. See those children all dressed in white?   (God’s gonna trouble the waters)They must be the children of the Israelites.   (God’s gonna trouble the waters) Wade in...
Please Listen - Hayyey Sarah - 26 November 2016 / 25 Marheshvan 5777
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Dec 2nd 2016
I have some bad habits. On Thursday, I was in a meeting with Randy and had to check something on my phone. I indicated that I was following the conversation. When I closed the calendar on my phone, I made a suggestion to the group, which apparently had been made by someone else while I was looking at my schedule. I was only partially paying attention. Occasionally, I’m on a cell phone...
Seeking a Revelation in the Heart - Lekh Lekha-Go Forth — 12 November 2016 / 11 Heshvan 5777
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Nov 21st 2016
The same words can mean different things. Maimonides taught that the phrase “He said” has one meaning when it refers to human speech and another when it applies to divine communication. Ludwig Wittgenstein noted that words have different meanings depending on the context. A strike in baseball is not the same as a strike in soccer. In the Jewish tradition, when a rabbi refers to the...
Prepared to Care - Yom Kippur 5777 - 10 Tishrei 5777 / 12 October 2016
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Nov 9th 2016
The story of Chesley Sullenberger became the inspiration for a recently released film Sully, a drama about his decision to land an Airbus on the Hudson River. Its two engines had been stalled by the intake of a flock of Canada geese shortly after takeoff from LaGuardia Airport. Celebrated for saving all 155 people on board, Sullenberger was also investigated to ascertain whether...
Anniversaries of Hope - Kol Nidrei 5777 - 10 Tishrei 5777 / 11 October 2016
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 19th 2016
Last Pesaẖ, after leading two seder evenings, one of our members was stricken with a rapidly accelerating respiratory disease that has a mortality rate of over 50 percent. Ted was intubated, isolated and placed in a paralytic coma. He remained that way for weeks. His physicians, friends and family agonized, uncertain whether he would live or die. Throughout this terribly fearful time,...
Guess Who's Coming to Shul? - Rosh Hashanah - 1 Tishrei 5777 - 3 October 2016
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 6th 2016
Josette and I extend best wishes for a Shana Tovah. We feel blessed by the growth of our family and by being part of this community. Beth Tzedec is a bulwark, a strong support, for the totality of the Toronto Jewish community. When the leadership of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism met here recently, they were amazed to hear that over 150,000 people come through our doors...