Vulnerability: Fear and Faith - Rosh Hashanah Day 2 - 2 Tishrei 5777 - 4 October 2017
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 6th 2016
Vulnerable. That’s what many of us feel. Growing up, I felt vulnerable. I worried about whether my mother would be stable, whether we would have enough food and whether we could pay the rent. Vulnerable. With ice storms, floods and power outages locally, we are more sensitive to the devastation caused by hurricanes and floods, forest fires and earthquakes, the natural disasters that...
Korah and Elie Wiesel: Anger, Anguish and Aspiration
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Aug 2nd 2016
9 July 2016 ~ 3 Tammuz 5776                        This has been a month of anxiety, anger and anguish. Israelis and Jews continue to mourn the murders of 13-year old Hallel Yaffa Ariel who was stabbed to death in her bed and Michael Mark, father of ten, who was killed when his car was ambushed and attacked by over 20...
After Great Pain: Silence, Tears and Song
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Jun 13th 2016
Shavuot 5776 ~ 13 June 2016 My mother rarely spoke of her life in pre-war Poland. She grew up in Brzeżany, a Galitzianer town, which existed under Austro-Hungarian, Polish, Nazi and Soviet dominion. Jews had lived in Brzeżany from the 16th century. On the eve of World War I, approximately 4,500 Jews were among its nearly 13,000 inhabitants. My mother left Brzeżany for Milwaukee in...
Holy Days and Humility
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
May 30th 2016
Emor ~ אמר   21 May 2016 / 13 Iyar 5776 This past week it has been our honour and privilege to have hosted a platoon of former combat soldiers of the Israel Defence Forces, צה״ל.  Through the Peace of Mind program, these veterans have had the opportunity to engage in serious and deep psychotherapeutic discussions about their experiences in military service, to enjoy the...
Missing At Seder, Missing in Life - Pesah 8th Day - Yizkor - April 30/16 - 22 Nisan 5776
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
May 2nd 2016
Missing at Seder, Missing in Life Ten years ago, the filmmaker Michael Rubiner drafted a plan for a two minute, short and sweet Seder.  Listen carefully. Thanks, God, for creating wine. (Drink wine.) Thanks for creating produce. (Eat parsley.) Overview: Once we were slaves in Egypt. Now we're free. That's why we're doing this. Four questions: 1. What's up with the...
AS IF - Pesah 5776
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Apr 25th 2016
As If Rav Baruch Frydman-Kohl Beth Tzedec Congregation, Toronto Pesah 5776 In one of my haggadot, cleverly designed by David Moss, he has placed mirrors on one page. Can any of you guess which passage from the haggadah would best be illuminated by mirrors?   בכל דור ודור חיב אדם לראות” את עצמו כאילו הוא יצא ממצרים, ...
Food, Identity and Integrity
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Apr 6th 2016
Shabbat Shemini ~ On the Eighth Day / 2 April 2016 ~ 23 Adar II 5776  Whenever I speak with friends about travel, the conversation often shifts to the quality or type of food available. “What a great restaurant,” “I really loved the …”  Travel conversations with traditional Jews—which often also relates to food—usually touches on what kosher food was available and...
Yosef and the Hasmoneans: Two Stories
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Dec 29th 2015
Mikeitz ~ Shabbat Hanukkah / 6th Day  Rosh Hodesh Tevet There are two Torah reading cycles. One is continuous through the year. The other provides special selections for sacred days. Although independent of each other, many times I am struck by the connection between the calendar and the annual cycle. Bereisheet / Creation is read as we begin the new year. Shirat Ha Yam /...
The True Grit of Avraham
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Dec 3rd 2015
Hayyey Sarah: 7 November 2015 / 25 Kislev 5776:  חיישרה ~ Sarah Lived Some of you will remember a 1969 film for which John Wayne won his only Academy Award. “True Grit” starred Wayne as U.S. Marshal Rooster Coburn, hired by Mattie Ross to track down her father’s killer. She heard that Rooster had true grit. The supporting cast included Glen Campbell, Kim Darby, Robert...
Vayeira - 31 October 2015 / 18 Heshvan 5776: Avraham and Us
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Nov 1st 2015
Many years ago, I was intrigued by a book by Rabbi Daniel Jeremy Silver of Cleveland. In Images of Moses, he explored how Moshe was described by different generations of Jews. The Alexandrian thinker, Philo, imagined him as a Hellenic sage. The teachers of the Talmud saw Moshe as a scholar and rabbi in the yeshivah. Christians criticised him for emphasising law rather than...
Yom Kippur 5776 - Continuing Our Journey
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 13th 2015
Frank and Ed were lifetime friends who shared a love of baseball. They played together through youth and professional teams. After retiring from the game, the two friends bought season tickets for adjoining seats. Frank became ill and was on his death bed. Ed came to visit and made Frank promise him to come back and tell him if there is baseball in the afterlife. Shortly thereafter,...
Shemini Atzeret/Yizkor - 5 October 2015 / 22 Tishrei 5776: The Great Trees of Life
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 8th 2015
Although Sukkot in Israel is a time of warmth and outdoor life, we in Canada, Europe and the northern United States experience this as a time of transition. The European rabbis of past centuries often commented about going out of the comfort of our homes to experience the anxiety and ambiguity of the seasonal chill. We worry about rain and cold. I even remember two Sukkot when it snowed!...
Shabbat Hol Hamo'ed - 3 October 2015 / 20 Tishrei 5776: A Big Sukkah
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Oct 8th 2015
The Torah refers to the festivals of the Jewish calendar with two designations: as mo’adim, appointed times and as miqra’ei kodesh, sacred convocations. “These are G-d's appointed times," reads the introductory verse to the Torah's listing of the festivals in the book of Leviticus, “sacred convocations, which you shall call in their appointed times" (Leviticus 23:4).אלה...
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Sep 25th 2015
Many of you have asked what goes through my head as I sound shofar on Rosh Hashanah. As I blow the broken shevarim and teruah blasts, I think of the people who have had a year of fear and anxiety. Their prayers are short, shattered. When I blow the long tekiah, I think of the woman who just had an organ transplant, the man undergoing cardiac surgery, the woman being treated for cancer, the...
Rosh Hashanah 5776 - Starting Our Journey
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Sep 17th 2015
Rosh Hashanah 5776 ~ א׳ ראש השנה תשע״ו Shanah tovah. It remains a great privilege for me to serve you as your Rabbi. This summer, when my grandchildren, Ilana and Amichai, attended services, ate breakfast following minyan and played under the steps in the foyer, some congregants remembered when Josette and I arrived here with our young children. We have...