On this solemn and yet ultimately hopeful occasion—Monday night, July 31—we gather under dim lighting and low seating like mourners. Ma’ariv and the chanting of Eikhah, the Book of Lamentations, create a mood of reflection and sadness.
During morning services on Tuesday, August 1, the Torah and Haftarah readings as well as kinot (poems emphasizing the destruction of the...
Rabbi2RabbiEpisode 30 - March 2017
Anglican priest was recently complaining to me that while his older
parishioners can be counted on for regular donations to the church's general
fund, younger Christians are more attracted to occasional targeted projects.
Anecdotally, I told him, we see the same in the Jewish community.
indicates that Millennials, while...
Masons and Jews, Hatred and Hitler
What a wonderful
gathering. Our thanks to our hosts at Metropolitan United Church and to the
Grand Lodge who have brought us together. I thank my colleagues, all of whom
work tirelessly for their particular faith community and for the benefit of all Toronto.
In many ways, the
message of Masonry might be encapsulated by the words of Psalms:...
Rabbi2RabbiEPISODE 29 - February 2017Dear Rav Adam,For me, I am especially sensitive to issues of pikuaẖ nefesh (saving a life), k’vod habriyot (human dignity), mamonam shel yisrael (monetary cost) and chilul hashem (desecration of the Divine name). While there is no perfect formula into which one can plug the variables and receive a correct policy or halakhic decision, these four areas, for...
Rabbi2RabbiEpisode: TWENTY-EIGHT - January 2017Dear R’ Adam,My congregation, like many others, hosts a Super Bowl viewing party. We use this major media event as an opportunity to create connection and energy amongst our members; it has become a well-attendedprogram. The Chofetz Chaim once said that the innovations of his era taught profound life lessons: The telephone taught that our words can...
Rabbi Frydman-Kohl recently co-authored a teshuvah accepted by the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards. Many people inquire about the standards of dress in synagogues, schools and social settings. "Modesty Inside and Out: A Contemporary Guide to Tzniut" is an attempt to respond to those queries.To download the teshuvah, click here>>
Rabbi2RabbiEpisode: TWENTY-SEVEN (December 2016)Shalom Rabbi Cutler!It is a zekhut (a privilege) to correspond with you. And speaking of zekhuiot (privileges or merits), with H̱anukkah, a holiday which foregrounds the challenges of cultural and religious assimilation, soon approaching, I have been thinking about that oft-quoted midrash that the children of Israel weresaved from Egypt on...
Rabbi2RabbiEpisode: TWENTY-FIVE - October 2016Dear Rav Adam,The intersection of government and religion is always complicated. However, a standard feature of ourreligious service is a prayer for the welfare of our Canadian government. In offering this prayer, we fulfill the teaching of the sages, “Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear of it, men would swallow one...
Rabbi2Rabbi Episode TWENTY-SIX - November 2016Dear R' Adam,For the couple days after learning of Leonard Cohen's death, during Shaẖarit, my shul sang Psalm 150 to the tune of his "Hallelujah". We had used the melody before, but this time it carried extra significance. The music is sombre and uplifting, and the song carries significant theological meaning. I believe that everyone present was...
Rabbi2Rabbi Episode TWENTY-FOUR – September 2016Dear Rav Adam,The Israeli scholar and philosopher Moshe Halbertal recently delivered a lecture at my shul in which he argued that the Talmudic narratives about repentance serve not as examples to buttress the laws ofteshuvah, but rather as subversive tales demonstrating the limits of legislating the act of forgiveness. Though guidelines for...
Rabbi2Rabbi Episode TWENTY-THREE - August 2016Dear M' Rachel,Coinciding with Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the issuance of its report, synagogues across the GTA (I can't speak to Montreal or elsewhere) have been doing programming connected to Canada's Indigenous population. Earlier this year, my shul sent a youth delegation to meet First Nation teens at the North Bay Indian...
I have been asked whether women may be included in a minyan, the quorum required for the recitation
of specially sanctified prayers (devarim shebeqedushah).
Download the full text of the teshuvah: frydman-kohl-women-and-minyan-2011.pdf
.ערב טוב ותודה רבה עבור הכבוד וההכרה הזאת.
you to the committee that made this selection. Kol hakavod to all the honourees tonight.
as we all stood together at Sinai, we all faced the flames of Auschwitz and
sang Hatikvah at the birth of Israel. Tonight, in Toronto, our hearts are with
those killed and wounded in Tel Aviv. We are all...
Episode TWENTY-TWO – May 2016
At a recent lecture that I attended, the instructor positioned two great
Orthodox Jewish thinkers of the modern era in opposition to each other with
respect to whether or not the mitzvot are meant to "do something" for
the doer. For Joseph Soloveitchik, a committed mitzvah-laden life leads one to
know God and to cleave to...
The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) of the Rabbinical Assembly
recently released some decisions regarding the consumption of kitniyot on
Pesaẖ. These decisions have already generated significant press,
and have led to many questions within our community. On a recent Shabbat, we
had the pleasure of discussing our approach to this subject and...