Writings from the Rabbis

Teshuvah: Women as Shelihot Tzibbur
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Nov 23rd 2017
Question Is it permissible for Jewish women who have reached the age of mitzvot to serve as prayer leaders for Shaẖarit, Minhah, Ma’ariv, Musaf and Neilah at Beth Tzedec Congregation? Background During my tenure as Senior Rabbi, I have permitted and encouraged women to participate in many public ritual activities,  performative mitzvot that were previously limited...
After the Hurricane ~ Today's Prayer at Beth Tzedec
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Sep 3rd 2017
After the Hurricane"El Elohey Ha'ruhot ~ God of wind and spirit" (Numbers 16) ~ we turn to you at this time of devastation.We think of words recited during the Days of Awe, "Who shall live and who shall die, Who at the measure of days and who before. Who by fire and who by water.""The floods have been raised up, the floods have raised their voice, the floods have raised the pounding waves."...
Words & Deeds (MacLean's August 18/17)
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Aug 18th 2017
Words and deeds: A rabbi watches the events in Charlottesville Opinion: Baruch Frydman-Kohl on being shaken by modern antisemitism and hatred—and how to stand up to it August 18, 2017 Baruch Frydman-Kohl is Anne and Max Tanenbaum Senior Rabbi of Beth Tzedec Congregation in Toronto and the vice-chair of the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus. He holds American and Canadian...
Notes for Tishah B'Av
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Jul 27th 2017
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...
Remarks at Interfaith Service of Grand Lodge of Freemasons, Toronto ~ 23 April 2017 at Metropolitan United Church
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Apr 24th 2017
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:...
Modesty Inside and Out: A Contemporary Guide to Tzniut
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Feb 16th 2017
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>> 
Teshuvah: Women and Minyan
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Jul 13th 2016
QUESTION  שאלה I have been asked whether women may be included in a minyan, the quorum required for the recitation of specially sanctified prayers (devarim shebeqedushah). RESPONSE  תשובה Download the full text of the teshuvah:  frydman-kohl-women-and-minyan-2011.pdf 
Remarks After Receiving the Gordy Wolfe Award for Community Professional Service (June 8, 2016)
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Jun 9th 2016
.ערב טוב ותודה רבה עבור הכבוד וההכרה הזאת. Thank you to the committee that made this selection. Kol hakavod to all the honourees tonight. Just 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...
Passover Guidance—A Message from Our Rabbis
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Apr 19th 2016
A Passover Kitchen 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...
Post-Mortem Circumcision (Summary)
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Apr 8th 2016
 Adar II 5776 / April 2016 Below is the Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl's summary of the recent teshuvah on post-mortem circumcision. To read the full text of the decision, as written by the Committee on Jewish Laws and Standards, click here>>Question: In the event of the tragedy of a stillbirth or the death of an infant boy, must there be a brit milah, circumcision, before burial? Many...
From Disputation to Dialogue - Conflict to Co-Operation
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Jan 11th 2016
25 November 2015 ~ 14 Kislev 5776“This is the day that the Eternal has made.” What a privilege and blessing for our two communities to witness Canadian Rabbis and Bishops sharing wine and sitting together for dinner. This would have been unimaginable 100 years ago, when Albert Einstein presented his famous General Theory of Relativity. Just as his theory and equation changed forever the way...
Refugee Relief, Poverty Assistance and Jewish Responsibility
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Dec 29th 2015
Annual General Meeting—JIAS1 December 2015 ~ Kislev 5776 Growing up in America, I was, of course, more familiar with HIAS, but have always admired the work of JIAS. As the child of an immigrant to the United States and as an immigrant to Toronto, I was aware of the important work of JIAS with Jewish immigrants in the first half of the 20th century, its heroic efforts for...
After Saturday - An Address for the Canadian Rabbinic Caucus (December 7, 2015)
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Dec 17th 2015
Days after the recent Paris atrocity, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said: "There's something different about what happened from Charlie Hebdo … [Then] There was a sort of particularized focus and … a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, okay, they're really angry because of this and that. This Friday was absolutely indiscriminate.” I’m sure that many...
Teshuvah: Non-Jews in Synagogue Choirs
By: Rabbi Baruch Frydman-Kohl
Nov 30th 2015
Nisan 5775 / April 2015She’elah: May non-Jews be members of a professional choir for synagogue prayer? Teshuvah: A Hazzan is a specially trained shali’ah tzibbur, who leads a congregation in rinah u’tefillah, melody and prayer. In addition to knowledge of Torah and personal piety, a Hazzan is expected to have expertise in liturgy and prayer motifs and to possess...
Renewal of Jewish Life in Germany: From Guilt to Responsibility
By: Rabbi Harvey Meirovich, D.H.L.
May 24th 2015
Hope and resilience are two qualities that spell out the will to survive of the Jewish people. Hope and resilience are integral components of the DNA that define the Jewish spirit. We owe a debt of unimaginable gratitude to our ancestors who, over a span of 3,000 years, fashioned rituals, customs and traditions in ways that made sure that hope and resilience always hibernated near...