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...
Rabbi2Rabbi: an email dialogue between Rabbi Adam Cutler and Rabbi Adam Scheier (March 2017)
By: Rabbi Adam Cutler
May 25th 2017
Rabbi2RabbiEpisode 30 - March 2017 Dear Rav Adam, An 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. Research indicates that Millennials, while...
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:...
Rabbi2Rabbi: an email dialogue between Rabbi Adam Cutler and Rabbi Adam Scheier (February 2017)
By: Rabbi Adam Cutler
Mar 21st 2017
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...
Rabbi2Rabbi: an email dialogue between Rabbi Adam Cutler and Rabbi Adam Scheier (January 2017)
By: Rabbi Adam Cutler
Feb 17th 2017
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...
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>> 
Rabbi2Rabbi: an email dialogue between Rabbi Adam Cutler and Rabbi Raysh Weiss (December 2016)
By: Rabbi Adam Cutler
Feb 10th 2017
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...
Rabbi2Rabbi: an email dialogue between Rabbi Adam Cutler and Rabbi Adam Scheier (October 2016)
By: Rabbi Adam Cutler
Dec 14th 2016
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: an email dialogue between Rabbi Adam Cutler and Rabbi Adam Scheier (November 2016)
By: Rabbi Adam Cutler
Dec 14th 2016
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: an email dialogue between Rabbi Adam Cutler and Rabbi Adam Scheier (September 2016)
By: Rabbi Adam Cutler
Dec 14th 2016
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 an email dialogue between Rabbi Adam Cutler and Maharat Rachel Kohl Finegold (August 2016)
By: Rabbi Adam Cutler
Dec 14th 2016
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...
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