In the morning, we walked to St George’s Anglican Cathedral. The neighborhood is adjacent to the seam line, which marked the
division of Jerusalem after the1948 war, and the old Mandelbaum Gate, which was the location for Israel-Jordan
Armistice Committee meetings. A substantial number of hotels were erected in
this area which is on the east side of the light rail line and close to...
guest, Hannah Pick, almost 85, is a former German Jew whose parents left for
England and then, unfortunately, believed that Holland would be safe. In
Amsterdam she became the childhood friend of a slightly younger girl, Anne
Frank. Her story was published as Memories of Anne Frank: Reflections
of a Childhood Friend.
Mrs. Pick, now a grandmother of eleven and a...
While most of our people slept in, our
Muslims colleagues arose early to pray at the Haram a Sherif. Others used the
morning to visit the Israel Museum or to walk in the neighborhood. I joined an
early Sefardic prayer service at the hotel and then a led a group to Congregation Moreshet Yisrael, a
Conservative/Masorti synagogue, a walk of
about 40 minutes from the hotel.
Thursday was an early day, but
instead of awakening at 5.30 a.m., I had mistakenly set my alarm for 5.30 p.m.
Thankfully, we had last-minute wake up calls. I quickly said my morning
prayers, ate a few bites and boarded the bus. Imam Patel had returned from
early prayers at the Haram al-Sharif, but was not on the bus. I
descended near the Damascus Gate, grabbed a taxi and returned to the...
We traveled from Ben Gurion airport and plunged directly into some of the critical and conflictual issues of contemporary Israel.In Rabin Square in Tel Aviv, we had an introduction to civic issues that animate Israeli life. Rabin Square was the site of the famous rally for peace at which Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in October, 1995. Ophir Yarden of the Interreligious...
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
I am waiting in Ben Gurion airport for the flight from Toronto to arrive and am reflecting on the past few days in Israel. I arrived ahead of the Path of Abraham group so that I could visit my son, daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren. My flight from Toronto began with a security discussion–perhaps more extended than usual after I told the security agent that I was...
I'm in the airport. in the midst of discussing the Maple Leafs’ latest folly, the guy in the chair beside me slyly mentions his membership in the Jewish fraternity AEPi. I'm in the waiting room. The gentleman sitting across from me scratches his chest conspicuously, obliging his magen david necklace to suddenly appear. I’m in the community indoor play area. The grandmother of one of the kids...
The winter snow in Jerusalem and the ice storm in Toronto made me yearn for Tu B’Shevat (15 Shevat= טבשב ו”ט), the holiday that is the harbinger of spring. As it approaches, I am reminded of the song familiar to Jewish children around the world: The almond tree is blooming and the golden sun is shining, birds...
Good evening. On behalf of the lay
leadership, professional staff, and clergy of Beth Tzedec Congregation, ברוכים הבאים, welcome to our synagogue and to this
exciting Gala event.
Tonight we bring together two organizations whose names are rooted in the words
of the שמע.
Recited twice daily, we remind ourselves of the words: וּכְתַבְתָּם עַל-מְזֻזוֹת...
recently released Pew Report on Jewish Identity described a statistical
disaster engulfing America Jewry like the waters of Noah. Canadian Jewry faces
comparable challenges; looking at American trends gives us a lens to see what
is ahead. In reflecting on the Flood, it is important to recall that Abraham
was a source of hope, despite demography.
Pew Report suggests that...
As we approach the Days of Awe, we are more conscious of the
din of daily and the omperative to screen out noise.
As i watch my granddaughter move from babble to speech, I am
again entranced by the way we humans acquire language. What begins as goo and
ga, moo and ma will become more developed sounds, distinct words,short sentences
and full conversations. Linguistic research indicates that...
My friend caused quite a stir. We are usually a pretty staid
crowd; yet, when Aaron Levy, Founding Director and Rabbi of Makom, a creative
Jewish community in downtown Toronto, spoke at the second installment of the
Beth Tzedec sponsored “The End of the Shul as We Know It?” the audience’s
seething was audible.
Rabbi Levy challenged what he perceives to be a communal
A remarkable yet subtle shift happens somewhere between Exodus and Deuteronomy. As the Israelites make their way out of Egypt, God commands the annual paschal offering. Exodus dictates that a flock animal (sheep or goat) be killed,roasted and eaten by individual households at home. Deuteronomy, however, instructs that a herd animal (cattle) or flock animal is sacrificed, boiled...
Universities are not usually interested in the future of religious institutions, and large synagogues are not usually the places where conversations about transformative change for religious communities take place. Yet the two largest congregations in Canada, Beth Tzedec and Holy Blossom, joined with the Centre for Jewish Studies of the University of Toronto to present a two-part series to...
Tefillah, classical Jewish prayer, is one of the most challenging acts of our tradition for Jews of our century. To speak the traditional words of the siddur, to direct the heart to God and to feel some sense of attunement or response has become increasingly difficult. Our amazement has atrophied. We are inhibited by intellectual doubts, haunted by the Holocaust, and limited in our linguistic...