The Jewish Lens

Several years ago, I felt the urge to write about the Jewish holidays as they came up, to share what went on inside a Jewish home, satisfy the curiosity of non-Jews, and correct misunderstandings. As much as we know about each other, we still have a lot to learn.

Recent Posts
  • Jerusalem-style Purim celebrations

    Purim is a profoundly spiritual and meaningful Jewish holiday with material and spiritual components.

  • Shabbat in Jerusalem

    My first Shabbat with my nephew and his family in Kiryat Menahem and the second in my very own apartment in Jerusalem

  • Spring in Israel

    I arrived in Israel on March 2nd from Montreal and have met amazing people at every turn.

  • Heroes: Then and Now

    Some in the Exodus story are named, but many more are referred to anonymously: Although referred to anonymously, their mission is no less significant.

  • Does Cosmology Matter

    I have been a constant CBC listener. My radio is on almost 24 hours as I find it good company even at night. One morning, the radio program CBC-Ideas*1 began with someone reading The Huarochirí Manuscript, one of the

  • Redemption in our Time

    As I contemplate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the liberation of  Auschwitz in January of 1945, I prefer to recall the dual redemptions of the Jewish people that have occurred since then. The first redemption is the miraculous refounding

  • A Season of Miracles and Light

    A time of miracles, visiting Jerusalem, the European Cantors Convention, Budapest, Kereztur, Tokay, Szabolc and Debrecen, and many more, December 2022

  • Last month, the Pope visited Canada to express his apology to the Aboriginal Peoples of Canada, victims of the residential schools administered by clergy that were part of the Canadian government’s plan to convert the children of First Nations

  • Leadership and Choices_Then and Now

    Obligations of leaders and laymen in times of war as illustrated by John Loftus in his book, Unholy Trinity and Noel Izon in his documentary about German Jewish refugees welcomed in the Philippines in the 1930s..

  • The Fifth Book Of Moses

    In this final book, as they arrive at the River Jordan, Moses, reviews and revisits his own story and journey with the Children of Israel. the redemption from slavery in Egypt and their desert journey, significant for them and

  • Abortion is a very private and personal decision. Josh Healy, the comedian pushes all the relevant buttons

  • An Exceptional Book of Historic Interest

    Genius and Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World, 1847-1947, is a fascinating book exploring the infinite variety of humanity expressed through Jewish lives around the world. It upends Jewish stereotypes and arouses sheer wonder. The book is read from

  • Shavuot_What is it and Why Does it Matter

    An All-Night Festival of Learning? I am not a rabbi or a Hebrew scholar. My Jewish learning came from growing up in a traditional Jewish home, attending Jewish after-school classes after a full day at a Protestant public school

  • Matzah, Passover, and Freedom

    Matzah is the bread of affliction and the bread of haste, but matzah also has profound and less well-understood symbolism.

  • Bar Mitzvah

    You are no different from Baby Moses, set adrift in a small basket on the Nile River: Each of us is born into an unpredictable and even dangerous world.

  • Politics, Science, and Religion

    Politics science religion and justice. Do they have anything to teach us in 2022?

  • The How of Chanukkah

     Hanukkah has very few requirements: But it’s all done with music and song!

  • How to Create Peace

    How difficult it is to change, to reprogram from any ideological commitment, whether personal or communal!

  • The Hidden Hanukkah

    But few know about the hidden story of Hanukkah which begins 150 years before the battles of Hasmonean priests

  • Forgiveness and its impact

    G-d does not consider forgiveness unless we have done the work of Elul – forgiving each other in the flesh.

  • The Consolation of Media in Pandemic Times

    I ask myself why the most successful movies are fantasies of disaster etc…And then I recall the course on “Aggadata”, fantastic allegories in the Talmud

  • All people of goodwill must oppose the malignancy of Jew-hatred and racism in any form that it reasserts itself, but before one can oppose it, one must understand it and recognize it for what it is.

  • The Jewish people have suffered greatly throughout history, but nevertheless, have not succumbed to hatred of the other.

  • What the Holiday of Shavuot can teach us

    Everyone knows about Passover but fewer of us appreciate Shavuot especially in modern times.

  • What Can Purim Teach Us Today_

    Purim presents us with the first paradigm for what antisemitism/racism/persecution of a minority within a majority looks like. 

  • The Holocaust/shoah was something I had been aware of and struggled to comprehend from a very young age.

  • Living with Two Calendars

    Jews don’t have a double identity but live with two calendars – the secular, solar or Julian calendar, and the Jewish calendar based on the moon’s cycles. The Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in 45 BCE, recognized the

  • The Power of Words, Story, and Prayer

    The gift of language is the “Gesher tzar meod”– the very narrow bridge – that crosses the abyss between finite humanity and the infinity of God

  • The Cantor's Prayer

    Can you and I communicate with G-d in the present?

  • Music and the Cantorial Art

    Because of its deep connections with the brain, music is intrinsically meaningful to humanity as a race. Music, sound, is life. Music, adds emotion, nuance, and meaning.

  • History

    there is no word for “history” in the Hebrew language. The Hebrew word that comes closest to the notion of history in Hebrew is the word “zachor” – the injunction “to remember.”

  • News and Knowledge during Covid-19

    We all know the problem, excess options and information coming at us from all sides. How to process it!

  • To Honour One’s Parents

    The Rabbis of the Talmud believe that this fifth commandment, “Honour thy father and mother” is the most difficult to fulfill properly.

  • Yom Kippur_The Day of At-One-Ment

    “atonement” is one of those concepts that nobody understands – least of all me. And what is the meaning of forgiveness?

  • RBG: How Jewish Was She

    Ginsburg’s Jewish identity was never abandoned; rather, it was threaded throughout her life and work.

  • The Joyful Experience of Rosh Hashanah

    Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year holiday is customarily a 4-hour service in the synagogue, punctuated by the blowing of the shofar. and a repeat the following day. If you are not Jewish, it’s difficult to explain why and

  • Photos of Cantor Moshe Kraus

    Moshe’s life is indicative of a much larger story. The story of how ordinary people faced the storm. The story of the spiritual resilience of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. This is the story I want to

  • Comparing Buddhism and Judaism

    In his lecture at Hillel House, Rabbi Lew, Zichrono livracha, may his memory be a blessing, compared Judaism and Buddhism by comparing how each tradition deals with suffering.

  • Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz

    During R. Steinmetz’ time in Montreal, I filmed short 5-min. sermons. I share them here along with nine of his written sermons on the (KJ) website. all amazing!

  • Yom Yerushalayim

    On this day, almost 1900 years after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD, the Jews regained sovereignty over the temple mount and the entire city of Jerusalem. What does this mean?