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
  • The Book of Exodus

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

  • Cosmology Does it 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

  • Redemptions of the Jews 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

  • Hanukkah Menorah

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

  • Reconciliation and Healing: The Pope's visit to Canada

    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

  • 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..

  • Padua - Moses and the Israelites Gathering of Manna

    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

  • Woman Protesting for Women's Rights

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

  • Genius & Anxiety: How Jews Changed the World

    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

  • 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

  • Spring Road

    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.

  • Planet Earth

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

  • Low key composite image with menorah with glitter lights of burning candlel and crescent moon on nocturnal black sky.

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

  • Jewish Lessons on Dealing with Ideology

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

  • A photo taken in Germany in 1931 depicts what resistance looks like. "Our light will outlast their flag," the rabbi's wife wrote on the back of the photo.

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

  • Sunset

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

  • Media Technology

    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

  • Antisemitism

    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.

  • How to deal with antisemitism

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

  • Why Shavuot Matter

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

  • The book of Esther

    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.

  • Jewish Calendar

    Jews don’t have a double identity, but they 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 Power of Words and Story

    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

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

  • Music

    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-Zachor Al Tishkach

    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 Par

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

  • Yom Kippur

    “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

  • Rabbi Lew 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 Yerusahalayim 2020

    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?

  • Principles to Live By New Year 2020

    Today is the 8th day of Chanukah and the 30th of December 2019 – a good time to take stock of the last year and think about the one to come.

  • Shofar

    At this time of year you are probably getting used to hearing Happy New Year, Shana tova, and the words Rosh Hashanah bandied about and wondering what is this exactly. Rosh Hashana is a combination of penance and joy.

  • Why does Israel Continue to Observe Tisha b'Av

    Why does the State of Israel and the Jewish people all over the world, continue to observe the National Day of Mourning Tisha B’Av, which commemorates the destruction of the two temples and the Jewish peoples’ two previous exiles