Rabbi Howard Finkelstein    Chazan Yair Subar    ●   President Howard Nadler

In This Issue

  • From the Rabbi
  • A word from the President
  • Shul News
  • Calendar
  • Community News

Parashat Korach
June 15 & 16
Mincha and Ma’ariv: 7:00 p.m.
Candle Lighting: 8:35p.m.

Sefer Torah Sponsors: 
Magda and Peter Benedek
Erin and Ben Gailor and
The Naor Families

From the Desk of the Rabbi
דברי הרב   Parashat Korach:

Populism, a movement which is almost synonymous with the political philosophy of the President of the United States, is not a new phenomenon in that country. Populism, basically a movement that endorses causes dear to the hearts of average, ordinary citizens, has manifested itself in Presidential campaigns throughout the years in American history. The Populist Party in 1892 garnered over a million votes in the presidential election, and many of its policies were adopted by the Democrat party. Trump, though a Republican, espouses many of those same ideas, speaking to his “base”, the ordinary working person.

However, populism can deteriorate into demagoguery. Ostensibly worthwhile causes are espoused for personal political advantage. One who pretends to speak on behalf of the ordinary folk truthfully seeks his own glory and position. It is not for naught that the rabbis in Pirkei Avot warn against the tendency to misread the intentions of politicians whose goals are anything but altruistic.

Korah, the villain of this week’s Torah reading, is the populist demagogue par excellence. His desire for power is couched in an argument that pleads for pluralism and democracy in a theocratic system that sees Moses and Aaron in the capacity of leaders. He and his cohorts employ two terms to describe the “disenfranchised” people of Israel, which superficially appear to be synonymous, but really are not.

In the same sentence, the rebels against Moses and Aaron describe the people of Israel as an “˜Edah” and as a “Kahal.” The former term refers to the members of the community who are noted for their piety, while the latter reflects on the community at large. Granted, the Edah is a holy conglomerate, but the Kahal in the eyes of Korah and company denotes a chasm between the ordinary citizen and the current leadership: “What right do you have to elevate yourselves over the common man of the community of G-d?”

The Ramban comments that Korah plans out his insurrection meticulously. He waits for the right time to attack Moses and Aaron. He knows fully well that had he attempted to wrest power away from Moses and Aaron at the time of the Golden Calf incident, he would have been unsuccessful. Moses saves the population of Israel from impending destruction as a result of his intervention with G-d through prayer.

However, Korah sees his opportunity after the people of Israel have been condemned to die in the desert. Having accepted the false report about the land of Canaan the spies bring back as recorded in Shelach. Moses’ intervention this time has not resulted in the commutation of G-d’s harsh sentence against the Israelites. The people of Israel are despondent and despairing. Korah can play on their misery to advantage.

The demise of Korah and his followers is almost anticlimactic even though it is dramatic. What remains for readers of the Torah portion of Korah thousands of years later is not simply a reaffirmation of faith in the Torah of G-d and the leadership of Moses that follows the deaths of the rebels. What remains is a reminder of how easily it is to be tempted by the insidious forces of demagoguery.

A word from our President 

Dear Members

The upcoming AGM signifies the end of the year at CBTO and the beginning of a new one filled with excitement that things will be better for our shul. It also marks the end of my three years as your president. Three years that saw many good things happen at our shul and three years that saw my personal life change dramatically. Throughout my term, I reaffirmed my belief in how much our shul can accomplish when we work together and how thinking as individuals does not benefit anyone.

When I began, I really thought I could make our shul like it was thirty years ago. But I realized that back then we saw our shul as more of a social club for young families like my own. We were less observant, but the shul gave us a place to meet, to socialize, and of course to pray. In thirty years we changed. We became a real shul with a focus on more religion based programming, more education, and a more diverse membership. The social events were no longer as important as we had grown into adults, as did our children.

In the last three years, we improved our programming, our Shabbat kiddushes, our religious services, and our building. We held several large events, none more special than the Torah dedication in honour of Rabbi Simes. This event brought people from around the city to our shul to celebrate, and highlighted our congregation, our clergy, and our membership. We proved that, once again, when we work together our shul can be the best there is.

Over the past three years, I have learned what a great group of people we have as members. From very observant, to the High Holiday observers, to the once a year member. The key is to realize we are all in this together and we need to consider them all when we make decisions. Many times people would ask me if they could do something in our shul that served their purpose. However, as President, I needed to consider the impact on all members. We must remember that every decision we make is for our congregation as a whole, and not for a small group.

We have an opportunity to make this the best shul in Ottawa. Let’s not compare ourselves to others, but focus on who we are and what we have here. We are fortunate that a new generation of leadership will be taking over next week. Let’s give them our full support in helping our shul move forward into the future. I know you will see new ideas and a new way of doing things, and I ask that you embrace it to ensure we are successful.

Finally, I want to thank you all for your support over the last three years. It was truly an honour to serve as President, and a privilege to work with you and to be able to be part of this wonderful congregation.


Shul News

Shabbat in the Park: Shabbat, June 16th at Charing Park from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, walking club will meet at 4:00 pm (weather permitting).

Annual General Meeting will be Thursday, June 21, 2018 at 7:00 pm.

Community News

JEWISH WAR VETERANS SCHOLARSHIP: The Jewish War Veterans of Canada, Ottawa Post, is offering two (2) $ 1000.00 scholarships to deserving Jewish students who are graduating in 2018 from secondary school and are entering university in 2018.
Applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 19 years on or before the 31st of May 2018 and be residents of the National Capital Region.
In the letter of application, candidates will provide evidence of superior qualities of leadership, good citizenship, complete school mark records including the final year,  and sportsmanship at school, within the Jewish Community and community-at-large. All applicants should provide a letter stating why they think they are eligible. Enclose any supporting material that you may think relevant.  All documentation must be received no later than July 13, 2018. Send Submissions to : Ruth Aaron  877 Maplecrest Avenue Ottawa, Ontario K2A 2Z7.
JEWISH FAMILY SERVICES: Friendly Visitors urgently needed for JFS clients!
Active senior looking for a female volunteer with a car to take her on outings like bowling, JCC Library, AJA 50+ programs, coffee dates, etc. Carling/Preston area. Senior with mobility issues is looking for a visitor who can help with her gardening.  Every 2 weeks or so.  JFS neighbourhood.
Man with mental health challenges needs transportation only for groceries/ banking/ errands every second week, during morning hours.  1-2 hours maximum commitment.  Very flexible on dates.  Vanier area. To help, please contact: 613.722.2225, ext.315
NA’AMAT CANADA OTTAWA: New Directory. New Features. Great Savings. Purchase your 2018 Ottawa Jewish Directory at the advance sale days and save $4. Where: Soloway Jewish Community Centre. When: Tuesday, June 19, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm; Wednesday, June 20, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm & 5:30 – 9:30 pm; Thursday, June 21, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm. Price: $23 (regular price: $27). The Directory is produced by Na’amat Canada Ottawa. Your purchase helps improve the lives of women and families in need in Israel and Canada, and connects our community. Thank you!

15 Chartwell Avenue, Nepean, ON K2G 4K3
Phone 613-723-1800 / Fax 613-723-6567
Rabbi Howard Finkelstein rabbihoward.finkelstein@gmail.com
Howard Nadler, President howardnadler@gmail.com
Elisheva Brantz, Office Administrator shul@cbto.org