Evolution of an Unorthodox Rabbi


Prominent Canadian rabbi John Moscowitz charts the shifts in his views over the years — controversial for some, exciting for others — on the issues that matter most to Jews today.

John Moscowitz spent his early twenties as an anti-Vietnam War activist. Eventually dubious about the radical left and alive with love for Israel, he entered the rabbinical seminary in search of his own people. This set him on a path to becoming, as Senator Linda Frum put it, one of Toronto’s “most cherished and effective rabbis.”

In this book, John Moscowitz charts the shifts in his thinking on the charged matters among the Jews today: the viability of peace in the Middle East; how we misjudge the nature of evil; and, once having been exposed to the savannahs of East Africa, even the relationship between evolution and the Bible.

Part memoir, part social history, this book is a deep examination of a long personal journey, one travelled in public as a prominent rabbi. Along the way, it captures what unites and divides an ancient people today.


There is much more in this book that touches neither on politics nor on grand theological issues: a moving tribute to Moscowitz’s father; a frank, humble, thoughtful reflection on the decision to perform same-sex marriages; a powerful piece urging congregants to take Shabbat seriously. But the same unifying threads run throughout.


The book is an enjoyable and stimulating window into the mind of a wise and talented rabbi who has contributed significantly to the Jewish community of Canada and beyond.

Canadian Jewish News

About the Author

John Moscowitz

Posted by Kendra on April 28, 2015
John Moscowitz photo

John Moscowitz

John Moscowitz, Rabbi Emeritus of Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto, served the congregation for twenty-five years, including twelve as its Senior Rabbi. He is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, and is currently writing a book about his days as a young radical.