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By Dr. H. David Burstein Nov. 2012 One of the great moments in Jewish life occurs at the Passover seder when the youngest child stands up and asks the question "Why is this night different from all other nights? It is not the sophistication of the question, but the very act of having the question asked that is important.   Slaves are not allowed to ask questions.  That a child gives the initial spark to get the dialogue going in retelling a story that is 3500 years old indicates  the centrality of freedom in Judaism [...]

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The Energies to Move Forward

By Dr. H. David Burstein March 2012 One of the fondest memories of my grade school years was on Friday afternoons when I had five friends over to our home to play hockey in our basement. When people mention "The Original Six, my thoughts turn first to those times with these friends, more than to that bye gone era when the Maple Leafs had won the Stanley Cup 4 times in my life before I was 12 years old. My parents still live in the house [...]

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Can We Talk

By Dr. H David Burstein February 2011 Authors Note: This article was edited by three women! In his book "What About the Big Stuff" Richard Carlson presents an imagery that life is like driving along a highway. If you want to have a safe journey, you have to know the rules of the road, respect speed limits and use the advice given on the road signs. If a sign says "Do Not Enter, guess what? Don't go there. You are asking for trouble. When it comes to the conversations we have I wonder who is and who is not placing the "Do Not Enter" sign [...]

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To Err is Human…

By H. David Burstein January 2011 Several years ago I wrote an article entitled "The Pain in Being Comfortable. It focused on the idea that if we get too used to our comforts we may not challenge ourselves to grow. I have to come to realize that the opposite also stifles our spirit. For many, there is a "Comfort in Being Painful. Many of us can get stuck in patterns or behaviors of negativity, that while they afford the comfort of predictability, lack of responsibility and victimhood status, they will lead to sadness [...]

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You Are Lucky To Read This

By Dr. H. David Burstein December 2010 Of all the formal bits of advice I received during my dental education, maybe the most important was at a formal. During his remarks at our Graduation Ball, Dean Richard Ten Cate quoted a Buddhist proverb "You have what you want, now learn to enjoy it. A short time later there was a day in which I attended a wedding, had two funerals, and was invited to four graduation parties. During his eulogy at one of the funerals Rabbi Jordan Pearlson asked "Why is it that when good things happen to us we take them for granted, but when bad things happen we say "Why me? These two ideas have stuck with me for 28 years [...]

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Imagine Yourself as the Patient

By: Dr. H. David Burstein When first approached to write an article on dental ethics I was hesitant. Ask a specialist to discuss an aspect of their subspecialty and he/she could do it. But dental ethics? I am not an ethicist. I am not an academic. I am a wet gloved generalist. Besides being concerned of appearing sanctimonious, I would not want you to think that I do not struggle with ethical dilemmas in my own practice. However there are many issues and I was asked to help get a dialogue going [...]

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Start With the Man in the Mirror

David Burstein July 2010 There is a joke about a Jewish man who goes for a job as a radio announcer. When he returned home from the interview, his mother asks him if he got the job. With a disappointed look, he shakes his head. His mother then asked him "Do you know why you did not get the job? The man nods. The mother said "Why? The man answered "AAAAnnntttiii-Semitism. Honest self assessment is not easy for any of us. Our most intimate relationship is with ourselves [...]

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Ideas That Have Stuck

Dr. H. David Burstein February 2010. Several years ago I attended a lecture by Jewish educator Elliott Malamet.  He stated that one of his favourite words was "disillusioned."  He loved it because it meant that a person became aware that a perception had been an illusion.  There may be a sense  of disappointment in being disillusioned, but now there is a truer sense of reality. One of the disillusions of my youth was that I used to think that all adults were sophisticated and wise [...]

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The Lessons Continue

Dr. H. David Burstein June 2009. I remember falling to my knees and starting to cry.  It was Sunday morning October 27th ,  2002.  I was just told that my sister Judy had breast cancer.  She died April 29th , 2009  in her 57th year. During her noble battle, I have been married, moved twice, relocated my practice, and my wife Lesley has given birth to three babies.   While many of the life lessons I have learned have been centered on watching the development of our children,  the juxtaposition with Judys passing  has fine tuned my focus on what I know is important [...]

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A Time and Season

Dr. H. David Burstein  October 2008. Watching the opening ceremonies of the  Summer Olympics  I remembered  that Toronto had been in competition with Beijing to host the games.  It was obvious to me that we could not have  competed with the splendor of the event that they executed.    However, when running a non-democratic country, the people in charge can do whatever they want with the money that they control to put on a self-serving spectacular show [...]

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Do you have an Ethical Will?

Dr. H. David Burstein June 2007. Several years ago while at a Bar Mitzvah my mind started to wander. I was curious about the origin of the word "religion". What was "ligion"? "Re", as far as I was concerned meant "pertaining to". "Ligion" I had no idea. I then quietly laughed at myself and said "Get a life and lighten up!" Amazingly, two days later at a UJA conference in Washington D.C. , I actually got an answer. I attended a lecture on Jewish medical ethics (see how I listened to my own advice about lightening up!), given by Rabbi Elliot Dorff [...]

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No Need to Apologize

Dr. H. David Burstein February 2007. "There is nothing as destructive to an individual or society as confessing to sins that one has not committed." Jewish author Ahad Haam When people start talking about Jewish comedy, the discussion of guilt, especially from our mothers is usually a topic.  For example "How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb? None, its all right, Ill sit in the dark." Our tradition understands that with the human condition, everything is balanced [...]

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“Now I get it”

Dr. H. David Burstein  February 2007. Several years ago I attended a lecture given by Rabbi Marc Gafni.  He asked the question "Who is the real you?   After going through various possible answers, he settled on the opinion of  Rav Kuk.  Rav Kuk said "Our essence is revealed at our moments of greatness. Who we really are is who we are when we are at our best. Being at our best is different for all of us [...]

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Reaching Out by Going In

"I went into his room for the 11pm feeding and looking down on our sleeping 2 month old son  was taught yet another lesson." Charlie Abraham Tavel Burstein was born on January 21st, 2005 in Toronto.  My wife Lesley was magnificent.  Her courage and toughness through the labor and delivery was a process I will forever honour.     After Charlie was delivered, like all fathers, I counted his digits [...]

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Partners in Creation

Dr. H. David Burstein 2004. "We are starting to sense the dangers of our history and our destructive paths.  We are beginning to sense the need to restore the sacred feminine"  - "The Davinci Code" I am not a scholar of Jewish history; however I have learned that there have been turning points that led to changes in how Jewish civilization evolved.  It was the different mind set of the patriarchs and matriarchs.  In having the courage to move forward during times of crisis, how they chose to react and adapt has affected our reality and perceptions of our relationship to God [...]

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Choose Life

Dr. H. David Burstein 2003. "I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day: I have put before you life and death, blessing and curse.  Choose life"  Deuteronomy 30:19 The last two   years have exposed people  to dramatically to the evil in the world. Until September 11, 2001 many people  did not want to admit that there was evil. We have   read  history, we know about the Holocaust and other atrocities [...]

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