June 18, 2013
June 16, 2013
An excellent letter that appeared in the Gazette by Cote Saint-Luc Senior Men’s Club President Sidney Margles:
The Gazette. June 10, 2013
Re: “PQ minister firm on election date” (Gazette, June 8)
There is nothing wrong with a fixed Quebec election date, but when it infringes on a particular segment of society, the law must have flexibility. Other jurisdictions have taken this into account.
It is true that Jews can vote in advance polls if the election were to take place on Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest Jewish holidays.
However Jews who work in election campaigns, either for candidates or for the Directeur Général des Elections, would automatically have to decline to participate, as it would be a violation of their faith.
Also to be considered are Jewish candidates who would be unable to fully participate in election day activities.
Jewish citizens have been full participants in the democratic process, dating back several hundred years in Quebec. Why change now?
While Minister Drainville may not see his position as being out of place, he should look at himself in the mirror and ask himself why rigidity rather than flexibility and common sense must prevail.
- Quebec official: Rosh Hashanah election date not discriminatory (timesofisrael.com)
- Fixed elections: PQ refuses to ‘accommodate’ Jewish community (globalnews.ca)
- PQ accused of intolerance over fixed election date (cbc.ca)
June 16, 2013
By: Allan Woods Quebec Bureau, Published on Sat Jun 15 2013
Remarks by police suggest “competition” between kosher restaurants in Hampstead neighbourhood may be the motive behind attacks
MONTREAL—Around closing time last weekend two men walked into Montreal’s Chops Resto-Bar, tossed a flaming Molotov cocktail toward the bar and escaped on foot, though not before a security camera picked them up.
The damage was limited to a scorched section of the restaurant’s wall and shock among the 20-odd diners wrapping up their meal shortly after midnight Saturday. But there was clearly something nefarious at play. This was the third time since 2011 that Chops, a kosher establishment that serves Asian fusion cuisine, had been targeted with a flaming bottle.
Then emerged news of two other firebombings in the previous 48 hours — one at another kosher restaurant a few doors down and another at the home of a Jewish businessman a short drive away — and people immediately assumed anti-Semitism was the spur. But police dashed that theory almost as quickly as the flames.
Instead another troubling motive has risen from the ashes, which has the city’s Jewish community facing the possibility that there’s a kosher restaurant war in the predominantly Jewish west-end neighbourhood of Hampstead.
The few remarks police have made over the past week suggest they are looking at “competition” as the driving factor. Chops co-owner Ouri Ohayon, who says his high-end restaurant does a brisk business, offers “jealousy” as the likely cause.
“We’re not Mafia-related. We’re not gangsters. We don’t owe nothing to anybody. It’s somebody who wants us to be closed,” he said in one of several interviews last week. “We’re a high-end restaurant … We’re busy every night, thank God.”
Ohayon won’t say who he thinks might be targeting his restaurant. He has offered a $20,000 reward to anyone who can help solve the crime.
Of that reward, $5,000 is for information identifying each of the two men on the surveillance footage, he said, noting a security camera also captured two men launching a Molotov cocktail into the restaurant last fall in the second of the three attacks he has endured.
The remaining $10,000 “is for the person that hired them,” Ohayon said.
Ohayon says his own criminal past has no connection to the firebombing campaign. In February 2005, he pleaded guilty and received a suspended sentence for intimidating the former wife of a friend in 2004 and 2005 in order to collect on a $150,000 debt.
The transcript of a preliminary inquiry obtained by the Star includes testimony that Ohayon badgered a Montreal school teacher — a newly divorced mother of two — to have her repay her ex-husband’s debt. In a 2004 phone call to the woman, Ohayon said he was simply a “messenger” but explained he stood to make a 5-per-cent commission on the repaid loan.
When the money didn’t appear, Ohayon became insistent and increasingly aggressive, the woman testified. In a recorded conversation, Ohayon warned her not to go to the police for help and told her “two very large men” would be visiting her if she didn’t soon comply.
When she resisted further, her home and that of her elderly parents were pelted with bottles, juice cans and other objects late at night.
“I cannot express to you in words properly as a mother who’s scared for her children, for her family … how the blood dropped from my head and I began to shake, and this was only the beginning of a 5½-month ordeal of having things thrown at my windows,” said the woman.
Asked on Friday about the charge, Ohayon downplayed it, saying it was merely a situation that got out of control.
“Somebody owed me money and I lost my temper and that’s all it was,” he said.
Such activities are rarely brought to light in Montreal’s Jewish community, but the fact that Ohayon’s restaurant has been firebombed on three separate occasions has given rise to speculation about a serious conflict simmering just below Hampstead’s cosy facade.
A leader in Montreal’s Jewish community — who asked not to be named, citing the sensitivity of the situation and the police investigation — said one theory in circulation is that one kosher restaurant felt threatened by the success of either Chops or Cafe Shalom, the other eatery targeted in the early hours of June 9.
“In that specific area … there are so many kosher restaurants,” the community leader said. “But the prices of kosher restaurants are what makes them competitive. Some are less expensive than others.”
There are more than a dozen kosher restaurants in Montreal and they are generally divided into two groups: those that serve food containing dairy products and those that sell meat.
Jewish dietary laws prohibit the two food types from being eaten together at the same meal. The extra steps involved in slaughtering, inspecting and processing meat to ensure it meets the religious standard tend to drive up the price of a kosher steak.
At least one competitor casts doubt on the price-war theory. Amir Toledano, who runs Fuego, a kosher steak house a kilometre away from Chops and Cafe Shalom, noted that the first attack on Ohayon’s restaurant occurred in June 2011, several months before either Fuego or Cafe Shalom opened for business.
“When the first one happened there was no competition. So it cannot be a price war,” he said. “And competition? There’s no competition. They could open another five restaurants. There are another three restaurants opening now. There’s room for everybody.”
Toledano said police testimony about his past and possible links to gang members that was used to strip a downtown bar of its liquor licence also has no bearing on the Molotov cocktail attacks against kosher restaurants.
The written decision by Quebec’s alcohol and gaming commission said the Pub St-James was a hot spot for violence and a known hangout for members of the violent street gang Les Bleus, whose members are mostly Quebec-born Haitians and may have ties to the Hells Angels biker gang.
“Amir Toledano was seen at the establishment in the presence of individuals belonging to a criminal group and he presented himself as the owner,” the decision says.
The provincial commission also revoked the bar’s alcohol permit, citing Toledano’s unspecified past legal troubles.
“What does it have to do with my past from seven years ago,” he said of the current police investigation.
“I’m doing very well for myself. I changed my life 360 (degrees), you understand? And I have no friends like this. I work from morning to night.”
Toledano noted he has subsequently been able to obtain a licence to serve alcohol at another downtown establishment, suggesting there are no outstanding concerns about his credibility.
He also said that he has not been asked by police as a member of the kosher restaurant community about the firebombings of Cafe Shalom and Chops Resto-Bar. He said his primary concern is getting customers back into his restaurant. In the last week, they have been reluctant to dine out, he said.
- Montreal Kosher Restaurants Targeted in Overnight Firebombings (israelnationalnews.com)
- Restaurants targeted in overnight firebombings (montreal.ctvnews.ca)
June 6, 2013
Events, Historical, Jewish Community Anthony Housefather, Bonnie Feigenbaum, Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre, Fiddler on the Roof, Mitchell Brownstein, Sam Goldbloom, Segal Centre for Performing Arts, Tevye, Wagar High School Leave a comment
Last night I finally had the opportunity to attend a special, volunteer night edition of the Cote Saint-Luc Dramatic Society’s presentation of Fiddler on the Roof. I’ve heard so many first hand comments and entertainment critic reviews on the musical now playing at the former Wagar High School. But seeing, and hearing, is believing and believe me, this was no ordinary play. This was an outstanding, high energy, musical and emotional roller coaster that gripped the audience for a thrilling ride from the opening scene to the closing of the curtain.
The stage was jam packed with nearly 40 talented and spirited volunteer actors, who also sang and dance with perfection. The acting was so sincere, so real, that you felt as though you too were transported back in time to the shtetle of Anatevka.
The show was directed and choreographed by the very talented Anisa Cameron and the lead performer playing the role of Tevye the Milkman, was none other than Sam Stein, a familiar face in Montreal theatre, particularly at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts and the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre. Kalie Rae was remarkable as Golde as were lead performances by daughters Tzeitel (Michelle Sasson), Hodel (Moriel Shahin) and Chava (Einav Ne’eman) along with son-in-laws Motel (Daniel Harroch), Perchik (Kenny Stein) and Fyedka (Mike Rappaport). Yente the Matchmaker (Hannah Sheffren) was a riot!
Local politicians also got into the act with drama king, and CSLDS founder Councillor Mitchell Brownstein playing the role of Lazar Wolf, Reb Mordcha, the Innkeeper played by long time actor Councillor Sam Goldbloom, Hampstead Councillor Michael Goldwax, singing and dancing in three different roles with his colleague, Hampstead Mayoral Candidate Bonnie Feigenbaum in a cameo role as the pious woman. Dollard Councillor Herbert Brownstein was decked out in a long black coat, fur hat and grey beard as the rabbi, while Mayor Anthony Housefather surprised the audience as the Russian Orthodox Priest.
A special shout out to 10 year old Aidan Catriel, the Fiddler on the Roof, a veritable junior virtuoso. This kid is truly gifted.
Without naming the rest of the cast individually they should all be proud of their incredible accomplishment on stage. Each of them added immensely to the story and the spirit of this musical classic.
Several members of city staff were very involved in ensuring the logistical, administrative and marketing success of Fiddler. Bravo to them along with the sound and lighting folks and the gifted orchestra.
Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and book by Joseph Stein, set in Tsarist Russia in 1905. It is based on Tevye and his Daughters (or Tevye the Milkman and Other Tales) by Sholem Aleichem. The story centres on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters—each one’s choice of husband moves further away from the customs of his faith—and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village.
The original Broadway production of the show, which opened in 1964, had the first musical theatre run in history to surpass 3,000 performances. Fiddler held the record for the longest-running Broadway musical for almost 10 years until Grease surpassed its run. It remains Broadway’s fifteenth longest-running show in history. The production was extraordinarily profitable and highly acclaimed. It was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning nine, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It spawned four Broadway revivals, a successful 1971 film adaptation, and the show has enjoyed enduring international popularity. It is also a very popular choice for school and community productions.
Run, don’t walk, to book your tickets now for one of the last performances. The show runs through this Sunday only. For tickets and information click on CSLDramaticSociety.com.
May 29, 2013
Canada, Historical, Jewish Community, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, News clip Joe King, Lord Shaughnessy, Phyllis Lambert, Sam Bronfman, Samuel Moskovitch, Sir Mortimer B. Davis, Teddy Kolleck Leave a comment
The Gazette, April 29, 2013
Re: “Phyllis Lambert found calling in architecture” (Gazette, April 26)
Your article on architect Phyllis (Bronfman) Lambert refers to her creation of the architectural museum constructed adjacent to and encompassing the historic Shaughnessy House. Lambert saved the historic mansion from the wreckers. Quite possibly, though, she didn’t know the warm relationships between Lord Shaughnessy, a railway magnate (originally Donald Smith) and a number of Jewish personalities.
Early in the 20th century, Sir Mortimer B. Davis (the only Canadian Jew ever knighted — and that was for his enormous contribution to equipping the Canadian Army during the First World War) — had applied for membership in the exclusive Mount Royal Club and efforts were underway to blackball him by anti-Semitic members. Lord Shaughnessy made it known that if Sir Mortimer’s application for membership were rejected, he would leave the club and support another venture. Davis was admitted, and often lunched there with Lord Shaughnessy and, generally, two other rare Jewish members — Henry and Joseph Jesse. But the quartet ate alone, with other members referring to it as the “Jews’ Table.” The trio of Jewish members contributed enormously to the modernization of Montreal, introducing public transit, the first railway, etc.
Lambert’s father, Sam Bronfman, as stated, was known for his fierce temper. I was involved in the arrangements for Mr. Bronfman’s 80th (and last) birthday and arranged for two presentations to him. One was a caricature, drawn by artist Steve Yurani, of “Mr. Sam” with leaders of Israel, and the second, prepared by artist Pearl Wilensky (yes, related to the famed Wilensky café) of a large binder with tributes, in the style of a medieval manuscript.
In the excitement of the evening, when the failing Mr. Sam actually danced for the last time with Saidye, the family forgot the presentations, so the following evening, I drove up the mountain to the red brick Bronfman mansion to deliver the items. (They are now deposited in the Canadian Jewish Congress National Archives, located in Bronfman House.) Sam himself answered the door! He escorted me to his ground-floor office where the man once known for his acidic tongue proudly showed me his 80th birthday gifts — for his grandchildren!
(Among the hundreds who attended the party was Teddy Kolleck, long-time mayor of Jerusalem, who said to me, “Mr. King, will you introduce me to the mayor of Côte St-Luc? He has a higher percentage of Jews in this city than I have in Jerusalem.” He sat down with Sam Moscovitch and they had a long chat.)
May 20, 2013
The Montreal Gazette – By Janet Bagnall, Gazette education reporter May 20, 2013 6:06 PM
MONTREAL — The EMSB plans to open a public high school in a city that has been without one since Wagar school closed in 2005
It was standing-room-only at this month’s inaugural meeting for students, and their parents, interested in attending Wallenberg Academy — a hauntingly named Côte-St-Luc public high school that for now exists only on PowerPoint.
The future school has been named after Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved as many as 100,000 Hungarian Jews during the Second World War and who was last seen at Moscow’s notorious Lubyanka prison.
Mona Weinstock, mother of four children — 16-year-old twin boys, their 12-year-old brother and a 7-year-old daughter — was at the May 8 meeting to learn more about what kind of new high school the English Montreal School Board intends to offer families in or near Côte-St-Luc, a predominantly Jewish borough.
So far, the Weinstock children have attended school at JPPS (Jewish Peoples and Peretz School) and, in the public system, Royal West Academy, Westmount High School and Edinburgh and Elizabeth Ballantyne elementary schools.
Looking around at the crowd of about 200 people, Weinstock said, “I see a lot of parents here whose kids are in the Jewish private system.”
Weinstock would like an option that is close to home; she’d like there to be Jewish heritage content; and she wants a public school. With four children, the fees involved in a private education impose too high a financial burden, she said. She also thinks her children would be better prepared for life in Quebec with more emphasis on French and less on Yiddish or Hebrew.
“If Bill 14 passes, there’ll be more and more French proficiency exams,” she said. “You have to keep up.” Bill 14, a proposed law brought in by the Parti Québécois government to increase the presence of French in school and in the workplace, would bring in mandatory French proficiency tests for high school and CEGEP students.
In this one, small, mid-week meeting, you could see the forces buffeting Quebec’s schools, public and private, with or without religious or cultural content. Public boards like the EMSB have been struggling to retain or even add to their student population. In 2011, of the board’s 1,727 Grade 6 graduates, 235 left for the private system; in 2012, the figures were 1,684 and 261. (This is on par with an overall shift from public to private at the secondary level in the province: More than 125,000 students go to private school across Quebec, with 6.7 per cent of elementary school students attending private school, and 19.6 per cent doing so at the secondary level.
With the proposed creation of Wallenberg Academy, the EMSB is taking steps to get some of those students back. But the question is whether there are enough families like the Weinstocks to bring the Wallenberg Academy to life in 2014. EMSB officials told the May 8 meeting that a minimum of 60 students must sign up for Grade 7 to get the school underway, and they’d prefer 100.
Demographic change enters into the equation. According to Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies, Montreal’s Jewish population decreased by about 5,500 between 2001 and 2011, from 88,765 to 83,200. There was a drop of about 1,000 in the 14-and-under age group, down to 16,055. Within that age group, 3,585 youngsters claimed Yiddish as their mother tongue, suggesting, said Jedwab, that this is a group likely to be interested only in Orthodox Jewish schooling, not schools in the public school system.
Côte-St-Luc, home to a sizable English-speaking Jewish population, is also becoming more francophone, said Mordechai Antal, president of the Federation of Teachers of Jewish Schools.
“The Jewish system is no different from the English system overall,” he said. “The population of kids who are eligible for English education has declined and within the Jewish school system, because of immigration, the population has also shifted from English to French with French Jewish day schools seeing increases in enrolment.”
There has not been a public high school in Côte-St-Luc since 2005 when Wagar High School closed, a victim of declining enrolment. But at the May 8 meeting, board officials, including former Wagar principal and current EMSB school commissioner Syd Wise, told parents they believe the support is there for a new public school. The new school would condense the regular province-wide curriculum to allow most of the afternoon free to pursue sports, heritage or music concentrations. Which sports and what heritage would be determined by the students who sign up for Grade 7.
The May 8 meeting was just the latest in a series of temperature-takings since 2005 in which the EMSB has held out the prospect of restarting Wagar High School. EMSB’s gamble may rely, to some extent, on the troubles of Bialik High School, the board’s closest competitor for Côte St-Luc students. Bialik, a nearby private school, has been experiencing a decline in enrolment, was in merger talks two years ago with United Talmud Torahs/Herzliah High School. The talks led nowhere.
Glenn Nashen, a municipal councillor with Côte-St-Luc whose three children attend private Jewish schools, defended Bialik’s viability.
“JPPS-Bialik is a community Jewish school,” he said. As for a decline in enrolment, Nashen said, “It’s cyclical. In (Bialik’s) heyday, there were four streams (classes per grade level), now there are two and in a couple of years when my son reaches Grade 1, there may be just one, but that was the same as when I started.”
Nashen added, “They’re doing their best to make it economically accessible and they’re offering an advanced French program.”
© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette
Watch more on Global News: Côte Saint-Luc School | Global News Video.
Digital-savvy pair launches bid to save 42-year-old Canadian Jewish News from sinking | National Post
May 8, 2013
A professional duo of 29 year olds from Toronto are seeking to save the CJN. With some 2000 signing a petition to save the paper new hope has appeared. Read about Rachel Singer and Alana Kayfetz in today’s National Post:
May 5, 2013
Canada, Historical, Jewish Community Anthony Housefather, Irwin Cotler, Lawrence Bergman, Remembrance Day, Royal Canadian Air Force, V-E Day, Veterans Park, Victory in Europe Day, World War II Leave a comment
Victory in Europe Day was marked today in the City of Cote Saint-Luc. This annual event marks the day in history that ended World War II. In Cote Saint-Luc we have held our annual commemoration on VE Day for nearly two decades as our veterans have grown older and November 11 has become too cold for them outdoors and it is difficult to draw a crowd.
The event is held in Veteran’ Park on Cavendish Boulevard next to City Hall. Dignitaries including diplomats and elected representatives from all levels of government join with clergy, veterans and their families, city staff, emergency personnel and volunteers to mark the solemn occasion.
I was particularly pleased to have my three year old son and 10 year old daughter join me and my wife along with my father, 89 years old and a veteran of the Royal Canadian Air Force. My father served in London, England and shares his memories of the bombardments and of friends who never returned from the front lines.
Mayor Anthony Housefather never disappoints with his traditionally passionate speech of appreciation to those who served and to those who returned to build our city and community.
Howard Liebman, Chief of Staff to Mount Royal Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler gave an eloquent speech on behalf of the MP. Cotler was in Jerusalem on this day. Liebman’s speech highlighted the numerous interventions by the MP to signal gross violations of human rights, genocides and unspeakable atrocities that continue around the world. He said that it is the obligation of all free people to speak out against such horrors such as that which is going on today in Syria, Iran, on the African continent and other hotspots around the world.
D’Arcy McGee Member of the National Assembly Lawrence Bergman spoke of the importance to respect those currently serving. He singled out the PQ’s Bill 14 as being fundamentally unjust to those serving in Quebec in the Canadian Armed Forces who would be forced to educate their children in French rather than English The provision in Bill 14 would add a level of stress upon the soldiers, Bergman said, should they be transferred with their families to another province where there children would then be at a disadvantage in an English school.
As the City Councillor responsible for Public Safety I was honoured to join Cote Saint-Luc Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson in laying a wreath on behalf of the department. The department includes EMS, vCOP, Public Security, Emergency Communications and Emergency Preparedness.
The event was emceed by the Legion’s Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 president, Frank Levine. The co-chairs were Councillors Ruth Kovac and Allan J. Levine.
The hot sun and slight breeze was comforting for the aging veterans, who, sadly, are fewer in number each year.
Dutch Honourary Consul and Cote Saint-Luc resident for 25 years, Michael Pollak, noted that while not nearly enough Canadian kids are conversant and knowledgeable enough about WWII, that is certainly not the case for school kids in the Netherlands. Pollak said that the lessons and experiences of the war are etched into Dutch psyche, and his countryman know full well about the heroic liberation led by Canadian soldiers, some of whom were likely sitting right before him in today’s crowd.
The 306 Wing Maple Leaf Concert Band:
Read more on Councillor Mike Cohen’s blog
Global News coverage
April 30, 2013
Mount Royal Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler rose in the House of Commons on April 23, 2013 to salute and praise survivors of the Holocaust.
April 25, 2013
No, this is not about the horrific situation that has gripped the city of Boston.
This is about a horrific situation that gripped a family. My extended family. My cousins, to be exact.
A few weeks ago, my cousins Warren Roll and Kelly Goodman were told that their four-year-old daughter Jayden had cancer.
How Warren and Kelly responded, however, was inspiring. Even more inspiring is how you, the public, have responded.
Your response can help save a life…but it has already changed at least one, Warren’s. He shared his feelings with me, but I suggested he put it in writing so that I–and he–could share then even further.
So without any further ado, heartfelt words from Warren Roll, a grateful parent:
——————————————WITH TRAGEDY COMES BEAUTY
It’s been nine weeks now and every day is a new day. Sounds corny, but not when you live it.
We were a normal Canadian family living (relatively) carefree, when one day, just before Valentine’s day, our four-year-old daughter Jayden told us she had a headache. A few more days of uncharacteristic heavy fatigue from this rambunctious girl and we took her to the doctor. Fast forward two weeks, four IVs, one bone marrow biopsy and one transfusion and my wife Kelly and I are told our daughter has a rare blood cancer and her only hope for survival is a stem cell transplant.
These terrifying words are every parent’s worst nightmare.
The emotions are indescribable, and impossible to put into words.
And yet, it got worse. After testing Jayden’s two younger brothers to see if they were compatible donors the results were negative. We lost complete control and felt helpless as cancer robbed us of our ability to protect our baby.
We cried. A lot. We still cry. But we realized that now was the time to be strong and stay focused while Jayden was/is stable and with us. What could we do while waiting to see if there were other potential donors around the world? I told my family maybe we could find our own donor for Jayden, and for the thousands of kids and adults that are currently waiting for the right match in Canada, the U.S and around the world.
We started a Facebook Page. The word got out about our devastating news fast. First there was one friend, then 10, then 100 and then hundreds…there are a lot beautiful people out there in this world. Today there are 250,000 beautiful people that are reading and sharing the details of Jayden’s condition and reaching out to help save her.
We organized a stem cell drive in Montreal and through our network of incredible friends and family, drives to help save Jayden popped up all across North America. We have already tested the DNA of 3,500 people that want one help save her…and we are not done. We have drives scheduled in Toronto, New York, New Jersey, Long Island, San Diego, Los Angeles, and yes, even Boston.
Before all this, I had lost faith in the average human being. As we get older we become more cynical. I have too. I’m guilty of becoming selfish and pouring my energy into my career and my family, and disregarding friends and strangers in need. I didn’t expect much from my fellow neighbor…and I was dead wrong.
People care. There is a lot of heart in the world. More than I ever imagined. Not only friends and family but absolute strangers all over the globe… from Italy to Thailand from Israel to Australia, help and support continues to poor in to help save a little girl in Canada that just wants to grow up.
It gives me strength and courage to fight hard knowing how many good guys are left that want to fight together with me and my family.
Yes, we have been hit with a tragic situation. But through it, we have discovered a new beauty.
Thank you for helping us discover it.
- Family seeks marrow donor to save four-year-old Jayden (montreal.ctvnews.ca)
- Stem cell donor drive held in Vancouver for Montreal girl (cbc.ca)
- Search for stem cell donor for sick four-year-old Montreal girl heads to Toronto (news.nationalpost.com)
- Stem cell donor drives for four year old girl in Vancouver, Toronto and U.S. (gjnashen.wordpress.com)
April 24, 2013
Canada, Historical, Jewish Community, Montreal Bernard Landry, ICAO, Jean Charest, Jean-François Lisée, Jerusalem, Joel Lion, Lawrence Bergman, Napoleon, State of Israel, Theodor Herzl, United Nations, Zionism 1 Comment
This evening, Joel Lion, the Consul General of Israel, welcomed hundreds of diplomats, elected officials from all levels of government and leadership and friends of Israel and the Jewish community to the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organization’s expansive and impressive world headquarters. The occasion was a celebration in honour of Israel’s 65th anniversary of independence.
Notables including former premiers Jean Charest and Bernard Landry were in attendance as was PQ minister Jean-Francois Lisée, Montreal Mayor Michael Applebaum and city councillors from Cote Saint-Luc, Hamsptead. St-Laurent, CDN-NDG and as far away as Alma and St. Agathe.
His Excellency. Mr. Lion, welcomed the entire gathering with a passionate, energized speech citing that the Jewish Nation’s connection to the State of Israel may be 65 years old in the modern context but extends back 3700 years. Jerusalem forms the physical and existential heart of the Jewish People, Lion said, and has been so for thousands of years.
Lion spoke of two historical figures, Napoleon and Herzl:
The story is told that Napoleon was walking through the streets of Paris one Tisha B’Av. As his entourage passed a synagogue he heard wailing and crying coming from within; he sent an aide to inquire as to what had happened. The aide returned and told Napoleon that the Jews were in mourning over the loss of their Temple.Napoleon was indignant! “How come I wasn’t informed? When did this happen? Which Temple?” The aide responded, “They lost their Temple in Jerusalem on this date 1,700 years ago.”Napoleon stood in silence and then said, “Certainly a people which has mourned the loss of their Temple for so long will survive to see it rebuilt!”
As to Theodore Herzl, who was born some 153 years ago this week, Lion cited the visionary, founder of modern Zionism, in saying, “If you will it, it is no dream.” The Jewish People, Lion stated, never lost hope of returning to Zion, even after 2000 years of exile.
Lion then welcomed Minister of International Affairs, Jean-Francois Lisée who didn’t find much sympathy with the largely federalist, anglo crowd by speaking of his vision of the common path of the State of Israel and Quebec. Once warmed up he spoke more personally about his upbringing in Thetford Mines. Lisée indicated that he had no knowledge of the Jewish community. His only reference point, he said, were the letters INRI, inscribed above the head of Jesus, in the church. The inscription signified Christ was, “King of the Jews.”
It wasn’t until Lisée moved to Montreal as a 22 year-old that he learned that the familiar Steinberg’s and Greenberg’s retail chains he knew from his hometown were actually owned by substantial Jewish families. Only upon moving to the big city did he learn about anti-semitism, he said.
The very friendly crowd were most pleased to greet one another, shake hands with some of the personalities and enjoy the Israeli wine and off-beat musical entertainment (A Jewish rapper? Oy vey!).
Cote Saint-Luc was well represented by Councillors Ruth Kovac (with husband Peter), Dida Berku (and Jacob Kincler), Mitchell Brownstein (and Elaine Yagod), Allan J. Levine (with Rhoda) and yours truly (with Dr. Judy Hagshi). D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman was also present and received warm applause Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler, who is in Ottawa (as Parliament is currently sitting) was represented by his trusty attaché, Howard Liebman.
April 23, 2013
Over the past eight years, Jewish Eldercare Centre and Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre have worked closely on all fronts to strengthen the quality of long-term care provided to the community. The future will see them joining forces in a more structured way.
The boards of directors approved resolutions to present a proposal to Montreal’s Health and Social Services Agency to proceed with a voluntary merger of the two centres.
This is an exciting time in the combined 160-year history of both centres, one that will engage a great deal of energy, focus and goodwill on all sides. Merging the two centres offers significant benefits to the institutions and the community. It strengthens their mandate to provide quality long-term care within a Jewish setting and ensures their continued ability to care effectively for the more than 1,000 clients who are served each year by our two centres, community-based homes and intermediate resources, day hospital and respite services. In combining their strengths, they will be able to ensure their independence, share and build upon their expertise at every level, and provide a richer ground for training and research.
Their ability to attract and retain the best staff will be greatly improved and they will have a much stronger financial base from which to work. Ultimately, they say all of this will translate into the highest quality of care for their residents.
The Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre has been a premier institution in Cote Saint-Luc District 6 for nearly half a century. A 7 ½ acre site was purchased in Cote Saint-Luc in 1964. The new facility was built containing five floors and accommodating 247 beds.
Read more in the CJN.
April 22, 2013
April 16, 2013
Montreal’s Israel Day Rally takes place this morning. Click for full details and info on free transportation.