How’s this for a Chanukah selfie? 30 feet in the air, in the “Cherry-Picker” mechanical lift and strapped into a safety harness, I was invited to light Chabad Cote Saint-Luc’s giant menorah at Cote Saint-Luc City Hall with 500 party goers!
What an amazing event Second Night of Chanukah celebration organized by the indefatigable Rabbi Raskin and his energetic partner and wife Sarah Raskin along with the incredible rally emcee Rabbi David Cohen. For the first time, they erected an enormous heated tent with sushi, sufganiot, chocolate gelt, cotton candy, menorahs for every child, followed by a massive parade of menorahs atop cars and vans with a police and CSL Public Safety escort through the streets of Cote Saint-Luc. Kol Hakavod to Chabad of Cote Saint-Luc.
I am proud and honoured to be serving as Acting Mayor of Cote Saint-Luc – the best city, with a big heart! Where else can we attract so many people to come out on what is typically a cold night (we got lucky this year) in order to celebrate one’s faith, traditions and spirituality.
On the first night of Chanukah, my very good friend Rabbi Moishe Reikhtman, director of the Chabad Russian Youth Centre on Cote Saint-Luc Road invited me to do the honours at his shul.
In my best Russian accent, I greeted the crowd, mostly in English, saying that we are so pleased in Cote Saint-Luc to welcome newcomers, whether they’ve just arrived as was the case for several people there or if they came to Canada 90 years earlier as was the case for my family.
The centre put on an exciting and participatory science show for kids featuring the folks from Mad Science. The smell of fresh Latkas filled the room and every child received a present (and a few too many sweets).
On the Third Night I was so pleased to be invited to the Constituency Offices of David Birnbaum, Member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy McGee. David and his dedicated staff, Elisabeth, Chris and Fran, welcomed the Mayors and Members of Council from Hampstead and Cote Saint-Luc and other active community members.
It’s always a walk down memory lane having worked for two years in Birnbaum’s offices while I served as Chief of Staff to then MNA, Robert Libman. This locale was also the office of former ministers Herbert Marx and Lawrence Bergman.
Mayor William Steinberg of Hampstead attended as did Councillor Michael Goldwax as Cote Saint-Luc Councillors Mitchell Brownstein, Ruth Kovac, Dida Berku and Allan J. Levine. Former Councillor Joe Panunto was also present. Birnbaum, quite thoughtfully, asked invitees to bring some non-perishable fod to be passed on to a food bank.
Town Councillor Bonnie Feigenbaum, now serving as MP Anthony Housefather’s Chief of Staff, joined in on Anthony’s behalf. Anthony was in Ottawa during his first full week in the House of Commons. On the Fourth Night of Chanukah Anthony will co-sponsor the lighting of the menorah in Parliament, together with Toronto area MP Michael Levitt. Councillor Mitchell Brownstein will represent the City of Cote Saint-Luc at that ceremony.
Cote Saint-Luc is proud to display city menorahs in front of all municipal buildings and at key intersections.
May the candles on all of these traditional candelabras fill our city with light, warmth and happiness and unite us all as civic-minded, neighbourly and welcoming citizens of this extraordinary city, province and country.