Prestigious D’Arcy McGee citizenship medals presented

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It was my honour to attend this weeks ceremony by D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum at the CSL Aquatic and Community Center.

The ceremony was set up three years ago by the engaging and charismatic Birnbaum to honour exceptional citizens for their outstanding contribution to society, in particular affecting those of us residing in the D’Arcy McGee riding, which includes Cote saint-Luc, Hampstead and Snowdon west.

This year’s winners were Baruch Cohen, Susan Wener and (posthumously) Jean Lapierre. Jean’s daughter graciously accepted the award. In addition, the Victor C. Goldbloom ‘Vivre Ensemble’ essay contest winner was Reisa Gilfix (Grade 10, Herzliah High School).

The ceremony also included a video presentation by Quebec Pemier Philippe Couillard.

An excellent jazz combo ensemble entertained the crowd from the Saint-Luc secondary school.

Baruch Cohen, left, is feted on his 90th birthday by well-wisher Frederick Krantz, founder and director of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research. (Photo CJN)

Baruch Cohen
Baruch Cohen recently celebrated his 97th birthday. During the second world war, Baruch survived pogroms, anti-Semitism, state-sponsored tyranny and forced labour camps in Romania. He escaped to Israel and later made a life here in Montreal with Sonia, his wife of 73 years. Upon retirement from his position as a financial officer, Baruch completed a Master’s Degree in Jewish Studies. He subsequently devoted 30 years of volunteer service as Research Chair of the the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research. He spearheaded the first holocaust commemoration in memory of Jews killed in Romania and Transnistria 23 years ago, an event that continues to be held annually.

Susan Wener (Photo: The Georgia Straight)

Susan Wener

For 30 years, Susan Wener has dedicated her life to helping others. She is a therapist for people struggling with life-threatening illness. She speaks across Canada at literary festivals, medical conferences, universities and libraries, touching on subjects such as the doctor-patient relationship, integrative cancer care, overcoming obstacles and other topics related to health and well-being. Following a near death experience at 18, Susan knew that her mission would be to work with the gravely ill. She hasn’t looked back since. Her moving memoir, “Resilience” and recent Tedx Talk have reached thousands, far beyond our community’s borders.

 

Jean Lapierre

Jean Lapierre was a former member of Parliament, minister and political analyst on English and French radio and television. He died tragically along with four members of his family in a plane crash into 2016. Lapierre made perhaps his greatest mark in a final career as political analyst. He did regular spots that topped the ratings on Radio 98.5, CJAD, CTV, TVA and other media outlets. His commentaries garnered huge audiences in English and in French, and inevitably elicited reactions from politicians, other journalists as well as regular watchers across the province, who reacted to his daily scoops and analyses and discussions around the water cooler and supper table. What happens in Quebec City and Ottawa can sometimes seem remote and isolated from our lives in CSL, Hampstead and western Montreal. Jean Lapierre made it less so. He deserves our recognition for enriching our lives and widening our horizons.

Congratulations to the winners and the family of Jean C. Lapierre for this well-deserved honour.

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Two outstanding CSLers celebrate amazing birthdays

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George and Phyllis Nashen

 

Two great Cote Saint-Lucers are celebrating amazing milestone birthdays. George was born in 1923 in Kishinev, Romania. Phyllis was born in 1928 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Today, my father celebrates his 94th birthday and just three weeks ago my mom turned 89.
Their story is one of immigration and hard work, public and community service, romance, travel, family and friends.
My father, the grandson of a Hasidic Rabbi, and the son of revolutionary Russian arrived in Montreal before his first birthday. My mother was the daughter of trailer manufacturer in Sommerville, Mass. Dad graduated from Baron Byng High School in the famous class of 1939 (which recently celebrated its 77th reunion). His studies in accounting were interrupted by the outbreak of WWII.   Mom studied journalism at Boston University.

Sergeant George Nashen, Royal Canadian Air Force, 1944

 

My dad enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and spent the next three-and-a-half years deployed overseas, mostly stationed in London, England. He had hoped to be a pilot, but colour-blindness changed those plans and instead he worked in the Payroll division of the General Accounting Office, headquartered in Harrods of London. Instead of serving as a pilot, he paid them every two weeks. He endured the bombardments and hardship of everyday life in London but fortunately was safe relative to so many of his close buddies who never returned from the front lines.

Teenager Phyllis Schertzer in the 1930s on her father’s car

 

On a ‘boys weekend’ to Cape Cod in 1948 my dad’s luck ran out – or did it? – as his car broke down stranding him for a couple of days in Boston. All alone, he reached for the crumpled phone number of a girl his father had pressed into his hand back in Montreal, courtesy of a family friend who happened to be the girl’s uncle. Not knowing anyone and with nothing to do, dad made the call and so began an international romance. They were married in 1951 and have celebrated 65 wedding anniversaries together, so far.
After returning from his military service he began working for Richter and Usher Accountants. He joined his uncle in business and became an important manufacturer of shirts and jeans for more than 35 years. My father set up his factory in Saint Leonard D’Aston, between Drummondville and Trois-Rivieres, employing more than 200 employees, over 10% of the town. Nearly every family in the area was touched by his business operations and this community of hard workers “outfitted Canada” for many years.

Phyllis Schertzer and George Nashen, Wedding Day, September 15, 1951. Chateau Garod, Brookline, Mass.

In addition to running a very active household with five rambunctious men (four boys plus dad), Mom trained as a “social councillor” and volunteered for 12 years at Meadowbrook  Elementary School in Lachine, helping kids 9-14 years old, visiting them at home and meeting with their parents. For the last 30 years mom has purchased and wrapped her own Christmas gifts for girls and boys at the Shriner’s Hospital. An accomplished artist in watercolours, oils, stained glass, sculpting and more for more than 40 years, my mother has exhibited her works and even taught courses for more than 10 years as a volunteer at Golden Age (Cummings Centre for Jewish Seniors).

Phyllis and George Nashen, September 15, 1951

Phyllis and George have made their home in CSL for nearly 60 years, raising their four sons and watching all eight grandchildren flourish close-by.
Active until most recently in many sports, and still very busy with leisure, arts and community life they are well known and very much liked by those whom they meet casually and on a regular basis.

Phyllis 85 and George 90

My mother and father were very fortunate to have visited over 40 countries and enjoy wonderful memories of travel and meeting people all around the world. They have spent most of the last 28 winters in Florida and until last year my dad was still busy golfing and bowling and not long before that playing tennis. They both continue to attend courses, play bridge and enjoy many regular social activities. My dad is proud of his membership in the CSL Men’s Club, the camaraderie of his many friends, and his regular spot up at the microphone during question period.
Not too many get to celebrate such milestone birthdays in pretty good health surrounded by so many members of their family, close friends and good neighbours. My parents are a very loving and lucky couple to enjoy such richness and happiness. Please join me in wishing these two extra special people very happy, and healthy birthdays! To 120!!

vCOP grows to 92 on its 11th birthday

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Canada Day not only marks 150 years of Canada but also the 11th birthday of our city’s beloved volunteer Citizens on Patrol group. To mark the occasion the volunteer group that I began and continue to lead held its pre-summer BBQ last Tuesday evening at Trudeau Park.

City Councillors Ruth Kovac, Allan J. Levine and Sam Goldbloom joined me and Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, City Manager Nadia Di Furia, Public Works Director Bebe Newman and of course Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson and Manager Philip Chateauvert to thank the volunteers for their efforts and dedication.

Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen and Supervisor Mitchell Herf inaugurate the newest vCOP electric scooters

When I started this group I envisioned one day having 120 volunteers to ensure round the clock voluntary shift coverage. As we get closer to the 100 mark we see the highly marked vCOP vans patrolling at all times of day and night. With summer here, the electric scooter patrol is also out on the road and in our parks.

vCOP 10 year pins were presented to Jacques Berkowitz, Murray Brookman, Harvey Cherow, Martin Labow, Phil Lackman, Phil Mayman and Harvey B. Schwartz (Photo Sayed Sadir)

“I know that volunteering for vCOP makes you happy,” said Mayor Mitchell Brownstein. “It also makes our residents very happy, as you’re keeping a watchful eye on our streets, our homes, our parks and our kids, parents and grandparents. Thank you so much,” the mayor said.

Long service pins were handed out to those reaching five and ten years of service. Special mention goes out to Susie and Harvey C. Schwartz of Cavendish Boulevard and Allan Greenberg of Freud Avenue who signed up 10 years ago to the day, after they heard me promoting the fledgling group on CJAD.

Supervisor Susie Schwartz with husband/patroller Harvey

Special thanks to Susie Schwartz, Elaine Meunier, Philip Chateauvert, Phil Mayman, Marty Labow and Allan Bramson for organizing, setting up, cooking, schlepping and cleaning up. Well done folks! Thanks as well to Mark at Maxie’s in the Cavendish Mall for donating the fruit platter.

Most of all thank you to our loyal and eagle-eyed troupes who make themselves available throughout the day and night, at special events and at emergencies. You folks are tremendous and make our city so special.

vCOP 5 year pins were presented to Eric Goldapple, Helen Gwiazda, Issie Karpman, Roz Kastner, Peter Kurti and Robert Lefcort (Photo Sayed Sadir)

vCOP offers Vacation Spot Checks of your home while you’re away on summer vacation. Sign up here. To find out more about joining vCOP please visit our website.

Federation CJA’s Mission to Montreal was a fun, filling, sell-out success

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Thanks to Federation CJA for a great tour around Old Jewish Montreal on the recent Around the Bagel tour. What an enthusiastic turnout for the #MissionToMontreal where participants explored the Jewish history and culture of our beloved city along with the Museum of Jewish Montreal and The Segal Centre for Performing Arts!

Federation CJA is celebrating 100 years of building community.

La #MissionToMontreal a connu un véritable succès en permettant, à un grand nombre de participants, d’explorer l’histoire et la culture juives de notre merveilleuse ville avec @Musee du Montreal juif et @segal centre. La Fédération CJA est fière de célébrer 100 ans au cœur de la communauté. Et notre histoire ne fait que commencer.

Thanks to co-chairs Samantha Mintz and Warren Werbitt. This was a unique, fun way to spend the afternoon with old friends and meet new people too. And, oy, the nosh from Cheskie’s was awesome!!

Little Shop of Horrors – A Deviously Delicious Musical in CSL

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Looking for a fun and entertaining outing this weekend? Don’t want to go downtown? Want free parking too? Then head over to the Harold Greenspon Auditorium at Cote Saint-Luc City Hall for “A wonderful twisted and vibrant Broadway-quality horro-comedy musical”.

The CSL Dramatic Society is back for another wildly entertaining show until June 25.

Little Shop of Horrors is a horror comedy rock musical, by composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman, about a hapless florist shop worker who raises a plant that feeds on human blood and flesh. The musical is based on the low-budget 1960 black comedy film The Little Shop of Horrors. The music, composed by Menken in the style of early 1960s rock and roll, doo-wop and early Motown, includes several well-known tunes, including the title song, “Skid Row (Downtown)”, “Somewhere That’s Green”, and “Suddenly, Seymour”.

The musical premiered Off-Off-Broadway in 1982 before moving to the Orpheum Theatre Off-Broadway, where it had a five-year run. It later received numerous productions in the U.S. and abroad, and a subsequent Broadway production. Because of its small cast and relatively simple orchestrations, it has become popular with community theatre, school and other amateur groups.[1] The musical was also made into a 1986 film of the same name, directed by Frank Oz.

 

“Dazzling! Musically delightful and wickedly funny.”
– Pat Donnelly, Arts Writer

“A deviously delicious musical.”
– Stuart Nulman, Montreal Times

“A wonderful twisted and vibrant Broadway-quality
horro-comedy musical.”

– Joel Goldenberg, The Suburban

Directed by Anisa Cameron and produced by Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, the CSL version is hilarious with an all-local, amateur troupe that is so ridiculously talented that this show could easily be Off-Broadway. In fact, I’m thinking of proposing that we change the name of Cavendish Blvd. to Broadway so that every show that Cameron and Brownstein put together is Off-Broadway!

Brownstein stars as the nerdy aging shop owner ready to throw in the towel on his failing florist outlet until his nerdy n’er-do-well sales boy, the nerdy Seymour (Benjamin Warner) comes along with his wacky plant creation that turns everything around. The singers and dancers are as outstanding as their past amazing performances. Hampstead actor Brandon Schwartz is back from his performing arts studies in Toronto for an appearance.

Photo Diane Dupuis

Justin Johnson – Skip Snip and Shaun Nishmas – Mr. Bernstein are back with the CSLDS. Justin previously played Seaweed in Hairspray, while Shaun is a long-time veteran, having performed in Our Town, Hairspray, Catch Me If You Can, and many others.

Sam Boucher, Patrick Park and Brandon Schwartz – are the three Doo-Wops and all return to the Greenspon stage. Sam has been seen in Hairspray and The Producers, while Patrick recently starred as Lionel in Fancy Nancy. Brandon Schwartz has previously played Link Larkin in Hairspray and Frank Abagnale, Jr. in Catch Me If You Can.

Photo Diane Dupuis

The list of talented and creative entertainers goes and and can be found on the CSLDS Facebook page.

Tickets are inexpensive and seats are still available for the last week of this 20 show run.

The kids have finished their last exams? Treat them to a family-funny theatrical performance. Looking for that last minute Father’s Day Gift? Wow him with high-level entertainment right around the corner. Click here for tickets and information.

 

 

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Montreal Gazette

Cote Saint-Luc council recognizes Greek Pontic Genocide

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Cote Saint-Luc City Council with senior leadership of the Canadian Hellenic Congress, June 12, 2017

Dr. Theo Halatsis, President, and Angie Tzouvelakos, Vice-President, Cultural and Social Development of the Canadian Hellenic Congress were at the Cote Saint-Luc Public Council meeting last Monday night to encourage Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Members of Council to recognize the Greek Pontic Genocide and proclaim May 19, 2017 as Greek Pontic Genocide Remembrance Day in the City of Cote Saint-Luc.

May 19, 2017 marks the 103rd Anniversary of the Greek Pontic Genocide by the Ottoman Turks. The Greek Pontic Genocide is one of the darkest moments in mankind’s history and one of the heinous crimes against humanity. Many believe this heinous crime was the precursor to the Holocaust committed by the Nazis
against Jews, Roma and other peoples during the Second World War. In 1914, the Ottoman government issued a decree to annihilate and systematically eliminate the Greek population from their ancestral and historic homeland of Pontus. The Greek Pontians had made their home in this region at least since the time of Homer around 800 8.C.

In the span of few years over 350,000 Greek Pontians were exterminated through systematic slaughter by government troops, deportations involving death marches, starvation in labour and concentration camps, rapes and individual killing. Entire Greek Pontian villages and cities were burned to the ground, while
thousands were forced to flee to the neighbouring countries with little or no provisions.

We, citizens of Canada and Cote Saint-Luc, must not forget this brutal and heinous crime against our Greek ancestors and humanity. We must commemorate and remember the genocide inflicted upon our ancestral brethren by the Ottoman Turks.

At the council meeting the following resolution was read aloud and adopted unanimously:

 

WHEREAS the denial of genocide is widely recognized as the final stage of genocide, enshrining impunity for the perpetrators of genocide, and demonstrably
paving the way for future genocides;

IT WAS RESOLVED:

“THAT the Côte Saint-Luc City Council hereby recognizes the Greek Pontic Genocide and further ratifies the proclamation of May 19, 2017 as the Greek Pontic Genocide Remembrance Day.”

Similar resolutions have been passed in the Cities of Toronto, Ottawa and Oshawa in Ontario, and the Boroughs of LaSalle and Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension.

“The Côte Saint-Luc City Council decision is historic for the Hellenic community in Quebec. It serves as a reminder to all of us here in Quebec and in Canada, and to the generations to come, of this brutal and heinous crime against our Greek ancestors and humanity. The City of Côte Saint-Luc is yet another municipal government in Canada to recognise the Greek Pontic Genocide and to proclaim May 19th as its official remembrance day”, Dr. Halatsis added.

“The Canadian Hellenic Congress thanks Mitchell Brownstein, Côte Saint-Luc City Mayor, and the members of the City Council for taking this important and historic decision,” Dr. Halatsis said. 

 

B’nai Brith recognizes Cote Saint-Luc in fight against racism, anti-semtism, discrimination

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Bnai Brith senior leadership present a certificate recognizing Cote Saint-Luc’s Public Safety and Police efforts

“I am honoured to present a B’nai Brith Certificate of Recognition to the City of Cote Saint-Luc at the City Council meeting for their fight against racism, antisemitism and discrimination,” said Quebec Region Director Harvey Levine at last Monday night’s public council meeting.

Levine, brother of CSL Councillor Allan J. Levine, was accompanied by BBC leaders Eric Bissell and Ted Greenfield and made the presentation to Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and me, Police Commander Jean O’Malley, Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson and senior officers of the CSL volunteer Citizens on Patrol group.

The citation was a result of the B’nai Brith Canada and the League for Human Rights Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents. The Audit has been conducted every year since 1982, and is the result of close cooperation with the public, local police forces and other community organizations across the country. The Annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents is more than just a snapshot of the intensity of incidents against the Jewish community; it serves as the barometer of the level of racism in Canada as a whole.

Levine stated that Cote Saint-Luc is the second largest Jewish community in Canada, after Thornhill, Ontario. Remarkably, Cote Saint-Luc did not register a single anti-semitic act in 2016, out of the 1728 incidents reported across Canada. Levine, singled out Cote Saint-Luc Public Security and vCOP along with Police Station 9 for their vigilance, surveillance and prevention work.

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Harvey Levine congratulated me for my leadership in Public Safety in Cote Saint-Luc, namely in creating and leading the vCOP group. This presentation was a total surprise and a great honour for me. I salute all of the great volunteers in vCOP along with the professionals in Public Security and Montreal Police Station 9. Thank you to our mayor, council and administration for their continued support of my public safety ideas and initiatives. And my utmost respect and appreciation goes to Harvey Levine and B’nai Brith Canada for their outstanding work on behalf of all Canadians.

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