Lag BaOmer celebrated in Cote Saint-Luc

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Rabbi David Cohen, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen with son Jeremy officially welcome the large crowd to City Hall and begin the parade

Lag BaOmer (Hebrew: ל״ג בעומר‎), is a Jewish holiday celebrated on the 33rd day of the Counting of the Omer, which occurs on the 18th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar.

This day marks the hillula (celebration, interpreted by some as anniversary of death) of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a Mishnaic sage and leading disciple of Rabbi Akiva in the 2nd century, and the day on which he revealed the deepest secrets of kabbalah in the form of the Zohar (Book of Splendor), a landmark text of Jewish mysticism. This association has spawned several well-known customs and practices on Lag BaOmer, including the lighting of bonfires, pilgrimages to the tomb of Bar Yochai in the northern Israeli town of Meron, and various customs at the tomb itself.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, encouraged Lag BaOmer parades to be held in Jewish communities around the world as a demonstration of Jewish unity and pride.[1] Chabad sponsors parades as well as rallies, bonfires and barbecues for thousands of participants around the world each year.[2]

Such is the case each year in Montreal. Sunday morning, amid light rain, Rabbi David Cohen of the Chabad Lubavitch Youth Organization brought the festive parade to Cote Saint-Luc. I was proud to help welcome the large crowd along with Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Anthony Housefather, Member of Parliament for Mount Royal. The weather may have been damp but spirits were not dampened.

“We thank our friends Housefather, Brownstein and Nashen for always welcoming and attending our events and supporting the religious community,” said Rabbi Cohen.

M.P. Housefather remarked, “Enjoy the Lag BaOmer celebrations, the change of seasons and renewal, and thank you to all the mothers for giving us life and nurturing us all.”

Said Mayor Brownstein, “Cote Saint-Luc is a wonderful blend of many religions, a large Jewish community – religious, traditional and secular. Everyone is welcome.”

Rabbi Cohen passed the microphone to me and I was proud to exclaim to my fellow Yiddish-speakers, “Zait bagrist tzu Cote Saint-Luc. Ir zolt hoben a gut yontif un a guten tog!” (Welcome to CSL. I wish you a happy holiday and a great day).

Premier Couillard charms his audience at packed Côte Saint-Luc address

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Premier Couillard charms his audience at packed Côte Saint-Luc address

by: Councillor Mike Cohen

It is pretty rare that we see the Premier of Quebec come to speak in the City of Côte Saint-Luc. But this finally did occur on May 12 as Philippe Couillard addressed a standing room only crowd at our Aquatic and Community Centre on Parkhaven Avenue.
Credit is due to our incredible Men`s Club and of course the Member of the National Assembly, David Birnbaum, who made this happen. As event emcee and District 2 resident Sidney Margles pointed out that in his then capacity as new Quebec Liberal Party leader Couillard was slated to address this same group at the urging of Birnbaum`s predecessor, Lawrence Bergman. Something came up at the last minute and his appearance had to be cancelled. The Men’s Club has 560 members and counting.

Couillard CSL

The Premier shakes hands as he enters the room. (Photo: mikecohen.ca)

This time everything worked out just fine. The Men`s Club began distributing reserved tickets a few weeks ago. When I arrived, there was a strong police presence around the building. Couillard did get to the ACC a little late and like a born campaigner he enter the room by shaking as many hands as possible.
One thing must say about our Premier, who by profession was a former professor and neurosurgeon. He speaks both languages so beautifully. While many of us are upset with the significant budget cuts we incurred early in the Liberal mandate and their gutting of the health system, Couillard has this audience eating out of his hands from the get go. He began with some humour, alluding to the massive flooding in different parts of Quebec and the fact he decided to visit an aquatic center. He drew applause immediately when he announced “I will do this speech in English so we can all follow.” He also introduced Greg Kelley, son of Native Affairs Minister Geoff Kelley, as his new point person for Quebec’s English-speaking community. “Anglophone liaison officer,” is the exact title. I met Kelley after the talk. He’s 31 and presently bunking with his parents in Beaconsfield. He formerly worked in the office of government House Leader Jean-Marc Fournier.
Couillard drew cheers again when he previewed his upcoming trade mission to Israel. “This will be my third trip there…it is the first time a Quebec Premier has gone.” More than 100 Quebec business persons and leaders will accompany him. “Why are we doing this?” Couillard asked rhetorically. “Israel is a start-up nation and an example to follow.”

Couillard mentioned the fact that both Air Canada and Air Transat have direct flights from Montreal to Tel Aviv. He also laughed that when he is in Israel, so will controversial US President Donald Trump.
“Since elected our government is doing exactly like we said we’d do; putting our financial house in order.”

The Premier gave a ringing endorsement for federalism. “Some people are telling me that I cannot be a Quebecer and Canadian. We will stand tall for a strong Quebec within Canada.”
Couillard expressed pride about his government’s job creation program. He also pointed to the investments made at the Jewish General Hospital. “This is a hospital that serves all communities,” he said. “My (late) father was treated there in oncology. So was Mr. Parizeau”
Couillard asked, “How do we build our economy in such an unstable world?” He referred to the three pillars: advance manufacturing, exports and entrepreneurship. “You need a strong educational system to build a proper economy,” he said.

Couillard spoke very excitingly about the planned 67-kilometre, $6 billion electric-train system which will connect downtown Montreal with the South Shore, Deux-Montagnes, the West Island and Trudeau airport. “This will be the equivalent of Expo ’67 in 2017,” he said.

Rather than a straight question and answer period, Margles said that members were asked to submit queries. From the 40 or so obtained, he chose to share a few with the Premier related to assisted living for seniors, the availability of family doctors, special needs children, the sale of marijuana and the Quebec Electoral Commission’s decision to merge the Outremont and Mont Royal ridings and change the boundaries of D’Arcy McGee.

Couillard said that he turns 60 in June so he is sensitive to issues related to seniors. “We are devoting significant dollars to seniors,” he acknowledged. “We have many more doctors than we did before – hundreds of new physicians and they are staying in Quebec.”

As for access to family physicians, Couillard said that right now there are 600,000 people more who have this option compared to 2014.

Turning to the sale of marijuana, which will become legal in Canada in July 2018. “An easy thing for me to say that at first glance I think there is merit to the idea,” said Couillard. “It is now controlled by the black market. There is still a tremendous amount of work to be done. My biggest concern is public health. Smoking pot is probably not good for your lungs. Young people now are smoking a product that much worse than the hippy days.”

Couillard also wished to clear up a myth that the province is not going to make a lot of money on this. “If to price it too high you will send people back to the black market,” he remarked. “If you price it too low, you will increase consumption.”

Mayor Brownstein concluded proceedings by thanking the Premier for coming to Côte Saint-Luc and particularly the ACC, which the provincial government contributed one-third of the cost.

Also on hand for Couillard’s speech were provincial cabinet ministers Kathlee Weil, Pierre Arcand and Francine Charbonneau, Mount Royal Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather, Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg, CSL councillors Sam Goldbloom, Ruth Kovac, Allan J. Levine, Dida Berku and myself and English Montreal School Board Commissioner Bernard Praw.

VE Day commemorated in CSL

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VE Day 2017 was a pedagogical affair

By: Councillor Mike Cohen

Posted: 09 May 2017

For many years the annual Victory in Europe (V-E) Day commemoration took place on a Sunday. In attendance were veterans from the Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion, dignitaries and members of the community. The crowds were never exceptionally large and what we clearly missed was the younger generation.

Merton1stu

A Merton student reads “In Flander’s Field” as Jordy Reichson looks on.

When fellow Councillor Sidney Benizri and I were appointed co-chairs of this year’s VE Day event, we were committed to making it an educational exercise. So we scheduled it for a Monday morning (May 7) at a centrally located school – the Marymount Adult Education Centre(soon to be renamed Wagar) on Parkhaven Avenue. Principal Jacques Monfette was most gracious in making all of the arrangements. We virtually filled the 350 seat Syd Wise Auditorium with students from the two host schools – Marymount Adult Education Centre and John Grant High School; Merton and Willingdon Elementary Schools; and Solomon Schechter Academy.

The ceremony highlighted the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of Europe from the armed forces of Nazi Germany, on May 8, 1945. Our Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson coordinated much of the ceremony and served as a superb master of ceremonies. He put VE Day into perspective, provided some historical notes and showed this  excellent video.

 

Two students helped lay wreaths at the front of the stage. English Montreal School Board Commissioner Bernard Praw and Mr. Monfette read the Act of Remembrance. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, Mount Royal Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather, Israel Consul General Ziv Nevo Kulman and Elisabeth Prass (on behalf of D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum) gave remarks. Two students from Merton read From Flanders Field. We concluded with the singing of the national anthem.

Group

A group photo of dignitaries and the Merton students.

We were fortunate to have with us veteran Sonny Rubin, 92 years young.

“Seventy-two years ago very young men went to war,” said Mayor Brownstein. “You had to be 18 years of age. Some 15, 16 and 17 year olds got fake IDs so they could get into the armed forces. They did this to insure our freedom.”

Zivnevo

Ziv Nevo Kulman

Housefather pointed out that this year’s commemoration of VE Day coincides with the 30th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. “No matter who is in power,” he said, “you have rights.”

Regarding VE Day, Housefather noted that when he was our mayor VE Day was coordinated by the veterans. “We had dozens of veterans in their 70s who had fought and come back and created Côte Saint-Luc,” he recalled. “They could have come back jaded or disgruntle. But they came back and built our community.”

The Consul General told the audience that his father was a survivor of the Holocaust whose family hid in a little underground shelter and was liberated by the Soviets. “I would not be here had it not been for the Allies,” he said.

Raising the elections in France, the Consul General expressed deep concern over the fact that Marine Le Pen, a candidate whose party denies the Holocaust, got 11 million votes. “We have a very important role to remedy that so denial and revisionism does not happen again,” he said.

Thanks to staffer Jordy Reichson, Regine Banon, Cornelia Ziga and Laura Trihas for coordinating the event. We will next convene to honour our veterans on Friday, November 10 (11 am) for our Remembrance Day commemoration at Veteran’s Park next to City Hall.

“Côte Saint-Luc is proud to express gratitude to the men and women who have fought to liberate Europe,” said Mayor Brownstein. “Our veterans contributed in ending the genocide against the Jewish population of Europe and others targeted by the Nazis. Attending this ceremony is a concrete and visible manner to honour them and to reflect on the sacrifices made.”

CSL City Council supports legal contestation of D’Arcy McGee boundary changes

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Cote Saint-Luc City Council adopted a resolution to support the legal challenge of the electoral divisions of Québec seeking that the electoral map maintain the current divisions of Mount-Royal, Outremont and D’Arcy McGee ridings.

On March 2, 2017, the Quebec Electoral Commission published the final version of the electoral map which substantially altered the boundaries of the electoral riding of D’Arcy-McGee and seriously undermines public confidence in the objectivity and independence of the Commission. The electoral riding of D’Arcy-McGee will have around 56,000 voters, making it one of the most populous constituencies in Quebec and will, therefore, seriously dilute the political weight of the residents of the City of Côte Saint-Luc.

The Commission also decided to merge the electoral divisions of Mount Royal and Outremont. All of these changes will result in the loss of an electoral riding on the Island of Montréal and dilute the political weight of all the residents living on the Island.

Other affected municipalities such as the Town of Mount Royal and the Town of Hampstead have already agreed to financially contribute to a legal contestation being filed by Me Julius Grey.

It is in the interest of the residents of the City of Côte Saint-Luc to oppose the decision and to financially contribute to its legal contestation. Therefore the City agreed to support the legal challenge and authorized an expenditure of $7,000 to this challenge. Additionally, the City will match up to $3,000 from contributions of its residents.

Residents interested in supporting the challenge can make their cheques payable to Julius Grey, In Trust, and drop off or mail to the City of Cote Saint-Luc, 5801 Cavendish Blvd., CSL, QC  H4W 2C2.

Elimination of Mount Royal perversely penalizes communities, A letter by Anthony Housefather, M.P.

 

JPPS Michael Savelson Career and Hobbies Fair features CSL vCOP, artist and global telecommunications giant and the mayor

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vCOP at JPPS Career Day (Can you guess which one’s mine?)

JPPS Home and School presented “The Michael Savelson Career and Hobbies Fair 2017” last week.  Michael was well known to many West-End residents and he left a legacy of devotion to the school which was exemplified by his yearly presentations on Career Day that were anticipated and received with great enthusiasm (especially his tradition of giving out Tootsie rolls!).  JPPS proudly named this annual event in his honour.

Michael Litvack creating one of his Montreal area oil paintings at Career Day to be auctioned doff by the school, May 2017

Parents, grandparents and friends of JPPS students filled the gymnasium to interact with the elementary school kids about careers and hobbies, answering questions and even leaving them with souvenirs.

Teaching the kids to be safe outside, and to join vCOP in about 30 years

Presenters included Cote Saint-Luc painter extraordinaire Michel Litvack and Hampstead businessman Justin Goldenblatt of an Israeli Uniden Cellular solutions provider. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein also met the students to discuss his first year in office.

I’ve participated in this event a couple times before speaking about the Jewish General Hospital, EMS and ambulance services, and about City Hall. This time around I was accompanied by CSL volunteer Citizens on Patrol supervisor Mitchell Herf. We spoke about this amazing service and about the wonderful volunteer work being provided by the corps of 80 dedicated members.

The kids had a great time learning about staying safe crossing the street, seeing our Automated External Defibrillator shout out emergency instructions and in holding the safety devices we carry around in our vans.

Kudos to the co-chairs for this event, Beth Tannenbaum and Karen Worsoff.

 

Campaign to save Meadowbrook continues: Info meeting this Thursday

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Information meeting scheduled for continuous campaign to save Meadowbrook

Meadowbrook is nothing short of an oasis that must remain green in perpetuity

Many people in Côte Saint-Luc have heard about the ongoing campaign to save the Meadowbrook Golf Course from development and have it converted into a green space. Many have the impression that it is protected and that the work is over.

On ThursdayMay 11 (7 pm) Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook will hold an information meeting at St. Richard’s Parish in CSL (7070 Guelph Avenue, near Parkhaven) to update the public on the current status of the green space and to secure additional help to have the area converted into a regional nature park for the over 150,000 residents who live in the West End.

The meeting will feature several speakers and provide information on the green space and how it can be used by residents year-round for a variety of activities. There will be a special presentation on the many legal environmental battles in Montreal and a new legal defense organization, the Legacy Fund for the Environment.

All are welcome.

When: May 11th, 2017, 7 pm

Where: St. Richard’s Parish, 7070 Guelph CSL

For more information on Les Amis du Parc Meadowbrook, go towww.lesamisdemeadowbrook.org, SOS Meadowbrook on Facebook or @Parc Meadowbrook on Twitter.

Source: MikeCohen.ca

CSL salutes Federation CJA on 100 years

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MOTION TO RECOGNIZE FEDERATION CJA ON THE OCCASION OF ITS 100TH ANNIVERSARY

WHEREAS the Montreal Jewish community has been served by Federation CJA since its foundation in January 1917;

WHEREAS many residents of Côte Saint-Luc, past and present, have received financial, social and other assistance by Federation CJA and its agencies;

WHEREAS the organization played a role in the resettlement of a significant number immigrants, and particularly Holocaust survivors, contributed to the economic, cultural and academic success of our region and today through its charitable efforts supports a wide range of activities service the 93,000 Jews in Quebec;

WHEREAS many residents of Côte Saint-Luc actively volunteer and donate to Federation CJA today;

WHEREAS Federation CJA recently launched its Centennial Year celebration noting its 100th anniversary and the important contributions in many domains of the Jewish community of the Montreal area to success and growth of our city, province and country;

It was
MOVED BY COUNCILLOR Glenn J. Nashen
SECONDED BY COUNCILLOR Allan J. Levine

AND RESOLVED:

“THAT the Côte Saint Luc City Council (“Council”) congratulate Federation CJA on achieving the milestone of its 100th anniversary of its founding;

THAT Council recognize the important work of Federation CJA over its history in building the Jewish community here at home, in Israel and around the world, and in serving as a bridge to facilitate dialogue, tolerance and cooperation between the Jewish population and the broader Quebec society.”

THAT a copy of this resolution be sent to Mr. Evan Feldman, president of Federation CJA, so that it may be shared with members of the board of directors, and staff of the organization.”

CARRIED UNANIMOUSLY

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