Nachshen Family descendants celebrate Passover tradition

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Nachshen Family Seder 2018, Markham, Ontario (Rob Currie Photography)

The Nachshen Family recently gathered for the second Seder as they’ve been doing for three decades. The family, all descendants of Rabbi Moishe Nachshen (1872-1968) and Sarah Romanek (1875-1956), who emigrated to Canada from Russia in 1927, had assembled annually in Montreal for the second Passover Seder for the past 33 years until the festive gathering switched to Toronto this year. In the 1960s and 70s, the five branches of the family came together for Chanukah and Purim celebrations at Pomerantz House (then known as the Workmen’s Circle), on Van Horne Avenue near Cote des-Neiges Road, in Montreal.
The elders of the family now include siblings Kate Nachshen (Brecher), 96, George Nashen, 94, both of Cote Saint-Luc, Quebec and Elizabeth (Bess) Nachshen (Goldman), 89. of Boynton Beach, South Florida. The youngest member of the Nachshen Family was born one week prior to the Seder, Ellis Gray Adawalla of Toronto.
The 2018 Seder, held at a banquet hall in north end Toronto, brought together first, second and third cousins.
The event was organized by Mintzi (Clement) and Rafi Skrzydlo of Markham, Ontario and Mandy Senanes (Fitleberg) of Richmond Hill, Ontario. While most of the family is now situated in the greater Toronto area others traveled from Cote Saint-Luc, British Columbia, New York, Maryland, Florida and other points across North America, and as far away as China. With mobile devices in hand other family members from around the world joined in (virtually).
This family’s history reflects that of so many other Jewish Canadians. Having emigrated to Montreal from Eastern Europe in the early 1900s, some of the family began drifting to Israel in the 60s and many to Toronto in the late 70s and 80s. By the 1990s the family had spread across Canada, the United States and Israel.

Cover of the Nachshen Family Seder Haggadah with image of family patriarch, Moishe Nachshen, Matriarch, Sarah Romenek, and their seven children

As the descendants of a rabbi, part of the Chasidic movement in Skvira, Russia, the family modernized and assimilated over the last three generations. So much so, that they created their own customized Passover Haggadah, emphasizing the centrality and equality of women and inclusion of all members of the family specifically citing lesbians, gays or converts to Judaism. An orange had been added as an important symbol on the Nachshen Seder plate to highlight these differences from the olden days.
While this family has grown and evolved quite differently from the strict religious practices of its patriarchs and matriarchs it continues to remain a cohesive and connected entity thanks to the fundamentals instilled by those family elders several generations earlier. The centrality of Judaism, community, cultural traditions, Zionism and family throughout the generations has remained strong and resolute. The Advent of social media has certainly helped to keep distant cousins connected through video, photos and stories on a daily basis.
The Haggadah, emblazoned with the photos of ‘Zaida Moishe an Bubbe Sarah’ was read aloud with all family members taking turns. The tunes sung aloud were those heard around the Nachshen table over a century ago in the shtetles of Skvira and Pogrebische (south of present day Kiev, Ukraine).

Back cover of the Nachshen Family Haggadah, depicting Nachshon, the first to enter the Red Sea as it parted during the exodus from Egypt

Once all the Afikomen had been found by the many young children and mingling had wound down, the many good bye hugs and kisses concluded the evening with wishes for Next Year in Jerusalem. But the Second Seder will be booked for Toronto, just in case.

Florida moves to stop time shift, should Canada follow?


Florida has moved a step closer to making Daylight Saving Time permanent and end the dreaded and dreary semi-annual ritual of moving clocks back and forth. I have called upon our Members of Parliament to do the same for the last several years right here on my blog. Put an end to this archaic time-waster and let us have more sunlight all winter long.

I hope thew Florida Governor signs the Bill and that the US Congress follows suit. The chain reaction will surely push our parliamentarians to finally end moving our clocks back and forth.

Barry Wislon picked up on this movement in his recent Postscript vlog.

So let’s keep the momentum going. Blog it, shout it and call out your MP. The sunshine is back and we should keep it that way, all year long.



Daylight Saving Time: Let there be light

Are you ready for clock confusion?

This time I’m voting to scrap time change

I’m tired of falling back!

Great community theatre in the West End, Tuesday and Wednesday night

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One of Montreal’s best community-based theatrical producers will launch a two-day run of the Broadway sensation, Anything Goes.

Anisa Cameron was born to be in showbiz. Born in New York, but raised under the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip, her grandmother was a Rockette, her father was the lead singer of the Folies Bergere at the Tiffany Theatre inside the Tropicana and her mother, a dancer, was a chorus girl who worked her way up to company manager. Cameron and her brother, a dancer, were more or less raised backstage at the Tiffany Theatre. Although their parents begged and pleaded, both chose to pursue a life in the arts.

Anisa Cameron

Cameron has been at the helm of the Cote Saint-Luc Dramatic Society (CSLDS) since its inception some seven years ago while simultaneously heading up the burgeoning drama program at Cote Saint-Luc’s Bialik High School. This year, she launched the JPPS drama program with the hit musical, The Little Mermaid.

Originally penned in 1934 with music and lyrics by American composer and songwriter Cole Porter, Anything Goes is a musical comedy that has been updated several times throughout the last century.

Through her many sold-out performances at the CSLDS including Fiddler on the Roof, Hairspray, Catch Me if You Can, as well as exceptional Bialik Theatre musicals, some originals and others from Broadway, Cameron has proven her skills at entertaining audiences both young and old.

This week. Anything Goes should be no exception. You don’t have to know anyone in the cast to come and enjoy local theatre, with live music by Nick Burgess and his accomplished musicians. All this with free parking, cheap refreshments, great seats and tickets at just 15 bucks. Get your tickets now for this Tuesday or Wednesday night’s shows at ShowTix4U or by visiting the Bialik Theatre Facebook page.

Barry Wilson Postscript

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If you miss Barry Wilson’s weekly rant on CTV News Montreal since he was unfortunately dropped by the network a few months ago you’ll be as pleased as I am to know that he has reappeared. Wilson has resurfaced, as good as ever, in a home-made, weekly commentary on things Montrealers, and English-speaking Quebecers want to hear.

The episodes are produced in-house, quite literally, and frankly, they’re just as good as before. I hope he finds a way to monetize his Youtube Channel and keep it going so he can continue to share his talents. Conversant in every angle of Montreal and Quebec politics it would be great to see Wilson expand his Youtube Channel and produce online content about Montreal’s suburbs and Quebec’s English-speaking communities’ issues.

Wilson has covered and written about Montreal and the Quebec political scene for more than three decades. He was bureau chief in Quebec City for Pulse News, then executive producer as he guided the editorial direction of Pulse and CTV News until November 2017. He began weekly “Postscript” editorials more than a decade ago.

Hey Barry, how about crisscrossing the West-End and West-Island with weekly interviews with suburban mayor and councillors, (errr former councillors included), for a glimpse at local issues? And, regular spots on matters affecting the vitality and sustainability of Quebec’s English-speaking community, especially leading up to the provincial elections.  I welcome your comment here Barry, as well as others who might like to share their opinion… In any case, I wish you much success.

Meanwhile, you can catch Barry Wilson on his website, Youtube and Twitter channels.

MtlRestoRap: Scores Restaurants unveils new franchise training centre

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Glenn J. Nashen reports for MtlRestoRap: Scores Restaurants unveils new franchise training centre

Renowned for its famous Rotisserie chicken and delicious back ribs, the first Scores Rotisserie opened its doors in Montreal in 1995. As a growing business, their network of franchises now include some 38 rotisseries across Quebec and Ontario.

Scores rotisserie insists on always giving its clients only the best quality at the best possible price. It’s with that in mind that Scores recently inaugurated its flagship Franchise Training Centre. MtlRestoRap caught up with Scores Chief Operating Officer  Ronald Simard to visit the new centre located on St. Laurent Boulevard in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville Borough of Montreal.

Simard proudly showed off the training centre as though he built it himself. And in a sense, that’s just what he did. It was Simard’s idea, after all, to create a, “school system for franchisees to attain real life experience.” The program lasts for 10 weeks and franchisees are put through every routine in the restaurant to gain hands on experience for every position they will have to fill in their own locations.

“We needed a strong support mechanism to train our team,” Simard told us. “You need to teach it, measure it and watch it grow,” said the affable COO.

Scores is one of the few banners to offer the vocational qualification program in cooking through an apprenticeship program.

While 38 locations are currently in operation, including two in Ontario, there are several new locations opening soon. The next restaurant will open in Longueuil in May, while a month later two new franchises will open in Dollard-des-Ormeaux and on Lacordaire Blvd. Simard let us in on a secret, that a new site is also being planned for the Notre-Dame-de-Grace district, in Montreal’s West End.

Scores is particularly excited about their latest innovation, a brimming salad bar they call the  Grand Saladier. This display of fresh, colourful vegetables rivals the best chains in Canada and the U.S.  The Grand Saladier offers soups, salads and fruit. They have chicken, chorizo, hearts of palm, northern shrimp and so much more! The Grand Saladier includes:

  • 24 new ingredients
  • 3 types of cheese
  • 16 daily fresh-made salads
  • 6 new proteins
  • 1 nacho bar
  • and 63 ingredients in total!

The Grand Saladier is included, free, with chicken and rib entrees. For other meals it is available for a modest charge.

Non-meat eaters will be pleased with the fish choices on the menu, such as cod and salmon.

Charles Dufresne, Executive chef for the entire chain stated that, “No restaurant has a salad bar like this one. Everything is prepared fresh, on site.”

An entirely new menu was launched across the entire chain this past January, Dufresne told those at the official launch.

The newer stores sport the urban model, with modern lighting and decor, high ceilings and earthy tones with seating for up to 186 dining patrons in a 5700 sq. ft. setup.

So environmentally conscientious are the developers, they’ve now purchased 100 percent electric, Kia Soul cars for local deliveries.

The new concept stores are designed with private rooms that can accommodate community organizations and local businesses for their catered gatherings as well as those throwing parties or large family dinners.

Anik Tétreault, Scores Director of Marketing welcomed the Mayor of the Ahuntsic-Cartierveille borough, Émilie Thuillier.

“This is an excellent restaurant to welcome into the borough and to help revitalize this shopping centre,” the mayor said. She was also excited to learn about the electric delivery cars, that will roll silently, and pollution-free, through her borough.

The mayor was accompanied by newly-elected city councillor Hadrien Parizeau, also a member of the city’s Executive Committee, and grandson of former Quebec Premier Jacques Parizeau.

As part of the kick-off event, guests were treated to exclusive hors d’oeuvres including buns stuffed with shrimp and crab meat, crispy BBQ chicken wings and drumsticks with a tangy sauce and smoked meat wrapped in bacon.

Scores is part of the Imvescor Group of Restaurants, which was recently acquired by Group MTY.

From the modern appointed restaurant decor, to the enthusiastic staff to the innovative and incredibly tasty nibbles that night, they stand true to their  motto: “A Great Deal More at Scores.”

For more information log on to


By Glenn J. Nashen

For more restaurant reviews visit


French-only warning signs dangerous: Letter to the editor

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Published in the Montreal Gazette, March 16, 2018
These French-only warning signs are actually dangerous for highway motorists not proficient in the French language. When approaching these massive electronic billboards and not immediately recognizing ominous words like “cahouteuse” or “aquaplanage” Without mastery of French you wouldn’t know whether to pull off the road or to call 911 for an urgent translation! I’ve made numerous demands for bilingual warnings and their inaction speaks volumes, in any language. They don’t care if you don’t understand.
Glenn J. Nashen
Cote Saint-Luc


In reference to:

Opinion: Meaning of Quebec highway signs should be clear to all

A year after National Assembly petition, provincial government still has not responded to safety concerns.

Can CSL EMS save more lives, respond faster?

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United Hatzalah ambucycle in Jerusalem

Jerusalem’s United Hatzalah (Rescue Squad) founder Eli Beer spoke to a crowd in Montreal yesterday and was invited to visit Cote Saint-Luc Emergency Medical Services. The United Hatzalah is an incredible program, all volunteer driven, with a singular focus on rapid, first-response to anyone in need. Its mission and purpose is very similar to that of Cote Saint-Luc. Despite difference in size and sophistication, Beer will undoubtedly find many similarities between his group and the outstanding, all-volunteer CSL EMS. Indeed, we have much that we can learn from Beer. Here are 4 key points we should explore.

EMS volunteers (Class of 2013)

#1 Volunteers

Despite CSL’s speed in responding to its 3000 medical emergencies each year, a three-minute average response time is excellent but we should always look for ways to cut seconds when lives are at stake. I have proposed that local, off-duty-EMS volunteers be alerted of life-threatening calls, and equipped, to respond when in close proximity.

What’s more, with an auxiliary force of 80 additional members of the volunteer Citizens on Patrol, some of them (say 20) could be trained at a basic first-responder level. They too are already available, on and off duty, and nearby.

And greater adoption of citizen CPR is crucial.

#2 Transportation

CSL EMS is not an ambulance service. It is a first-responder service. As such, it must rapidly access those calling 911. It should have a fleet of smaller, faster vehicles – not heavy and very expensive ambulances. To complement its lighter, quicker vehicles, a single ambulance would suffice for full protection from the outside elements during severe weather or at large events.

Hatzalah has a fleet of scooters to get around its congested urban centres. CSL already has a fleet of electric scooters for vCOP. Why not integrate these resources, with qualified members, for quicker response when they’re already on the road or when EMS is unavailable?

vCOP patrols the park on electric scooter (Canada Day 2017)

#3 Technology

Hatzalah has uses Israeli technology pushed out via an app for its members. Such technology is now widely accessible to anyone on their mobile devices. CSL should embrace this technology by outfitting all of its EMS and qualified vCOP members so that the closest crews can respond even faster to life-threatening emergencies while EMS and Urgences Santé ambulance are en route. Again, these extra responders are even more critical when EMS first-responders are tied up on other calls and unable to respond to a life-threatening emergency.

#4 Policy

CSL operates under rules and regulations established by higher levels of authority. These rules need to be updated to take into account the local realities of CSL EMS volunteers. Medical responders ought to be granted tax credits toward their training and equipment expenses. Also, the SAAQ has developed regulations in the last few years that allow volunteer firefighters unique privileges in responding to (medical) emergencies in their own vehicles. Despite numerous evidence-based presentations by CSL, the Quebec automobile insurance board refuses to recognize the unique nature of CSL EMS volunteers, who are better trained to deal with medical calls than firefighters. Updating policies and removing bureaucratic obstacles will help save even more lives.


There is no doubt that Cote Saint-Luc is a leader in community-based emergency medical services. Its program is one-of-a-kind in Quebec and it is a proven, life-saving organization. Adopting new ways of expanding its resources, exploring new rapid-response vehicles , embracing mobile technology and updating policies will bring this organization to a whole new level.



Source: Eli Beer: founder of Israel rescue organization shares his story in Montreal talk

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