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.

Irwin Cotler Award presented to Madison Gold

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The City of Côte Saint-Luc is presenting the Irwin Cotler Award to a student at a Côte Saint-Luc school in grade 6 and grade 11 who has devoted themselves to the cause of social justice. “All the schools in Côte Saint-Luc will be asked to nominate one of their students from grade 6 and grade 11 to receive the Irwin Cotler Award,” said Acting Mayor Glenn J. Nashen. “It will be given the student who best exemplifies the act of improving the world and fighting for social justice. This has been the hallmark of Professor Cotler’s life and we think this award is a fitting tribute.”

For the last five decades, Irwin Cotler has devoted his intellect and advocacy skills to the promotion and protection of human rights around the world, first as an international human rights lawyer and later as a Member of Parliament for Mount Royal, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, where he made the pursuit of international justice a government priority. Côte Saint-Luc honoured him on its Human Rights Walkway in 2015.


Global News report

A Short Walk to Knowledge

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Guest contributor: Judy Hagshi





In the novel A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park, Nya is a young Sudanese girl who must walk to the local pond to get water for her family twice a day – except that the local pond is actually two hours away. She makes the long two hour walk to the pond with empty jugs in the morning and then makes the two hour return trek with her heavy load arriving home in time for a sparse lunch. She repeats the whole four hour trip again in the afternoon just to be able to do her part to help sustain her family.


Thankfully, we do not live in Sudan and do not need to schlep water eight hours a day in order to sustain ourselves and our families. But, we do require other sustenance such as health and love and knowledge in order to succeed and flourish as a community and society. This can be exemplified by the short story titled A Short Walk to Knowledge by Judy Lynn Hagshi.

JPPS Bialik 2016

Judy is a young(ish) mother who walks her son Jeremy to school one morning. The school is JPPS and now that it has moved back into Cote Saint-Luc, the JPPS/Bialik campus is a mere ten minute walk from their home. Upon arrival, a celebration is going on: the school is welcoming a brand-new Sefer Torah which was written by hand over the past twelve months especially for the JPPS/Bialik synagogue. A meaningful and spiritual ceremony ensues ending with a school-wide hora and festive meal. Once the Mazal Tovs are given, Judy makes her way back home.

JPPS Torah Dedication 2016

JPPS Torah Dedication 2016

Later that afternoon, Judy makes the invigorating walk again to pick up young Jeremy from school. It’s a beautiful Spring day, her favourite time of the year, so she diverts her course and runs an errand at the local shmall. She arrives at the school and chats with some of the parents about the moving ceremony of the morning. She and Jeremy race back home.

JPPS Invention Convention 2016

JPPS Invention Convention 2016

A few hours later, Judy makes the stimulating walk again with her daughter Nathalie. Bialik is hosting The Invention Convention for grade 7 students. Nathalie and her friend Eva have designed The Lemonizer, a gadget to cut an apple while simultaneously sprinkling it with lemon juice. The lunch room is full of inventions and inquiry and knowledge exchange.

JPPS School of Tomorrow

Judy’s husband Glenn and children Nicole and Jeremy also return to the school (Jeremy riding his bike this time) to check out The Invention Convention as well as JPPS’s Open House. Young parents thirsty for knowledge flock to “The School of Tomorrow”. JPPS has revamped the educational process through innovation and technology: gone is the teacher’s desk looming imposingly at the front of the room and is replaced with a cozy corner where teachers can spend one-on-one time with students. Each classroom also has standing and bicycle desks to keep children’s minds and bodies active. The school is abuzz with so much excitement and warmth that the Hebrew teachers break into song and dance as some parents come to check out the class.


JPPS Marnie Stein Principal 2016
As the day comes to an end and Judy returns home, she reflects on how much has occurred today: she has taken three short walks, each long on nachas and knowledge and menschlichkeit. What a fulfilling day!!!

Welcome back JPPS

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JPPS welcome

After an absence of nearly 10 years from Cote Saint-Luc the century old elementary school returned yesterday with Kindergarten to Grade 6 students moving into their new quarters on Kildare Road. The Jewish Peretz School set down roots in CSL with its new building on Wavell Road back in 1957. In 1971 that school merged with the Jewish Peoples School on Van Horne to form Jewish Peretz and Peoples Schools (JPPS). Bialik High School was established in 1972 on Wavell as well. 10 years ago the Wavell site was sold to the Yavne School and JPPS merged all elementary classes at Van Horne.

I attended Jewish Peretz School since Nursery (now called Pre-K) along with my three brothers. I also went to Bialik High School on Wavell and served as the founding President of the Bialik Graduates Society. My children attend JPPS-Bialik as well. So, as a graduate, parent and city councillor I am particularly pleased with the school’s return to Cote Saint-Luc, opening up an educational venue rich in history and reputation for local, young families to consider.

Head of School Maureen Baron and her team signaled this move last spring. The JPPS building on Van Horne was sold to Yaldei (early intervention treatment and specialized therapies for children with developmental needs) and now JPPS-Bialik is once housed within a single, unified campus.

Hats off to Maureen, JPPS Principal Marnie Stein, President Harley Eisman, Past President Jamie Ross, Move Committee chair Lee Wise, the parent leaders and the staff, past and present, as well as Bialik Principal Avi Satov for this tremendous project and for shaping the next generation of youngsters at JPPS.

I toured the newly renovated facilities located within the Bialik High School campus two weeks ago and could not help but feel the tremendous enthusiasm of Marnie and VP, Debra Michael. The new classrooms are bright and very modern. One entire wall in each room is a whiteboard (gone are the days of chalk and blackboards). The entire wall is free to be written upon, by teachers and by students. Smart boards will be installed as well.

Mademoiselle St. Martin at a new JPPS white board

Mademoiselle St. Martin at a new JPPS white board

The childrens’ desks are organized in pods, with the teacher’s desk able to be moved to any location in the room, complete with extra stools for students who need to sit with the teacher. Each class also has a stand-up desk and a bicycle-desk for those students needing to burn off a little steam or who are otherwise fidgety and could have been disruptive if not for these innovative ideas.

I suspect it won’t be too long before JPPS students will be assigned iPads for their work assignments as the Hilroy and #2 HB pencil take their place in history.

The Drop-Off on Day One were expertly coordinated by the school and CSL Public Safety Department, together with the Commander of Police Station 9 to ensure that the drop-off and pickup of students ran smoothly.

Public Security agents were out in full force ensuring safe flow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. PS Director Jordy Reichson and Lieutenant Anthony Tsakon were in control along with agent Tony Labataglia masterfully waving traffic through the intersection and assisting students safely across the street. Visual markers were extremely clear and well-organized. JPPS personnel were also well positioned and helpful in moving things along together with Marnie, Maureen and a few parent volunteers.

My wife, Judy, was one of those volunteers and had this to say,”We are so fortunate that our children attend a school with such dedicated leaders.”


Grade 3 JPPS students celebrate their new home.

All in all it was the best drop off I’ve witnessed in CSL. I’m sure that every parent was pleased with the city’s involvement in making this a very secure scene.

JPPS-Bialik spokesperson Shelley Paris thanked the city for its cooperation. “The security team was out in force directing traffic and explaining parking rules to parents,” she said. “Everyone felt so welcome and taken care of!  Kudos to all!”

The city has put up banners on Cavendish Blvd. at at its underpasses to formally welcome JPPS to CSL.

District 2 Councillor Mike Cohen said,”Over the years I have worked very closely with the administration to make sure that parents abide by the existing parking regulations and not block driveways. Police Station 9 do patrol the area and they have been known to hand out tickets, so please before you park see if there is a sign warning you not to pull up there.”

Additional reporting by Mike Cohen

Jews on the verge of a ‘YidLife Crisis’


Jews on the verge of a ‘YidLife Crisis’ | The Times of Israel.

Two graduates from Cote Saint-Luc’s Bialik High School have produced an online comedy series, a la Seinfeld, all in Yiddish? Oy, can you imagine such narishkeit?

This is pure Cote Saint-Luc / Montreal Jewish genius! Drinking in the very best that Montreal’s multicultural Mile End has to offer, Chaimie and Leizer, best friends and debating adversaries, tackle life, love, and lactose intolerance in this foodie centric web series done entirely in their grandparents’ Yiddish.

Bravo to Eli and Jamie. A shainem dunk un zol zein gezunt. And I encourage you to film in beautiful Cote Saint-Luc, maybe at the CavenYiddish mall? And how about at the JGH?

Great idea. So funny. Very creative.


Bialik students to get iPads in the classroom

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Free Press June 11, 2013. Click to enlarge.

Free Press June 11, 2013. Click to enlarge.

Marking Raoul Wallenberg Centennial

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The Consulate General of the State of Israel, in conjunction with the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, the Riva and Thomas O. Hecht Scholarship Program, Teaching of the Holocaust for Educators, the City of Côte Saint-Luc, the English Montreal School Board and the Office of Mount Royal Liberal Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler,will announce plans to mark the centennial of the birth of Raoul Wallenberg. This will take place on Friday, May 11 at Bialik High School (6500 Kildare Road) in Côte Saint-Luc and include some distinguished speakers.

Raoul Wallenberg was the Swedish diplomat who saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. While serving as Swedish envoy in the Hungarian capital, Budapest, from July 1944, Wallenberg gave Jews Swedish travel documents and set up safe houses for them. He is also credited with dissuading German officers from massacring the 70,000 inhabitants of the city’s ghetto.

Ron Meisel, a Holocaust survivor who was among the Jews saved by Wallenberg, will be in attendance. His video testimonial will be shown on the big screen.

The Nazis, who occupied Hungary in early 1944, launched mass deportations of Hungarian Jews to concentration camps such as Auschwitz with the collaboration of local authorities. Wallenberg disappeared after being arrested in Hungary by the Soviet Red Army in 1945. The Russians have said he was executed on July 17, 1947, but unverified witness accounts and newly uncovered evidence suggest he may have lived beyond that date.

Israel Consul General for Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces, Joel Lion, will formally announce plans for a Raoul Wallenberg Legacy Competition Project. Students from Bialik will be joined in the audience by their counterparts from a number of other local schools, including Marymount Academy in N.D.G., LaurenHill Academy in St. Laurent and Westmount High School.

Plans call for this to be an interactive project in which students from Montreal area high schools will seek to explain to their fellow peers in a three to four minute video how Raoul Wallenberg’s legacy and message is still relevant in their own lifetime. Students will have complete access to video files from different Holocaust-related websites.

Winners of the competition will receive a special certificate and be honoured at a breakfast hosted by the Consul General of Israel in December 2012 followed by a visit to the Montreal Holocaust Museum. All of the videos will be posted on the EMSB Vimeo site and made available to school teachers as resource teachers.

The legacy of Raoul Wallenberg will also be marked by the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre during their Holocaust Education Series next fall. On May 23 (5:30 p.m.) the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation of Montreal will hold a commemoration at the Monument at Raoul Wallenberg Square (600 de Maisonneuve).

The EMSB will work with The Riva and Thomas O. Hecht Scholarship Program, Teaching of the Holocaust for Educators, to solicit participation from English and French public and private schools in the Montreal area. Each year the The Riva and Thomas O. Hecht Scholarship Program, Teaching of the Holocaust for Educators, sponsors teachers to attend a Summer Session of the International Seminar for Educators at Yad Vashem. Past winners represent a natural connection to bring the Wallenberg story into the classrooms.

Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather, working with City Councillors Mike Cohen and Allan J. Levine, proposed a local launch of the Wallenberg commemoration in their city for a number of reasons. First and foremost, Côte Saint-Luc is the home to a large Jewish community per capita in the world. As well, Wallenberg was inducted to the city’s Human Rights Walkway at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park a number of years ago.

Speakers will include Consul General Lion, Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Housefather, Professor Irwin Cotler, Liberal MNA for D’Arcy McGee MNA Lawrence Bergman, EMSB Commissioner Syd Wise, Thomas O. Hecht, Bialik Principal Ken Scott and students Allix Caron and Tori Perlman. Peter Rona from the Raoul Wallenberg Foundation will also be on hand.

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