Who’s your guardian angel?

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Quebec Premier Francois Legault has thanked “Guardian Angels” repeatedly during his daily press conferences. Emergency responders have paraded by local hospitals, sirens wailing, as a signal to the personnel inside, technicians, orderlies, nurses, doctors and auxiliary staff, that they are appreciated and honoured for their professional and personal efforts during these difficult days. Social media posts thank those working in long-term care facilities and rehab centres for caring for the elderly and the infirmed, restaurant staff for take-out and delivery and truckers and grocery store workers for keeping essential supplies flowing.

We all have our guardian angels. Mothers, fathers, neighbours, caregivers, friends and volunteers.

To be sure, these have not been easy days and weeks for many who are dealing with loneliness in their isolation, job layoffs, financial hardship, and health problems. Others are busy just trying to care for their families and dealing with emotions of physical isolation or boredom or lack of routine. And yet others, sadly, tragically, are grieving the loss of loved ones.

For my family, like many of you, we are trying to stay healthy of mind and body, positive in thought and good humoured.

Family online Shabbat Shalom

Yet we are concerned for our parents, 96 and 91 years of age, living independently at home, thankfully with a wonderfully dedicated caregiver. Daily check-in calls and video chats and tumultuous gatherings for the Passover Seders and welcoming Shabbat on Zoom and care packages lovingly left at the door by sisters-in-law, brothers and my wife provide comfort and relief and closeness in a less than completely satisfying way. They are happy and mostly healthy and for that we are thankful and anxious to be together, really together, soon.

Jeremy in class

Our kids are busy with online classes, music lessons, homework and studying, and friends by phone and video, Netflix parties and Tik-Tok and just hanging out together. Thank God they get along!

How to get through another day at the office from home and keep the family safe and fed and clean and sane? A concern facing us and millions of others.

How I enjoy our almost-daily walks (10,000 steps, my new record!) with my co-quarantined brother and kids along with a couple of neighbourhood friends – our family on one side of the road and theirs on the other – and playing outside with my son. How many menu items can we invent from our “Passover Pandemic Pantry” that we stocked to overflow weeks before anyone thought of hording toilet paper? And thankfully, there are wonderful friends that have delivered fresh produce as we have isolated ourselves for more than three weeks from the rest of the world.

Judy between deliveries, on call for Family Med OB-GYN at the Jewish

And most of all we miss our own Guardian Angel, my wife, Judy, who has lived apart from us for more than three weeks. As a physician at the Jewish General Hospital she has kept our family safe, like so many other doctors, by physically secluding herself from her children and husband. The risk of infection is too great, so Judy and so many of her colleagues in healthcare, have taken unprecedented steps to safeguard family while focusing their care on their patients. We all worry when they head in to the hospital and are relived to hear that they have returned home and feel just fine, other than exhausted.

We are so proud of her for her dedication to her patients and for the sacrifices and we pray that she remains safe, that all Guardian Angels remain in good health. We love and miss her and are anxious for this to pass and to be reunited as a family.

No, these are not easy days. But we are fortunate that this isn’t a man-made war. It’s not a natural disaster that will demolish homes. This isn’t civil strife or political upheaval. We are directed to stay home, to wash our hands and to stay apart from others. Who knew that something so simple could be so hard?

Thankfully, we all have our Guardian Angels watching over us and things will get better!

Happy Birthdays Mom and Dad

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Happy Birthdays to two very special role models, friends, parents and active community members. To 120!!

My parents will read all of your good wishes posted in comments on this page and on my Facebook post. Please like and comment.

Baron Byng Class of ’39 meets for the 77th time

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By George Nashen:

Baron Byng Class of '39. Left side: Classmates Eddie Wolkove, Nina Cass, George Nashen and his wife. Right side: Mildred Leiter, Samuel Levy and his wife.

Baron Byng Class of ’39. Left side: Classmates Eddie Wolkove, Nina Cass, George Nashen and his wife. Right side: Mildred Leiter, Samuel Levy and his wife.


Once again, as we’ve done year after year, the notable Baron Byng high school graduation class of 1939 met recently for our annual reunion, this one being the 77th anniversary.

The sad news is that our numbers are dwindling, as we reach the age of 93. However, six graduates met recently at a West End breakfast place and we hope to continue to meet as long as possible, even if only two of us are remaining.

Mamie Trager had this to say: “It’s a miracle that we are still here.”

Sam Levy said, “We produced many medal winners in various fields.”

From Nina Cass, “I am happy to be here.”

Eddie Wolkove, who has been the reunion organizer for more than fifty years, stated, “We are truly blessed.”

Mildred Leiter added, “Although our numbers are dwindling it is still a pleasure to be here.”

George Nashen, Class of '39

George Nashen, Class of ’39

As for me (George Nashen), “What a wonderful feeling it is to meet with classmates from 80+  years ago. Although there are a few more classmates still around, the inability of them meeting with us varies from distance in other parts of the world whereas other ones are closer but unable to attend because of illness, either physical or emotional.”

Baron Byng High School. Established in 1921 by the Protestant School Board of Greater Montréal, Baron Byng High School taught mostly Jewish students and has several well-known graduates including Irving Layton and Mordecai Richler. Circa 1970. Source : Jewish Public Library. Historical Photographs Collection, 88-107.

Baron Byng High School.
Established in 1921 by the Protestant School Board of Greater Montréal, Baron Byng High School taught mostly Jewish students and has several well-known graduates including Irving Layton and Mordecai Richler.
Circa 1970.
Source : Jewish Public Library. Historical Photographs Collection, 88-107.

The Baron Byng class of 39 included:

  • Mortimor “Michael” Fainstadt, a Montreal City Councillor from the Drapeau era
  • Mel Dobrin of the Seinberg empire
  • Sollie Goldfarb, who hosted many reunions at his country estate in Plantagenet, Ontario
  • Jacob Singer, George’s closest friend, who went MIA laying mines in the North Sea in 1944
  • Sylvia Bercovitch, noted Montreal artist

I recall some other interesting tidbits from way back then:

  • Favourite teacher: Mr. RA Patterson, the nicest person
  • Favourite schoolyard activity: chasing girls
  • We all lived close by and walked to school
  • Baron Byng was made even more famous by Mordechai Richler
  • Who was Baron Byng? He was Governor General in 1923, the year I, and most of my classmates were born. He was a WWI hero.

CJN Article about 65th Class reunion

Baron Byng High School Museum



CSL commemorates 70th anniversary of D-Day

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Photo credit: Darryl Levine, CSL Communications

Under sunny skies on a warm spring afternoon, veterans, dignitaries, volunteers and members of the public assembled today at Cote Saint-Luc’s Veterans Park for the annual commemoration of Victory in Europe Day, commonly referred to as D Day. The eerie sound of the bagpipes summoned all to attention as flags fluttered at half mast in tribute to those who had fallen in service and paid the ultimate price.

Veterans and members of the Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion before the cenotaph in Veterans Park

Veterans and members of the Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion before the cenotaph in Veterans Park  (Photo Darryl Levine)

Mayor Anthony Housefather paid homage to those who served and returned to build Cote Saint-Luc into a modern, bustling suburban community. He lauded the veteran’s sense of community and volunteerism that paved the way for the city’s volunteer Citizens on Patrol, Emergency Medical Services and the volunteers within recreation, seniors, library and so many other groups.

“I commit to you today, that for the rest of my life I will never forget your sacrifice and service,” the mayor said, pledging to continue to undertake this annual event year after year and to continue teaching generations to come.

Native Cote Saint-Lucer and Honourary Dutch Consul Michael Polak recounted how important the Canadian contribution was to the people of the Netherlands. “Canadian grave sites (in Holland) were tended to for 70 years by grandparents, children and now grandchildren,” Polak said. “And I assure you they will continue to honour these fallen Canadian liberators for generations to come.”

I am honoured to place a wreath at the cenotaph on behalf of  CSL Public Safety and all those who serve, both volunteers and professional (Photo Darryl Levine)

I am honoured to place a wreath at the cenotaph on behalf of CSL Public Safety and all those who serve, both volunteer and professional (Photo Darryl Levine)

Although the veterans grow fewer in number each year it is remarkable to see their determination and resolve to participate in uniform with medals of service and bravery adorning their blue blazers. Their berets show the golden “97” depicting their branch in the Royal Canadian Legion.

My father, George Nashen, 91, proudly took his place in the front row, together with my mother. At the sounding of the bugle, his right arm, still sore from surgery last year, sprang to attention, just as it did more than 70 years ago. While his service, so many decades ago took him oversees to London as a teenager, he returned home having lost his best friend and so many comrades in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Proud to represent my city, alongside my father, who represented our country so many decades ago under horrific conditions

Proud to represent my city, alongside my father, who bravely represented our country so many decades ago under horrific conditions (Photo Darryl Levine)

On this D Day, 70 years after liberation, I also pay tribute to those who served and those who fell. I thank them all for their sacrifice to bring an end to the tyranny and murder of millions in the gas chambers and in their homes and cities. They served so that others could again live in free and democratic countries across Europe, and so we would be so fortunate here in Canada.

And I salute my own father for his service to country, to humanity and to freedom.

Housefather packs the house down south

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Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather addresses the CSL Men’s Club in South Florida (Photo: Sid Birns)


Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather will go to great length to connect with his constituents. That was the case this past week as the mayor traveled to South Florida to spend a few days poolside and to meet with the CSL Men’s Club during their annual winter luncheon.

Thousands of CSLers spend their winters down south and the greatest concentration can be found in the Deerfield Beach area with several hundred being residents at Century Village. CSLers can easily be spotted at shopping malls, golf courses, restaurants and shows in Hollywood, Hallandale, Pompano Beach, Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Boynton Beach, Delray and neighbouring communities right up to West Palm Beach.

Over 250 of them gathered last Wednesday, along with their wives, for the annual winter luncheon, at the posh restaurant in the Seminole Casino, to dine and meet guest speaker Mayor Housefather. The mayor spoke to the capacity crowd about the progress of the City of Cote Saint-Luc over the last nine years since demerger and plans for the future. He discussed antisemitism and the global threat of terrorism and how governments needed to balance quick action with respect for civil liberties. He also discussed human rights and the importance of protecting those rights at home and around the world.

The pivotal question during the exchange portion was asked by former club president Peter Sternberg. “What can voters do if they want to support you [Housefather] as the Liberal nominee in the next federal election while at the same time wanting to support Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his steadfast backing of Israel?” Sternberg asked. Housefather gave a reasoned and convincing response in saying that electing him to represent our constituency will lead to the utmost support for Israel, without any doubt.

Remember that Housefather was educated at Herzliah High School, has traveled to Israel several times, recently competed in the Maccabiah games there winning a staggering seven medals and speaks Hebrew very well.

The mayor was flanked by CSL leaders including club president Sydney Kronish, past president Sidney Margles, program chief Mark Kotler and CSL Men’s Club paparazzi Sid Birns and Jack Frank. My parents, Phyllis and George Nashen, were in attendance along with many of their friends including Roz Axelrod and Jack and Lil Margolis.

My father marveled at how Housefather spoke so fluidly for some 40 straight minutes, without any notes whatsoever, his usual style. “Anthony didn’t hesitate to jump among a variety of interesting topics,” George said. “He was very well received by the hometown crowd.”

I was last year’s guest speaker in Boca and was so impressed at seeing 200 CSLers show up for this luncheon. It was great fun meeting and speaking with our elder leaders and neighbours and I look forward to being invited again in the future, perhaps joining my friend Anthony Housefather at the podium.

Bravo to the Men’s Club and its leaders, to our active residents and our eager and talented Mayor Anthony Housefsather.

CSL council sworn in at city hall ceremony

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The Cote Saint-Luc City Council 2013-2017

The Cote Saint-Luc City Council 2013-2017

The City of Cote Saint-Luc Council was sworn into office Monday evening in a ceremony at City Hall. One by one the members of Council followed the Mayor in taking the Oath of Office before City Clerk Mtre. Jonathan Shecter and a crowd of invited guests and families.

Member of Parliament for Mount Royal Irwin Cotler and trusty chief of staff Howard Liebman were present to witness the official ceremony as was Member of the National Assembly for D’Arcy McGee Lawrence Bergman.  It was very nice of these representatives from the federal and provincial legislatures to honour the members of council with their attendance.

Police Station 9 Commander Marc Cournoyer, Suburban Newspaper Publisher Michael Sochaczevski and highly acclaimed member of the Conservative Party of Canada and former Chief of Staff to successive cabinet ministers Neil Drabkin attended as well.

Newly re-elected Hampstead Mayor Bill Steinberg and CSL Councillor Glenn J. Nashen

Newly re-elected Hampstead Mayor Bill Steinberg and CSL Councillor Glenn J. Nashen

It was very meaningful to have the newly elected members of Hampstead Council along with Mayor Bill Steinberg as well as mayoral candidate Bonnie Feigenbaum take part in this civic ceremony. Mayor Anthony Housefather said that such a warm relationship between our neighbouring towns was unheard of in the 90s when a decade long feud between the former mayors kept our towns at a frosty distance.

Members - past and present -  of the Hampstead "Youth Seat": Newly elected Councillor Warren Budning, Former Councillor Bonnie Feigenbaum, CSL Mayor Anthony Housefather

Members – past and present – of the Hampstead “Youth Seat”: Newly elected Councillor Warren Budning, Former Councillor Bonnie Feigenbaum, CSL Mayor Anthony Housefather

Friends, family, supporters and senior staff filled the Council Chamber for the short ceremony. I was very pleased to have my family with me including my parents George and Phyllis Nashen, my wife, Dr. Judy Hagshi and our children, Nicole, Nathalie and Jeremy, as well as my brothers, Stan, Barry and Jeff and sisters in law, Franci Niznik and Cheryl Carpman. My nephew, Michael Nashen, was on shift at EMS and came by with the whole crew. Our family has roots in CSL going back to 1958.

Nicole, George and Glenn J. Nashen

Nicole, George and Glenn J. Nashen

The eight members of council plus the mayor have been together since the demerger in the autumn of 2005.  Each one serves as an independent yet the level of cooperation and collaboration is unprecedented allowing for each of us to realize many of our priorities and electoral promises. There is a spirit of teamwork and consensus building which is a rarity at any level of political office.

Nicole, Glenn, Michael, Barry Nashen

Nicole, Glenn, Michael, Barry Nashen

This family like spirit has proven to be a major benefit to the residents of Cote Saint-Luc as it has enabled us to work together to bring to life major projects such as the Aquatic and Community Centre, opened just two years ago. Our infrastructure (sewers, water pipes, roads and sidewalks), although not nearly as exciting as playgrounds and pools continues to be upgraded.

Brothers Stan, Glenn, Barry Nashen

Brothers Stan, Glenn, Barry Nashen

Speaking of playgrounds, Imagination Park opened a year ago in District 6 and is a beautiful locale for the younger crowd as well as older folks.

I am hopeful that this next mandate will prove every bit as successful as the last two terms and many new projects will come to fruition including major parks and playground upgrades and so much more.

Many thanks, once again, to my family, friends, constituents, campaign volunteers and readers of my blog. This begins my 6th term in office and I am excited and ready to go!

More on Councillor Mike Cohen’s blog

Happy Birthday to a couple of extra special Cote Saint-Lucers


George and Phyllis Nashen

George and Phyllis Nashen

Today family and friends from near and far join me in saluting two extra special Cote Saint-Lucers as we celebrate my father’s 90th and mother’s 85th birthdays.

Phyllis and George Nashen have made their home in CSL for well over 50 years, raising their four sons and watching grandchildren flourish in this community as well.  Active in sports, leisure, arts and community life they are well known and very much liked by those whom they meet casually and on a regular basis.

Not too many get to celebrate such milestone events in 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.  This weekend they are especially fortunate to have their children and grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and neighbours who have gathered to pay en extra special tribute to them at a family gathering.

Happy birthdays Mom and Dad. You guys are the best and we love you all the way around the world!

An autobiography of my dad


2013-06 CSL Senior Men's Club Newsletter Page 8

CSL Senior Men’s Club Newsletter, June 2013. Click to enlarge.


Seems to me that Father’s Day is the right day to post this article that appeared earlier this month in the CSL Senior Men’s Club newsletter about my own father. As my brother’s and I, and our families, relatives and friends prepare to celebrate my dad’s upcoming 90th birthday, and my mom’s recent 85th, I take this opportunity to publicly celebrate them both – two special, active and talented Cote Saint-Lucers.

Happy Father’s Day dad.  And happy birthdays to you both! To 120 and beyond!

George & Phyllis Nashen

George & Phyllis Nashen


CSL Senior Men’s Club celebrates 25 years

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Mike Cohen reports on the CSL Senior Men’s Club 25th anniversary dinner