CSL Men’s Club gala raises funds for Canadian Magen David Adom

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The Côte St. Luc Men’s Club hosted an “Evening of Entertainment” last week at the city’s Aquatic and Community Centre to raise funds for Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel.

CMDA sends ambulances and medical supplies to Magen David Adom for use in Israel.

On hand were CMDA president Michael I. Levine, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Côte St. Luc council members, D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum, Beth Tikvah Rabbi Emeritus Mordecai Zeitz and many others. Cantor Yossi Pomerantz, accompanied by Joseph Milo, sang; and humourist Al Kustanowitz performed.

The event also marked the donation of ambulances, medical emergency scooters and funds for medical equipment to Israel. One ambulance, displayed at the event, was donated by the Men’s Club; and by Simon and Fagey Rossdeutscher and Judith and Harry Rossdeutscher in memory of their families who perished in the Holocaust.

“Almost a year ago, I decided that as the Men’s Club is growing enormously, we should do something special for the State of Israel, where I’ve been many, many times,” said Men’s Club president Syd Kronish. “I went to see Sidney Benizri, executive director of CMDA, and for 40 minutes, he showed me what Magen David Adom accomplishes for Israel. I decided that’s for us.

“The Men’s Club took all of our smaller donations and we contributed the other half for the ambulance,” he explained. “Four of our members, including myself, each bought a medical scooter, which cost $32,000. They are already in Israel.”

The Rossdeutscher family has been involved with CMDA for more than 30 years and has donated at least several other ambulances over the years, including one dedicated to the memory of Rabbi Sidney Shoham of Beth Zion Synagogue.

Another ambulance was donated by Derek and Richard Stern and Families. Mayoral candidate Robert Libman was on hand for the event, representing the Stern family.

Benizri, who is also a Côte St. Luc councillor, was very appreciative.

“It was a pleasure working with the Executive Committee and the members of the Cote St. Luc Men’s Club for the past seven months and I am very grateful to them for undertaking this initiative, ‘Evening of Entertainment,’ to benefit Canadian Magen David Adom,’ Benizri said. “They are motivated and dedicated to the cause of helping Magen David Adom continue to offer lifesaving and humanitarian services to anyone in the State of Israel and abroad when called upon to do so.”

Benizri also thanked the Rossdeutscher family for the new ambulance, the Stern family for the other ambulance and other families for the medical scooters.

The scooters were presented to the people of Israel by Sheila and Nat Agensky in memory of Brian Agensky; by Marion and Lazarus Caplan; by Elaine and Syd Kronish; Steven, Etty, Samantha and David Kronish; and the Spector Family. As well, Harriet and Harry Fried made a major donation for medical equipment.

The balance of the gala evening’s proceeds “will be used to provide essential medical equipment for MDA Israel paramedics and first responders,” says a CMDA statement.

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What a great feeling to see the Cote Saint-Luc Men’s Club emblem on this ambulance destined for Israel. Judy and I were thrilled to be able to participate and contribute in a small but meaningful way.

 

Magen David Adom is innovative in their ability to outfit a scooter with emergency medical equipment to respond rapidly to urgent calls even with congested streets in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. We can learn a lot from them.

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In memory of a great statesman, former President Shimon Peres

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I recall the last time Israel’s 9th president, Shimon Peres, visited Montreal four years ago. He was given a hero’s welcome as he entered the Shaare Hashomayim (Gates of Heaven) synagogue in Westmount yesterday to a packed house of 1800 well-wishers.

How proud I was to deliver a token gift on behalf of Dr. Hartley Stern, Executive Director of the Jewish General Hospital at that time.

I was privileged to have met and spoken with Shimon Peres in the mid 90s in Jerusalem.

I was privileged to have met and spoken with Shimon Peres in the mid 90s in Jerusalem.

President Peres humorously indicated how pleased he was to be at the Gates of Heaven.  He added that his official visit to Canada was a “Voyage of profound and sincere friendship”.  In unfailing French he thanked Canada for a warm welcome.  He added that Montreal was the most dedicated and active community in the founding and development of the State of Israel.  “Jerusalem salutes you.”

“Our land is so small, it is just a statistical error by comparison to Canada.  I see your lakes and rivers and I’m jealous.  We have only one river.  It is richer in history than water.  We have two lakes.  One is dead.”

“We were outnumbered, outgunned, not supported, not accepted,” Peres said.  “The greatness of Israel is that we started with nothing.  When you have nothing, you may discover the greatest thing in life:  The human being.”

” We were always numerically inferior. Always being challenged.  There isn’t another country in the world that has faced such challenges.”

Of Jews and Israel, Peres said, “We were born to seek peace. The Ten Commandments  remain our guide after 3500 years.  We don’t exist to threaten or to rule other people.  We are here for Tikkun Olamto create a better world for all.”

“The DNA of our nation became invention and technology.  25% of Nobel laureates are Jewish. This is a gift to the world.”

“Another gift of the Jewish People is dissatisfaction.  We’re never satisfied,” the President proclaimed to great laughter. “So we strive for more.  To do better. To aim higher.”

Huge crowd greets President Shimon Peres in Montreal

Huge crowd greets President Shimon Peres in Montreal

In 2012, at 88 years of age Shimon Peres remained unrelenting in the pursuit of peace. His speech was historic and illuminating. (Watch the entire speech on Federation CJA’s website).

And now, regretfully, he has indeed entered the Gates of Heaven. May the name of President Shimon Peres forever be a blessing.

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CSL encourages residents to support bomb shelter in sister city, Ashkelon

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Ashkelon_Mobile_Shelter_EN_201408

Click this link: https://www.federationcja.org/en/ashkelon/

 

PM Harper tells Israel: ‘Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you’

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If you missed this incredible speech by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the Israeli Knesset last week you can watch his speech here or read the text.

It was a momentous occasion to be sure and the most powerful connection delivered between Canada and Israel in memory. I felt great pride in my Prime  Minister and my country for taking a principled and unequivocal position.

At the same time, Canada supports Israel’s yearning for peace with its neighbours and recognition of its Jewish character. This is the ultimate goal: to live in peace and security without fear of terror and war. Let’s hope that this moment arrives soon.

Meanwhile, this is my opportunity to express great appreciation to PM Harper. Thank you for your conviction, your courage and your clarity.

Larry Nachshen honoured at Maimonides annual general meeting

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Glenn J. Nashen and Larry Nachshen at the Maimonides Geriatric Centre annual general meeting

Glenn J. Nashen and Larry Nachshen at the Maimonides Geriatric Centre annual general meeting

The annual meeting of the Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre took place last week amid fanfare and praise for outstanding volunteers, leadership and members of staff. Among those singled out for special recognition is my cousin Larry Nachshen.

Larry’s involvement at Maimonides began about 15 years ago when my great uncle Jack (Larry’s father) was a resident at the centre. Thus began not only a solid relationship between Larry and the centre itself, but Larry’s unswerving dedication and leadership within the greater Jewish community.

Not only did Larry chair the Maimonides foundation and centre board, but he also presided over the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, Federation CJA’s overseas committee linking the Montreal Jewish Community with Beersheva and now as a member of the World Board of Directors of Ben Gurion University of the Negev.

Larry Nachshen

Larry Nachshen

 

When people in Montreal’s Jewish community speak of Larry, even though they know that he is a successful businessman, they inevitably mention that he is a man dedicated to his community and is a mentsch, an outstanding human being who personifies and puts into action the Jewish precept of Tikkun Olam-Fixing the World.

Larry has visited Israel many times over the last dozen years beginning with his first visit at the age of 66.  Each trip has enabled him to forge stronger bonds with the people and with the state’s economic development. He participated on the March of the Living. The sadness of Auschwitz-Birkenau followed by the vibrancy and spirit of “Eretz Yisrael” left a profound impression upon Larry and a deep love for Israel.

Last November, at the onset of the Gaza missile barrage, Larry went to Israel on an Israel Overseas Committee Mission to Beersheva. Larry visited community schools, a local kibbutz and witnessed children forced to seek the safety of a bomb shelter. While en route to attend a meeting at BGU President Rivka Carmi’s office, a siren went off.

“We calmly got out of the van, went inside the gym, heard two rockets shrieking their way from Gaza. One landed in a field, the other was taken out by The Iron Dome”, Larry recalled.

Larry was struck not only by how the community came together to safeguard its citizens but also by the activism of Ben-Gurion University student volunteers. During this week, BGU had to send all of its faculty and students home as it was forced to close.

Larry Nachshen and Barbara Gold cut the centennial cake of the Maimonides Geriatric Centre

Larry Nachshen and Barbara Gold cut the centennial cake of the Maimonides Geriatric Centre

Despite the danger, more than 600 students left the safety of their homes in the north and returned to Beersheva to help the population during this crisis. They comforted children and the elderly, scrambled from shelter to shelter bringing toys, games and much needed comfort and solace.

This experience gave Larry another “Mission” – to raise funds for Ben-Gurion University’s “Crisis Intervention Project”. Born in crisis with a universal application, this program not only prepares BGU students to work in Beersheva and the surrounding areas but is also a template to be used in crisis situations around the world.

Maimonides Foundation Director Karen Flam, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, Mayor Anthony Housefather along with Maimonides Foundation President Larry Nachshen and Executive Director Barabara Gold

Maimonides Foundation Director Karen Flam, Councillor Glenn J. Nashen, Mayor Anthony Housefather along with Maimonides Foundation President Larry Nachshen and Executive Director Barbara Gold

Larry has been happily married to Margaret for forty-five years and is the loving Father of Mark and Jennifer and proud grandfather of Finn, Sophie and Olivia.

Margaret and Larry Nachshen

Margaret and Larry Nachshen

CSL Mayor Anthony Housefather competing in Jewish Olympics

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Mayor Anthony Housefather competing in the Maccabiah Games in Jerusalem this week, swimming in the 200M Freestyle

Mayor Anthony Housefather competing in the Maccabiah Games in Natanya, Israel, this week, swimming here in the 200 meter Freestyle

Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather has been competing for the Canadian team this week in the Maccabiah Games in Israel. The Maccabiah (Hebrew: מַכַּבִּיָּה‎) is an international Jewish athletic event, held in Israel every four years. Maccabiah is open to Jewish athletes as well as Israeli athletes regardless of religion. Arab Israelis have also competed in it.

So far, Housefather has won three medals. He finished third in 200 meter Freestyle , second in the 100 meter Fly and his relay team finished third.

Housefather races again today in the 400 meter Freestyle, the 50 meter Fly, another Relay and the 50 meter Back.

He ends off the competition on Sunday with an open water swim.

One of the many messages of encouragement to the mayor was from CSL Recreation veteran Harold Cammy: “On your last day of competition just remember these words I once heard from a wise man, “‘Don’t believe you have to be better than everybody else. Just believe you have to be better than you thought you could ever be.”‘

Good luck Anthony! Cote Saint-Luc is cheering for you! B’Hatzlacha!

Mayor Anthony Housefather

Mayor Anthony Housefather

Israel’s 65th Day of Independence

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Hatikvah

Montreal’s Israel Day Rally takes place this morning.  Click for full details and info on free transportation.

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