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


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.


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

JPPS opens its doors

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jpps open house

Lest we forget

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Recognizing our heroes.  Honouring their courage. Never forgetting their sacrifice.

This was the theme of last Thursday’s annual Remembrance Day commemoration in Hampstead.  I enjoy attending this event each year because of the large turnout of school children from the community and experiencing the moment and the memories together with them.

Longtime Hampstead Public Security officer Mike Fitzgerald was the master of ceremonies.  Once again, Fitzgerald demonstrated his unique skills at blasting out commands to the soldiers assembled there from the Royal Montreal Regiment.

Councillors Glenn J. Nashen (2nd from left) and Ruth Kovac (4th from right) join Hampstead Town Council, Police Commander Bissonnette, members of the Royal Canadian Legion and the Royal Montreal Regiment

With beautiful words of welcome to the children, Mayor William Steinberg, handed the program over to the students from Hampstead School, Solomon Schecter Academy, JPPS, Ecole de la Mosaique (on Guelph in CSL) and Ecole des Amies du Monde (on Mackle Road).  With great inspiration and enthusiasm, the kids recited poems and sang songs of remembrance.

Councillor Ruth Kovac and I were invited to deposit a wreath on behalf of the City of Cote Saint-Luc.

Councillors Glenn J. Nashen and Ruth Kovac, accompanied by Hampstead Town Manager Richard Sun, representing the Royal Canadian Legion, deposit a wreath

The mood was solemn, the air crisp and silence prevailed at just the right moments, not an easy task for a couple hundred school kids.  It was a splendid opportunity to pass on the tradition of honouring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Kudos to the Town of Hampstead, Mayor Steinberg and Members of Council along with organizer Chandra Devenyi, Interim Supervising Manager, for a wonderful and dignified event.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Read more:

Mike Cohen’s recap of Remembrance Day ceremonies in Cote Saint-Luc

JPPS’ Rita Guindi, Winner of the Nachum Wilchesky Memorial

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JPPS’ Rita Guindi, Winner of the Nachum Wilchesky Memorial Educational Leadership Award


Rita Guindi


Côte Saint-Luc resident and JPPS teacher extraordinaire Rita Guindi was selected as this year’s recipient of the Nachum Wilchesky Memorial Educational Leadership Award at last weeks JPPS-Bialik Annual General Meeting.

A French teacher at JPPS for more than 40 years, Madame Guindi received this prestigious award in the name of one of the school’s most revered leaders initiated in recognition of his 60 plus years devoted to the pursuit of excellence in Jewish education. As a testament to the fact that Mme Guindi has been active in the community as well, she also recently received from Federation CJA the General Campaign Special Achievement Award to add to the many already received, including the Médaille du Rayonnement de la Culture Française, awarded by the French government for enhancing the culture and teaching of the French language. Most notably, Mme Guindi co-authored the French grammar book Voulez-vous apprendre le français ?, and she was also on the Board of the Fondation de la tolérance and President of the Federation CJA’s Sépharade Campaign in addition to being a long-standing coordinator of JPPS’ French Department.

Adina Matas, Principal and Educational Director of JPPS, said, “Rita’s passion and enthusiasm for teaching makes learning in her classroom a unique experience. She always goes the extra mile for her students, colleagues, parents or any person in distress. She always has a way of connecting with students and is never judgmental.”

On a personal note I’m proud to say that I was among Rita’s first students 40 years ago at Jewish Peretz School on Wavell Road in Cote Saint-Luc, prior to the merger forming JPPS. As a student teacher, Rita was progressive in her teachings and interactions with her students and loved by all.  Learning French was far from an effort for Rita’s students, with music, drama and story’s forming a part of the fun learning environment.

I hope that my children will be lucky enough to benefit from Rita’s radiant and inspiring personality as their teacher, just as I did so many years ago.

I’m sure my classmates from long ago on Wavell join me in wishing Rita Guindi a hearty Mazal Tov, felicitations et Chapeau! (If you guys are reading this please click on comment and leave your own wishes for Rita).  Rita stands out as my favourite teacher!  I wish her many more years of success in her teachings at JPPS.

Jewish day school systems scrap merger plan

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Jewish day school systems scrap merger plan.(Montreal Gazette, Nov, 11, 2011)

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