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!

What are the essential steps in preconception planning?

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The decision to have a baby is certainly an important one. But even before conceiving a child, there are things to do and others to avoid for an easy pregnancy.

To learn more about what is known as preconception planning, Barry Morgan welcomed Dr. Judy Hagshi, a family doctor specializing in low-risks obstetrics at the Jewish General Hospital.

Most of my readers will know that Dr. Judy Hagshi is my wonderful wife so I am particularly proud to share this episode of the YOUR HEALTH podcast on my blog. Please share it with whomever can benefit from this vital information.

And if this topic doesn’t meet your own needs why not tune in to any of the other subjects, expertly hosted by the talented media specialists, Carl Theriault and Barry Morgan?

YOUR HEALTH is produced by my superb team in Communications and Media Relations at the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal and can be found on Google Play or Apple Podcasts as well as on Soundcloud and also on this page in English and this one for French episodes.

Traditional Mimouna celebrated in CSL

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Mimouna is a three century old North African Jewish celebration held the day after Passover, marking the return to eating chametz (leavened foods), which are forbidden throughout the week of Passover.

The celebration begins after nightfall on the last day of Passover. In many communities, non-Jewish neighbours sell chametz back to Jewish families as a beginning of the celebration. Moroccan and Algerian Jews throw open their homes to visitors, after setting out a lavish spread of traditional holiday cakes and sweetmeats. One of the holiday favorites is Mofletta. The table is also laid with various symbols of luck and fertility, with an emphasis on the number “5,” such as five pieces of gold jewelry or five beans arranged on a leaf of pastry. The repetition of the number five references the five-fingered hamsa amulet common in both Jewish and Muslim North African and Middle Eastern communities from pre-modern times. Typically all those in attendance at a Mimouna celebration are sprinkled with a mint sprig or other green dipped in milk, symbolizing good fortune and new beginnings.

The tradition continued in homes across Cote Saint-Luc on Saturday night and for the first time at JPPS-Bialik, on Sunday afternoon.

Anat and Michel Toledano welcome the Nashens and Anzaruts for Mimouna

Our night out began after 10:00PM at the home of Anat Marciano and Michel Toledano. They welcomed my family into their home with open arms, along with our friends, Alissa and Phil Anzarut.

It is customary to spend a little time visiting the host family’s home before moving on to other homes. After a beautiful spread at the Toledano’s, including Moroccan pastries, Mofletta, coucous, cheeses, fruit, smoked salmon, wine and Arak derived from figs (oy vey, it was potent) it was time to move on for the next late night visit. Thank you very much Anat and Michel.

Our family traveled down the block to the warm and inviting home of Chantal Bekhor and Emmanuel Castiel. There was an endless stream of well-wishers who kept arriving. Strangers and friends alike mingled, easily offering greetings of ‘Tarbakh’, May you have good luck.

Emmanuel Castiel and Chantal Bekhor

Chantal Bekhor is one famous Cote Saint-Lucer after competing for Top Prize in the cookie category on Food Network Canada‘s Recipe to Riches.

Bekhor, is a food sensation, who first introduced Canada to her family’s traditional recipe for the Mahbooz Date Biscuit, a typical Iraqi Jewish dessert.  She was featured by the Montreal Gazette as well.

Chantal Bekhor, the most famous baker in Cote Saint-Luc

The former JPPS English and math teacher is a dynamic and affable hostess along with her business partner and husband Emanuel Castiel. They opened their home to hundreds of friends during the Mimouna to some incredible pastries, cakes, chocolate bark, truffles, Iraqi delights, and more, all home made of course. While the  judges on Recipe to Riches said they loved the Mahbooz treat, calling it, “Exotic, versatile, ” I can attest to the fact that her baking is even so much more.

A gathering of friends (and politicians) at the Bekhor-Castiel Mimouna

My wife is a big fan of Chantal’s food. Indeed my girls and Judy cheered Chantal on a few years back on her television debut, not just because of my wife’s common Sephardi roots, but because the Mahbooz date-filled cookie looked absolutely delicious and a treat that would be appreciated by a large number of Cote Saint-Lucers to be sure, as well as Canadians in general.

A peak at Chantal’s scrumptious Mimouna table

Thank you Chantal and Emmanuel for such generous hospitality and for an absolutely delicious assortment of treats. My sugar level and calorie intake reached an all time, one night high.

By Sunday afternoon when sugar levels stabilized it was time to continue the celebration over at JPPS-Bialik, the first time this Sephardic celebration took place at the school. The gym was decorated in Moroccan fashion, drummers and musicians greeted the guests as they entered and long tables of sweets, pastries and mofletta lined the room.

The hostesses, under the direction of Judaic studies coordinator, Anat Toledano (clearly she’s a Mimouna-specialist!) all decked out in bright and shiny traditional kaftans should be very proud of bringing the festive Sephardic tunes and tastes to what has traditionally been a typical Ashkenazi school. With a large number of the families blended in both traditions, and even fully Sephardi, it was time to share this wonderful event all together.

Sephardic community (CSUQ) president Henri Elbaz was invited to participate as well. Thanks to Henri’s support the event exceeded expectations and attendance. Students, parents and grandparents were entertained, fed and danced for two hours. It was an absolutely lovely event that should grow larger next year. Thank you Anat, Joanne, Judy, Carole, Beth and all the moms involved in this event.

I wish you all Tarbakh, success and good luck.  And now, my treadmill awaits!

Watch and share: Here’s what they’re saying | Regardez et partagez: Voici ce qu’ils disent

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Watch and share: What do Dr. Mitch Shulman (CJAD and MUHC), fmr. Quebec Minister of Revenue Lawrence Bergman and Dr. Marc Afilalo (JGH) have to say about the Cote Saint-Luc elections?

 

Regardez et partagez: Le Dr Mitch Shulman (CJAD et CUSM), ancien ministre du Revenu du Québec, Lawrence Bergman, et le Dr Marc Afilalo (HGJ) se prononcent sur les élections à Côte Saint-Luc. Écoutez ce qu’ils ont à dire.

 

More comments by residents.

Mimouna night in CSL

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Joe and Dolly Gabbay open their Cote Saint-Luc home, and sweet table, to friends and neighbours to celebrate the Minouna, April 18, 2017

Mimouna is a three century old North African Jewish celebration held the day after Passover, marking the return to eating chametz (leavened foods), which are forbidden throughout the week of Passover.

The celebration begins after nightfall on the last day of Passover. In many communities, non-Jewish neighbours sell chametz back to Jewish families as a beginning of the celebration. Moroccan and Algerian Jews throw open their homes to visitors, after setting out a lavish spread of traditional holiday cakes and sweetmeats. One of the holiday favorites is Mofletta. The table is also laid with various symbols of luck and fertility, with an emphasis on the number “5,” such as five pieces of gold jewelry or five beans arranged on a leaf of pastry. The repetition of the number five references the five-fingered hamsa amulet common in both Jewish and Muslim North African and Middle Eastern communities from pre-modern times. Typically all those in attendance at a Mimouna celebration are sprinkled with a mint sprig or other green dipped in milk, symbolizing good fortune and new beginnings.

And such was the case in many homes across Cote Saint-Luc on Tuesday night. Our night out began after 10:00PM at the home of Joe and Dolly Gabbay. They welcomed my wife, Judy, and me, with open arms, along with our friends, Mayor Mitchell and Elaine Brownstein, MP Anthony Housefather and Councillor Sidney Benizri.

Joe explained that a whole fish is traditionally placed on the table to symbolize fertility and good fortune while many of the sweet pastries were prepared well before the Passover holiday, frozen and symbolically sold, as not to posses chametz during the holiday.

It wasn’t long before the Gabbay home was filled with people including our D’Arcy McGee MNA, David Birnbaum as well former MNAs from the same riding, Lawrence Bergman and Judge Herbert Marx. Israeli Consul General Ziv Nevo Kulman was also in attendance.

Mitchell Brownstein, Lawrence Bergman, David Bergman, Herbert Marx and Glenn J. Nashen (Apr. 18, 2017)

It is customary to spend a little time visiting the host family’s home before moving on to other homes. After a beautiful spread at the Gabbay home, including Moroccan pastries, Mofletta, coucous, cheeses, fruit and smoked salmon, wine and spirits it was time to move on for the next late night visit.

A wonderful welcome and magnificent display in the Gabbay dining room. Many thanks to Joe and Dolly for their warm hospitality.

Our group of friends traveled down the block to the beautiful home of Lison Benarroch  who greeted us in traditional attire to a lavish presentation. The renowned business woman transformed her dining room into an opulent display of North African inspired sweets, nuts, candies and fruit. As if that weren’t enough there was sushi, lox, wonderful cheeses of all sorts and fresh baked loaves of bread.

Judy Hagshi, Lison Benarroch and Elaine Brownstein

There was an endless stream of well-wishers who kept arriving to Lison’s lovely home. Strangers and friends alike mingled easily offering greetings of Tarbukh, May you have good luck.

The generous array of fruits, nuts and sweets at the Benarroch home for Mimouna

 

Even the sushi adorned the Mimouna display at Lison Benarroch’s gorgeous home

 

A whole fish on green leaves, symbolizing fertility and prosperity at the Benarroch home

As we were heading out yet another former politician walked in, none other than Former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and MP for Mount Royal Irwin Cotler and his wife Ariella.

Former and current Members of Parliament for Mount Royal, Irwin Cotler and Anthony Housefather, along with Ariella Cotler

 

Chantal Bekhor is one famous Cote Saint-Lucer after competing for Top Prize in the cookie category on Food Network Canada‘s Recipe to Riches.

Bekhor, is a food sensation, who first introduced Canada to her family’s traditional recipe for the Mahbooz Date Biscuit, a typical Iraqi Jewish dessert.  She was featured by the Montreal Gazette as well.

Chantal Bekhor, the most famous baker in Cote Saint-Luc

The former JPPS English and math teacher is a dynamic and affable hostess along with her business partner and husband Emanuel Castiel. They opened their home to hundreds of friends during the Mimouna to some incredible pastries, cakes, chocolate bark, truffles, Iraqi delights, and more, all home made of course. While the  judges on Recipe to Riches said they loved the Mahbooz treat, calling it, “Exotic, versatile, ” I can attest to the fact that her baking is even so much more.

Judy Hagshi, Glenn J. Nashen, Anthony Housefather, Emanuel Castiel, Chantal Bekhor, Mitchell and Elaine Brownstein among the friends and family at the Mimouna celebration in the Bekhor-Castiel home

My wife is a big fan of Chantal’s food. Indeed my girls and Judy cheered Chantal on a few years back on her television debut, not just because of my wife’s common Sephardi roots, but because the Mahbooz date-filled cookie looked absolutely delicious and a treat that would be appreciated by a large number of Cote Saint-Lucers to be sure, as well as Canadians in general.

Thank you Chantal and Emanuel for such generous hospitality and for an absolutely delicious assortment of treats. My sugar level and calorie intake reached an all time one night high but I’ll worry about that tomorrow. Tonight I am so pleased to have been reacquainted with such friendly and welcoming Cote Saint-Lucers such as the Gabbays, Benarrochs and Bekhor-Castiels.

On behalf of my family and my great friends Mitchell and Elaine Brownstein, Anthony Housefather and Sidney Benizri, thank you so much for your hospitality, and sharing your Mimouna with us. We are blessed to live in such an amazing community in Cote Saint-Luc – a vibrant, rich and caring community, a wonderful multicultural family.

I wish you all Tarbukh, success and good luck.  And now, my treadmill awaits!

 

Canadian Icon Speaks Up about Mental Health

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Romeo Dallaire demystifies full house in Cote Saint-Luc

Guest contribution by: Dr. Judy Hagshi

Cllr. Allan J. Levine, General Romeo Dallaire, Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein

Cllr. Allan J. Levine, General Romeo Dallaire, Cllr. Glenn J. Nashen, Mayor Mitchell Brownstein at Dallaire’s lecture in Cote Saint-Luc on Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016

It is humbling to listen to an accomplished and heroic figure talk about his vulnerabilities and demons. Today I had the fruition to hear Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire speak about his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following his experiences during the  Rwanda genocide. He described the moment he first realized that he was not “nuts” but rather was suffering from a disease as real as diabetes or hepatitis. Mr. Dallaire talked about the prosthesis that people with disabilities must use in order to get through each day and how this can apply to those with mental health issues just as legitimately as it can apply to those with physical health issues.

2016-12-03-romeo-dallaire-csl-library

While Mr. Dallaire’s actions in combat and accomplishments off the battlefield cannot be underscored, I was struck with a more mundane and provincial generalization of his pain: People all around us struggle with challenges and mental health disorders everyday. We as a society must be more accepting and understanding of people who are different and “weird” and not pre-judge any behaviour that does not meet specific outdated norms. We should not shame or belittle them because we do not know what invisible scars may be festering inside them.

The talk closed with a discussion about moving away from partisan politics to a more receptive and inclusive political system. With the upcoming 150th Birthday of Canada and the 100th Anniversary of the Battle at Vimy Ridge (which Lieutenant-General Dallaire described as the “coming of age of our democracy”) both taking place in 2017, he was hopeful that young people with their ideals and ideas would get move involved in government relations. He urged the “under 30” crowd to go out and vote because they are a demographic large enough to sway society and policy. They are also a demographic less swayed by the status quo and more likely to effectively challenge it.

Anne Lagacé Dowson & General Romeo Dallaire in conversation at CSL Public Library on Dec. 3, 2016

Anne Lagacé Dowson does a spectacular job conversing with General Romeo Dallaire at CSL Public Library on Dec. 3, 2016

 

 

Dr. Judy Hagshi is a Family Doctor specializing in perinatal care and pre-surgical screening. She graduated from The University of Toronto Medical School in 1996 followed by a residency in Family Medicine at McGill University. Dr. Hagshi is a faculty lecturer in the Department of Family Medicine and an attending physician at The Jewish General Hospital. She is married to Councillor Glenn J. Nashen and she has three children.

A Short Walk to Knowledge

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Guest contributor: Judy Hagshi

Judy_Hagshi_2009

 

 

 

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!!!

Guest voice: A special blessing for our new government

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By Dr. Judy Hagshi

Yesterday I had the distinct honour of reciting the Prayer for the Government of Canada at Shabbat services at Shaare Zion. Although Glenn and I do not attend services regularly, it was a very fitting way to end off a very exciting week in our lives.

 

Monday marked the election of a new Canadian government and, in my opinion, ushers in a country-wide excitement and optimism about our new parliament.

 

Glenn J. Nashen and Judy Hagshi greeting new MP Anthony Housefather

Glenn J. Nashen and Judy Hagshi greeting new MP Anthony Housefather

 

On a more personal note, our good friend Anthony Housefather was elected as the Member of Parliament for Mount Royal and we are lucky, as a community, to have him as one of our leaders.

 

On an even more personal note, as a result of Anthony’s “promotion”, my husband Glenn J. Nashen has also been promoted to Acting Mayor of Cote Saint-Luc.

 

Our family is not unaccustomed to the inner workings of an election given that we have been involved on several occasions before, mostly municipal. True to our values, our entire household was involved in this federal election as all three children either went door-to-door or made phone calls or distributed flyers. A significant goal was achieved by reinforcing community involvement and accountability in these future leaders.

 

Which brings me back to the Shabbat service. While I do not speak publicly nearly as often as my husband, I am not particularly shy to do so. Once I was given the cue from the usher, I ascended to the bimah and carefully enunciated the following prayer:

 

Our God and God of our ancestors: We ask Your blessings for our country Canada, for its government, for its leaders and advisors, and for all who exercise just and rightful authority. Teach them insights from Your Torah, that they may administer all affairs of state fairly, that peace and security, happiness and prosperity, justice and freedom may forever abide in our midst.

Bless all the inhabitants of our country. May citizens of all races and creeds forge a common bond in true harmony, to banish hatred and bigotry, and to safeguard the ideals and free institutions that are the pride and glory of our country.

May this land, under your providence, be an influence for good throughout the world, uniting all people in peace and freedom—‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they experience war any more’. And let us say: Amen.

Although I have heard this prayer many times before, it took on a greater significance for me yesterday. I truly hope that these new governments, both federal and municipal, will “safeguard the ideals and free institutions that are the pride and glory of our country”. Ultimately, I hope that my children will grow up in a land, “Uniting all people in peace and freedom”.

Duo performance at CSL Men’ Club

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Mark Cotler, Dr. Judy Hagshi, Glenn J. Nashen, Sidney Margles

Mark Cotler, Dr. Judy Hagshi, Glenn J. Nashen, Sidney Margles

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with the Cote Saint-Luc Men’s Club at their weekly Thursday morning meeting.  Being a very cold January morning I figured most members would be away in Florida and I’d speak to a small group of a couple of dozen members. I should have known better than to underestimate the resolve of this group of dedicated and proud members of civic-minded and active seniors and its uber-determined president Sidney Margles. Almost 150 people showed up that morning!

I was asked to speak about the Jewish General Hospital’s position on Bill 60, the so-called Charter of Quebec Values. Being one of the key authors of this major position paper, and official spokesperson for the hospital, I was very pleased to inform the membership about the position taken by the JGH Board of Directors and its newly appointed Executive Director, Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg. After all, this is an establishment that this group supports fiercely, as volunteers, contributors, users and so on.

The energy and pride in the room was palpable as I told them that the JGH would remain true to its founding principles of being an institution providing “Care for all.” Under no circumstances would the hospital trade away its values and ethics set in place 80 years ago in being an institution that welcomes all people regardless of faith, language, religion, etc…  The JGH stands firmly opposed to the draft legislation that would erode basic freedoms as guaranteed in the Quebec, Canadian and Universal charters protecting minority rights and freedoms.

I also offered a brief photo tour of the soon to be opened, brand new state-of-the-art Emergency Department in Pavilion K at the JGH.

Then it was time for me to introduce the real keynote speaker, my better half, Dr. Judy Hagshi. Dr. Hagshi spoke about how to prepare for a doctor’s visit so that the interaction is as effective as possible.  Taking notes and sticking to just one or two issues per visit are key she emphasized.  She also highlighted the importance of having an accurate written account of your medical history and medication list to present when meeting a new doctor or in an emergency situation.  The conclusion was a reminder to everyone that the best defence against getting sick is still getting a flu shot and washing your hands.

Mazal tov to the newest CSL couple

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Welcoming the Chassan Yankel and the Kallah Mushkee

Welcoming the Chassan Yankel and the Kallah Mushkee

A special celebration took place in Cote Saint-Luc on Monday night celebrating the wedding of Yankel Raskin of Cote Saint-Luc to Mushkee Wilhelm of New York City.

While the traditional wedding took place last week in the hometown of the bride, Rabbi Mendel and Sarah Raskin decided that since the Cote Saint-Luc community is their family that the the Simcha would continue here.

Sheva Brachot (“Seven Blessings”) are special Jewish wedding blessings.

Sheva Brachot are recited for the bride and the groom under the Chuppah during the Jewish Wedding ceremony. There is a tradition to throw dinner parties for the new couple each night during the week following the wedding. At the end of each of these meals, Sheva Brachot are recited.

The source of this custom of a week of festive dinners is the week that followed Jacob and Leah’s wedding (Gen 29:27). This community-wide celebration with the new couple contrasts greatly with the modern Western custom of the honeymoon.

Sheva Brachot are recited over a cup of wine, and usually the seven blessings are divided among honored guests. The cup of wine is passed around the table to the person reciting each blessing.

Yankel and Mushkee Raskin were welcomed at a lavish reception at the sprawling Hechal Menachem Chabad Cote Saint-Luc Congregation on Kildare Road. The grand Chagall Ballroom was festooned with a sumptuous buffet, wildly joyous music and hundreds of well wishers from the community. The new couple was welcomed in and simultaneous Horas broke out on the men’s side and women’s side of the ballroom to thunderous and joyful Klezmer music.

Rabbi Raskin introduced Mayor Anthony Housefather to welcome the bride and groom as well as the community. The Mayor wished the couple well and expressed, on behalf of the council, hopes for a long and healthy life together. Although Yankel and Mushkee will be returning to New York City for training at the World Chabad Centre the Mayor welcomed them to return and establish themselves in Cote Saint-Luc.

L-R: Dr. Judy Hagshi, proud mother Sarah Raskin, Mushkee and Yankel Raskin, beaming Rabbi Mendel Raskin, Mayor Anthony Housefather, Councillor Mitchell Brownstein and Glenn J. Nashen

L-R: Dr. Judy Hagshi, proud mother Sarah Raskin, Mushkee and Yankel Raskin, beaming Rabbi Mendel Raskin, Mayor Anthony Housefather, Councillor Mitchell Brownstein and Glenn J. Nashen. (Also present: Cllr. Allan Levine)

Mayor Housefather was joined by Councillors Mitchell Brownstein, Glenn J. Nashen (and wife Dr. Judy Hagshi) and Allan Levine. The Mayor and Councillors danced the festive Hora with the Rabbi and his son along with invited guests and raised a glass in honour of the new couple and their Simcha.

The Rabbi and his wife extended wishes to the community for a “K’tiva Vachatima Tova L’shana Tova U’metukah”, for a Happy and Healthy and Sweet New Year and for all to be inscribed in the Book of Life.

 

JPPS and the JEM Workshop: Making Purim Count Just a Little More

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JPPS and the JEM Workshop: Making Purim Count Just a Little More

Montreal, January 26, 2010 —The mutual giving of food and drink in baskets called mishloach manot is a time-honoured Purim tradition. Celebrating Purim is simply incomplete without nashing on a hamentashen, or two, or three. But imagine having the power to satisfy someone’s sweet tooth while simultaneously supporting the vital work that the JEM Workshop does in the community. The year 2010 will mark the fourth consecutive year that JPPS and the JEM Workshop will have collaborated on a project that not only yields tangible proceeds that directly support both organizations, but perhaps more importantly, also sensitizes our young generation to intellectually handicapped members of our community.

“This initiative is an incredible win-win situation for everyone involved. Little wonder why it’s been so successful in previous years,” explained project coordinator Dr. Judy Hagshi. “With the fundraising side being so productive, it’s sometimes easy to lose sight of the cooperation that takes place between the students and the workers. To me, that’s the most wonderful part of the program.”

For the past 55 years, the JEM workshop (Formerly the JVS Jewish Workshop) has been a special resource for the Montreal Jewish community. Currently employing 84 intellectually handicapped adults living with a wide range of challenges, they provide their employees with the opportunity to earn a fair wage and to gain the genuine sense of accomplishment associated with a hard day’s work. The fully appointed kosher and peanut-free Purim basket, selling for just ten dollars and containing hamentashen, a chocolate bar, a bottle of grape juice, a Purim mask, and a grager (noisemaker), is but one of the many items that are assembled at the workshop. JPPS Grade 4 classes will be visiting the workshop throughout the week of January 25 to make the baskets.

To purchase one for yourself, inquire at your synagogue or school office. Baskets are also available through the workshop directly by calling 514-735-4217.

To watch the CTV News report click here and then on the CTV News video player.

Article in JPPS newsletter

Une communauté unifiée

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Le conseiller Glenn J. Nashen avc M. Momie Bouzaglou, Président de la Congrégation Or Hahayim

Le conseiller Glenn J. Nashen avec M. Momie Bouzaglou, Président de la Congrégation Or Hahayim

You never know who you’ll meet going door to door.  This week I bumped into Congregation Or Hahayim President and Parkhaven resident Momie Bouzaglou.  Momie and I discussed the future of our community.  I expressed my vision of seeing the Jewish community unite without distinction.

Ma famille est un exemple de ma vision d’une communauté unie – une magnifique et merveilleuse combinaison des cultures  – je suis la partie ashkénaze et mon épouse, le Dre. Judy Hagshi, est sépharades.  Nos enfants sont un mélange extraordinaire – les lignes qui divisent sont flous et nous avons évolué vers une seule communauté telle que cela doit être.  Ca c’est l’avenir de notre communauté.

Le soutien que j’ai reçu de nombreux dirigeants communautaires est encourageant et ils comprennent:

  • David Bensousan, Ancien président, CSUQ
  • Genevieve Busbib, Présidente, Ecole Maimonide
  • Jean Alloul
  • Joseph Ziri, Ancien président, Or Hahayim
  • Le rabbin Raphael Afilalo
  • Le Dr. Marc Afilalo
  • M. Henri Elbaz, qui m’a recruter a travailler avec lui à l’Hôpital général juif
  • Rita Guindi
  • Betty Elkaim
  • Roger Elmoznino
  • Et mon ami de longue date Sidney Benizri

Nous sommes une communauté riche de sa diversité. Continuons à travailler ensemble pour bâtir et renforcer notre communauté pour un avenir brillant pour nos enfants.  Ceci est mon engagement envers vous. Une communauté forte et solide.

 

Glenn J. Nashen et Henri Elbaz à l’Hôpital général juif

Glenn J. Nashen et Henri Elbaz à l’Hôpital général juif

 

 

Le conseiller Glenn J. Nashen avec résidants de l'Avenue Melling Victoria et Roger Elmoznino

Le conseiller Glenn J. Nashen avec résidants de l'Avenue Melling Victoria et Roger Elmoznino

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“Glenn J. Nashen, conseiller du district 6, est tout compte fait un gars assez incroyable. Il travaille fort et gère ses fonctions municipales admirablement après de longues journées de travail dans ses fonctions de directeur des communications à l’Hôpital général juif. C’est un bénévole de longue date des premiers répondants des SMU, ayant fait parti de l’organisme au temps où il était connu sous le nom OMU. Et, il fait un travail remarquable avec son portefeuille de la protection civile pour la ville. Il est également marié à un médecin que je connais et admire, Judy Hagshi, ensemble ils ont une belle et jeune famille. ”

Bram Eisenthal, chroniqueur, The Monitor, 21 octobre 2009

Judy Hagshi wins prestigious community award

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Congratulations to Cote Saint-Luc family doctor, Judy Hagshi, who received  the 2009 Plotnick Young Leadership Award at the Annual General Meeting of Federation CJA this evening.

Judy is a tireless and committed volunteer at Combined Jewish Appeal and the JEM Workshop.  For 7 years she has played a leadership role in stewarding the CJA Health & Academia division: event planning, outreach to new workers, canvassing and telethons.  Last year Judy served as CJA Super Sunday Co-chair.  She has also volunteered as a member of the Montreal Jewish Federation’s Israel & Overseas steering committee.  

 

Judy FCJA award Sep 24 2009 009

Judy receives the Plotnick award at Federation CJA

Judy’s pride and joy is reserved for the JEM Workshop where, for the last four years, she has single-handedly and successfully spearheaded a significant and innovative fund-raising and awareness program at the workshop .  The workshop is an organization that employs physically, emotionally and mentally challenged members of the Jewish community. It allows these employees to lead productive, meaningful, dignified and autonomous lives as respectable wage earners and community members.  

The “Mishloah Manot Purim Project” has raised much needed funds for the workshop and more importantly has welcomed hundreds of school children to witness first-hand the amazing work being done there. 

During her undergraduate degree Judy served as president of the Jewish Student Union at the University of Western Ontario.  She obtained her B.A. (Psych.) at Western and graduated from Medical School at the University of Toronto.  She completed her residency program at McGill University in the Herzl Family Practice Centre of the Jewish General Hospital where she has been affiliated for more than 10 years.  She also obtained a fellowship in Obstetrics.

Currently Judy practices at the JGH in the Department of Family Medicine, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Pre-Admissions department as well as in the Family Birthing Centre.  She recently completed two years service on the hospital’s Medical Executive Committee.

The life of a young physician and mother is already filled with challenges in schedules and time commitments.  Judy has done a superb job at mastering personal, professional and communal commitments and responsibilities and is an extraordinary role model to her three young children and colleagues alike.

I’m especially proud of Judy seeing as she is also my wife!  Congratulations Judy.

 

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Félicitations à Judy Hagshi, médecin de famille, qui a reçu le “Plotnick Young Leadership Award” lors de l’assemblée générale annuelle de la Fédération CJA, ce soir.

Judy est une bénévole dévouée et engagée à l’Appel juif unifié et l’Atelier JEM. Depuis 7 ans, elle a joué un rôle prépondérant dans la division de la santé CJA, la planification d’événements, de la sensibilisation aux nouveaux travailleurs, de prospection et téléthons. L’an dernier, Judy a servi comme co-président de CJA Super Sunday. Elle a également fait du bénévolat en tant que membre de comité d’Israël et outre-mer de la Fédération juive de Montréal.

Sa fierté et la joie est réservé à l’Atelier JEM où, pour les quatre dernières années, elle a dirigé avec grand succès un fonds importants et novateurs de sensibilisation. L’atelier est une organisation qui emploie membres de la communauté juive avec des dificultés physiquement, émotionnellement et psychologique. Il permet à ces employés de mener une vie productive, significative, digne et une vie autonome en tant que salariés et des membres respectables de la communauté.

Le projet “Mishloah Manot“ de Pourim a recueilli des fonds si nécessaires pour l’atelier et plus important encore a accueilli des centaines d’écoliers à témoin de première main le travail incroyable qui s’y fait.

Au cours de son diplôme de premier cycle Judy a servi comme président de l’Union des étudiants juifs à l’Université de Western Ontario. Elle a obtenu son B.A. (Psych.) à Western et est diplômé de l’École de médecine de l’Université de Toronto. Elle a complété son programme de résidence à l’Université McGill dans le Centre de médecine familiale Herzl de l’Hôpital général juif, où elle a été affilié pendant plus de 10 ans. Elle a également obtenu une diplome en obstétrique.

Actuellement Judy pratiques à l’HGJ au Département de médecine familiale, l’Unité de soins intensifs néonatals, la pré-admission ainsi que dans le Centre familial des naissances. Elle a récemment terminé deux années de service à l’hôpital sur le comité médical exécutif.

La vie d’un jeune médecin et d’une mère est déjà rempli de défis dans les horaires et les contraintes de temps. Judy a fait un travail superbe à la maîtrise des engagements personnels, professionnels et communautaires et des responsabilités et est un modèle extraordinaire de ses trois jeunes enfants et collègues.

Je suis particulièrement fier de Judy car elle est aussi ma femme! Félicitations Judy.

JEM Workshop Mishloach Manot Project in Applause by Susan Schwartz, The Gazette

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March 9, 2009

A joint fundraiser for Montreal Jewish day schools, daycare centres, the Auxiliary of the Jewish General Hospital and for the JEM Workshop, which employs people with physical, emotional and mental disabilities, had another benefit: It gave schoolchildren and workshop employees an opportunity to work together.

Grade 4 students at JPPS Elementary School and employees of the JEM
Workshop, which is part of Agence Ometz, a Montreal Jewish social-service agency, gathered at the workshop Feb. 23 and 24 and worked side by side, assembling 600 gift boxes together.

The gift boxes are distributed as part of the celebration of Purim, the
Jewish holiday, which begins tonight. They include hamentaschen, which are three-cornered pastries popular at Purim, plus chips and grape juice. According to Jewish law, one should give a gift of two different types of food at Purim, one of which is cooked or baked, to at least one person. But Jews who observe the practice, known in Hebrew as mishloach manot (or the sending of portions), tend to send these gifts to dozens of people, including friends, neighbours and relatives.

The boxes assembled by the children and the JEM Workshop employees were sold to several Jewish day schools, including JPPS, to daycare centres and to the Auxiliary of the Jewish General – and were in turn purchased for $10 by consumers as mishloach manot.

A bonus, said Judy Hagshi, who chaired the JEM Workshop Mishloach Manot Project, is that schoolchildren were sensitized to people with challenges and that the workshop employees enjoyed working with the children.

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Congratulations to Judy, an exceptional volunteer, mother, doctor, role model, and btw, my wife! For more information on the JEM Workshop click here.


Letters to the editor: Demerger is best

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