Looking back on a remarkable Remembrance Day ceremony

By Mike Cohen

As we prepare to close the book on the year 2019, allow us to look back to November an extraordinary Remembance Day ceremony held at the  Veteran’s Memorial Park, C # 19, Field of Honour, Baron de Hirsch Cemetery and coordinated once again by Larry Rosenthal.

Larry Rosenthal (far right) and members of the military.

Participants included Rabbi Asher Jacobson, Rabbi Reuben J. Poupko.  Lt. Col Alain Cohen,  Janice Rosen from the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives, Harvey Levine and Ya’acov Bauerof  B’nai Brith Canada, Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein,  Dorothy Zalcman from the Montreal Holocaust Museum, Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA President Rick Rubin,  Frederick Kisch Branch #97 President Allan J. Levine and Bugler,  Corporal  Justin Forte.

Bugler Justin Forte.

“I would like to express our sincere appreciation to the men  and women of our Canadian Armed Forces,” commented Rosenthal. “We recognize your strength of character. You are an inspiration to us. You keep us safe. We honour those who made the supreme sacrifice in the prime of their lives for democracy, freedom and justice. We need to do our share to assure that they did not die in vain. We need to pay homage…. performing acts of kindness in their names to perpetuate their memories. They fought and died for us.

“We remember those who served in  World War I, World War II  and the Korean War We also recognize the 158 warriors who lost their lives in Afghanistan. Purposely I try to stay away from the detail of the various military Campaign as the number of loses are staggering and difficult to cope with. For example, on D-Day, 14,000 Canadian troops went ashore. On that very day, 359 lost their lives. B the end of the Campaign there were more than 5,000 fatalities. That also meant there were 5,000 broken -hearted families left behind with shattered dreams, and many tars. We must do what they cannot. We must recognize …we must appreciate what they fought for and too many died for.”

Rosenthal then told the story of his brother, The late Gunner William Gunner Rosenthal OBM  who was killed in action on July 25,1943 “A young man wanted to stop fascism from coming to our shores he wanted to keep his family safe,” Rosenthal said. “Prior to his enlistment, he had worked for the Canadian Press. He had been an editor of the Fortnightly Review.He perished for his caus and he is buried near Mount Etna, Sicily not far from his last battle. He was 21 years young.”

Rosenthal wishes to advise everyone that the next  Erev Yom Tov Memorial Service will take place on Sunday, August 30, 10:30 am, at the same location.





Tubing event for Ellie White December 25 at Mont-Tremblant

By Alissa Anzarut

When the city shuts down on December 25, we know families are looking for something to do.  The Bialik  High School Foundation is organizing a fun family outdoor activity up-north to raise funds for Ellie White and to get the community together to play.  Join the Bialik community at Adventures Neiges for tubing and adventure at 11 am on Dec 25. Tickets are $30 for a two hour window. Tickets for Children aged  4 to 12 are $25.  Proceeds from the event will be donated to  the Ellie White campaign.

Ellie White underwent experimental treatment to combat Leukemia earlier this Fall in Columbus, Ohio as the hospital there was the only one to do this type of procedure. She had already undergone a bone marrow transplant in Montreal in February of 2019, but it did not work and her Leukemia came back on the first day of school this year. The family has asked for help to collect the $1,000,000 required to cover the cost of her treatment and we are all working hard to make sure the family gets there.

ORT Montreal Gala raises more than $1.3 million

By Alexandra Cohen

The 2019 ORT Montreal Ted Wise Gala for Jewish Education at Place des Arts was a massive success in more ways than one. More than 1,600 people were in attendance, helping to raise over $1.3 million for ORT’s schools in 35 countries across five continents.

Local Jewish day schools in Montreal that benefitted were: Akiva School, Azrieli Schools Talmud Torah/Herzliah, CBB Ottawa, Chabad NDG, École Maimonide, Hebrew Academy, Hebrew Foundation School, JPPS-Bialik, JPPS ONE, March of the Living Montreal, Solomon Schechter Academy  and the Yaldei Developmental Centre.

 ORT’s share was about $650,000 while the Jewish schools split about $750,000.

Lorne Wiseman  and his  wife Gale Yanofsky Wiseman (Howard Kay Photo)

I was thoroughly impressed with the entire evening, from the delicious cocktail dinatoire catered by Ray Petrovic’s ‘Blossom by La Plaza’ to the outstanding event in itself. Gala Co-Chairs Debra Margles and Lorne Wiseman worked with executive director Valerie Abitbol, administrative assistant Carolyn Joffe, and committee members Gary Alexander, Jill Chandler, Hymie Fichtenbaum, Larry Fisher, Stella Gelerman, Mayer Ghouddoussi, Barry Kotler, Marilyn Krelenbaum, Martin Lucht, Barry Pascal, Brian Pinchuk, Dr. Marvin Steinberg, and Francine Wiseman. Jonathan Goodman, the true catalyst of this Gala, was honoured alongside Dean Mendel, Gideon Pollack and Jeff Hart. National Presidents Jacob Kincler and Arthur Silber were also on hand and among the organizers.

Ross Paperman works his magic for the auction. (Howard Kay Photo)

This being my first time attending an ORT Gala, I was surprised by the emotional nature of the live auction. Community leader Ross Paperman served as auctioneer with the help of a crew of young students, who acted as spotters in the audience and on stage. Paperman expertly attracted impressive bids for prizes including a 30 minute flight in a full-flight simulator from CAE ($2,000); a private box for a Habs game at the Bell Centre via McCarthy Tétreault ($6,250); a private shopping experience at the Michael Kors Ste. Catherine Street flagship store ($3,300); a tropical getaway to Acapulco courtesy of Frank Motter ($7,750); three weeks at Camp B’nai Brith Ottawa ($3,000); the Ultimate Gourmet Foodie Experience from renowned chef-owner Ariel Schor ($4,200); and a getaway in the mountains courtesy of Marnie and Richard Stern ($4,000). Then, for the final item, he suddenly veered off script. Investment advisor  and philanthropist David  Lisbona had assembled a package entitled “Carey Priceless,” and asked that the proceeds go to assist seven year-old Ellie White, who is battling leukemia for the second time. In order to give her a chance at life, her family has had to relocate to Columbus, Ohio to try an experimental treatment. Paperman, his voice cracking, called for a bid by appealing to the sense of compassion of those in the room. Shortly after this request, one gentleman shouted out “$10,000” to much applause. Then Paperman stopped in his tracks, asking for a show of hands as to how many people would give an additional $1,000 to this cause. What happened next was remarkable, as dozens of hands went up. When all was said and done, including the $10 k bid and a personal contribution from Paperman, more than $80,000 was raised for Ellie White.

Honourees Dean Mendel, Jeff Hart and Jonathan Goodman. Gideon Pollack was unable to attend due to the passing of his father. (Howard Kay Photo)

With everyone on a high from what they had just seen, it was time to wipe the tears away and to experience true entertainment courtesy of feature performer Mat Franco. Franco is perhaps best known for being the first magician ever to win NBC’s America’s Got Talent.  Watching him perform first-hand made it clear exactly why he won in the first place. He worked the audience perfectly, bringing many people on stage to take part in his tricks. His best skill is slight-of-hand, and the audience was clearly in awe of his abilities throughout the night. His tremendous storytelling talents are exactly what allow him to sell his own show in Las Vegas at the LINQ Hotel & Casino, where he has been performing since 2015. Bravo to ORT for choosing their entertainer so well. He was a real draw and everyone evidently appreciated what they saw.

Mat Franco has young volunteer Benjamin assist him on stage. ( Howard Kay Photo)

Avi Ganon, who has been serving as Director General and CEO of World ORT since September 2017, attended the gala and addressed the crowd. “In 2020, ORT will celebrate 140 years of transforming life through education,” he said, noting that the largest ORT school in the diaspora is in Buenos Aires, Argentina, with 9,000 students.

Dida Berku and husband Jacob Kincler. (Howard Kay Photo)

Major event sponsors were Dana and Jonathan Goodman and Family; Arlene Wise, Cheri, Jeff, Greg and Lucas Wise; and Jessica and David Baazov. Lead sponsors were Geraldine and Jeff Hart, PearTree Financial Services, and Heather and Lev Bukhman. There was also a very long list of platinum, gold, silver, and bronze sponsors.

ORT began in Russia in 1880 to help impoverished Jews acquire skills that would enable them to become self-sufficient. During the course of a remarkable 137 years, spanning revolutions and wars, ORT has endured and grown through its ability to adapt to change. ORT today provides skills-training and self-help projects throughout the world, using funds raised by its supporters, and matched by development agencies and national governments, to put people on the path to economic independence.

Mat Franco shares some his tricks with student volunteers. (Howard Kay Photo)

ORT Montreal depends on the continuing generosity and dedication of its supporters and volunteers and is always looking for new businesses and professionals who are interested in giving back to their community. Join a fundraising committee for one of ORT Montreal’s exciting events, notably the annual gala, by selling tickets, soliciting advertising for the program book, soliciting corporate sponsorships, and recruiting new team members.

For information call 514-481-2787, email info@ortmontreal.org or log on to www.ortmontreal.org.

Montreal Holocaust Museum hosts lecture: Seeking Justice After Genocide

The Montreal Holocaust Memorial Museum recently held a special event   in partnership with the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and members of the Rwandan, Cambodian and Armenian communities.

The 10 speaker speakers (l to r): Irwin Cotler, Jean-Paul Nyilinkwaya, Nolsina Yim, Clint Curle, Lalai Manjikian, Jacques Rwirangira, Angeliki Bogiatji, Audrey Licup, Jeremy Maron, Fannie Lafontaine

Seeking Justice after Genocide was a bilingual and free event that took place  at the Museum. It highlighted the search for justice after the Genocide of Tutsis in Rwanda and   featured a keynote addresses from Fannie Lafontaine and Irwin Cotler

There was also a panel discussion featuring Nolsina Yim (Centre Khemara), Dr Lalai Manjikian ( Comité National Armenien du Québec), Audrey Licop ( Montreal Holocaust Museum),  and Jacques Rwirangira (Page Rwanda).

Karen Aflalo Confirmed as New JNF President; Jeff Hart Announced as 2020 Negev Gala Honouree

Karen Aflalo, one of Montreal’s most dynamic young community leaders, has been confirmed as the Jewish National Fund of Montreal’s new President at its recently held Annual General Meeting.

Karen Aflalo with family and friends.

“It’s a very humbling feeling to see the names of all the community giants who have previously served as President of JNF Montreal,” explained Karen. “I feel blessed to have this incredible opportunity to continue to give back to the people of Israel and to lead JNF as we go from strength to strength.”

Previously the Chair of the JNF Future Division the past four years, Karen is a graduate of the esteemed Wexner Heritage Program, and is a recipient of Federation CJA’s Gertrude and Henry Plotnick Young Leadership Award—an honour given to outstanding young members of the Jewish community.

Jeff Hart

Jeff Hart, the Founder and Managing Partner of the world-class Victoria Park Medispa, was enthusiastically announced as Montreal’s 2020 Negev Gala Honouree. The past Executive Vice President of Hartco, Jeff is a generous philanthropist who works with many non-profit organizations including ORT, Federation CJA and the David Suzuki Foundation, which he helped launch in Quebec. Stay tuned for exciting details about a forthcoming game-changing project to tackle the scourge of climate change.

Michael Goodman, his sons and Evelyn Bloomfield Schachter.

Outgoing JNF Montreal Chairman, Michael Goodman was presented with JNF Canada’s highest honour— the Bernard M. Bloomfield Medal for Meritorious Service. Among his many achievements at JNF over four years as Chairman, Michael helped to raise millions of dollars to greatly impact Israel’s most vulnerable citizens.

JNF extended thanks and appreciation to Joel Segal from Decarie Motors for  hosting the event.


Meanwhile, an array of Montreal’s most exciting innovators and start-ups will be competing for up to $500,000 in investment funds as they showcase their unique business plans before a Hall-of Fame roster of “Lions” at the Jewish National Fund’s TechShuk 2020. (Shuk is the Hebrew word for market). This sensational event will take place on Monday, January 27, 2020, at Evo Montreal.

Geared towards entrepreneurs and start-ups, TechShuk 2020 is a once in a lifetime opportunity to present their ideas in front of Canada’s most powerful and influential industry leaders, including:

Anne-Marie Boucher: Co-Founder of BCF Business Law

Mitch Garber, C.M.: Chairman of both Cirque Du Soleil and Invest in Canada

Jonathan Goodman: Co-Founder and CEO, Knight Therapeutics Inc.

Jeff Hart: Founder and Managing Partner of Victoria Park Medispas

In addition to the Lion’s Den investment competition, Tech Shuk 2020 will feature a Demo Pit/Showcase Expo where companies may demonstrate their products and services in front of tens of venture capitalists and hundreds of potential clients. If you’re looking for the break of a lifetime, apply to TechShuk and Demo Pit/Showcase Expo 2020 today and be part of Montreal’s preeminent networking event! To apply for the Lion’s Den competition, or to reserve your spot in the Demo Pit, please visit jnftechshuk.ca, or contact Phil Frai (514-934-0313 ext. 233 (phil.frai@jnf.ca).

The deadline to apply for the Lion’s Den Competition has now passed.

Deadline reserve your spot in the Demo Pit/Showcase Expo January 20, 2020.



MADA Responds to Growing Needs of Montreal’s Jewish Community

MADA, a non-profit community center with a mission to care for people in need by providing basic necessities, today announced a new approach to fundraising for ‘Shabbat to Share’.

‘Shabbat to Share’ is one of MADA’s core services. Each week, volunteers deliver kosher Shabbat meals and offer friendly visits to members of the community who are usually elderly and often alone. Older individuals may be socially isolated due to family, health, financial and other challenges. For these people, ‘Shabbat to Share’ represents a nutritious meal and, as importantly, a sense of belonging and connection to the community. The relationships that develop between patrons and volunteers enrich the lives of all concerned. MADA delivers an average of 650 boxed Shabbat dinners each week at an operating cost of approximately $500,000 per year.

“While we are delivering a large number of Shabbat meals every week, we estimate that we’re only serving around 40% of those in need,” explains Rabbi Chaim Cohen, Executive Director, MADA. “Levels of poverty and loneliness continue to rise in our community. We must do more. In the Chanukah spirit of light, warmth and community, we are launching a new approach to fundraising for ‘Shabbat to Share.’

Online ‘Shabbat to Share’ donors are invited to ‘Refer a Friend’. With a simple click, donors may enter a friend’s e-mail address and compose a short message. This type of highly-personalized solicitation is expected to reach numerous new potential donors.

“We are entirely reliant on financial support from the community. We need new donors and no donation is too small. For those unable to make a financial contribution, we also rely on volunteers, including people to prepare and deliver Shabbat meals. In compassionate observance of Chanukah, we ask all members of the community to find a way to contribute that reflects their abilities, no matter their limitations,” adds Rabbi Cohen.

Founded in 1993, MADA is a volunteer-based organization that relies upon private donations from individuals and foundations. Based on the vision that protecting individual dignity is inseparable from the provision of care, we provide our patrons with social and crisis services free of charge and serve as a safe haven for those in need. MADA’s mission is to help people with the basic necessities of life, while helping them to become self-sufficient. MADA’s food bank feeds more than 4,500 people, on average, per month. Our cafeteria ends the loneliness and indignity of hunger in an uplifting environment. Friendly volunteers bring delicious meals directly to patrons’ tables, restaurant style. MADA also delivers meals and friendly visits to elderly patrons with limited mobility. Rooted in Jewish tradition and founded on a vision of caring, MADA welcomes, supports and embraces all people, irrespective of religion, race or nationality. MADA is committed to treating all people with dignity. Feeding people is often the end result but the approach involves opening hearts, acting as an extended family and treating people with respect. For more information on these and other services, please visit www.madacenter.com.