The third annual Community Mental Health Awareness Shabbat, spearheaded by Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation in Côte Saint-Luc, will take place May 6 to 9. It will be fully virtual, with a Mental Health Symposium on Thursday evening, a Friday workshop for high school students and a Sunday morning Mental Health workshop. This has spread to cities across North America.
This program coincides with Canadian Mental Health Week. Dr. Rachel Goodman and Yair Meyers are the program co-chairs. “Our goal is for as many synagogues as possible across the entire Jewish community here, across Canada and the United States to dedicate that Shabbat as part of the Community-Wide Mental Health Awareness Shabbat,” said Dr. Goodman, a psychologist in private practice.
Dr. Rona Novick, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist and the Dean of the Azrieli Graduate School of Jewish Education and Administration of Yeshiva University, will be the keynote speaker throughout the weekend. She holds the Raine and Stanley Silverstein Chair in Professional Ethics and Values. In addition, she serves as the Co-Educational Director of the Hidden Sparks program, which provides professional development to Jewish day schools and Yeshivas. She is internationally recognized for her expertise in human growth and development, social-emotional learning, spirituality, positive psychology, trauma, cognitive behavioral interventions, diverse learners, and family dynamics. She has published a children’s book on Resilience, Mommy, Can You Stop the Rain, available on Amazon.
On Thursday evening, May 6 (7:30 pm to 9 pm) there will be a Community-wide Mental Health Symposium featuring a panel of speakers, including Dr. Novick, Rabbi Yechezkel Freundlich from TBDJ, Ometz Chief Clinical Officer Barbara Victor and AMI Quebec Family Caregiver Perla Muyel. Dr. Goodman will serve as the moderator. The theme will be Getting Back to Normal when Life Isn’t Normal. “Other synagogues will each be dedicating that Shabbat in their own way, whether it be a speaker, the Rabbi’s sermon or an email to their community,” added Meyers.
On Friday, May 7 (10 am) Dr. Novick will address high school students. The theme for this talk will be Check-up From The Neck Up: Thinking About What We’ve Been Through And Moving Forward.
Finally, on Sunday, May 9 (10 am), Dr. Novick will speak on UnMASKing COVID: Strategies & Tools for Staying Strong & Well in the Days Ahead. This will be followed by Educational Consultant and Mental Health Advocate Marc Fein (11 am), whose topic is Beyond the Diagnosis: Life as a Jewish Depressed Mental Health Advocate. He has lived the experience of depression and has over a decade of experience creating interactive workshops that have empowered thousands of individuals and organizations with practical tools to manage stress, provide emotional support, and break the stigma around Mental Illness. He is certified in Youth Mental Health First Aid and is pursuing a Masters in Non-Profit Management and Leadership at Hebrew University. He also leads a summer program for NCSY to Poland and Israel.
By Mike Cohen
Montrealers will be getting a new print publication. Jewish businessman Andy Nulman has decided to revive The Sunday Express Newspaper and I have agreed to be a contributor. Publishing will begin by the fall.
For those of you old enough to remember, The Sunday Express was published first by Joe Azaria from 1969 to 1975 and by Quebecor from 1974 to 1985 and had a true Le Journal de Montréal look to it. As a CEGEP and university student, I served as assistant sports editor for three years until it folded. Other noted journalists who cut their teeth there included Nulman, Bill Brownstein, Antonia Zerbisias, Joyce Napier, Marianne Ackerman, Karen Seidman and the late Brodie Snyder and Myron Galloway.
Nulman was the entertainment editor, starting that job as a teenager. He would go on to run The Just For Laughs Festival and get into the technology business. In 2005, he and partner Garner Bornstein sold their company to Japan’s Cybird Holdings for close to $100 million, so financing of this new endeavor is not a problem.
Dave Stubbs, formerly of The Gazette and now with NHL.com, will be the sports editor. For old times sake, Nulman will oversee entertainment. I will be the restaurant critic. An array of other noted personalities should attract readers as columnists: cinema mogul and Dragons’ Den star Vincenzo Guzzo, Tommy Schnurmacher on politics, Brian Wilde and Rick Moffat on sports and Carmi Levy on technology.
Perhaps the most controversial choice of columnists will be former Montreal councillor and Mayor Michael Applebaum, focusing on municipal affairs. “Michael paid his debt to society and it is time for everyone to move on,” Nulman said. “He knows city hall better than anybody. Who better to cover the next election?”
As for the paper itself, the new publisher is excited. “There is no Sunday English newspaper in this city and just as there was 45 years ago I believe there is a place for The Sunday Express,” Nulman said. “I have a wide array of contacts in the business community and we will have good support when the paper launches.”
I spoke to Nulman before writing this column to warn him. Happy April Fool’s Day to everyone! There will be no Sunday Express revival (or will there???), but now that we are on the subject let me share with you the truth about a very exciting time in my journalistic career. I was 18 years old and attending Dawson College. My late dad Larry knew the sports editor Bob Amesse, who told him he needed an assistant. “Why don’t you hire my son,” he suggested. Well Amesse took a shot on me and let’s just say I stepped off a plane and found myself on Fantasy Island. Here I was, a teen who barely shaved covering the Canadiens, Expos, Alouettes, Manic (former pro soccer team) and having the likes of Gary Carter, Peter Dalla Riva and even Guy Lafleur calling me by my first name. It was an experience I will never forget.