Jewish businessman Andy Nulman to bring back The Sunday Express

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.

My Site

Dave Stubbs, formerly of The Gazette and now with, 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.

Life & Legacy a success for Montreal’s Jewish community

 Selected by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) as its Montreal partner for its LIFE & LEGACY® program, the Jewish Community Foundation (JCF) is pleased to announce that over the course of its first year, 246 individuals or families have named one or more participating synagogues, schools, social service organizations and other Jewish organizations in their estate plans or other giving vehicle, for a total of over 330 promised gifts.

 “As a community, we take pride in the institutions we have built together and we are determined that they remain strong and vibrant for the next generation of Jewish Montrealers,” explains JCF Executive Director Kathy Assayag.

Added Joshua Rubin, philanthropic advisor at the JCF and lead professional for the program in Montreal: “It is clear that our LIFE & LEGACY® program has struck a positive chord across our community, which is why so many families are stepping up by making an after-lifetime endowment gift. He is grateful for the tremendous work put in by professionals and lay leaders alike and notes, “working together, the organizations in the cohort have created synergies that are benefitting the community as a whole. Many of the donors have chosen to make endowment gifts to multiple organizations, strengthening different pillars of our community”.

JCF’s partners in in the LIFE & LEGACY® program include: Auberge Shalom pour femmes, Les Écoles Azrieli Schools Talmud Torah Herzliah, Beth Tikvah Congregation,   Shaar Hashomayim Congregation, Camp B’nai Brith of Montreal,   Shaare Zedek Congregation, Dorshei Emet Congregation,  Shaare Zion Congregation, Federation CJA,  Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA, Friendship Circle,Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, Hebrew Foundation School,  The Segal Centre for Performing Arts and Jewish Public Library.   

“Our partners represent an important part of the institutional fabric of Jewish Montreal and through this initiative we are taking important steps to ensure their long-term financial stability,” adds   Assayag.

The JCF provides partners with coaching and training and assists individual donors in establishing legacy gifts in the most tax-effective ways. Participating organizations learn best practices for executing legacy plans and how to make compelling cases for legacy gifts by communicating the organizations’ respective raisons-d’être and values and most importantly, the long-term impacts of individual gifts. The JCF is also offering incentive grants to participating organizations with a goal of ensuring that legacy giving becomes integrated in each of their philanthropic cultures.

“Fundraising has been challenging during the pandemic, particularly because special events, which are critical to many of our organizations, have had to be cancelled,” said Rubin. “ One of the advantages of endowments is that they create perpetual income streams that take some of the edge off year-to-year fund-raising pressures like we are all currently facing.”

LIFE & LEGACY®, which was developed by the HGF, has a proven track record. In North America, over 700 participating organizations secured more than 29,000 legacy commitments across 70 communities with a total value of over $1.1 billion (USD) during the program’s first eight years.

Harold Grinspoon

“In 1910, my great grandfather became a founding member of our YM-YWHA,”  said Rob Fainer, Vice-President of the Sylvan Adams YM-YWHA. “Without his generation’s commitment to our JCC, my story would be very different. Similarly, my pledge to the LIFE & LEGACY program crystallizes my commitment to this timeless institution and helps to secure its future for generations to come. From strength to strength! From generation to generation!”  

The Harold Grinspoon Foundation (HGF) creates opportunities to connect with Judaism and the Jewish community at key life moments. In addition to flagship programs that are active across North America and around the world, the HGF invests in Jewish life at home in Western Massachusetts. Everything the HGF does is in partnership. By leveraging philanthropy, the HGF encourages others to invest in Jewish life.

The JCF’s mission is to inspire, promote Jewish and innovate philanthropy and its vision is to build a strong and sustainable Montreal Jewish Community.  

Beyond All Memories – The Semer Ensemble and the Rescued Treasure of Jewish Musical Life in Nazi Berlin

November 9, 2020 marks the 82nd remembrance day of the German Reichspogromnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”).

Together with Liberation75, the German Embassy and Consulates want to remember this night in 1938 and reflect on its significance and lessons today. The Webinar tells this story: “Beyond All Memories – The Semer Ensemble and the Rescued Treasure of Jewish Musical Life in
Nazi Berlin”

A short film preview and ensuing discussion will showcase newly interpreted music originally recorded by Jewish musicians in 1930’s Berlin).

Date: Monday, November 9th at 2 pm (Eastern Standard Time).
Moderated by Laila Biali, singer and CBC Radio 2 presenter; Ben Wittman, percussionist, composer.
Participants: Dr. Alan Bern, director of the Semer Ensemble, Dr. Rainer Lotz, music historian and discographer, and Sasha Lurje, singer in the Semer Ensemble. Greetings by Marilyn Sinclair, Director of Liberation 75 and the German Ambassadors in the United States and in Canada.

Please access the following link and register according to the instructions in order to join the

The stage show Semer Reloaded features music from the Golden Age of Jewish Music, songs of love and jealousy, dreams and daily life. The music, originally composed and performed by Jewish musicians in 1930’s Berlin, was recorded by Hirsch Lewin through his label ‘Semer.’ Originally the
owner of a Hebrew bookstore in Berlin, Lewin began recording and collecting music by Jewish artists after founding his label in 1932. Lewin was able to create thousands of recordings and produce
hundreds of records. The Semer label defiantly recorded even as the Nazi oppression of Jewish cultural life continuously increased.

Lewin’s important work was violently stopped by the Nazi’s during the Reichspogromnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”) on November 9th, 1938.
His label destroyed, the collection was then forgotten for decades, only to be recovered by Dr. Rainer Lotz, a German music historian, in the 1990s. Lotz travelled the world for years, managing to find all of the original records.
The Jewish Museum in Berlin tasked Dr. Alan Bern, a renowned musician and composer, with the evaluation of the musical collection. He found treasures. Ever since, Dr. Bern has gone on to reinterpret and perform the music with the ensemble of outstanding musicians that he united, most of them living in Berlin. The Semer Ensemble brings to the German capital and the world a remarkable cultural heritage that was long lost and has been rescued, a story beautifully captured in Christoph Weinert’s short film, “Beyond All Memories – The Semer Ensemble and the Rescued Treasure of
Jewish Musical Life in Nazi Berlin.”

McGill IBD Research Group proceeds with Zoom fundraiser featuring mentalist Oz Pearlman

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the show must go on and  The McGill IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease) Research Group will indeed hold its annual  “Laugh Your Butt Off” fundraising event  – this year dubbed “Laugh Your Butt Off (At Home!)” on Thursday, November 12 via Zoom, featuring international entertainer and mentalist Oz Pearlman.

Oz Pearlman

The evening will also serve as a tribute to the late Dr. Ernest Seidman, the renowned gastroenterologist who was a Professor of Medicine & Pediatrics, Canada Research Chair in Immune Mediated Gastrointestinal Disorders and the Bruce Kaufman Endowed Chair in IBD at McGill. He passed away shortly after last year’s fundraiser, after havingimproved the lives of thousands of patients in his 40-year career.

Back by popular demand, Oz Pearlman has been reading the minds of America’s Got Talent judges, audiences everywhere, and now Zoom viewers. In addition to a 45-minute show, Oz will be doing eight private meet-and-greets with some lucky sponsors.

“These last few months have been uneasy for everyone and one could have never predicted how our world has been shaken,” said Lorne Mayers, chairman of the McGill IBD Research Group. “With all this uncertainty, and emphasis on social distancing, this time has also proven to be one where people have managed to come together for support and comfort, showing resiliency and strength.”

Dr. Ernest Seidman

The McGill IBD Research Group, with its dedicated IBD clinics at the Montreal General, Jewish General, and the Montreal Children’s, was no exception. The clinical team, comprised of the doctors, nurses, and psychologists, quickly established themselves to provide exceptional care through telemedicine, 24/7 email accessibility, online educational sessions for both patients and their families, as well as a rapid-access clinic that remained open during the pandemic. The research team also continued their academic and research trials in both the adult and pediatric populations. “While the world may have been experiencing the unexpected, those with IBD were able to rely upon us to fulfil our mandate to provide expert medical care, services, and resources to those affected,” said Dr. Peter Lakatos, who has tried to fill part of the void left by Dr. Seidman’s passing.

Sponsorships are still available.  

About Oz Pearlman

Dazzling audiences with his unique mind-reading ability for over a decade, Israeli-born Oz Pearlman is a world-class entertainer and one of the busiest mentalists in the country. A top three finalist on America’s Got Talent in 2015, Oz has also appeared on a variety of both national and international networks, including NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Kelly and Ryan, The Today Show.

Watch him her on America’s Got Talent.

About The McGill IBD Research Group

The McGill IBD Research Group was established in 1992 by concerned members of the community to ensure financial support for IBD clinics at McGill University’s teaching hospitals. Its mandate is to continue to provide important services for those living with IBD, as well as their friends and family, with the overall goal of improving quality of life and preventing complications. Services include accessible, state of the art patient-centered care provided by multidisciplinary teams; clinical research on the genetic and environmental causes of IBD, novel, non-invasive diagnostic methods, the most up to date therapies in both the adult and pediatric populations; training the next generation of IBD clinicians and scientists; and  raising awareness about Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis through patient education and community outreach programs.

Tickets for the fundraiser are available online at or by calling 514-594-0614. The cost is $500 per device.    

Ve’ahavta Creates an Innovative Virtual Volunteerism Campaign Designed to Make Real Impact in the Lives of People Affected by Poverty and Homelessness

As cooler weather begins to take hold, the ongoing Covid19 pandemic continues to significantly impact the manner in which we go about our everyday lives. The effects exacerbate significantly for those currently experiencing poverty and homelessness. Food and housing insecurity are on the rise. With an estimated 10,000 people experiencing homelessness in Toronto right now, an increase of approximately 15% from last year’s stats. Unfortunately, that number is expected to increase due to the economic impacts of Covid-19.

Now more than ever, there is a need for those able to help those less fortunate than them. In response, Ve’ahavta has created an innovative virtual volunteerism program – The Ve’ahavta Project: Act to Impact, in hopes of inspiring the public to get involved and enable them to make a real difference from the safety of their own home. Last year marked the launch of the campaign, where hundreds of volunteers gathered together in person, creating a variety of items for people living in poverty and experiencing homelessness, essentials such as mattresses, blankets, and food packages.  The event secured 400 volunteers and $500,000 was raised. 
This year, due to Covid-19 restrictions and with the health and safety of all involved in mind, the program is going virtual. This year’s program includes a variety of elements designed to truly engage with volunteers.  In addition to fundraising, participants will be able to choose from four different activities including cooking, baking, blanket making, and creating harm reduction kits. Participants will also learn about some of the core issues that cause and exacerbate homelessness – Affordable housing, food security, mental health, and substance abuse. The virtual campaign will be hosted through ZOOM, and starts Sunday, November 8, at 2 PM EST.

“This won’t be your typical “stare-at-the-screen Zoom meeting,” says Brandon Lablong, Director of Development, Ve’ahavta. “In addition to participating in the activities in real-time, participants will be able to engage live with facilitators, educators, and fellow volunteers. They will also have the unique opportunity to hear directly from Ve’ahavta’s clients who have faced hardship and be inspired by their personal stories on how they transformed their lives,” says Lablong.

“We know that people are looking for ways to actively help those in need, but aren’t sure how to during a pandemic when they have to stay home to keep themselves and others safe,” says Cari Kozierok, Ve’ahavta’s Executive Director. “Virtual volunteerism is a great opportunity to engage in some productive hands-on activities with the family, to make supplies that will be immediately useful for people living on the streets of Toronto and others experiencing homelessness. People will also learn the key issues that contribute to homelessness in this city and how they can make a real change by volunteering for our other programs that provide training and assist people to move onto employment or further their education,” says Kozierok.

In addition to the event, Ve’ahavta is making it very accessible for the public to donate to initiatives that directly benefit those in need. For example, as little as $5 can be donated to the 10 x 10 underwear challenge which provides this essential item to keep individuals healthy, warm, and feeling positive.  Bedrock Clothing is sponsoring this challenge and will match people’s donation pair for pair with a goal of donating 10,000 pairs!
Event DetailsSunday, November 8, 2020, at 2 PM on ZOOMInterested participants can sign up HEREVolunteers and Ve’ahavta program participants will create blankets, food packages, and harm reduction kits for those experiencing poverty and homelessness.

For more information about Ve’ahavta and The Ve’ahavta Project, see and
Ve’ahavta is a Jewish humanitarian organization dedicated to promoting positive change in the lives of people of all faiths and backgrounds who have been marginalized by poverty and hardship. Ve’ahavta mobilizes volunteers in meaningful, hands-on experiences to fulfill our collective responsibility to care for our neighbour.

Sidney Margles remembers the October crisis

It was Yom Kippur.  A Saturday. So this high holiday season it brought back some memories. It was October 10, 1970.

For those who do not remember, we were at the start of The October crisis. British Trade Commissioner Jasper  had been kidnapped from his Montreal home five days earlier. The Robert Bourassa Quebec government and the Pierre Trudeau Federal government and the Jean Drapeau municipal governments were all in a quandary.

 So Saturday, October 10 was Yom Kippur in the Jewish calendar. I was at the Adath Israel Synagogue for services, but because I was “on call,” by Bellboy, one of those original pagers was “on,” and Rabbi Michael Kramer told me his office would be unlocked so I could use the telephone if it became necessary.

 At mid-afternoon, I was paged, left the sanctuary, and called in to CJAD where I was the lead reporter. Quebec Justice Minister Jerome Choquette was to speak at 5:30, and as I was the one to translate his remarks as we did a live broadcast, I left the synagogue to go to the radio station.

 After The broadcast, where there was an appeal to Cross’ kidnappers, I was going to return to the synagogue for the final services of that holy day. As I was about to leave, minutes after 6 p.m., I heard, over the police radio.

The October crisis.

“Monsieur Laporte…enleve…a St. lambert.” I knew the late Pierre Laporte, the current Labour Minister who had been a journalist in his earlier days.

I immediately called the Montreal police dispatcher to confirm that indeed it was the Pierre Laporte that I knew who had been kidnapped from in front of his home.   Without any hesitation, I went into the announce studio where Bob Fisher was reading the sportscast.  I moved his chair (on wheels) out of the way, and in broadcast fashion, interrupted to announce the kidnapping of Pierre Laporte.

I stayed in the studio, ad libbing, telling our listeners what we knew, adding information as it came in and carried on.

 I never did get back to synagogue that day, the only time in my many, many years in broadcasting that I ever worked on Yom Kippur.

I now wish to share my memories of what happened the night when Pierre Laporte’s body was found, as many of my friends may recall that terrible time.

The Laporte funeral.

It was a Saturday, about a month after the first significant event, the kidnapping of British Trade Commissioner James “Jasper” Cross.

For the first time in weeks, I was able to go out to dinner with my wife and friends, Dr.and Mrs. Joseph Gauze.  We were at the Beaver Club of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, just completing our dinner, when the maître d’ advised me that there was a flurry of activity by some Quebec officials in the lobby (Robert Bourassa, the premier, had temporarily taken up residence there).  I called in to CJAD’s newsroom where they did not know what was up.

But I was a hunch player and decided we should leave so I could be free to follow up what was happening. Driving from the Queen E to my home in Town of Mount Royal saw me take Cote Sainte Catherine Road. As I passed the corner of McNider, in Outremont, where Justice Minister Jerome Choquette lived, I decided to stop and speak to his bodyguard who was parked outside.

I was told something was up on the South Shore, near the St. Hubert airport, but he did not know anything else.  So, I immediately told my wife and friends to leave the car and take a taxi home while I turned around and headed to the CJAD studios.  This was around 11 pm.

While enroute, through our mobile radio system, I tracked down Rick Leckner who worked with me.  He had gone out to dinner with his wife to a South Shore restaurant, so I told him to head to the St. Hubert airport.

Minutes after 11, we received confirmation that the car in which Pierre Laporte had been abducted was found abandoned at the airport. By that time, Rick had reached the airport perimeter, and I had entered the studio to broadcast the news update.

We received confirmation that the car’s trunk had been opened and Laporte’s body was inside. Rick provided me with updates, and I anchored the live broadcast, adding in additional information from my own recollection, augmented by material provided by the newsroom, and from our Ottawa bureau where they were working because the House of Commons was in special session, debating the implementation the day before of the War Measures Act. Because of our hook-up with our Ottawa bureau, we heard, live, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and a variety of politicians throughout the night.

I should note that with the report of Laporte’s death, all kinds of rumours began circulating that Jasper Cross had been found, as far away as Rawdon, I had our newsroom check out all the rumours and Quebec Provincial Police denied the Rawdon rumor.  I therefore consistently said the rumours were unfounded, and I was proven to be correct. (Jasper Cross remained in captivity for a few more weeks before police uncovered the hideout and rescued him in an exchange where the kidnappers were given safe passage to Cuba).

I remained continuously on air until dawn when a colleague took over the broadcast.