Roy Nissany becomes Israel’s first Formula One driver, with backing from Sylvan Adams

By Mike Cohen

Roy Nissany will become the official test driver for the Williams Group, making him Israel’s very first Formula One driver. Nissany was joined at a press conference last week at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation, by the group’s president Claire Williams and Montrealer Sylvan Adams, who has supported Nissany’s development in motor racing and serves as president of Nissany’s management group.

Roy Nissany with Claire Williams. (Shauli Lendner Photo)

Adams made aliyah to Israel several years ago, but still retains a strong presence in our city via his philanthropy. I expect to see him here for the next Grand Prix du Canada in June with Nissany.

The 25-year-old Nissany, who began his journey in motor racing at the age of 14, comes to Formula One following two very successful seasons in Formula V8 3.5, where he secured 13 podium finishes and reached pole position seven times. Nissany’s achievements include two consecutive victories at the Silverstone track in UK, plus wins at Italy’s Monza track, France’s Paul Ricard circuit and Jerez in Spain. Nissany competed in the Formula Two championship in 2018, but missed last season due to injury.

Back in 2014, Nissany completed his first test in a Formula One car with the Swiss team Sauber Motorsport. In early December, Nissany was asked by Williams to participate in two days of testing in Abu Dhabi, after which the group decided to sign the Israeli as the team’s third driver. As such, Nissany will train with the team and drive on Fridays during Grand Prix practice at Formula One weekends, waiting for the opportunity to compete behind the wheel of one of Williams’ two championship cars.

Nissany joins a very distinguished list of past drivers for the UK-based Williams team, which includes Formula One legends such as Brazilians Ayrton Senna and Nelson Pique, Keke Rosberg of Finland, Britain’s Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Jenson Button, Frenchman Alain Prost and Canada’s Jacques Villeneuve.

Today, I achieved the goal which I set for myself many years ago, to become a Formula One driver,” said Nissany. “This is a very exciting moment, not only for me, but also for everyone who has been with me along the way over the years. Formula One reaches a huge audience of fans and I am so pleased that they will now get to know Israel through the motor racing track.”

Claire Williams, Deputy Team Principal, commented;:“It is a pleasure to welcome Roy Nissany to ROKiT Williams Racing in the role of our Official Test Driver. Roy demonstrated his capabilities driving in the post-season Abu Dhabi test last year and we were extremely impressed with what he could do in a short space of time. He is a hard-working individual who we are excited to be working with this year.”

Sylvan Adams

Adams, President of the “Roy Nissany Formula One” management group and  the co-owner of the Israel Start Up Nation cycling team  which will compete in next summer’s Tour de France has been working hard to showcase Israel through international sporting and cultural events. Among his recent initiatives, Adams was responsible for bringing the Giro d’Italia bike race to Israel, Madonna’s appearance at last year’s Eurovision Song Contest and the recent international football match in Tel Aviv between Argentina and Uruguay, featuring Lionel Messi.

Adams began working with Nissany approximately a year ago, understanding that his talent provided another opportunity to place Israel on the global sporting stage. With no suitable infrastructure for Formula One racing in Israel, Adams decided to actively support Nissany’s ambition to join Williams and Formula One, becoming president of his management group.

“This is yet another landmark moment for Israeli sport,” said Adams. “Hundreds of millions of motor racing enthusiasts across the world will get to see a different side of our country, what I call ‘normal’ Israel. I have no doubt that Roy will do a wonderful job representing our country with dignity and pride. I cannot wait for the moment when we see the blue and white flag on a Formula One car.”

Chemi Peres, Chairman of the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation and son of Israel’s former-President Shimon Peres, bestowed the title of “Ambassador of Peace” on Claire Williams.

Today, Roy Nissany proved that what we thought was impossible, is possible,” said Peres. “This is our motto at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. It was also the legacy of my father, Shimon Peres, the Ninth President of the State of Israel. It is a legacy which we continue today, as we educate the next generation. We instill them with important values, which can also be found in the world of motor racing, that through patience, tolerance and teamwork, the impossible can be achieved.”

Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal Invests $400,000 in Community Initiatives

The Jewish Community Foundation of  Montreal (JCF)  has announced  that it is awarding grants to 16 community organizations for 17 leading-edge programs designed to support the vulnerable, promote Jewish identity and culture and strengthen the institutional framework of Montreal’s Jewish community.

“In launching Nova Grants we are encouraging agencies, synagogues and community organizations to experiment, to test new or innovative approaches to meeting critical or emerging needs,” explains David Martz, Chair of the JCF’s Allocations Committee which oversees the Nova Grants. “The initiatives we are supporting do not already receive funding from Federation CJA or other funders, and our intention is for our investments to serve as seed money for programs which will, over the coming years, have a measurable impact on ensuring the vitality of our community.”

JCF Nova Grants, ranging from $25,000 to $50,000, are allocated on an annual basis for either one-time funding for a program which will be carried out within one year, or to be used over a period of up to three years, depending on the nature of the program. This year’s recipients are as follows:

Helping the Vulnerable

  • Agence Ometz is developing a parent consultation service to help parents easily access a one-time affordable screening of their child, ask questions, voice concerns, receive guidance, and support and appropriate referrals to specialized services.
  • Through an Avodah Inclusive Work Experience, Agence Ometz will provide participants with counselling and workshops as well as a real work experience at Federation CJA and affiliated agencies.
  • BANAV will maximize its multi-educational services, including informal Jewish education for youth with learning or developmental delays or on the autism spectrum.
  • The Donald Berman Bikur Cholim Ladies Association will host workshops to enhance awareness of the different forms of elder abuse among seniors in the Ultra-Orthodox Community, many of whom are Holocaust survivors.
  • Through symposiums, Centre Lifeline will build capacity for improved response among organizations already having contact with people who may have addictions.
  • The Donald Berman Yaldei Developmental Centre satellite class known as Beyachad Academy will be offered in the Belz Community, providing an innovative individual approach to early intervention, with a sensitization program, outreach and evaluations.
  • Zera Café and Catering, a start-up offering Israeli style food, will employ for adults with intellectual disabilities, while providing them with training for future food service jobs.

Jewish Identity and Culture

  • Beth Tikvah will be using YouTube videos and social media to create The Synagogue with no Walls and in so doing provide Jews of all ages with easier access to Jewish teachings and traditions.  Said Rabbi Mark Fishman: “The Nova grants allow us to deepen our engagement through projects like: ‘The Synagogue With No Walls’. Through their help and deep understanding of our community, we can now reach more people, in a more targeted way, more of the time.
Rabbi Fishman
  • Through music, the Jewish Learning Lab will develop a new program of Jewish engagement by offering monthly Shabbat jams, concerts, etc. in collaboration with other Jewish organizations, including YidLife Crisis.
  • The Jewish Russian Community Centre will develop an outreach and engagement program targeted at unaffiliated young Russian-speaking Jewish musicians.
Cantor Benlolo and the Shira Choir.
  • Cantor Benlolo, the creator and volunteer conductor of the Montreal Shira Choir, an inclusive group of singers with developmental disabilities, will celebrate the power of music by uniting people of all ages and abilities in performance and group activities.
  • Having begun as a virtual museum, and grown into an organization offering walking tours, with a physical space that includes a gallery for art exhibits, food, boutique, and cultural events, as well as research opportunities for students, the Museum of Jewish Montreal will be focusing on engaging young adults aged 20-40 and their development as future community leaders.
  • The OSM Experience will enable Jewish Day School students to engage with classical music and the OSM by enjoying Chamber music concerts at the different schools, as part of a shared cultural experience in a predominantly Francophone context.
  • JAM Jewish Arts Mentorship Program at the Segal Centre is a fellowship program which will support young emerging Jewishly identified theatre artists working on Jewish themed projects or engaged in Jewish identity issues. Over the course of a year, Fellows will meet, network, and work with special guest speakers, mentors and facilitators.

Institutional Strengthening

  • The Mile End Chavurah will develop and implement a 3-year plan to enable this maturing organization to build capacity and become more self-sustainable.
  • The Montreal Open Shul serves the post denominational Jewish spiritual community, creating and leading innovative and inclusive contemplative Jewish practices. They gather in yoga studios, cafes, the Y/JCC, private homes, and other venues. The grant will support a strategic plan, the first step in building organizational sustainability.
Rabbi Lisa Grushcow and members of the Temple.
  • Temple Emanu-El- Beth Sholom’s Building Community-Small Groups at Temple is modeled on Rabbi Ron Wolfson’s Relational Judaism. This program will bring together affinity groups to build relationships and a sense of belonging, while participating in Jewish learning and performing acts of loving-kindness, etc.

“We are delighted with the range of the initiatives that have been brought forward, and by the diversity of organizations that are sponsoring them,” adds Kathy Assayag, JCF’s Executive Director. “We are tapping into the creativity and community spirit of Jewish Montrealers and confident that Nova Grants will make a significant difference. We look forward to the second round of funding and will be launching the application process in March.”

The JCF’s mission is to grow a strong, sustainable community that embodies the Jewish values of tzedakah, tikkun olam and dor I’dor, from one generation to the other. Its commitment is:

  • To help individuals and families support the causes they care about and achieve their philanthropic goals;
  • To find solutions that are tax-wise and create greater impact;
  • To ensure Montreal and its organizations remain strong and vibrant by helping build and carefully steward financial resources.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.

TECHSHUK SET  FOR JANUARY 27

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.