JPPS-Bialik introduces Shawn Taylor as new basketball head coach

By Matt Starr, Director of Athletics

The Bulldogs Athletics Department of  JPPS would like to welcome Shawn Taylor as the new head coach for the juvenile boys basketball team for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Shawn brings with him 27 years of basketball experience. Most recently he coached the Dawson College CEGEP Division 2 Men from 2014-2017. He has successfully coached intercity basketball in Laval, Dawson Community AAA and at Red Rush in the South Shore.

“I am looking forward to working with a new group of kids this season and teaching them team concepts, communication and life skills,” he said.

His main goals are to make sure the kids work hard, are determined and put in the effort to grow and get better on and off the court.

Shawn Taylor is welcomed aboard by Matt Starr.

We asked Shawn a few questions to get to know him a bit better:

What is your favourite sports brand? ‘‘Nike’’

What is your favourite type of music? ‘‘Old school hip hop’’

Who is your favourite sports reporter? ‘‘Chris Berman’’

Do you have a favourite food? ‘‘Roti’’ (Carribean dish)

Do you play Fortnite? ‘‘NO!’’

What would you do with $150,000? ‘‘Pay off debts and start a youth center’’

Do you have a charity of choice? ‘‘No but from time to time I donate to certain causes’’

Who is your favourite basketball player? ‘‘Damian Lillard’‘ (wants to play with players he has, doesn’t want to pair up with another superstar)

What is your most/least favourite basketball rule? ‘‘14 seconds in the front court is my favourite and the new FIBA travelling rule is my least favourite.’’

What is your favourite part about coaching? ‘‘Making kids better, showing them the game and relating it to life.’’

Shawn resides in Laval with his wife Lara and kids Kashawna, Tristan and Jasmine. Please join me in welcoming Shawn to JPPS-Bialik.


Four local teens were part of a true Cinderella basketball story at the JCC Maccabi Games

By Mike Cohen

Côte Saint-Luc youngsters Adam Miller and brothers Josh and Noah Liebman and Hampsteader Ariel Nathan,  recently returned from the JCC Maccabi Games in Atlanta where  they became part of a true Cinderella story. Adam attends Bialik High School and the latter three Herzliah.

Adam, Noah & Josh with coach Andy Robinson.

More than  1,600 participants, aged 12 to 16, competed in  13  different sports. The event   included an Olympic-style opening, closing ceremonies and a community service day.

The local JCC (Jewish Community Center) did not have enough players  to form their own team in Atlanta, so organizers assembled the J Team. It was composed of Adam, Ariel,  Josh, Noah and 10 other kids from American cities who also did not have a delegation. Well, one would have thought this patched together squad had no chance of winning any games. Lo and behold they went all the way to the finals and despite being 24 points behind to Baltimore, they made an extraordinary comeback and won the game 53-49. “It was something right out of the movies,” said Mish Granik, grandfather of Adam and great athlete in his day.

Robbie Granik, Adam’s mom, said her 13 year old son has been playing basketball with the YM-YWHA Wolves since he was eight.  That is where his love for the game started, under the outstanding leadership of  coach Martisha Richards. He also plays for Bialik. His dream is to play in the Israel Macabiah Games in two years.

Noah, 12, has been playing Wolves basketball for three years now. He also played for his school team last year. Josh, 14,  played for his elementary school team, as well   Herzliah for the past two years. “They  both love basketball,” said mom Heather Leckner. “We found out about the Maccabi Games through an email that the Jewish schools received. When I saw that there was the opportunity to play basketball, I knew that it would be a great experience for the boys, as well as the advantage that they were able to play on the same team.”

Ariel Nathan in action.

Ariel, 13, has been playing basketball since the age of nine. He  started with the Wolves and then the Solomon Schechter team.

Didier Serero and his wife Stacy Herman chaperoned the kids. as well as coached the girls U14 soccer team.

MP Rachel Bendayan announces federal security funding for Outremont synagogue

By Mike Cohen

The government of Canada is helping protect people against hate-motivated crimes through the Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program (SIP). By funding better security systems, the federal Government is helping to keep our communities safer.

Liberal Member of Parliament for Outremont Rachel Bendayan, on behalf of the Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparednes Ralph Goodale, announced up to a little more than $131,000 in federal funding to the Congregation Toldos Yaacov Yosef and the Congregation Kehal Toldos Yakov Yosef.

Rachel Bendayan with synagogue leaders.

Since the launch of this program, the government has quadrupled its funding as part of its commitment to better protect organizations against hate-motivated crimes. As committed in Budget 2019, $4 million is available each year, until 2021-22 and $3 million in ongoing funding thereafter.

“There is no social license for hate in Canada,” said Bendayan. “Our country is diverse and inclusive, but we must not take our safety and security for granted. Protecting our communities from violence, including our community centres, educational institutions and places of worship, is the right thing to do. I am pleased to fight for funding that will help keep Outremont safer.”

Added Joseph Silberman, Secretary, on behalf of Congregation Toldos Yaacov Yosef and Congregation Kehal Toldos Yakov Yosef: “The security issues in general in community centers need to be addressed to the highest standards possibly available, so that the public shall feel safe, sound and secure and use these facilities in a relaxed atmosphere. We are confident and assured that with the funding that we will be receiving from the SIP program, Public Safety Canada, our community centers will be offering a safe and secure environment for the entire district, which will be to the benefit of the whole community at large.”

Here are some quick facts:

  • In 2017, police reported an increase of 47 percent  in criminal incidents in Canada that were motivated by hate. Incidents targeting the Muslim, Jewish, and Black populations accounted for most of the national increase. Hate crimes targeting religious groups increased by 83 percent with incidents committed against the Muslim community increasing the most, by 151 percent.
  • SIP is designed to help communities at risk of hate-motivated crime improve their security infrastructure, which will help make Canada safer for all Canadians.
  • Funding is available to private, not-for-profit organizations linked to a community at risk of being victimized by hate-motivated crime. Approved projects may receive up to 50 per cent of total project costs, to a maximum of $100,000 per project. Eligible organizations that have multiple locations may now apply for projects at each of their sites, rather than being limited to one project per year.
  • Interested organizations representing places of worship, provincially and territorially recognized educational institutions, and community centres can apply annually from December 1 to January 31 and from June 1 to July 31 through Public Safety Canada’s website.






JNF Negev Dinner is September 19

The Campaign

This year’s funds raised will be allocated toward the construction of the new Abramovich Building, future home to TAU’s Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Center, a state-of-the-art building on campus galvanize technological research and development at Tel Aviv University.

Made possible through a US$30 million gift, the building will be the dedicated new home of TAU’s Nano Center, established as the first of its kind in Israel in 2000. Today, the Center comprises 90 research teams who have published over 1,700 scientific papers, registered 200 patents and provided advanced services to dozens of industrial affiliates. Once complete, the building is expected to captivate the nanoscience community, reinforce multidisciplinary research and technological innovation, intensify industry collaboration, and create new connections between the scientific world and society at large.

On September 19, 2019, JNF Montreal will close the Campaign at their Annual Negev Gala, this year celebrating its 65th Sapphire Jubilee Anniversary, honouring Canadian Friends of Tel Aviv University Immediate Past National President and 2007 Tel Aviv University Honorary Doctorate Recipient, Barbara Seal, C.M.. Barbara is the first woman to be honoured at this event in 22 years – and only the fourth woman in the Gala’s history.

Drawing her inspiration from the Jewish value of “Tikkun Olam”, Barbara hopes to seed future medical breakthroughs by spurring support for the construction of the Abramovich Building for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology at Tel Aviv University. This revolutionary project is a multimillion-dollar effort to bring Barbara’s vision of improving humanity to fruition.


Museum of Fine Arts lauds generous donation by Roslyn Margles

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) is thrilled to make the acquisition of a masterpiece of Abstract Expressionism by Elaine de Kooning (1918-1989), a seminal figure in this movement who was also an art professor and critic. This acquisition was made possible thanks to the profound generosity of philanthropist Roslyn Margles. Her monetary gift enabled the Museum to purchase Bill at St. Mark’s, one of De Kooning’s most important paintings. This exceptional artwork is the first piece by the artist to enter a Canadian public collection. It is now on display for the public in the MMFA’s Michal and Renata Hornstein Pavilion for Peace.

Says Nathalie Bondil, Director General and Chief Curator, MMFA, “From one woman to another, from one love to another, I can’t think of a more moving gesture. Thanks to our patron Roslyn Margles, we have the honour of exhibiting this striking tableau by Elaine de Kooning, a brilliant artist too often overshadowed by her husband.”

Extremely involved in the community and having a strong passion for the arts, Roslyn Margles made this tremendous philanthropic gesture in honour of her late husband, Max H. Margles, a great engineer who helped shape the face of our city. “Being aware of the value and impact of art on the lives of children and adults, its therapeutic value and its measure and reflection of civilization, I chose the MMFA to house this important work to be admired and studied by millions as a permanent memorial to my husband Max. I see Bill as a symbolic representation of Max and was quite moved emotionally by this painting. It is Elaine’s tribute to her husband and likewise, a tribute to my husband,” explained Margles.

The spouse of the famous Willem de Kooning, Elaine de Kooning was one of the few women of her generation to be respected as an artist in her own right. An extraordinary woman of her time, she overcame the gender-related obstacles she faced to become a defining figure of her generation. Together with Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Lee Krasner and Franz Kline, among others, De Kooning was featured in the groundbreaking Ninth Street Show (1951), widely considered to be the exhibition that launched the group of artists collectively referred to as the Abstract Expressionists, or the New York School. She once said: “It seemed like a good idea at the time, but later I came to think that it was a bit of a put-down of the women. There was something about the show that sort of attached women-wives to the real artists”. She signed her works with her initials to erase her gender.

De Kooning became known as a prolific art critic for the magazine Art News and taught at numerous universities throughout the United States as well as in Mexico and Paris. She was also a founding member of the Eighth Street Club in the East Village, New York, which served as an important meeting place for post-war avant-garde artists, musicians and writers. There, she established a reputation for her landscapes and portraits. Working at a time when figuration was shunned by a majority of New York’s avant-garde painters, who privileged gesture over representation, De Kooning crafted a style of abstract figurationthat distinguished her from her contemporaries.

Bill at St. Mark’s

Elaine de Kooning maintained an open marriage with her spouse from 1943 to 1956, the year in which she created this oil on canvas. Acquired on the American art market, the portrait Bill at St. Mark’s was executed at a studio she occupied for a brief period of time on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village. It is one of four known paintings she made of her husband and was featured in major retrospectives.

“When I painted my seated men, I saw them as gyroscopes. Portraiture always fascinated me because I love the particular gesture of a particular expression or stance … Working on the figure, I wanted paint to sweep through as feelings sweep through,” wrote De Kooning.

In Bill at St. Mark’s, a seated male figure faces the viewer with his hands on his thighs and his legs open. Commanding the space with his monumental frontality and the aggressive openness of his posture, the sitter projects a strong virility that is amplified by the use of bold brushstrokes and rich colours – strong blues, mustard yellow, dark green, orange infused with red – that accent the contours of his body. His presence and persona are portrayed through pose, gesture and colour rather than through the features of his face, notably absent from this portrait. In fact, by eliminating the face, and thereby upending the conventions of traditional portraiture, De Kooning allowed for a certain kind of alchemy to transpire between observer and observed.

Elaine de Kooning is famous for her painting of John F. Kennedy. Her works have been exhibited and collected in major American museums, including New York City’s MoMA and Stable Gallery, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.


The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and its Foundation relies almost entirely on the generosity of donors to acquire new works for its collections. This donation by Roslyn Margles is a magnificent addition, and we are forever grateful for her gesture.

Solomon Schechter Academy student gives a boost to Mount Sinai

Grade 6 graduate and Student Council President, Jonah Blant,  from Solomon Schechter Academy began an initiative last year of collecting can tabs to donate. He recently made a trip to the Mount Sinai Hospital Center with his mom, Leah Berger, and Head of School Steven Erdelyi, to donate the tabs to Mount Sinai Auxiliary Coordinator, Barbara Schneider.

Barbara Schneider, Mount Sinai Auxiliary Coordinator; Steven Erdelyi, Solomon Schechter Academy Head of School; Jonah Blant, Solomon Schechter Academy Student Council President; and his mother, Leah Berger, Solomon Schechter Academy Parent and Federation CJA Director of Planning and Allocations.

Mount Sinai will receive money in return for the tabs, and will use that money to support the needs of the hospital. Jonah was able to use his mathematics skills to calculate how many tabs he had collected, without counting them one by one! He weighed the bag and did some division to figure out that, thanks to his fellow students at Solomon Schechter Academy, he had collected about 25,400 tabs!