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Intercommunity Relations Committee Meets at Bialik


Côte Saint-Luc Intercommunity Relations Committee
Meeting of Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Bialik High School
6500 Kildare Road

Attendance: Councillor Mike Cohen (Chair),  Councillor Mitchell Brownstein, Councillor Allan J. Levine,  City Manager Tanya Abramovitch, Director of Public Safety Jordy Reichson,   Shireen Butman (Principal, Bialik), Elizabeth Kennell (Director of Development, JPPS Bialik), Avi Satov (Dean of Students, Bialik),  Rabbi Yehuda Benoliel, (Cong. Juive Francophone Chouva Israel), Merle Kastner (Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal), Momy Bouzaglou   (president, Congregation Or Hahayim),  Roger Dahan (executive director, Congregation Or Hahayim), Leslie Blumer (Communications, Maimonides Geriatric Centre), Alanna Myerson, (Mount Sinai Hospital), Benita Golden (Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors), Rabbi Tuvia Hoffman  (Beth Zion Congregation), James Indig (Knights of Pythias), Michael Kutz (Knights of Pythias/Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre), Heidi Oppen (Regional Director, B’nai Brith Canada Quebec), Howard Szalavetz and Andrew Wise (Kazoo Digital), Roman Filkovsky  (Russian Jewish Community),  Ellen Tissenbaum and Christian Roy (Manoire Montefiore), Rebecca Levy (Agence Ometz), Sarah Kramer (CPE Hebrew Day School/Beth Zion),  Eva Cohen  (Beth Rambam/Hebrew Academy)BialikIntercommunity

1. Introductions

Elizabeth Kennell extended regards from JPPS Bialik Head of School/CEO Laurence Fhima, who was unable to attend due to an Association of Jewish Day Schools meeting.  Ms. Kennell introduced Shireen Deen-Butman, Bialik’s new  principal. Born in India, and having lived in Israel, Ms. Deen-Butman is fluently trilingual (English, French, Hebrew) and is equipped with over 12 years of teaching and administrative experience at two extremely reputable Jewish day schools in the United States. She arrived at Bialik via the Donna Klein Jewish Academy in Boca Raton and  has deep roots right here in Montreal, having attended both Concordia University and the Université de Montréal, and moreover, having taught at both Akiva and at École Maimonide.   A parent of three children attending JPPS-Bialik, she said she is committed to surrounding herself with experienced professionals who are technologically savvy and employ teaching methods that are current, and where every opportunity is sought to permeate Jewish values into students’ education and core values.

Ms. Butman and Avi Satov, the dean of students, spoke about a number of issues including the mandatory community service students must perform. Representatives from a number of organizations expressed interest in having students perhaps undertake some volunteer work with them.  Both Ms. Deen Butman and Mr. Satov  welcomed any inquiries. They will be glad to post opportunities in their daily bulletin.  Secondary I and II students must perform five hours of work per year. The number goes up to 10 hours for Secondary III and 15 hours for Secondary IV and V. Everyone was given copies of some Bialik literature and urged to log on to

2. Director of Public Safety

Jordy Reichson briefly described his role as Director of Public Safety in the city, a position which was created in the past year. Mr. Reichson is responsible for Public Security, Emergency Measures Services, Emergency Preparedness, the Dispatch Centre and Volunteer Citizens on Patrol.  The Emergency Preparedness Plan, he said, will involve the participation of community organizations. Mr. Reichson was asked by Bialik about construction in the immediate area of the school lately and what can be done to help keep traffic flowing. He indicated that his service is monitoring the situation and that the construction is temporary. He was also asked about anti-Semitic graffiti and vandalism which has occurred near synagogues. Mr. Reichson said that his service is always quick to respond to acts of vandalism of this sort, working with the police, FEDERATION CJA and B’nai Brith. Councillor Brownstein promised to look into the possibility of cameras. Heidi Oppen of B’nai Brith said that her organization has a 24 hour anti-hate hotline and that people and organizations should use it.

3. Tanya Abramovitch

Tanya Abramovitch was formally introduced as the new city manager for Côte Saint-Luc. She only recently took on this position, having previously served as director of library services – a title she also continues to hold. Ms.Abramovitch spoke proudly about the strategic plan of the city which is currently being put together. In her opinion, the city must attempt to renew itself at least every 25 years.  With the construction of a new $18 million aquatic and community centre, a major housing development planned for the Cavendish Mall site and an increasing number of young families settling here,  there is a lot going on.

4. Kazoo Digital

Howard Szalavetz and Andrew Wise introduced their business, Kazoo Digital (, which provides digital signage indoors and outdoors. Very shortly, their first outdoor full colour seven by four feet LCD digital signs will appear outdoors in Côte Saint-Luc. The first location will be the corner of Kildare and Cavendish, with a second planned for the spring at Westminster and Côte Saint-Luc Road.  There will be messages appearing for Côte Saint-Luc activities. Advertising space will also be sold and organizations interested in finding out more about this were invited to contact Howard or Andrew at 514.529.6655 or

Darryl Levine, Director of Public Affairs and Communications for Côte Saint-Luc, said he will soon be developing a detailed presentation of all the options organizations have to promote their events in the city, from banners and billboards to a google calendar.
5. Roundtable

Before the roundtable discussion began about what each organization is working on, Councillors Brownstein and Levine said a few words. Councillor Brownstein spoke about his Parks and Recreation portfolio and the excitement building for the $18 million aquatic and community centre.  In this facility there will also be a multipurpose room which can be rented out for events and seat about 370 people. Councillor Levine talked about his portfolios – tennis, seniors and bringing a public high school back to the city.

-Heidi Oppen of B’nai Brith welcomed organizations to call her if they were interested in having presentations on the subjects of reasonable accommodation and taking action against hate. The McGill Pro Bono Students are working on this project. Students, she said, might be interested in a new diversity initiative now being run as a pilot project out of Vanier College. It involves students writing a script for a film on diversity, with chance to win cash and be filmed for a short YouTube production. Her organization has also become involved in organizing singles evenings for adults and seniors at Beth Zion and is always seeking volunteers to pack food for holiday food baskets.

-Roman Filkovsky came to Canada from Russia six years ago and settled in Côte Saint-Luc.   He wants to hold gatherings of the local Russian community and have them integrate better into Côte Saint-Luc

-Elizabeth Kennell said that JPPS will mark its centennial in 2013-14 and activities are already being planned. JPPS-Bialik, she said, provides $1.2 million in tuition assistance each year. She spoke proudly about Bialik’s arts and music program, noting that a professional music studio is being constructed and will be ready in 2011. Music, she emphasized, will become an extra-curricular activity and ultimately be integrated into the regular curriculum.

-Christian Roy said that he has been with the Manoire Montefiore on Mackle Road for two years now. The 133 unit seniors residence is undergoing major renovations, as part of a five year plan. They will soon receive special certification in order  to have one dedicated floor to service  about 10 to 12 seniors coming directly from public hospitals. In addition he spoke about the Embrace Program, which will enable some seniors living in the immediate area of Manoire Montefiore to take part in activities, have meals  and even use the synagogue. Mr. Roy said he would like to reach out to the Sephardic French speaking community to let them know that they are welcome at Manoire Montefiore.

-Roger Dahan said that Congregation Sepharade Or Hahayim  invites groups to rent their hall (which has an exclusive caterer), come attend services and lectures. A new website is being established, as is a children’s choir.

- Merle Kastner said that the Jewish  Genealogical Society has its mailing address and executive meetings in CSL, but events are generally held at the Jewish  Public Library or the Gelber Centre.  Programs are publicized in the local press and she urged everyone to try to attend some.

-Rebecca Levy reminded everyone that Agence Ometz was established  two years ago, the result of a merger between Jewish Employment Montreal, Jewish Immigrant Aid Services and Jewish  Family Services. She said that Ometz  deals with many individuals either living or wishing to settle in CSL There is a lot of crisis situations involving individuals, from evictions to acts of violence.

-Sarah Kramer said that her CPE Hebrew Day School has 80 children in part of the Beth Zion and 70 more in a home they purchased a number of years ago next door and renovated. She said that the school continues to enjoy great success.

-Leslie Blumer said that Maimonides continues to celebrate its 100th anniversary. The popular Battle of the Bands fundraiser will take place soon. A new cook  book has been published and receiving excellent feedback. A mini-med program is now in progress, focusing on geriatric issues.

-Alanna Myerson reminded everyone that Mount Sinai caters to in and out patients, does  blood tests for the general public at specific times and is working with the Jewish General  Hospital on some exciting new projects.

-Benita Golden of the Cummings Jewish Centre  for Seniors urged everyone to go to, where important and valuable information can be obtained. The Centre will be getting some new funds from   the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, which elderly Holocaust survivors can apply for to cover the costs of home assistance. Application forms must be filled out. There are also memory loss and different adaptive programs operating out of the Centre.

-Rabbi Hoffman just began his new role as spiritual animator of Beth Zion, succeeding Rabbi  Ira Ebbin who returned home to New York last spring. Rabbi Hoffman most recently worked for the Jewish Experience on the West Island. He has bought a home in Côte Saint-Luc and will move in soon with his family. In the past he has taught at Bialik. At Beth Zion he hopes to introduce many new and exciting programs.

- Rabbi Benoliel noted that his large congregation manages to do so many things in their small quarters on Parkhaven Avenue.  He has many young families and more than a dozen people studying to become rabbis. His congegation is involved with many charitable causes and even runs summer and winter camps for young children.

-Michael Kutz noted that the Knights of Pythias, based at the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre,  services some 24 institutions in the city such as B’nai Brith House, Caldwell House and Mount Sinai and assists individuals who cannot afford cemetery plots. They are also members of the Inter-Service Clubs Council, which helps put on the Telethon of Stars.

-Eva Cohen is the executive director of Congregation Beth Rambam and the president of the Parents Association of Hebrew Academy. At Beth Rambam, she said, a second (earlier) minyan is being introduced for individuals who want more time to study torah. There are also special classes for women and a conference planned on education, where some of the organizations seated around this table might want to participate.

6. Conclusion

The meeting went over the intended 90 minute timeslot and as a result those on hand were unable to take part in the planned tour of the facility.


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