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June 2013

May 2013

First look at new Gary Carter Field Signage in CSL

Congratulations to Côte Saint-Luc Director of Public Affairs and Communications Darryl Levine and company for the completion today of the long awaited signage of Gary Carter Field at our flagship Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park on Mackle Road.

It is a fitting tribute to this city's greatest professional baseball player. We formally named the field in his honour last July 1, some six months after The Kid passed away. As you can see, this is not the kind of signage which takes moments to put up. A lot of  planning and care went into it. Bravo again.

Gary Carter Field
In the near future some of the former Expos greats will be in town for a benefit softball game and autograph session organized by the ALS Society. This was supposed to occur on June 26, 2013. However, that was postponed in order to come up with an even more elaborate event.

CSL Dramatic Society's Fiddler on the Roof: Beyond Fabulous

What began as a small project for my colleague, Councillor Mitchell Brownstein, has now become very big. I am referring to the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society and their spectacular presentation of the classical musical Fiddler on the Roof. I was among those fortunate enough to attend the May 22 VIP preview presentation of the show at the Giovanni Palatucci Facility  (former Wagar High School) on Parkhaven

The  production features professional actors Sam Stein as Tevye and Kalie Rae as Golde.

“Our community theatre has taken another step forward by recruiting professional actors in our two lead rolls,” said Councillor Brownstein, who is responsible for the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society and a long-time community theatre actor. “I think people are going to be amazed by how good community theatre can be.”

Castoffiddler.april7_filterednowordsFiddler on the Roof runs from May 23 to June 9, 2013, at 5785 Parkhaven Ave. The production is directed by the brilliant  Anisa Cameron.

Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with music by Jerry Bock, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. The show is set in Tsarist Russia in 1905. The original Broadway production of the show opened in 1964. The story centres on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his family and Jewish religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters—each one's choice of husband moves further away from the customs of his faith—and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village.

Sam Stein is absolutely magnificent as Tevye. Ditto for Rae as Golde. Others who shine among the very large cast are Michelle Sasson as Tzeitel, Moriel Shahin as Hodel, Einav Ne'eman as Chava, Daniel Harroch as Motel, Kenny Stein as Perchik and Hannah Sheffren as Yente. We must also mention Grade 4 JPPS student Aidan Catriel as the Fiddler.

Councillor Brownstein and his brother Herb (a Dollard councillor) turn in fine performances as Lazar Wolf the butcher and the Rabbi respectively.  Councillor Sam Goldbloom stands tall as the innkeeper. Hampstead Councillor Michael Goldwax, who by day is the executive director of Le Waldorf in CSL, is part of the cast while Mayor Anthony Housefather and Hampstead Councillor and mayoral candidate Bonnie Feigenbaum have cameo roles, as does CSL's Director of Parks and Recreation  David Taveroff.

And hats off to several of my District 2 constituents in the cast: the father and son team of Steve and Jesse Stein,  Mike Rappaport,  Cheryl Everett-Rajchgot and Seymour David. Dr. Jerrold Rappaport, a noted general practioner, serves as videographer and assistant to the director.

Brownstein has built up a very healthy organization, bringing in multiple corporate sponsors. The program book has a healthy supply of advertisements. And if you think Fiddler is a success, wait until next year's planned collaboration with the Black Theatre Workshop unfolds with the presentation of Hairspray.

The special preview show included a VIP reception, attended by many dignitaries and guests.

I will be back to see this show in June when we hold a special presentation in honour of our volunteers.

Tickets are available online at Those without a computer can purchase tickets in person at the Côte Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre (5794 Parkhaven Ave.), Parks and Recreation office (7500 Mackle Rd.), or the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library (5851 Cavendish Blvd.).




McDonald's Restaurant coming to the CSL Shopping Centre

Côte Saint-Luc City Council adopted a minor exemption at our May 13, 2013 meeting which paves the way for a new McDonald`s Restaurant, with a drive-through (or drive thru), to be constructed at the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre.

We are proud to note that we successfully requested to McDonald`s that its drive-through signs be bilingual.

Presently, our community has one food court McDonald`s at the Quartier Cavendish Mall. For many years, folks with a Big Mac fix were able to fill that need at a location on Côte Saint-Luc Road and Walkley. Technically, that was situated in N.D.G.

Drive Thru McD's -- kent restaurant sign uk mcdonalds drive-thru drivethru england golden crayford arches drive

Personally, I do not go to McDonald`s that often. However, when I am between meetings I often lament that the closest drive-throughs to CSL are a Wendy`s on Decarie and a McDonald`son  St. Jacques.

The shopping centre came to us many months ago with their wish for a zoning change to allow for a fast food restaurant with a drive-through. I hoped for a Wendy`s-Tim Horton combo or a Harvey`s. We studied the proposal and made several recommendations. I expect the   Golden Arches to be warmly welcomed here.



A living history lesson about Jackie Robinson

I finally saw the motion picture 42, the true story of how Jackie Robinson broke the colour barrier in Major League Baseball. When the film was over, some of those in the audience at the Quartier Cavendish Mall Theatre applauded. The movie was extraordinary and while I knew about the racism Robinson and others suffered, it was nonetheless disturbing  to see it portrayed so vividly on the large screen. Could this have really happened in our lifetime?

Well before I even knew the movie 42 was coming out, I had proposed to  my colleagues on Côte Saint-Luc City Council that we honour Jackie Robinson in our 2013 Human Rights Walkway Ceremony during Canada Day festivities. We will indeed be doing so. However, as prelude to this event, I felt it was vitally important that we incorporate  an educational component. My co-chair, Councillor Allan J. Levine, agreed. As a former school teacher of 35 years, mostly at Wagar High School, Allan knows that the story of Jackie Robinson needs to be in the classroom.

So I got to  work on a lecture, which we ended up holding on May 10 at City Hall. My good friend Jack Jedwab, the executive director of the Association of Canadian Studies and a Robinson historian agreed to join us. I timed the event specifically to coincide with a visit to town by former Expos star Warren Cromartie, now head of the Montreal Baseball Project. And then there was Kirmit Kitman. For many years my late father Larry would tell me stories about Kitman, an American who came here to play for the old Montreal Royals. From the pressbox we'd see Kitman in his box seats behind the Expos dugout. "He played with Jackie Robinson," Larry would say.


I tracked Kitman down and a 90 years of age he is still as sharp as can be. He also agreed to join the panel. It was now time to pick the students and I wanted cross-section from the public sector and the Jewish day school system. From the English Montreal School Board, representatives from Merton, Hampstead, Elizabeth Ballantyne and Coronation attended. They were joined by pupils from Hebrew Academy, United Talmud Torahs, Herzliah and Bialik's baseball team. Some members of the public attended, making for a packed house of some 200 people. I am pictured above with Jedwab, Cromartie, Kitman and some students.

This was a one hour living history lesson. Jedwab has always been interested in the Robinson story and organized many events about the trailblazing  sports icon. Immediately, Jedwab made such a powerful point. How could a country like the United States, which had fought the Nazis in Europe, practice racial segregation in their own land? As the son of a concentration camp survivor, Jedwab said he was motivated to speak about Robinson.

Kitman played two years for the Royals. He spent one entire training camp in Daytona Beach getting to know Robinson and seeing for himself the type of disturbing racism which existed. Cromartie was literally brought to tears after hearing Kitman's words. "If it was not for Jackie Robinson, there would be no athlete of colour playing any sport," he declared.

Mayor Anthony Housefather gave a stirring account of just what Robinson's debut in the majors did for blacks in sports while Councillor Levine later lashed out at our Quebec government for its own brand of targeting minorities, specifically proposed language legislation Bill 14.

I was thoroughly inspired by our lecture and so were the students and educators in the audience. It was why I asked my wife to join me at the theatre the following day to see 42. This is a film every student should see and when it comes out on DVD I will make such a push at the EMSB. Ideally, Black History Month 2014, would represent an excellent opportunity.

Cromatie, by the way, will be back here this summer giving a four week baseball school at our own Trudeau Park, with an additional two weeks added at another park in Ahuntsic. At our lecture, kids expressed a lot of interest in attending. Here is the flyer.

John Kenney of the  Montreal Gazette did this terrific video of the event:






VE Day ceremony in CSL: a wonderful tribute to our veterans

Members of the Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion, Mayor Anthony Housefather, the Côte Saint-Luc city council, dignitaries, veterans and residents  commemorated Victory in Europe (V-E) Day on Sunday, May 5 at Veterans Park. Weather conditions could not  have been more beautiful.
“My generation and those of my children and grandchildren will never be able to fully pay back the Canadian soldiers who fought to defeat tyranny during the Second World War,” said Ruth Kovac, who was   the co-chairperson of this event with Councillor Allan J. Levine. “By liberating Europe our veterans also ended the genocide against the Jewish population of Europe and others targeted by the Nazis.” 
Councillor Levine said we must continue to honour those who have served and those families who lost loved ones for our country. 
Victory in Europe (V-E) Day was May 8, 1945, the date when the Second World War Allies formally accepted the unconditional surrender of the armed forces of Nazi Germany. The cenotaph at Veterans Park honours the memory of those who gave their lives in the First World War, the Second World War and the Korean War. 
This year’s commemoration was conducted by Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 President, Frank Levine.  Among those participating in the laying of wreaths were Mayor Housefather, TMR Mayor Phillipe Roy, Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg, D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA Lawrence Bergman, District 2 resident  Howard Liebman (representing Mount Royal Liberal MP Irwin Cotler), Israeli Deputy Consul Alon Melchior, Netherlands Honourary Consul Michael Polak, United States Consul Ian Sheridan, CSL Councillor Glenn J. Nashen (pictured), Public Safety Director Jordy Reichson, Police Station 9 Commander Sylvain Bissonnette.
"For those present who have not experienced war I am glad you were spared that sorrow," said Frank Levine (pictured with me and Veteran Solomon Susser). "Unfortunately the world has not divested itself of dictators."
Bergman quite appropriately took a shot at the PQ government for the disrespect it has shown for our present-day military via Bill 14, proposed hardline amendments to our language law. Bergman reminded us how the PQ wants to prevent the children of Canadian soldiers based in Quebec from attending English schools.
For nine years  Liebman has run Cotler's riding office as chief of staff. Cotler was in Jerusalem to celebrate the Bat Mitzvah of his grand-daughter and also to receive a prestigious human rights award at the World Union of Progressive Judaism this morning. 

 "As Professor Cotler has signalled time and again over the past two years, an unspeakable battle rages today in Syria with close to 100,000 killed – before our very eyes," Liebman stated. " In Ahmadinejad`s Iran we continue to witness a four-fold threat – genocidal incitement; nuclear; global terrorism  -and we saw just this weekend a shipment of missiles from Iran to Hezbollah - and massive domestic repression against the peoples and publics of Iran.Professor Cotler rose again in Parliament last week to ask how the government of Canada could rise in Canadian Courts to invoke State Immunity to immunize Iran from the claims for redress of Canadian victims of Iranian state terror and torture thanks to a new law he has promoted for these victims. We can all be proud of the global leadership of our local MP – who was the driving force behind a unanimous report of the Foreign Affairs Committee adopted by our House of Commons on Iran – as he continues to work tirelessly to address this greatest of threats to international peace and security."

CSL Kosher owners become CJAD radio stars

There are always firsts for Marianna Roth and her son-in-law Avi Brook. The dynamic duo operate Côte Saint-Luc Kosher at the Westminster Avenue Shopping Plaza. This is paradise for folks looking for good home cooked meals you can take home and warm up for dinner, as well as a popular butcher shop.

Store logo

Check out there menu on their website.

In recent years they have been profiled in The Montreal Gazette, on CTV News and most recently on Today's Entrepreneurs, a fantastic radio show broadcast Monday evenings at 7 p.m. on CJAD. Dan Delmar and Josh Miller host the program, which is sponsored by the accounting firm Fuller Landau and produced by their marketing and communications manager  Stephanie Darwish.

Personally I am a huge fan of their chicken schnitzel, chicken burgers and Chinese food. But now there is a new creation. Good, old fashioned salmon patties.  I brought home my first order last week and they were absolutely out of this world!

If you did not hear the show, click on the direct link below. If you experience any difficulty accessing the mp3, then right click on the link and then click Open in a New Window: