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October 2013

Friendship Walk on Montreal a big success

I wish to thank Rabbi Menachem Posner for providing this excellent summary of the Friendship Walk, which took place in Côte Saint-Luc last week.

Sixteen-year-old Lola Flomen spent  a recent Sunday afternoon with friends at Trudeau Park in Côte St Luc. Yes, many of were high school classmates, but dozens of her playmates were children with special needs.

She was among thousands of others of others at the Walk 4 Friendship, an annual event supporting the Friendship Circle of Montreal, an organization that unites teen volunteers with special children in a friendship that Flomen describes as mutually beneficial.

Rabbi Yossi Paris, executive director of the Friendship circle says that volunteers like Flomen raised $438,656 through having people sponsor their participation in the walk. Yellow Shoes donated an additional $150,000 through a matching grant challenge.

Flomen says she and a dozen or so classmates at Lower Canada College solicited more than $1,000 mostly from family and friends.

Another volunteer, Michael Cons of Hampstead, raised $25,921 from personal friends, family and business acquaintances.

“We do it for the children,” says Cons, who attended the walk and carnival with his daughter Olivia. “Just seeing the glow on the faces of the children whose lives have been changed by the Friendship Circle makes it worth it.”

Through a wide range of programs and activities, the children with special needs and their mainstream volunteer buddies share fun and love throughout the year. The children with special needs experience the joy of friendship, and the teens are empowered through volunteering. The regular get-togethers also allow the parents to enjoy much-needed respite.

Nechama Dahan is one such parent. Her 22-year-old daughter, Bracha, who is developmentally delayed, participates in a number of Friendship Circle programs, which she says have been a lifesaver for her family.

Over the past decade Bracha has experienced a host of activities together with mainstream buddies. From “Junior Chefs,” where she purchased, cooked, and ate her own dinner, to the “Giving Circle,” where she volunteered at the Mada soup kitchen, the Friendship Circle gave her an outlet and a social circle of caring teen friends to hang out with. She also goes there for regular sessions of yoga and karate.

“Our programs not only offer a healthy social outlet for our children,” says Joshua Cummings, president of the Friendship Circle. “They also provide a setting where they can feel valued as individuals and forge lasting friendships with our young volunteers who, in turn, learn firsthand the importance and rewards of community service.”

Leibel Rodal and Lee Haberkorn - Managing Director of the St. James Theatre

These sentiments were echoed by 16-year-old Steven Abadi of Dollard, who volunteers regularly. “It has made me more aware of these children’s needs and made me more sensitive,” says Abadi.

Abadi first began participating in Friendship Circle events as an 8-year old, then enrolled in Summit School, which caters to children with autism, Downs Syndrome and other special needs. Over the years—in part through confidence and skills gained at Friendship Circle—he was able to transfer to Vanguard School, whose students are on par with province-wide achievement in spite of learning disabilities.

Now an aspiring singer, Abadi sang at the Sunday afternoon event. Many of the songs were from his new newly-released album that he produced with Montreal music legend Félix Gray—with all proceeds going to the Friendship Circle. The production was guided by Eli Elmaleh, who “discovered” Abadi at a Friendship Circle dinner, and sponsored by Manta Stendel.

“When the kids see Steven,” says Leibel Rodal, director of public relations at the Friendship Circle, “they see that they can do anything.”

Rodal says the walk was just two kilometres to ensure that everyone was able to participate regardless of ability. This year, there was also a five-kilometre run for those who wish to do a little more.

Some of the crowd

Dahan says she and her family came “to support Friendship Circle, and to show our appreciation for Leibel’s enthusiasm to make the world a better place for people with special needs.”


Annual Maisons Fleuries Awards event showcases our extraordinary gardens

Côte Saint-Luc held its   2013 Maisons Fleuries  Awards evening recently, with the mayor and council presiding. The entertaining evening featured  music by “Sir” Edwin Brownell (below) and a surprise and extremely funny video produced by Councillor Mitchell Brownstein.


Councillors Brownstein and Sam Goldbloom co-chaired the event, with Harold Greenspon serving as honourary chair.

In the summer, our community is ablaze with colour as residents tend to their gardens in order to best please our judges. Our City is proud of its residents and is pleased to present these awards in recognition of their efforts.

Entrants of single family, semi-detached and duplex residences are judged by political districts. Depending on the quality and quantity of entries received per category, one, two or three award recipients are selected by our judges.   Our elite awards are comprised of winners from the various categories who were selected for an award twice in the past three years.    The grand prize is awarded for one property amongst single family, semi-detached and duplex residences.  

Here are the results

Apartment &Condominium Buildings Category

3rd Place

Tour Sunnybrook

7905 CSL Road


2nd Place (above recipients from the two buildings with members of council)

Le Rothchild 2

5850 Marc Chagall  (District 2)

1st Place

Le Rothchild 1

6500 Mackle Road (District 2)

Senior Residence  

Castel Royal

5740 Cavendish

Commercial and Public Buildings  

Commercial Building  

Canada Trust

5500 CSL Road

Public Buildings  

Mont Sinai Hospital

5690 Cavendish Boulevard

Or Hahayim Synagogue

5700 Einstein

St. Richard’s Church


 Single Family & Semi-Detached Homes in District 2  


Daniel Cohen and Bonnie Roiter (Bonnie with me above)

5786 Ilan Ramon

Single Family & Semi-Detached Homes in District 3  

3rd Place

Ernesto D’Allessandro

6541 Baily

2nd Place

Pat Cerulli

6545 Baily

1st Place

Mrs. Zelda Rabin

5588 Randall

Single Family & Semi-Detached Homes in District 4   

3rd Place

Ida Panaccione

8110 CSL  Rd.

2nd Place

Emery & Micheline Sasvari

624 Smart

1st Place

Carmella Baratta

628 Smart

Single Family & Semi-Detached Homes in District 5   

3rd Place

Debbie Lydynia

5782 Blossom Avenue

2nd Place

Tony Pitarelli

5639 Hudson Avenue

1st Place

Ron Orsini

5727 Westminster

Single Family & Semi-Detached homes in District 6   

3rd Place

Eric and Joann Goldapple

5763 Einstein

2nd Place

Leah Benedek

5660 Parkhaven

1st Place

Rose Sacks

5793 Einstein

Single Family & Semi-Detached homes in District 7  

 3rd Place

Marvin & Linda Ostin

6848 Weizman

2nd Place

Hanna Sheffren

5609 Parkhaven

1st Place

Alberto Cambone

6842 Kildare

Duplexes in all Districts    

3rd Place

Luis Borges

6639 Baily Rd

2nd Place

 Mario & Kathy D'Alesio

6615 Baily Rd

1st Place

 Nina & Michele Alfonsi

5761 Melling

Elite categories (The contestants of the Elite awards consist of the winners from the previous three years  -2010-2011-2012-from their respective categories, who have won on two or more occasions. 

Elite Apartment &Condominium Buildings  

3rd Place


Le Bristel (Marcia Reim with Ruth Kovac and Sam Goldbloom above)

6030 Cavendish

2nd Place

Monte Verdi

5500 Borden

1st Place

Mackle Manor

6635 Mackle Rd.

 Elite Single Family and Semi-Detached Homes  

Tied for 3rd Place

Irene Darrell

5710 Wentworth

Mario Poisena

5777 Rand Avenue

2nd Place

Lucie Chemtob

6885 Banting

 1st Place

Lucie Bendahan

5616 Parkhaven

Elite Duplex  

3rd Place

Remo D'Alesio 

6641 Baily Rd

2nd Place

 Antonio Giobbi

5862 Shalom

1st Place

Tony & Florinda Alfonso

6647 Baily Rd

Elite Townhouses  

2nd Place

Susan & Harvey Schwartz

6043 Cavendish Boulevard

1st Place

Dr. Laurentia de Vreeze

Grand Prize  

Single Family and Semi-detached homes


Zelda Rabin (above with Mitchell Brownstein, Sam Goldbloom and Anthony Housefather)

5588 Randall

Côte Saint-Luc wishes to thank our sponsors  Canbec Inc., CMS Entrepreneurs Inc. and  Jack Vincelli Inc. This  year’s judges were  Joan and Bernie King, Louise Ferland and Sammy Pinsky, Marsha Reim andfor the first time this year, from the  CSL vCOP’s  (Volunteer Citizens on Patrol) Roz Kasner,  David Guttman, Sandra Segal and Alice Schwarcz. Maisons Fleuries Committee Members joining the co-chairs were Director of  Parks and Recreation David Taveroff,  Manager of  Leisure and Community Services Cornelia Ziga,  Horticulture Foreman from Public Works Joane Warren, photographer extraordinaire Rami Negev and Peter Kopitas

As for the video,  Councillors  Brownstein, Goldbloom and Mayor Housefather visited a number of the winners under the premise that they had been disqualified. Given the fact that all three star in our very own CSL Dramatic Society, it was not surprising to see such a hysterical screenplay.  For example, one garden was “disqualified” because there was a kippa on a flower and a large cross inside – the Charter of Values strikes again. It was all in good fun and the audience ate it all up.

 More coverage on Councillor Glenn J. Nashen's blog.



Lawrence Bergman shows fire in the belly as he prepares for election

With the municipal elections in Quebec just a few weeks, can we really stomach a provincial vote on December 9? Well it is certainly looking like Premier Pauline Marois will pull the trigger on one for that date, with the hope that she has winning conditions on her side.

For the voters in the riding of D’Arcy McGee, which emcompasses Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead and part of NDG, it is comforting to know that long-time MNA Lawrence Bergman will be back as a candidate whenever Marois sends us back to the polls. There was cautious optimism at his nomination meeting at the Adath Israel Congregation on October 16 that the Liberals might be returned to power. Bergman sounded confident and so did two of his colleagues – MNAs and former cabinet ministers Pierre Arcand and Jean-Marc Fournier. John Parisella, the architect behind past provincial Liberal success stories, was a keynote speaker. He focused his talk on key Liberal values.

It is clear that with their divisive Charter of Values, the PQ wants to create a rift in the province. They have used this clearly xenophobic tactic to draw attention away from their poor economic performance, with an attempt to woo voters who agree that a ban on religious symbols is a good idea.  The proposed charter would ban public servants from wearing kippahs, hijabs, or larger-than-average crosses.

I joined members of the Côte Saint-Luc city council Glenn J.  Nashen, Sam Goldbloom, Ruth Kovac, Mitchell Brownstein, Dida Berku, Steven Erdelyi and Allan J. Levine at the event.

Councillors Goldbloom, myself, Berku, Nashen and Levine with Bergman.

Mayor Anthony Housefather was away on business, but he did send this message of support: “I am so sorry that work obligations have not allowed me to be at your nomination meeting tonight, but I want to express my strong support for your candidacy and my profound appreciation for your work as an MNA.  We have worked together since I was first elected a councillor and you were first elected an MNA 19 years ago.  Throughout that entire period you have been a friend and a mentor and someone who has taught me so much about what politics should truly be about which is doing good things for the people you represent and society as a whole.  As mayor of Côte Saint-Luc I can only say that you have been there at every step of the way to support our municipality and its 34,000 residents.  Whether it was securing funding for the construction of our fabulous new Aquatic and Community Centre, assisting us in getting legislation enacted to protect our exemplary EMS first responder service, helping us work on safety in our rail yards or lobbying for the Cavendish extension,  you have always been there for us.  In the last year since the PQ was elected you have been at the forefront assisting us in opposing the mean spirited Bill 14 and the horrendous Charter of Quebec Values, both of which attacked our rights and freedoms.  I am very proud to call you my MNA and D’Arcy McGee is extremely lucky to have you represent us in the National Assembly. I wish you the best of success and will be there every step of the way to support you and the Liberal Party in the next Quebec election.”

Hampstead Councillors Bonnie Feigenbaum (candidate for mayor), Michael Goldwax and Leon Elfassy were on hand. So was Russell Copeman, a former Liberal MNA and now a candidate for borough mayor in NDG-Côte des Neiges and the man who currently holds that title, Darlington District Councillor Lionel Perez. District 2 resident Martin Bogante, who presided over the local riding association for 18 years, was clearly a relaxed observer. New Police Station 9 Commander Marc Cournoyer made an appearance as did Senator Leo Kolber. Mark Bergman, with wife Sara and adorable seven year old daughter Mollie, was on hand. The MNA’s son, best known as the brand director and drive home show host on Virgin Radio, raced home from the end of shift to salute his dad.

Mark Bergman, wife Sara and daughter Mollie.

Bergman had very warm words for the woman in his life, Viviane Konigsberg. Bergman’s wife Monica passed away from cancer over a decade ago. He remained single for many years. Viviane is with him at all public events. He called her “my deep love of my companion.”

Fournier ripped into the PQ’s record. “They were supposed to have a zero deficit and instead it is a $2 billion deficit,” he said. “Nobody is happy that the economy is headed in the wrong direction. If they call us for an election, we are going to have to define the kind of society we want. Being united is the only way our society will be better.”

On the eve of his 73rd birthday, Bergman showed that he still has plenty of fire in his belly. The de facto “Minister of Jewish Affairs” stated to much applause, “for the sake of all of Quebec we need a change in government.” He went on to accuse the PQ of wanting to institute state sponsored discrimination.

Added Bergman: “How many times have I said that all Quebecers, those born here and those who decided to come to our shores, are equal no matter what the colour of our skin, their origin and the society that they come from? We are all equals as Quebecers and Canadians. Unfortunately the present government wants to break with that premise.”

 Bravo Mr. Bergman!






New McDonald's franchise opens at CSL Shopping Centre

Since  I was a young child, I have eaten at McDonald's more times than I can remember. But not until October 15 had I experienced a behind the scenes tour of one of the restaurants.

Franchisee Pierre Brunet with Steven Erdelyim Mayor  Housefather, myself, Allan J. Levine and Ruth Kovac.

The occasion was a small ceremony for the brand new McDonald's which just opened at the Côte Saint-Luc Shopping Centre. It is a beautiful facility, spread over two floors with a drive through and open 24 hours a day. The place is also in the best hands possible with franchisee Pierre Brunet, certainly no stranger to our community. 'Mr. Brunet owned the McDonald's on Côte Saint-Luc Road and Walkley (actually considered NDG), which closed about 18 years ago. Among his current 16 franchises are the Quartier Cavendish food court, St. Jacques Street West, Queen Mary Road,  Côte des Neiges  and Linton, Beaumont in TMR, Marché Central, three  in LaSalle and one Verdun.


Mayor Anthony Housefather was on hand to congratulate Mr. Brunet alongside  five members of council: myself, Steven Erdelyi, Ruth Kovac, Dida Berku and Allan J. Levine. Manager Don Martin brought us right behind the counter and into the kitchen. Councillors Levine and Berku could not resist the temptation of the smell of french fries. Councillor Levine (left) scooped up a medium order himself while (below) Councillor Berku requested a small one. We were joined  by some of the CSL residents whose homes are right next to the facility.

Dida Fries

I was also happy to see Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Brody on hand. The two longtime residents of Sir Walter Scott Avenue in District 2 have been close friends with Mr. Brunet for years.

Mr. Brunet said that without any bells and whistles, he opened the doors to the new franchise and business is already at the level he expected. When inside check out the neat digital me menus.

"I am very happy to be back in this neighbourhood," said Mr. Brunet.

With the neighbours.

With the Brodys.

Prepping the food in the kitchen.


Shaare Zion edges CSL's TBDJays to capture MSSL title

The Shaare Zion Lions are the 2013 Champions of the MSSL (Montreal Synagogue Softball League) for the fifth year in a row. In a thrilling and exciting two out of three final series against the TBDJays, the Lions lost the first game 5-4 to a younger and hungrier Jays team. With their backs to the wall, the Lions came from behind and took Game Two 13-10. And in the sudden death Game Three final at Trudeau Park in Côte Saint-Luc, the Lions battled the Jays and emerged victorious in a 11-9 win.

ShaareZion champs

“We were an average team all year as many of our regulars were out with injuries” said manager/player Asher Tannenbaum. “But we stuck together, played smart and are thrilled with this fifth championship. We can claim to be The Montreal Canadiens of Softball and will return next year to win the sixth.”

The MSSL was created about seven years ago and there are eight synagogue teams in the league. Games are played on Sunday mornings from June through September.

For more information, please contact the Commissioner Asher Tannenbaum at or514-481-7727#237

Centrepoint development breaks ground on more homes

There are many things the present Côte Saint-Luc City Council can be proud about. We assumed office eight years ago,  after demerging from Montreal. The redevelopment of the Cavendish Mall property was front and center on our agenda and this was a process which took a few years to iron out. A lot of proposals went back and forth. We had to make sure that we would not create a situation with too much traffic.

A beautiful new development called Centrepoint is now taking shape. When all is said and done there will be 68 townhouses, 31 single family homes, 18 semi-detached homes and a mixed use building where the number of units are still  to be determined.  The new homes on Kildare Road, Cavendish Boulevard,  Park Place and  Jubilee are situated  within District 2., Those on the extension of Kellert Avenue fall within Glenn J. Nashen's District 6.

On October 7, I was joined by a number of colleagues for a ground breaking ceremony for 14 new homes on Kellert near the Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation. Pictured left to right below are myself, Councillor Sam Goldbloom, Councillor Nashen, project manager Line Dufresne, Dubelle Developments president Joe Levine, Dubelle vice-president (and District 2 resident) Jason Levine and Councillor Mitchell Brownstein. Bravo to the Levines, who have done a magnificent job helping to grow our community with such projects as Ilan Ramon Crescent, Cambridge Courts, Chelsea Courts and now Centrepoint.

New homesKellert