On Monday, May 5 (7 p.m.) I will host the City of Côte Saint-Luc's first ever Animal Protection Forum in the multi-purpose room of the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library.
Since Mayor Anthony Housefather handed me an actual portfolio dealing with Animal Protection in January, I have been working hard on the dossier. I had already been acting as the formal liaison on council to the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee, an all volunteer group which rescues homeless cats and tries to find homes for them.
Many dog owners have approached me these last few months, so I felt there should be a forum for them in public to discuss important issues. Therefore on Monday it will literally be raining "cats and dogs." Members of the Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee will be on hand to share how we have proceeded over the last few years and what our immediate objectives are. Shelley Schecter, the heart and sole of our committee and head of Educhat, will speak. She is also a dog owner. Bram Eisenthal, the publisher of the very unique Precious Pets Newspaper, will on hand. He recently launched pet grieving sessions. Only a pet owner can understand how devastated you can be when your cherished dog or cat dies. Newly elected D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum has accepted my invitation to attend. Now that the Liberals are back in power, we can share with David important animal welfare issues he can bring to Pierre Paradis, who as Minister of Agriculture, oversee the animal portfolios.
Monday's sessions will be an opportunity to share ideas. The topic of dog runs will no doubt come up, as will responsible pet ownership (i.e. picking up after your pet), licenses, adoption opportunities and other issues.
Residents of Côte Saint-Luc, Hampstead and Montreal West have probably already seen agents Élyanne Caouette and Josée Bergeron from Police Station 9's 2014 Bike Patrol.
Police Commander Marc Cournoyer notes that these agents can intervene just like any other member of his time. But being on bicycles does have it advantages, allowing them to better patrol parks, lanes and small areas.
The agents will also be present at different safety workshops at parks and camps during the summer months. In fact, they have a mandate to actively approach youngsters and seniors to see if they need any help. This includes inscribing bicyles to guard against theft. Call 514 796-7813 to take advantage of this service.
While Côte Saint-Luc still does mark Remembrance Day on November 11, over the years we have done VE Day in a much bigger way. The weather is generally nicer, an important factor given the age of our surviving veterans, and therefore it makes more sense. Due a number of scheduling conflicts, we held the event a bit earlier this year. There was a good crowd on hand at Veteran’s Park. Frank Levine, the dynamic president of The Brigadier Kish Branch #97 of the Royal Canadian Legion oversaw the ceremony with Councillors Allan J. Levine and Ruth Kovac as co-chairs. Our invaluable communications manager Regine Banon coordinated all of the logistics. The Consul Generals of Israel, Great Britain and the Netherlands (in this case the honourary Consul Michael Polak) laid wreaths as did Mayor Anthony Housefather, newly elected D’Arcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum, his predecessor Lawrence Bergman, Men’s Club president Sidney Margles and Station 9 Police Commander Marc Cournoyer .
With Mayor Housefather and veterans Sidney Barnet and George Nashen.
“World War II was fought because of a lust for power and prejudice,” said Frank Levine. “Discrimination based on race, religion or sex is no longer acceptable. Has this new world erased the lust for power and prejudice? The informed citizen would say no.”
Israel Consul General Joel Lion said he knows about wars firsthand only too well. He shared with us the fact that his own son is now serving in an elite unit in the Israeli Army. “I know what it is like to be the father of a child at war,” he said.
The Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre once again did an outstanding job with the presentation of Yom Hashoah. The format they have in place does not change year to year, nor should it. We are so fortunate to have survivors of this terrible period in human history with us to share their stories. Following an introduction from event co-chairs Judith Nemes Black Joyce Rappaport and Raizel Candib, Consul General Lion took to the bimah. In a powerful address he provided shocking accounts of 21 incidents of anti-Semitism which have occurred in the last two weeks alone around the world in places like New York City, Ohio, Ireland, Germany, Sweden, Franceand the Ukraine. “History told us that only an independent State of Israel will ensure that we do not have another Holocaust,” he stated.
The traditional six candles were lit – symbolizing the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust.
The Schlomowitz family light a candle.
The ceremony perpetuates the memory of all those who were murdered during the Holocaust and honours those who survived. It reminds us of our collective responsibility to remember the Holocaust and to protect individuals and communities from oppression, hate, racism and discriminatory policies.
This year’s theme, 1944 – and the trains kept going, spoke to the horrific events of 1944 and as a sub-theme, honoured the memory of the Jews of Hungary, most of whom were deported and murdered in the space of a few months during that year. Six Holocaust survivors, symbolizing the six million victims of the genocide of the Jews during World War II, lit memorial candles. They shared their memories of 1944 through short video testimonies.
In these video clips, Agnes Kent recouned how she was saved by Raoul Wallenberg. Charles Akerman spoke about his family and his mother’s courage in leaving him with a Catholic family that would save him in a small French village. Daisy Gross spoke with great emotion of her hidden childhood under the protection of her parents’ cook, while they were murdered by the Nazis. Joe Fellner shared his journey from a ghetto in Hungary, through deportation to Auschwitz and forced labor, and finally survival of a death march. Meier Schlomowitz reflected on his life in the Kovno ghetto in Lithuania, until his deportation to the Landsberg concentration camp, where he was released. Lilly Toth explained how she escaped a shooting by the Arrow Cross in Hungary, pretending she was dead, washing up on the shore of a river and being rescued by German soldiers who did not know she was Jewish.
The commemoration included poems and short readings in English, French, Hebrew and Yiddish, as well as songs performed by the Bialik High School Choir. A song in Ladino was performed by well-known soprano and cantor, Sharon Azrieli Perez.
Yom Hashoah was declared Holocaust Memorial Day in Quebec in 1999 and in Canada in 2005.
I would like to commend several of my constituents from District 2 who were involved with the committee to organize this event:Joseph Fishman, Paula Bultz, Ruth Najman, Marcel Tenenbaum and Renata Zajdman. Another District 2 resident, Natalie Constantine, performed sign language translation and the Bialik High School Choir headed by Lorna Smith did its usual impressive job.
David Birnbaum was on hand, but nobody from the Charter loving Parti-Québecois nor the CAQ. Municipally it was nice to see a city councillor from Rosemount, Guillaume Lavoie, on hand alongside his NDG colleague from Projet Montréal Peter McQueen, NDG-Côte des Neiges Borough Mayor Russell Copeman, Councillor Lionel Perez, municipal reps from other cities and towns and NDP Member of Parliament Tyrone Benskin. During the recitation of names of those who perished during the Holocaust, radio personality Tommy Schnurmacher (the child of survivors) took part.
Congratulations to the committee and coordinator Eszter Andor for a well run event which should be put on full video and shown in schools. About 4,000 survivors still live in Montreal today. A number of them are still involved as volunteers with the Holocaust Memorial Centre, which, together with its Remembrance Committee, organizes the annual Yom Hashoah commemoration.
The Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre educates people of all ages and backgrounds about the Holocaust, while sensitizing the public to the universal perils of antisemitism, racism, hate and indifference.
The annual Victory in Europe (V-E) Day commemoration will takes place on Sunday, April 27 at 11 am at Veterans Park, next to Côte Saint-Luc City Hall on Cavendish Boulevard. That same evening, Yom Hashoah will be held at the Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation on Baily Road in CSL.
In attendance at VE Day will be members of the Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 of the Royal Canadian Legion, Mayor Anthony Housefather, members of our Côte Saint-Luc city council, dignitaries, veterans and residents.
Meeting with veterans at last year's ceremony.
“It is important to express our gratitude to the men and women who have fought to liberate Europe,” said Ruth Kovac, who is the co-chairperson of this event with Councillor Allan J. Levine. “Our veterans also ended the genocide against the Jewish population of Europe and others targeted by the Nazis. Attending this ceremony is a concrete and visible manner to honour them.”
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.
“I encourage everyone to come on April 27 and show support for our veterans who still continue to do so much for our community and look after their own,” Councillor Levine said. “Every November during the annual Poppy Fund Campaign, the veterans sit for hours in malls and grocery stores pinning endless poppies on endless lapels to collect funds. The monies collected are then returned to the community through donations to local organisations, such as the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation, the Royal Victoria Hospital, the Jewish General Hospital, the Salvation Army, the Old Brewery Mission and many others.”
This year’s commemoration will be conducted by Brigadier Frederick Kisch Branch 97 President, Frank Levine. In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held indoors at the City Hall.
Meanwhile, the annual Yom Hashoah community-wide commemoration, organized by the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, perpetuates the memory of all those who were murdered during the Holocaust and honours those who survived. It reminds us of our collective responsibility to remember the Holocaust and to protect individuals and communities from oppression, hate, racism and discriminatory policies.
This year’s theme, 1944 – and the trains kept going, will speak to the horrific events of 1944 and as a sub-theme, honour the memory of the Jews of Hungary, most of whom were deported and murdered in the space of a few months during that year.
While I was out of town on business last week, Hydro-Québec left voice mail messages for many homes in District 2 to advise them that power would be shut down for three hours on Tuesday afternoon, April 15. Now that just happens to be a few hours before the second Passover Seder.
We have good relations with Hydro. In fact I will be meeting with them in early May to discuss their plans to rewire all of Merrimac Road and Rembrandt Avenue within the next two years. We alerted them to this serious scheduling problem and they cancelled the work planned. It will be done at another time.
Nobody likes to have these forced power outages. Yet they are necessary to maintain our network and avert any serious power failures---a true nightmare for all of us.
I have received a countless number of calls and emails from constituents, wondering why the very convenient Esso gas station at the corner of Cavendish and Mackle is closed and boarded up. The land has been purchased by Shell, which already has a full operation with Raffi Abikian at the corner of Westminster and Guelph. Raffi confirmed to me that he will have nothing to do with the new station, which he hears might even have a car wash.
We do not have any timetable when gas will be flowing again at Cavendish and Mackle. I do hope it is sooner than later for this is a very convenient location for all of us residing in this part of town.
How far back does this station go? It was originally owned by the Eaton Department store. Yes, there actually was a gas station called Eaton.
For my first two mandates as a city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc I was responsible for Inter-community Relations. As such I created a data base of community organizations and clubs operating within our city and organized meetings once or twice a year. This represented a great opportunithy to exchange information and make new contacts.
Mayor Anthony Housefather is now overseeing this dossier and on April 2 he called the first meeting of this mandate at City Hall. While we had a nice gathering of local representatives, I was pleased to invite newly elected Outremont Borough Councillor Mindy Pollak as a special guest. Last November she became the first Chasidic Jewish woman to be elected to public office in the history of Montreal. She would like to start such a process in Outremont where by local community groups reps meet.
Besides myself, Councillors Mitchell Brownstein, Ruth Kovac, Steven Erdelyi and Allan J. Levine were on hand. We spent a good part of the meeting talking about the April 7 provincial election. It was clear that everyone in the room is uncomfortable at the mere thought of the Parti Québecois being elected with a majority.
The best part of these meetings is when we go around the table and hear about what is new with the different organizations. Mount Sinai Hospital, for instance, will soon be opening two respite beds to give at-home caregivers a break . Carol Steadman also reminded us that May 6 is World Asthma Day and special programming will be taking place at the hospital. St. Richard's Church, which recently marked its 50th anniversary, has published a colourful commemorative booklet and it is available for sale at the price of $10. Avi Satov, the vice-principal of Bialik High School, spoke about the current presentation of the musical Grease and an upcoming Cantorial Concert. Susan Grossman promoted Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation's upcoming raffle. Arnold Rosner from Canadian Magen David Adom for Israel said that a new ambulance for Israel is being purchase in honour of Wolf Bronet, who at 91 years young is the leader of the "Wolf Pack" of runners. Councillor Erdelyi, who is also the principal (and soon to be Head of School) at Solomon Schechter Academy, talked about a gala on May 29 which will honour outgoing chief Shimshon Hamerman. VE Day is April 27 at 11 a.m. at Veteran's Park next to City Hall and on May 23, also at City Hall, we will have a lecture for students about the life of Nelson Mandela whose name will be inducted in our Human Rights Walkway on Canada Day. Finally, Councillor Brownstein spoke about the CSL Dramatic Society's next musical called Catch Me If You Can in late May.
For decades, the team at Côte St. Luc Kosher has been proud to provide customers with the finest in kosher cuisine, fully prepared meals and the best selection of kosher meats anywhere. "Our customers are loyal to us and we appreciate this immensely," says Avi Brook, who runs the operation with his mother-in-law Marianna Roth.
On Thursday, May 1, Côte St. Luc Kosher will be moving to a new storefront which better suits their needs in the same strip shopping centre at 5521 Westminster Avenue. Their phone numbers of 514-481-4094 and 514-747-6531 will remain the same. The same goes for their reliable staff members: Billy, Claudia, Joseph, Wing Wah and their supporting cast.
The team at CSL Kosher will be switching storefronts in May.
Due to this imminent move, they will not be able to provide any prepared Passover meals for this season as they intend to close for 17 days beginning April 14. You will, however, be able to order regular kosher cuisine up until April 11 and fresh meat for Passover up until April 13. "It is business as usual until then," says Brook. "We will only be closed during the actual holiday period."
Brook is the butcher and Roth the cook. Together with their staff they prepare some of the best food in the city. This includes prepared meals, from Chinese cuisine to spectacular chicken schnitzel, chicken burgers and by special request - salmon patties. You can see the menu here.