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August 2015

Fourth annual benefit concert for the CSL Cats Committee another successful

Well we did it again! The fourth annual benefit concert for the  Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC)   and Educhat was sold out as more than 300 people joined us at the former Wagar High School  on Parkhaven to hear the Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Milo and outstanding young singers Alexandra Cohen and Nicole Raviv.

Funds raised from  A Bouquet of Classics and Other Fun Music  will go towards the CSLCC’s Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program and Educhat, the volunteer organization headed by Shelley Schecter which has spearheaded efforts in Côte Saint-Luc and elsewhere. There are many feral cats in the community. The CSLCC’s team of volunteers sets out to trap as many as possible, have them sterilized and then adopted or returned to the spot where they were originally found. The committee has also rescued a number of  kittens and found homes for them. Our city also has a cat licensing bylaw. 

As  the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection, I was proud to be the main organizer of the event. I thank Councillor Sam Goldbloom – like me a true cat lover- for his support. Mayor Anthony Housefather and Councillors  Glenn J. Nashen, Ruth Kovac, Mitchell Brownstein and Allan J. Levine were all on hand. Since I launched the CLSCC five years ago, the mayor and council have been 100 percent behind my initiative.

On this night we  honoured our treasurer Ruth Kleinman, Finance Administrative secretary Elizabeth Ruhry  and accounting agent Maria Picciuto  for the support they have given the committee.  In addition, they have set a wonderful example for others to follow by feeding a homeless cat outside the library on a daily basis. They have even named him “Eli.” Stated Ms. Kleinman: “We are just supporting the mission of the Cats Committee. The three of us have cats of our own. My job is to manage the budget. Elizabeth and Maria go out of their way to help.”

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MNA David Birnbaum presents Sam Goldbloom and I with the cheque.

Nutrience Pet Food by Hagen and D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum were our sponsors. Birnbaum, whom I have known for many decades, joined us for the event with his press attaché Christopher Savard. On stage he presented Sam and I with a $500 cheque for the committee and rightly acknowledged the excellent job his Agriculture Minister  Pierre Paradis is doing in regard to animal protection.

The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra (MWSO) was founded in 2006 by conductor  Milo and his wife Lucy Ravinsky. This one of a kind orchestra was formed when it was discovered that a great pool of professional musicians, recently immigrated to Montreal, had no opportunity to make use of their valuable talent in their new home. The MWSO was created, not only to provide these new Canadians with the opportunity to engage in their main passion; making beautiful music in an orchestral setting, but to give them back the professional dignity they had enjoyed in their homelands and most especially, to share their wonderful talents with the music lovers of Montreal.

The MWSO is composed of 55 musicians: about 80 percent of its members are from 15 countries around the world, while the remaining 20 percent are natives of Montreal who successfully facilitated the integration of the newcomers. To date, the orchestra has entertained Montreal audiences with over 30 performances, including several benefit concerts as well as having produced several recordings. The orchestra has also been selected as the subject of four documentary films. They have been rehearsing at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall for many years and as part of the arrangement, they agree to perform a free concert once a year.

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Joseph Milo shares a dance with Nicole Raviv,

Joseph Milo and his team were nothing less than outstanding. You could see the smiles on everyone`s face in the audience as they hung on to every tune. There was a wonderful balance of music, from classics to Broadway. This included the William  Tell Overture,  Moon River, music from Star Wars and the “Let it Go”  theme from the Disney blockbuster Frozen. By popular demand they brought back two favorites from our previous shows—The Typewriter (in which a musician actually plays the typewriter as an instrument) and a cats duet by Raviv and Anna Levitina.

Alexandra Cohen, who has been performing in musical theatre since she was six years old, and acting in film, TV, and radio productions, sang    “Don’t Cry for me Argentina” from the musical Evita, and “Being Alive” from the musical Company.  See the  video clip here or below.

 

Alexandra  is frequently invited to sing the national anthem at many events including Cote Saint Luc’s Canada Day celebrations. Alexandra has won the title of Top Female Triple Threat performer at the Show Choir Canada National Championships. As a member of the Cote Saint-Luc Cats Committee, Alexandra produced a film about the Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program.  She has brought this film to many elementary schools to teach children about responsible pet ownership. Last year she was recognized as Cote Saint-Luc’s Youth Volunteer of the Year. She is currently  in her second year studying health sciences at Marianopolis College, where she created and directs a group called Singers for a Cause. 

Nicole Raviv is a singer-songwriter, actress and dancer. She was a child actor in the touring cast of The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre and is a recent graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Recent New York theatre credits include The Butterfly's Day (Off-Broadway), Be Our Guest (Off-Broadway), and Crossf8- A New Musical. Nicole has made TV appearances on The Good Wife and The Dr. Oz Show, and is currently working on her own EP album as a recording artist with producer Chris Young.  She sang I Feel Pretty (West Side Story), On My Own (Les Misérables) and  I Could Have Danced (My Fair Lady) as well as the duet.

Now for a few thank yous.  To Shelley Schecter, Diane Liebling and Barbara Hilliker who lead the charge in terms of trapping and fostering; Alvin Fishman, Regine Banon, Harold Cammy, Lisa Milner, Ruth Farrugia and Mauricio Giobbi from the city who really steered the ship for us;  Alexandra Cohen, who besides her performance worked on the script, hosted the evening and determined our sound needs; Michel Leblanc whose work on the sound and lighting was invaluable; the Volunteer Citizens on Patrol, who kept law and order; and committee member Fern Collier-Pereira and her group whose bake sale raised almost $400 for Educhat.


Improvements made to fencing at Kildare and Cavendish corner

I was very proud more than a decade ago to introduce the concept of District meetings. Once a year or more I invite residents of District 2 for a Town Hall style meeting related to issues within the confines of my constituency.

KIldareFence

At the most recent June session there was a lot of discussion, as usual, about the busy intersection of Kildare Road and Cavendish Boulevard. Rembrandt Avenue resident Steve Acre  spoke specifically about the  fence along Kildare. He  noted that when a car goes south on Kildare and makes a left on Cavendish, the height of the fence and the presence of vines on it result in obstructive views. In some cases it has been difficult to see if another car is coming from the opposite direction.

Director of Urban Development Charles Senekal was at the meeting as was Mayor Anthony Housefather. In recent weeks work was completed to lower several feet of that fence and cut off the vine. We believe this will indeed improve the situation.

 

 


Respected former BC Jewish Senator Jack Austin weighs in on Trudeau-Israel debate

A few years ago, when the short lived Sun TV Network debuted, I was asked to do an interview with program show host Ezra Levant. I first met Levant many years ago when I was working for the Canadian Jewish Congress and he was a university student supporting the then Reform Party.

Well I was not particularly pleased when I called Levant as requested by the Sun TV Network and he slammed the phone down on me, indicating it was not a good time to talk. I subsequently told their media rep I would not call him a second time.

Why do I bring up Ezra Levant?  Read on please.

Last week Gabriel Erem, publisher of the splashy Lifestyles Magazine, sent a letter out by mass email which basically attacked Liberal leader Justin Trudeau as being anti-Israel. He was in fact responding to an invitation by Toronto pharmaceutical giant Barry Sherman and his wife Honey to a cocktail featuring the presence of Trudeau and a local candidate.

Sherman took Erem’s arguments down pretty well as I documented on this blog. Some people are suggesting that Erem in fact lifted all of his arguments from  an article penned by  Levant in 2013 (April 27, Toronto Sun) .  

My blog clearly made it all the way to Vancouver  as  Esther Chetner, a retired lawyer, philanthropist and past president of the Jewish Community Centre, made these points:  “Mr Erem states that Trudeau's senior policy advisor is Omar Alghabra.  To the best of my knowledge, that is simply untrue.  I could be wrong, but I think Trudeau's senior policy advisors are:  Gerald Butts, Katie Telford, Dan Gagnier.  Plus he has an MP Advisory Committee. Omar Alghabra has no role in creating Liberal Party policy, and has no role in Justin Trudeau's campaign. He was a one-time MP, defeated in both 2008 and 2011.  Yes, he is running again in this election, in Mississauga, as the Liberal candidate. By portraying Alghabra as Trudeau's "senior policy advisor," Erem is insinuating guilt by association - and Alghabra is simply not in a position of influence as described by Erem. As I understand it, all members of the Liberal Party are allowed to make their opinions known, and all are asked to allow others to be heard -- and of course not all will necessarily agree with each other. Attack letters such as Mr Erem's are an attempt to tap into people's emotional insecurities.  Most of us simply are not experts in all the details of recent political history; but reading a slanted version can sure plant the seeds of doubt.”

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Jack Austin

Esther, still troubled by the earlier volley of vitriol,  asked Jack Austin to weigh in.  Austin was a cabinet minister in the Pierre Trudeau and Paul Martin governments, recognized as an effective, principled Senator representing BC for many productive years.  He is said to have tremendous experience and wisdom, both nationally and internationally - and is eminently respected for his intelligence and balanced reason. Austin is a committed, engaged Jew and supporter of Israel, and a rational secularist. Over the years, he has met with most Israeli leaders, and he keeps his eyes closely on what is happening in that part of the world.  

“It is abundantly clear that there is an organized anti Trudeau campaign underway by elements in the community who support Harper and see  every part of the Israel question in black and white,” Austin states.  "No behavior that fails to conform to their belief system is acceptable.  On this issue there is no other way of seeing what is in Israel's interest except through the lens of Harper and Netanyahu.

“I suppose Herzog is a traitor as well as Livni. Obama who has given Israel more material support than any President before him is ‘leading Israel to the ovens.’ Eight former heads of Mossad who support the deal on Iran are presumably selling Israel down the river. It is untrue that Justin Trudeau takes his position from his brother Sacha or from any one individual, Jew or Muslim. To be a Liberal or liberal is to reject the reptilian instinct which leads to permanent confrontation with all its consequences, and to seek dialogue and the chances that over time the role of engagement will lead to the diminishment of threat.

Justin is absolutely on side with the right of Israel to live in peace behind secure and defendable borders. He has visited Israel twice and held discussions with many Israeli's including Peres, whose advice he takes seriously.  It is the Liberal Party that designated Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaida, as terrorist organizations, not the Conservative Party. This has not changed.

“When China was fostering revolution in South-East Asia it became the strategy of the Western nations to show China that it was in its interest to engage with the West and become a member of the world community. Pierre Trudeau, Richard Nixon and others set out the terms and in spite of many issues of human rights, espionage, border and maritime challenges, etc. the decision was to give  China its place in the UN as a base to a secure working relationship.  There were many critics then and many remain and they have cause, but engagement is the only way forward , with all its difficulties.

“In policy terms, we cannot threaten Iran, for example, into succumbing to the world community on Israel or on any issue.  There is no example outside total war and unconditional surrender where this happens. And the world, including the people of Israel, are not prepared for that price.

“The Middle East is a bloody place for sure and Israel must remain vigilant.  But Israel needs friends in the international community to get out of the present trap it is in.  A trap that sees no change at any time in its current situation.  Israel needs change it can live with.  Canada under all Liberal leaders to date has sought to aid in that change, one step at a time. Before Rabin's assassination, by a Jew representing an absolutist position well known in today's Israeli and Jewish diaspora, there was modest progress.  Today nothing, and without the friends of Israel in the world community, tomorrow nothing.

“I wonder whether the advocates of myopia on Israel would like to see their views displayed to the Canadian public?  Would that serve to make the Israel issue more popular with Canadians?  I wonder.  Neither the Liberal Party nor the NDP want to make Israel an election issue, which would only harden its adversarial nature.  This is not in Israel's interest or that of Canada's Jewish community.  Harper has done enough damage already in pursuit of his political objectives, not only to co-opt Jewish voters but more important his own fundamentalist Christian base.

“Attacking leaders of the Jewish community as ‘traitors’ to Israel shows totally the emotional base for the hostility held by those zealots.  Attacking Canadian political leaders who are friends and supporters of Israel will serve  to have only negative value to all of us. Remember the attacks for partisan purposes by the Conservatives and their supporters in the Jewish community on Irwin Cottler, even charging that he was anti Semetic. How far are they prepared to go? Israel has no greater friend than Cottler and he is a Liberal. Is he now again a traitor?

“I end this at the beginning.  There is a well-developed campaign within this election period to stampede Jews into voting for Harper.  This is regardless of the costs to the cohesion of the community or its longer term interests, including those of Israel.  Taken to its logical conclusion, no Jew should be a member of the Liberal party, no Jew such as Levitt should run for the Liberal party, the Liberal party should not exist.  That is the conclusion of the article you forwarded [something in Times of Israel].  No discussion - no debate - no rationality - pure ideology!"

I went door to door last week with Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather, the Liberal candidate in Mount Royal. Many had seen the Erem letter and believed what was said. Once they got all of the facts, they changed their position. For them, Erem`s tactics backfired and actually turned them against the Tories - despite all if the good things Stephen Harper has done for Israel.

I asked some people this question: If Justin Trudeau had any anti-Israel position, do you really think families as respected as the Bronfmans would back him? That about says it all.

See this excellent piece in The Montreal Gazette by voter Michael Hollander and why he will not vote Conservative.

 


Conservative supporters spread lies about Justin Trudeau's Liberals

As a city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc for the past decade, I have had the honour and pleasure to serve under Anthony Housefather as mayor. Seldom have I come into contact with a man as brilliant as Anthony. The ultimate multi-tasker, he has the magic touch when it comes to politics, having been elected to public office in Hampstead when he was only in his early 20s. When he decided to seek the Liberal nomination in Mount Royal, each member of council stood behind him. Now the race is on, with voting set to take place on October 19.

Anthony`s opponent from the Conservative Party is Robert Libman, someone who I have known for many years and also have a great deal of respect for. One thing voters need to understand is that when they go to the ballot box, they will not see the names of Justin Trudeau, Stephen Harper or Tom Mulcair. It will be Housefather, Libman and the other local candidates. Nonetheless, during this campaign voters in Mount Royal are being fed lies about Trudeau. There is no question that Harper has been a huge supporter of Israel. But so is Trudeau.

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Anthony Housefather and Justin Trudeau.

"Some who oppose the Liberal party are using the issue of Israel as the main thing to differentiate the main political parties," said Sidney Margles, a one-time legendary broadcaster and a key player in the Housefather camp. "The Conservatives are trying to make you think they are the saviors of Israel...and there is at least one candidate who has gone so far as to tell some people that Israel cannot exist without the Conservative support, which is the furthest thing from the truth. Now, there is a vitriolic and defamatory letter from Toronto that has started making the rounds in Montreal."

The letter is indeed full of mistruths and I found it quite sad to field emails from individuals in the community who took no time to do any fact checking. It was written by Gabriel Erem, the publisher of the splashy Lifestyles Magazine, who basically came out on attack over Ontario pharmaceutical giant Barry Sherman and his wife Honey's plans for a fundraising cocktail party they have scheduled for Trudeau and York Centre candidate Michael Levitt.

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Barry Sherman

Sherman and his wife were appalled by Erem's email regarding the stance of Trudeau and the Liberal Party on Israel. "Not only did you demonstrate astounding ignorance and unfairness, but you had the gall to cc countless people, apparently in an attempt to undermine our efforts to provide support from the community, which Justin and the Liberal Party surely deserve," Sherman wrote. "In essence, your letter slanders Justin on the basis of irrational views expressed, not by Justin, but by his brother!"

Sherman notes that the best evidence of Trudeau's views is surely his own words and deeds.

-On his brother’s views on Israel, Trudeau has said: "On the issue of Iran, and Israel specifically, we disagree significantly.”  Click here to see Trudeau's visit to Leo Baeck Day School: -1.1026543 

-On multi partisan support for Israel, Trudeau agrees completely with Harper's support for Israel and says:  “I’m happy to say that I love the prime minister for his support for Israel and thank Mr. Mulcair for his personal support of Israel as well, and I’m glad to say that any government of Canada will be supportive of Israel.”

-Here is a link to Trudeau's interview with The Jewish Independent:  

-On Standing Up for Israel, Trudeau  has been clear in his belief that standing up for Israel is more than just standing up for her security, it is also standing up for the very values and ideals that our two countries share…” See this clip of his greetings to Meir Hospital. "Yes, the Liberal Party will have Israel’s back – not because it’s in our political interests to do so at home – but because it is the right thing to do on the world stage," he said.

  

-On Iran, Trudeau has said that it must never be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons capability as it would pose an existential threat “not just to Israel but to the entire Middle East.” Click here for his position.

-On BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanction) and IAW (Israel apartheid week),  Trudeau has said, “The BDS movement like IAW has absolutely no place on Canadian university campuses “
Click here. 

-On Gaza/Hamas, Trudeau made this statement on July 15, 2014 regarding the war in Gaza which clearly demonstrates his and the Liberal Party’s position. “Israel has the right to defend itself and its people," he said. "Hamas is a terrorist organization and must cease its rocket attacks immediately.” Here is the full statement.
 
Sherman notes that as Jewish community leaders, he and his wife have always believed it is crucial for our community to encourage support for Israel from across party lines. "Our pro-Israel community's goal, including that of CIJA and CJPAC, is multi-partisan support for Israel," he says. "We must continue to build relationships with those that seek to ensure Israel’s peace and security. We are grateful for Justin Trudeau's unwavering support for Israel, and Michael Levitt’s record of leading Israel advocacy efforts in Toronto and across the country. We are therefore proud to support Justin Trudeau and Michael Levitt in their efforts."

To Erem,  Sherman says: "Given the outrageously unfair contents of your email, we request that you immediately forward this response to every person to whom you forwarded your email, together with a retraction of and apology for the contents.I hope that you have the decency to do so."

Trudeau has already held a Town Hall meeting at Shaare Zion Congregation in Montreal where he answered a wide variety of questions. Please see that video clip here.

 

Anthony Housefather and Robert Libman will debate on Radio Shalom (1650 AM) on Sunday evening, August 23 (6 p.m.) and at a much anticipated event sponsored by B'nai Brith Canada on Wednesday evening, September 2 (7:30 p.m.) at the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue in Snowdon.

 

 

 


Retirement of pharmacist Saul Singer receives well deserved attention

There is nothing quite like your good old neighbourhood pharmacy. And in Côte Saint-Luc two in particular have stood out for many years - the Pharmaprix at The Quartier Cavendish  and its smaller sister location on Caldwell Avenue. Both are owned by pharmacist David Banon and his wife Sarah Ettedgui. I frequent both, but for prescriptions I have always preferred the incredible personalized service at Caldwell, notably by lab technicians Thomas Virta and Sheila Cohen and the girl with the biggest smile in town, Venice Pedua. Then there are then pharmacists and one whom I first met many years ago at Caldwell was the incredible Saul Singer.  

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Myself, Saul Singer, his wife Arlene and Mayor Housefather.

Saul, who retired August 11 at 88 years young, is a special human being. While he worked at both locations, at Caldwell he had direct contact with the clients. After filling a prescription he`d walk over to the counter and go over all of the instructions.  When a doctor called something in, he`d reach out to the patient as well. And it was not uncommon for him to call the house to see if everything was going okay. I always enjoyed my chats with Saul and consider him a truly stand up guy.

In July I saluted him in my Suburban Newspaper column. A few days later I was told he was retiring. Then came this email from a reader named  Maurice Panchyshyn. 

 

Reading Mike Cohens' article '"Age is a State of mind " brought me back 63 years.. As a youth I went to Bancroft School and after school I worked as a delivery messenger ( 1951-52 ) for Arena Pharmacy  where Saul Singer was the pharmacist.  Since credit cards were non existant Arena Pharmacy extended credit to its clients. On a Sunday I collected one dollar from a client who was quite delinquent.. Mr Singer upon noting  my success was not necessarily pleased.. He sensed that I may have been overly zealous and pointed out that the family was old, poor and not well and possibly might not have money for food. He handed me back the dollar and asked that I give it back to them. As an eleven - twelve year old I did not fully understand his kindness and community responsibility.
Since then I have shared this story many times and have always remembered the pharmacist who helped the underpriviledged of the community. God Bless you, Mr. Saul Singer.
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Maurice

Not only did I  reach out to Maurice and invite him to the retirement reception David Banon organized, but I shared his letter with the media. Not only was Maurice reunited with Saul, but my emails to CTV, The Gazette and The Free Press resulted in their attendance. Mayor Anthony Housefather also joined us and presented Saul with a special certificate. The mayor also received a lot of support from people on hand for his bid to become the next Member of Parliament for Mount Royal under the Liberal banner.

Here is the Gazette story

Montreal pharmacist Saul Singer retires after 61 years of 'talking to people'

Published on: August 11, 2015 | Last Updated: August 11, 2015 6:47 PM EDT
 

After dispensing prescription drugs to thousands of Montrealers over the past 61 years, Saul Singer filled his last pill bottle this week. The popular Côte-St-Luc pharmacist has decided to hang up his white lab coat and retire — at age 88.

His retirement has saddened longtime customers, many of whom came to wish him well at a retirement party on Tuesday at the Pharmaprix on Caldwell Ave. where he worked.

“I will miss the contact with the people, I have enjoyed every minute of it,” said Singer, a humble man who is renowned for giving exceptional customer service.

Singer would often call his customers late at night or the next day to check up on their health or to see whether they had any problems with the medication.

He learned the importance of customer service while working at the Arena Pharmacy, his father’s drugstore on Mont-Royal Ave., next door to Beautys Restaurant.  He started stocking shelves at age 13 and eventually became a pharmacist himself after graduating from the Université de Montréal in 1954.

After his father’s death, Singer took over the family business and worked at serving the burgeoning Greek community that had settled in the neighbourhood. He hired two Greek sisters who taught him the language and he imported a typewriter with Greek letters so he could type the prescription instructions in Greek for the new immigrants. “The Greek people really appreciated it,” Singer recalled on Tuesday. “When the Greeks left, the Portuguese moved in so I hired Portuguese staff and learned Portuguese.”

About 15 years ago, Singer’s daughter, Susan, was talking to the owners of a Greek restaurant in Clearwater, Fla. and learned that they had once lived in Montreal. When she asked whether they knew Saul Singer, the pharmacist, she wasn’t surprised when they said they did. “When they first came over from Greece their baby was sick and they had no money,” Susan Singer recalled. “My dad said: ‘Don’t worry, you can pay me when you can. Take the medicine.’ They said they would never forget my father.”

The next year, Singer joined his daughter in Florida and met up with his old customers. “I knew they had to know my father because Greek people living in Montreal all knew my father,” she said.

Singer said he has enjoyed his years as a pharmacist and loved talking to his customers and listening to their problems. “People like a sympathetic ear,” he said. “I didn’t like baseball or other sports. Talking to people was my thing.” Singer’s family said he often looked out for people who were down on their luck and invited them into the pharmacy and gave them lunch.

Singer eventually sold his business — Singer Pharmacy — to a Pharmaprix in the Plateau Mont-Royal in 2005, before taking a job at two pharmacies closer to home, one on Caldwell Ave. and another in the Cavendish Mall in Côte-St-Luc. Although he left the Plateau several years ago, many customers and colleagues still have fond memories of the soft-spoken pharmacist.

A while back, Singer’s granddaughter Meaghan Singer was in a bar on Laurier Ave. called the Baldwin Barmacie when she saw a familiar name on the drinks menu. The bar was selling a ‘Saul Singer’, a Vodka drink with apple juice. A relative of the bar owner, who also worked at a pharmacy, dealt with Singer during his years on the Plateau, and the family decided to name a drink after him as a mark of respect. After his granddaughter called him with the surprising news, Singer headed down to the bar the next night. Although he isn’t much of a drinker, he decided to give the Saul Singer a try. “I figured if they took the trouble to name it after me, I should try it,” Singer joked.

Saul Singer, centre,  a pharmacist for 61 years, watches as his wife Arlene cuts his cake on the day of his retirement: Aug. 11, 2015.

Saul Singer, centre, a pharmacist for 61 years, watches as his wife Arlene cuts his cake on the day of his retirement: Aug. 11, 2015. CHRISTINNE MUSCHI / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Singer’s wife, Arlene, said her husband was concerned about every customer that he served. “He is very special,” she said of her husband of 60 years. “When we walk through the Cavendish Mall, everyone shakes his hand and then tells me how he is so wonderful. I am blessed to have a man like him in my life.”

David Banon, who employed Singer at two Pharmaprix stores in Côte-St-Luc, said Singer came to work on time, with a smile on his face and a joke to tell. “He was a great example to all of us,” Banon said. “It’s really hard for the customers. Many are his longtime friends and he has seen their families (grow up).”

Singer said he is retiring partly to deal with a few minor health issues. He isn’t sure how he will take to retirement, but he plans to keep busy, keep moving and keep reading. When asked whether he had a last message to his loyal customers, Singer’s eyes filled with tears. “It was a real pleasure to serve them. I loved them all.”

kwilton@montrealgazette.com

Here is the CTV report.

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Mayor Housfather and David Banon present Saul with a certificate.

 

 

 


More municipalities and boroughs must step up to save homeless cats

When it comes to cats, my favorite animal creatures on earth, I wish I lived in a world where more people wanted to have them as pets and that the homeless cat population would disappear. But this is not going to happen and while we continue to deal with the latter problem globally, here on the island of Montreal some municipalities and boroughs are making efforts to deal with the issue.

Five years ago, in my capacity as a city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc and with the backing of Mayor Anthony Housefather and council, I started a Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) and Adopt Program in conjunction with Shelley Schecter and her organization Educhat. Working with a very small group of volunteers, homeless cats are trapped, neutered, vaccinated and either returned to their original location where they are fed, sheltered and kept an eye on or adopted.

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We all feel very uncomfortable with the release part, especially in regard to kittens. The only alternative is for more members of the public to step forward and adopt those which are socialized. If left outside they will remain feral. As Shelley notes, “more cats are dumped than are adopted.  If everyone would take in one homeless cat, this problem would not exist.”

There are also certain owners of outdoor cats who exacerbate this problem by not sterilizing their own animals while letting them outside to impregnate others over and over again.It is estimated that over a period of seven years two unaltered cats can exponentially create over 400,000 offspring.  “For those who pooh, pooh these numbers, you can half the numbers a few times and you are still looking at an alarming amount of cats,” points out Shelley.

Right now the only municipalities and boroughs on the island of Montreal which have TNR Programs, besides Côte Saint-Luc are Dollard des Ormeaux, St. Laurent, Anjou, Montreal North, Sud-Ouest, Verdun Lachine, Ahuntsic-Cartieville and Côte des Neiges-NDG.  Hochelaga Maisonneuve and Rosemount are looking into starting ones of their own.  More municipal bodies must step to the plate. People who do not have allergies and like animals should consider adopting a cat. They make for the most remarkable pets. Unlike dogs, you need not take them for a walk as they do their business in a litter box. You can apportion their food for the day or night when you are out. They even bathe themselves. These are affectionate and brilliant animals who really make a difference in one`s life.

The Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC) will hold a fundraising concert on Tuesday, August 25 (7:30 p.m.) at the former Wagar High School (5785 Parkhaven).  Featured performers will be the Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra (http://www.musiciansoftheworld.ca), conducted by Joseph Milo and  Montreal-born singer, dancer and actress Nicole Raviv. Funds raised from  A Bouquet of Classics and Other Fun Music  will go towards our  TNR  and Adopt Program . Tickets are only $10 each (tax included) and can be purchased now at the following locations: the main desk at the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library (5851 Cavendish Boulevard); the Côte Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre (5794 Parkhaven Avenue); and the Côte Saint-Luc Hospital for Animals (7930 Baily Road). For more information call 514-485-6806, ext. 2200 or log on to www.cotesaintluc.org/cats.   All of the details about the concert can be found on this link.

 


Come support our Cats Committee and enjoy amazing music on Aug. 25th

The Côte Saint-Luc Cats Committee (CSLCC) will hold a fundraising concert on Tuesday, August 25 (7:30 p.m.) at the former Wagar High School (5785 Parkhaven). Featured performers will be the Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Joseph Milo and featuring Montreal singer, dancer and actress Nicole Raviv. She now lives in New York, where she has performed in a number of Off Broaday productions.

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Nicole Raviv

Funds raised from A Bouquet of Classics and Other Fun Music will go towards the CSLCC’s Trap, Neuter, Release and Adopt Program and Educhat, the volunteer organization headed by Shelley Schecter, which has spearheaded efforts in Côte Saint-Luc and elsewhere. There are many feral cats in the community. The CSLCC’s team of volunteers sets out to trap as many as possible, have them sterilized and then adopted or returned to the spot where they were originally found. The committee has also rescued a number of kittens and found homes for them. The city has a cat licensing bylaw.

The CSLCC will honour the city`s treasurer Ruth Kleinman, Finance Administrative secretary Elizabeth Ruhry and accounting agent Maria Picciuto for their support they have given the committee. In addition, they have set a wonderful example for others to follow by feeding a homeless cat outside the library on a daily basis. They have even named him “Eli.” Stated Ms. Kleinman: “We are just supporting the mission of the Cats Committee. The three of us have cats of our own. My job is to manage the budget. Elizabeth and Maria go out of their way to help.”

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These two kittens were adopted last week via the CSL Cats Committee. They are shown here familiarizing themselves with their new home.

As the city councillor responsible for Animal Protection in the city I wish to note that the concert   will be an opportunity for people who love animals to enjoy an evening of fine music while contributing to a good cause. I also wish to announce that Nutrience Pet Food by Hagen and D’Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum, will be the evening’s official sponsors.

The Musicians of the World Symphony Orchestra (MWSO) was founded in 2006 by conductor Milo and his wife Lucy Ravinsky. This one of a kind orchestra was formed when it was discovered that a great pool of professional musicians, recently immigrated to Montreal, had no opportunity to make use of their valuable talent in their new home. The MWSO was created, not only to provide these new Canadians with the opportunity to engage in their main passion; making beautiful music in an orchestral setting, but to give them back the professional dignity they had enjoyed in their homelands and most especially, to share their wonderful talents with the music lovers of Montreal. The MWSO is composed of 55 musicians: about 80 percent of its members are from 15 countries around the world, while the remaining 20 percent are natives of Montreal who successfully facilitated the integration of the newcomers. To date, the orchestra has entertained Montreal audiences with over 30 performances, including several benefit concerts as well as having produced several recordings. The orchestra has also been selected as the subject of four documentary films. They have been rehearsing at Côte Saint-Luc City Hall for many years and as part of the arrangement, they agree to perform a free concert once a year.

The CSL Cats Committee and Educhat are the 2015 beneficiaries. Nicole Raviv is a singer-songwriter, actress and dancer. She was a child actor in the touring cast of The Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre and is a recent graduate of The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Recent New York theatre credits include The Butterfly's Day (Off-Broadway), Be Our Guest (Off-Broadway), and Crossf 8 - A New Musical. Nicole has made TV appearances on The Good Wife and The Dr. Oz Show, and is currently working on her own EP album as a recording artist with producer Chris Young.

Tickets are only $10 each (tax included) and can be purchased now at the following locations: the main desk at the Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library (5851 Cavendish Boulevard); the Côte Saint-Luc Aquatic and Community Centre (5794 Parkhaven Avenue); and the Côte Saint-Luc Hospital for Animals (7930 Baily Road), Tickets can be purchased at the first two locations by credit and debit card or cash and cash only at the Animal Hospital. Councillors Cohen and Sam Goldbloom note that information will be available that night for people interested in possibly joining the committee or adopting a cat. Educhat will hold a bake sale before the concert and at intermission.

The committee wishes to thank Jacques Monfette, Michel Leblanc, Hipolito Corral and the staff at the Marymount Adult Education Centre for their cooperation, as well as key event organizers Alvin Fishman, Harold Cammy, Maurizio Giobbi, Regine Banon and Lisa Milner for their help.

For more information call 514-485-6806, ext. 2200 or log on to www.cotesaintluc.org/cats.