The Côte Saint-Luc Men`s Club sure knows how to throw a party! Their annual gala is always the highlight of the social season for some of our most outgoing senior citizens and the 2016 edition was no exception.
This 29th annual gala was held at the Gelber Conference Centre. It was a sold out affair, with more than 400 people in attendance. District 2 resident Joe Presser served as the gala chairman, working with committee members Nathan Brotman, Kenny Bessner, David Haltrecht, David Gandell, Peter Sternberg, Mannie Young and Syd Kronish. Syd is the Men`s Club president and also a District 2 constituent of mine.
Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and members of city council were in attendance as was Mount Royal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather and D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum. His predecessor, Lawrence Bergman, was on hand as well. Lawrence maintains a very steady presence at community events. There was entertainment by Greg Innis on the keyboard an magic with Jody M.
I always enjoy this evening, which begins with hors d'oeuvres and continues with a full course dinner, open bar, desserts and some nice presentations. It was nice to see many couples I have known for years. Joe and Isabel Presser, Morris and Essie Liqournick , Bernie and Rhona Rapp, now retired pharmacist (after 60 years) Arnie Smith and wife Francis, Kenny and Rhoda Bessner, Aaron and Esther Spector, Manny and Charna Young, George and Phyllis Nashen, Allen and Shirley Rosen...the list goes on.
This year's Man of The Year was Bill Surkis, the Men's Club vice-president who sadly passed away very suddenly over a week ago. He was 77. Bill enjoyed a distinguished career as a pedagogue, head of the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre and B'nai Brith Canada. He suffered some adversity in recent years and the death of his devoted wife. The Men's Club provided him with an opportunity for a fresh start. Many of his family members were on hand to accept the honour posthumously. Kronish also paid tribute to the late Seymour Kleinberg, a sweetheart of a gentleman and a two-time Mann of the Year, who also passed away recently.
Housefather said that he is so proud of the Men's Club that he spoke about it in the House of Commons. "I sit on the Liberal Party Seniors Committee," he said. "I always use this club as an example of what we should be doing across the country."
Birnbaum made a declaration in the Quebec National Assembly last month. "Aging is not lost youth, but a new stage of opportunity and strength," he said, quoting legendary feminist leader Betty Friedan. "Together, you have created and sustained a sanctuary for fellowship, debate, exercise - mental and physical - community charity and, ultimately, the meaning and connection that makes life so worth living."
Birnbaum also hinted that he may be bringing Quebec Premier Phillipe Couillard to speak to the Men's Club in the not too distant future.
The Men's Club honoured three individuals for their contributions: Jimmy Indig, Phil Goldberg and Pat Kutz. Yes Pat is a lady, but for the past decade she has used her talents in calligraphy to make the place cards for guests as successive galas. She was unable to attend, but her sister Ellie Kurtz represented her.
There was also the traditional presentation of plaques to members who turned 90 this year: Sam Altman, Arnold Garber, Steven Hopman, Myer Hart, Ben Merson, Max Kalic, Jack Kadaner, Harry Rubenstein, Saul Horowitz, Ruby Frankel, Saul Katz and Norman Hayman.
To conclude the evening, the ever so talented Phil Kurtz presented a beautiful painting to the Men's Club.
We are very proud of this group.Bravo to all!