Beth Chabad

Rain does not dampen Beth Hashoeva celebrations

  There was non-stop rain on the evening of September 27, 2010, at times very heavy. But that did not stop Beth Chabad Côte Saint-Luc from holding its annual Beth Hashoeva celebration at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park. Entertainer Yehuda Piamenta and his band performed all night long on the big stage. When I arrived, following a city council meeting, a group of Chabad members grabbed my arm and had me join in a celebratory dance. In my capacity as city councillor and acting mayor, I was called upon to bring official greetings.

“Congratulations!” I shouted. “No amount of rain will stop Beth Chabad!”

Rabbi Mendel Raskin  (with me at the right) told me that despite the inclement weather there was still a nice crowd earlier in the evening.  As I arrived towards 10:30 p.m. many people were congregated under the covered Confederation Annex building near the stage where the folks from Chez Benny and Pizza Pita were serving up some delicious food. And as the rain continued to come down, hundreds watched a video on a large screen describing the history of the Chabad movement.

Beth Chabad’s new premises on Kildare Road and Marc Chagall are still under construction. Fortunately, Bialik High School has made an arrangement to give them space for the time being. Rabbi Raskin continues to fundraise and we look forward to his team getting what is needed to get the building completed. For more information go to

What is Beth Hashoeva? When sacrifices were offered in the Holy Temple, there was also a special pouring of wine and oil at the altar. On Sukkot there was also a special ceremony entailing the pouring of water. The water was drawn the night beforehand from the Shiloach spring, and this was done with great joy and hapiness, with singing and dancing. This was called "Simchat Beit Hashoeva" -- the "joy of the drawing." Today's Simchat Beit Hashoeva is a commemoration of that one, and a fulfillment of the Mitzvah to rejoice on the holiday of Sukkot.

Celebrating Simchat Beth Hashoeva with Beth Chabad

Beth Chabad CSL held their annual Simchat Torah Beth Hashoeva Concert at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Park. Inspired by Rabbi Mendel Raskin and his team, the event attracted a large crowd.

Simchat Torah"This is our 24th year," Rabbi Raskin proclaimed as he welcomed myself, Mayor Anthony Housefather and Councilors Glenn J. Nashen,Steven Erdelyi and Allan J. Levine to the stage. The mayor gave greetings. It was a gorgeous evening for October 6. Performers Avraham Fried and Yossi Bayles had eveyone dancing horas.

Councillors Erdelyi, Levine and I even got into the act as organizers passed us torches. Beth Chabad will soon be moving into their new quarters at the corner of Kildare Road and Marc Chagall Avenue, across from Bialik High School. It is not yet finished, but their lease in the Cavendish Mall is up.

The Blessing of the Sun

  RaskinMikeSun2  Councillor Cohen joins Rabbi Raskin at the podium during the Blessing of the Sun.

On the eve of Passover this morning I participated in a most moving ceremony at the future site of the Beth Chabad Hechal Menachem Community Centre at the corner of Kildare Road and Marc Chagall as about 200 people gathered for Birkat Hachama , also known as the Blessing of the Sun.

This refers to a Jewish blessing  that is recited in appreciation of the Sun once every 28 years when it returns to the same position at the same time of the week that it had occupied at the time of its creation. It was a special significance this year because of the connection to Passover. As people arrived a fire lit to facilitate the burning of Chametz. Rabbi Mendel Raskin led the prayers from what will be the parking lot of the much anticipated facility which will be ready for next Rosh Hashanah. While it was chilly outside, people sang, danced and shared in some snacks. Then, as the ceremony drew to a close the clouds parted and the sun began to appear. "We are witnessing a miracle," Rabbi Raskin proclaimed.


Beth Chabad Plans Move to New Building By September


Enertainer Gad Elbaz, Mayor Housefather and Councillor Cohen at the  gala Purim celebration at Beth Chabad.

I attended the gala Purim Celebration of Beth Chabad at the Cavendish Mall on March 9 at the Cavendish Mal, along with Mayor Anthony Housefather and Councillor Mitchell Brownstein. With hundreds of people in attendance and sensational Israeli singer Gad Elbaz performing on stage, the dynamic Rabbi Mendel Raskin provided the news we have all been waiting for. The Beth Chabad Menachem Community Youth Centre will open by early September in its brand new location in the heart of District 2 at the corner of Marc Chagall Avenue and Kildare Road. Beth Chabad has been based at the Mall since 2001. The Kildare Road site was rezoned to accommodate them many years ago. Construction began on the $5.8 million project two years ago. When fully completed, the new facility will include a youth lounge, computer and teen fitness rooms, a cafeteria, library, kollel/study room, social hall, Sephardic and Ashkenazi synagogues and a men’s mikvah. This will be a wonderful addition to the community and could help sales at the new town house development across the street. Rabbi Raskin and his wife Sarah do an outstanding job with their congregation. It was beautiful to see so many young families at the Purim celebration, which included a carnival for the children and fuilly catered meal by Toledano later on. Elbaz was sensational. At one point Rabbi Raskin turned to me and just smiled. "Can you imagine how good this is going to be when we move into our new building?" he asked rhetorically. I am working with Daniel Malca of Beth Chabad on a special event for residents of District 2, hopefully for June. Stay tuned to my blog for more details on construction progress.


Councillor Cohen is greeted by Rabbi Mendel Raskin at the Purim celebration.