Jewish Community

Local volunteers "Feel the Love" for front-line workers

Over the course  of this terrible pandemic so many people in our community have truly risen to the occasion.  

When Alyssa Grunstein was contacted by her uncle to help bake 1,100 cookies single wrapped for the staff and front-line workers at the seven sites under CIUSSS West Central Montreal -Donald Berman Maimonides, Donald Berman Jewish Eldercare, Mount Sinai, Saint Margaret, Saint Andrew, Father Dowd and Henri Bradet – her natural  instinct was  to agree.

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“That is a lot of cookies to bake for one person,” said  her husband Yair Meyers.

With two posts by Alyssa, the couple were  able to obtain over 800 cookies.  “We realized that we can do this weekly,” said Yair.

 With the help of  master of all trades Judah Aspler, they  came up with a snappy flyer. Now they are trying to get as many bakers as possible to bake for this beautiful initiative. 

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Volunteers on the move.

 

The group is called Operation Feel the Love. “We drop off the box at the security desk at each location and there is a person on site that represents us to handle the distribution to the workers,” he explains.

Yair wanted to personally thank Councillor David Tordjman and   Shiri Tamam who he considers as  essential volunteers with the group 

“I would like to try and get as many bakers as possible,” said Yair. “ I think there is an entire market of bakers from the non- Jewish community who could love to help with this.”

If you are interested in joining in email yairmeyers@gmail.com,


Some high profile Chanukah Menorah lighting ceremonies are planned for this week

On the eve of Chanukah, which starts on Tuesday night December 12, the public is encouraged to attend some high profile Menorah lightings.

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Rabbi Raskin

At 6 pm Tuesday night, Beth Chabad CSL will proceed with its  annual lighting of a giant Menorah in front of City Hall. Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and member of city council will be on hand as Rabbi Mendel Raskin presides. In past years Councillor Steven Erdelyi has climbed aboard a cherry picker and been lifted quite high in illuminate the shamash and the first candle. Following the ceremony, the traditional car top menorah parade will take place through the streets of our city. There will also be smoked wraps and wine from the Deli Boyz at Quartier Cavendish, hot Moroccan donuts, prizes for the kids, cotton candy and a raffle offering winners the chance to fly over Montreal and to enjoy a flight simulator experience.

On Wednesday, some of our elected officials and residents will head to Ottawa for Chanukah on the Hill. Jewish Parliamentarians Anthony Housefather and Michael Levitt will once again host this large celebration, with special guest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau taking part for the third successive year.

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Prime Minister Trudeau presides over last year's ceremony,  with Levitt and Housefather.

Here at home, Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation (6519 Baily Road) in Côte Saint-Luc is inviting the community to a historical menorah lighting ceremony on the second night of Chanukah, Wednesday, December 13 (5:15 pm).  On this night a special Chanukah Menorah made from the metal in rockets that were fired into Israel from Gaza,  generously donated  to TBDJ by Jeff  and Adria Mandel, will proudly be showcased to the community.

This Nine Branch Traditional Style Menorah turns terror into beauty in a very literal sense! “Light this Menorah on Chanukah, we are told and display it in our shul throughout the year as a symbol of peace and light,” stated Rabbi Yechezkel Freundlich.TBDJ is very fortunate to have one of only 50 such pieces that were manufactured.”

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Jeff Mandel, Rabbi Freundlich and the menorah.

The menorah was  fashioned by metal sculptor Yaron Bob  from actual rockets that landed in Israel. Each piece is a one-of-a-kind, hand-made, limited edition collector's item. They are true pieces of history - living proof that Israel has endured thousands of missile attacks for so long. The artist has literally transformed instruments of death, weapons of war, into objects of great beauty and meaning, representing love, growth, and great hope for a peaceful future. He has created modern day versions of “swords beaten into plowshares.”

Some of the proceeds from each purchase have been directed to protect the people of Israel from future rocket attacks via the construction  of above-ground, portable bomb shelters in southern Israel. 

Jeff  Mandel has been a member of TBDJ for more than 40 years. “TBDJ did not have a proper menorah for Chanukah and when I came across this one there seemed to be a beautiful message in taking the remnants of weapons and turning it into something beautiful that can be used to fulfill a mitzvah,” he said.”

TBDJ President Jonathan Gal said that the lighting will take place outdoors weather permitting followed by tea and hot chocolate.

 


Local Polar Plunge raises funds for Camp Moshava

Camp Moshava is the only co-ed modern Orthodox Jewish camp in Canada. It was established in 1959 and is situated in Ontario.

The camp draws 45 percent of its population from Toronto, 35 percent from Montreal and the balance from Israel and the US. Moshava has played an integral part in forming Jewish identity in Canada with it’s over 10,000 alumni.

In recent years, Camp Moshava has partnered with both YACHAD and One Family Fund to provide individuals with disabilities and children who are victims of terror in Israel an enjoyable summer of full integration in our camp. “We also provide over 50 children financial aid so that their parents can make sure they aren’t denied this amazing summer environment,” says Director Vicky Shizgal, a resident of District 2.

The total amount of financial assistance for these programs is $170,000 annually. In order to continuing providing the same services, Camp Moshava needs to find creative fundraising ideas.

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The plungers towel off.


This year marked the first ever Polar Plunge in Montreal and in Toronto (and in Israel). On March 19, volunteers jumped into freezing water after raising money on our online site  . Locally, this took place in an above ground pool at the Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation on Mackle Road.

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A brave man gets ready to chill.


A total of $65,000 was raised as folks like Vicky’s husband Jimmy braved the frigid conditions.

Bravo to all!

For more information log on to www.campmoshava.org, email vicky@campmoshava.org or call 514.488.4741.

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It's Super Plunger!

 


Access to bodies of water for Tashlich

Tashlich (תשליך) is a ritual that many Jews observe during Rosh Hashanah. "Tashlich" means "casting off" in Hebrew and involves symbolically casting off the sins of the previous year by tossing pieces of bread or another food into a body of flowing water.
 
The city  of Côte Saint-Luc wishes to let people  know that the following bodies of water are or will be functioning in time for Tashlich on the first day of Rosh Hashanah:
  • McDowell Park (Borden Ave.)
  • Rabin Park (Sidney Shoham Place)
  • Rembrant Park (Rembrandt Ave. near  Kildare).
Unfortunately, due to the renovations at Trudeau Park, that lake will not be available.
Tashliach


Rabbi Yechezkel Freundlich already winning people over at TBDJ

Six years ago my family and I became members of Congregation Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem on Baily Road. For me, it broke a lifetime association with Beth Zion Congregation on Hudson Avenue (soon to be renamed Sidney Shoham Place).

Why did I switch? The  main reason was their spiritual leader, Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz. I had always been a great admirer. Even though he was not our rabbi, we felt very close to him. His sermons always gave me a lift. We made the move and never looked back. I immediately got involved as the editor of their Bulletin and as an advisor on publicity matters. It did not take long to feel the warmth and energy of the entire synagogue. More recently,  I began to work exceedingly close with their fabulous president Judah Aspler and executive director Joyce Reinblatt.

When Rabbi Steinmetz announced a year ago that he was taking a dream job at a synagogue in New York City, my heart sunk. How could TBDJ function without him?  We bid a tearful good-bye to him last fall. Wasting little time, Aspler and his team sprung into action. They consulted every single member on what type of individual they wanted to see as Rabbi Steinmetz's successor. Then they went the extra mile, bringing three final candidates to town on successive weekends.

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Rabbi Freundlich, Judah Aspler and Joyce Reinblatt.

Well, it has only been two weeks since Rabbi Yechezkel Freundlich and his family arrived at TBDJ. I have met with him several times and I will already go out on a limb and say that the executive made a brilliant hire. He appears to be a perfect fit. Unquestionably, his dynamic personality and wonderful sense of humour will win everyone over. Last Monday I invited him to meet with Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and our city council. The banter was superb. 

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Rabbi Freundlich and Judah Aspler with Mayor Brownstein and council.

I asked Mount Royal Liberal Member of Parliament Anthony Housefather to pay the rabbi a visit and explain to him how Canadian government works. He did and reported on  a great first meeting. D'Arcy McGee Liberal MNA David Birnbaum will be next to stop by.  Most recently, I asked the dean of local community journalists, Janice Arnold from the Canadian Jewish News,  to interview him. She, along with Stuart Nulman, noted Montreal Times columnist and blogger, joined the rabbi at a nice lunch organized by  Aspler and Reinblatt.  It was like sitting around the table with lifelong friends.

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Anthony Housefather and the rabbi.

Rabbi Freundlich, affectionately known as “Rabbi Y,” his wife Rifki and their seven children arrived here via Atlanta. Since 2007 he had served as the Associate Rabbi of Congregation Beth Jacob. In addition, he became Head of School at Yeshiva Ohr Yisrael High School in 2014.


“Having had the opportunity to engage with Rabbi Freundlich in the lead-up to his debut, there is no doubt that our incredible synagogue and community is now on its way to growing even stronger,” said Aspler. “With the Rabbi’s leadership and enthusiasm, the days, weeks, and years ahead will be filled with learning, spiritual growth, a connection to tefila, friendliness, chesed, and a lot of excitement along the way.”


Rabbi Freundlich was one of three final candidates brought to TBDJ to spend a weekend with members. “Each of our guest Rabbis commented to me on how impressed they were by what they saw in terms of member involvement, care and passion for the shul,” said Mr. Aspler. “From participation in davening and classes to efforts made to personally say hello and chat. I will add that the level of feedback received prior to and during the search was tremendous. Our candidates were impressed, and I think we all were as well. We demonstrated who we are, and who we will be.”


Rabbi Freundlich received his semicha (rabbinic ordination) in 2005 from Baltimore’s Ner Israel Rabbinical College, where he also earned a Masters of Talmudic Law. He holds a Master of Science Degree in Professional Counseling from Georgia State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Maryland. He and his wife are parents to seven children: Racheli (16), Binyamin (14), Ephraim (12), Shlomo (11), Rena (8), Shai (6), and Shayna (3).


More than 300 people attended a Shabbat dinner on August 19 to formally welcome the Rabbi and his family to TBDJ. “As my wife and I went from table to table to introduce ourselves it really felt like our wedding,” he said. “There was so much positive energy in the room.”


Last summer the Rabbi circulated his private email to the membership, inviting anyone to reach out. He was pleasantly surprised by the avalanche of messages he received. “I wish to express my gratitude and excitement to be part of this community,” he said. “This is such a wonderful opportunity.”


While in New York City over the summer, Rabbi Freundlich paid a visit to his predecessor Rabbi Steinmetz. “We had a wonderful discussion,” he said. “Rabbi Steinmetz has been a tremendous help and resource to me already. I am grateful for that.”


In his former post, Rabbi Freundlich also served as a member of the Atlanta Scholars Kollel, responsible for promoting personal and religious growth through family meetings, personal development classes and social programming, with special attention given to marital counseling and parenting consultations. In this role he also directed the Maor Eliyahu program, an advanced nightly Talmud study group, and held outreach responsibilities for university students and preschool parents. Amongst other accomplishments and publications, he developed and produced a “Strengthen Your Marriage” Workshop which was presented numerous times across the United States, and developed a “3 Minute Parenting Through the Parsha” online video series, featured by several national organizations such as The Orthodox Union and Aish Hatorah (videos can be seen at http://tbdj.org/RYF1).


Aspler has expressed his gratitude to Search Committee Chairs Morty Yalovsky and Ami Drazin, who worked tirelessly in order to ensure that the search was thorough and achieved its goals. He added that committee members Louis Drazin, Edie Friedman, Leslie Gal, Alan Katznelson, Perry Kliot, Daniel Lieberman, Dean Mendel, Shira Vasilevsky and Scott Garber left no stone unturned, explored every issue and detail, and considered every member throughout the process.


Rabbi Freundlich’s arrival coincides with the launch of new programming that will guide TBDJ into the New Year and Holiday season. “I am very excited to get started on this new adventure,” he said.


Funeral for Rabbi Shoham was fitting for a head of state

Funeral services were held on Tuesday, September 22 in the Sidney Shoham Sanctuary of Beth Zion Congregation in Côte Saint-Luc for one of the most legendary figures the Montreal Jewish community has ever seen -Rabbi Sidney Shoham.

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Joe Presser and Rabbi Shoham.

This was a funeral befitting a head of state, with some 1,500 people jammed into the sanctuary which bears Rabbi Shoham`s name. People had to park their cars blocks away. Virtually every member of the local rabbinical community was represented in a special section.  

Joe Presser, a past president and long-time leader of the shul, greeted me at the door with tears in his eyes. "I just can't believe it," he said. "I was with him Sunday night. We were all with him. He was as normal as can be."

It is ironic that Rabbi Shoham, the  man who built Beth Zion  from scratch 60 years ago, was front and centre at the synagogue's annual Cantorial Concert on Sunday, September 20. He spoke to the capacity crowd throughout the evening and as was customary did his rounds during the reception and seemed  to share a word with so many people I met at the funeral.

Rabbi Shoham would have turned a "very young" 87 years of age in November. His death comes as a shock to all who knew him for this man had a lot of living left. Every day of his life he continued to make a lasting impression upon everyone he came into contact with.  I frankly cannot remember a time since I was old enough to know who he was - so as a toddler- that I did not interact with him in some fashion. When he retired nine years ago I wrote a tribute column about him in The Jewish Tribune. Upon news of his death, I updated and expanded upon that article on my blog on The Suburban Newspaper website. You can read it all here.

It was with a heavy heart we all watched the coffin brought into the sanctuary, followed by his understandably devastated family members. I must say that it just did not feel real. How  could Rabbi Shoham, a rock in so many of our lives, no longer be on this earth?

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Rabbi Perton

Rabbi Boruch Perton, the present-day senior rabbi at Beth Zion, said quite correctly that the synagogue had lost the captain of its ship. He said that last month he approached Rabbi Shoham about giving his annual and much anticipated sermon during Yom Kippur  services. "I do not have the energy," he quoted Rabbi Shoham as saying. "I'll think about it and let you know."

Rabbi Perton was persistent and finally Rabbi Shoham agreed. He was scheduled to address the congregation on Yom Kippur September 23.

Rabbi Reuben J. Poupko, the spiritual leader of Beth Israel  Beth Aaron Congregation, called this "a sudden and tragic loss. He made everyone feel important, whether you were the superintendent  or the president. With Rabbi Shoham there was no pretense. It was honesty and sincerity. His heart loved everyone."

There were words love and appreciation from Rabbi Shoham's grandchildren. Asked one of his granddaughters: "How can the man who was the master of eulogies be eulogized?

Rabbi Mordecai Zeitz, now the Rabbi Emeritus at Beth Tikvah Congregation in Dollard des Ormeaux, was among those on hand at the Cantorial Concert on September 20. "He was at the top of his game," he said. "At the end of the night we shmoozed. I wished him a Shana Tovah. He hugged me, which was rare and pinched my cheeks.  For the past 50 years I have known him he set an example of kindness and friendship to all. He has been my personal role model. He had the ability to mesmerize us with his words."

It was an emotional 90 minute ceremony and  at the end, even Herb Paperman  and his three sons -  Ross, Joseph and Lawrence - had a hard time to keeping it together, these men whose funeral home is the site of multiple funerals six days a week. How many times had they dealt with Rabbi Shoham these past six decades?

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Rabbi Shoham with congregants.

To say Rabbi Shoham will be missed is a true understatement. Côte Saint-Luc, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Israel and the world has lost a true leader.  He was the Jean Beliveau of rabbis.  

There will never be anyone else like him!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Housefather shines at YM-YWHA Indoor TrYathlon for special needs

Erin Godfrey Silverstone, the social media marketing manager for the Ben Weider Jewish Community Centre and a proud resident of District 2, reports to us on the recent YM-YWHA Indoor TrYathlon. The event  brought Montrealers together to raise money for Special Needs Programming at the Y. 

Participants arrived in teams and as individuals to complete the 15 minute swim, 30 minute bike, and 20 minute run. Volunteers cheered everyone on and a terrific spirit of camaraderie and healthy competition filled the air.

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Mayor Housefather (left) with the Y's Director of Financial Resource Development, Neil Uditsky,

Anthony Housefather, Mayor of Cote Saint Luc,  Liberal Candidate for Mount Royal riding and he too a resident of District 2, showed everyone why he is the reigning Maccabiah Games Masters Swim champion, as he set the pace in the pool with an astounding 46 laps (1.15 km). Ann Walling was just 5 laps back, at 1.025 km. Laura Telio outdistanced a number of seasoned cyclists with 15.8 km in the bike and Elise Levinoff sprinted past the competition by running 4.46 km in 20 minutes.

When asked about the experience, Mayor Housefather (who was first in the men’s division but ended the TrYathlon in second place just 0.1 of a km behind Cheryl Polansky, the overall winner and women’s champion) told Erin: “I entered the event because I believe in giving back to the Jewish community. The TrYathlon raised money to help people in the Y’s Special Needs Program integrate into the community. I encourage others to find a way to get involved and help make a difference.”

The Y is a not-for-profit organization that plays a prominent role in the life of the Jewish community in Montreal, upholding a long, rich history of Jewish values and traditions for more than 100 years. The Y enhances the lives of people of all ages by offering exceptional children’s camps, world-class athletic and young leadership programs, special needs programming, and by reintegrating recent immigrants into its family.


Long time Solomon Schechter chief Hamerman to step down; Erdelyi given top job

One of the leading figures in the Montreal Jewish day school system over the past three decades has decided to retire. Dr. Shimshon Hamerman announced last week that he will be  stepping down as Head of School at the end of the present academic year at Solomon Schechter Academy. His successor will be Steven Erdelyi, only mid-way through his first year as principal but an experienced and highly regarded young educator who also serves alongside me as  a city councillor in Côte Saint-Luc.

 

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Steven Erdelyi and Shimshon Hamerman.

Dr. Hamerman said that his  retirement plans have been in the works for close to three years. “I served the school for over three decades and now it is time to hand the reigns of leadership to a new generation to lead the Academy,” he said. “I want to thank the thousands of parents who entrusted their children, their most precious possession to my care and the care of my teams of professionals. My wife, my children and grandchildren were beneficiaries of my career in the service of the community.   They also paid a heavy price for it because when you work for the public you give up much of your private life.”

I wish to give a lot of credit to Erdelyi.  He began his teaching career in the public system specializing in math and Science at Marymount Academy, moving on to Westmount High School as a vice-principal and then as principal of Hampstead Elementary School. When Solomon Schechter came calling, Erdelyi had been given the extra duties of trying to get a new public high school in Côte Saint-Luc off the ground. For now, that project has been placed on hold.

So, we are witnessing a very rapid rise for Erdelyi. He is one of the brightest people I know, with every fact one would need on the history of Côte Saint-Luc safely tucked away on his IPad. 

I know I speak on behalf of the entire CSL council in wishing him well in this new challenge.

 


CSL synagogues battle for the Kiddush Cup; TBDJ defeats BIBA

In an unprecedented Jewish sports spectacle which now promises to become an annual affair, the first Kiddush Cup took place February 12 at the Bell Centre – home to the  Montreal Canadiens – and featured teams representing the Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation  (BIBA) and Tifereth Beth David Jerusalem Congregation TBDJ ended up winning a hard fought 6-5  decision, but it was the thousands of dollars raised for youth programming and community events for  the two City of Côte Saint-Luc synagogues which was the most important result.

I would like to thank Martin Banoon Photography for some of the excellent shots here of the BIBA and TBDJ teams and of the opening ceremony.

The idea of the Kiddush Cup was conceived by Lawrence Witt, president of BIBA and a lawyer with the firm Heenan Blaikie and TBDJ vice-president Judah Aspler. Each player paid an unidentified fee to play. Funds also came in via ticket sales, silent auction bids, event sponsors and a family skate on the Bell Centre ice. Michel Lacroix, the true Canadiens public address announcer, introduced the starting lineup. They even had the familiar organ music in the background. Rabbis Reuben J. Poupko and Chaim Steinmetz of BIBA and TBDJ respectively served as coaches. The event co-chairs were Ted Quint and Warren Greenstone of  TBDJ and David Diner and Alex Feld from BIBA.

Hockey BIBAteam

Witt joked that even though BIBA was on the short end of the 6-5 loss, he plans on making a few minor off-season acquisitions to ensure that his club sips from the coveted Kiddush Cup after the 2013 rematch. “Next year, we may even produce a Jewish version of "24/6 - The Road to the Kiddush Cup," he said in reference to the popular HBO  documentary which follows  NHL teams participating in the outdoor Winter Classic.

Talk has already begun about a possible baseball game between the synagogue’s two teams. “This one will for the Seder Plate,” Witt notes.

“TBDJ came into this inaugural game as the underdogs, but keeping with Jewish  tradition, faith and perseverance turned the story around and into a celebration that will last eight days,” added Aspler, who works for Microsoft. “We have no doubt that BIBA will be gunning for us next year, but we've got a team roadmap that will secure our hold on the coveted Kiddush Cup for generations.”

The  RSM Richter Chamberland opening ceremony included Canadian and Israel national anthems interpreted by Cantors Yossi Fleischman (TBDJ) and  Moishe Shur. The ceremonial puck drop was performed by local Police Station 9 Commander Sylvain Bissonnette and Côte Saint-Luc City Councillor Dida Berku.   Some 500 spectators were in attendance.  

HockeyOpening ceremony

Scoring opened at the five minute mark of the first period with a Witt tip-in of a Russell Samuels shot from the point. TBDJ blew the game open in the second frame with a pair of goals by Evan Ellbogen and singles by Greenstone, Avi Miller, Lorne Svarc and Michael Ziegler. BIBA responded with goals by Jeremy Wallace, Howard Wallace and a pair by Oren Nahoum. BIBA pulled Goalie Jake Singal-Kohn in the last minute for the extra attacker, but Team BIBA was stymied by the stingy TBDJ netminder Shaya "Leather Larceny" Csillag, who drove in from New Jersey to play in the game (and drove back immediately after).
One of the goals went to a video replay but was declared a "good " upon review by referee Mark Gross.

Both teams had a practice last Saturday night Feb. 4th.

"This is was great community event," said Greenstone. "Playing hockey at the Bell Centre was a thrill for everyone involved. The kids who also had the opportunity to play had an amazing time as did all those who participated in the family skate. It was great way to spend a Sunday afternoon."

 

The adult game was broken up by a 15 minute kids (ages six to 10) contest and a 15 minute youth (ages 10 to 15) match.

Team BIBA's honourary captain was Israeli Consul General. Joel Lion. He wore   the Israel National Hockey Team uniform and "played" for BIBA. “It was an amazing experience,” said Rabbi Steinmetz. “Everyone had fun at an enjoyable and competitive game.   Of course I am proud of my coaching - in particular because I know so little about hockey. Now that I am unbeaten I’m working on my coaching memoir entitled: ‘The Rabbi's Way: How Studying the Talmud Can Make You into a Better Hockey Player, or at Least, Into a Better Person.’
We left the Bell Centre with our prayers for the Canadiens’ success.”
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Svarc of TBDJ noted that the funniest moment of the day came when Consul General walked into the locker room and exclaimed ‘On the ice I have diplomatic immunity." He added how every kid who plays hockey dreams of playing in a professional arena. “They really brought out all the stops for the full experience,” he says. 

Here are some video clips courtesy of Dida Berku:

 

 


 

  

 


Celebrity wedding: Rabbi Poupko and Mindy Shear tie the knot

Rabbi Reuben J. Poupko, the charismatic spiritual leader of Beth Israel Beth Aaron Congregation in Côte Saint-Luc, is no longer the most eligible bachelor among the local Jewish clergy. He recently walked down the aisle with the gorgeous Mindy Shear, a high profile makeup artist/entrepreneur  in the community. The happy couple are pictured below at their nuptials.

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In 1986 Pittsburgh native Rabbi Poupko, then   27, arrived via New York . From the start, everyone who met him knew he was not your average spiritual leader. At the pulpit his tremendous oratory skills, both in praise of Judaism and Torah and in the defence of Zionism and the modern State of Israel, provided audiences with a tremendous lift. He also showed an extraordinary sense of humour, prompting many to suggest he should consider a sideline as a standup comedien. In fact, he got rave reviews for his performance in the nationally televised Schmelvis: The Search for the King’s Jewish Roots, a documentary investigating Elvis Presley’s supposed Jewish roots.

From the moment he arrived in Montreal, students turned to him for guidance and leadership. So did the community at large and over the past 21 years he has served in some high ranking leadership positions. He remains a media darling in this city, with the press constantly at his doorstep for what they know will be a catchy soundbite. He has been on more than a dozen March of the Living trips and visited Israel  more than 100 times.

I have known Mindy since she was a teenager and was part of the  same mission to Israel with her about 20 years ago. That just happened to mark her first trip to the Jewish homeland and from that point on her devotion to Judaism grew. In 1987  she established Mindy Shear Makeup Studio with the aim of bringing superior performance and elegance to the daily ritual of make up. After extensive beauty industry training and of her completion of a fine arts degree, she  set out to approach the make up business with an artist’s eye.  Over the years she  has had the opportunity to work with various actors, models, photographers and fashion designers in different countries.  She now has her own line  of makeup products. 

While Rabbi Poupko's five children and  seven grandchildren all live out of town, he now has a new youngster in his life: Mindy's young son Shalev  Shear Yaacov.

"We've known each other for many years as we are both involved in community,"  said Mindy.  "We had a long friendship, but we lost touch for a few years.  About a year ago we ran into each other and went out for dinner to catch up.  Slowly over time, we started spending more time together and our friendship blossomed into a more serious relationship. And the rest is history!"

Good luck to the happy couple!