Library

A historic moment in our community with significant $500,000 library donation

How honoured I was on September 18 to preside over a historic ceremony in the history of Côte Saint-Luc.

In 2007, two years after I was first elected to city council, I brought forward a naming rights proposal which was approved. Over the years we named events, programs and benches after individuals and companies in return for financial gifts. But the confirmation of the Bibliothèque des jeunes Max Margles Children’s Library, thanks to a $500,000 gift from Roslyn Margles in honour of her late husband, far and  away entered into our record books.

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Mayor Brownstein, Roslyn Margles, Janine West and myself stand before the new signage.

The unveiling and ribbon cutting ceremony took place many months after myself, Library Director Janine West,  Treasurer Angelo Marino and Legal Counsel Andrea Charon began discussions with Ms. Margles. I was pleased to see Simon Bensimon from Ben-Gurion University Canada on hand for it was he who called me last winter and set up my initial meeting with Roslyn. Former Mayor Anthony Housefather, now our Federal Liberal Member of Parliament, was with us as well. Thank you Anthony for allowing me to bring this concept to our city when you were mayor. We hope that there are more individuals out there who like to attach the name of a loved one or a corporate entity to enable us to  use this money for items not in our annual budget.

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Robert Libman congratulates Roslyn in the company of the mayor and Ms. West.

At the library, we will now seek a naming rights donor for our beautiful art gallery. There is also our Aquatic and Community Centre and Arena, as well as possibly Wiffle Ball Field.

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The formal ribbon cutting.

The ceremony was attended by Mayor Mitchell Brownstein, members of council, former Mayor Robert Libman, library and city staff  as well as friends and family of Ms. Margles.  It is wonderful to see the name of Max Margles adorning the outside wall of the building as well as the interior entrance to the children’s library. There is also a new book stamp with Max Margles’ name, a suggestion that came from Councillor Lior Azerad.

We heard from Rabbi Asher Jacobson of Chevra Kadisha Congregation and Melissa Margles, Max and Roslyn’s niece. She had a very close relationship with her uncle. After the ceremony, there was a nice reception catered by Pizza Pita, face painting and magic for the kids and lots of reading.

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Roslyn and some of the happy kids.

Here is a report from Global TV.

“Every year, like many others, I am faced with the decision about which causes to support,”   Roslyn Margles said in her address. “There are a multitude of worthy projects and organizations, but several factors were instrumental in choosing a Children’s Library  is foremost, an everlasting memorial to honour my late husband Max, an avid, dedicated reader, who loved reading and the value it brings to our lives. In this digital age, the time spent by children exploring micro-electronic media may develop computer literacy, but it does not imbue children with the values that books can.  Tik-Tok, Snapchat, texts and videogames are not substitutes for books.

“Reading and sharing books create personal face to face interactions where children learn to read emotional cues, develop social skills and connect.  Stories are essential for children’s formative years. During challenging social times, it is not uncommon for philanthropic efforts to shift to medicine, poverty and war relief, leaving the cultural arts at the bottom of the list.  I, however, prioritize the gift of literature, of storytelling......of the power of the written word. I believe the saying that ‘Children who read books today are our future leaders.’ I believe that books shape who we are and what we become. Books can transport the reader to a land of wonder and surprizes, like a Magic Carpet.  Stories give children a deeper understanding of the world around them and of cultures that are different from their own.”

In reading a well written book, Ms. Margles noted,  you become part of the story and suffer the pain or enjoy the happiness of the characters.  “Ideally, you become more aware of how events affect other people and improve your ability to empathize  - a very important and useful quality,” she said.  “It will serve us, and our children well!”

Ms. Margles hopes that her donation will enable the Max Margles Children’s Library to provide additional programs and experiences to encourage children and teens to cultivate creativity, curiosity and imagination and to broaden their horizons. 

 The donation includes $200,000 to be used by the public library as needed, and $300,000 portion to be used to create an endowment fund, which will be used exclusively to further literacy for children and young adults including a children’s writing contest to be named the Roslyn and Max Margles Literacy Contest. The endowment fund will be administered by the Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal.

Concluded Ms. West: “Children and teens make up approximately 26 percent of our library membership and check out 41 percent of the library’s total circulation. This generous endowment from Mrs. Margles will ensure that our literacy programming for children and teens will flourish, enabling us to offer more impactful and engaging activities that will foster a love of reading that lasts a lifetime.”


Spots still open for A Virtual Knitting Sweater Club with the Côte Saint-Luc Public Library

The COVID-19 pandemic changed all of our lives in so many ways, notably during lockdowns.

For many people across the world, knitting turned out to be a way to  ease anxiety, keep busy and feel a sense of achievement.

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Knitting courses and clubs became very popular via Zoom and while much of society is returning to in-person activities, the online option remains very popular. The Eleanor London Côte Saint-Luc Public Library  is embracing this activity. A Virtual Knitting Sweater Club with Arlene Lund will take place every second Thursday, online via Zoom, from 3 pm to 4:30 pm, beginning September 15. There are six sessions planned (Sept. 29, Oct 13, 27 and Nov. 10 and 24). It is free for library members, but advance registration is required. You must bring your own materials to the Zoom experience.

Participants will knit their own sweater (see the examples pictured in this article) over the course of this series,  with tips and tricks from established knitter Lund about all things related to successful sweater knitting.

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“Everyone will be working on a sweater of their own choosing,” Lund explains. “If making an adult sweater seems too daunting, they can choose a child's sweater or a vest.”

Each session will start with Lund presenting a sweater related topic and then she will go around the group and see everyone's progress on their sweater and hear about any difficulties, challenges or successes they have had since the previous session. Since this will all be done via Zoom, members will need to be able to turn their camera on for when they are showing their work. They do not have to do so the entire time if they don't wish to.”

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Lund notes that this club is intended for people who are already knitters.  She has given  several knitting lectures/presentations in Westmount and in Côte Saint-Luc virtually. “These were lots of fun and well attended,” she says, 

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There are lots of positives related to the Côte Saint-Luc Knitting Sweater Club proceeding online this fall.  “It is accessible for everyone and in all weather,” Lund emphasizes. “The visuals are actually better because when holding something up for others to view everyone can see it, instead of passing it around the room. Some of the members may have hearing difficulties and the online format is better for them. As well,  there is no background noise with the ability to mute everyone while each person is taking their turn to speak. All in all it really works well!”

A 2013 study published by the British Journal of Occupational Therapy found that knitting confers the well-being of those who engage in the hobby. The responses from 3,545 knitters worldwide showed a significant relationship between knitting frequency and feelings of calm and happiness. Lund concurs. She has certainly met many people who are new to knitting over the last three years and others who have resumed the hobby. Indeed she looks forward an interesting fall session of the the Côte Saint-Luc Knitting Sweater Club

To register go to  https://csllibrary.libcal.com/event/3690864. You can also e-mail reference@cotesaintluc.org  or call 514-485-6900 ext 3.

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YidLife Crisis to present "A Closer Luc" Wednesday night at library and online

Proud Bialik High School graduates Jamie Elman and Eli Batalion of YidLife Crisis are indeed coming home on Wednesday, August 17 (7pm) when they present a live variety show featuring comedy, video, music and thought-provoking shtick inspired by the history and roots of Côte Saint-Luc. Seats for the live show, cleverly entitled A Closer Luc, are sold out, but it will be broadcast live on our You Tube channel.

Here is the link.

In June 2021, our library presented a collaborative project with the Conseil des arts de Montreal which would award a $25,000 prize to a selected local artist group or collective who would then produce an artistic project that would be showcased in Côte Saint-Luc. In the fall, the call went out for submissions and three artist groups applied. YidLife Crisis was selected.

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Eli and Jamie on the scene.

 

If you have not seen Jamie and Eli in action, YidLife Crisis started off as a web series and has virtually turned into an empire. The boys have travelled across the globe, with their alter egos speaking Yiddish with English sub-titles. Go to www.yidlifecrisis.com to see for yourself.

The purpose of this project was for YidLife Crisis to research, write, produce, and present a
special 60-minute multi-media presentation by and for our community.

Using a similar lens to their award-winning documentary "CHEWDAISM: A Taste of Jewish Montreal" (CBC, PBS), where food and culture are used to explore the history of YidLife Crisis’ home town, this presentation will hone in on Côte Saint-Luc to explore the origins of how this unique enclave on the island of Montreal came to be, how its unique character as a specific kind of Canadian and Québecois experience shaped the world lens of the creators themselves, and demonstrate how it has evolved to take on its unique character in the modern day, putting current community cultural contributors in the spotlight. The project will meld the multidisciplinary creative powers of YidLife Crisis as award-winning filmmakers and global touring performers by combining elements such as short film, visuals (e.g. slides and archival footage), musical creation and classical theatrical
elements.”

I was honoured to be interviewed for this project and I can’t wait to see how they integrate my video footage into the final product.

You can also see this story from the Canadian Jewish News.


At $500,000, Roslyn Margles’ gift to our library is the largest individual donation in CSL history

When I was first elected to city council nearly 17 years ago,  I established a committee to explore sponsorship, naming rights and donation guidelines for our community. Two years later, working principally with Director Public Affairs and Communications Darryl Levine, Lisa Milner from our Public Library and Harold Cammy in Parks and Recreation, Council approved our recommendations.

Overall, the city has done very well in terms of event and program sponsorship over the years. For the most part, naming rights were relegated to park benches and lectures. Soon after last November’s election, someone in the community connected me with philanthropist Roslyn Margles. Over the course of many months, working with Director of Library Services Janine West, Treasurer Angelo Marino and Legal Counsel Andrea Charon, we reached an agreement which has resulted into the largest individual donation in city history: $500,000 to name the Bibliotheque des jeunes Max Margles Children’s Library. City Council approved the contract at our Monday, August 8, 2022 meeting.

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An artistic rendering of what the signage will look like.

 

Max Margles loved to read. He was an in-depth reader, seeking out well-written and engrossing books, relevant and meaningful. He kept two Rolodex files – one arranged by author, the other arranged by title. On these small cards, in his meticulous printing (he was a structural engineer), he summarized the nature of the book, the plot, and provided his eloquent assessment of the work.  When Max died suddenly in 2004, his widow Roslyn looked for projects to endow in Max’s memory. Since the couple has no children, Roslyn carries on this mandate with vigour and pride. She established a Max Margles Endowment Fund at the Jewish Public Library in Montreal, sponsoring an annual lecture by outstanding literary authors.  And the Quebec Writers Federation now has the Max Margles  Writing Residency.
 
A resident of Côte Saint-Luc, Roslyn Margles has agreed to bestow this gift upon us in two parts: a $200,000 donation, and a $300,000 endowment fund to be created by the Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal.

We are absolutely thrilled to receive this donation. I have spoken to  Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Councillor Lior Azerad, who has the sponsorship portfolio and indeed we hope that other members of the community will step forward as we have many other naming rights opportunities at the library and in other departments.

Donations such as this are intended to be used for items not in our regular budget.

So in this case, guidelines will include programming that encourages literacy, including but not limited to: Own Voices Literary Festival, Children’s Book Week activities and events, Public Libraries Week activities and event. As well, activity that promotes an annual writing or storytelling contest branded the Roslyn and Max Literacy Contest, with the co-operation of schools situated on the Côte Saint-Luc territory, and perhaps, involvement of local authors, a jury, prizes, etc. We have also discussed programming that encourages performing arts programs.

Pending Ms. Margles’ signature on our contract, we intend to unveil indoor and outdoor signage at a ceremony on Sunday morning. A celebration will take place on Sunday, September 18 in  the newly named Children's Department from 10 am to Noon.

We are very excited.


Shirley Shoub and Sharon Asher unveil their new children's book "What Makes A Perfect Princess"

A new children’s book called What Makes a Perfect Princess is in fact something that can appeal and apply to people of all ages.

So says author Sharon Asher and illustrator Shirley Shoub, noting that the book  has very positive messages about self-acceptance.

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The story revolves around a princess who lives in a beautiful castle and is sad because she thinks she is not perfect and has no confidence in herself.  The princess believes that she must follow the suggestions of others in order to be perfect. Her three friends tell her everything they think she should do. Even after following all their advice, she still feels badly about herself. Only then does she decide to read the book she’s always had, and there, she discovers her answer – a universal truth - and is finally happy.

The two ladies met about a decade ago. Asher had pretty much written her book and upon discovering that Shoub was an artist, she asked her to handle the illustration.  “Sharon actually read  the book to me and  I immediately felt that I was supposed to do this,” Shoub says. “I was taking art classes in Côte Saint-Luc at the time and I approached my teacher George and asked him to help me illustrate. It took me two years, but I am very pleased with the end results.”

Here is my video chat with the two ladies.

 

More years passed until Asher and Shoub actually self-published. It can be purchased  here on Amazon. In addition, it will be available for loan at local libraries. The CSL Public Library already has a copy and Asher would like to donate to others.

 “Children age three and older, as well as the adults reading the story to the children, can look at the illustrations and enjoy them along with the words,” says Shoub. “There are many subtle messages within my illustrations which add further in depth meaning and expansion to complement Sharon’s words. For the artist, whatever we have experienced in life comes through in our art. Likewise, the same applies for the reader’s understanding of the art.

“Years ago, I worked as a social counsellor representing foster children with special needs. Why were they foster children? Sometimes, life hands parents more than they can handle or more than they believe they can handle. Many of these foster children had been left in their infancy in the hospitals for others to handle. It would have required a life commitment for the parents. This is not a judgment call. It requires tremendous love, strength and commitment to nurture these children.To honour these children, I have integrated them into my illustrations.”

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Shoub recalls in days when she was a child living near the Main, children played jacks on the sidewalk or rolled marbles into cement holes that they could find.  “Hence,” she says, “in the Princess story, I drew two boys playing checkers on the sidewalk in the inner city. Of course, there is a message there. Sharon’s story is about self confidence. It is hoped that those who read it, if they do not already have it, will gain an appreciation of who they are.”

Asher is a lifelong educator. Having received her training at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia), McGill University, MacDonald College and the University of Sherbrooke, she began her teaching career at the elementary and high school levels. Soon thereafter, she joined the English Department at John Abbott College in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Quebec, where she taught for 30 years. Her courses focused on the areas of children’s literature, drama as literature, paranormal psychology and literature, and writing.

Bravo for a job well done!


Remarkable art exhibit by Shushana Caplan at CSL Public Library from a child Holocaust survivor

On the occasion of Jewish Heritage Month, our Côte Saint-Luc Public Library is presenting a most interesting exhibit by artist Shushana Caplan, who re-creates her childhood memories of being a refugee in Siberia. She uses reproductions of photos that her parents brought with them during the war from Brest, Belarus to Siberia to create her unique artworks.

Shushana’s father had been in the Polish army in 1939, but with the German occupation of Poland, he I knew that his family’s only chance of survival was to leave his hometown of Mezrycz. He and most of his siblings and his wife’s siblings took refuge at his brother’s home in Brest-Litovsk, a Polish city that fell under Russian rule as a result of the German-Soviet Non-aggression Pact of 1939. I met with Shushana last week for a personal tour of her paintings. The story is fascinating and given the scenes we see on television every day related to the war in Ukraine, very timely.

 

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Shushana Caplan at her exhibit.

 

“I am a survivor,” Shushana says. “For some reason that fact seems of utmost importance to me at this time of my life. Perhaps it’s because I never expected to survive in the first place and certainly my parents never held out much hope for my continued existence. When my mother was pregnant with me, they chose to leave their home, their parents and everything they loved and treasured to escape the Nazi onslaught that was consuming their country, Poland. We spent a month on cattle cars. Many did not survive.


“It was fear that drove them to leave their home, their parents and their comfortable life. Their greatest fear was that the Nazis would destroy everything in their way and as Jews, they feared for their lives. They had heard the stories of how Jews were being treated in Germany, their rights removed, indignities heaped on them and removal to concentration camps. Finally, the news of the violence and destruction of Kristallnacht struck terror in their hearts and convinced them that they had to leave, now.”

Here is my video chat with Shushana.


Shushana says her parents tried everything to convince their own family members into joining them in fleeing to Russia. All their siblings agreed to pack up their families and go. “My mother’s youngest brother, Velvel, his wife and three children, Pearl, Esther and Arelle came with them,” she explains. “My father’s two brothers also agreed to leave. Uncle David and Aunt Pearl had two young boys, Tevia and Gershon that they brought along as well.


“My grandparents refused to let my father’s youngest brother, Nute, join them. As a teenager he was still under the protection of his parents. ‘He’s too young to leave home, ‘they claimed, and that was that. Miraculously he did survive the war, but they didn’t.”

The story of her survival is a miracle.


“I was only one month old when we were deported to the Gulag, the slave labour camps of Siberia,” says Shushana. “Extreme conditions awaited us; freezing temperatures, backbreaking labour and the constant threat of starvation. With a tiny infant to care for, my parents struggled to feed themselves while keeping me alive. There was no medicine and very few doctors. Before the age of three, I had contracted diphtheria, whooping cough, pneumonia twice and even malaria. It’s no wonder they constantly feared that I would die. Many other children had.”


Shushana says that this pervasive sense of doom followed her for many years, even as an adult in the safety of her home in Canada. But survive she did. “As the survivor, I am here to tell the story of our enslavement and the terrible years we spent in Siberia during the war,” she declared. “We survived and made our way to safety. It is my legacy to describe the journey of my younger self, Raizelle, to the next generation, my children, and their children.”


From Siberia, the family ended up in the Ukraine, then Germany. Her father found a way to get into Canada while falsely claiming he was a tailor, a trade that was in need. Ironically, he did find work in that area here at a factory.


Shushana was nearly eight when they arrived in Montreal, settling in the Plateau area of town. And an artist she would become. She received her education in art at the Saidyie Bronfman Centre and Concordia University, where she earned degrees in Fine Arts as well as in Fine Arts Education. Mixed-Media painting is her preferred approach at present, using a base of abstract acrylics with collage. Her work is autobiographical in the sense that it is an ongoing narration of her inner thoughts. Personal memories and fantasies are explored aesthetically, but the actual process of painting is discovery. For her painting is more than simply creating pictures, it is an act of finding meaning.


Shushana resides in CSL and teaches abstract acrylic with collage at our Aquatic and Community Centre

The exhibition represents different stages of Shushana’s life. Her parents carried with them through their travels across war-torn Poland and Russia a package of family photos, some over a 100 years old. Shushana creates “dreamscapes” using many reproductions of these photos; the paintings evoke stories, which she hopes will become a legacy for her family. It is a specialization in art I have not really been exposed to. You must go to the CSL Public Library and see it for yourself. I received a VIP guided tour and a detailed explanation of each picture.

Une artiste et professeur d'art


Shushana Caplan est une artiste et professeur d'art qui a grandi à Montréal, au Canada. Elle est née à Brest, en Biélorussie, en 1940, juste au début de la Seconde Guerre mondiale. La famille a été envoyée en Sibérie pendant la majeure partie de la guerre. Shushana a émigré au Canada en 1948 avec ses parents et son frère Harry.


Elle a reçu sa formation en art au Centre Saydie Bronfman et à l'Université Concordia, où elle a obtenu des diplômes en beaux-arts ainsi qu'en éducation aux beaux-arts. La peinture en techniques mixtes est présentement son style préféré, utilisant une base d'acryliques abstraits avec collage.
Le travail de Shushana est autobiographique. Il s'agit d'une narration continue de ses pensées intérieures. Les souvenirs personnels et les fantasmes sont explorés esthétiquement, mais le processus réel de la peinture est la découverte. Pour elle, la peinture est plus qu'une simple création d'images, c'est un acte de recherche de sens.


Actuellement, Shushana explore ses premières expériences en tant qu'enfant réfugiée en Sibérie et l'héritage de ses parents et grands-parents en Pologne. Ses parents ont emporté avec eux tout au long de leurs voyages à travers la Pologne et la Russie déchirées par la guerre un paquet de photos de famille, certaines datant de plus de cent ans. Shushana crée des « paysages de rêve » en utilisant de nombreuses reproductions de ces photos ; les peintures évoquent des histoires dont elle espère deviendront un héritage pour sa famille


International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Library presentation of Pinchas Blitt and his new book a large success

Having lived in Côte Saint-Luc for most of my life, I have always been very proud of our Public Library.

I  was very pleased when Mayor Mitchell Brownstein gave me the portfolio of Library and Culture. Working with Director Library Services

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Pinchas Blitt

Janine West and her staff, one of my first objectives was to introduce  a local authors series. On January 26, to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day (commemorated on January 27), we started off in a big way with the fascinating Pinchas Eliayahu Blitt. At 90 years young this proud Côte Saint-Luc resident became an author for the first time.

A Promise of Sweet Tea depicts a Jewish community coming alive in this vividly told story of a childhood interrupted by the Holocaust, Pinchas Blitt conjures Kortelisy — a humble, vibrant village in the backwoods of western Ukraine where he lived in fear of Cossacks and wolves and the local antisemitic children. Remarkably, he and his family spent two and a half years living in the woods. How he survived beyond his 10th birthday is nothing short than a miracle. It was published by the Azrieli Series of Holocaust Survivor Memoirs: Published Titles.

A Jewish community comes alive in this vividly told story of a childhood interrupted by the Holocaust.   When the Soviets invade, Pinchas’s life is infused with new meaning as he innocently devotes himself to the teachings of Comrade Stalin. Then the Nazis arrive, and Pinchas witnesses his beloved village being brutally attacked. As his family seeks safety in the marshes and forests, their precarious existence brings Pinchas face to face with his own mortality and faith, and with a sense of dislocation that will accompany him throughout his life.

For those who were not able to watch the live conversation between myself and Pinchas, you can view it  here. He is a remarkable man.

If you wish to listen to just the audio version, the link is here.

The book is now available for loan at the library, at bookstores and on Amazon.

 

 

 

 


Library Update: No Contact Pickup in place; sign up for Zoom lecture next week

As a result of the increase in Omicron cases, in-library visits were paused as of December  20 and the No Contact Pickup service was resumed  from 10 am to 6 pm every day of the week at the CSL Public Librar.

The pickup station was moved from the membership desk to the entrance of the library to allow for temporary setup. Patrons have access to the inside return chute, staff also have access to the main desk where the majority of items pass through.

Many people have called me as the portfolio holder and chair of the Library and Culture Committee as to when we will reopen. We will review this situation on a week by week basis. Omicron remains extremely rampant in the community. Books are available via pickup or online. We also have a wide variety of programming available by Zoom.

 

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Here is a case in point. In Commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, please join the Azrieli Foundation and the library on Wed. January 26 to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day featuring Holocaust survivor Pinchas Blitt, author of A Promise of Sweet Tea. The Zoom link is csllibrary.org/liveonzoom. I will moderate. To reach the TBS line: dial 438-809-7799,then press 500 514 054 ##


District 2 resident Myra Shuster spearheads Monarch Butterfly program

The Monarch Butterfly is a pollinator and vital contributor to our ecosystem’s health and survival. However, the  population has plummeted in recent years by more than 80 percent and  they depend  upon milkweed in order to lay their eggs and feed the larvae.

With their breeding habitat on the decline, the David Suzuki Foundation is spearheading an initiative to help restore the Monarch Butterfly’s habitat by educating the public to its importance and by encouraging the planting of milkweed. They are doing this by encouraging mayors of North American cities to adopt the Mayor’s pledge and to become a “Butterfly-Friendly City.”.  To date over 340 mayors across North America have done so.

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Myra Shuster

Last September, the City of Côte Saint-Luc became the 75th city in Quebec to be certified as a Butterfly-Friendly City. The request to be part of the David Suzuki Foundation initiative to save the Monarch Butterfly and its habitat came from District  2 resident Myra Shuster,  who had brought the matter   to my attention. I submited the application,  committing to the city to follow through with at least 15 action items out of 24 possiblities earning us a silver designation.

A huge thanks to Director of Library Services Janine West, who called me the moment she heard about this initiative. She and Myra had previously worked together, so it was a perfect match. Janine and Myra have already formed a committee and set up shop in Ashkelon Gardens behind the library. Janine has also added a pedagogical component to the program, with events like Monarch Butterfly Storytime for kids three and up.

Bravo to Janine, Myra and their team for all the hard work. As a city councillor it is so nice to have constituents like Myra who want to go that extra mile!


This Sunday: The former head of Israel’s Mossad featured in CSL Library live video presentation

The Côte Saint-Luc Public Library presented a very special talk by video  on January 17   via www.csllibrary.org/liveonzoom featuring Shabtai Shavit, the former director of Israel’s principal secret intelligence service known as the Mossad

It was also be accessible by phone. 

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You can watch the entire lecture right here,

Mr. Shavit is the author of an extraordinary book now available at our library called Head of the Mossad: In Pursuit of a Safe and Secure Israel . It is being touted as a brilliant and much-needed book on intelligence, Israeli history, and global security.  Mr. Shavit headed the Mossad from  1989 to 1996. The book was originally published in Hebrew in 2018. The University of Notre Dame Press released the first English translation of the book recently.

I  co-chaired the event with Councillor  David Tordjman.  Israel Consul General David Levy   provided opening remarks and CJAD’s Aaron Rand conducted a live interview. Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and Director of Library Services Janine West  concluded the program.

Candid and powerfully argued, Mr. Shavit tells his life story in the book, including his role in alerting American intelligence agents to the presence of al-Qaeda operatives in the US before 9/11, the secret negotiations that led to Israel signing a peace treaty with Jordan, and frequent long-running battles with Iran.  Mr. Shavit also provides fresh insights on present tensions and possible solutions to terrorism and security issues around the world, including in Iraq, Iran, Libya, and Syria.

Mr. Shavit, who has been a private citizen for more than two decades, was recently interviewed by the Jewish Insider about the book and discussed the historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Mr. Shavit says: “During my tenure as director and even before, I was personally involved in all kinds of relationships between the State of Israel and most of the Emirates.  Since those relationships were secret or clandestine, the Israeli party which was responsible was the Mossad.”

Head of the Mossad has received strong interest. Kirkus Reviews says, the book is “a well-documented . . . logistical delineation of decades of sensitive Israeli security and intelligence concerns. Among other significant historical events, Shavit’s tenure coincided with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the First Intifada, the Oslo Accords, and the election and assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.” Interviews, features, and excerpts from the book have appeared in The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, Ami Magazine, Counter Terrorism Today podcast, SpyTalk, and Jewish Insider.

Mr. Shavit has over 50 years of experience in international security and counterterrorism and is an internationally recognized authority in the field. He served in the Mossad, Israel's prestigious intelligence agency, for thirty-two years, eventually rising to the position of director. Previously, he served in the IDF, the Israeli Defense Forces, retiring after a distinguished service in "Sayeret Matkal," Israel's elite special forces and SWAT unit.

You can see Mr. Shavit’s interview with me on The Suburban Newspaper’s video platform: https://www.thesuburban.com/on_air/cohen_in_the_city/cohen-in-the-city---episode-34-an-interview-with-the-former-head-of/article_26a3df1a-2818-11eb-a4f9-ab9be8fa8034.html.

To get in touch with our library related to the book, you can call 514-485-6900 ext. 3 or email  reference@cotesaintluc.org.

And from the US publisher of the book,  those attending the talk were offered a 30 percent discount to purchase "Head of the Mossad." The discount code is: 14FF30 and it expires on March 28, 2021. The book link is: 

https://undpress.nd.edu/9780268108335/head-of-the-mossad/