Fifth annual JFK Foundation Stroll for Kids set for this Sunday in CSL

The Just for Kids Foundation (JFK) will hold  its  fifth Annual Stroll for Kids event, a fun-filled philanthropic day that celebrates family and community,   on Sunday, September 22 (9:30 am to 12:30 pm)  at Pierre Elliot Trudeau Park (6975 Mackle Road) in  Cöte Saint-Luc.  More than $600,000 has already been raised.

Scenes from last year's Stroll for Kids.


Stroll for Kids is a family oriented activity-filled day, where those involved give back to their community while spending quality time with their loved ones.  Those who take part must register online, as a team or individually, and are encouraged to make a donation.  All funds raised will contribute to supporting JFK’s Comfort and Care Campaign which is dedicated to supporting the Montreal Children’s Hospital’s Operating Suites, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the JFK Kangaroo Care Program, and the JFK Sibling Park.  

Throughout the day there are various entertainment and activities such as a petting zoo, clowns and carnival games to name a few, and snacks and lunch from some of the city’s favourite restaurants (such as Arthur’s, Venice, Gentile’s to name but a few!)

This year, funds raised will also aid in equipping the NICU with 46 new specialized recliners, created specifically for Kangaroo Care, the ultimate method of comfort and care for the tiniest patients. 

Jodie Zimmerman-Frenkiel  and Alana Geller  are the co-founders of the event.

 “ The event has always brought together families from within and around our community,” says Co-chair Tania Kakon. “Over the years new activities, food vendors and entertainment have come along so it really grows  into something newer every year. The driving force of the event is the loyalty of our returning supporters. The event reflect the values of the community serving a higher purpose that being the  ‘Just for Kids Foundation’  in this case.

"It really is thanks to Jodie Zimmerman - Frankiel and Allana Geller for having this incredible idea to get families together and teach their kids at a young age the importance of giving back and community all while having fun,” added Co-Chair Jaclyn Hoffman. “We have a strong and supportive community and the event brings 100 plus families together every year,  the majority of whom are returning families. Many families hear about this event through word of mouth, and by being supporters of the JFK Foundation.  This year we targeted new moms and dads, with the hope that they will return year after year with their growing families!  This is the first year we are introducing a theme for the stroll, a carnival theme, which adds a fun and different twist to the event compared to past years.”

Just for Kids Foundation raises funds to purchase high-priority medical equipment, and to support initiatives that improve the quality of care for patients of the Montreal Children’s Hospital. Over the past 30 years, we have purchased over $11 million of equipment, touching almost every department at the hospital. That is more than 200,000 children treated and 1,500 healthcare professionals who are better equipped to care for their patients.  

For more information on Just for Kids Foundation’s Stroll for Kids event visit the event page and register at You must raise a minimum of $250.




Little boy is an inspiration to all of us: Nikan Nassiraei does not let disability stand in his way

Five year old Côte Saint-Luc resident Nikan Nassiraei,his mother Dr. Mehrnoosh Movahed, MD, PhD, and members of the city council presented a cheque for $1,700 to Karianne Robert of the The War Amps organization at the start of our council meeting of Monday, August 12, 2019.

The $1,700 was raised during the Canada Day event in Côte Saint-Luc at a table organized by Dr. Movahed. The fundraising table featured art created by Nikan, who was born missing his right arm. He has been part of the Child Amputee (CHAMP) program since he was one month old. Nikan’s family received support from the The War Amps, including information and financial assistance for Nikan’s special artificial arm, which allows him to play musical instruments and be active in sports. His mother says the CHAMP seminars also give Nikan a sense of belonging and confidence.

"When Nikan was one month old and we took him to the Shriner's Hospital the doctor told us, 'You will be surprised what he can do' and he was right," said Dr. Movahed. "He is unstoppable."

2019-08-12 20-22-52 Council Meeting - War Amps presentation 002
Nikan and company showcase the cheque.

As the editor of Inspirations Newspaper, which focuses on individuals with special needs, I applaud Nikan and all of the other individuals affiliated with the War Amps.

The War Amps is a not-for-profit charitable organization and is funded by donations and key tag services and does not receive any government grants. Last year, the WarAmps celebrated its 100 years of services. Their support to thousands of amputees around Canada, help them to live and enjoy life to the fullest.

To donate to the War Amps, visit In the section “Select the donation type”, select “In Honour” and add the name Nikan Nassiraei. 


We can all help in the search for Jesse Galganov: Fundraising Bazaar set for March 17

On September 24, 2017, 22-year-old Côte Saint-Luc resident Jesse Galganov left home for an eight-month backpacking trip through South America and Southeast Asia.  He was last seen on October 1, 2017 in the Cordillera Blanca Mountains of Northern Peru, in Huascarán National Park.  Image-31

Alisa and her son Jesse.

Jesse’s mother Alisa Clamen has left no stone unturned in an effort to find him, notably engaging a prominent Israeli search and rescue company called Magnus International. Their search and investigation is ongoing and Alisa has full confidence that they will succeed in locating him. However, the costs related to the search have already exceeded $2 million.  

As part of fundraising efforts to support the search,  Alisa and her co-chair Jen Gian are organizing A Bazaar for Jesse, a multi-faceted fundraising initiative: garage sale, bake sale, sale of new items, raffle, auction and community event. It will take place on Sunday, March 17 (9 am to 4 pm) at the Lawrence Bergman Chalet at Trudeau Park in Côte Saint-Luc. All funds will go directly to the Jesse Galganov Fund at the Missing Children’s Network.

Some of the high end items available for sale will be   headphones, televisions, fur coats and many gift cards for dinners (Montreal and Toronto) and gyms,   paintings., Tumi luggage, Swarovski Jewelry, Juliet et chocolat gift baskets  and much more.

Alisa notes that her committee is already in receipt of donations of many goods and services from many generous individuals and businesses. Donations of garage sale items can be dropped off at the Chalet on Friday, March 15 from Noon to 3 pm and Saturday, March 16 from 9 am to Noon  and from 7 pm t o 10 pm.  For more information email

This Sunday, March   10,  Alisa  will be a guest on CJAD'S Life  Unrehearsed with hosts Matt Del  Vecchio and Corrie Sirota  at 4:30 pm. Matt and Corrie  are both very caring and passionate individuals so Alisa is in good hands to continue telling her story.  You are being encouraged to like the show's Facebook page  here so you can  also have access to a  Facebook Live feed,

Mayor Mitchell Brownstein and our  entire council encourage  everyone to  visit the  Bazaar and help in any way we can. 

There is an event page for  the Bazaar you can access here.

See this video by Alisa as to what is available at the Bazaar.


Here is Mayor Brownstein's extended interview with Alisa.



Mindy Shulman Croitoru retires from JPPS

One of our community’s most dedicated school teachers, longtime District 2 resident Mindy Shulman Croitoru, has announced her retirement from JPPS after a remarkable career spanning nearly four decades.

“For close to four decades, Mindy Shulman Croitoru has shared her skill, experience and love of teaching with the children of JPPS,” wrote Marnie Stein, Principal and Co-Head of School at JPPS. “ She has inspired her students to reach their individual potential in English, Math and Science.”

Mindy and her new student, grandson Charlie

Mindy’s retirement is effective January 2019.  Will she join our Volunteer Citizens  on Patrol (VCOPs) like her husband Marty, recently recognized as one our Volunteers of the Year? My guess is she will try and take it easy for a while and also enjoy life as a grandma!

 “With care and warmth, Mindy taught the students of JPPS the love of learning and the personal rewards of being a lifelong learner,” Stein continued. “As a role model to her students, she taught each and every one of them that hard work and perseverance pays off. The energy she devoted to that end is very much appreciated by the entire JPPS family.”

Stein noted that  throughout her years at JPPS, Mindy remained committed to her students and to helping develop their confidence as learners. “Her colleagues will cherish their memories of working alongside her and we feel so fortunate that our students were taught by such a special teacher,” she stated.

In the Talmud it is written that, "He who teaches a child, it is as though he created it." Stein wishes to  thank Mindy for the years of hard work and devotion to JPPS, and wish her good health, enjoyment, and nachas from her family, as she embarks on a well-deserved retirement.

As the parent of one of Mindy’s former students, I can attest to her excellent work in the classroom.

Good luck Mindy!

Author Caddell to promote his hockey book at The Samuel Moskovitch Arena

It will be a busy weekend for author and former Montreal West town councillor Andrew Caddell.  He will be in Montreal promoting his book The Goal: Stories about Our National Passion  on CTV Montreal with Mutsumi Takahashi  on Friday at noon, and then will be signing books on Saturday afternoon at Bonder Bookstore on Westminster in Montreal West, then off to The Samuel Moskovitch Arena on Mackle Road in Côte Saint-Luc that evening  for more signing and selling.  The book, which features stories from former Montreal Gazette writer Dave Stubbs, has received great reviews and reached the top 100 on Amazon winter sports books last year. 

Last year I brought Andrew to Royal West Academy to do a reading of his fabulous book.

It features 14 true short stories about hockey and life, from the title story, "The Goal" about Andrew's trials as a 10 year old goalie on the outdoor rinks in Montreal West, to a touching story aout his great-aunt and her idol, "The Gentleman," Jean Béliveau.  There is hockey history about Montreal Maroons fans who supported the Boston Bruins when the Maroons folded in the 1930s, women's hockey, the Habs-Leafs rivalry, and the longest ever NHL game, in 1936, which Andrew's dad, "Pip" Caddell attended. 

The book was originally self-published and launched in 2015, but picked up by Rock's Mills Press in Oakville last year and expanded, with colour photos and four new stories.  I heartily recommend it.  Andrew is now retired from the department of Global Affairs in Ottawa, but is busy: along with the book, he writes a weekly column on politics in the "Hill Times," and is partnering with an Australian company in emergency services technology for municipalities, QITCanada.  He has plans to move back to Montreal in 2019. 


Volunteers of the Year 2018

The City of Côte Saint-Luc announced the Volunteers of the Year for 2018 at the annual Volunteer Recognition evening on October 24, 2018.  A few years ago our Parks and Recreation Department came up with a unique new format by holding this event at the Cineplex Theatre at Quartier Cavendish. All volunteers are invited to see a movie (This year it was A Star is Born), with a free soft drink, popcorn and some candy included. A pre-recorded video of the Mayor presenting the awards is shown on the big screen. Afterwards everyone is invited to a dessert reception. We remain very fortunate to have a movie theatre in our community and its represents the perfect backdrop for such an occasion. Bravo to Parks and Recreation Director Cornelia Ziga, event coordinator Laura Trihas and the rest of the team.

Here are the recipients.

The Aquatics Volunteer of the Year Award

Mitchell Brownstein and Richard LeonRichard Leon
Richard has completed two seasons with Côte Saint-Luc Aquatics. He stepped up to become the officials coordinator. He helps planning official trainings and representing Côte Saint-Luc Aquatics at Lac St-Louis swim association meetings. 

 The Community Special Events Award

Miriam Cohen
Miriam has been volunteering at the Creative Social Centre for over 20 years. She’s on the board of directors, teaches an art class, and organizes an annual vernissage for her students. 

The Eco Award

Diane JamesonDiane Jameson
Diane helped transform the garden behind the library into a beautiful space. She also developed the EARTH Project, which is an interactive 10-step program to help young people discover the joy and benefits of gardening.

The Edward J. Kirwan Award

Dmitry VassermanDmitry Vasserman
Dmitry has been a volunteer for 12 years at the CSL Figure Skating Club. He’s been on the board and has helped usher in programs like ice conditioning, ballet classes, as well as on ice stroking classes. Under his watch, the club increased the number of competitive skaters. 

The EMS Award for Excellence in operations

Peter GarishPeter Garish
Peter brings to EMS more than a decade of experience as a police officer. He has been instrumental in helping EMS revamp and overhaul its driver training program. Peter ensures that EMS drivers are fully prepared for the risks and responsibilities of driving an emergency vehicle.

The EMS Award for Excellence in Training

Steve MerlingSteve Merling
Steve returned to EMS after a decade away. He has boundless energy and enthusiasm. He now leads the community outreach program and helps recruiting new members.

The EMS Rookie of the Year Award

​Alexandre Caherecc-GagnéAlexandre Cahérec-Gagné

Alexandre has been selected amongst the 16 new recruits from the past year for his dedication and passion for the organization. Always ready to lend a hand, with his constant smile and good cheer, he is a great addition to the EMS team. 

 The Hazel Lipes Award

Hazel Lipes and David HaltrechtDavid Haltrecht
David, a District 2 resident,  uses his engineering experience to modernize operations at the Men’s Club. He implemented the online registration project for members and worked on several committees. Giving the award to David is the awards namesake, Hazel Lipes, who was elected to council in 1975. She was also the first woman ever elected to the city council. It was nice to see her at the Volunteer event after all of these years.

I was pleased to greet Hazel Lipes to our event alongside Mayor Brownstein and Councillor Ruth Kovac.

The Lifetime Achievement Award

Syd KronishSyd Kronish
Syd Kronish,a  District 2 resident, completed a four-year term as president of the Côte Saint-Luc Men’s Club. Membership doubled 350 to 700 members and the average age decreased by four years. The club also raised lots of money, including a half million dollars for Canadian Magen David Adom.

The Royal Canadian Legion Brigadier Frederick Kisch, Branch #97 Award

Awarded to the Youth Volunteer of the Year

Avi KrooAvi Kroo
Avi approached the library about starting a club for teens to teach the card game Magic: The Gathering. We has taught the game for two years now, coming each week. The game fits with the library’s goal of providing programming that piques curiosity and develops communication and problem-solving skills.

The Socio-Cultural Award

Sam Boucher
Sam has been performing with the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society for three years, including in Little Shop of Horrors, The Producers, and Hairspray. Earlier this year he was the title character in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which recently received the META award in the category of Outstanding Community Production. 

Special Recognition Award

Charles GuerinCharles Guerin
Charles,a District 2 resident, has been involved on several fronts over the last year. He shared his technical knowledge to help the city formulate its preliminary proposal for the Smart Cities Challenge competition. He has also volunteered his time at the library’s CreateSpace. He has donated equipment and helped spread the word about this library program.

 The Sports Award

Eric BettanEric Bettan
Eric has coached and served on the executive of the Côte Saint-Luc Minor Hockey program since 2013. He is heavily involved in helping to organize the novice hockey tournament every season and much more. 

The Stewart Mankofsky Memorial Trophy

Awarded to the Cote Saint-Luc athlete who best exemplifies the qualities of dedication, sportsmanship, and love for competition and fellow participants

Yuan Li WangYuan Yi Wang
Yuan Yi is a Pre-Novice competitive skater and works extremely hard reach her goals. She has received the Regional CanSkate award as well as the Test Skater award. She as devotes a lot of time helping the club's young skaters in their group programs. She is well liked and admired by her skaters and has become great role model for them.

The vCOP Award

Marty CroitoruMarty Croitoru
Marty,a  District 2 resident,  is a member of the vCOP orientation team for new recruits. He is ready to respond on a moments notice when needed. He also provides with feedback, ideas and insights on how to make vCOP more interesting and more effective.

The William E. Kesler Memorial Trophy

Awarded to a volunteer for exceptional contribution to City programs

Joel LazarovitchJoel Lazarovitz

Joel has been a head coach in our intercommunity baseball program since 2015. He has a great connection with the players on his team thanks to his positive attitude. 

David RosenbergDavid Rosenberg

David has been a head coach in our intercommunity baseball program since 2015. He is extremely dedicated, organized and well-liked by the players and parents of his teams.

Watch the Volunteers of the Year video




District 2 resident Nancy Rubin tells her story

It’s worth putting retirement on hold to guide The JGH Auxiliary in helping patients (story from the Jewish General Hospital News)



In his novel The World According to Garp, John Irving made an insightful observation that nicely describes my unexpected path to The JGH Auxiliary: “You only grow by coming to the end of something and by beginning something else.”

My end—or rather, what was supposed to be the conclusion of more than 35 years in the work force—came in 2006, when I decided to join my husband, Donny, in a well deserved retirement. Then fate intervened and I realized that, in fact, I was on the brink of, as Irving says, “beginning something else.”

To my surprise and delight, my position as Director of The Auxiliary has given me a precious opportunity to help others, while continuing to grow. For 12 years, I’ve been privileged to be part of a dedicated team of generous volunteers and top-notch professionals whose desire is to make life better for patients in our hospital.

I can’t say I had a specific career goal when I was younger. In high school, my interests were all over the map, and in the mid-1960s, there was no CEGEP to promote self-discovery in an academic setting.

What I did know was that community organizations were where I belonged. My parents, Beatrice and Saul Glassman, had leadership roles in our synagogue and other community groups, and their influence clearly rubbed off on me.

By the late 1960s, I had completed a marketing and public relations program at McGill University, and found summer jobs in a law office and at Dun & Bradstreet, where I conducted research into various companies. That set the stage for a series of fascinating and rewarding challenges over the coming decades.

“It’s gratifying to honour the legacy and values that have existed at The Auxiliary since it was founded in 1936.”

One particular highlight came in the mid-’90s, when I spent a year at McGill as a Project Director organizing the International Forum for Child Welfare. This remarkable five-day conference on legal advocacy for children brought together more than 200 delegates from over 30 countries. Planning it proved to be quite a task, since it meant staying in touch with global contacts in an era when email was rare and even faxes were uncommon.

For three years in the late ’90s, I was Special Events Coordinator for B’nai Brith Canada, which entailed organizing numerous fundraising events, including tribute dinners, galas and memorable performances by Jackie Mason, Don Rickles, Donny Osmond and Itzhak Perlman.

“Memorable” was also the word for my four years as National Executive Director for Maccabi Canada, preparing for our country’s participation in the 16th Maccabiah Games in Israel in 2001. After working intensively with coaches, athletes, parents and planners, it was a genuine thrill to walk into the opening ceremony at the Ramat Gan Stadium alongside Jewish participants from around the world!

And speaking of sports, one of my fondest memories comes the Yaldei Developmental Centre, where I was Director of Development from 2002 to 2006. In supporting children with special needs, my team and I worked with the Montreal Canadiens’ Children’s Foundation to buy an 18-seat school bus. For the grand unveiling, we filled it with Canadiens alumni and when it pulled up to the school, the first person to step out and greet the kids was Jean Beliveau.

Then Evy Uditsky, a good friend and Past President of The Auxiliary, transformed my life by strongly encouraging me to apply for the position of Auxiliary Director in 2006. At first, I was reluctant, because retirement was beckoning and I’d already turned down offers from other organizations. But Evy was so persistent and persuasive that I thought, “Why not? I still have a few good years left.” Lo and behold, I got the job, and Evvy was right: It’s been a perfect fit.

Every night, I go home feeling that what we’ve all accomplished together really matters. It’s also gratifying to honour the legacy and values that have existed at The Auxiliary since it was founded in 1936. Some of our programs, like Dr. Clown, raise the spirits of patients and staff. Others provide the hospital with much-needed equipment—notably, our Tiny Miracles program, which supports the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

Do I regret not having retired all those years ago? Not for a moment. Look at what I would have missed! As John Lennon so aptly put it in one of his songs, “Life is what happens to you, while you’re busy making other plans.”

Nancy Rubin
Director, JGH Auxiliary

Artist Maxine Bloom opens a magnificent display of her work at the CSL Library

I was pleased to meet with Maxine at her display.

Maxine Bloom, a longtime constituent of mine in District 2, is a wonderfully talented artist who lives and paints in two places. Here is Côte Saint-Luc spring, summer and fall and Deerfield Beach, Florida in the winter.


Maxine’s style is mixed media and her eclectic subjects reflect her love of color and movement. She combines watercolor, acrylic and ink with collage.  As she and her husband Victor told me at the opening of an exhibit of her work at the CSL Public Library, many of the paintings are from holiday destinations of theirs.I encourage you to drop by the library anytime through November 18. Many of the 35 paintings on display are for sale, with net proceeds going towards the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors Foundation.  There is a price list on site. Cathy Simons oversees the latter operation. She is also a constituent.


Maxine has exhibited in group shows in Florida and has won both first and second prizes. Her work hangs in several private collections and she is delighted that others are enjoying her paintings every day.


You can reach her at



From my Notebook: Roy Salomon honoured; Vineberg back at Nosherz & Saul Ettinger still carves brisket

 Bravo to Roy

One of Côte Saint-Luc’s most distinguished individuals, Roy Salomon, will be been presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award of the International Jewish Hall of Fame in 2019. This honours those individuals who have contributed to Jewish life, Israel, society and the community at large, through sports. After he first experienced the Magic of the Maccabiah Games as a basketball athlete representing Canada in 1969, Roy knew he had to stay involved with the Maccabi Movement and found other ways to get involved. His mission was to promote Canadian Jewish athletes and he has remained a pillar in the Maccabi Movement since he first got involved. In 1979 he founded the Montreal Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. From 1981 through 1985 he was Maccabi Canada’s National Athletic Chair and in 1982 led Canada’s delegation to the first JCC Maccabi Games. In 1990 he was the First Vice President of Maccabi Canada and in 1992 he was elected president, a position he held for two terms until 2001.


Roy Salomon (left) is pictured here when he was honoured by the Cummings Centre in 2013.

Roy has been the recipient of numerous awards over the years, including the Yakir Award in 2001, and in 2013 he received the Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal for volunteer work and was inducted into the Israel Softball Hall of Fame as a Builder. One of the accomplishments of which he is most proud was a proposal to bring junior athletes to participate in the World Maccabiah Games in Israel, one that he saw through to fruition with the first Juniors athletes participating in the 1985 Games. Professionally Roy has always worked in the corporate real estate field and for many years served as the managing partner of the Cavendish Mall.

The return of Robert Vineberg  at Nosherz

Robert Vineberg is back as owner of the fabulous Nosherz bakery on Westminster Avenue near Mackle. Robert had sold the operation a few years ago to focus more attention on a series of puzzle businesses. He clearly missed the excitement and can now be found behind the counter offering freshly baked goods, prepared meals, fabulous side dishes, homemade favorites, hearty soups, prepared foods made daily, a full deli and cheese counter, sandwiches, salads, catering and so much more. They also deliver now.

Robert Vineberg was always popular with his customers.

Vineberg has kept the same great staff, notably the very popular Mena. “We are a small local, long-standing neighborhood, business working hard day-after-day to bring people delicious foods,” says Robert.

“ It would be great if you could include us in your blogs and hopefully even write an article and have it printed Suburban for everyone to see (FYI - since we spoke, we stopped advertising Nosherz in the Montreal Times).

For more information call 514-484-0445 or log on to

Briskets founder Saul Ettinger has not lost his magic touch

 One of the great things of having been in office for  13 years now as a city councillor is that I get to know many of my constituents very well.  Take Saul and Farla Ettinger for example. They are wonderful people who always support my different initiatives, such as the recent benefit concert for our CSL Cats Committee.

Saul is a well-known respected restaurateur and real estate magnate, having brought us the Briskets smoked meat chain and the Il Etait Une Fois burger spot. Almost 40 years ago Saul opened his first Briskets deli on Bishop Street. Twelve franchises in Montreal and Ottawa soon followed.  As Saul says, people who remember dining at Briskets described the smoked meat sandwiches as "addictive." Briskets smoked meat was not only homemade, but it was never pumped. “Most smoked meat in Montreal and elsewhere were and still are prepared with briskets that are pumped with phosphates and a preponderance of nitrates and sodium,” he explained to me a few years ago. “This pumping technique is used in order to increase profit margins by making the briskets heavier. Strange, isn't it---the government bans the use of phosphates in your dishwasher and laundry detergent, but allows it in food? Briskets' smoked meat was made with unpumped briskets using a tightly-held secret recipe. They were dry-cured the truly old-fashioned way over a period of two to three weeks, producing superior smoked meat---smoked meat that was mouth-watering, and truly addictive.”

Briskets smoked meat sandwiches were just about everywhere, be it the Olympic Stadium concession stands or catered at private parties.   As for Il Etait Un Fois, the classic hamburger spot was located in a standalone building in heart of Old Montreal at a time when it was a relative ghost town, Saul recalls pioneering a new phenomenon. While McDonald's was selling burgers for as little as 60 cents, he decided it was time to introduce Montreal to a gourmet half-pound burger at $5. In those days, the thought of a burger for $5 was ludicrous. Yet, within a short few weeks, Il Etait Un Fois attracted huge line-ups and rave reviews. Saul's burgers were made through a rarely used secret process that turned out the juiciest and most scrumptious burgers in Montreal. And along with mouth-watering burgers and incredible fries, the menu included specialities such as homemade beer-battered onion rings and fish n' chips as well as fried mushrooms and foot-long dogs.

Another of Saul's visions was launched on the Trans Canada, Linguini, an Italian restaurant situated in a rustic log cabin built by Saul on the south side of the 40 just west of Morgan.  

Saul Ettinger carves away in his condo.

Long retired from the restaurant business, Saul still hosted dinners and parties where he serves his amazing smoked meat.  When I saw him at the cats concert I jokingly asked if he planned to make any briskets. Two days later I got a call to come to his condo. My brisket was ready. When I arrived Farla presented me with a special fork which Saul used to demonstrate to me how to carve the huge piece of meat. It was absolutely delicious. Boy Quartier Cavendish could use a Briskets franchise if Saul ever considers reviving it!


The Sweetness of Life: Dentist turned author Harry Rajchgot pens his second book

On the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, local dentist and District 2 resident Harry Rajchgot has written his second book called The Sweetness of Life: My Mother’s Jewish Cookbook. It is a tale of where his parents came from in Poland, how they arrived in Canada and the language of Yiddish. In each section there is a storyline and one of his mom’s recipes, a unique concept to be sure. 

Harry baking
Harry in the kitchen.

Dr. Rajchgot spent more than 20 years writing his first novel called Gravitational Fields, released in 2016. The writing began at the time his father became severely ill in 1994. It gives a fictional account of a family of Holocaust survivors struggling to overcome their past, based on the stories of many individuals and families who went through similar experiences.

After Dr. Rajchgot’s mother’s death, he found among her effects an invoice book from a Montreal furrier where she had worked. Many of the pages were covered in Yiddish script in his mother's difficult handwriting. After glancing at a few of these, he recognized  some” of the Yiddish words and realized that these were recipes. Similar material was also written on odd pieces of cardboard, from Kleenex boxes or the cardboard that came with shirts from the dry cleaner.

“Too busy to deal with them at that moment, I put all these aside in a box, for later examination,” he explained. “About a year ago, seven years after my mother passed away, I looked again. I had recently heard of a call for submissions of possible projects by the  Foundation for Yiddish Culture, asking for material that would emphasize the role of the Yiddish language in recent Montreal history. Yiddish had been my mother tongue, although, for the most part, I had forgotten how to speak the languge. With a certain degree of curiosity, I applied, proposing to turn my mother's Yiddish recipes into a book which would explore my family's journey from pre-war Poland to Montreal in the recent past, and use this book to show the original recipes, in their Yiddish cursive, with translation into English, interwoven with my family history, the history of the Yiddish language, and a glossary of spicy, salty, and sweet Yiddish words, terms, and phrases. And to my surprise, I was given the approval to develop my project.”

The translation of the 70 odd recipes took a good six months. To a large extent, Dr. Rajchgot had to bring back the memories of the Yiddish he had learned as a child, and then try to read his mother's difficult handwriting, translate the words, and give them context. “I saw that each recipe was attributed to one or other of my mother's network of women friends who had dictated these recipes to her,” he said. “Most had a similar background as my mother, Holocaust survivors who had come to Canada after the war and made a life in this country. Interwoven with these was the theme of nourishment of young families, and the sublimated memories of past fear, deprivation and hunger. What was remarkable was that most of the recipes were for sweet things–cakes and cookies and other desserts. This gave the book its name: The Sweetness of Life, a somewhat ironic title considering my mother's difficult past.”

Of the recipes, Dr. Rajchgot only chose a handful for the book. The recipes, once he had translated them, were deficient in many ways compared to what one would find in a conventional recipe book: units if measurement were rudimentary and often unclear. Some Yiddish words were unreadable, and untranslatable, quantities, directions on how to mix ingredients, oven temperatures and baking times were mostly missing. There were also a number of repetitions: Mrs. G's honeycake, Mrs. M's honeycake, Mrs. L's honeycake, and so on. And yet, after two attempts to follow one cheesecake recipe, with a bit of intuition and some guesswork, yielded a surprisingly delicious European-style chessecake as a result.

With his book.

The book was successfully launched recently at the Museum of Jewish Montreal (St. Laurent and Duluth.) and is now available on Amazon  in both print and ebook formats. It’s short, only 125 pages, and has plenty of images and photos, so it’s a quick and easy read, unlike his novel. It is also available at Bonder’s Bookstore on Westminster Avenue in Montreal West, Argo Bookshop on St. Catherine Street West and the Côte Saint-Luc  Public Library.