Shaare Zion edges CSL's TBDJays to capture MSSL title

The Shaare Zion Lions are the 2013 Champions of the MSSL (Montreal Synagogue Softball League) for the fifth year in a row. In a thrilling and exciting two out of three final series against the TBDJays, the Lions lost the first game 5-4 to a younger and hungrier Jays team. With their backs to the wall, the Lions came from behind and took Game Two 13-10. And in the sudden death Game Three final at Trudeau Park in Côte Saint-Luc, the Lions battled the Jays and emerged victorious in a 11-9 win.

ShaareZion champs

“We were an average team all year as many of our regulars were out with injuries” said manager/player Asher Tannenbaum. “But we stuck together, played smart and are thrilled with this fifth championship. We can claim to be The Montreal Canadiens of Softball and will return next year to win the sixth.”

The MSSL was created about seven years ago and there are eight synagogue teams in the league. Games are played on Sunday mornings from June through September.

For more information, please contact the Commissioner Asher Tannenbaum at or514-481-7727#237

CSL Mayor Housefather wins seven medals at Maccabiah Games

Côte Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather (pictured poolside below) has been proudly representing Canada at the Maccabiah Games (a.k.a. the Jewish Olympics) in Israel. As a member of the Canadian master's swim team, he has won seven medals : five silvers in the 100 and 400  metre butterfly, the 50 metre backstroke, open water and  the medley relay .  He also captured a bronze in the 200 metre freestyle while being part of relay team which also captured a bronze.


“My times have been generally very good and very pleased,” said the mayor, who missed a gold by four tenths of a second in the 400 metre freestyle.

The final  tally from the pool is eight medals (five individual silvers, one individual bronze and two relay bronze. Clearly the mayor is Canada’s answer to Michael Phelps.  “Our team manager believes this was the most medals won by a Canadian in the games so far so very pleased,” the mayor added.

Here is some more Maccabiah Games news:

Gold in Metula: It was a golden day for Canadian Men's Hockey. The Men's Junior team won their gold medal match over USA 3-2, while the Canadian Men's Open Team won their gold medal game 7-1 over Team USA. Canadians Men's Open Captain Adam Henrich was named player of the tournament on the Mens Open side, while Canadian Junior goaltender Mark Michaels was named player of the tournament on the junior side.

Men's Volleyball: In the gold medal game in Modi'in, Canada fell to Israel in straight sets (3-0). The guys fought hard, but in the end the U-21 team (for the most part) from Israel was just too strong. The pro-Canadian crowd - our rugby, Jr. girls volleyball, Jr. boys baseball teams and hundreds of other Canadians were in attendance — definitely showed their support with chants of CA-NA-DA filling the gym throughout the match. The team's showing was the best finish by a Canadian men's volleyball team in Maccabiah Games history.

Master's Tennis: The wins kept coming for Canada on the tennis courts yesterday. In Masters Singles, Sherry Buller finished off her Russian opponent to set herself up with a Gold medal match on Sunday. Bram Faber dominated his match and will go for Gold on Sunday as well. In Mixed Doubles, Sherry Buller was at it again and did not disappoint. She and her partner Adam Fisher won 2 consecutive matches to bring home another Gold medal for Canada.

Silver on the Diamond. After an epic win against Israel in the semi-finals the day before, Canada's Junior Boys Baseball team came up short against USA in the gold medal game losing 9-0. The boys had a great tournament and the crowd at yesterday's game was definitely proud of their silver medal accomplishment.

Soccer Update: The Open Women's team rebounded from its tough loss on Thursday against Israel with a resounding 7-0 win over Germany. For complete soccer results, check out
Cricket: Canada matched up against Great Britain yesterday in their second last round robin game. They came out hitting well, but in the end, lost the contest 102-101 and Great Britain had 10 wickets in hand. Canada's last round robin game is on Sunday against India and the outcome will determine whether or not they will be playing for a medal on Monday.

Basketball Update: On Friday, many of our hoops team hit the court. Here are there results: U16 Boys beat Brazil 44-42; Master's Men's team fell to USA 80-75; and Open Men's team lost to Israel 110-75. Our Open Women's team will play for Bronze eitherSunday or Monday (yet to be determined).


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.”
Hockey TBDJKiddushCup- 001

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: