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About Town: Week of December 20


Thursday, Dec. 20



The third annual “Kosher Jokes for the Halaladays,” bringing together Jewish and Muslim stand-up comics, opens at The Comedy Nest in the AMC Forum, 8:30 p.m., with shows on the following two nights. Produced by Jeff Schouela, the goal is to give a laugh to those who feel left out of the Christmas season. Among the performers are Eman, Ryan Wilner, Jess Salomon, Robby Hoffman and Abdul Butt. Tickets, 932-6378.


Friday, Dec. 21



Victor Breedon talks about bicycling from Istanbul to Samarkand at the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors, 10 a.m. Joyce, 342-1234, ext. 7318.


Saturday, Dec. 22



Reena Lazare, executive director of the Vancouver-based Peace it Together, is the  guest on The Jewish Digest on Radio Centre-Ville 102.3FM. On Dec. 29, host Leslie Lutsky interviews Montrealer Edmond Silber, who is trying to raise funds to renovate Jewish cemeteries in Hungary.


Monday, Dec. 24



The Mile End Chavurah holds its second annual “Christmas for Jews” at the Luck Hop Foo  Chinese restaurant on St. Laurent Boulevard, followed by a screening at the Rialto Theatre of Woody Allen’s 1983 movie Zelig. Registration, communications@mileendchavurah.org.

Wednesday, Dec. 26



The Ballet Eddy Toussaint de Montréal opens The Nutcracker Suite, a contemporary version of the classic, at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts at 7 p.m. While keeping the music of Tchaikovsky, this adaptation sees Clara taken to another planet by the Prince. Performances continue through Dec. 31. Tickets, 739-7944.


Monday, Dec. 31



The Cercle Sépharade of the Cummings Jewish Centre for Seniors holds its Bal des Étoiles at Beth Zion Congregation at 7 p.m. Evening includes dinner, open bar and dancing to the music of Dan Abitbol. Tickets, Claude Elbaz, 342-1234, ext. 7325.


...Et Cetera...



Close to 500 guests attended the third Jewish General Hospital Doctors’ Gala, held at Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, this year honouring the department of surgical services. The black-tie event, chaired by Martin Schwartz of Dorel Industries Inc. and Peter Triassi of Pava Construction, and co-ordinated by  Annette Goldman of the JGH Foundation, netted more than $1 million. A highlight was a video of patient testimonials, accompanied by the live violin playing of Eugene Draw.



American rock guitarist Robby Krieger, who was the guitarist with the Doors and wrote many of its songs, including Light My Fire, was special guest at the 10th annual Battle of the Bands benefiting the Maimonides Geriatric Centre. Held over two nights at the Metropolis, the event included performances by eight local “baby boomer” bands, each accompanied on stage by Krieger for one song. By day, the amateur musicians are doctors, dentists, lawyers and businesspeople who like to rock in their spare time. Proceeds will help establish the Maimonides Centre for Research in Aging. Host Andy Nulman said the event has raised $2.5 million over its history.



Two hundred  young Jewish leaders from across Canada attended a three-day symposium in Montreal, organized by Federation CJA’s YAD division. The get-together was an opportunity to interact with inspiring figures in the Jewish community, sharpen their social media and critical thinking skills, and network with peers. They kicked back at the YAD Mad Men Gala at the PHI Centre in Old Montreal, a swanky early ’60s-themed party inspired by the hit TV show. Albert Arazi, Jennifer Gold and Erik Langburt were symposium co-chairs.



Elementary school children gathered after school at the Mada Community Centre to bake and gift-wrap cookies to be distributed to 370 needy families and senior citizens. Mada’s “Cookies from the Heart” program encourages kids to share with those less fortunate. The cookies were included in Mada’s “Shabbat to Share” boxes, full-course meals that volunteers pack and bring to the needy every week. Mada is Montreal’s largest kosher soup kitchen and food bank…

Grade 9 students from Collège Regina Assumpta also got into the giving spirit. They’re taking part in the “Every Penny Counts” campaign benefiting cancer patients and their families at the Jewish General Hospital. They’re hoping to fill a collection box in the lobby with the coins.


Singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen received the Prix Denise-Pelletier from the Quebec government for his outstanding contribution to the performing arts over a career spanning five decades. One of 13 annual Prix de Québec, the prize includes $30,000. This year, Cohen also received the inaugural PEN award for Song Lyrics of Literary Excellence…

Concordia University professor Frank Chalk, director and co-founder of the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies, received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. Chalk was nominated by and received the award from Sen. Roméo Dallaire, the retired general who served as United Nations commander in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide… Bradley Wiseman, a Grade 11 Royal West Academy student, won the Robert Alfred Peck Prize for Excellence in French from the English Montreal School Board for earning 100 per cent in French last year…

Montreal writer Julija Sukys’ book Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Simaite (University of Nebraska Press) has been long-listed for the 2013 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. The short list for the $25,000 prize will be announced Jan. 9. Simaite was a non-Jewish Lithuanian who slipped into the Jewish ghetto of Nazi-occupied Vilnius with food, medicine, money and counterfeit documents. She was captured by the Gestapo, tortured and deported to Dachau, yet her story is not well known… Albert Weizman was named the D’Arcy McGee representative on Coalition Avenir Québec’s new Montreal-area Local Action Committee...

Ilana Grostern and Amy Appleton’s company AppleCheeks, which offers Canadian-made cloth diapers, was among five small businesses named as finalists in a competition sponsored by the federally funded Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation (CEDEC). AppleCheeks, founded by the two young mothers in 2007, was chosen from among 145 businesses across Quebec… Dr. Gregory Neiman was cited as the Jewish General Hospital’s longest-serving physician at 58 years.

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