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About Town: Week of April 5

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ISRAEL FILM FESTIVAL
The eighth annual Israel Film Festival takes place April 29-May 3 at the AMC Forum Cinema and May 6-7 at the Guzzo Mega-Plex Spheretech on Côte Vertu. Among the nine  movies is the Oscar-nominated Footnote, as well as My Australia and The Flood, co-produced by Montrealer Ina Fichman. The latter’s director, Guy Nattiv, is present at the April 29 and 30 screenings. All are subtitled in English. www.israelfilmfestival.ca.

THE STUDY SHINES
The Montreal high school The Study finished sixth out of 39 teams at the international Shalheveth Freier Physics Tournament held at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel March 20 -21. The all-girls team of Sarah Battat, Jessica Lu, Francesca Masella and Sabrina Nolan had the task of building a safe that other students could not crack. “The Lock-ets,” as they dubbed themselves, earned a berth at the world meet after winning the eastern Canadian regional finals in February, sponsored by Weizmann Canada. Their trip to Israel included a week of touring the country.

NAHARIN DANCE
Les Grands Ballets Canadiens is once again staging a work by Israeli choreographer Ohan Naharin, with whom it has had a long association. Danz & Toot, a double bill by Naharin and the Dutch Didy Veldman, will be presented next March as part of the troupe’s 2012-2013 season. Naharin’s Danz is a collage of excerpts from his avant-garde works between 1999 and 2007. It’s set to music as eclectic as Beethoven, Brian Eno and surf-rock songs.
In other dance news, Israel’s Hofesh Shechter Company will present in November its “loud, agitated”Political Mother as part of the Danse Danse series at Place des Arts.

DATING SITE
An online Jewish dating  service for those 20 to 39 who are interested in marriage has been launched by Rabbi Yisroel Bernath, co-director of Chabad NDG. JMontreal.com combines old-fashioned matchmaking with modern technology. All  prospective members are interviewed in person or by phone before their profile is entered into the database. Matches are proposed, but only after both parties agree to meet is contact information passed along. Rabbi Bernath said his own personal matchmaking has led to 18 marriages.

WANDERING STARS
Wandering Stars, a multicultural troupe of actors aged 18 to 25, based at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, toured its new bilingual production In Transit to elementary and high schools in Montreal, Quebec City, Aylmer and Thetford Mines last month. The original musical, directed by Elsa Perez, is a modern-day tale of the city of Babylon, set in an airport lounge filled with angry people trying to get a flight to Montreal. Since its inception two years ago,  Wandering Stars has reached 15,000 youngsters, bringing a message of tolerance and engaging them in intercultural dialogue.

RUNNING FOR JNF
For the first time, Jewish National Fund Montreal has been selected as a participant in the 10th annual ScotiaBank 21-km and 5-km Montreal Charity Challenge. JNF is looking for runners and walkers, with all the money raised through sponsors going to JNF. The event takes place April 29 at Parc Jean Drapeau and is expected to attract thousands. Proceeds will go toward building a music conservatory in the Arava, a remote region of Israel’s Negev Desert, as will the money raised at JNF’s Negev Dinner June 6 in honour of Micky Rosenthal, who is celebrating his 95th birthday. He helped build the Central Arava Community Centre, where the conservatory will be built.
Team “Blue Box Bob” will be captained by real estate agent Heidi Witt, who has been training for the past year for this,her first half-marathon. Minimum age for the 21-km run is 16, but the 5-km run is open to everyone. JNF will waive the registration fee for for those raising at least $360. David Smajovits, 862-3284.

WOMEN’S TAPESTRY
Several Jewish organizations are represented in the tapestry created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Montreal Council of Women in 1993. The quilt is now on loan to Concordia University and is hanging in the Samuel Bronfman Building. The council is a coalition of 72 organizations, headed by president Sandra Rose-Cohen.  Since the council has no office, the tapestry has been in storage until now. Federation CJA’s Women’s Federation, Canadian Hadassah-WIZO, B’nai Brith Women,and the Jewish General Hospital Auxiliary are among the groups that contributed their logos to the quilt.

SUMMER INTERNSHIPS
The Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, an independent pro-Israel think tank, is offering summer internships for undergraduate students interes ted in Israel and Middle East studies. Under the guidance of CIJR academic fellows, interns will spend eight weeks doing research and writing. cijr@isranet.org.

SOBER SEDER
Chabad Lifeline, a centre for people recovering from addictions, including alcoholism, holds a Super Sober Seder on the evening of April 6 free of charge at its premises, 4615 Côte Ste. Catherine Rd. Benjamin Bresinger, 738-7700.

SHORT TAKES
The Greek community is expected to have a delegation in the April 26 Israel rally, starting from Phillips Square. The Jewish community was represented by Hillel students in the Greek national day parade March 25 that began from Jean Talon and Hutchison streets.
Speaking of Hillel and its international reach, the Concordia University branch hosted an unusual get-together at Hurley’s Irish Pub. The invitees were three rabbis: Schachar Orenstein of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, Julia Appel of Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, and Ben Vago, a Hillel educator. This was a no-holds-barred session where anyone – Jew or gentile – could ask whatever they wanted. If you missed it, Rabbi Appel is on the Jewish Digest on Radio Centre-Ville 102.3FM at 8:30 a.m. April 7… McGill Students for Israel (formerly McGill Friends of Israel) raised money for the Koby Mandell Foundation, which provides summer camping for Israeli children who have lost family members to terrorism, at its recent Shalom: A Party for Israel evening.
Montreal native Cory Pecker, who­ has been playing professional hockey for HC Lausanne of the Swiss League since 2007, has been spending of couple of days each month this winter volunteering at the Friendship Circle centre for special-needs kids. He said he loves working with children and it is especially rewarding to see the thrill it gives those with disabilities to learn the game… Sandi Krawchenko Altner launches her Jewish-themed historical novel Ravenscraig April 10 at 6 p.m. at the Paragraphe bookstore. She describes it as “reveal[ing] the  secrets and lies that tie two families together”and set in a “brawling, raucous frontier boomtown” a century ago.
 

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