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About Town: Week of March 22


Thursday, March 22



Phyllis Lambert, founder of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, speaks on the renovation of the Ben Ezra Synagogue, the oldest in Cairo, at a Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue Sisterhood event, 7:30 p.m. Rena Buenavida, 342-0033.


Saturday, March 24



The documentary Sholem Aleichem: Laughing in the Darkness opens at Cinéma du Parc. American director Joseph Dorman portrays the writer as a rebellious genius and cosmopolitan intellectual, in contrast to his folksy image, who captured an evolving Jewish identity. Among those interviewed are Harvard’s Ruth Wisse, Aaron Lansky, founder of the National Yiddish Book Center, and the author’s granddaughter, novelist Bel Kaufman.



Israeli singer Hanna Ahroni, internationally renowned for her vocal range, attends the screening of a documentary about her life titled Viva Espania: A Tale in Four Octaves at the Jewish Public Library, 8:30 p.m. Tickets, 345-2627, ext. 3017.


Sunday, March 25



London-based  pop singer/songwriter Stacey Jackson, nee Levy, returns to Bialik High School, from which she graduated in 1986, to be honoured and perform at the school’s benefit gala. This is the last stop on a North American tour that included Las Vegas and West Hollywood.  She’s had five Top 10 hits in Britain, including the current No. 2, Live it Up, covered by rapper Snoop Dogg. Tickets, 731-2944.



Stanford University professor and Yiddish writer’s S. Ansky biographer Gabriella Safran explores the connections between the author’s life and his famous play The Dybbuk in a lecture at the Jewish Public Library, 2 p.m. Tickets, 345-2627, ext. 3006.


Tuesday, March 27



Pawel Bromson, a former Polish neo-Nazi who discovered his Jewish roots and converted to Orthodox Judaism, is guest speaker at Chabad of Westmount’s annual benefit cocktail, 5:30 p.m. Honoree is Julius Suss. www.chabadwestmount.com.


Wednesday, March 28



Leading experimental filmmaker Phil Solomon, a University of Colorado film professor, presents Darkness on the Edge of Town: The Films of Phil Solomon at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, 7:30 p.m. (second part March 29, 7:30 p.m.), a total of 10 films and videos. It’s his first Montreal appearance. Tickets, 739-7944.



Na’amat Montreal’s annual Giant Bingo will be held at Congregation Beth Ora, 6:30 p.m. with boutiques and food. Proceeds go to the organization’s daycares in Israel. Tickets, 484-0252.



Conflict resolution consultant Frema Engel speaks on “Conflict-Free Relationships: Is it Possible?” at a meeting of the FAB Group of Act to End Violence Against Women at the Loblaws party room, 6600 St. Jacques St. W. Registration, 487-2330.


A group of Montreal university students discuss their research on the immigration and resettlement of North African Jews in Montreal since the 1950s, in French, at the Jewish Public Library, 7:30 p.m. They’re working with the Concordia University-based oral history project Montreal Life Stories. Tickets, 345-6416.

A related photographic and archival exhibit “Juifs sépharades au Québec, entre histoire et mémoire” is on until March 29.


...Et Cetera...



Rock ’n’ roll legends the Beach Boys, including frontman and founder Mike Love, will perform at the 35th annual gala of the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF), Montreal chapter, at Place des Arts on April 1. The memory of four Montrealers who died of the disease will be honoured: Judith Amar, Steven Backler, Jeffrey Brull and Robert Shadowitz. Montreal Alouettes quarterback Anthony Calvillo  and his wife, Alexia, who’ve both been affected by cancer and are active in raising awareness, will be presented with ICRF’s Community Service Honorary Fellowship Award. Co-chaired by Paul Ostrov and Gloria Richman, the event raises funds for innovative cancer research in Israel and locally at the McGill Translational Centre, in association with the Jewish General Hospital (JGH). Tickets or sponsorships, 481-2723.

The ICRF and JGH recognized the dedication of the organizers of two new leadership division fundraisers over the last two years.

Michael and Josh Gonshor co-chaired “Suri’s Soirée” in loving memory of their sister Sarah “Suri” Gonshor who, at 24, lost her battle with cancer 12 years ago. Their mother, Shirley, died of cancer last year. The evening, which featured Grammy Award-winning hip-hop artist Common and was attended by more than 500 people, raised $200,000 for liver cancer research and treatment.

The second event, called “Living Proof,” feted two young adult cancer survivors, Neil Rubin and Stephanie Weschler. American Idol beat-box singer Jay Stone performed at the party, which drew more than 400 people and netted $100,000 for testicular, ovarian and other reproductive cancers in young adults. The event also highlighted the growing collaboration between Montreal and Israeli research centres. Some Israeli ICRF grant recipients spend time here, an experience that benefits Israeli institutions upon their return.



Volunteers are needed to pickup and deliver B’nai Brith  Passover baskets for the needy from March 22 to April 3 at 480 Montpelier St. 744-6457.

Businessman Charles Barchechath is the new president of Radio Shalom’s board of directors. Since 1999, he’s been the community radio station’s political correspondent. He heads a new seven-member board, largely drawn from the private sector. Radio Shalom founding president Robert Levy said he hopes Barchechath’s 40 years in business will “revitalize” Radio Shalom (CJRS 1650AM) and help ensure its development… Eighteen McGill University management students spent reading week in Israel experiencing first hand the country’s entrepreneurial spirit, especially in high tech. The trip was conceived by students Chase Potter and Kyra Azzopardi, who co-founded the Israel Business Connection in September with a view to expanding graduates’ employment opportunities in Israel… Montreal artist Ilana Horn Fine is having her debut solo exhibition at the Segal Centre for Performing Arts’ ArtLounge until March 29. Her paintings “celebrate female beauty in all its shapes and sizes…” The Shoshanim and Chaverot Chapters of Canadian Hadassah-WIZO are selling Passover gift baskets for $45. Place your order at andrea@montreal.chw.ca.


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