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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

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BIKING FOR SPECIAL KIDS

The Donald Berman Yaldei Development Centre is gearing up for its second annual Let’s Roll for Kids Bike-a-thon. The fundraiser takes place June 22, once again departing from Parc Jean Drapeau on a 50-km route. The goal is to raise $200,000 for the private, not-for profit centre, located in the Queen Elizabeth Health Centre, which provides intensive therapy for children with developmental delays and other challenges. Adults must raise a $500 miniumum.

 Founded in 1997 by Menachem Leifer, who continues as its director, Yaldei offers its services on a non-sectarian basis. It has grown exponentially over the years, due to the dire need for such intervention and the success it has recorded. McGill University child psychiatrist Eric Fombonne has said Yaldei provides a model that should be replicated throughout Quebec. To register for the Bike-a-thon, phone 514-279-3666, ext. 245.

 

BGU AT MBA MEET

For the fourth consecutive year, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) is participating in Concordia University’s John Molson MBA International Case Competiton Jan. 5-10. BGU was the first and still is the only Israeli university in the meet, as well as the first from the Middle East. Thirty-six teams from business schools in Canada and the United States, as well as a dozen other countries will vie for the $10,000 top prize in this competition, founded in 1982 and one of the largest of its kind in the world. The Canadian Associates of BGU will welcome the five-member team and their coaches.

 

SEGAL CENTRE FUNDING

Artistic producer Paul Flicker points out what he considers inequitable funding of the Segal Centre for Performing Arts by the Canada Council for the Arts. This summer the centre was informed that the council was cutting its already modest grant by eight per cent for the next four years. “We are already drastically underfunded compared to our sister companies,” he said. “The Canada Council funds less than one per cent of our annual operations.”

Between 2008-2012, the Segal received an annual $155,000 grant, while the Centaur Theatre got over $1.2 million and the Théatre d’Aujourd-hui netted just over a million.

Flicker questions just how fair the Council’s peer assessment is and its criteria. “It cannot be on the amount of patrons we serve each year or on the amount of artists we engage each season. Judging by the critical press, it cannot be the quality of our work,” he said. Over 70 per cent of the Segal’s revenue comes from private donations, sponsorships and its endowment fund. Total government grants represent just 6 per cent.

 

BLAST FROM THE PAST

The 1960s British pop band Herman’s Hermits and lead singer Peter Noone were the guest stars at the recent 11th edition of the Battle of the Bands benefiting the Donald Berman Maimonides Geriatric Centre. Over two nights at the Metropolis, local amateur bands made up of baby boomers who by day are doctors, lawyers and business people took to the stage. The grande finale each night was a set by the Hermits. Andy Nulman was the host.

 

CAFE FOR TEENS

The Chai Café, a drop-in centre for Jewish teens located at Chabad’s Chai Centre, 5120 de Courtrai Ave., was recently rededicated in honour of philanthropist Irwin Beutel. His donation underwrote a major renovation to the café, which director Rabbi Dovid Pearlstein said has a growing clientele. Beutel congratulated the centre for fostering Jewish identity among youth.

 

DOING GOOD

Shara Rosen, founder of the Fondation Sénégal Santé Mobile, which raises funds for women’s health care in that African country, has a new Indiegogo project that addresses an overlooked problem: girls and women missing school or work each month because they lack adequate means to manage their menstrual periods. The Fondation supports LifePads Africa, a self-sustaining business that makes and distributes washable, reuseable sanitary napkins. Senegalese fabric is used and jobs are provided to women, who run the business. Rosen notes that disposable pads are not a good option because they are generally non-biogradable and most of Senegal has no garbage collection. Many village residents cannot afford them anyway. info@senegalsantemobile. org...

Another local non-profit organization, Mazon Canada, reports that, as a result of its La Soirée gala last month, it was able to donate 10 hairdressing salon gift certificates to clients of Auberge Shalom, a shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence. The certificates were sold through a silent auction. The non-perishable food collected that evening was donated to the NDG Food Depot.

 

EMUNAH BENEFIT

More than $70,000 was raised at Emunah Women’s annual benefit evening hosted by member Rebecca Glazer. The money will go to Neve Sarah Herzog High School for girls in Bnei Brak, Israel. Recent graduate Nitza Spitz spoke about the quality of the education she received. Tribute was paid to two outstanding  members: Elaine Monaker, immediate past president of Emunah Canada, who received the Jean Quint Memorial Award, and Valerie Gross who took home the Young Leadership Award. The evening was chaired by Loni and Jeff Kupferberg.

Alegra Mizrahi, director of the Centre de la petite enfance du Centre Communautaire Juif, has been awarded the Prime Minister of Canada’s Award for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. Under her direction, this daycare at the YM-YWHA has grown to serve 178 children, from 18 months to 5 years old.

Mizrahi was cited for motivating children to be curious and explore their environments, and encouraging staff and parents to work together. She has welcomed children with special needs by working with a development centre and seeing that professional help is available. The other kids  are taught to understand those who are different. Parents say the kids love her...

Singer/songwriter Jennifer Gasoi’s Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well has been nominated for the 2014 Grammy Award for best children’s album. The two-time Juno Award nominee (including this year for the same album) is a popular entertainer at the Jewish Public Library. Her music is jazz-based and features intelligent lyrics. The winner will be announced Jan. 26...

Mount Royal MP Irwin Cotler was elected deputy chair of the International Council of Jewish Parliamentarians, as well as counsel for the Western Hemisphere. The new chair of the Council, an initiative of World Jewish Congress, is Democratic congressman Eliot Engel. Cotler was in Brussels earlier for the observance of the 25th anniverary of the Sakharov Prize at the European Parliament. Cotler was a legal representative to Andrei Sakharov, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning physicist and human rights activist...

A retrospective of the works of Montreal figurative painter Marion Wagschal will be exhibited at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts from Sept. 23 to Jan. 18, 2015. Her oeuvre focuses on family portraits against historical conflict, including Nazism.

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