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Found 6 results

  1. Montreal's Jews aren't going anywhere By Yoni Goldstein The history of Russian Jews in Montreal, Canada, began more than a century ago, when a coalition of Jews and Christians in the city raised funds to help Jews escape from the Russian empire in the wake of an onslaught of pogroms triggered by the assassination of czar Alexander II, in March 1881. There are widely varying estimates on the current size of the Russian Jewish community in Montreal: The local Jewish federation believes there are fewer than 10,000 Russian-speaking Jews in the city, while Russian community officials claim the actual number is more than double that figure. In either case, a community center and a Russian-language biweekly newspaper attest to the fact that Russian Jews have established a vibrant community in the city (whose total Jewish population is about 100,000). Of course, as in virtually every city outside Israel where there is a Jewish presence, life for the Jews of Montreal is not without challenges. The city has been home to some minor-league anti-Semitism in the past, and the province of Quebec is proving to be mildly hostile to anyone who can't speak in French and isn't willing to learn how. But the biggest threat to Montreal Jews, the Quebec sovereignty movement of the 1970s and then later, in the early-1990s, has more recently lost favor in the eyes of more Quebecois than ever before. Now is a good time to be a Jew in Montreal. Apparently, Nativ, the formerly clandestine organization that since the 1950s has shared responsibility for bringing Jews from what is now the Former Soviet Union to Israel, and Israel's minister of strategic affairs, Avigdor Lieberman, don't agree. According to recent stories in Haaretz and the European Jewish Press service, having apparently run out of Jews still living in the FSU to bring to Israel, Nativ is planning to make a new push in North America to recruit Russian Jews there to make aliyah. Target No. 1: Montreal. It's a peculiar strategy: aiming to do business in a country that has two significant, settled communities of Russian Jews (the other being Toronto, where some 90,000 live); a country that is safe for Jews and where Jewish communities have long prospered; and a country, moreover, to which disadvantaged immigrants flock and where they are welcomed in droves, where they can experience multiculturalism and inclusiveness. When you're trying to convince people to leave peaceful, thriving Canada for a better life in the Middle East, you know you're in trouble of some kind. The only ones that look bad in this story are Nativ and Lieberman. The decision to recruit in Montreal is, at best, misguided. Worse, it demonstrates that the brand of covert immigration missions that were Nativ's bread and butter between the 1950s and 1990s is no longer needed. For 30 years, the organization was solely responsible for assisting countless Jewish escapees from the Soviet scourge, but that very important work is now finished. Jews who, under the hammer and sickle, were unable either to express themselves Jewishly, or to leave for someplace else where they would be free to do just that, are now at liberty to choose where they want to live, including Israel. In fact, Nativ's decision to choose Montreal's as its first stop in North America proves just how out of touch the organization is. (Already in Germany, Nativ has provoked a protest from Jewish communal leaders because of similar efforts there to lobby Russian-immigrant Jews to depart for Israel.) According to estimates from the city's Jewish federation, 80-85 percent of Russian Jews living in Montreal actually moved there from Israel. These people have already been the beneficiaries of Nativ once, and yet, at some later point, they decided that Israel wasn't the right place for them after all. There's no reason to think that they would consider moving back now, no matter how hard aliyah-liaison officers try to convince them. Nativ's venture into Montreal is doomed to fail because the organization's brand of cloak-and-dagger aliyah recruitment simply isn't suited to today's Jewish global village. Its employment of old-style Zionist tactics, which depict the State of Israel as representing the final stronghold against a world of Jew-haters doesn't connect with people anymore. There are, after all, other perfectly suitable homes for Jews. Montreal is one of those places. Perhaps the time has come for Israel in general to reevaluate its relationship with Diaspora Jewry and acknowledge that there are other places in the world perfectly suited to Jewish living. Once it takes that first step, the next job would be to recognize that the overall relationship between Israel and the Diaspora must change. Instead of looking at the Diaspora as a temporary home for those Jews who can't or aren't ready yet to make aliyah, Israel should invest in forming bonds with Jewish communities around the globe. Nativ, which has been reorganized and reportedly has a fat new budget, might even consider investing some of its cash in making those communities healthier, much in the same way those communities have long invested in the welfare of Israel. Montreal's Russian Jews aren't going anywhere and neither are the vast majority of Jews - Russian-speaking or otherwise - in North and South America and Europe. The sooner the Israeli government realizes that fact, the sooner it can begin to forge a new, symbiotic relationship with all the Jews outside Israel who are quite content to stay right where they are. Yoni Goldstein is an editorial writer at Canada's National Post, and a columnist at the Canadian Jewish News.
  2. http://www.montrealgazette.com/Life/Girl+raised+dogs+Siberia/1636491/story.html Creepy....
  3. Have Some Champagne With That Brisket? Montreal is just bubbling with Jewish culture November 08, 2007 Kathy Shorr Jewish Exponent Feature Ever since the Parti Quebeçois came to power three decades ago, bringing with it greater nationalism and stricter language laws favoring French, it's been easy to feel uneasy about Jewish life in Montreal. The Jewish community has shrunk from a high of about 120,000 before that 1976 election, to just under 100,000 now. Many who left were the younger, well-educated postwar generation of Ashkenazi descent, who had been educated primarily in English. (Barred from attending the Catholic, French-speaking schools, they'd attended the English-speaking Protestant ones.) But come to Montreal today, and you'll find a Jewish world that feels more vital than many American communities with comparably-sized communities. You can see live Yiddish theater, visit a new world-class Holocaust center and sample kosher restaurants serving everything from Chinese food to Moroccan chicken tagine. The Jewish community in Montreal is one of the most traditional in North America. According to a report by B'nai B'rith Canada's Institute for International Affairs, the community has a remarkably low intermarriage rate (less than 7 percent) and a remarkably high rate of religious observance (50 percent keep kosher). At roughly the same time that wave of Ashkenazi Jews left, about 20,000 Sephardic, French-speaking Jews arrived -- most of them coming from North Africa, especially Morocco. And with a continuing influx of Jewish immigrants, including as many as 10,000 Russian Jews in recent years, the city has maintained a vibrant Jewish culture that is now about 25 percent Sephardic. In Search of 'Duddy' Visitors looking for signs of Jewish life have several sections of the city to explore. Anyone interested in history will want to go to the Mile End neighborhood, the setting for Mordecai Richler's famous novel The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. Just east of Mount Royal Park is a five-street-wide area between the Avenue du Parc and the Boulevard Saint-Laurent -- the Jewish neighborhood for much of the first half of the 20th century. The old neighborhood was increasingly abandoned after the war, as Jews started to make their way out to the suburbs. But Mile End is still home to a large Chasidic community. And it still looks a lot like it did when Richler wrote about going to Tansky's store for a package of Sen-Sen. The rowhouses remain, with their outside staircases and little balconies. And some of the old haunts, like Moishe's Steakhouse and Schwartz's Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen, are open for business as usual. The Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre People come to Moishe's for the best steaks in town, while Schwartz's long, narrow dining room teems with crowded tables of patrons ordering sandwiches piled with smoked beef. Several blocks north is the St. Viateur Bagel Shop, celebrating its 50th anniversary. It is open day and night, 24/7, and regularly wins the prize for best bagels in Montreal -- as much for the atmosphere as for the bagels themselves. You can see the flames coming out of the wood-burning brick oven, and watch the bagels being pulled out on a long-handled tray and then dumped into a long, sloping bin. They still use the same recipe from 100 years ago -- hand-rolling the bagels and dropping them into boiling water for five minutes before baking. And forget about cinnamon-raisin or chocolate-chip bagels: It's sesame or poppyseed, and that's it! For a completely different scene, head west out Côte St. Catherine Road to Snowdon, a neighborhood of duplex and split-level homes, where many Jews moved after the war. There, you'll find a small campus of Jewish community and religious organizations and cultural groups. The Segal Centre for Performing Arts at the Saidye Bronfman Centre mounts plays of both general and Jewish interest, including an annual play in Yiddish. Montreal has the largest Holocaust-survivor population in Canada; across the street from the Saidye Bronfman are the Jewish Public Library and the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, with 5,000 square feet of exhibit space. The library sponsors all kinds of lectures, readings, films, and live-music and other events for both residents and visitors. A few blocks south of Côte St. Catherine Road is the commercial Queen Mary Road, which feels something like the way Mile End must have felt a few generations ago. There are charcuteries (delis that specialize in meats) where everything is labeled only in Russian, with vats of sweet-and-sour cabbage and trays of whole smoked fish and caviar. There's Israeli fast-food at Chez Benny and kosher pizza by the Snowdon metro station. Cell phones ring, voices chatting in French and Arabic more often than in Yiddish. Yes, indeed, Jewish life in Montreal has changed, but remains alive and well. For more information, go to: www. tourisme-montreal.org.
  4. Le fabricant de simulateurs de vol et fournisseur de services connexes livrera cinq simulateurs de vol à des clients comme Aeroflot Russian Airlines. Pour en lire plus...
  5. On the job, on solid ground The road to finding full-time employment in Quebec has many twists and turns. It also has lots of rotten bridges and overpasses. And that's good news if you're in the construction and engineering business. JEFF HEINRICH, The Gazette Published: 6 hours ago Shoring up all those massive old structures of rusted steel and cracked concrete is keeping many qualified workers on the job this summer. In fact, 2008 is the costliest year ever for infrastructure renewal in the province. How costly? Just look out your car window. Ottawa and Quebec are spending $3.2 billion to fix bridges and overpasses and repair roads at 1,800 sites across Quebec, including several major projects around Montreal. What began with a tragedy - the September 2005 collapse of the de la Concorde Blvd. overpass in Laval, which killed five people - has turned into a massive, government-financed job boom. Motorists may curse, but the boom has been a godsend for those who, it might be said, need a break the most: new immigrants trying to snag a first job in their adopted land. Since January, The Gazette has been following the progress of six of them, all enrolled in an intensive civil-engineering diploma program of 17 students at CEGEP du Vieux Montréal, their costs covered by Emploi-Québec. They wrote their final exams in mid-July and started apprenticing at Montreal-area companies soon after. The unpaid "stages," as they're known in French, last four weeks. The students are keeping a daily log of the 120 hours they're on the job and will return to class at the end of the month to give a PowerPoint presentation summing up their experience. After that, by the end of September or early October, it'll be graduation time. And diploma in hand, the eager engineers will hit the job market, finally getting off government assistance and earning a decent salary. One of the most energetic of the bunch is Agaton Oba-Buya, a Congolese man who spent half his life in Russia before starting a new life here in the spring of 2006 with his Russian wife and their two children. These days the 44-year-old PhD in technical science - who also had an engineering company in his hometown, Brazzaville - wears the hard hat and workboots of Demix Construction, a Longueuil general contractor. He was hired as an apprentice at the firm's Laval office two weeks ago. For Oba-Buya, Quebec's infrastructure woes spell one word: Opportunity. "Le malheur des uns fait le bonheur des autres," he said with a grin this week, quoting Voltaire's famous maxim. It was Tuesday and Oba-Buya had just spent the morning observing repairs to the 55th Ave. overpass of Highway 520, in Dorval, on behalf of his employer, a unit of Ciment Saint-Laurent. There's plenty of good fortune to be made out of Quebec's antiquated infrastructure, and if Oba-Buya keeps up the good work - and the repair contracts keep coming, which no one doubts - there's a good chance he'll turn his apprenticeship into a full-time job. "There's been a great deal of demand for workers because of all these private-public partnerships, projects like Highway 25 (between Montreal and Laval) and Highway 30 (on the South Shore)," said his boss, Dominic Martel, who also took on three others from the CEGEP program this month. "Usually we make do with apprentices out of the university programs, but this summer that wasn't enough, so we jumped at the chance for more workers when the CEGEP called us," he said. "Agaton has an advantage. He has a driver's licence and a car, which means he can easily get to the sites we're working on," he added. "I'm very satisfied with him so far. He expresses himself well, knows the technical terms we use, speaks several languages. He's autonomous, this gentleman, and that's what we're looking for." Getting his foot in the door wasn't easy for Oba-Buya. He sent his CV to close to 80 companies before his apprenticeship supervisor at the college stepped in to help land him an interview at Demix. It was in the interview that he began to practise the fine art of being accommodating. "They told me what projects they're involved in, such as overpasses, aqueducts, asphalt, sewers and drainage, and they asked me which one I felt most qualified to work on. I had experience with dams in Russia, so maybe a drainage project would have been a good choice," recalled Oba-Buya. "But in the end, I just told them to put me wherever I could be useful to the company, and that's what they did." His first day, he got a 45-minute seminar on health-and-safety procedures - essential to the job. (Three years ago, Demix was fined for negligence by the CSST after one of its superintendents was struck by a dump truck and killed at a job along Highway 40 on the West Island. The site is not far from the Dorval site Oba-Buya visited this week.) After the safety course, the budding apprentice was given a mound of documentation to wade through: details of projects, client profiles, bids from subcontractors, cement specifications, ISO norms - "everything so he wouldn't be thrown into a work site and feel like a tourist," Martel said. But what struck Oba-Buya the most was how his boss made a point of introducing him to everyone in the building. To him, that meant he was welcome - something every immigrant dreams of but doesn't always get. "It impressed me a lot - the kindness, the smiles - from everyone, too. It made an important step - leaving my studies, starting a new phase - all that much easier." Then, at the end of the week, he was taken out into the field, to three sites, including the 55th Ave. site. The overpass is so decrepit, it is slated for demolition in 2010. In the meantime it needs to be properly repaired and supported so that traffic, as well as companies like Bell Canada and Vidéotron that have cables to tend to down there, can circulate safely. To that end, Demix and its subcontractors are installing 64 foundation pylons to prop up the overpass. Behind concrete barriers last Tuesday, the site appeared muddy and noisy, its workers' clothing smeared with dust and grime amid the din of generators and drilling machines. Later in the week, Oba-Buya had a choice of revisiting a project on Highway 25, dealing by phone and fax with an electrician subcontracted for a project on Highway 55, and learning billing techniques using Excel software - all tasks he looked forward to with optimism and good cheer. And why not? He's got a whole new life to look forward to. Fall is coming, a big season in Demix's business. The company's human-resources department will likely offer one-year contracts to some of its summer apprentices, Martel said - salaries for management jobs like the one Oba-Buya has his eye on being non-union and strictly negotiable. Now comes Step 2 in the art of being accommodating: Don't ask for too much. As a permanent resident to Canada, not yet a full citizen, Oba-Buya feels the humility of being a newcomer. From his Moscow days, he retains his Russian citizenship and passport (and speaks only Russian at home in Villeray), and that gives him pride. And he remembers being his own boss in Brazzaville, one more thing to be proud of. In this country, he's not holding out for a barrel of gold. He just hopes that come graduation, Demix will hire him as a technician in civil engineering, whatever the salary. "I'll take what they want to pay me," he said. "The money isn't important. The important thing is to get the work." [email protected] THE QUEBEC DREAM: SIX STORIES. Look for Part 4 of this occasional series at the end of August, when reporter Jeff Heinrich checks back in with the students when they return to class to make a presentation about their apprenticeship experience - the final step before graduation. - - - Where they are now Since July 28, the 17 students in the CEGEP du Vieux Montréal's civil-engineering diploma program have been working as apprentices in various sectors. An asterisk (*) appears in front of the names of the six being followed by The Gazette: Real estate and buildings Le Groupe GENINOV Inc., Montreal: *Mohammed Tazi Mezalek, *Marie-Juline Jean-Baptiste and one other student. Construction EBC Inc., Brossard: *Hocine Merzouk, *Lady Alexandra Vega Contreras. Civil engineering Demix Construction (Ciment St-Laurent Inc.), Laval and Longueuil: *Agaton Oba-Buya and three other students. Geotechnical / materials / environment Groupe Qualitas Inc., Montreal: *Ahmed Gherbi. ABS Environnement Inc., Anjou: one student. Labo SM Inc., Longueuil: one student. Solmatech Inc., Repentigny: two students. Industrial engineering GCM Consultants Inc., Anjou: one student. Municipal City of Verdun: one student. Electricity distribution networks Transelec Common Inc.: one student. CEGEP du Vieux Montréal
  6. A billionaire Russian tycoon has bought Manhattan's most expensive ever apartment for a cool $88million for his 22 years old daughter. Dmitry Rybolovlev, said to be worth around $9.5billion, can now enjoy a 6,744 sq ft 10-room apartment which overlooks Central Park in Manhattan. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2076017/Russian-billionaire-buys-New-York-Citys-expensive-apartment--88MILLION.html#ixzz1h5n9fLOf