Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Canadian content in LA exhibit

In Los Angeles recently for a “girls’ trip” to visit an LA friend, our little Toronto group visited the Skirball Cultural Center (skirball.org), a Jewish museum where I would have been happy to spend more time.

Enjoyed the Jews on Vinyl exhibit, on now until Sept. 5. It features a display of record album covers from the 1940s to 1980s in a room with comfortable seating and headsets so visitors can listen to the music.

The mix of “American Jewish” albums includes cantorial and even Christmas music by Jewish artists, and ranges from the Barry Sisters (whose Yiddish albums my grandfather liked) to parodist Allan Sherman (more my parents’ generation) to Barbra Streisand, Barry Manilow and Neil Diamond (whose music still resonates for me).

But my personal favourite – the one I least expected to see – was a 1977 album by the Stan Hiltz Orchestra, which I remember as a popular Toronto wedding band in the ’70s and ’80s.

The orchestra, which had a 38-year run, started in 1965 as a rock ’n’ roll band, Hiltz told me when I reached him this week by phone. Kosher Style, the band’s only album, was a promotional item used as a giveaway at weddings and bar mitzvahs. It was also distributed in the United States, where it was heard on Jewish radio stations.

The album is included in the book, And You Shall Know Us By the Trail of Our Vinyl: The Jewish Musical Past As Told By the Records We Have Loved and Lost, a couple of copies of which were on hand at the exhibit.

It was fun to happen on some local content, especially when we noticed the CN Tower on the album cover.

And we didn’t realize until we arrived at the museum that admission is free on Thursday. Two nice surprises in one afternoon.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Which Jewish women top your list?

The theme of The CJN's 2010 Rosh Hashanah supplement will be "Which Jewish Women Top The List?"

It will be highlighting the lives and contributions of 16 Jewish women, all of them prominent, but not all of them well-known today - who have made significant contributions to Jewish life and Jewish history.

The list of 16 will sweep across the wide swath of Jewish history over the last 500 years.

The women selected will have left marks in the world on the Arts, Literature, Academia, Scholarship, Politics and Social Action. This supplement will aim to inform and instruct The CJN's readers about the lives of these women and hopefully inspire readers through the awareness of the rich, resplendent history of which readers may only have scant knowledge.

We here at The Shmooze invite you, our dedicated followers and all CJN readers, to submit your Top 4 picks in our comments section below.

Thank you and we look forward to comparing and contrasting your picks with ours.

The CJShmooze Team

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Changing of the Guard at JUMP

Top: Debbie Osiel
In a late day communication from JUMP, Debbie Osiel the Jewish Urban Meeting Place's founding director, announced with mixed emotions she has resigned effective Friday July 23rd. Osiel leaves the organization after three years, founding it in 2007 working alongside trip co-ordinator Shlomo Buzaglo. In Osiel's parting words she says, "I have had the opportunity to work with an unbelievably talented and passionate team of professionals, meet amazing new friends and be part of an organization that is truly making an impact in the Toronto Jewish Community."

Although Osiel will be moving on to a new professional venture, JUMP will remain close to her heart and she looks forward to continuing to serve the community as a volunteer. On occasion, she will undoubtedly involve herself though less officially instead as a participant with JUMP's activities.

We at The CJN and on behalf of our Young Professional network at Heebonics wish Osiel all the best in her future endeavours and on-going community participation. We thank her for all the good works she has put forth.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Torontonian shines on home turf in Rookie Blue

From strength to strength. Ameri-Canadian actor and native Torontonian Gregory Smith, has found success again. He has twice now landed roles as an angst-ridden Jewish youth. Smith is probably still best known by many for playing Ephram Brown for four seasons on the WB’s critically acclaimed series Everwood. He co-starred alongside Treat Williams and fellow Canadian - also now an ABC network alum from Brothers and Sisters - Emily VanCamp of Port Perry, ON. Smith returned to TV on June 24th with another Jewish character: Dov Epstein in Rookie Blue.

Rookie Blue, which airs Thursday nights at 9 EST on both ABC and Global, is filmed in Toronto and stars five Canadian actors in the roles of rookie police officers working the inner streets of Canada’s biggest city. Smith’s character is described as a “young Jewish hipster cop” and asthma-prone adrenaline junkie who idolized Starsky and Hutch as a kid – to the disapproval of his hippie parents.

Just announced yesterday after airing only 3 of its first season's 13 episode order, the show has delivered record breaking numbers to the letter network. The highest numbers from its summer premiere schedule in the last six years. 7 million viewers have tuned in thus far and an additional 2 million or so from Canada. The show has been green lit for a second season which will resume later this year once the first season has wrapped.

Smith has a knack for playing off against top talent who are quite appealing to watch. For the purpose of the press junkets, the fantastic chemistry he elicits from his co-stars can be seen from the interviews he gives, alongside yet another fellow Canadian Missy Peregrym. Peregrym who is also a WB/CW alum was previously seen in the series Reaper which ended a two season run last year and before that was the shape shifting agent Candice of "The Company" in the first season of NBC's one time hit Heroes.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My G20 experience

Special to The CJN

TORONTO — On Sunday, June 27, a day after I watched members of the so-called Black Bloc destroy parts of downtown Toronto, I took to the street again with my camera.

I ended up watching the crowd of nearly 1,0000 people march peacefully to Queen Street and Spadina Avenue, where they were met by at least 100 police officers.

The demonstrators began to have some sort of street party in the middle of the intersection, with music playing and people dancing. Many people turned it into a sit-in.

The police had already blocked any access to Spadina Avenue heading north, and within a matter of minutes, Queen Street West was also blocked. At that point I realized that I should probably leave, as I was not there to demonstrate against the G20, but just to take pictures.

Within seconds of my decision, groups of riot police showed up in full gear to block off the remaining exits from the intersection, as well as to take over the positions of the police on bicycles.

We were never once given a warning to leave and at this point were barred from exiting the intersection.

In groups of four, riot police officers would enter the crowd, grab someone by the neck and arrest them.

The police began to close in on what would become known as the “human box,” hitting their batons against their shields, and yelling, “Move!”

My first instinct was to stick with members of the media. I immediately saw Francis D’Souza from CityTV, who seemed very shaken up, and stood next to him, as I assumed the police wouldn’t harm or arrest members of the media. The members of the accredited press got together and negotiated their release with police, only to be put in zip ties once they exited.

As it started pouring rain (I later learned that Toronto was under a severe thunderstorm watch), I immediately started looking through my phone to see who could help me and other innocent bystanders around me to get out of this situation.

I was standing next to a man who was out walking his dog, as well as a couple who was going out for dinner, and many other people who just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. I urgently got in contact with a reporter I knew from the local news station CP24, who managed to broadcast me live via phone on the station.

Within minutes, the staff at CP24 had contacted the mayor, chief of police and the head of the integrated security unit, all of whom would not comment on the situation.

After nearly two hours of standing in the rain and pressure on public officials by the media, those that were left in the “human box” were allowed to leave, while close to 150 people were arrested.

Soaking wet, freezing, hungry and needing a bathroom for the past six hours, I learned that this was a weekend that City of Toronto would never forget.

Sammy Katz, 23, is an active member of the Jewish community on campus.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Lousy Money Manager

Dear Ella,

My friend, Cindy, is a lovely woman, but she has no sense when it comes to money. Cindy is the type of gal who has to have everything – the latest trendy outfit, pair of shoes, car. She has her nails done every week and is forever going to her masseuse. The problem is that she has no money! She lives off some money her parents left her, but that will soon be gone. She has no savings, no RRSPs, no real estate. Her car is leased, her condo is rented and her credit cards are maxed out.

She has come to me for a loan from time to time, but I’ve always managed to weasel out of giving it to her. I feel like I’m standing by and watching my friend self-destruct. At this rate, she’s going to end up homeless.

How do I get through to her?

Lousy Money Manager

Dear Lousy Money Manager,

Cindy may be spending to fill a void. This excessive spending behaviour is no different than any other addiction.

Being a close friend, you have to care enough to actually get involved. You must call her out on what you see and not let her make excuses for her actions. Are you prepared to take her by the hand and lead her through the steps she will have to go through? If you are, here are some practical measures to help Cindy.
For starters, you need to get her to admit she’s in trouble. This will be the hardest part. Let her know what you’ve noticed and try to scare her into reality. Be honest and tell her why you won’t lend her money. If she’s willing to disclose her financial situation, you can show her on paper how she’s setting herself up for disaster.

If you can get through this first step, you can move on to a positive solution. Help Cindy come up with a budget. Write down every expense she has and every bit of money she has to work with. See if she’s willing to be accountable for her spending. This is a huge undertaking, and you need to decide if you can make this commitment. You might want to suggest getting a professional involved.

Don’t be surprised if Cindy isn’t willing to listen, but feel good knowing that at least you’ve planted the seed of concern. Let her know you will be there when she comes to terms with the fact that she needs help.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bibi's address re: Gilad Schalit

On the anniversary of Gilad Schalit's fourth year in captivity at the hands of Hamas, and with the whole of Israel fixated on the conclusion of the 12-day Free Gilad March – organized by his parents, Noam and Aviva – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to the national airwaves last Thursday night to give the following address to his country:

It's hard to imagine how to deal with such a situation. As a parent, the phrase "by any means necessary" comes to mind. And I'd certainly be in that mindset if one of my children was taken hostage. There would be no convincing me otherwise. But, if one can, one needs to put themselves in Bibi's position as well.

Thousands of supporters joined the Schalit family on the ninth day of their protest march calling for the release of the abducted IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, rallying in Tel Aviv's Rabin Square. Yellow poster reads "Gilad still lives." [Kfir Sivan/Israel Sun photo]

Last Friday, Hamas rejected Israel's offer to release 1,000 prisoners, none of whom would be permitted in the West Bank and would not include mass murderers, as Netanyahu said. And so Gilad continues to languish... somewhere. No one has ever been allowed to see him and verify his well-being. Save for this video release of him reading a newspaper on Sept. 14, 2009, there's been no communication from his captors about his state of health or location.

The Schalits and Netanyahu will likely meet again later this month after Gilad's parents camp out in front of Netanyahu's residence to protest the government's refusal to meet all demands from Hamas in exchange for Gilad's freedom.

What position do you take?