Thursday, June 30, 2011

Finding cures in a virtual space

Determined to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, brain cancer and other neurological disorders, the province of Ontario entered into a co-sponsorship with Israel just a little more than a year ago. Together, Israel and the province began collaborating on a virtual brain research institute.

Israel’s renowned life-sciences capabilities mesh well with the advanced neurological research being conducted in Ontario. In a recent tweet on the social network Twitter, Ontario’s minister of research and innovation, Glen Murray, said it’s “to be a global centre of excellence.” Murray was put in charge of the project by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Last October, the Ontario cabinet approved $15 million in funding for a research institute to be headed by Dr. Joseph Martin, dean emeritus of Harvard Medical School. This is the first virtual research centre to be established for multi-site research projects, which will be conducted by experts from both countries.

It is McGuinty’s deep desire to “build a dynamic social cultural and dynamic diplomatic relationship with Israel that allows it to strengthen its economy and independence,” he said.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Family above money

Dear Ella,
My brother-in-law Mark, the lawyer, who eats in our home regularly, who visits our cottage with his family every summer, who claims to be closer to us than any other relative, charged my daughter a hefty amount when she used him to litigate a legal problem she was having at work.
Sandra was let go from her job after 12 years for reasons she felt were unjust, so she decided to sue her employer. She discussed the matter at our dinner table one night when Mark was over with his family.
Mark listened to her side and told her it sounded like she might have a case. He suggested that she call him at the firm on Monday morning. Sandra took him up on his offer. He took on the case, but they didn’t discuss fees. We just assumed that he was doing this for free for his niece because he loves her and they are close.
Imagine our shock when she came to us in tears waving a huge bill. I was livid. My husband tried to calm us down, but I think it’s outrageous that he has the chutzpah to charge Sandra that kind of money when it was his idea that she call him in the first place.
Should there not be some sense of family or loyalty? I would be interested to hear your opinion.

Dear Disheartened
You don’t have to look too far to find a family or friendship which has been torn apart because of money.
Not every circumstance is the same. You mention that Mark said to call him at his firm. Does that mean he doesn’t work alone? Does he have to answer to other partners? Are there legal assistants, disbursements, receptionists, rent and other overhead that he has to pay? How much time did he spend researching her case, writing letters, going to court or mediating on Sandra’s behalf?
It’s easy to say he shouldn’t have charged her, but when you actually look at all that was involved, you might feel otherwise. Why should Sandra’s problem cost Mark expenses? What I’m sure Sandra did get was special attention from an uncle who loves her and happens to be a competent lawyer.
Whenever a business transaction occurs between family members or close friends, everything should be out in the open right from the start. Whether it’s something as small as the sale of a pair of pants to something as large as the sale of a house, fees, commissions, prices and work expected should be discussed by both parties, especially the one who is the recipient of the goods or services. Know what it’s going to cost you. Never, ever assume! With all the cards on the table, you can make an informed decision and keep the relationship intact.
Before you write Mark out of your family completely, Sandra should ask him to explain exactly what he charged and why. Is it possible that he did give you a reasonable discount? Maybe with some understanding, you’ll have a different opinion. If you’re still unhappy, tell him. Talk it out, and then put it behind you. Family is more valuable than money.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Facing Tomorrow Today

Facing Tomorrow 2011, the third annual conference under the auspices of Israeli President Shimon Peres, is coming to a close.

The two and a half day conference focused on vital issues and the solutions to them, all designed to bring about a better tomorrow.  Approximately 200 of the world's best minds, global leaders, international scholars and activists, scientists, entrepreneurs and industrialists, came together to take part in plenary sessions and incredibly varied panels. The decisions they come to over the two and a half days are to be implemented without delay, improving the quality of life for all mankind in addition to diaspora Jews, those within the State of Israel and the state itself.

One of the main issues deliberated at the heart of the conference is the deligitimization of Israel and the underlying fuel that powers it; the Boycott, Disinvestment Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Campaigns against Israel on university campuses around the world as well as many anti-Israel condemnations at the UN Human Rights Council are also of great concern.

Chief among the world's best minds, making a repeat appearance at the conference, Canadian Liberal MP Irwin Cotler. He asserts that of the two great evils of the 20th Century, Apartheid and Nazism, Israel is accused of both. To anyone who lifts the blinders, it can clearly be seen that Israel's vibrant democracy bears no resemblance to Apartheid-era South Africa. The BDS activists demonize Israel as the embodiment of ultimate racist evil, designed inexplicably to remove any moral grounds for the Jewish state's existence.

Perhaps from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address today toward the close of the conference, the world's brightest lights will have devised the newest, best strategies on how we can win the war against those who have made it their mission to deligitimize Eretz Yisrael.

The CJN's Sheri Shefa has been on site reporting live from the conference. Click here to see what she's seen and heard.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bocelli, Noa duet at Masada

You'll have to pardon the shaky camera on this beautiful video from Israel.

Recorded on Sunday June 12, renowned Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli performed at the foot of Masada with the Rishon LeZion Symphony Orchestra and the opera choir as the closing concert of the
second international opera festival at Masada-Dead Sea and Jerusalem.

Below is Bocelli alongside Israeli singer Noa (Achinoam Nini), singing a rendition of "Santa Lucia Luntana."

It's quite amazing when you think about it: a Christian Italian and an Israeli singing their hearts out about a town named after an Italian saint... in the Jewish state.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A night of fun and fundraising

Reena's VIP Event, is typically held in conjuction with the foundation's annual Not Just Another Saturday Night event. This year the new leadership division has decided to hold the night's charity tournament as a stand alone gathering of players and VIPs. All proceeds from the kick off to this October's main event will, once again, go towards the foundation's endowment fund which provides essential programs to children and adults with developmental disabilities. On Sunday, June 26th at 4 p.m. at the Factory Lounge located at 34 Futurity Gate in Vaughan, beginners, novices and expert players alike, will show off their skills, as they vie for one of the ten coveted seats at the final table. Buy-ins earn players a buffet style dinner and, at the very least, plenty of swag to walk away with. Come on out to see if you can raise, bluff and stare down  the other players to claim the bracelet and title as the 2011 Reena Foundation's VIP champion.

To buy your ticket now click here

Thursday, June 2, 2011

An exclusive coming next week...

In an upcoming article exclusive to by Rabbi Michael Stavsky, the impending holiday of Shavuot will be discussed. Rabbi Stavsky's focus will explain what significant customs are associated with these holy days.

Most Jewish people have attended a Pesach seder, lit Chanukah candles and heard the shofar on Rosh Hashana. So, what about Shavuot? What special customs are observed on Shavuot? The Tikkun Leil Shavuot (literally translated to the rectification of the night of Shavuot), is the custom of studying Torah all night and the recitation of the tikkun composition, which for many is the most difficult Shavuot custom to observe.

For more on this check back at on Tuesday June 7 for all your answers.