Posts Tagged ‘Montreal’

Religious Freedom Fight Hits YouTube

January 24, 2014

This piece first appeared in The Times of Israel.


A Sikh dentist treats a patient in Quebec (YouTube screenshot)

A Sikh dentist treats a patient in Quebec (YouTube screenshot)

Ari Grunzeweig says that although he is not a very political person, he does know right from wrong. For him, the right thing to do was to make a video opposing Bill 60, the proposed “Charter of Values” that would ban the wearing of religious symbols by public employees in the Canadian province of Quebec.

Grunzeweig, a professional video producer, knew he had to disseminate the video before hearings on the bill began in Quebec’s National Assembly on January 14. He made it just under the wire, posting “Quebecers Care” on January 13. To date, it has received over 15,000 views on YouTube, and traditional media has begun to pick it up, as well.

The minute-and-a-half-long video shows healthcare providers in a hospital setting — many of them wearing religious symbols and clothing items — going about their regular business caring for patients.

Click here to read more and watch the video.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.


Quebec Rav Will Kippa Going

December 6, 2013

This piece first appeared in The Times of Israel.


What’s the hottest headwear in Montreal on these cold winter days? Surprisingly, it’s not woolen toques or fur hats. Lately, Quebecers wanting to make a fashionable, yet political, statement are wearing kippot covered in the Fleur-de-lis.

The kippot are the brainchild of a young Montreal rabbi who felt it was time for Jewish Quebecers to wear their opposition to Bill 60 not only on their sleeves, but  also on their heads.

The province’s ruling nationalist Parti Quebecois, led by Premier Pauline Marois, tabled Bill 60 in the National Assembly in early November. The proposed legislation, also known as the Charter of Quebec Values, would ban the display of religious symbols and the wearing of religious garb by public employees.

 “The best way to protest the charter is to wear religious symbols,” saysRabbi Yisroel Bernath. Known as “Montreal’s Hip Rabbi,” he is the spiritual director of Chabad Notre-Dame-de-Grace & Loyola Campus, and the Jewish chaplain at Concordia University.

Click here to read more.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Welcome to the Ultimate Jewish Food Championship

November 15, 2013

This post first appeared on The Jew and the Carrot blog at the Forward.


We all have our favorite Jewish foods, but are we willing to go head to head with other food lovers to defend them? A Bit off the Top, a Montreal-based incubator for Jewish ideas (it organizes LE MOOD), is challenging bagel biters, latke lovers and falafel fanciers to stand up for their favorite fare in the Ultimate Jewish Food Championship.

Quite simply, it’s a bracket-style championship pitting eight “Super Jewish foods” against each other in pairs until one of them emerges triumphant. To participate, you don’t even have to eat your favorite food. Just voting for it online is enough.

To sex up the competition a bit, A Bit off the Top has enlisted some young Jewish local culinary celebs to champion their favorite dishes. Among them are BBQ spot owner Shawn Dascal championing brisket, food festival creator Na’eem Adam touting smoked meat, food blogger Dustin Gilman pushing latkes, and radio hosts Neev and Alex Fredo cheering for couscous.

In a nod to Sephardic and Middle Eastern Jewish heritage, couscous and falafel are included. However, the overwhelming majority of contenders hail from Eastern Europe. “Of course, living in the American North East, our eight contenders are slightly biased towards traditionally Ashkenazi dishes, and for this we apologize, but here in Montreal, we are surrounded by them in famous delis, old-school bakeries and in our homes.”

Click here to read more and watch a video.

© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.