Mat Franco

Mat Franco

The 2019 ORT Montreal Ted Wise Gala for Jewish Education will take place on Sun. Dec. 8, 9 at Place des Arts, with a cocktail dinatoire followed by the show. Honourees this year are community leaders Jonathan Goodman, Jeff Hart, Dean Mendel and Gideon Pollack while the featured performer will be Mat Franco, the first and only magician ever to win NBC’s America’s Got Talent. He takes an innovative approach to magic-making that’s driven by pure joy and that wins over audiences!

For close to 140 years, ORT has supported more than three million students around the world. In addition to supporting ORT activities across the globe, the 2019 ORT Gala will help raise urgently needed funds for the following schools and programs in Montreal: Akiva School, Azrieli Schools Talmud Torah/Herzliah, CBB Ottawa, Chabad NDG, Ecole Maimonide, Hebrew Academy, Hebrew Foundation School, JPPS-Bialik, JPPS ONE, March of the Living Montreal, Solomon Schechter Academy, and the Yaldei Developmental Centre. This brilliant idea was realized by Goodman,

“I have been going to ORT galas for decades,” Goodman explained. “ORT would sell about 600 gala tickets a year leaving 2,100 empty seats at Place des Arts’ Wilfrid-Pelletier hall. ORT paid for the entertainment, hall, and security. In a given year, ORT would spend about 35 to 40 percent of revenues on this overhead. Eleven years ago, I had an epiphany. I went to ORT Montreal’s executive director and made a donation in exchange for the 2,100 empty seats at their next gala. I then went to 10 plus Montreal Jewish institutions committed to Jewish education and offered them a free gala. Everything they sell, they keep. No deductions!

“We now have been filling the hall for the last 10 years decreasing the overhead from 35 to 40 percent to 13 percent thereby channeling more money towards creating Jewish grandchildren and less on paying the band. ORT has raised close to $4 million and the schools have raised over $7 million since we started this partnership.”

You can read a lot more on my blog.

UN ANNIVERSARY: On the occasion of the 71st anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Canadian Friends of Rabbis for Human Rights and the Labour Zionist History Circle will hold a free lecture and discussion on Tuesday, Dec.10 (7 pm) at the Gelber Centre (5151 Côte Ste. Catherine Road). Refugee rights advocate Rivka Augenfeld will speak on“Refugee Rights are Human Rights: Myths, Realities and Our Responsibilities.”

TIMEOUT MONTREAL: I was pretty impressed with what I saw at the new Time Out Market Montreal at Eaton Centre, which opened two weeks ago. It brings food from 16 of Montreal’s most outstanding chefs and restaurateurs under a 40,000 square foot ultra-gourmet high-end food court For one thing, upon making your order you are handed a pager which will light up when your food is ready. A special VIP opening, expertly coordinated by uber-talented culinary food publicist Ashley Rosenberger, attracted a who’s who of personalities from Just For Laughs boss Bruce Hills to restaurateur Chris-Ann Nakis.

COHEN CHATTER: B’nai Brith Quebec will be hosting another Music Brunch for Seniors on Sun. Dec. 15 at the ADATH on Harrow Cres. in Hampstead. It will feature The Bagg Street Klezmer Band. Reservations must be made in advance by calling the synagogue…The Auxiliary of the Jewish General Hospital will hold its second Toy and Bake Sale in conjunction with the Grade 5 students of Solomon Schechter Academy. Funds raised will be allocated to the NICU as well as the Centre for Child Development and Mental Health. It takes place Nov 27 and 28 from 10 am to 2 pm on the first floor — Pav. G. Lori Bassal heads the organizing committee.

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