Page 1

THE chanukah holiday ISSUE

nikki yanofsky singing her little heart out! PAGE 24

Chanukah Gift Guide

8 Crazy days of gift giving PAGE 8

winter trends

from dvira ovadia PAGE 16 Issue 160 159 Dec Nov 2008

mAKING A DIFFERENCE Editor’s Pick: theo koffler PAGE 6

ON THE TOWN: TJM CITY GUIDE PAGE 33 December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 1

Handles with

Sizeable Impact

Suitable for pantry doors and wood-faced appliances, the substantial handles in this collection range in size from 113/8" to 191/4" high. They are available in a variety of finishes, from antique brass to weathered iron, to complement any style, from classic to chic. Coordinating knobs, handles and pulls are available for most styles. Our FREE hardware catalog has 256 pages of attractive and practical solutions that put the finishing touches to well-designed kitchens, bathrooms, and cabinets.

To request a copy of our 2008/2009 cabinet hardware catalog, drop by one of our stores, call or visit us online. -V>ÀLœÀœÕ}…ÊÊUÊÊ7iÃ̜˜ÊÊUÊÊ œÜ˜ÌœÜ˜Ê/œÀœ˜ÌœÊÊUÊÊ ÕÀˆ˜}̜˜ÊÊUÊÊœ˜`œ˜ 2 December 2008 - 5769 in real years...

1-800-683-8170 December November October 2008 - 5769 in real years... 3

The Romspen Mortgage Fund. There’s never been a better time. We Are What The Stock Market Isn’t

Meet the principals of Romspen Investment Corporation, the Fund manager: (from left to right) Arthur Resnick, Mark Hilson, Sheldon Esbin, Wesley Roitman and Blake Cassidy. As the largest investor in the Fund, they have a committed and vested interest in its success.

Predictable. Stable. And a world away from volatile. The Romspen Mortgage Investment Fund (RMIF or the Fund) prides itself on its disciplined investment strategy and impressive results. That’s precisely what has made the Fund a good investment choice – particularly in these turbulent economic times. Because we are risk averse, we’ve made a point of investing only in qualified Canadian commercial first mortgages – no stocks, no bonds, no mutual funds or REITS – and this strategy is proving particularly effective in today’s investment landscape. And unlike other investment vehicles, the value of units in the Fund has never fluctuated: It has remained at $10, regardless of stock market performance.

9.74 % 10.14 % Since its inception, the Fund has consistently offered investors enviable returns. Consider the numbers: The RMIF has yielded an average annual net return of 9.74% since inception, and an impressive 10.14% when the monthly interest is reinvested through the automatic unit reinvestment program.


Jan. 1 - Sept . 30, 2008 (9 months) 7.3%

4.8% 3.1% 2.0%

Romspen Mortgage Investment Fund Conventional Mortgages Long Bonds 91 Day T-Bills Common Stocks (TSX) Common Stocks (TSX) to October 27



Source: Bank of Canada, Statistics Canada, Romspen Analysis

Performance 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% 0%

Q1 2006

Q2 2006

Q3 2006

Q4 2006

Q1 2007

Q2 2007

Q3 2007

Q4 2007

Q1 Q2 Q3 2008 2008 2008

Romspen Mortgage Investment Fund

Monthly Income The income the Fund earns is distributed to investors every month, making it an attractive investment for current and future retirees who require a regular income stream. Investors can choose to have the income either deposited directly into their bank account or reinvested through our automatic unit reinvestment program.

Experience That Matters The Fund is managed by Romspen Investment Corporation (RIC). The founding principals of RIC have been administering mortgages on behalf of investors for over 35 years. With such extensive management expertise, it isn’t surprising that the RMIF has never experienced a losing month.


Learn More

The Fund was established to provide investors with a predictable income stream while protecting their investment from market fluctuations. Since contributions are also RRSP and RRIF eligible, the RMIF is a tax-effective investment whether you are planning ahead or now enjoying retirement.

Join us at our next Romspen Investor Information Seminar and you’ll have the opportunity to meet the principals, learn more about the Fund and its performance, and discover if investing in the Fund is right for you. Call to reserve your spot. Your financial advisor is welcome as well.

Join us for an Introductory Seminar Wednesday, Dec. 10 or Jan. 14 @ 6:00 p.m. Healthy hors d’oeuvres by Rose Reisman Catering @ 5:30 162 Cumberland Street, Suite 300 Toronto, Ontario M5R 3N5

December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 4 December 2008 - 5769 inyears... real years... October 2008 - 5769 in real 4

Tel: 416.966.1100 • Toll Free: 1.800.494.0389


*Beh-ra-sheet= In the beginning G-d created heaven and earth.

Dear Readers, Welcome to the December Chanukah Holiday Issue! This really has to be one of the staff’s most favourite issue to work on. And no, it’s not because of the gifts. To be honest, who really does the 8 days of gift giving? Well, we do! And that is why we love this issue. It is our turn to give back and spread a little holiday cheer ‘as they say.’ And so, in this issue we have filled our pages with thoughts on what Chanukah means. Thanks to J’Walkin’ for chomping down on that long-awaited sweet delight that only comes around this time of year - no, not Santa Claus! Sufganiyot! Also, TJM’s design diva Dvira Ovadia offers tips to warm your home for the holiday season, while Mrs. Babes returns with ‘owning Chanukah!’ And finally, TJM celebrates the tribe from local up-and-coming artists striving to make their mark to prodigy Nikki Yanofsky, whose singing capabilities are out of this world. This issue is filled with tremendous accomplishments. As always, The Jewish Magazine is your magazine. Continue to send us your thoughts to The Editorial Staff, The Jewish Magazine (TJM)



JAY LEVINE On the ins and outs of FashionTelevision

Page 22




Issue 159 Nov 2008


ON THE TOWN: TJM CITY GUIDE PAGE 33 November 2008 - 5769 in real years... 1

Dear TJM, I wanted to “congratulate” the editors of The Jewish Magazine on having reached a new high in low. While it has always been your practice to deliver content to a Jewish readership while showing contempt for Jewish values, you had always at least had enough sense to keep the shmutz between the covers. In that way, readers had a choice as to what they were exposing themselves to, and parents need have worried less about what they were “exposing” their children to, or were inadvertently being subjected to. Name withheld. Toronto.

From all of us at TJM, we would like to wish you a safe and Happy Chanukah!

Founder & Publisher: Simon Sher Editor In Chief: Helen Hatzis Editor: Sam Title Creative Director: Ori Sher Jr. Copy Editor: Miriam Cross Advertising: Elie Malka, Jordana Smiley Editorial: Ilan Mester, Cassie Beth Friedman Contributors: Miriam Cross, Erica Ehm, Jeremy Freed, Cassie Beth Friedman, Mike Gaspar, Laura Stern-Goldsilver, Helen Hatzis, Elayne Laken, Ilan Mester, Dvira Ovadia, Sarah Pearson, Marc Saltzman, Shira Schwartz, Tracey Erin Smith, Marcie Somers


34 Transformation AGO

Cover story:

24 Nikki Yanofsky

Cover photo by Rob Fahie

Columns / Articles:

6 Editor’s Pick 8 Gift Guide 12 Frum Fatale 14 J’Walkin’ 16 Dvira Ovadia’s Winter Trends 18 Mrs. Babes 20 Samantha Gutstadt 26 Montreal Mensch 29 Burning Bush 30 Elliotte Friedman 33 City Guide 38 Sheygetz in the City 40 Tech n’ Toys 42 Yummy Mummy 43 Horascopes 46 Jew or No Jew How To Subscribe:

For just $19 a year (US price $40), you can get the best of Canada’s Jewish community in a glossy, full colour format - the only one of its kind. To get your 12 issues a year, send an email to or call us at 416.987.3201 “We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Magazine Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage for this project / Nous reconnaissons le soutien financier du gouvernement du Canada, par l’entremise du Fonds du Canada pour les magazines, du ministère du Patrimoine canadien, pour ce projet.” www.TheJewishMagazine.comDecember December2008 2008- -5769 5769ininreal realyears... years... 55

Theo hands out Crayola crayons and note paper, donated by Super-Pharm Israel Ltd., to 150 primary students at the Creative Minds Inter national Academy in Jos, Nigeria.

From left to right: Between Four Eyes senior teacher Soren Gordhamer, translator and coordinator Patrick Iregura, senior teacher Gary Diggins, founder Theo, and translator and coordinator Emery Rutagonya, facilitate a workshop with members of the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center and AERG, an Association for University Student Genocide Survivors.

ful ation about mind ilitates a convers tive ea Cr the Theo Koffler, fac at ss cla ces to the senior cti pra at ss ek ne we are a aw spending al Academy. After d he nc lau Minds Internation ers ch tea tween Four Eyes , the Academy, Be ss Ambassadors ne ful nd Mi of e rcl role the the first-ever Ci ss d discu ly to promote an act to d ite which meets week inv are ily life. Students da in ss ne ir ful nd the of mi tting and in thin the school se as role models wi . ria s, Nige communities. Jo

6 December 2008 - 5769 in real years...

with Hassan r Leon celebrate Theo and brothe the firstof tor naging Direc Bazlamit, the Ma lestinian Pa in m gra riding pro ever therapeutic e of Between ss-border initiativ Territories. A cro beth William and Eliza Four Eyes and the eived a rec an ss nsortium, Ha Shatner-JNF Co rtification ce t ge d an dy ip to stu student scholarsh ae Isr l. riding instructor in as a therapeutic

A picture is w orth a thousa nd words whe to appreciatin n it comes g the joy that riders feel whi top of the hors le being on e and seeing the world from above!

naging Director, Riding Club’s Ma Theo and Jerico Governor Arif t, (center) greet the Hassan Bazlami therapeutic the of cial opening al-Jabari to the offi thirty friends of d oa s-l bu Jerico. A riding program in auspicious l to celebrate this came from Israe occasion.

r ito




k c i P

Theo Koffler

In our line of work, we have the pleasure of meeting some of the most interesting people in the community - some more unique than others, but definitely interesting. They’re the type of personality that you feel compelled to share with friends and family during dinner or drinks. Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to make the acquaintance of such individuals that I will introduce to you on a monthly basis. In their own way, they have made a unique mark on society, making life more interesting. Enjoy! Helen Hatzis

I’d like to introduce Theo Koffler.

This past September, I was invited to a Mount Sinai luncheon by Auxiliary President Carole Grafstein at the home of Marsha and Michael Lax. The event, entitled the Living Legacy Endowment Fund Luncheon, was set to honour the four Koffler woman for their remarkable contribution, and, as Theo says, “working together in service of humanity.” As kindred spirits, we took to conversation like old friends. And as the luncheon continued, Theo’s remarks to the gathering, solidified my first impression - that she is truly a remarkable woman. Born and raised in Toronto to Marvelle and Murray Koffler, founder of Shoppers Drug Mart, Theo is very much like her father. After completing a degree in Social Sciences, she set out to make her own mark in the business world. “I think what defines me is that I’m a chip off my father’s block. He has a wonderful capacity to empower others and his vision has always been very, very large. Somehow I, like a sponge to water, managed to be able to encompass and integrate a similar approach in my thinking.” The result of her tenacity was Super-Pharm, a company that her father and she and her brother Leon started from the ground up. It has since become Israel’s largest drug store chain. Coupled with her remarkable business acumen is her sense of self. “My spirituality blossomed after a very difficult, life-changing experience,” says Koffler, “ a moment to this day that has opened my eyes to the incredible gifts of life.” Having birthed both sons (Omri and Itamar) in Israel, Theo was diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune disease, after her second birth. “It changed me from one day to the next -- I became a different woman. Prior to my diagnosis, I was adventurous, I was athletic, and I was up for anything that life had to offer. Basically, the lupus altered everything from the inside out.” She shared that it took her approximately three years to regroup and navigate her new terrain. Through the pain and suffering she discovered a reawakening and willingness to commit to a deeper sense of gratitude and appreciation just to be living on this earth. “When traditional medicine failed me I started to look to holistic approaches to healing. It was through that investigation and exploration that I opened to my own spirituality, health and wellbeing, and that they are all interconnected. Holistic healing occurs when you

make a shift at the spiritual, emotional and physical levels. That was my focus at the time, to identify and move though the conditions that were the very reason for my lupus.” It was at that time that she embarked on a spiritual journey to try and heal -- and it worked. Over the next 15 years through macrobiotic diet, shiatsu, acupuncture and contemplative practices, she was able to move out of the very difficult suffering (joint pain and terrible fatigue) and into a more balanced state of wellness. “And now I’m doing great!” (Medical science has not yet developed a method for curing lupus, however, Theo has been in remission for some time.) With her new lease on life, in typical Koffler form, she set out to make a difference. And as her son Itamar can attest “Every week different people stop to tell me how special my mom is, or as quite a few of them have put it, ‘truly an amazing human being.’” Less than two years ago, Theo founded Between Four Eyes, a non-profit organization that facilitates educational workshops to explore mindful awareness as a way to foster peaceful and conflict resolving lifestyles. They seed conversations on ways for authentic connection to exist and what individuals can do to foster personal and community wellness. And no less than two weeks after the luncheon, Theo and her team set off to Nigeria, Rwanda, and the Middle East for the inaugural trip of Between Four Eyes to spread its powerful message to educators, health care providers and community leaders. As part of Theo ‘s peace-work, she also launched the first-ever Therapeutic Riding for the Disabled program in Jerico – a cross-border initiative that cares for the well-being of the disabled in Palestinian Territories. In her address at the luncheon, Theo offered a taste of her profound message. “We are all born with a great dream for our lives and as part of this great mystery, we harvest its meaning and purpose. Everything that we endeavour is influenced and shaped by many people, and it is through the coming together of citizens, such as yourselves, with a strong willingness and commitment, that creates a world distinct from the past.” December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 7


Eight Nights to Shine

Illumination Menorah; $39.99 at Indigo. Why we love it – This menorah is silver-plated with a classic contemporary design. Show your Jewish pride by lighting a menorah, the most unifying Jewish tradition there is. Bonus: For $9.99, you can get a box of 45 hand-dipped candles.

A Twis


for D Hammo nd’s Old reidel Ga m Fashion at Indig o. ed Can es dy; $9.5 Why we 0 love it – are the Who sa only wa ys choc y to pla olate co satin rib y? The bon can se hand ins d availab -made le in bu ies are 100% ko tterscotc fun new h or blu sher and way to eberry. play dre It’s a idel.

Chanukah Gift Guide!

By Ilan Mester & Cassie Beth Friedman

Dreidel games, greasy food, and glittering menorahs aren’t the only treats come holiday season. Stuck for ideas and pressed for time? Our gift guide will help you pinpoint the perfect gift for every member of your mishpacha. Indulge the Holidays

Green and Black’s 24 Miniature Bars; $24.99 at major grocery stores and natural food stores. Why we love it – With so many holiday parties this month, this box of organic chocolates is the perfect gift for any host. The assortment of mini chocolate bars includes a 70% dark bar, milk bar, milk chocolate and almond bar, and many more delicious holiday treats!

Make Her Smile

CoverGirl Eye Enhancer Palette; $15 at nationwide mass-market retail outlets. Why we love it – If you aren’t sure what to get the lady in your life, you can’t go wrong with this one. This palette, only available for a limited time (approximately 8 weeks this winter), can be layered to get the perfect look for any holiday party.

Taking iPod to a Whole New Level

The new iPod nano, touch and shuffle; $169-259 at the Apple Store or Apple retail stores. Why we love it – Always changing, Mac has upgraded their already great music players. You can choose which product is best for you, from the 1 GB shuffle (best for running) to the 32 GB touch (with games, movies and internet access).

8 December 2008 - 5769 in real years...

Music to your Ears

Warm Music Listen Ear Warmers/ Headphones; $24.99 at Canadian Tire. Why we love it – You should be able to enjoy your music in winter’s cold. These headphones will you keep your ears warm while listening to your beats.

Raising the Bar 9.99


ra; $ nic!ideo Came a r P ay fo on’t Kids V e at w


h re y ent t ire. over out sag Disc nadian T – This i d docum orry ab n ! t w i a at C e love ember a have to he drain t w t ’ m y n n e h r w o o d W to you ing d ren child ys. Plus mera go a a holid 1,000 c $ your

Chocolate Goodness Hanukkah Nosh! Chocolate Bar; $5.99 at Indigo. Why we love it – These chocolate bars are 100% kosher and 100% delicious. And if you’re doing “eight days of gifts,” this is a great present with a great price!

Treat your Tastebuds

Tassimo Hot Beverage System by Brosch; $149.99 (New Tassimo), $189.99 (Tassimo Deluxe) at The Bay, Bed Bath and Beyond, select grocery and Wal-Mart stores. Why we love it – The system is extremely convenient: with reduced noise level, automatic cleaning and de-scaling program, and zero taste transfer between beverages, it makes for a great Chanukah gift.

For the Busy Family

Audiovox Family Communication Centre; $149.99 at Canadian Tire. Why we love it – The Audiovox Communication Centre keeps families in touch by allowing members to post audio or video messages, write notes on the erasable whiteboard, and post sticky notes. So no more forgetful excuses!

Rocker To-Go

Handheld Guitar Hero; $24.99 at Canadian Tire. Why we love it – People can’t get enough of pretending to be a rock star, and now you can do it anywhere with this easy-to-carry guitar featuring 10 songs. December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 9

A Treat For Bubbie

Photo Serving Tray; $24.99 at Canadian Tire. Why we love it – With so many guests coming to your holiday parties, this tray will make serving easier. Even Bubby and Zaidy would love to receive this tray as a Chanukah gift.

Glow in the Candlelight

Clarins gift sets; prices vary, available at department stores. Why we love it – Each set contains moisturizing creams, face wash and makeup. It’s the perfect gift for the woman in your life.

A Golden Way to Clean Up After Pets

What ChanuWill You Get kah? This The Ha n

Dyson DC16 Animal Vacuum Cleaner; $229.99 at the Bay, Sears, Home Outfitters and Future Shop. Why we love it – This handheld cleaner was designed specifically to remove pet hair and clingy objects on multiple surfaces. It’s a great gift for a pet lover or a neat freak.

Trumpette Hanukkah Baby Socks; $7 at select Indigo and Chapters stores. Why we love it – Made of 80% cotton, these festive socks will keep your youngster’s feet warm on the cool winter nights this holiday season.

ukkah B ox of Q $19.99 uestion at Indig s; o. Why we love it – have yo This ga me will u entert definite ained w enough ly hen you of twirli ’ve had ng the questio dreidel. ns will h T he 35 ave you about C r family hanuka learning h and h aving a great ti me.



un We Sk i; $ Why w 25.59 at Ama e lo . skiing w ve it – You c an hav ithout ic e fun y winds you fac e. You blowin get all sports the fun g across withou of t ever le aving y winter our hou se! A Tint of Europe

Jacques Pepin’s Chanukah Celebration DVD; 19.62 at Why we love it – If you’re bored of plain latkes during Chanukah, this is the DVD to own. Jacques Pepin adds a French twist to kosher treats. Yummy!

10 December 2008 - 5769 in real years...

Keeping Baby’s Feet Warm

Montblanc Organizers; $72-$396 at Montblanc stores. Why we love it – These organizers are perfect for keeping your schedule on track for the upcoming year. And because they come in different sizes and styles, you can find the organizer that’s perfect for you or your loved one.

Chanukah Goodness

Godiva Coin Bag; $10.50 at select Indigo and Chapters stores. Why we love it - These milk chocolate coins, with golden Godiva wrapping, make for great prizes in dreidel games.

Keep the Holidays Colourful

Pantene Colour Expressions; $9.99 at drug, food and mass merchandise retailers. Why we love it – This shampoo helps repel water to prevent dyed hair from further damage. It also comes in four different types – blonde, highlighting, brunette and red – so anyone with dyed hair can benefit.

For the Techie

LED Motherboard Menorah; $25 USD at Why we love it – For all the techies out there, this is your menorah! Simply plug it in and switch on each individual candle every night. Made from recycled motherboards, this green menorah is also green.

Luscious Skin

Lush’s Eight Crazy Nights Gift; $59.95 at LUSH retail stores and online at Why we love it – This package includes eight unique gifts, one for each night of the holidays. They will keep your skin glowing with a body bath, shower jelly, organic cocoa butter and much more.

Simply Amazing

The Simply Bar; $2.49-$2.99 at various Ontario health food stores. Why we love it – This nutrition bar has less than 160 calories and more than 16g of protein. It comes in various flavours, such as cocoa raspberry, cinnamon and lemon coconut, and it’s Kosher!


Keeping Life Straight December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 11

FRUMFATALE By Shira Schwartz

Chanukah in a Flash The Eight Reasons Why I’m Proud to be a Jew


he Jewish people are supposedly a light unto the nations. Or, so says Isaiah. Too often, though, we forget that this popular verse from our liturgy – a statement that has become the catchphrase for Jewish pop culture – is not a slogan for good self-esteem but rather for social responsibility. It seems that the prophet Isaiah is challenging the Jewish people with this statement, attempting to instill in them a sense of moral empowerment. As Chanukah approaches I am reminded of this episode; aside from the punny symbolism (the festival of lights...get it?), Chanukah represents one of the most fundamental concepts of Judaism: the triumph of difference when faced with the pressures of conformity. It is for this reason that, in the holiday spirit, I have outlined the top eight reasons why I am proud to be a Jew. It’s not enough to accept this religious status, blindly assuming the role of our culture as a light unto the nations; it is the responsibility of every Jew, rather, to actively participate in this process of ethical enlightenment. So, starting from last to first…. The Torah is smart. It is our heritage of wisdom and our ongoing source of inspiration, through which we can continually engage the world with ever-greater depth and meaning. Torah makes wisdom accessible.

Jews believe in difference. (In fact, the term “Ivri,” one of the Hebrew names for a Jew, is literally translated as ‘different.’) Judaism emphasizes the importance of diversity, especially as a way of attaining a proper sense of self. In today’s western culture, essentially designed to extinguish individuality and destroy the ‘free spirit,’ most people would agree that this kind of mission statement is invaluable. Our religion is a constant struggle. The Torah encourages its observers to wrestle with G-d, constantly questioning, probing, and re-examining the premises on which our belief rests. Judaism asserts that struggle is the impetus for growth, which will invariably strengthen a person’s understanding of him or herself and his or her relationship with the world. Built into Torah observance is gratefulness. Embedded in every halacha, whether it be brachos, bikur cholim, or just plain old davening, is a notion of appreciation – being grateful for one’s lot in life whatever it may be. This subtle nuance within Torah practice serves as a constant reminder that life is a privilege, not a given.

The Jewish people have withstood oppression and in the process have been productive. Not only have we survived, but we have managed as a people to retain a sense of purpose, despite harsh external pressures to assimilate.

Judaism invites intellectual inquiry. We are not supposed to maintain the status quo, or follow the herd, or be ‘dutiful students.’ Judaism embraces uncertainty for the sake of seeking Emes, truth. This is why yeshivas don’t look like libraries – they’re filled with bochrim throwing chairs around and waving their fists at each other. Rabbis will never discourage questions. Even stupid ones. Believe me, I would know. (Thank you Rabbi Artscroll.)

Judaism has a strong tradition based on family values. The skeleton of our religion is the family unit; loyalty, kinship, and connectedness are the core values of the Jewish concept of family, which is seamlessly extended to the Jewish people as a whole.

The Torah says we have free choice. This is the light of the human being. Created in the image of G-d, along with every thought, action, and experience, we are faced with the decision to choose. This is the flame that ignites the future of human life – a

12 December 2008 - 5769 in real years...

society populated with critically thinking, spiritual beings as opposed to highly sophisticated zombies. It is on this variable which the future of the Jewish people depends. Being Jewish doesn’t mean waking up every morning feeling Jewish. It means that every day you make the active choice to be a Jew: whether it be a commitment to ethical values or an active decision to be an individual at the risk of going against the grain, this decision is in some way a participatory contribution to Judaism and society at large. This is what it means to be a light unto the nation – every day facing a choice built into our spiritual genealogy. So, for the sake of being a committed, ethical, socially contributing Jew, I ask: Are you going to Bogie the smoke or spread the Jewish bonfire?


FOREST HILL VILLAGE This year do it the easy way! Find that one-of-a-kind gift at the galleries and boutiques. For the chef in your family you’ll find the perfect ‘must have’ and for the reader the ideal book. Sip a coffee, have a relaxing lunch, unwind at a spa or plan a get-away. With over 60 shops and services, the Village has everything you need for the holidays! ART

Art Interiors 446 Spadina Rd. Unit 205 (416) 488-3157 Framed By Izzy 402 Spadina Rd. (416) 482-1999 Leonardo Frame Shoppe & Gallery 417 Spadina Rd. (416) 488-4057 Lonsdale Gallery 410 Spadina Rd. (416) 487-8773 FASHI ON

Ecco Shoes 427 Spadina Rd. (416) 486-8341 Kitsch Boutique 347 Lonsdale Rd. (416) 481-6712 La Nuit Lingerie 406 Spadina Rd. (416) 482-9476 Stephanie’s 446 Spadina Rd. Unit 201 (416) 485-5559 FINANCIAL


Track Fitness 417 Spadina Rd. Suite 301 (416) 544-8677 Village Yoga 329 Lonsdale Rd. 2nd flr. (416) 487-2812 LAW PRACTICES

Christian Riveros, Barrister & Solicitor 446 Spadina Rd. Unit 207 (416) 926-9474 Cindy Cohen 439 Spadina Rd. Suite 302B (416) 323-2345 MEDICAL

Alenia Georgousis, Naturopathic Doctor 439 Spadina Rd. Suite 302B (416) 463-8196 Dr. Brandes 423 Spadina Rd. (416) 489-6319 Dr. Deratney & Dr. Levine 446 Spadina Rd. Suite 201 (416) 489- 4721 Dr. D. Burnstein, Dentistry in Forest Hill Village 439 Spadina Rd. Suite 201 (416) 489-3853 Dr. Elaine Borins 423 Spadina Rd. (416) 921-1432 Dr. Michael Silberfeld 439 Spadina Rd. (416) 482-1477 Rexall Drugs 393 Spadina Rd. (416) 483-1157 MISCELLANEOUS

Blockbuster 383 Spadina Rd. (416) 487-7602

Chico G Lighting & Design 446 Spadina Rd. (416) 332-7728 Forest Hill Tutoring 441 Spadina Rd. Suite 302 (416) 483-6023 Junors Kitchen Collection 446 Spadina Rd. Unit 104 (416) 932-3768 Kitchen Table 389 Spadina Rd. (416) 484-7787 Olga’s Health Food 400 Spadina Rd. (416) 469-6782 Richlin International Inc. 439 Spadina Rd. Suite 205 (416) 485-3700 Temmy Latner Forest Hill Jewish Centre 446 Spadina Rd. Suite 203 (416) 483-0883 TYPE Books 394 Spadina Rd. (416) 487-8973 Village Market 418 Spadina Rd. (416) 322-5110 Word Of Mouth: Upscale Kitchenware 398 Spadina Rd. (416) 488-6155 REAL ESTATE

Alliance Realty Management 439 Spadina Rd. Suite 310 (416) 323-9904. Canar Management 417 Spadina Rd. Suite 302 (416) 544-8124 Emmess Equities Inc. 439 Spadina Rd. Suite 310 (416) 368-4613 Forest Hill Real Estate 441 Spadina Rd. (416) 226-1987 Gorman Mazzon Ltd. 446 Spadina Rd. Unit 207 (416) 322-3222 Wycliffe International 446 Spadina Rd. Unit 300 (416) 486-7644


Banfi 333B Lonsdale Rd. (416) 322-5231 EDO-ko 431 Spadina Rd. (416) 482-8973 Hope St. Café 324-326 Lonsdale Rd. (416) 481-3411 Mashu Mashu Mediterranean Grill 387 Spadina Rd. (416) 840-0848 Second Cup 415 Spadina Rd. (416) 544-9196 Sotto in the Village 425 Spadina Rd. (416) 322-8818 The Southside 413 Spadina Rd (416) 800-3174 Starbucks 446 Spadina Rd. (416) 932-0895 Subway 396 Spadina Rd. (416) 486-5482 Sushi Lovers 327 Lonsdale Rd. (416) 482-8807 Village Chill 325B Lonsdale Rd. (416) 481-2117 What A Bagel! 421 Spadina Rd. (416) 480-9358

One Hour MotoPhoto 417 Spadina Rd. (416) 484-6733 Parkers Custom Clothing Care 422 Spadina Rd. (416) 483-3016 Peerless Travel 392 Lonsdale Rd. 2nd flr. (416) 485-9455 Valet Car Dry Cleaners 385 Spadina Rd. (416) 483-6731 SPAS/SALONS

Carmel Spa & Boutique 446 Spadina Rd. Unit 101 (416) 484-1777 Forest Hill Barber Shop 408 Spadina Rd. (416) 485-1335 Forest Hill Hair Design 446 Spadina Rd. Unit 105 (416) 488-3944 Forest Hill Spa 435 Spadina Rd. (416) 484-4216 Francesca’s Salon & Spa 333A Lonsdale Rd. (416) 481-4966 Niro & Orna Hair Salon 394 Spadina Rd. (416) 483-7272


Evolve Tours 329 Lonsdale Rd. (416) 619-4521 Excellent Custom Cleaners 325A Lonsdale Rd. (416) 485-1477 The Flight Centre 396 Spadina Rd. (416) 485-5577

L O N S D A L E R D.

M O N T C L A I R AV E .


BMO 437 Spadina Rd. (416) 544- 0753 BMO Nesbitt Burns 433 Spadina Rd. (416) 481-2707 CIBC 462 Spadina Rd. (416) 487-1396 HSBC Bank Canada 446 Spadina Rd. Unit 106 (416) 488-7008 RBC 414 Spadina Rd. (416) 974-7170 Scotia Bank 416 Spadina Rd. (416) 932-1884

TD Canada Trust 443 Spadina Rd. (416) 322-3708 TD Waterhouse 443 Spadina Rd. (416) 482-8945


S T. C L A I R AV E . W.

Contact the Forest Hill BIA: BIA hotline number 416-488-4819

email December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 13

J-Walkin’ By Jeremy Freed

The Jewish D nut: Comfort Food

I can remember quite clearly the first time I tasted sufganiyot. I had been in Israel for almost three months, spending my post-high school gap year doing landscaping work on a kibbutz just outside of Jerusalem, and I was just beginning to adjust to things. Israel was a shock to me in many ways. It was my first extended period away from home, and I missed my family terribly. To make matters worse, the home I had left wasn’t there anymore, my parents having picked up stakes and moved to Los Angeles the same week I left for Israel.

Lonely and homesick in the Holy Land, a teenage J’Walkin’ found solace in the unlikeliest of places. Due to bad planning on either my part or the part of my hosts (I don’t believe we ever fully came to a conclusion on that part), I arrived in Israel in the middle of the night. The kibbutz could not receive me until the morning, as their gates remained locked throughout the night (to keep out marauding Arabs, Bedouins, and the like, I supposed). I spent that first night in the Tel Aviv airport in a fluorescent-lit waiting area, watching groups of eastern European refugees pass through on their way to new lives in the Holy Land. My first experience with an Israeli was the man who escorted me to the room, a grizzled old fellow who spoke in heavily accented English and invited me to make myself comfortable on one of the rows of bolted-together chairs. “This is where you will wait,” he said. “And you can sleep, if you like, in an upright position.” He then disappeared for the next eight hours or so, leaving me alone with the Russians and a big screen TV that flickered on with CNN intermittently. I had never felt farther from home. That first night was a pretty good indication of how the next couple of months would go. I would eventually come to love Israelis for the warm, pragmatic people that they are, but initially, I found them to be quite deserving of their association to the Sabra, the prickly pear cactus. Never before had I been jostled and glared at quite so much as the first time I navigated the streets and shops of Jerusalem. Why, I wondered, was everyone so mean here?

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Life on the kibbutz was hardly any easier. I was a terrible student and took to my Hebrew lessons poorly. My work as a gardener was enjoyable enough, but when the weather turned cold and rainy I found myself reassigned to the kitchen, peeling mountains of potatoes. My fellow kibbutzniks were all nice enough, but few of the newcomers spoke English, and the sabras regarded us all with their typical sabra indifference. There were two things that saved me from total gloom there, one of which was an AmericanIsraeli family who took pity on me and invited me over every week to watch English television. The other was sufganiyot. I bought my first one at a bakery stall in the bustling Jerusalem souk. I don’t remember who I was with, or why I chose it from the piles of delicious-looking pastries, but I do remember the way it tasted. Still warm from the fryer, lightly dusted with powdered sugar, glistening with oil, filled with sweet red jelly. It tasted like love. I devoured that one, and then another. I had tasted donuts before, and I had tasted jelly donuts, but nothing like this. At the time it seemed like the most delicious thing I had ever eaten, and I wondered how I had lived for so long without any idea that such things existed. Also, something else happened: for the first time in months, I didn’t really care that I was in a strange place surrounded by strange people, halfway around the world from everyone I knew and loved. For the next few weeks, every chance I got I would hop on a Jerusalem-bound bus and make straight for that bakery. I would push my way through the line, buy my sufganiyot, and devour them on the spot, leaving my face a mess of white sugar, my hands glistening with oil. By the time Chanukah came to an end, and the sufganiyot disappeared from the bakery, I had begun to come around. Any place that could create something like this, I decided, couldn’t be such a bad place after all. December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 15 December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 15


By Dvira Ovadia

As we move towards the winter months we start to plan and prepare for the holiday season of entertaining, laughter, friends, family and a break from our hectic schedules. While we begin to wind down, we want to cozy up with warm colours, soft materials and relaxing elements.

Holiday Colours

The hot colours this season are various shades of royal blues, reds and whites. Are we being a little patriotic for our American neighbours or is this just a design coincidence? Essentially the idea this season is that we keep within a monochromatic colour scheme, so if you choose blue, go for a variety of blues, if you choose red, do the same, and if you go for white, bring in some creams and natural wood tones to the mix! Nevertheless, the combination of all three or any two of these tones will be a cheerful approach to the holiday season.

Natural Fundamentals

Looking for warmth sends us in the direction of knitwear and fur! So why not bring these rustic and natural elements into your home this winter? Look for chenille throws, sweater pillows, and some lush and plush sheepskin rugs that can be tucked next to your bed, your favourite lounge chair, or even in your bathroom!

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Woods to Warm

Keeping with the naturals means bringing the organic elements of the outdoors inside our homes, and what better way to do this than by bringing those pure woods into our homes! Whether it’s just to decorate with various raw branches, or make a bigger statement with some natural wood stumps or a modern farmhouse dining table, the distinctive grains, bark and colours of the woods will create a warming statement!

Let There be Light!

No matter what holiday you are celebrating this season, this time of year we all take the time to illuminate our homes with bright lights. By bringing light into your home it’s as though we all sing out loud to rejoice in the festive occasions and show our enthusiasm for the holiday season. Use candles to dress your entire home – from big to small, tall to short, these beautiful expressions will create a sparkling luminance in any home!

A Tray’ed Affair

These days, trays are the hottest thing to replace those traditional chargers. Spice up your boring dinnerware by placing your setting into individual trays! The place settings will feel a lot more personalized and distinctive. Let your trays become your accent pieces not only in their unique statement, but also in the colour you choose to complement your table with! The selections of trays are endless, and they now come in all shapes and sizes to just perfectly suit this fun application.

Bake and Display

Take the time this holiday season to spend a few hours in the kitchen to explore your creative side! Baking can be so much fun and hassle-free; it allows you to liberate your mind from the hectic world, and the best part about it is the anticipation of the yummy goods that will be coming out of that oven! So once you’ve taken the time out and worked hard to make that something extra special for your family and friends, don’t neglect the presentation! The appearance of food and its placement on platters and plates can be the make it or break it point, so splurge on those cupcake towers, cake holders and pretty platters. If your hand skills are not so accurate, try some playful cookie cutters to shape your special cookies and bars.

Holiday Treats

For that extra little something special this holiday season, look for unique goodies that can either be handed out to your friends and co-workers or set into mini personalized sachets and placed on everyone’s dinner plate for your holiday guests! My absolute favourites are the chocolatecovered sunflower seeds from AT Design Group! These mini delicacies melt in your mouth so eloquently and will have you wanting more and more of this unique creation. For other unique finds check out Williams Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, or your local chocolatier.

Dvira Ovadia is a Chief Designer and an expert in everything to do with residential and commercial design and décor. Dvira has a sharp eye which explains her forte for colour and material composition. Her educational background began with a degree in architecture from the University of Toronto and a Masters in interior design from Pratt Institute in New York. She has trotted the globe on a mission to discover the world in the context of design and architecture. Dvira has worked on an extensive line of design projects and has been a part of some of the most renowned design firms. Most notably, Dvira was a winner of a reality show called From The Ground Up, where she beat out 9,000 applicants and 14 finalists who competed to become Debbie Travis’s chief designer. Dvira now manages and runs her own established Design Practice. For all your design needs, visit December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 17

Being Mrs. Babes The life and times of a YOuNG Jewish wife RETURNS By Laura Stern-Goldsilver

NOT Mrs. Babes. 18 December 2008 - 5769 in real years...

I want to host a Jewish holiday! Everyone knows (or at least they do now) that I want to host a Jewish holiday. But the “big three” belong to my mother and mother-in-law. (And by “big three” I am obviously referring to Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Passover.) Realistically, there is no way I can get my hands on any of these for years. Even then there are other people (i.e. sisters, sister-in-laws, cousins, etc.) who will have to be taken into consideration. Plus, there is the whole ‘I can’t really cook’ thing…. So, I am officially calling shotgun on Chanukah! There are, like, a million and one reasons why I can (and should) “own” this holiday. First of all, Chanukah equals gifts. I am an excellent giver of gifts. It’s a simple formula: I love material things. I love my family and friends. Therefore, I love buying things for the people I love. (Even the husband can’t argue this one. He totally loved me a little bit more the day I gifted him a Scottie Cameron golf club.) My menorah is really beautiful. It’s practically art. (Seriously, it’s from an art gallery.) I put a ridiculous amount of energy into registering for the perfect menorah. (I put absolutely no energy into registering for anything else. I just aimed that handy little registry gun at pretty things and clicked.) My menorah deserves to be lit. I have tiny hands. Like, really tiny. Normally this embarrasses me, but not during Chanukah, when this genetic abnormality enhances my ability to kick some serious butt at dreidel. Plus, I love gelt. The more I win. The more I eat. I live for any occasion in which I can justify ordering a cake from Cakes By Robert. On this particular occasion I have no choice but to order TWO as the Stern side is vanilla and the Goldsilver clan is chocolate. (Marble is not an option. Ever.) The Chanukah blessings are really easy to learn. Honest, I checked online. My mother has a wicked awesome low-fat latke recipe. I rock at brunch. Seriously, my menu is stellar. And the vast majority is pre-made by reputable restaurants (i.e. Kristapsons, Bagel World, Pusateri’s, etc.) so no one has to be afraid I will poison them. But most importantly, my intentions are pure. I mean, my biological clock is S-L-O-W-L-Y ticking (I said S-L-O-W-L-Y Ma!) and one day the husband and I hope to have a houseful of wee ones. We were both raised in homes built firmly around family traditions, Jewish and otherwise. We want the same for our family. Growing up, I was a spoiled brat 364 days a year (I was somewhat easygoing on Yom Kippur) and I complained bitterly about taking part in these “lame-o” family traditions. The buildup to a Jewish holiday filled my house with manic energy. This drove me insane. My mother would plan, type and laminate her menu. The phone rang constantly as she conferred menu points with Nana Rachel. Post-it notes covered every square inch of our kitchen. I couldn’t understand the point then – but I get it now. My mother was creating a memory. Well, Ma, you succeeded. You gave me a beautiful memory. A memory laced in Prozac. And I want this, EXACTLY THIS (a non-medicinal high) for my own children, hence my NEED for Chanukah. (And yeah, I guess one could counter-argue I could “own” another Jewish holiday such as Sukkot, but come on, you think I’m building a freakin’ hut on my back porch? I am spatially spastic and the husband doesn’t know a hammer from nail.) Nope, it has to be Chanukah. I was born to “do” Chanukah! Here’s to a (healthy) happy Chanukah! December October 2008 - 5769 in real years... 19

From Toronto to Hollywood By Elayne Laken

Toronto-bred beauty Samantha Gutstadt Photos by: Roman Wyden

Suburban Toronto-bred twenty-something Samantha Gutstadt made the grand move to Hollywood to pursue an acting career last year. This was obviously a good decision since the young debutante is getting booked left, right and centre in feature films for the silver screen. But how does a good Canadian Jewish girl make her way to Tinseltown, where she would become cast as the bad girl in mobster flicks? Continued on page 23

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Next Stage Festival: The Future of Theatre. Join the Toronto Fringe Festival for its winter incarnation from January 7-18, 2009. NSTF09 brings eight of the Fringe’s hottest companies to two stages at the Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St.) while our heated beer tent keeps that summer feeling going strong. TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Order online or by phone at 416.966.1062. Visit for listings and details. Tickets are $12-15, passes available. Convergence Theatre presents Yichud/ Seclusion Fire Up Cooperative presents First Hand Woman The Steady State Theatre Project presents Don’t Look Reesor Productions presents Reesor 6AM Tango Productions presents Humans Anonymous

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Beth Marshall Presents (Orlando, FL/ Austin TX) presents L’Ange Avec les Fleurs MackenzieRo presents The Rake’s Progress: Do You Know Where Tom Rakewell Is? Solid State Breakdance (Montreal, QC) presents Take it Back

Continued from page 20

By no means a novice, Samantha has been an actress since the age of five. She’s been the face for Kellogg’s, Continental Airlines, Toyota, and many other TV commercials – most notably as the Tampax Pearl Girl for two years. She’s taken on guest spots in hit Canadian TV series like Degrassi and Puppets Who Kill, as well as Tarzan, an American show on The WB. What’s mind-boggling is that Samantha did all of this in Canada while studying Image Arts at Ryerson University. “Basically I never ever slept,” she says. “It was a lot of work but I really wanted it.” Evidently, hard work pays off. “I have to give a big shout out to Justin Levine because he’s the reason I made it to Hollywood,” Samantha imparts. “I met him years ago when I worked at MuchMusic.” Levine was running his own record label back in 2001 but went on to produce comedy specials for Jamie Kennedy, Pauly Shore and Harland Williams. “Justin saw me as a good fit for this movie he was working on and helped me get my visa sorted out so I could come here.” This movie Samantha refers to is called Shark City and co-stars former Canadian child star Corey Haim, as well as Vivica A. Fox and Carlos Roda from 24. She just finished filming in Toronto this summer and the flick is currently in post-production. (Coincidentally and ironically, Samantha met her husband Ron at a bar called Shark City in Toronto in 2001. They’ve been together ever since.) “It was a fantastic experience to work with Corey,” Samantha relays. “He’s trying to make a comeback in his career so it’s nice to be a part of something that could be the next step in his career and mine.” Directed by another Canadian Jew, Daniel Eisen, Samantha plays a bad girl named Jenn who “says and does all the bad things that Samantha doesn’t do or say in real life.” Samantha says it was hard in the beginning, especially because her first day on set she had to do a love scene, and she’s never done one of those before. “It was a great way to get comfortable though,” Samantha jokes. Of her experience in Shark City, Samantha says her greatest accomplishment was a fight scene. “I sold a slap, a slap and a knockout!” It was her first fight scene, with cuts, bruises and all. That night when she went home, Samantha thought to herself, “I never imagined doing a scene like that, but I did it and now I want to do more!” Acting, however, isn’t the only thing on Samantha’s agenda. “I want to get into producing one day.” Samantha just put together her first short film called Skate Date and is working on a short comedy called Shiva, which she co-wrote with Richard Meaney from Alliance Atlantis. “We already won an award for the script,” Samantha beams. “It was my idea, my characters!” Shiva is about a woman who goes to shivas to meet men who just lost their wives. “I’m excited about Shiva because it will reach out to Jewish audiences.” A proud Jew, Samantha attended Leo Baeck Day School. Her grandfather, a Holocaust survivor, founded the synagogue she’s attended throughout her life, Beth Radom at Bathurst and Sheppard. “The Shofar is from his concentration camp.” Now that she’s away from home, she remarks, “The Canadian Jewish connection is really strong in LA. It’s welcoming, like a family you belong to right away.” Of her visa, Samantha asserts, “I didn’t give myself a choice here in LA. I can only be a performer. That’s all I’m allowed to do. In Toronto, I always had an ‘other.’ I would teach drama to children at public schools, I did freelance public relations writing. But this time I didn’t give myself an out, which I consider a blessing. Now I can’t say, ‘I’m an actor but I’m really something else too.’ I abandoned that safety net which allows me to fully go after my career. Before I didn’t because I thought I could fail and if you don’t do something, you can’t fail. But here I could potentially fail because this is all I’m doing. It’s scary that way but it makes me work harder.” In the future, Samantha Gutstadt dreams of working with directors like Wes Anderson, Jason Reitman and Judd Apatow, broadening her base to include more comedy-driven films. But for now, she’s content playing the bad girl. “My goal is to get on CSI or Lost this year,” she concludes. “So I can play characters that are tough. As a woman, playing a character that has no apologies and who is openly sexual is really empowering.” A tough girl actress, but make no mistake, Gutstadt is all warmth and heart.

“I abandoned that safety net which allows me to fully go after my career. Before I didn’t because I thought I could fail and if you don’t do something, you can’t fail. But here I could potentially fail because this is all I’m doing. It’s scary that way but it makes me work harder.” December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 23

Photo by Rob Fahie


By Ilan Mester

Jazz prodigy in our own backyard At 14 Nikki Yanofsky is already being compared to jazz greats! To say that Nikki Yanofsky is talented is an understatement. The Montreal-based singer has conquered stages of a hundred-thousand-plus audiences, a number that would seem impressive for any established singer, but when you’re talking about a 14-year-old girl, it becomes more than impressive – it’s prodigy.

When most toddlers were learning the fundamentals of potty training, Nikki was already belting out tunes. Then, at the age of twelve, she had already performed at the Montreal International Jazz Festival in 2006. “My parents sort of acknowledged the fact that I could sing and then it grew from there,” says a modest Nikki. She describes her family as her “biggest fans.” Needless to say her parents aren’t the only ones praising Nikki. The young teen has garnered quite the fan base, including Grammy Awardwinning producer Tommy LiPuma. He invited Nikki to be a part of Verve Records’ We All Love Ella: Celebrating the First Lady of Song, a tribute album for jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald, in 2007. “Imagine being told that you can be a part of something that is dedicated to your favourite artist of all time,” says a giggly Nikki.

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Singing “Airmail Special” on the CD that includes tracks by Michael Bublé, Diana Krall, Queen Latifah, Stevie Wonder, and countless worldrenowned performers, Nikki impressed critics with her young age and a vocal range beyond her years. Her secret? Practice. Nikki holds by the “practice makes perfect” ideal. “If I was practicing an hour a day songs that I didn’t like, I’d be miserable. But it doesn’t feel like I’m practicing because I love the songs that I’m singing.” Most performers get the typical butterfly or two in the stomach, but that’s not the case for Nikki. Having collaborated with such high-profile artists as and having performed in numerous venues haven’t stirred a single butterfly in her stomach.

Photo by Rob Fahie

Photo by Linda Rutenberg

It’s perfectly fitting that Nikki Yanofsky would choose Ella Fitzgerald as her greatest musical inspiration – after all, critics have repeatedly compared her to the First Lady of Jazz. While Nikki may not have reached Ella’s level of success quite yet, you can see from below that she’s well on her way.

Ella Fitzgerald Born: April 25, 1917 (Died June 15, 1996) Big Break: Won a draw to perform in Amateur Night at the Apollo Theatre in 1934 and impulsively decided to belt out a song. Saxaphonist Benny Carter was intrigued and helped her career take off. Biggest Successes: Sold over 40 million albums; recorded over 200 albums; won 13 Grammy Awards. Quote: “A lot of singers think all they have to do is exercise their tonsils to get ahead. They refuse to look for new ideas and new outlets, so they fall by the wayside... I’m going to try to find out the new ideas before the others do.” Did You Know? One of her favourite sports teams was the LA Lakers. Nikki Yanofsky Born: February 8, 1994 Big Break: Invited by Grammy Award-winning producer Tommy LiPuma to cover Ella’s classic “Airmail Special” for Verve Record’s all-star collection of Ella covers at 13 years of age. Biggest Successes (to date): Two stints at the Montreal Jazz Festival (including a four-night soldout run in 2007); sold-out solo concert debut in Toronto; currently working on her first solo project with multiple Grammy Award-winning producer Phil Ramone. Quote: “I know it sounds kind of cliché, but every action starts with a dream, and this is mine.” Did You Know? She sung the national anthem at an LA Lakers’ game.

Her performances aren’t restricted to Canada; she is also claiming a name for herself overseas. For her 14th birthday present, Nikki received a Carnegie Hall debut, sharing the stage with the New York Pops and Academy Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch. She has also sung the national anthems at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, among other stadiums. But her talent has brought her to places much further than the U.S. This past February, Nikki opened for Billy Ocean and Diana Ross at the Air Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival. According to her, performing in Jamaica is quite different from performing in Canada. “They love music but they’re really hard to impress because they do love music and they can appreciate music,” Nikki confesses, “so they say that they never get up from their seats.” But even the Jamaicans couldn’t resist Nikki’s talent because

they were up and dancing throughout her set. She has also made countless television appearances on CBC, CTV, YTV, and other non-three-digit TV stations. September 28th marked the release of Nikki’s first live album Ella...Of Thee I Swing, which captures her concert at Montreal’s Place des Arts. Once more, critics were taken aback by her vocal performance. Still, Nikki admits to being her harshest critic: “I’m never satisfied with my performance, I always feel like I can improve, and that’s a big part of how I stay grounded.” Another way the singer stays grounded is through charity work. She is the founder of the Nikki Yanofsky Foundation and a child ambassador at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, as well as a spokesperson for ONEXONE, a non-profit organization that helps children around the world.

Through events that she has performed in, Nikki has raised over six million dollars for charities. And the young singer shows no signs of slowing down. She has recently recorded a music video in New York for the new single “Electric” with Akon and Wyclef Jean, and spent the summer writing songs for an upcoming worldwide album. With so many young teen singers, it’s sometimes hard to distinguish one from the others, but Nikki explains her jazz roots are what set her apart as a songstress. “Jazz is really credible,” says Nikki. “It’s hard music to sing and people have told me I do a good job at it, which is good.” Nikki’s determination is also a factor that distinguishes her from other young singers. “I know it sounds kind of cliché, but every action starts with a dream, and this is mine.” For more information visit: December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 25

Montreal Mensch

To contact Montreal Mensch with anything on your mind, email her at

By Sarah Pearson

Quebec, the Homeland of Poutine If you haven’t tried it, what the heck are you waiting for?


hat does it say about Quebec that our national food is deep-fried potatoes smothered in salt-saturated beef-gravy and gooey cheese curds? Poutine, the famous - or infamous - French Canadian dish embodies the values of its people: it is bold, it is hearty, and yet it is not for the weak of heart (though ironically, consuming it could seriously weaken your heart). Also worth noting, it vastly improves when consumed with beer. The Quebecois, like the Jewish people, are not afraid of grease. And during this festive season of the year, Jews and FrenchCanadian people alike are laying on the grease extra-thick. As the weather gets chillier and the days longer, Montrealers turn to their gravy-drenched French fries for that extra warm padding around the waist. And as we Heebs prepare to compete with the mainstream world over December holidays, we haul out our finest vegetable oils and start grating. As my stick-thin roommate often reminds me, Fat Equals Flavour. Yet our fat-fearing society makes it difficult to accept, guilt-free, the joys of the skillet. In this age of Hollywood diets and size zero dresses, it's a miracle that Jews haven't written Chanukah out of the religion! (It wouldn't actually be that hard, considering it's not even a Torah-based holiday.) But we don't, stubborn sticklers for tradition that we are, because we appreciate the good things in life. I have never - and I'm very proud to say this - been offered a low-fat latka. They do exist - I've seen recipes online, to my horror and disbelief. Now, maybe in other Jewish

communities (Long Island? T-dot? LA?) y'all have begun modifying the holy pancake. But here in Montreal, in the land of French pastries and poutine, I have never heard of such a travesty. It says a lot about the Jewish people that we continue to prioritize wisely: flavour over fashion. Us Tribespeople should celebrate our commitment to fatty foods. In these changing and troubled times, it shows stoic joie de vivre that we continue to party the way we do. Perhaps the Jews and French Canadians have more in common than we thought. This Chanukah, consider extending your celebrations at one of Quebec's finest culinary establishments. Heck, fried potatoes are fried potatoes right?

La Belle Province Multiple locations Arguably the Homeland of poutine, this Quebec fast-food chain serves up no-nonsense essentials: French fries, hot dogs (sorry ma, ain't kosher), hamburgers, and of course our glorious National Dish. While this franchise has spots across the city, you will notice several BPs strategically located in prime clubbing districts and student ghettos. La Belle Province serves up much-loved grease to loyal customers all hours of the day, but becomes mysteriously busier around 2 am. Something about just sits better after midnight.

Patati Patata 4177 Boul. St. Laurent

Milk 'n Honey 5756 Ave. du Parc

A slightly funkier "hole-in-the-fall" friterie, Patati Patata serves up quality grease in its tiny, but surprisingly hip, narrow corner location in the heart of the Plateau. Prices are shockingly low. Colourful decor, friendly and groovy cooks-cumservers, and the impeccable people-watching potential from their St-Laurent window make Patati one of Montreal's most cherished spots for late-night poutine. Fancy some grease but feel it's too early in the day for the Great Quebec Dish? Patati makes a brilliant all-day-breakfast, as well as solid club sandwiches, hamburgers, surprisingly tasty salads, and even a "veggie burger." In case you were wondering, this is my first choice for poutine.

Fried-potatoes aside, poutine isn't the most, um, kosher-sounding of dishes. Beef-gravy smothered with cheese? You get my drift. Yet kashrut-abiding citizens need not fear, because Milk 'n Honey serves up a perfectly adequate dairy poutine. This kosher eatery on Parc and Bernard serves up the Great Dish to a crowd of mostly Hassidic clientele, with the occasional modern orthodox visitor. I am convinced that poutine has a Jewish soul, and what further proof do I need than that kosher restaurants serve it?

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So fear not the skillet, gentle readers. Our commitment to the gleaming goodness of grease is a testament to our chutzpah and heart. I wish you eight beautiful nights of fun, feasts and dreidel-luck.

December Special!



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Wishing all my clients, friends and family a very Happy Chanukah With 16 Years of Real Estate Experience And Exceptional Personalized Service Call Me Today For All Your Real Estate Needs Throughout the GTA

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28 December 2008 - 5769 in real years...

Cravings would like to wish you a Happy Holiday! 3393 Yonge Street, Toronto - (416) 322-2200

The Burning Bush


By Tracey Erin Smith

Interviews - Part 2


his is the second half of my conversation with my best friend, who was set up on a blind date and met someone she is very excited about.

TES: We left off with the end of your blind date with the hot downtown Israeli. What happened next? HYLA: Since he hadn’t asked me for a second date at the end of our first, I made peace with the idea that if it was meant to be, it would. But he called the next day, and we set up a second date to take our cameras and shoot photographs at the beach. TES: Sounds fun. How did the date end? HYLA: We were parked across the street from my house, and he said something that no guy has said to me before.

TES: “When can I meet your mother?” HYLA: Close. He asked me what pace I like to move at with dating, whether I like to take things slow. In other words, it was Friday and he was wondering if we could go out again on Sunday.

TES: A real sign of maturity. I’m impressed. HYLA: Yeah, I know. I felt really flattered that he wanted to see me again so soon and respected that he wanted to make sure I was comfortable with the pace.

TES: Stop it! This is a family magazine. HYLA: Well, brace yourself, because our


were at my place for the first time and walked onto my deck to take in a view of the city. And then I showed him some photos on my Facebook page.


You’ve got him alone at your place and you’re showing him Facebook pictures! HYLA: I know! But what do you do? Jump the guy in the middle of him saying, “You have a really nice apartm---”!?

TES: Who made the first move? HYLA: Well, now that I think about it, maybe it was…me. We’d been sitting at my desk looking at the computer, and then I asked him to join me on the couch.

TES: Oh, you made the first move for sure! HYLA: After we finally kissed he asked me come to Israel to meet his family. I said yes.


TES: The kissing was that good? Good enough to promise Israel?! HYLA: It was more than that. Something about being with him felt incredibly right. I felt so totally myself and so totally cared for. I recently said to him, “A lot of art and poetry is making sense now.” TES: Can you hear yourself? HYLA: I know!! I mean, what the heck!?


never heard me talk like this, right?

TES: Um, yeah, ‘Miss Independent!’ ‘Miss Itain’t -never-gonna-happen-for-me!’ HYLA: That’s why I agreed to talk to you about this. I want to send a shout-out of hope to other women in their thirties or forties who are looking to meet someone. It can happen, if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone; accept the offer to be set up, or create an online dating profile and risk falling for someone. I’ll tell you there are nice, caring, smart, creative men out there…and some of them make a mean Israeli salad! TES: Fantastic. Mazel Tov. HYLA: Thanks Tracey. And

thanks for the chance to share my little love story. I’ll put a prayer in the Western Wall for everyone still looking for love.

Photo credit: S. Alter

TES: So, enquiring Jewish minds want to know, was there any kissing at the end of these dates? HYLA: Actually, no. There hadn’t been any physical contact at all. It was very old school: We were set up by a family friend and there was no touching. Come to think of it, we were acting out scenes from Yentl! But after our third date, I did reach over and touch his forearm when I thanked him for the evening.

TES: Yes, when the physical starts too early, it can cloud your perspective. You can end up with someone all wrong for you when you’re looking at them through hormone goggles. But it’s been over two months, right? Have you kissed yet? HYLA: Ha, ha. Yes, on our fifth date.


date was at his place!

TES: Yeehaw! So you finally kissed, right? HYLA: Nope. I took a ton of allergy meds

to protect myself from his cat. And I think, maybe, just maybe, all my nose blowing and eye rubbing led him to hold off on that first kiss. But, Trace, I gotta say I liked not doing anything physical. December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 29

The sport of happiness according to Elliotte Friedman

After landing the gig of his dreams, this sportscaster is taking it in one day at a time. By Marcie Somers


n life we are offered several paths that might lead to fulfillment. Some people are fortunate in knowing that road from a very young age. CBC sports broadcaster Elliotte Friedman is one of those people. He always knew that he wanted to be a sports journalist. As a child he would often sit in front of the television and broadcast the games in front of his family. It wasn’t until he was a student at the University of Western Ontario where he was finally able to channel his passion for sports writing. He volunteered for the student newspaper where he became sports editor and eventually editor-in-chief. “The world is divided into two kinds of people. Those who hit their stride in high school and those who hit it in university. I was definitely in the second category,” says Friedman. “Growing up I was shy and awkward. It wasn’t until I started to work for the student newspaper that I came into myself. I realized I was actually very good at this.”

“I’ve always believed in living one day at a time. Focus on today and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. Someone once gave me a great piece of advice. They said ‘don’t *uck with happy’.”

When Friedman graduated he was determined to succeed and felt confident that his experience with the student newspaper would land him a job. Instead, he was hit with a hard cold reality. He couldn’t find work. “When I graduated in 1993, all of the newspapers had a hiring freeze.”

“Coaches, athletes and executives like to be made to think, so I take that little bit of extra time to do research and find that little nugget of something that they either haven’t been asked or that hasn’t been talked about in a long time.”

For the next seven months, Friedman was unable to find a job. Finally, in the spring of 1994, he got a job volunteering with The Fan 590. He hasn’t looked back since. Throughout his career, Friedman has covered a myriad of sports in several media. He has worked as a radio analyst and play-byplay voice for the Raptors, and a pre-game reporter on Toronto Blue Jays radio. In 1997 he joined The Score network where he profiled events such as the Stanley Cup Finals, the Grey Cup and the World Series. He joined the CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada in 2003. He also hosts the CFL on CBC and President’s Choice Raptors Basketball on CBC broadcasts. His zeal for sports is infectious and is evident in his broadcasts. “Sport is one of the last unscripted things in the world and that’s why I like it. When the puck drops, the whistle goes or the ball is thrown into the air, you don’t know what’s going to happen. The drama, the thrill of what the story is going to be, is what I find exciting.” Throughout his career, Friedman has interviewed many top sports athletes and executives. In an industry where people are often asked the same question over and over, Friedman tries to ask questions they’ve never heard before to earn respect.

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Yet, sometimes no matter how much he prepares, Friedman has made a few faux-pas over his career. “I was covering the 1994 Canadian Open tennis tournament. The match was just wrapping up,” he explains, “and I said Andre Agassi has just won in the straight-sex. I was devastated. I thought for sure I was going to be fired! Luckily, the producers thought it was the funniest thing they had ever heard and my mistake made their top blooper of the year!” For all his successes, Friedman isn’t one to rest on his laurels. He looks back on his days when he struggled for inspiration. “I don’t think people can understand or enjoy their success until they really know what it’s like to fail. Failure motivates you. Whenever I feel like I’m losing my edge, I say ‘remember,’ because if you don’t make the best effort you could be back there again, and that motivates me a great deal.” Having achieved success at such a young age (Friedman is 37), he’s taking it one day at a time. “I’ve always believed in living one day at a time. Focus on today and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. Someone once gave me a great piece of advice. They said ‘don’t fuck with happy.’ There’s a lot of people in this business who are happy and they say ‘oh, I can get more money over there.’ They get there and realize the grass wasn’t greener on the other side. It doesn’t take a lot to make me happy and right now, I’m very happy.” December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 31

32 December 2008 - 5769 in real years...

December 6

“Judeo-Spanish Songs from Bosnia” featuring Ladino music legend Flory Jagoda

Following the 15th century Spanish Inquisition, Sephardic Jews who re-settled in Mediterranean countries preserved their traditions and their Ladino language while blending in the musical flavours and rhythms of their adopted countries. Bosnian-born Flory Jagoda, now in her 80s, has worked to keep this rich musical tradition alive for the past six decades, and is known worldwide as one of the few authentic performers of Ladino music. Tickets: $20 (advance), $25 (day of); available at 416-872-4255 or online. Glenn Gould Studio, CBC Broadcasting Centre, 8 pm.

December 2-5 Neil Diamond

One of pop music’s most enduring and successful singer-songwriters, Diamond’s four-decade-long career has spanned millions of records, numerous awards, and thousands of sold-out shows. Tickets: $53.25-$120, Ticketmaster. or the ACC.

Until December 7

One of a Kind Show

It may be geared for the Christmas crowd, but you can surely find unique Chanukah gifts at the annual One of a Kind Show and Sale, which features thousands of original handmade items by talented artisans from all over North America. Tickets: Free (children 12 and under)-$10 when purchased online, Free-$12 at the door. Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place.

December 21

Until December 31

Get out your skates and join us for some fun family time and Chanukah cheer as the Winchevsky Centre celebrates the Festival of Lights on Sunday December 21, 2008. Festivities begin with one hour of private skating, from 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (Baycrest Arena, 160 Neptune Drive). The party continues at The Winchevsky Centre, 585 Cranbrooke Avenue at 12:30 p.m. (5 blocks north of Lawrence, east off Bathurst) with a traditional latke lunch, sufganiyot and hot chocolate. There will also be candlelighting, Chanukah stories and a community holiday sing-a-long. Admission is $8.00 and includes skating, latkes, sufganiot, dreydels and Chanukah gelt. Skate rental is extra. For more information, please call 416-789-5502, or visit

The 42nd annual Cavalcade of Lights presented by Scotiabank sets Toronto aglow with a month-long calendar of spellbinding events including spectacular fireworks, sparkling lighting displays and a oneof-a-kind holiday tour of Toronto’s picturesque neighbourhoods. This year at Nathan Phillips Square under the direction of Canadian designer, Brian Gluckstein, the theme of “Modern Canadiana “ celebrates an environment of festivity celebrating peace and goodwill for all cultures. The landmark architecture of City Hall, Toronto’s Official Christmas Tree and the surrounding structures will be highlighted with 300,000 LED lights in the colours of red, silver and white along with the trees throughout the landscape illuminated as if in bloom. Skate under a canopy of spectacular glittering stars suspended from the freedom arches over the square’s famous ice rink. Every Saturday night, come enjoy the fireworks and light displays at Nathan Phillips Square. Free.

Celebrate Chanukah at the Winchevsky Centre’s FAMILY SKATING PARTY!

December 23 David Broza

Every year on December 23, Israeli superstar David Broza – renowned for his “flamencoflavoured rhythmic and percussion techniques, whirlwind finger picking, and unique rock and roll sound have wowed audiences around the world” – performs a special solo set for the Koffler Centre. Tickets: $80 Preferred Seating, $55 General Admission; available at 416-636-1880 x222 or Leah Posluns Theatre, 8 pm. *after the show, koffler20s&30s presents Flippin’ Out, a retro DJ after-party celebrating Chanukah with charity dreidl, the great latka flip, prizes, and more!

December 25 Chinese & a Movie

December 19-28

Disney on Ice presents A Disneyland Adventure

Join hosts Mickey and Minnie Mouse on a fun-filled vacation to Disneyland with the Incredibles and other beloved Disney characters. Tickets: $15-$90, Ticketmaster. Rogers Centre.

Celebrate Christmas the Jewish way – with delicious Glatt kosher Chinese food (catered from Golden Chopsticks), a great movie, dessert, and popcorn. Book early! Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, 8-11 pm. Contact or 416-924-211 x154 for more info.

Cavalcade of Lights

Jan 18

Chai Tea & A Movie

Co-sponsored by The Jewish Magazine: Join us to view Galilee Eskimos Twelve senior citizens wake one morning to find their kibbutz deserted. The bank has foreclosed on the property and the rest of the residents have left with all their belongings. The seniors band together to keep their kibbutz and to oppose the construction of a luxury spa and casino which will destroy their community. Laugh and cry with the old timers as they attempt to preserve the lifestyle and the principals for which they fought their entire lives. Sheppard Grande 4:00 PM Chai Tea / 5:00 PM Film / $15 door or advance (subject to availability) Tickets & Info: 416.967.1528 December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 33



Transformed AGO Opens to the Public

By Helen Hatzis

In May of 2000, Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Ontario, Ken Thomson and architect Frank Gehry met for the first time to discuss the concept of Transformation AGO. Then in 2002, Ken Thomson set in motion what has been described as one of the most significant acts of philanthropy in Canadian history when he agreed to donate his priceless art collection and a cash donation of $70 million to the Art Gallery of Ontario.

The AGO has since surpassed its goal, reaching $300 million with the Thompson family donating an additional $30 million to enhance features beyond the original scope of the project, including Gehry-designed cases for the Thomson Collection of Ship Models.

Combined with the principles mentioned above, AGO engaged the community in a consultation process through a Transformation AGO Working Group consisting of local neighbours to help refine design development. Soon after, the city council approved the project without debate and construction began in June 2005 with an initial fundraising campaign of $254 million. The fundraising initiative was complete five months before the public opening.

With a permanent collection of more than 73,000 works of art spanning more than 1000 years, the AGO is among the most distinguished art museums in North America.

The Gallery announced shortly thereafter an additional fundraising goal of $22 million for new project attributes, raising the total campaign to $276 million with donations pouring in from private, public, corporate and government donations.

This page: (left to right) 1. Transformed AGO entrance. 2. Back view of AGO. 3. Ken Thomson with Frank Gehry’s model of the AGO, 2004 © David Thompson. 4. Frank Gehry with Matthew Teitelbaum, director and CEO of the AGO. Opposite page: (top to bottom) 1. Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) The Massacre of the Innocents, C. 1611-12 Oil on panel, 142 x 182 cm (56 x 71 3/4 ins) The Thomson Collection © Art Gallery of Ontario 2. Two-decker Warship rigged with original sails. Prisoner of War Model, 1794-1815 Great Britain, probably by French sailors bone, brass, silk 24 x 28 x 9 cm (9 1/2  x 11 x 3 1/2 ins) 3. (left to right) Matthew Teitelbaum, Frank Gehry, Gilles Ouellette, president and CEO of BMO’s Private Client Group, BMO Financial Group and A. Charles Baillie, AGO Board President. Photos courtesy of The Thomson Collection © Art Gallery of Ontario and David Cormican.

3 34 December 2008 - 5769 in real years...


Middle Eastern Cuisine

Celebrate The Opening of Our New Larger Space! Located in the heart of Midtown, Tabülè Restaurant is known as one of the city’s finest Middle Eastern Eateries. Experience the exotic flavors, exceptional service and cozy ambience at this intimate hotspot.


Outside Catering Takeout/Delivery Book your private Parties/Functions Vegetarian Friendly Street Parking Fully Licensed Or Bring Your Own Wine

Monday – Thursday 11:30am –10:30pm Friday 11:30am –11pm Saturday Noon-11pm Sunday Noon-10pm

2009 Yonge St 416-483-3747


3 December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 35

Preparing doughnuts at home takes some motivation. So if you decide to go to the trouble make a lot, freeze them and fry some each day.

Sufganiyot – Hanukkah Doughnuts


Ingredients (for 30 regular doughnuts or 50 mini-doughnuts)

The Dough: 50 g (2oz) fresh yeast 160 ml (5 ½ oz, 2/3 cup) lukewarm milk 1 kg (2 lb 4 oz, 7 cups) flour 160 g (5 ½ oz, ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon) sugar 10 g (2 teaspoons) salt 8 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla extract The zest of half of a lemon 1. Dissolve the yeast in ¼ cup milk. 2. Put the flour, sugar, salt, eggs, vanilla extract, citrus zest, rum or brandy, and the remaining milk in a mixer bowl fitted with a kneading hook. Add the dissolved yeast and knead for 5 minutes. 3. Add the butter gradually and continue kneading for 10 minutes at medium speed, until the dough is smooth. 4. Sprinkle some flour over the dough in the bowl, cover with a moist towel and allow to rest for 20-30 minutes. 5. Knead the dough for another minute, form a smooth ball (it should weigh about 1.8 kg/4 lb at this point), and place on a work surface, preferably wood, sprinkled with flour. Cover with a moist towel and allow to rise for 15-20 minutes. 6. Divide the dough into 30 doughnuts (or 50 mini-doughnuts) and arrange, evenly spaced, on greased baking pans sprinkled with flour.

The zest of half an orange 45 ml (3 tablespoons) rum or brandy 160 g (6 oz) soft butter For Frying: Sunshine oil (burns slowly and has no aftertaste), for deep-frying The Filling: 1 cup strawberry jam To Serve: Confectioners’ sugar

7. Transfer the pans to a warm oven preheated to 40-45°C (about 110°F). Place a saucepan with boiling water at the bottom of the oven to provide the dough with the necessary moisture. Allow the doughnuts to rise in the warm oven until they double in size. 8. Heat the oil for deep-frying to 190°C (375°F). 9. Make sure there is no excess flour on the doughnuts, which can burn and cloud (the side on which the doughnut was resting) facing up. The dome (top side) will develop a crust while the bottom will swell up slightly and the doughnut will take on a perfect round shape. Fry for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden-brown. Taste the first doughnut to be sure it has been fried properly; if it’s brown on the outside and still moist and sticky on the inside, the oil is too hot. 10. Arrange the doughnuts on a rack to allow the excess oil to drip. 11. To fill the doughnuts: Use a special syringe or a pastry bag with a long nozzle. Puncture the doughnut in the center, and press to release the filling. If the jam is too thick mix in a little water. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve.

Making ahead: After forming the doughnuts (step 6), place them on a tray lined with baking paper, wrap the tray in a plastic bag and freeze. Defrost for 8 hours in the refrigerator and continue according to the recipe (from step 7).

* Copyright: Janna Gur; reprinted with permission of Pantheon Books. Janna Gur was born and raised in the former Soviet Union and immigrated to Israel in 1974. She is the founder and chief editor of the leading Israeli food and wine magazine Hashulchan. She lives in Tel Aviv, on Israel’s Mediterranean coast.

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Happy Holiday 3414 Yonge Street, Toronto T. 416.482.9224 F. 416.781.2976


La Traviata has been North Toronto's definitive destination for authentic regional Italian cuisine for over twenty years. Come join us for a great traditional Italian dinner.

852 Wilson Avenue, Toronto


Mon - Fri: 11:30am-3 pm; 5pm-10pm Sat: 5pm-10pm

Mashu Mashu is a Mediterranean Grill serving Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Our menu features middle eastern appetizer salads served in combination platters providing a delightful assortment of flavors, tasty salads with an elaborate assortment of grilled meats inclusive of tender chicken, beef, salmon and lamb skewers. Mashu Mashu provides a takeout menu and a complete custom catering program.


416.840.0848 December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 37


et ayg


By Michael Gaspar

Editor’s note: We were sitting around trying to figure out why we were getting flack for using the word shiksa. To be honest, we had a hard time comprehending the negative connotation of the word. Words and phrases evolve. So just to be clear, we want readers to know that we have proclaimed use of this word to simply mean non-Jewish. If you would like to share your story, please write to

Getting into the Holiday Spirit Christmas-lover Mike Gaspar finds a different kind of joy in Chanukah. My favourite holiday moments were those spent quietly painting ceramic Christmas ornaments – the kind you bought en masse at Lewiscraft, added sparkles to, and then over-glazed with Podge before hanging them on the tree half-dry. Pretty lame, perhaps, but that’s what I enjoyed. As meek as the memories may be, they remain uniquely mine, collected during an era when Christmas lights weren’t shaped like icicles and Swiss Chalet still issued Toblerone bars with their Festive Special. But in the blink of an eye, you can go from simple arts and crafts to a nightmarish escapade that finds you chopping down your own mammoth pine and dragging it through 600 acres of Winter Wonderland – only to come home and find your Christmas goose barreling through the basement, trampling over your miniature model of the Polar Express as it travels through Whoville. That’s why I never gave Chanukah much thought. I possessed neither the time nor energy while I busily prepared for Christmas. Ask me to compare the two holidays and you’re headed for disappointment. If it’s substance

you want, you don’t come knocking on my door, especially since my perspective is unmistakably biased. I’ve spent years nurturing an important business relationship with Santa – going behind his back to secretly meet with the Chanukah Monster would be disloyal and reckless. Nevertheless, I set out to learn about the Festival of Lights. What I got was a lesson in humility, simplicity, and poise. In order to achieve some semblance of objectivity, the comparison had to remain scientific. My plan was to throw movie names into a hat, pick one from each holiday, and run the comparison from my couch. The first snag didn’t take long. Half an hour at Blockbuster yielded no recognizable Chanukah films, save for Eight Crazy Nights. The Christmas flicks, on the other hand, occupied their own level of the DVD-rental atmosphere. Row upon row of festive, mightas-well-have-been-made-for-TV junk; Jingle All the Way, The Santa Clause and Jack Frost are just a few examples of movies that have turned a large percentage of my holiday into a futile attempt to create the perfect experience. And just how have these movies negatively impacted my holiday season? Well, for one, I have a very disjointed idea of what Christmas is actually about.

38 December 2008 - 5769 in real years...

Too many symbols have created mass confusion. When you let movies speak on your behalf, they begin to say too much, too quickly. At its most basic, Christmas is supposed to be a birthday party. Not only have these movies stripped away all religious context, they’ve added their own mutant rules and conventions, which many of us – myself included – feel obliged to follow. Eight crazy nights of gift giving should increase the likelihood of Chanukah holiday mayhem. But it’s just the opposite. Admittedly, I’ve always been secretly jealous of my Jewish friends and their families. I pictured them sitting around the TV, watching crazed parents on Pay-Per-View (presumably jacked-up on the spirit of giving) fight over the last Tickle-Me-Elmo doll. From where I stood, they never got roped into anything similar. You’ll draw your own conclusions, and rightly so – I’m simply reporting the facts as I see them. That for all their similarities, the main difference between the two holidays is the quantity and quality of their respective films. On one hand, Christmas flicks will confirm the obsession with making the holidays an increasingly elaborate venture. On the other, the notable absence of any non-animated Chanukah movies illustrates just how a holiday maintains its integrity – by refusing to take its cues from hokey cinema. December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 39

Tech&Toys By Marc Saltzman

Hands On With New Touchscreen Sony Reader We love paper books, and there will always be a place for them -- such as tossing one in a bag for the beach -- but it’s certainly convenient to carry around an electronic book reader that can hold many hundreds of books in a super-thin form factor. Another advantage is the ability to buy books digitally from the comfort of your own home, 24/7.


hile relatively pricey, Sony has done a great job with its Reader Digital Books products that offer real-looking ink, impressive battery life and a number of electronic titles to download. But the button placement on the device – used to turn “pages” -- was a bit of an issue. Not anymore. The new Sony PRS-700 ($399.99; is a svelte 10-ounce e-book reader with a six-inch greyscale screen. Unlike the previous PRS-505, this model offers a touchscreen display to select books and turn pages by swiping a finger horizontally across the screen. If users prefer, buttons at the bottom of the device can also be used to turn pages. Another new feature is a search button that lets you find words or phrases in a book or other electronic document, and if desired, make notes using a fingertip or the bundled stylus pen and soft keyboard. Text sizes have now expanded to five options, plus readers can now tap the screen to zoom in on text or an illustration or photo. As with its predecessors, the Reader Digital Book’s impressive “e-ink” technology resembles real ink on paper (seriously, you need to see it to believe it), resulting in crisp text that’s easy to read in various light conditions. The PRS-700 also includes an optional LED backlight, if necessary. The device’s built-in memory can store roughly 350 average digital books, says Sony, but you

40 December 2008 - 5769 in real years...

can add thousands more by popping in a Memory Stick Duo or SD memory card. Slots for both memory card types remain at the top of the unit, beside the power button. Along with many thousands of titles offered at Sony’s own eBook Store, the PRS-700 also supports multiple file formats including Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word documents, BBeB files and other text file formats. Sony says it has also redesigned its eBook Store by tweaking the site layout and search options, introducing new book categories and adding more prominent book cover art. When you’re too fatigued to read, load up a few dozen audiobooks or music and pop in a headphone jack at the bottom of the e-book reader. Let’s see your paperback do that.

Photo by S. Alter

Toronto’s Real Life Zohan He’s Israeli, he’s straight, and he will make your hair silky smooth! By Tracey Erim Smith Earlier this year Judd Apatow teamed up with Adam Sandler to create the hilarious film You Don’t Mess With the Zohan. In the movie, Sandler plays an Israeli commando who fakes his death so he can follow his real dream of being a hairstylist in New York City. While getting my hair blown dry at Zefir Salon by former Israeli bodyguard, Andrey Repka, I realized I was being styled by a real life Zohan. When I first met Andrey a couple of years ago, he was working as a senior stylist in a large upscale salon downtown which catered to the jet set and celebrities visiting Toronto. Andrey, a stylish guy in his early thirties, looks a little like the latest James Bond and speaks with a Ukrainian accent. I later found out he had served in both the Ukrainian and Israeli armies. I also noticed that when he blow-dried my hair he got into what looked like a self defense pose, cocked his head to one side, and straightened my hair as if my life, or maybe his, depended on it. Over tea and biscuits, I interviewed him at his new salon in Yorkville, which is both modern and cozy. TES: Andrey, your story is so amazing. Tell me how you made the leap from being a bodyguard to owning a salon. Andrey: One day my wife said to me, “You know Andrey, since you love beautiful clothes and you’re so good at helping me pick out outfits, maybe you want to be a hairdresser?” I said to her, “Are you kidding?! No way!” She said OK and went to sleep. For me this was a really depressing thought because to go from being a bodyguard to working in the beauty industry was crazy. I stayed up most of the night and started asking myself, “Hey, why not?” I woke up the next morning, had a cup of coffee, and found the Vidal Sassoon school in Tel Aviv. The program took two years and that’s how I became a hairstylist. TES: Did you tell you parents? Andrey: I told my mom but she didn’t believe me. TES: A bit of a shock, eh? What happened after you finished school? Andrey: I worked for my teacher after I graduated. Six months later he called me into his office and said, “Andrey, you are finished working at my salon.” I asked him, “Why? What did I do wrong?” He told me that I didn’t do anything wrong, he just didn’t know what else to teach me, and that it was time for me to open my own salon in Israel. TES: What an amazing compliment he gave you. How did you choose Toronto as your destination when you left Israel? Andrey: First of all, Toronto is a very nice city, and secondly, it is a real centre for the beauty industry.

TES: I have to ask, how is being a bodyguard like being a hair dresser? Andrey: For me, the most important thing when I was a bodyguard was to protect my client and be ready for anything. In my salon you could say I protect clients’ beauty and also protect them! TES: You’ve only been in Canada for four years and here we are sitting in your very own salon in Yorkville. How did you find this beautiful place? Andrey: My client. TES: Jewish client? Andrey: Yes, she knew that I wanted to open my place, and so one day I was working at the other salon and she called me and said, “I’ve found a place in Yorkville, but you have to tell me right now if you want it or not.” It was the kind of decision that can change your life and you might win or you might lose, so I told her I cannot give a decision right now. She said, ‘OK, you have twenty minutes.” TES: Whoa, twenty minutes to make a decision like that? Andrey: I was working on a client at that moment and I was thinking, thinking, thinking. And I realized…this is it. TES: And you went for it. Wow. So what can women and men expect when they come into Zefir? Andrey: We offer full services here, from hair cut and colour, hand and foot care, bridal services and makeup. The truth about a salon is, the first time someone comes into a place it’s for the salon, and the second time it’s for the stylist. TES: I can attest to that. I followed you from the other salon and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I think it’s because I know that if any bad guys were to give me any trouble while I was having my hair styled, you’d be able to kick their butt. Andrey: Of course, Tracey. I could take down any one who tried to give you a hard time, and leave your hair silky smooth! There you have it, friends, Toronto’s own Zohan. He’s one of the best around and is offering a 20% discount for your first visit when you mention The Jewish Magazine! December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 41

By Erica Ehm

Top Ten Resolutions As a mother and role model for two delicious kids, I think it’s important to constantly improve. So here are some tips for 2009 to be a yummier mummy. 1. Overturn Over-programming After reading studies which prove unscheduled downtime creates out of the box thinkers, I believe kids need downtime to emotionally regroup after school, have playdates and not be too tired for homework. As much as I want my little ones to succeed in this ever increasing competitive world, in the new year I will continue resisting the urge to enroll them in a variety of sports, art classes and second/third language programs. 2. Listen to my Kids Mummy does know best, especially when she learns to listen to her kids. Whether it’s feeling full when there’s still food on a plate, or feeling sick when there are no symptoms, I’m realizing my kids are often more intuitive than I give them credit for. So now, when my kids tell me something I don’t really want to hear, I will take the time to listen carefully. Chances are my kids know something I don’t. 3. Get More Active I admit it. I’m not an outdoorsy kind of gal. I’m more comfy in front my computer or book. Too often my kids are lounging when we could be running, riding or skating. I promise to be more active with my kids. It’s better for all of us. 4. Homework Heaven After hearing an educational consultant speak, I learned one of the most efficient ways of getting children to do their homework is to choose a

consistent time daily, with little or no wiggle room. I discovered my son works best close to bedtime after his shower. My plan is to maintain that schedule, in the hopes of reducing tension around homework and magically turn homework into a special, creative time we spend together.

moms who collect donations from guests, half the money going to a charity, the other half to a big gift for the party person. That’s yummy!

5. Guilt-free Me-time

My husband and I are workaholics, both umbilically attached to Blackberries. My hope is the two of us will pry ourselves away from work, physically and mentally, to be fully there for our kids. Even though we are sending the message of loving what you do to our kids, we also need to be present one hundred percent when hanging with the family.

Why does a pang of guilt rip through me when girlfriends invite me out for dinner or a movie? Why don’t my husband and I celebrate our relationship more often? As overworked, overly responsible parents, we NEED time away from our kids to have fun, shake loose the stress and remember we’re more than parents. I hope to have more guilt free playdates in the new year. In doing so, my kids will see mummy as more than just a caregiver. I’m a sexy woman who needs to get out to play too! 6. Time to Tidy My children rarely tidy their room. I find it takes more energy to insist on a clean up than doing it myself. What am I teaching them? If they put up a fuss, they don’t have to do the work. I’m not proud of this. That’s why I will devote extra time and energy to my kids taking the responsibility to tidy up. 7. Birthday Party Change Enough with the presents already. Birthday parties are out of hand. Next year I am introducing charity into my kids’ parties. They will choose which gifts to donate. Or I will sign up for an party, a new online company started by 2 local

42 December 2008 - 5769 in real years...

8. Leave Work at my Office

9. Stop Comparing Kids My son is the tallest. My daughter is the smartest and they’re both the cutest. Of course they are. We all have the best kids. So, why are we constantly comparing our little treasures to the other kids on the block. Every child will have strengths and weaknesses, and develop differently. This is what makes them unique. Celebrate their strengths and work on their weaknesses. And love them for who they are. 10. Pat Myself on the Back How often do you hear, “I’m a great mom!”? Instead, it’s “I’m the world’s worst mother” accompanied by head in hands. Rarely do we give ourselves a pat on the back and acknowledge our successes as multi-tasking moms. This year I will cut myself some slack and pat myself on the back every time there’s a small victory. (I got them to school on time! Hurray for me!)

For personal astrological consultations with ELI7, email

Forget about buying impractical chachkas for friends and family this Chanukah – giving them gelt is good enough! A better way to spend cash in the last days of 2008 is to treat yourself to a small but symbolic token to mark the year’s end and help you start 2009 on the right foot. LIBRA (September 23 - October 22) Plan a trip for yourself right after the New Year. Whether it’s a weekend getaway or a week away, since you’ve foregone a number of opportunities to take vacations this past year, you can set a different pace for travel in the coming year.

ARIES (March 21 - April 19) Buy yourself a spiritual, self-help or how-to book on a topic that you’ve always wanted to explore but kept on the backburner for no reason other than being too busy to attune to your own needs. Whether or not you read it right away is irrelevant – the point is, you’re on your way to exploring new and great things.

SCORPIO (October 23 - November 21) You’re into status symbols – who isn’t? This is not to say you should go and buy that 500 series BMW (which you might anyway), but a piece of jewelry might be just as satisfying and less painful on your pocketbook.

TAURUS (April 20 - May 20) Put some money into a government interest bond. You’re always worrying about finances and this way, you’re destined to start the new year with some sort of security. Or, you can start a new savings account and promise to deposit a minimum amount each month. Either way, saving money will make you happy this year. GEMINI (May 21 - June 21) Enroll in a health-related fitness regimen like six weeks of karate or yoga. Do it now in advance so that when January comes around, you’re forced to go no matter how many excuses you try to make.

SAGITTARIUS (November 22 - December 21) Anything that will enhance your ability to conduct business next year is a good buy on Boxing Day. A new cell phone, daytime agenda, sophisticated pen – any of these items will help you feel more professional and propel you toward success.

CANCER (June 22 - July 22) It’s a good time to reinvent yourself because you’re more critical than usual and less likely to succumb to oversentimentality or longing for objects and people past. Cut the bad out from your life and don’t think twice.

CAPRICORN (December 22 - January 19) A personal organizer or a feng shui’s expert advice to help reorganize your surroundings will do you a world of good. A book on feng shui is equally an asset to you at this time. You don’t really need any more “stuff,” do you?

LEO (July 23 - August 22) Do something to renovate your house. Repaint a room, buy a new couch – you don’t have to do it all, but a few modifications will inspire you to do greater things and you’ll impress guests with your new abode at the same time.

AQUARIUS (January 20 - February 18) You may want to revamp and overhaul everything you own and start the new year completely fresh and free of everything old, but there’s no need to be so drastic. Sure, you can get rid of a few old, useless things – sell them on Ebay and buy yourself something substantial with the profits.

VIRGO (August 23 - September 22) Though you’d never do it normally, once the sales start, it’s a good time to make that extravagant purchase you’ve denied yourself all year and vowed to buy when the price is right. The price is right – couture labels or a new computer are calling your name.

PISCES ( February 19 - March 20) You’ve been holding back on expressing your artistic abilities and the reason may be there’s something you need in order to do so. Be it art supplies, a musical instrument, a sewing machine – whatever it is that you want to do artistically, invest in the means to make that happen.

ELI7 has been following the movement of stars and planets ever since she can remember. She has studied Western astrology, the Chinese zodiac and the Mayan calendar for over ten years and has a firm grasp on the movement of the cosmos. Having consulted people one on one for many years, she finally has found a home with The Jewish Magazine, ready to counsel you with your planetary alignments. December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 43

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Information compiled By TJM Staff

PENNYMARSHALL …is an American actress, director, and producer, most notable for being the first woman to direct two films – Big and A League of Their Own – that grossed over $100 million each. Born Carole Penny Marshall, October 15, 1942, in the Bronx, New York City, Marshall’s father was of Italian descent (he changed his last name from “Masciarelli” to “Marshall”) and her mother was of English and Scottish descent. Entertainment clearly runs in the family, as her father was a director of industrial films, her mother was a tap dance teacher, and her brother is actor/director/TV producer Garry Marshall (Beaches, Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries) . She attended the University of New Mexico for two and a half years. Her brother Garry offered her her first role in How Sweet It Is! (1968), where she appeared with Debbie Reynolds and James Garner. Her career picked up with the recurring guest role of Myrna Turner on The Odd Couple from 1971-1975; two guest spots on Mary Tyler Moore; and most notably her role on the popular sitcom Laverne and Shirley from 1976-1983, as wise-cracking brewery employee Laverne DeFazio. She then went on to direct many successful feature films since the mid-1980s, including Big, Awakenings, Renaissance Man, and The Preacher’s Wife. Other memorable onscreen appearances include the evil nanny Ms. Botz on the first produced episode of The Simpsons and a cameo role as herself on HBO’s Entourage. She also played the wife of real-life brother Garry in Hocus Pocus (1993). Marshall has one child, Tracy, from her first marriage to Michael Henry. She was also married to Jewish actor and director Rob Reiner from 1971 to 1981. An avid collector of sports memorabilia, Marshall is a diehard fan of her native New York Yankees. In 2004, Marshall and Cindy Williams (her co-star on Laverne and Shirley) received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Despite her unforgettably nasal Bronx accent, high-profile marriage to a Jew, and proven Yiddish proficiency on Laverne and Shirley, Penny Marshall is… NO JEW

46 December 2008 - 5769 in real years...

CHRISTOPHERguest …is a writer, composer/musician, director, and comic actor, best known for having written, directed, and starred in several “mockumentary” films including This is Spinal Tap, Waiting for Guffman (1996), and For Your Consideration (2006). He also holds minor peerage in the United Kingdom, having become the 5th Baron Haden-Guest after his father (the fourth) died in 1996. Born February 5, 1948 in New York City, Guest’s parents were born Jewish (his maternal grandparents were Jewish Russian immigrants, and his paternal great-grandfather was Colonel Albert Goldsmid, a British Jew who founded the Jewish Lads’ and Girls’ Brigade), but later became atheists. Guest had no religious upbringing. He spent parts of his childhood in his father’s native UK and later attended The High School of Music & Art in New York City, studying classical music. Early acting stints included Saturday Night Live (1984-85), The Princess Bride, and Little Shop of Horrors remake, but his career really took off with Rob Reiner’s 1984 mock “rockumentary” film This is Spinal Tap. This experience led to his “mockumentary” initiative – heavily improvised, satirical pseudo-documentaries starring a loose repertory group, including Catherine O’Hara, Michael McKean, Parker Posey, Fred Willard, and frequent writing partner Eugene Levy. Guest and Levy formulate characters and a plot structure, but leave it up to the actors to improvise their dialogue; everyone receives the same fee and equal share of profits. Besides the above, his films also include Best in Show (2000) and A Mighty Wind (2003). Ironically, Guest is infamous for being rather dour and abrasive in person. In response, he explains, “People want me to be funny all the time. They think I’m being funny no matter what I say or do and that’s not the case. I rarely joke unless I’m in front of a camera. It’s not what I am in real life. It’s what I do for a living.” Married to actress Jamie Lee Curtis in 1984 at the home of mutual friend Rob Reiner, the two have adopted two children. Despite his non-religious upbringing, Christopher Guest’s parentage makes him a… JEW December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 47 December 2008 - 5769 in real years... 47








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48 December 2008 - 5769 in real years...

The Jewish Magazine - Dec 2008  

Canada's Premier Jewish Magazine.