Articles written by: Irwin Block

First female senior rabbi installed at Temple Emanu-el-Beth Sholom
Features

First female senior rabbi installed at Temple Emanu-el-Beth Sholom

The scene: a crowded Friday night at the Temple Emanu-el-Beth Sholom in Westmount. Excitement is in the air as the huge main sanctuary fills up. This is no ordinary Sabbath service. The archbishop of Montreal, Most Rev. Christian Lépine, is in the audience, as are Protestant clergy and U.S. consul-general […]

Montreal city councillor Alex Norris has a reporter's eye and a politician's ear.
Features

Montreal city councillor Alex Norris fights for a cleaner, greener city

What the heck is going on at city hall? In Montreal, Laval, Boisbriand, Mascouche—just about everywhere that big money is being spent on infrastructure—it appears that inflated prices, as much as double the market value, kickbacks to civil servants and elected officials and payoffs to political parties and the Mafia […]

Reviews & Previews

Review: Ishmael’s House had its genesis in Canada

by Irwin Block Sir Martin Gilbert is a most prolific historian with more than 50 books to his credit, an established and popular writer whose work is crafted for and marketed to the general reader. Ishmael’s House, A History of Jews in Muslim Lands (McLelland & Stewart, 424 p., $35) […]

Lower-cost housing in Montreal’s west end sets higher standard
Features

Lower-cost housing in Montreal’s west end sets higher standard

by Irwin Block If you’re old enough to remember Monkland High School on West Hill, you’re probably eligible to rent an apartment there. Since 1987, when it was converted into apartments for autonomous seniors, it has been known as Résidence Monkland—one of several affordable, accessible and attractive not-for-profit places to […]

Jewish Renewal rabbi Sherrill Gilbert brings Sabbath joy to a simple setting
Features

Jewish Renewal rabbi Sherrill Gilbert brings Sabbath joy to a simple setting

It’s a dark Friday evening in the Snowdon area and the lights are out at the YM-YWHA on Westbury Ave., in respect of the Jewish Sabbath. Only one door is unlocked. When I enter and tell a security guard I’ve come for the Jewish Renewal service, he points left and […]

Quebec voters fear a reignited sovereignty debate, Kathleen Weil says.
Features

Kathleen Weil gears up to fight for diversity and individual rights

The evening before the September 4 Quebec election, Kathleen Weil could be seen strolling along Monkland, enjoying a dish of ice cream and appearing confident of personal victory in N.D.G. Schmoozing in outdoor cafés, she and her constituents were concerned about a PQ return to power, as predicted in the […]

Saturday-night shoppers crowd Jaffa Road in Jerusalem. Photos: Barbara Moser
Features / Travel

Analysis: Israel is thriving, but settlements cast a shadow

BY: IRWIN BLOCK Israel is seen as a society beset by seemingly insurmountable obstacles, challenges and threats. Based on what we see and read in the media, life in the “promised land” would seem to be unlivable. But on the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, there is a […]

Election 2012: No panic on Monkland over minority win
Features

Election 2012: No panic on Monkland over minority win

Gil Benabou (from left), Molly Mouyal and Coby Steiner talk politics and sip coffee at Pain Doré on Monkland. BY: IRWIN BLOCK It was the day after the Quebec election, and for many west end residents there was a sense of relief that Pauline Marois’s Parti Québécois will be restrained […]

Rabbi fosters religious-humanist approach to Judaism
Features

Rabbi fosters religious-humanist approach to Judaism

BY: IRWIN BLOCK When Ron Aigen came to Montreal from the U.S. in the summer of 1976 for his first posting as a rabbi, he was in for some big surprises. For starters, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-born graduate of the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, with a degree in family therapy and community […]

In search of greener pastures for Canada’s political landscape
Features

In search of greener pastures for Canada’s political landscape

BY:IRWIN BLOCK Being leader of Canada’s fifth political party is not the easiest way of getting the nation’s attention. But that has not stopped Green Party chief Elizabeth May from making her presence felt in the hurly burly of Ottawa politics, even if the NDP, Liberals, and Bloc have priority […]