Montreals Belz Hasidic community celebrates spiritual leaders visit

first_imgMONTREAL – Red carpets, dancing crowds, bonfires and street celebrations are some of the ways Montreal’s Belz orthodox Jewish community have marked a rare visit by their spiritual leader over the past several days.The visit began with a welcome ceremony on Tuesday and ended Saturday night when a large crowd attended a midnight procession last night to honour Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, who is visiting the city for the first time in two decades.Over the past week, the rabbi has been given a rock star-like greeting as large crowds have gathered to catch a glimpse of the long-serving spiritual leader, who has led the community since 1966.“It’s historic, it’s very emotional, it’s the time we’ve been waiting for, for so long,” community member Chezky Reiss said.He said the 70-year-old leader is in poor health and rarely travels outside of Israel.Reiss said thousands of out-of-towners have come for the events, which included bonfires and festive meals on Wednesday and Thursday to mark the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer, which commemorates the the revelation of the kabbalah, the core text of Jewish mysticism.The ultra-orthodox Belz community, a Hasidic group that traces its roots to Eastern Europe, counts between 2,000 and 3,000 members in Montreal.Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach has been credited with overseeing the sect’s post-Holocaust rebuilding, which has led to the establishment of communities in Canada, Europe and the United States.In the past, tensions have flared between the Hasidic community and some of their non-Jewish neighbours in the city’s Outremont borough.In March a handful of citizens drew criticism for donning yellow badges on their clothing at a borough council meeting to protest the Jewish community’s use of school buses.The citizens said they were protesting the vehicles blocking the street, while others told them the badges evoked the Holocaust, when European Jews were forced to wear yellow stars.In November 2016, citizens voted against allowing Hasidic Jews to open more synagogues on a main street in Outremont, sparking accusations of anti-Semitism.This time, Reiss said the organizers made efforts to minimize traffic disruptions and noise in order to avoid a repeat of past tensions.He said the community sent out letters and started a Twitter account to share photos and inform residents of what was happening.They also hosted most of the festivities in a giant tent erected outside the residential zone.While Reiss said he received “a few nasty letters,” he said non-Jewish community members have been supportive, and many have even joined the crowds straining to see the rabbi.“The majority of tension is people who don’t understand what’s happening,” he said.Reiss said the rabbi is expected to keep a lower profile for the remainder of his visit, which ends Tuesday.last_img read more

Popularity growing for Concordia Universitys Indigenous spirituality course

first_imgRobbie Purdon APTN NewsChristine Jamieson teaches the Indigenous spirituality course that has been offered occasionally at Concordia University since 2015.It’s become quite popular and will be a fulltime course this fall, as well as a mandatory class for a diploma in Christian spirituality.“It is really recognizing that connection that we have with all living things and that includes, you know, the insects, the plants, non-human animals, the fish, the water, the sky, the moon, the earth,” said Jamieson, an associate professor.Part of the class includes a trip to the longhouse in Kahnawake where students meet Elder Kevin Deer.“Basically I just give them an overview about who we are. So I talk a little bit about the creation story and what does that mean, how it gives us an understanding about how we understand the world,” said Deer.Laura Boivin is in the course this year and says she appreciates the different teaching methods.“We’ve definitely covered an understanding of the concept of inter-relational world and a spiritual realm of everyone and everything being connected and everything being equal and valuable without there being a sense of hierarchy,” said [email protected]last_img read more

Four dead babies in care with one common theme Dilico Anishinabek Family

first_imgBreanne LeClair with her son Kyler. Submitted photo.Kenneth JacksonAPTN NewsBreanne LeClair will never forget the day she got a call saying her son had turned blue and was not breathing.As she rushed to a Thunder Bay hospital LeClair called her case worker at Dilico Anishinabek Family Care.“I told her if anything happens to him it’s your fault. This is on you,” LeClair recalled through tears.When she arrived she tried to go in her son’s room when a nurse threw herself in front of the door.“She said, ‘are you prepared for what’s in there?’ I said ‘get out of my way that’s my baby. I don’t care. “I pushed her and I opened the door,” said LeClair.She saw her son, Kyler Jai LeClair, surrounded by doctors and nurses. There were police officers in there, too.Then they all stopped.Kyler was gone.He had been left on cluttered bed for approximately 30 minutes and presumably suffocated. The coroner ruled 10 months later it was an unsafe sleeping condition but the manner of death couldn’t be determined.Kyler was alive for 72 days.But he wasn’t the only baby to die that month of April in 2014.APTN News has learned Kyler was one of at least four babies to die between Oct. 29, 2013 and June 6, 2014 either under the direct care of Dilico or with the involvement of the Indigenous child welfare agency based in Fort William First Nation next to Thunder Bay.APTN’s investigation into these deaths discovered several more themes, including unsafe sleeping conditions in foster care.Talon Nelson died in foster care Oct. 29, 2013 when he was less than three months old.“The circumstances indicate that an unsafe sleeping environment and/or position may have contributed to the death,” the coroner wrote according to a statement of claim filed by Nelson’s family in Thunder Bay in 2016. “The home appeared crowded with beds and/or cribs. The crib in question had the baby in a sleeper with two blankets over it. There were numerous toys in the crib with the baby.”The family blamed Dilico for the death which the agency denied in court. The civil suit was eventually dismissed without costs and the allegations were never proven in court. APTN tried to reach the family and their lawyer but was unsuccessful.More court records obtained by APTN uncovered another death of an infant in April 2014 around the same time as Kyler.It involves the alleged wrongful dismissal of an employee who sued Dilico about three weeks after she was fired on Nov. 4, 2014. Lori Watts alleged she was fired after coming back from medical leave for surgery to reduce the impact of Parkinson’s disease.Watts was the assistant director of support services when she was let go after working at Dilico since 1993.Her role put her in charge of various “alternative” care services, which includes foster homes that Dilico owns and operates.She also was in charge of a six-bed group home operated by Dilico.Dilico denied the allegations and said her firing was for cause, particularly after a child at the group home was seriously injured. They accused Watts of not immediately reporting the incident to her boss or the Ontario government, a requirement under law.An internal investigation found “serious signs of mismanagement at the group home, including but not limited to drugs, and other prohibited items including drug paraphernalia and a pellet gun being discovered in the group home.”Dilico blamed Watts, who was a mid-level manager.“This failure to report to the Ministry, and the presence of drugs and prohibited items at the group home, exposed the Defendant (Dilico) to significant liability, including fines, a risk that the Defendant’s Group Home Licence would be revoked, and a risk that the Defendant could lose its approval or designation to act as a child welfare agency,” Dilico said in its statement of defence.They also blamed her for failing to take action on “12 deficient group homes identified as needing to be addressed” and for not coming up with a plan to open new foster homes despite there being a need.Then a baby died.“In or about April 2014, an infant died while at one of the Defendant’s foster homes under the Plaintiff’s supervision,” said Dilico, which didn’t add anything beyond that regarding the death.The identify of the child isn’t known to APTN, however it’s not believed to be Kyler as Dilico placed him with his non-Indigenous father at the time of his death.According to the coroner’s report, the father put Kyler on a cluttered adult bed and left him there to have a shower. Kyler was found 30 minutes later by his grandmother. Police reported the home to be cluttered but otherwise unremarkable.No further action was taken by the coroner. (Breanne LeClair with her son Kyler. Submitted photo)Kyler’s file also didn’t involve Watts but two other workers, including former manager Diane Rusnak – creating more similarities.APTN previously reported Rusnak is suing Dilico for wrongful dismissal in late 2016 but in court filings Dilico accused Rusnak of placing a child in a home with a registered sex offender. The child began displaying “sexualized behaviours inconsistent with that child’s age” during a “routine” visit in the fall of 2016.Read More: Foster child placed in home of registered sex offender in Thunder Bay: court documentsLike with Watts, Dilico was blaming a single employee for a serious incident that would have involved many people.But the agency did find Rusnak was only partly to blame for a death that happened while she was the manager in charge.Dilico said Rusnak was placed on administrative leave May 8, 2014 while Dilico investigated the death. She wasn’t fired but other employees were. APTN knows the identity of Kyler’s caseworker and that person now works somewhere else.APTN has tried multiple times to reach Rusnak but her lawyer said she has no comment. APTN was unsuccessful in reaching Watts for comment. Her case was dismissed without costs and the allegations were never proven in court.It’s because of that story on Rusnak that APTN learned the identities of Kyler and Daniel Issac Sabastein Quedent who died June 13, 2014.Daniel was just over a year old when his mother said he was also found in a crowded crib when he died. She said the coroner ultimately ruled he died of a heart arrhythmia.Michelle Quedent said he was in and out of care in his first year. Quedent also said Rusnak was one of two people to show up at her home to discuss the death of her son.“I believe they called me first saying they were coming to talk to me. Then when they came Rusnak was so casual about it,” said Quedent. “She told me as soon as I opened the door.”Quedent said she had a miscarriage in the weeks before Daniel’s death which she blames on stress of him being taken.“He was a cute kiddo.Very outgoing and very happy. Made everyone smile even the grumpiest of people,” said Quedent.(Daniel Issac Sabastein Quedent died June 13, 2014)APTN laid out in an email much of the main points in this story to Dilico’s executive director, Darcia Borg.One of the areas APTN wanted addressed is the agency shifted its focus of care away from temporary care agreements to customary care agreements, the latter believed to be more culturally-based with the involvement of the First Nation.This change happened around 2013.Former employees told APTN when this shift happened there was a lot of turmoil inside in Dilico which may account for the several wrongful dismissal claims filed in court soon after.“We are unable to comment or provide any further information beyond that which is publicly available, and already in your possession,” wrote Borg in an email Wednesday evening. “Providing any further information would violate our legal obligations to protect the privacy of current and former employees, and of children in the care of the agency.”Borg made these comments after inviting APTN to meet with her at a later date in Thunder Bay.Dilico has offices in Thunder Bay and surrounding area that serves several First Nations.APTN continues to follow each of the deaths and other related stories. Kenneth Jackson can be reached at the email below or by calling 613-567-1550, ext. 226. Also look for Jackson on Facebook and Twitter. [email protected]@afixedaddresslast_img read more

Pauls OT Heroics Push Grizzlies To The Brink

L.A.’s Blake Griffin had 30 points.If there was a game that crystallized why it was such a big deal for the Los Angeles Clippers to acquire Chris Paul, Monday night was it. Having blown a 10-point lead in the final four minutes to the Memphis Grizzlies, Paul dazzled in overtime, scoring eight points in the five extra minutes to lead the Clippers to a 101-97 victory.It was a win that gave L.A. a 3-1 series advantage. How close has this series been? The Clippers’ three wins were by a combined six points.It looked in the fourth quarter that this one would not be that close. Los Angels led by 10 with four minutes to play. But Mike Connelly Jr. and Rudy Gay held the Grizzlies together, and they mounted a closing-quarter run that forced overtime when Paul turned the ball over on the last possession of the final period.But in overtime, Paul made amends. The Grizzlies inexplicably did not double team him to get the ball out of his hands, and Paul exploited the Clippers’ generosity. Going one-on-one, he created space for himself and capitalized with four baskets that proved the difference in OT.He finished with 27 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists. Forward Blake Griffin had 30 before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Connelly Jr. had 25 points and Gay 23.The series goes back to Memphis for Game 5 on Wednesday. read more

The Patriots Dynasty Just Wont Die

3Dallas1992-95431740+150.7 6Dallas1968-831621667+125.7 The Pats are (still) the NFL’s greatest modern dynastyAmong franchises with at least two Super Bowl titles, the most impressive (nonoverlapping) spans of seasons, according to Elo ratings, since 1966 3 others tied4Earl Morrall19752Earl Morrall19761 4Pittsburgh1974-79641712+139.0 13Baltimore2000-141521599+54.6 2San Francisco1984-951241706+155.1 1New England2003-181651712+170.5 Len Dawson19754Doug Flutie20035Warren Moon*20001 7Oakland/L.A. Raiders1967-851931654+115.3 14N.Y. Giants1985-90621627+54.3 There are simply no comparisons for what Brady will try to do next year. (Although, to be fair, no quarterback had won six Super Bowls before Brady, either.)And for all of the Pats’ improvement on defense in 2018, they shouldn’t count on it being quite as good next season — defenses tend to regress to the mean much more strongly than offenses between seasons. Add in what (for now) looks a like a relative lack of cap space; several important players (such as Stephen Gostkowski, Malcom Brown, Trent Brown and Trey Flowers) hitting free agency; and speculation about the possible retirement of future Hall of Fame TE Rob Gronkowski,2Which would generate some cap savings but not enough to move New England into the top half of the league in space. and the Pats haters will have plenty to occupy themselves with over the next seven months.But as Sunday proved, the Patriots usually find a way to overcome the mechanisms that are supposed to make dynasties like theirs impossible to sustain. According to futures odds that sportsbooks have already released for next season, the Pats are, at worst, slightly behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the race to win Super Bowl LIV — if not outright favorites. So although there are, as always, plenty of logical reasons to think New England’s dynasty days are numbered, and 31 fan bases hoping we’ll look back at Sunday night as one of their final moments of glory, I’ll believe it when I see it. Until then, Patriots fans should enjoy what they have: We’ve never seen something like this before and probably never will again. 8Denver1996-98321704+103.9 5Miami1972-74321739+138.5 Mean Elo is the harmonic mean of a team’s seasonal blended Elo ratings (which mix the average, final and peak Elo during the season) over the span of the seasons in question.Expected Elo is the mean Elo we’d expect for a generic Super Bowl contender (from a starting Elo of 1617) over the span of the seasons in question. Teams are ranked by how much they exceeded this expectation.Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com TeamSpanSeasonsTitlesMean Elovs. Expected 12Green Bay1995-152121619+81.7 11Green Bay1966-68321688+87.7 This Super Bowl might rank among the most satisfying for Belichick, who originally made his reputation as a football genius with defensive game plans designed to shut down high-powered offenses. A year after his defense gave up 41 points to the Philadelphia Eagles’ backup QB in Super Bowl LII, New England held the Rams — who had averaged 32.9 points per game during the regular season — to a mere 3 points Sunday. L.A. quarterback Jared Goff had nobody to throw to and faced unrelenting pressure all night, recording a ghastly 57.9 passer rating.Belichick’s defenses had tended to be surprisingly mediocre over the back half of New England’s dynasty era, garnering an average seasonal rank of 15th of out 32 teams in ESPN’s Expected Points Added metric from 2008 to 2017. (Instead, they tended to rely on Brady and the offense to carry the load.) But this year’s Patriots were different, ranking seventh in defensive EPA, which made for one of the most well-rounded Patriots teams in a while. And in a year when seemingly anybody who ever met Rams offensive prodigy Sean McVay got hired as an NFL head coach on the spot, Belichick badly outcoached the wunderkind (by McVay’s own admission), unveiling a zone-coverage concept that the Rams hadn’t seen on tape and were completely unprepared for.That defensive master plan helped paper over a mediocre passing game for Brady, who at age 41 had his worst statistical Super Bowl performance, on the heels of a regular season that — while still good — was one of his least impressive of the past decade. There are mitigating factors, of course, including a vastly diminished set of targets as compared with his Randy Moss heyday. And by now, Brady is used to people wondering if he’s about to fall off a cliff every time he has an uninspired game. But he will also be sailing into uncharted territory at age 42 next season, playing at an age when literally no QB in football history has had an effective season: Brady is headed for uncharted territoryBest seasons (by Approximate Value) for quarterbacks at ages 40, 41 and 42 (or older), 1960-2018 10Pittsburgh2004-11821656+93.9 V. Testaverde20035Brett Favre20105Steve DeBerg*19981 Age 40Age 41Ages 42+ 9Washington1982-921131653+99.1 Tom Brady201719Tom Brady201814Warren Moon19985 The 2018 NFL season will be remembered in part for its regular-season offensive explosion and the breakout performances of exciting young players such as MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs. But in the end, all of that new stuff faded away. The Patriots won, just like they have six times in the past 18 seasons, and they did it with defense, just like in the very beginning. It was yet another affirmation of a dynasty that continues to reach unprecedented levels of dominance in a sport we keep pretending is designed to produce parity. The only question now is: How much longer can Tom Brady and Bill Belichick keep doing this?Sunday’s Super Bowl win over the Los Angeles Rams was not the prettiest for New England, even if it was the team’s widest margin of victory in a Super Bowl (somehow). Brady had a 71.4 passer rating in the lowest-scoring title game on record. And yet, it counted the same in the legacy column. I recalculated the numbers from my story measuring the most difficult-to-replicate multiseason runs by any franchise, and the Patriots’ stretch from 2003 through 2018 is easily the most dominant in the NFL’s Super Bowl era.1Moving up the list to officially pass … the Pats’ own run from 2003 through 2017. S. Jurgensen19747V. Testaverde200410V. Testaverde20052 * DeBerg and Moon were 44 in 1998 and 2000, respectively.Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com PlayerYearAVPlayerYearAVPlayerYearAV Brett Favre200916Warren Moon199712Doug Flutie20042 From ABC News: read more

San Diego premiere of new HBO original comedy series Barry

first_img March 27, 2018 San Diego premiere of new HBO original comedy series ‘Barry’ KUSI Newsroom Posted: March 27, 2018 KUSI Newsroom, SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The premiere of the new HBO comedy series, “Barry,” took place Tuesday night at the Horton Grand Theatre.Co-created by Bill Hader and Alec Berg, the show follows Bill Hader, a a depressed, low-rent hitman from the Midwest.Related Link: Actor Henry Winkler previews new HBO comedy, “Barry”Lonely and dissatisfied in his life, he reluctantly travels to LA to execute a hit on an aspiring actor. Barry follows his “mark” into an acting class and ends up finding an accepting community in a group of eager hopefuls within the LA theater scene.“Barry” also stars acting legend Henry Winkler as Gene Cousineau, Barry’s acting coach.KUSI’s Mark Mathis was LIVE from the premiere with more. Categories: Local San Diego News FacebookTwitterlast_img read more