Every year around this time, I write a speech that I would give at a graduation. In the 20 years I have been doing this exercise, I have never been invited to speak at a commencement. That said, here are my words to the graduating class of 2017.

It’s graduation time, looking out at all your faces, I remember when I sat in my robe, my eyes twinkling, my future uncertain, my life ahead of me. I remember the excitement, the fear and the unbelievable pride that I reached the point in my life that I was leaving high school and moving on to the real world.

Stop it. I don’t know if I would be excited to leave the bubble and safety you’ve experienced for the last few years. I’m not sure I would want to jump into the craziness that we call a world today and I’m definitely not sure that the real world is better than the fictional safe world you are all leaving.

We live in perilous times, extremism is rampant, economies are collapsing, terrorism is around the corner no matter where in the world you are. It’s scary times and sometimes I wish I had the opportunity to return to the safety of high school, the sanctuary of my parent’s loving house and the false sense of security I felt as a teen.

I know you are all thinking, what’s he talking about? We have our futures ahead of us, we have a future! We will change the world, we will make a difference, the world will transform itself to our value system, the economy will pick up, we’ll be ok.

The truth is, you will be ok, actually more than ok. You will be the inheritors of the problems, of the train wreck that my generation has left you. You will be the torchbearers, the leaders, the only people who can make a difference.

A few years ago, John Mayer sang that he and his friends were waiting for the world to change. But why wait for someone else to do the work? Use your knowledge, pursue your passion, change the world. Criag Kilberger was only 11 years old when he saw the injustice of child labour in India. Today, his organizations affect millions of lives. Craig is not special, he’s not a superhero. He was a young man who wanted to make a difference and he did.
11 year old Marley Dias, a black sixth grader in the US noticed that her school library didn’t have any books that featured major characters that looked like her. When she complained to her mom about the problem, her mom’s answer was “what are you going to do about it?”.
Accepting the challenge, Marley started a campaign to called 1000 black girl books. The campaign was to collect 1000 books about Black girls. She far exceeded her campaign and distributed the books to three majority Black countries. She continues to collect books and her goal is to distribute them to every school library in North America.

Ambition, drive, determination, that’s all it takes. Leave the bubble you are in, take chances, follow your dreams, continue your education, build your businesses, run for office, change the world.
I will never tell you it is easy, the world is a crazy place that is only getting crazier. But if you want to make a difference, if you want to build a society that will be beneficial for your children and grandchildren, you must start now.

Don’t wait for someone to suggest or push you to do something. Take the reigns and as Nike says, just do it!
Congratulations to the class of 2017, my prayer is that your wisdom, kindness, compassion and understanding will transform this world full of hatred to one full of love. That your skills and uniqueness will create a society that breeds peace and tranquility and that you will do a better job running the world than my parents generation and mine. G-d bless you all, Congratulations!

Weak Jews Condemn Strong Jews

Although I had nothing to do with the protest at Concordia and was merely there to cover it for Montreal Jewish News, I am horrified by how many Jews and Jewish organizations have condemned the protestors.

The event was a speech by three academics who were explaining how Israel is committing ethnic cleansing on the Palestinian population. The end goal was to promote the theory that Israel is a murderous Nazi regime and the Palestinians are the new Jews.

The analogy is laughable and only 20 or so people were there, but the fact that strong Jews stood up and defended Israel should be applauded, not condemned.

As the Arabs have proven, over and over again, activism isn’t polite and is definately nit considerate of the feelings of the side being protested.

It is not that long ago that an Arab riot stopped Bibi Netanyahu from speaking on campus. Have things changed? No.

Jewish students still mostly don’t wear kippas in public at Concordia due to fear of anti Jewish attack. Earlier this year I was told to take my kippa off by a Muslim at Concordia because Concordia is a “Muslim” university.

Jews have to stop cowering and start being strong. Instead of being horrified that a hate fest was disturbed and some Israel haters were a bit inconvenienced. Instead of bending over backwards condemning and distancing themselves from these strong Jews, perhaps activism should be embraced and Jews who stand up should be praised.

I often wondered why more Jews don’t stand up for Judaism and for Israel, now I understand. Fear of public shaming from our own community.

There was no outrage about the content of the hate conference. No questioning or complaining that people were gathering at a university to condemn Israel as genocidal maniacs…Just outrage at a couple of Jews who decided to do something about it.

To me, that’s shameful.

By Howie Silbiger

In Friday’s Journal de Montreal, while ruminating on the latest Muslim violence at Concordia, a bomb threat that shut down the university for a day, columnist Lise Ravery asked why I didn’t report an incident at Concordia where I was told to take off my kippa because Concordia is a ‘Muslim university’.

At the time, I not only did not report the incident, but I also turned down fifty media requests to tell the story.

When the incident occurred, I posted the story on Facebook. The purpose of the post was to highlight that 20 years after I had last walked into the university, nothing had changed. The atmosphere and environment at Concordia still allowed for Muslims to attempt to intimidate Jews and the university, after so many years, still had done nothing to curb the problem.

When the first news report came out, I immediately got a phone call from a very nervous Rabbi Yisroel Bernath, a chaplain at the university and an email from the Dean of Students.

Bernath, whom I helped publicize his Chabad House when he first arrived in Montreal, by featuring him on various radio projects I was involved in, who then subsequently, after achieving moderate success, ignored my calls and messages, suddenly found my number and wanted to talk about the incident.

In a phone conversation he urged me to meet with the Dean of Students, promising to back me in creating a multi cultural event that would promote peace and harmony in the society.

We discussed reporting it and he supported my assertion that a report and a hunt for the individual perpetrator of the attack on me will do little to solve the global problem at Concordia. Something on a grander scale had to be done and some sort of action had to be taken by the administration of Concordia to change the culture and allow all students on campus to feel equal.

After my meeting with the Dean of Students where the Dean assured me that he would meet with Bernath and work on a program, I was sure things were headed in the right direction.

That was the last I heard from either men. Bernath got too busy fighting for his synagogue’s building  and arranging a self aggrandizing infomercial documentary for his for-profit Jewish dating site, to worry about Concordia students. The Dean of Students, seeing that there was no real push from the Jewish chaplain, let the issue die down and disappear.

Perhaps I should have reported it. At least one person would have been brought to justice and maybe the story would have played in the news a few more days calling attention to the problem.

I trusted in the Jewish leadership at the university. Big mistake. The passiveness, attitude of Bernath allowed an opportunity for positive change slip away.

Lesson learned.

Mosque Attack is Our Fault

​By Howie Silbiger

A mosque was shot up in Quebec city and multiple people were killed and injured. The attack happened the same weekend that the American President imposed a temporary hold on people travelling to the States from five terror supporting (and US hating) countries.

Is there a correlation? Can it be that suddenly homegrown haters are taking their cues from the liberal induced hysteria of the South?

While liberal Jews are falling over each other on who is going to condemn this attack first and a preliminary report by both La Journal de Quebec and TVA (Quebec’s largest TV news network) indicates that the perpetrators may be a Muslim from Morocco and a French Canadian, I sit and wonder why anyone is surprised by this.

Quebec has a history of mistreating its minorities. Whether it be restricting the use of a language, or creating a Charter of Values that discriminates against one group, Quebec has done it all.

Assuming this attack wasn’t a settling of scores within a community and was a hate crime, an attack because it was a mosque, who is to blame? Simply, we all are.

For years, we as a society, allowed our politicians to vilify burqua and Niquab wearing Muslims. We allowed our government to have commissions on reasonable accommodation, therefore creating a second class citizenship of a minority group. We allowed our government to convince us that all Muslims want to bring Sharia law to Quebec and that we are all in danger. We remained quiet while one minority group suffered discrimination. We should be ashamed.

So, after years of vilification and soft attacks from our government, why is anyone shocked that a Mosque was attacked? Frankly, I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner.

It’s up to us to change the atmosphere in Quebec and embrace the  Muslim community. They are  the fastest growing community in the province. We have to accept our differences and teach our children to be understanding of different cultures.

While it’s true that we must always be vigilant, the Jewish community has been attacked numerous times, we can’t live in fear of ‘The Others’. Doing so breeds the atmosphere that allowed for this week’s attack and that is unacceptable.

As the 21st century began, human evolution was at a turning point. Natural selection, the process by which the strongest, the smartest, the fastest, reproduced in greater numbers than the rest, a process which had once favored the noblest traits of man, now began to favor different traits. Most science fiction of the day predicted a future that was more civilized and more intelligent. But as time went on, things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. A dumbing down. How did this happen? Evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence. With no natural predators to thin the herd, it began to simply reward those who reproduced the most, and left the intelligent to become an endangered species… The years passed, mankind became stupider at a frightening rate. Some had high hopes the genetic engineering would correct this trend in evolution, but sadly the greatest minds and resources where focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections. (Narrator – Idiocracy – 2006)

We live in a politically correct obsessed hypocritical liberal world where the framers of public opinion feel that everything must be accepted and nobody should feel left out or discriminated against, unless, of course, if they disagree with the opinions of the framers. Dissenters are referred to as ‘dinosaurs’ or ‘living in a previous time’ or even ‘ancient’. People who believe in moral values based on religion or family values based on traditional family models are ridiculed and depicted as radical idiots. In effect, liberals who claim to be “progressive” are as intolerant of other opinions as the people they feign to hate.

In 1999, Dr. Laura Schlessinger referred to homosexuals on her national syndicated radio show as “biological errors”. Her argument at the time was a sound one, men and women were created to procreate, a man’s sperm inseminates a woman’s egg to create another human being. Males were biologically designed to be attracted to and have sex with females. If someone was born with an attraction to the same sex, that was contrary to biology and thus should be considered a biological error.

She clarified her opinion with the following statement on her website:

“I’m sorry, hear it one more time [to make it] perfectly clearly: If you’re gay or a lesbian, it’s a biological error that inhibits you from relating normally to the opposite sex. The fact that you are intelligent, creative and valuable is all true. The error is your inability to relate sexually intimately, in a loving way to a member of the opposite sex – it is a biological error.

People who are gay or lesbian are not to be hated or attacked. I spent most of my career supporting groups like Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays because I didn’t want families to throw out their children simply because they were gay or lesbian – they are still decent and functional human beings or maybe they’re not because that indecency goes everywhere. A bunch of guys having sex after leaving bar with each other [is] indecent. Likewise a bunch of heterosexuals leaving bars with each other and having sex with each other is indecent. I don’t care which way it flies”.

The outrage by the very powerful LBGT lobby that followed her statements got her newly syndicated television show cancelled and eventually, FTC complaints drove her radio show to satellite, where she is free to express any opinion she pleases.

As a journalist working for The Monitor Newspaper at the time, I wrote an opinion piece supporting Dr Laura’s right to express her opinion. At the time, I pointed out the hypocrisy of the liberal argument that says ‘I might hate everything you say, but I will fight until death for your right to say it.”

I supported Dr. Laura’s right to make the statements she made, arguing that if you don’t like what she’s saying, nobody forces you to listen to her show. Letters poured in calling me homophobic and worse, a charge I vehemently deny, I’m not scared of homosexuality, I personally believe sexuality should be a private thing, relegated to one’s bedroom and public broadcast of sexuality in anyway is an affront to the public.

With a strongly worded editorial by the Editor defending me, I was fired that week from the paper. The publisher felt that my opinions were too much of a liability and might offend left leaning sponsors.

This goes to prove that expressing your opinion, if it deviates from the opinion of strong lobby groups, will get you fired and relegated to the nether regions of society.

Just ask Curt Schilling, a legendary Boston Red Sox pitcher and a long-time ESPN analyst who got fired over a comment he posted on Facebook regarding the transgender debate. Schilling posted a meme of an overweight man wearing a long blond wig and revealing women’s clothing. It included the phrase: ‘Let him in! To the restroom with your daughter or else you’re a narrow minded, judgmental, unloving, racist bigot who needs to die!!!’

Schilling added his own comments, saying, ‘A man is a man no matter what they call themselves’ and ‘Now you need laws telling us differently? Pathetic.’

ESPN, owned and operated by the Disney Corporation, responded to Schiller with a statement saying “’ESPN is an inclusive company. Curt Schilling has been advised that his conduct was unacceptable and his employment with ESPN has been terminated.’

Schiller’s “unacceptable” conduct was expressing an opinion, much like Dr. Laura’s that biology defines person, not feelings.

Schiller, after being terminated, defended his post saying he was expressing his opinion and those that were criticizing him were frauds.

‘Let’s make one thing clear right upfront,’ he wrote. ‘If you get offended by ANYTHING in this post, that’s your fault, all yours.’

He added: ‘This latest brew ha ha is beyond hilarious. I didn’t post that ugly picture. I made a comment about the basic functionality of men’s and women’s restrooms, period.’

Gender segregated bathrooms in North America started in the last 19th century as a response to woman entering the workplace and needing a toilet. Most toilets in workplaces were marked for men only and with the plethora of women working, businesses were forced to add accommodations for female employees. In 1887, Massachusetts became the first state to legislate that businesses with women employees have female specific restrooms. By 1920, most of the States of the Union had passes laws regarding sex segregated bathrooms.

The Miriam Webster dictionary defines the word delusional as “a persistent false psychotic belief regarding the self or persons or objects outside the self that is maintained despite indisputable evidence to the contrary; also :  the abnormal state marked by such beliefs”

This definition directly refers to a person who is under the illusion that they are what they are not.

So, taking it to the logical conclusion, if someone claims to be the King of England, but is not a member of the Royal Family and was not coroneted as the King, that person would be deemed delusional and perhaps be hospitalized or treated for a mental illness.

But what if the man actually believed he was the King. What if in all his heart, he felt he was the King, what if he dressed like a King and spoke like a King and in every way acted like a King, would that make him a King? Would the royal family hand over the keys to Buckingham Palace and concede the Royal Jewels and riches because the man claimed convincingly to be King?

Of course the scenario is preposterous. Just because one feels like they are someone or something, doesn’t actually make them the person or thing they feel they are. If that were the case, we’d all be billionaires living along the sun drenched ocean sucking down martinis all day.

So why, if we wouldn’t accept the man who honestly believes he’s King as King, would we accept a man or a woman who claims to be the other gender as the other gender?

At what point to we look at reality and say, as Curt Schiller did, that the sex you were born into is the sex you are. Feeling that you are another sex is delusional under the definition of the word.

Just saying that got Curt Schiller fired. Physical reality has been negated over feelings and the world’s desire not to insult anyone.

This is not a new phenomenon. It is actually the fault of my parent’s generation who didn’t want their children to feel bad, so they stopped keeping score at little league sports games and gave everyone a participation trophy. There were no winners or losers in a world where everyone is equal. There was no competition, because remember “it’s not if you win or lose, it’s how you play the game”.

The simple concept of licking your wounds and accepting defeat was lost on two full generation of children (my generation continued and expanded the nobody loses philosophy) and led to a society of narcissistic individuals who don’t understand and have never felt the disappointment of losing. This phenomenon lead to the hypocrisy of liberalism.

These generations were raised with a false sense of morality that says that anybody, no matter how ridiculous their claim, must be accepted. So as a result, we see Pastafarianism, Raelism and Scientology taken as serious religious beliefs. We see every sexual perversion and deviation publicly displayed and accepted in society. When one rises to the occasion and points out the idiocy of the situation, they are marginalized, villainized, fired and threatened. Nobody’s opinion is valid if it is contrary to theirs, because they can’t be wrong and if and when they are, they surely don’t realize it and therefore can’t apologize, they’ve never been taught the skill.

But if we accept transgender at face value, they feel whatever gender they feel therefore we must accept it, do we have to accept the claims of admitted convicted pedophile and my former Editor at The Monitor, David Goldberg?

After his arrest in 2012 in which he served 90 days for possessing and viewing and purchasing child pornography, Goldberg wrote a piece in Atlantic Magazine entitled I, Pedophile.

In his piece, Goldberg argues that being a pedophile is akin to being homosexual or hetrosexual. He argued that “We don’t choose our sexual orientations. If we could, believe me, no one would choose mine.” Later in the article, he referred to pedophilia as a “cross-generational lifestyle”. He concluded his article arguing that instead of jail time, society should strive to understand and perhaps help, although it is a tough psychological problem to regulate.

Goldberg admits that his sexual attraction to children is a deviant misfire of his brain that caused his sexual perversion. He was addicted to the pornography and ashamed of it when he wasn’t watching it. He realized what he was doing was wrong but couldn’t stop himself, because he believed that he was sexually attracted to children. It was hardwired in his brain, he couldn’t control his impulses, it defined him. He was delusional.

Goldberg was lucky, after his arrest he realized he had a mental problem, a break from reality and sought professional help. It’s a long road to travel but at least he realized there was a problem and he needed help and society didn’t enable him by declaring pedophilia a legitimate sexual orientation.

The world is losing touch with reality at an alarming rate. The transgender debate happening across North America is more than just a fight over bathrooms, it is a fight over reality versus fantasy, a fight of sanity versus insanity. Unfortunately insanity is winning.

George Orwell, in his classic book 1984 wrote “There was truth and there was untruth, and if you clung to the truth even against the whole world, you were not mad.”

No truer words have ever been written.

Howie Silbiger is the host of The Howie Silbiger heard live every Sunday from 6-8pm on The Truetalk Radio Network – www.truetalkradio.com  – Email Howie at howie@truetalkradio.com

I’ll be honest, sales I hesitated writing this piece simply because I feel that Radio Shalom needs to be saved. I hesitated writing this piece because after 16 years of volunteering and putting in thousands of hours into the station, here I, and my very popular show, were unceremoniously dumped with all of Sunday night programming to “save costs”, a nonsensical reason based on the fact that my show, in fact all of Sunday programming, did not cost Radio Shalom a dime.

I didn’t want to sound bitter, I didn’t want to sound resentful, because I honestly am not, I am hurt, upset and quite disturbed, however, that my show is being used as a cost saving excuse.

I want to set the record straight.

I started the show in 2001 right after the World Trade Center attacks. I was in the middle of a stint working at The Suburban covering home based terrorism and CJAD, where I was working part-time, had just rejected another application to work in the newsroom. I was told that because I couldn’t work on Friday nights and Saturdays for religious reasons, I was useless to them.  Radio Shalom called, they were just setting up and needed some radio experience to join them, to help put them on the map.

I stepped up and started what turned into “The Howie Silbiger Show”. I interviewed community leaders, terrorists, terrorism experts and over time built an audience. When Radio Shalom went on AM in 2006, I was there, hosting the first English show heard on 1650 am and then the daily, Sunday to Thursday “Howie Silbiger Show”.

Allow me to re-iterate, I wasn’t paid for the show, it was two hours a night and I worked a 50-hour week around it. Not only was I hosting the show, I was doing all the research, technical production and call screening. It was a daunting task. Two years into it, when I asked the station for help, I was told there was no budget for anyone. Finding volunteers was virtually impossible, so I cut the show down to three nights a week.

Three nights a week went well, I had a volunteer call screener and the station provided a technician for at least one of the nights and we continued trudging on, volunteering.

Radio Shalom had a problem, though. The management lacked the finesse of dealing with volunteers. When they decided to host a fundraiser at the Olympia, volunteers were not invited (unless they paid for a ticket) and instead of using internal talent, Sonia Benezra was hired to host the event for a fee. The event would have been far more successful had the volunteers been tapped to help out, instead, the stations attitude was, they were doing us a favor by giving us airtime. Our time and contribution was valueless.

Not long after the fundraiser, I decided to drop my show to one night a week, Sundays, Radio Shalom withdrew their technician.  I increased the show to three hours and decided at the time to rebrand the show under my Truetalkradio banner, rather than Radio Shalom.

We ran for two years like that, with me using volunteers I recruited to help with the show. Then I hired Sheldon Fried, a dedicated 25-year veteran of commercial radio. Every week, I would pick up Sheldon, bring him to the station, we would do the show, go out to dinner (which I paid for) and then bring Sheldon home.

I also hosted my own archive site for the show and website (the show did not appear on Radio Shalom’s website).

So if I factor in the yearly out of pocket costs of running The Howie Silbiger Show it would look something like this:

Radio Shalom  (electricity, approximately $3 a week)

Howie  (Approximately $120 a week)

Cancelled after nearly 16 years on air at Radio Shalom, I did not receive a thank you letter or call. I did not get a chance to say goodbye to my listenership nor did I get offered another timeslot during the week.

When I approached Radio Shalom with a proposal to purchase the station, I was told straight out that I was not being taking seriously because they “know I have no money”.  A fallacy, but I digress.

Now my show is being used as a pawn to try to guilt people into donating money or investing into the station and that infuriates me. Cutting my show or all of Sunday programming has not saved Radio Shalom one penny. It costs the exact same thing to run pre-recorded music as it does to run pre-recorded programs and my live show.

All this tactic is accomplishing is banging the final nails into Radio Shalom’s coffin and further alienating the population they are trying to appeal to.

I wish them the best in whatever they are trying to achieve and unlike the Radio Shalom management, I want to thank Radio Shalom for the years of use of their station to hone my skills and develop The Howie Silbiger Show into what it became, the most popular English show on their station.

The Howie Silbiger will be launching independently online in the near future. I will post more information as it finalized.

Terror and celebration

Today is a day that I reaffirm the existence of G-d. It is a day of mixed emotions, a day that should have been a happy celebration that the injustice of Jonathan Pollard’s life sentence had finally been partially resolved. The Jewish world should be rejoicing at Pollard’s early Morning release, instead we sit shocked and shattered by the senseless killing of more Jews in Israel.

Growing up in Montreal, I never took Jewish studies with Rabbi Don at CHAT. But hearing the testimonials of some of his former students, I can’t help but think that the world was robbed of a great man and a super teacher.I didn’t know 18 year old Ezra Schwartz, but from everything I’ve read about him, he was a decent young man with a promising future, killed for the crime of being a Jew in the Jewish State.

And the world remains silent.

Just a week ago, we commemorated Remembrance Day, saluting our fallen war soldiers. During many Canadian ceremonies, the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ was read:

“Take up our quarrel with a foe, to you with failing hand we throw, the torch, let it be yours to hold it high..”

Such a Jewish concept, Tikun Olam, lighting up the world. We are the torch bearers and the jealousy of that has fuelled anti-Jewish sentiments for the better part of 3000 years.

Yet, with all the torture, abuse, murder and genocide, Jews have survived and thrived. Despite the constant danger, Jews like Ezra Scwartz still go out and do chesed work, still visit and live in the land of Israel and still follow the principles of Torah Judaism.

Last week, after a terror attack in Paris, France, the world spent days lamenting, analyzing and mourning the dead. Buildings put up the French flag colours, Facebook offered a French Flag filter for pictures, Obama gave a condolence speech, sporting events stopped for a minute of silence.

Who will remember Rabbi Don or Ezra Schwartz? How will their legacies be preserved? Will the world finally take notice now that an American was killed in Israel?

But at the end, all we hear is silence. Mr Obama, where is your statement? Where are the blue and white lighted buildings? Where are the delayed sporting events playing Hatikvah?

Unfortunately In the world view, Jewish life is cheap.

I believe we should take the light shining from the remarkable lives of Rabbi Don and Ezra Schwartz and pay it forward. Don’t let their deaths be in vain.

Do more mitzvot, be nicer, help more people and for heavens sake, enjoy life. Doing this will not only be a fitting tribute to the two murdered Jews, but will also be a message to the terrorist that they can’t win. You can kick us, kill us and spit on us, you will never break us.

Howie Silbiger is the host of The Howie Silbiger Show which airs live 6-9pm on Sunday nights on 1650 AM in Montreal or online at www.radio-shalom.ca

Dear Fans, here cialis

I write this without consulting with my team or Radio Shalom, cure they are getting this information at the same time as you. I believe that being honest and straightforward is the only way to go, rx so I will hold nothing back.

I have been toying with the idea of ending The Howie Silbiger Show. We have been on the air, in one format or another, for just about 14 years, we have produced multiple thousands of shows, over 3500 and have accomplished amazing things with the limited resources we have been working with.

From taking on the Y for opening on Shabbos to being instrumental in stopping the mergers of Herzliah and Bialik High Schools and then the wholesale abandonment of Judaism at Bialik, we have never shied away from being thourough in our research, confrontational, controversial and entertaining. We have done this, for years, with no monetary compensation, no community financial support and very little praise or recognition.

That said, my current team are dedicated professionals giving of themselves daily to help produce a great radio program.

I am eternally grateful to professionals like:

Mark David, who, despite being the editor of a major technology magazine, gives of himself and my occasional ridicule to make the show great. He’s been on the show for a good part of a decade, never complaining, never demanding, just funny, fun and unpredictable week after week.

My unbelievable producer Sheldon Fried. After a quarter of a century working as a technical producer for commercial radio, Sheldon joined me as my right hand man this year. It has been incredible working with such a dedicated professional, a sweet man and a fine human being. I am honoured that Sheldon is on my team, I am humbled in his presence.

Itai Azerrad joined the show when he was 14. Through the years he has blossomed into an amazing radio personality.

Working with these people has continuously inspired me to up my game, to put out and give the best that I can give every week on the air. I truly love the show.

But, the show can’t go on, at least not in the format, timeslot and reach it is currently in. Changes have to be made for the show to remain the best Jewish talk show in the country.

This of course leads me to my announcement.

In order for us to continue producing The Howie Silbiger Show, we need money. We have taken the show to the limit of what we can do on no budget and in order to bring it to the next level, meaning taking the show back to a daily format that can potentially be syndicated and put on Satellite Radio, we need paid staff. We need to pay Sheldon for his hard work, we need to pay a researcher/producer and of course I need to be paid too.

Now I am not much into begging for money, I believe our product speaks for itself and I know that there are fans of the show who can sponsor, advertise and help bring the show to the next level.

In the next few weeks we will be launching a kickstarter campaign. Our goal is simple, we need to raise $50,000 to cover part-time salaries and to negotiate a deal with Radio Shalom and perhaps other radio stations in other cities to air the show daily.

We are also working on starting a speaker’s bureau which will feature some interesting speakers that will speak at your events for a small fee.

We are also going to launch a major sponsorship campaign trying to attract sponsors to the show.

We will be restructuring the show to make it more informative, more local and more fun.

We, however need your support. We are willing to put the work in to make this all happen, without money it can’t.

If we fail to raise the money, then unfortunately, I will have no choice but to end The Howie Silbiger Show by the end of the summer.

So I ask you to stay tuned, we will be announcing everything as we are ready to launch each aspect of this project. I ask that you open your pockets, help out and keep us going.

If you are interested in sponsoring, advertising or helping out, please contact me directly at howie@truetalkradio.com

Thank you for listening

Howie Silbiger

The Howie Silbiger show airs Sundays at 6pm on 1650 AM in Montreal or online at www.radio-shalom.ca – Archives of past shows are available at www.truetalkradio.com


I have for the past 14 years penned a speech I would have given had I been invited to speak at a high school graduation. This year, I still haven’t had the merit to be invited, so here’s the speech I would have delivered.

So it is graduation time, there you are, all spruced up in your robes and hats, excited about leaving high school and entering the real world, excited about growing up and becoming adults. Congratulations you made it. The question is, however, will you survive?

It’s a tough world out there, lots of distractions, evil lurks seemingly around every corner and as smart as you think you are, you aren’t.  Think back to when you thought you outwitted your teacher by cheating on that paper or test, think about how proud you were that you got away with it. Then know that the teacher knew you cheated. Believe it or not teacher s are not dummies and we know the abilities of our students, sometimes better than our students.  When an essay or test is too good to be true, we know. There are many reasons why we call some students on cheating and let others get away with it, but the truth is, each and every time we see a cheat, each and every time we see copied material, it hurts. We put a lot of work into our classes, research, unit plans and when a student cheats, it means that we failed, as teachers, to instil a sense of morality in that student and in teaching them the material. Aside from hurting your education, your cheating hurts your teacher.

But enough about cheating, you are graduating, it’s all water under the bridge, isn’t it? Well ya, it is, I’m sure that in whatever college or university you go to, the lecturer or professor will also turn a blind eye, oh wait, no,  you’ll get expelled from the school. Good luck with that..

Now graduation time is the time to reflect on years past and look towards the future. I remember at my graduation, I reflected on the years of torture that I faced as I was bullied throughout high school. I reflected on the tears, on the fear and on the hiding at lunch so I could eat in peace. I was so happy to get out of that place, it was hell on earth for me, but I digress, this is your graduation, not mine.

For those of you who were tortured, beaten, bullied and abused in any way, know this, every single insult, every single punch, every single tear you shed all made you a stronger person. Each time someone degrades you, it is a reflection of their insecurities, each time someone hits you, it’s an effort for them to feel superior, to knock you down because they feel that you are above them.  Always know that you and only you can shape your future.

It doesn’t matter if a teacher told you that you wouldn’t amount to anything or that you are stupid or useless or whatever combination of destruction the educator chose to crush you with. It’s not true. I was told that I was a useless lump of talentless clay, I was in grade 8, I believed it.  For years I resigned myself to the fact that I was useless. I would work hard on school work, I made few friends and pretty much stayed to myself. But life and I believe G-d works miracles.

At the end of grade 8, my school merged with another one and we suddenly got an influx of students and teachers. One of the teachers, Mrs. Zamborsky, a frumpy old English teacher, took me under her wing, even though I wasn’t one of her students.  She believed in me. She worked as the staff adviser for the school newspaper that I was editor of, she encouraged me to start writing a column for The Suburban when the opportunity arose and she mentored me throughout the rest of high school. She was my guardian angel, she pulled me out of my slump and showed me that I could be whatever I wanted, she inspired me and most of all did it with heart. When I was in grade 10, she had a heart attack and retired from teaching, but much to my surprise, showed up at my graduation at the end of grade 11. When I saw her, my eyes lit up, I ran up to her and hugged her, she handed me a card and told me that she wouldn’t have missed my graduation for the world.  24 years later, not even knowing if she is still alive, I still have a huge place in my heart for her.

I hope when you look back at high school you find that one teacher that impacted your life in a way no other could. Embrace that memory, use the energy of it to propel forward and be the best that you can be.

Don’t let bullies and negativity get you down, work hard, play hard, live your life on your terms, you only have one chance at it, enjoy it, because it goes by fast. Don’t procrastinate, do what you got to do, make yourself and your life amazing.

Remember, success isn’t measured in dollars and cents, it’s measured in quality of life. Spend time with your family, love your children, treat your spouse like royalty and even if you are poor and have no idea where your next meal is coming from, you will be the most successful person in the world.

Thank you for listening, good luck and congratulations!

By Howie Silbiger

When I was a child, salve my friends used to be afraid of many things. Darkness would bring monsters, boogie men and strange creatures that would attack them in the night. They used to insist that their parents keep a light on, the door open or in some extreme cases, sit with them until they fell asleep. It was childish, ridiculous and cute.

I was a bit more pragmatic. I wasn’t sure if these boogie men and monsters existed, but just in case, I put a small plastic baseball bat near my bed. If any monster was going to visit me, I was going to bop it on the nose. In my childish mind, this solved the problem and I slept well at night.

Today, I’m the same pragmatist. I don’t believe in the imminent dangers of the world’s boogie man. I don’t believe radical Islam is hiding behind every street corner and in every dark alley there is a bearded turbaned man waiting to cut my head off. To live like that would be horrific.

The truth is that the media blows things way out of proportion, it sells advertising. So a singular attack in France that kills four people becomes world-wide news with wall to wall coverage on major networks.

Terrorists have won. We have changed our lives, our way of living and our way of thinking. That is why, it came as a great surprise to me, that some Jews in Montreal decided to create a chapter of the radically violent Jewish Defence League.

When I heard that the JDL was planning on setting up shop in Montreal, I immediately spoke out against it. The past few weeks have felt like I’ve returned to my childhood.

I didn’t oppose the JDL because I had any problems with Jews defending Jews, by gosh, my whole life has been devoted to the notion that Jews must stand up, be tough and fight against any imminent threat, even if it requires a physical response. I don’t shy away from violence, when violence is appropriate and I fully respect those brave souls who put their lives and physical being in jeopardy to stand in defense of Jews.

My issue with the Jewish Defense League stems from a deeper understanding of their philosophy. I’ve had extensive talks with former members of the JDL. I was friends with Irv Rubin, the late long time chairman of the group. We had long conversations about the philosophy of the group and I hosted plenty of radio shows (Irv was a former Montrealer and visited family in the city occasionally) where Irv would come on to comment about one thing or another. It is possible that my show was the last show (or nearly last) that Irv appeared on as he was arrested just a few weeks after a visit to Montreal and died in prison just months later.

While the JDL’s cause, in the 60s, was noble, the JDL today is a pale shade of what it once was. Rabbi Meir Kahane’s philosophy of using a “Jewish brain with a Jewish fist” was pushed to the wayside as the leadership of the group realized that once their mission of getting the Soviet Jewish agenda to the front of the Jewish agenda had disappeared, there wasn’t much left for them to do. So smart violence suddenly became violence for the sake of publicity.

Irv would appear on various talk shows and start physical fights with Jew haters. A simple Youtube search will show Irv on the Wally George Show attacking former KKK Grand Wizard Tom Metzger or on Jerry Springer attacking neo Nazis and KKK members or even on Geraldo Rivera’s show brawling with Jew haters. These tactics may have brought the JDL back to the national trailer trash forefront, may have gotten articles written about them, but surely they cheapened the message that Jews are tough and not to be messed with.

But to understand the JDL, we have to understand their history. The group was formed to fight for the release of Soviet Jews. In the late 1960s and early 70s they would attack Soviet performers and diplomats in New York City with their battle cry ‘Never Again!’ . They would demand the release of Soviet Jews after every attack, during every arrest and were so successful in driving the Soviets crazy that in 1970, the Soviet Government newspaper Izvestia protested the repeated attacks and demanded better US protection. JDL founder Rabbi Meir Kahane admitted in the 1980s that the JDL was responsible for bombing the Russian cultural mission and the Soviet trade offices in Washington in the 1970s.

In 1972, Jerome Zeller, an American JDL member was indicted on charges of planting a bomb at impresario Saul Hurok’s Manhattan office. Hurkok was one of the many New York Jews that were bringing in Russian performers in a effort to ease the tension of the Cold War. Hurkok’s Jewish secretary, Iris Kones, 27, was killed and Hurkok and 12 others were wounded in the attack.

Zeller ran to Israel, who at the time did not extradite Jews to stand trial in other countries. He served in the Yom Kippur War and then disappeared into the Settler’s movement of the 1980s.

In October 1985, Alex Odeah, 37, the regional director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Santa Ana California, appeared on ABC’s Nightline and called Yasser Arafat a “man of peace”. The next day a letter bomb exploded in his office killing him and his secretary. The Jewish Defense League issued a statement praising the bombing but denied they were involved.

The FBI narrowed down suspects to JDL members Robert and Rochelle Manning. The Mannings were also suspected of planting a house bomb that killed suspected Nazi war criminal Tscherim Soobzokov in New Jersey, the thwarted bombing of the Boston American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee offices, where two policemen were severely injured, the bombing of suspected Nazi Elmars Sprogis’ house in Long Island where an innocent pedestrian lost a leg and a fire at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee office in Washington DC, which was labelled arson.

Robert and Rochelle Manning lived in freedom in Israel until 1991, when the Israeli Government, bowing to American pressure, agreed to extradite them. Robert Manning was extradited to the States and stood trial for the letter bomb murder of secretary Patricia Wilkerson. He was found guilty in 1993 of complicity in the Wilkerson murder. He was sentenced to life in prison.

In 1994, Rochelle Manning died of a heart attack in Israeli prison while she awaited extradition.

When I pointed this out to Jewish Montrealers who welcomed the JDL to town, I was told it was ‘ancient history’. Then I pointed out that in December 2001 the late Earl Krugel pleaded guilty to, along with the late JDL Chairman Irv Rubin, plotting to bomb the office of Congressman Darrell Issa in Los Angeles. Both men were arrested, both men died in prison.

In 1994, all Kahane groups including the JDL were banned in Israel. The United States has, in the past, listed the JDL as a ‘terrorist organization’ and the FBI considers it a ‘former terrorist organization’. In Canada, the JDL is legal.

So that said, is the Canadian JDL any different than the American mother group? It is a question that remains to be seen. In Toronto, the JDL claims to cooperate with the police and work in conjunction will law enforcement.

Yet in 2011, at least nine members of the Canadian branch of the JDL were investigated by the RCMP for an alleged plot to blow up the Palestine House in Mississauga Ontario. Canadian JDL head Meir Weinstein confirmed that members of his group were under RCMP investigation, but denied JDL involvement. No charges were laid.

If the 100 or so Jews that showed up at the JDL meeting on Monday night were hoping for salvation, they may have opened the door to a vipers den that will be extremely hard to close.

I don’t believe the JDL is needed in Montreal. I don’t believe Montreal has the problems that other major metropolises have and I don’t believe we are headed in that direction.

Expressing that opinion early this week got me called mentally ill, and that may be true, if you define mental illness as ‘a pragmatic look at the pros and cons of engaging a historically radical, one time terrorist group, to ensure the security of our community’.

I have no ill wishes for the JDL and will welcome them with open arms if the situation in Montreal ever warrants it. But for now, I wish they would stay in Toronto and do what they do best, over there.