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Boy and girl with Zionist flag. New Year card send from Montreal, Canada, in 1910
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Boy and girl with Zionist flag. New Year card send from Montreal, Canada, in 1910

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Boy and girl with the Zionist flag. New Year card sent to Glasgow, Scotland, from Montreal, Canada, in 1910
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, courtesy of Hayim Shtayer, Haifa)

Photo period:
1910
Photo period:
1910
Photo period:
1910
ID Number:
258084
Image Purchase: For more details about image purchasing Click here, make sure you have the photo ID number (as appear above)
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Montreal

Montreal, second largest city in Canada, in the province of Quebec. The population of the Jewish community in metropolitan Montreal, the oldest and largest in Canada, was estimated at 121,000 in 1970 out of an approximate total of 2.4 million.

Jews first went to Montreal in 1760 as officers with the British army under General Amherst, and after the surrender of the city to the British on Sept. 8, 1760, several Jews settled in Montreal as merchants, fur traders, exporters, and importers. The earliest Jewish settlers in Montreal had previously lived in New York, in which the only synagogue was the Shearith Israel congregation, which followed the Sephardi minhag. In December 1768, when there were sufficient permanent Jewish residents in Montreal, they formed a congregation which adopted the same name and followed the same Sephardi minhag as the synagogue they had attended in New York. The congregation did not receive legal and official government recognition until 1831. The first minister of the Shearith Israel congregation was the Rev. Jacob Raphael Cohen. From 1847-1882 the Rev. Abraham de Sola, grandson of rabbi Raphael Meldola, the haham of the Sephardi congregation in London, served as a spiritual leader to the Montreal Spanish and Portuguese congregation. He was appointed professor of Hebrew and oriental literature at McGill University soon after his arrival in Montreal, was for many years president of the natural history society of Montreal, was a prolific writer on Jewish religious and historical subjects, and was the first Jew awarded an honorary LLd. by McGill University (in 1858). It was not until 1858 that Jews who preferred the Ashkenazi minhag, most of whom had previously been members of the Spanish and Portuguese congregations, were able to purchase a lot and erect a synagogue called the German and polish synagogue. This was subsequently renamed the Shaar HaShomayim synagogue, and was the first Ashkenazi Orthodox synagogue erected in Canada.
The number of Jewish congregations in metropolitan Montreal increased rapidly until 1946, and there were 40 synagogues in 1970, of which 33 were Orthodox, three were conservative, three were reform, and one was Reconstructionist.

In accordance with the British North America Act of 1867 there were in Quebec only two types of tax-supported public schools, one Roman Catholic and the other Protestant. All school taxes paid by Jewish property owners went to the Protestant school board, and in return Jewish children had the right to attend the schools of the Protestant school board of greater Montreal, and were exempted from Christian religious instruction upon request of their parents. From 1903 on, attempts were made by the Montreal Jewish community at various times to obtain changes in legislation which would establish a secular nondenominational system of public schools or tax-supported Jewish schools parallel with and with powers equal to the existing roman catholic and protestant public schools, but without success. After protracted negotiations, five Jews were appointed by the Quebec provincial government to the Protestant school board of greater Montreal in 1968 from a list recommended by the Canadian Jewish Congress. The Protestant board agreed to accept as "associate schools" those Jewish voluntary elementary and high schools which had the same pedagogical standards and regulations pertaining to training of teaching staff, curriculum, and salaries, and to pay an annual grant of 350 dollars per Jewish pupil attending nine of these approved "associate" Jewish day schools, leaving Hebrew studies and religious instruction to be financed by the associate Jewish day schools themselves. In 1969 there were about 5,000 children attending the Jewish day schools in Montreal which were approved "associate schools" receiving the aforementioned per capita grant, and the Jewish children attending the Protestant elementary and high schools in 1969 numbered 17,000.

Jews formed the third largest ethnic group in metropolitan Montreal during the period from 1901 to 1961, exceeded only by the population of French origin with 64.2% and those of Anglo-Celtic origin with 17.9%. Thirty-four percent of the total Jewish population of Canada lived in Montreal. By 1961 this percentage had increased to 40.4. In 1961 there were 72 cities, towns, and villages in what is known as the suburban metropolitan Montreal census area, and Jews were resident in 64 of them. There were seven suburban cities and towns within the metropolitan Montreal area each with a Jewish population exceeding 1,000. Those residential suburbs with their Jewish population in 1961 were Outremont (9,033), Cote St. Rue (8,307), St. Laurent (7,696), Chomedy (3,493), Mount Royal (2,617), Westmount (2,222), and Hampstead (1,560).

The majority of the total Jewish population in metropolitan Montreal in 1961 was Canadian-born (56.9%), while 11.7% were born in Poland; 10.0% in Russia; 4.4% in Romania; 3.6% in Hungary; 2.3% in the United States; 1.6% in the United Kingdom; 4.4% in other European countries; and 5.1% in all other countries. 53.8% of the total Jewish population of metropolitan Montreal in 1961 reported English as their mother tongue and 30.2% reported Yiddish as their mother tongue; while 97.2% could speak English and French. Jews engaged in commerce formed 30% of the total Jewish labor force in metropolitan Montreal in 1961, followed by 22% in industry, 16% in clerical occupations, 13% in the professions, 12% in service occupations, 2% in transport and communications, 1% in construction, and 1% in unskilled labor.

In 1970 the national headquarters of almost all Jewish communal organizations in Canada were situated in that city. The Young Men's Hebrew Benevolent Society founded in Montreal in 1863 was the first Jewish social welfare organization in Canada. Its object was to assist the increasing stream of Jewish immigrants fleeing from discrimination and persecution in Eastern Europe. It changed its name to the Baron de Hirsch Institute in 1900 in recognition of the munificent grants made to it by Baroness Clara de Hirsch. As the Jewish population of Montreal increased, the Montreal Jewish community became more self-supporting and fund-raising campaigns multiplied; and in 1916 the Baron de Hirsch Institute, the Mount Sinai sanatorium, the Herzl dispensary, and the Jewish home for the aged combined to form the federation of Jewish community services. During the period from 1916 to 1965 the number of Jewish social welfare and health agencies continued to multiply rapidly and the need for larger
Funds necessary to maintain them brought about the organization of a combined Jewish appeal campaign in 1941, which in 1951 joined with the United Israel Appeal to conduct one annual fund-raising campaign. In 1965 the need for still greater coordination, planning, fund-raising, and cooperative action in Jewish community affairs brought about the reorganization of the Montreal federation of Jewish community services and the combined Jewish appeal into a new all-embracing body named the allied Jewish community services of Montreal.

Members of the Jewish community in Montreal have been prominent in the political, musical, literary, and artistic life of Canada during the past century. Lazarus Phillips, a prominent Jewish lawyer active in Jewish communal life, was appointed a member of the Canadian senate in 1969. In 1970 Victor Goldbloom, who was reelected as a member of the Quebec provincial legislature, became the first Jew to hold the position of a cabinet minister in the Quebec provincial government.

The Jews of Montreal make up the second-largest Jewish community in Canada. The community is one of the oldest and most populous in the country, about 23% of the total population. In 2011, the Jewish population of Montreal was approximately 91,000, with over 40,000 Jewish households. Jews comprise 2.4% of the city's total population. The community is composed of several different Jewish groups that settled in Canada at different time periods and under varied circumstances.

The most recent waves of immigration have included Jews from the former Soviet Union (some via Israel), France, Argentina, and small numbers of Ethiopian Jews from Israel.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Jewish community of Montreal had established numerous organizations. Many of these organizations were in the areas of social welfare, health care, education and culture while others were established specifically to fund various community activities. In 1965, a federation was established to better organize community planning and fundraising. Originally, this federation was known as Allied Jewish Community Services but was renamed to Federation CJA in the 1990s.

The Federation supports several organizations throughout the city of Montreal. Due to their extensive support of Israel and local allocation for social services and educational programs, the Jewish community of Montreal is considered one of the most generous communities per capita in all of North America. Other notable Jewish organizations include The Jewish Community Foundation, the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal, Canadian Council of Israel, B'nai B'rith Canada, The Canadian Jewish Congress, and the Jewish Immigrant Aid Services.

Religious life among the Jews of Montreal is quite diverse. While Orthodox congregations make up the overwhelming majority of the city's synagogues, there are also Reform, Reconstructionist and numerous Conservative congregations. Even within the Orthodox movement is a wide spectrum of communities, including several Hasidic sects, Modern Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox and Sephardi. Orthodox Judaism has historically been very strong in Montreal. Since the early 21st century, Chabad Lubavitch has established a significant presence in the areas of Côte des Neiges and Hampstead.

The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, also known as Shearith Israel is Montreal's oldest synagogue. It is also the oldest congregation in Canada. Formally established in 1768, its original building, designed in a Judeo-Egyptian style, was the first non-Catholic place of worship in the entire province of Québec. It remained the only place of Jewish worship in Montreal until 1846.

Beginning in the 19th century, most Jewish families opted to send their children to private Jewish day schools. Whether due to segregation or the confessional nature of Montreal's public schools, the Jewish community established a number of schools of their own. As of 2015, there were about 13 private Jewish schools in Montreal. More than half of Jewish school age children are enrolled in private Jewish schools. Approximately half of the Jewish students who complete Jewish elementary school continue to Jewish high school. Jewish education in Montreal is quite varied. There are many private schools affiliated with a wide range of Jewish movements and communities, including Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox, Hasidic, Conservative, Yiddishist, and Sephardi.

There are additionally several youth movements and organizations, and a well-established network of camps, after-school activities and educational programs.

The city's major Jewish cultural centers include the Museum of Jewish Montreal (founded in 2010), the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, the Jewish Public Library, the Miles Nada Jewish Community Centre, and the YM-YWHA Jewish Community Centres of Montreal: The Ben Weider JCC and Y Country Camp. There are also more than 25 different Chabad centers throughout Greater Montreal.

The area with the largest Jewish population in Montreal is Cote St. Luc (19,395), where Jews comprise nearly 63% of the overall population. Cote St. Luc also boasts the largest population of Sephardim in Montreal (5,580). Large contingents of Sephardi Jews also live in Ville St. Laurent (3,365) and the West Island (2,205).

The second-largest population is in the West Island, with 12,055 Jewish residents. The affluent suburb of Hampstead has the highest density of Jews than any other area, approximately 75% of its total populace. Other areas with sizeable Jewish populations include St. Laurent, Snowdon and Côte des Neiges.

Montreal is also home to a number of Haredi enclaves. In Outremont are the three Hasidic dynasties of Belz, Satmar and Skver; in Côte des Neiges is a sizeable Lubavitch community; and in the suburb of Boisbrand are the Tash, a group originating in Hungary.

Nearly one third of Montreal's Jewish population was born outside Canada. The largest waves of immigration have been from North Africa and Eastern Europe, including the former Soviet Union.

In addition to the Holocaust Memorial, Jewish Museum and the Jewish Public Library, the most significant Jewish landmarks and points of interest can be found in the historic Jewish quarter. Located on St. Laurent Boulevard, or Main Street, this historic neighborhood was once home to a number of synagogues and Jewish businesses. By 1871, a Jewish enclave of 400 people had formed and Yiddish was the common language. Other main streets include Clark Street, Park Avenue, Saint Urbain Street and Esplanade Street.

Serving both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities of Montreal are various hospitals and health care facilities that had been established by Jews. The most notable are hospitals, Mount Sinai and the Jewish General Hospital. The latter provides general and specialized care and was partially founded by Jewish philanthropist Allan Bronfman. Ground broke on the hospital in 1931 and in 1933 it was officially named the Jewish General Hospital. The first patient was admitted the following year. Other Jewish health care services include Donald Berman Maimonides (geriatric care) and the Miriam Home, a rehabilitation center that provides residential services for children and adults with disabilities.

Circulating throughout Montreal are the city's very own Jewish publications. The largest and most well-known is "Montreal Jewish Magazine". A premium source for all things Jewish, this widely distributed publication has a readership of more than 90,000. Montreal Jewish Magazine includes a wide variety of articles and editorials about community events, local activities and international news.

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Boy and girl with Zionist flag. New Year card send from Montreal, Canada, in 1910
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Boy and girl with Zionist flag. New Year card send from Montreal, Canada, in 1910

Boy and girl with the Zionist flag. New Year card sent to Glasgow, Scotland, from Montreal, Canada, in 1910
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, courtesy of Hayim Shtayer, Haifa)

Image Purchase: For more details about image purchasing Click here, make sure you have the photo ID number (as appear above)

Montreal

Montreal

Montreal, second largest city in Canada, in the province of Quebec. The population of the Jewish community in metropolitan Montreal, the oldest and largest in Canada, was estimated at 121,000 in 1970 out of an approximate total of 2.4 million.

Jews first went to Montreal in 1760 as officers with the British army under General Amherst, and after the surrender of the city to the British on Sept. 8, 1760, several Jews settled in Montreal as merchants, fur traders, exporters, and importers. The earliest Jewish settlers in Montreal had previously lived in New York, in which the only synagogue was the Shearith Israel congregation, which followed the Sephardi minhag. In December 1768, when there were sufficient permanent Jewish residents in Montreal, they formed a congregation which adopted the same name and followed the same Sephardi minhag as the synagogue they had attended in New York. The congregation did not receive legal and official government recognition until 1831. The first minister of the Shearith Israel congregation was the Rev. Jacob Raphael Cohen. From 1847-1882 the Rev. Abraham de Sola, grandson of rabbi Raphael Meldola, the haham of the Sephardi congregation in London, served as a spiritual leader to the Montreal Spanish and Portuguese congregation. He was appointed professor of Hebrew and oriental literature at McGill University soon after his arrival in Montreal, was for many years president of the natural history society of Montreal, was a prolific writer on Jewish religious and historical subjects, and was the first Jew awarded an honorary LLd. by McGill University (in 1858). It was not until 1858 that Jews who preferred the Ashkenazi minhag, most of whom had previously been members of the Spanish and Portuguese congregations, were able to purchase a lot and erect a synagogue called the German and polish synagogue. This was subsequently renamed the Shaar HaShomayim synagogue, and was the first Ashkenazi Orthodox synagogue erected in Canada.
The number of Jewish congregations in metropolitan Montreal increased rapidly until 1946, and there were 40 synagogues in 1970, of which 33 were Orthodox, three were conservative, three were reform, and one was Reconstructionist.

In accordance with the British North America Act of 1867 there were in Quebec only two types of tax-supported public schools, one Roman Catholic and the other Protestant. All school taxes paid by Jewish property owners went to the Protestant school board, and in return Jewish children had the right to attend the schools of the Protestant school board of greater Montreal, and were exempted from Christian religious instruction upon request of their parents. From 1903 on, attempts were made by the Montreal Jewish community at various times to obtain changes in legislation which would establish a secular nondenominational system of public schools or tax-supported Jewish schools parallel with and with powers equal to the existing roman catholic and protestant public schools, but without success. After protracted negotiations, five Jews were appointed by the Quebec provincial government to the Protestant school board of greater Montreal in 1968 from a list recommended by the Canadian Jewish Congress. The Protestant board agreed to accept as "associate schools" those Jewish voluntary elementary and high schools which had the same pedagogical standards and regulations pertaining to training of teaching staff, curriculum, and salaries, and to pay an annual grant of 350 dollars per Jewish pupil attending nine of these approved "associate" Jewish day schools, leaving Hebrew studies and religious instruction to be financed by the associate Jewish day schools themselves. In 1969 there were about 5,000 children attending the Jewish day schools in Montreal which were approved "associate schools" receiving the aforementioned per capita grant, and the Jewish children attending the Protestant elementary and high schools in 1969 numbered 17,000.

Jews formed the third largest ethnic group in metropolitan Montreal during the period from 1901 to 1961, exceeded only by the population of French origin with 64.2% and those of Anglo-Celtic origin with 17.9%. Thirty-four percent of the total Jewish population of Canada lived in Montreal. By 1961 this percentage had increased to 40.4. In 1961 there were 72 cities, towns, and villages in what is known as the suburban metropolitan Montreal census area, and Jews were resident in 64 of them. There were seven suburban cities and towns within the metropolitan Montreal area each with a Jewish population exceeding 1,000. Those residential suburbs with their Jewish population in 1961 were Outremont (9,033), Cote St. Rue (8,307), St. Laurent (7,696), Chomedy (3,493), Mount Royal (2,617), Westmount (2,222), and Hampstead (1,560).

The majority of the total Jewish population in metropolitan Montreal in 1961 was Canadian-born (56.9%), while 11.7% were born in Poland; 10.0% in Russia; 4.4% in Romania; 3.6% in Hungary; 2.3% in the United States; 1.6% in the United Kingdom; 4.4% in other European countries; and 5.1% in all other countries. 53.8% of the total Jewish population of metropolitan Montreal in 1961 reported English as their mother tongue and 30.2% reported Yiddish as their mother tongue; while 97.2% could speak English and French. Jews engaged in commerce formed 30% of the total Jewish labor force in metropolitan Montreal in 1961, followed by 22% in industry, 16% in clerical occupations, 13% in the professions, 12% in service occupations, 2% in transport and communications, 1% in construction, and 1% in unskilled labor.

In 1970 the national headquarters of almost all Jewish communal organizations in Canada were situated in that city. The Young Men's Hebrew Benevolent Society founded in Montreal in 1863 was the first Jewish social welfare organization in Canada. Its object was to assist the increasing stream of Jewish immigrants fleeing from discrimination and persecution in Eastern Europe. It changed its name to the Baron de Hirsch Institute in 1900 in recognition of the munificent grants made to it by Baroness Clara de Hirsch. As the Jewish population of Montreal increased, the Montreal Jewish community became more self-supporting and fund-raising campaigns multiplied; and in 1916 the Baron de Hirsch Institute, the Mount Sinai sanatorium, the Herzl dispensary, and the Jewish home for the aged combined to form the federation of Jewish community services. During the period from 1916 to 1965 the number of Jewish social welfare and health agencies continued to multiply rapidly and the need for larger
Funds necessary to maintain them brought about the organization of a combined Jewish appeal campaign in 1941, which in 1951 joined with the United Israel Appeal to conduct one annual fund-raising campaign. In 1965 the need for still greater coordination, planning, fund-raising, and cooperative action in Jewish community affairs brought about the reorganization of the Montreal federation of Jewish community services and the combined Jewish appeal into a new all-embracing body named the allied Jewish community services of Montreal.

Members of the Jewish community in Montreal have been prominent in the political, musical, literary, and artistic life of Canada during the past century. Lazarus Phillips, a prominent Jewish lawyer active in Jewish communal life, was appointed a member of the Canadian senate in 1969. In 1970 Victor Goldbloom, who was reelected as a member of the Quebec provincial legislature, became the first Jew to hold the position of a cabinet minister in the Quebec provincial government.

The Jews of Montreal make up the second-largest Jewish community in Canada. The community is one of the oldest and most populous in the country, about 23% of the total population. In 2011, the Jewish population of Montreal was approximately 91,000, with over 40,000 Jewish households. Jews comprise 2.4% of the city's total population. The community is composed of several different Jewish groups that settled in Canada at different time periods and under varied circumstances.

The most recent waves of immigration have included Jews from the former Soviet Union (some via Israel), France, Argentina, and small numbers of Ethiopian Jews from Israel.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the Jewish community of Montreal had established numerous organizations. Many of these organizations were in the areas of social welfare, health care, education and culture while others were established specifically to fund various community activities. In 1965, a federation was established to better organize community planning and fundraising. Originally, this federation was known as Allied Jewish Community Services but was renamed to Federation CJA in the 1990s.

The Federation supports several organizations throughout the city of Montreal. Due to their extensive support of Israel and local allocation for social services and educational programs, the Jewish community of Montreal is considered one of the most generous communities per capita in all of North America. Other notable Jewish organizations include The Jewish Community Foundation, the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal, Canadian Council of Israel, B'nai B'rith Canada, The Canadian Jewish Congress, and the Jewish Immigrant Aid Services.

Religious life among the Jews of Montreal is quite diverse. While Orthodox congregations make up the overwhelming majority of the city's synagogues, there are also Reform, Reconstructionist and numerous Conservative congregations. Even within the Orthodox movement is a wide spectrum of communities, including several Hasidic sects, Modern Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox and Sephardi. Orthodox Judaism has historically been very strong in Montreal. Since the early 21st century, Chabad Lubavitch has established a significant presence in the areas of Côte des Neiges and Hampstead.

The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, also known as Shearith Israel is Montreal's oldest synagogue. It is also the oldest congregation in Canada. Formally established in 1768, its original building, designed in a Judeo-Egyptian style, was the first non-Catholic place of worship in the entire province of Québec. It remained the only place of Jewish worship in Montreal until 1846.

Beginning in the 19th century, most Jewish families opted to send their children to private Jewish day schools. Whether due to segregation or the confessional nature of Montreal's public schools, the Jewish community established a number of schools of their own. As of 2015, there were about 13 private Jewish schools in Montreal. More than half of Jewish school age children are enrolled in private Jewish schools. Approximately half of the Jewish students who complete Jewish elementary school continue to Jewish high school. Jewish education in Montreal is quite varied. There are many private schools affiliated with a wide range of Jewish movements and communities, including Orthodox, ultra-Orthodox, Hasidic, Conservative, Yiddishist, and Sephardi.

There are additionally several youth movements and organizations, and a well-established network of camps, after-school activities and educational programs.

The city's major Jewish cultural centers include the Museum of Jewish Montreal (founded in 2010), the Montreal Holocaust Memorial Centre, the Jewish Public Library, the Miles Nada Jewish Community Centre, and the YM-YWHA Jewish Community Centres of Montreal: The Ben Weider JCC and Y Country Camp. There are also more than 25 different Chabad centers throughout Greater Montreal.

The area with the largest Jewish population in Montreal is Cote St. Luc (19,395), where Jews comprise nearly 63% of the overall population. Cote St. Luc also boasts the largest population of Sephardim in Montreal (5,580). Large contingents of Sephardi Jews also live in Ville St. Laurent (3,365) and the West Island (2,205).

The second-largest population is in the West Island, with 12,055 Jewish residents. The affluent suburb of Hampstead has the highest density of Jews than any other area, approximately 75% of its total populace. Other areas with sizeable Jewish populations include St. Laurent, Snowdon and Côte des Neiges.

Montreal is also home to a number of Haredi enclaves. In Outremont are the three Hasidic dynasties of Belz, Satmar and Skver; in Côte des Neiges is a sizeable Lubavitch community; and in the suburb of Boisbrand are the Tash, a group originating in Hungary.

Nearly one third of Montreal's Jewish population was born outside Canada. The largest waves of immigration have been from North Africa and Eastern Europe, including the former Soviet Union.

In addition to the Holocaust Memorial, Jewish Museum and the Jewish Public Library, the most significant Jewish landmarks and points of interest can be found in the historic Jewish quarter. Located on St. Laurent Boulevard, or Main Street, this historic neighborhood was once home to a number of synagogues and Jewish businesses. By 1871, a Jewish enclave of 400 people had formed and Yiddish was the common language. Other main streets include Clark Street, Park Avenue, Saint Urbain Street and Esplanade Street.

Serving both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities of Montreal are various hospitals and health care facilities that had been established by Jews. The most notable are hospitals, Mount Sinai and the Jewish General Hospital. The latter provides general and specialized care and was partially founded by Jewish philanthropist Allan Bronfman. Ground broke on the hospital in 1931 and in 1933 it was officially named the Jewish General Hospital. The first patient was admitted the following year. Other Jewish health care services include Donald Berman Maimonides (geriatric care) and the Miriam Home, a rehabilitation center that provides residential services for children and adults with disabilities.

Circulating throughout Montreal are the city's very own Jewish publications. The largest and most well-known is "Montreal Jewish Magazine". A premium source for all things Jewish, this widely distributed publication has a readership of more than 90,000. Montreal Jewish Magazine includes a wide variety of articles and editorials about community events, local activities and international news.