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Located in the city of Laval, just a short drive from Montreal, is our Pythian Cemetery. The Association invites Jewish members of the Knights Of Pythias of Quebec that are in good standing to join our cemetery association, and to reserve a single or double plot. The fees are extremely reasonable. The Cemetery is run according to strict Orthodox Jewish laws and is recognized as such by the Orthodox Jewish Rabbinate of Montreal.

Pythian Memorial Day
September 27, 2015

Every year, around the Yom Toviem, we  have the honour of welcoming members to our Memorial Service.  Family and friends have the time to visit the graves of their loved one.  Our Cemetery Secretary had the opportunity to speak to those assembled.  Below is a copy of his welcoming speech.

Dear Friends:  We are gathered here this morning for a special memorial service to remember our loved ones, and to say hello to our departed family and friends.  We know that anyone who is lovingly remembered has never really left us as they will always remain dear to us in our hearts and minds.  When physical life ends, only the body dies, but the soul ascends to the realm of the spirit where it attains higher levels of purity and holiness.

It is said by our sages that when ever some one observes the Mitzvah of visiting the grave of a loved one, the soul of the departed person will soar up in the heavens.  Performing the deed of visiting our departed loved one is considered to have special virtue.  It helps us to remember the people who gave us life, or whom we have shared our lives and inspire us to perform good actions.  Moreover, Jewish mystics believe that visiting the graves of dead relatives encourages them to intercede with God on our behalf.

This cemetery represents the history of the Knights of Pythias, as it is the final resting place of so many great and dedicated Pythians.  These people helped build our Pythian Order and make it what it is today.  As well, many of these dear departed worked so hard to develop this cemetery association into the first class organization that it is today.

Many Pythians that we remember today at this ceremony should be an example for all of us to follow, as we continue to work for our Pythian Order and the Jewish Community of Montreal.  I want to thank our president Sir James Indig, vice President Michael Berman; our Grand Chancellor Donald Lieberman, members at large Marvin Goodman, Gerald Gould and Calvin Finkelstein.  At this time I would like to remember the late Cecil Labow, the late Ivor Schwartz and Harry Shucker who have worked hard and have given great dedication and devotion to this cemetery transforming this land into a highly respectable Jewish final resting place.

There is a connection between the Knights of Pythias and our Jewish religion.  Our Pythian motto, our code of conduct, of Friendship, Charity and Benevolence, what does this mean in our Jewish religion and culture?

In the Torah we find the commandment "Love your fellow being as you would love yourself."  Most of the Old Testament words for "friend", "friendship" or "be friendly" comes from two Hebrew roots meaning "one who loves G-d”  is commanding us to be friendly, to show friendship to our fellow men, just as it is in our Pythian Motto of Friendship, Charity and Benevolence.  Thus, by definition, just being a member of the Knights of Pythias indicates and characterizes the Pythian as a very special human being, who truly cares about the needs and concerns of others.

In so many ways the many Biblical stories of friendship remind us of the love and friendship of Damien and Pythias.

Charity is so much a part of our Jewish faith.  In the period of our Holiest Day, we are reminded of three important duties for Jews to perform, Tefilia, (prayer) Tsuvah (Repentance) and Tzavah (Charity).  Again, by following the motto of the Pythian Order, we obey and follow the cornerstone of our Jewish religion.

A great deal of the money we raise for our Pythian Appeal goes to Montreal, Jewish or Israeli Charities, the evenings many of us spend with the sick, the elderly, our war heroes, the injured, and the poor, all in the name of Pythian charities, fulfill greatly the commandments of Tzavah.  The volunteering of our time, energy and skills all go to make our community a better place to live in.

To memorialize the lives of such dedicated and devoted Pythians members, is a great honour and mitzvah, especially now that we ushered in the New Year of 5776 of the Hebrew calendar.  In honour of these precious holy souls who have left our world, to reap the heavenly reward, we beseech the All Mighty to indeed bless each and every one of us and our families and friends with a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.  May we all merit the coming of the Messiah when the Good L-rd will bring true peace and brother hood and understanding.  Amen.

At this time I would like to make a special presentation to a very special and dear Pythian Brother.

The late Brother Eddie Kasner was a Brother who a a true Pythian.  He was a kind, decent, charitable man who always looked forward to our meetings, to greet his Brethren in a spirit of friendship.

Last December, I received a call from Eddie telling me he won’t be able to attend our Annual Chanukah Party because he wasn’t feeling well.  He felt awful missing this meeting, but I told him we will look forward to seeing him really soon.  Regrettably, he passed away and his presence was always missed at our meetings.  He reminded all of us that we should never putting off telling our loved ones how we feel about them!

With this in mind, I would like to dedicate a plaque in his loving memory, telling everyone that we miss him and will always to thinking of his kindness, friendliness and his charitable nature. 

On behalf of Donald Lieberman, Grand Chancellor of the Domain of Quebec, and his Cabinet, and the executive and members of our Knights of Pythias Cemetery Association, I would like to extend best wishes for a Shanna Tova.