Paying tribute to Harry Rosen, George Cohon and other high-profile Canadian leaders we lost in 2023: The CJN Daily’s ‘Honourable Menschen’

Clockwise from top left: George Cohon, Vera Schiff, Moishe Goldstein, Zelda Young, Harry Rosen and Willie Glaser.

Did you know the late Toronto men’s fashion retailer Harry Rosen actually paid for his first store with a bag of quarters? Or that George Cohon, the lawyer who founded McDonald’s restaurants in Central and Eastern Canada, later brought Big Macs and fries to the USSR?

In the last few months, Canada’s Jewish community said goodbye to Rosen, Cohon and many other esteemed community builders. And on today’s episode of The CJN Daily’s Honourable Menschen, we pay tribute to these honourable men and women. You’ll hear about Zelda Young, who hosted a daily Jewish radio show for nearly four decades; Holocaust survivors and educators Vera Schiff of Toronto, Willie Glaser of Montreal and Rabbi Erwin Schild, who lived to be nearly 104; McGill professor Gershon Hundert, a world-renowned giant of Jewish academia; toy store owner Harry Bricks; and Moishe Goldstein, the father of longtime CJN editor-in-chief Yoni Goldstein.

At a time when so many are mourning what’s happening abroad, and are anxious about what the future might hold here in Canada, it feels all the more important to honour the incredible impact on our country made by these recently departed Jewish men and women. CJN reporter emeritus Ron Csillag joins host Ellin Bessner to share the stories behind the names.

What we talked about


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here. Hear why The CJN is important to me.