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Former Winnipegger Aharon Harlap one of three winners of $200,000 prize to be awarded by Azrieli Foundation in October

Aharon Harlap
(a.k.a. Aaron Charloff)

The Azrieli Foundation recently announced the three laureates of their 2022 Azrieli Music Prizes (AMP) – the Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music, which will be given in a ceremony to be held in Montreal this coming October.

Each Laureate receives a total prize package valued at over $200,000 CAD, including a cash award of $50,000 CAD; a world-premiere performance of their prize-winning work in Montréal by the Orchestre Métropolitain at the AMP Gala Concert on October 20, 2022, where the Laureates will be publicly honoured; two subsequent international performances; and a professional recording of their prize-winning work released on the Analekta label.
The selected the winning submissions for the Azrieli Prize for Jewish Music and the Azrieli Commission for Jewish Music, and the selected the Azrieli Commission for Canadian Music. Both juries are comprised of leading experts assembled from the fields of music creation, culture, presentation and performance.
Two of the three prizes recognize excellence in new Jewish music – the and the . The first is awarded to a composer who has written the best new undiscovered work of Jewish music. Canadian-born Israeli composer is the recipient of the 2022 Prize for his astounding Out of the Depths have I cried unto Thee O’ Lord, a setting of five psalms for soprano and orchestra. The work moves through an emotional journey, starting from a state of despair and passing on to one of hope and eventually a state of celebration and complete confidence in God’s power and strength.
In selecting Aharon for the 2022 Prize, the Jury described his Out of the Depths have I cried unto Thee O’ Lord as, “a beautiful, sophisticated, moving and sincere piece of music, written by a fantastic musician. It is a major work that reflects well on the state of Jewish Music.”

Etta & Mordecai Charloff

Aharon Harlap, born Aaron Charloff, is the son of the late Mordecai and Etta Charloff. (Mordecai Charloff is perhaps best known as the longtime mohel for Winnipeg’s Jewish community.)
The following information about Aharon Harlap is taken from “A Century of Jewish Musicians and Music in Winnipeg”, by Sharon Chisvin, which was published by the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada in 2000:

“Pesach was the one holiday really when the whole family got together on Selkirk Avenue at my Zaida’s house …and we all used to sing, we used to sing in four part harmony, not just sing. The whole family was very musical.”
Aharon Harlap
While Aharon Harlap – formerly known as Aaron Charloff – has made music in Israel for decades now, his passion for his art began right here in his hometown of Winnipeg. Acknowledging the piano lessons he began taking at age five and his early exposure to performing at the Manitoba Music Festival as sparking and then cementing in him a desire to cre­ate and perform music, it was, he maintains, his Winnipeg family and his mother Etta Charloff in particular, who was his primary influence. Etta, who came from a musical family that included sisters Chana Freedman and Cecilia Asper, was a talented vocalist and long time soloist with the Winnipeg Jewish Community Choir and later with the Winnipeg Yiddish Choir.
Aharon actually began medical school at the University of Manitoba before deciding at age 22 to leave Winnipeg to study conducting and composing at the Royal College of Music in London. From there he continued his studies at the Vienna Academy of Music and the Rubin Academy of Music in Tel Aviv, Israel, where he then settled. In Israel Aharon has coached and conducted the Israeli National Opera, the Symphony Youth Orchestra and the Jerusalem Chamber Opera Theater. He has also composed several highly regarded pieces, among them a composition based on five poems written by Bergen Belsen survivor Yaakov Barzila. In 1999 Aharon was awarded the prestigious Prime Minister’s Prize for Musical Composition. Aharon has returned to Winnipeg for many musical occasions over the years, among them the premiere of his Psalm 26, set to a poem by A.M. Klein and commissioned for Jewish Music Month by the Canadian Jewish Congress Music committee.
While sisters Etta Charloff and Chana Freedman were renowned throughout the community for their beautiful singing voices, their older sister Cecilia Asper was best known for her skill as a classical pianist. When Cecilia first married Leon Asper, a classical violinist who studied at the Odessa Music Conservatory, he was the conductor of the orchestra at the Palliser Hotel in Calgary and she was the pianist. The couple later moved to Minnedosa, Manitoba where Leon became owner of the Lyric Theatre and conductor of the Minnedosa Little Symphony Orchestra. Both Leon and Cecilia also played with the precursor to the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and held regular Sunday musicales in their home with their many talented musical family members.
In a March 31, 1999 article by Myron Love, Myron wrote about Harlap being in Winnipeg to visit his mother, Etta, who was a resident at the Sharon Home at that time. Harlap visited the Sharon Home and entertained the residents – something that he had also done on previous visits to the Home:
As Myron noted, “As a conductor, he has led all of Israel’s most important orchestras – as a guest conductor – and has conducted orchestras and opera throughout the Western World. His compositions for chorus, chamber ensembles and symphony have also been performed worldwide. He has won numerous awards for his work.”


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New website for Israelis interested in moving to Canada

By BERNIE BELLAN (May 21, 2024) A new website, titled “Orvrim to Canada” ( has been receiving hundreds of thousands of visits, according to Michal Harel, operator of the website.
In an email sent to Michal explained the reasons for her having started the website:
“In response to the October 7th events, a group of friends and I, all Israeli-Canadian immigrants, came together to launch a new website supporting Israelis relocating to Canada. “Our website,, offers a comprehensive platform featuring:

  • Step-by-step guides for starting the immigration process
  • Settlement support and guidance
  • Community connections and networking opportunities
  • Business relocation assistance and expert advice
  • Personal blog sharing immigrants’ experiences and insights

“With over 200,000 visitors and media coverage from prominent Israeli TV channels and newspapers, our website has already made a significant impact in many lives.”
A quick look at the website shows that it contains a wealth of information, almost all in Hebrew, but with an English version that gives an overview of what the website is all about.
The English version also contains a link to a Jerusalem Post story, published this past February, titled “Tired of war? Canada grants multi-year visas to Israelis” ( That story not only explains the requirements involved for anyone interested in moving to Canada from Israel, it gives a detailed breakdown of the costs one should expect to encounter.

(Updated May 28)

We contacted Ms. Harel to ask whether she’s aware whether there has been an increase in the number of Israelis deciding to emigrate from Israel since October 7. (We want to make clear that we’re not advocating for Israelis to emigrate; we’re simply wanting to learn more about emigration figures – and whether there has been a change in the number of Israelis wanting to leave the country.)
Ms. Harel referred us to a website titled “Globes”:
The website is in Hebrew, but we were able to translate it into English. There is a graph on the website showing both numbers of immigrants to Israel and emigrants.
The graph shows a fairly steady rate of emigration from 2015-2022, hovering in the 40,000 range, then in 2023 there’s a sudden increase in the number of emigrants to 60,000.
According to the website, the increase in emigrants is due more to a change in the methodology that Israel has been using to count immigrants and emigrants than it is to any sudden upsurge in emigration. (Apparently individuals who had formerly been living in Israel but who may have returned to Israel just once a year were being counted as having immigrated back to Israel. Now that they are no longer being counted as immigrants and instead are being treated as emigrants, the numbers have shifted radically.)
Yet, the website adds this warning: “The figures do not take into account the effects of the war, since it is still not possible to identify those who chose to emigrate following it. It is also difficult to estimate what Yalad Yom will produce – on the one hand, anti-Semitism and hatred of Jews and Israelis around the world reminds everyone where the Jewish home is. On the other hand, the bitter truth we discovered in October is that it was precisely in Israel, the safe fortress of the Jewish people, that a massacre took place reminding us of the horrors of the Holocaust. And if that’s not enough, the explosive social atmosphere and the difference in the state budget deficit, which will inevitably lead to a heavy burden of taxes and a reduction in public services, may convince Zionist Israelis that they don’t belong here.”
Thus, as much as many of us would be disappointed to learn that there is now an upsurge in Israelis wanting to move out of the country, once reliable figures begin to be produced for 2024, we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that is the case – which helps to explain the tremendous popularity of Ms. Harel’s website.

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Message from a Palestinian in Gaza to protesters: “You’re hurting the Palestinian cause”

Protesters at McGill University

A very brave Palestinian who was willing to put his name to paper and write an article for Newsweek Magazine has exposed the utter hypocrisy of all those students – and others, who have been setting up encampments across the U.S. – and now Canada, too.

You can read the article at

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The Most Expensive Israeli Soccer Transfers

Eran Zahavi

Even if Israel isn’t known as a world soccer power, it has produced plenty of talented players who have made a living in top European leagues. On more than one occasion, an Israeli international has commanded a rather large transfer fee. But who are the most expensive players in Israel’s history? The answer could be a little surprising. We took a look back to find the most expensive Israeli soccer transfers of all time.

Tai Baribo

In 2023, Baribo made the move to MLS, signing with the Philadelphia Union. The reported fee was around $1.5 million, which is one of the highest transfer fees the Union has ever paid for a player.

Omer Atzili

Throughout his career, Atzili has played for a variety of clubs, including stops in Spain and Greece. In 2023, he joined Al Ain in the UAE for a transfer fee of $2.1 million.

Maor Buzaglo

Now retired, Buzaglo was briefly the holder of the richest transfer deal for an Israeli player. After a couple of successful seasons on loan, Maccabi Tel Aviv paid $2.7 million to rival Maccabi Haifa for Buzaglo in 2008.

Dia Saba

Saba made history in 2020 when he joined Al-Nasr, making him the first Israeli player to play for a club in the UAE. At the time, it was a big deal for relations between the two countries. Al-Nasr also paid an impressive $2.9 million transfer fee for the midfielder.

Tal Ben Haim

On multiple occasions, Ben Haim has been sold for more than $1 million. First, there was his move from Hapoel Tel Aviv to Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2023 for close to $1.2 million. A few years later, Sparta Prague came calling for him, spending $3.1 million as a transfer fee for the winger.

Itay Shechter

During the prime of his career, Shechter was the type of player who warranted a seven-figure transfer fee. German club Kaiserslautern paid a little over $2.6 million in 2011 to bring Shechter to the Bundesliga from Hapoel Tel Aviv.

Daniel Peretz

When Peretz was sold to Bayern Munich, it wasn’t the most expensive deal involving an Israeli player, although it was arguably the most important. He became the first Israeli Jew to play at Bayern, which is one of the biggest clubs in the world. The transfer fee for Peretz paid by Bayern Munich to Maccabi Tel Aviv was around $5.4 million.

Oscar Gloukh

Gloukh is one of the best young Israeli players right now. He already has three international goals in a dozen appearances to his name. Somehow, Gloukh is already one of the most expensive players in Israel’s history. After coming up with Maccabi Tel Aviv, he moved to Austrian giant Red Bull Salzburg in 2023 for a transfer fee of close to $7.5 million. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him top that number one day.

Liel Abada

Abada has been a part of two huge transfer deals in his young career. In 2021, Scottish club Celtic paid $4.8 million to acquire him from Maccabi Petah Tikva. However, that number was topped in 2024 when Charlotte FC of MLS paid a fee of $8 million for Abada.

With Charlotte FC, Abada competes in North America’s top league, facing teams from both Mexico and Canada. Throughout North America, sports betting has taken off in recent years. That includes betting in Canada, where there is a large collection of trusted sports betting platforms.

Eran Zahavi

To date, Zahavi holds the record for the most expensive transfer fee paid for an Israeli player. It’s fitting for Israel’s former captain and all-time leading scorer. In 2016, Chinese club Guangzhou City paid $12.5 million to get Zahavi from Maccabi Tel Aviv. That record was nearly broken later that year when another Chinese club offered $20 million for Zahavi, who turned it down and stayed with Guangzhou City.

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