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Morden and Winkler Manitoba honour Jewish community

by Pamela Funk, posted August 9, 2011

This article was fist published in the Morden Times.

The first "All Nations Bless Israel International Conference" was held in Winkler from July 28 - 31st, 2011 and it included Morden and nations from around the world.  The purpose of this conference was to honor the Jewish Community of our province of Manitoba and to discover the Jewish roots of Morden and Winkler.  Five nations were represented and presented honors to Israel which included:  words and messages, cultural dances and music.  The five nations were:  Israel, Kenya, Fiji, Nigeria, and the United States. 

Delegates came from as far away as Kenya and Israel especially for the conference.   MP Ms. Candice Hoeppner spoke on behalf of the Prime Minister and special video clips were prepared by the Prime Minister's office which showed segments of his speeches supporting Israel.  Shelley Faintuch of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg spoke on the topic of "Anti Semitism Today" at the special Jewish Honoring Ceremony.  Also, Mr. Mel Lazeruck of the Jewish National Fund and his wife Karyn were present and announced that olive trees would be planted in Israel in honor of our conference.  In fact, three olive trees were given for planting in Winkler during conference.  One to Mr. Bill Siemens representing the Winkler Bethel Heritage Park where "Prayers for the Nations" were held at the Jewish Pioneer memorial cairn.  One was given to the Morden Benial Yisrael Jewish Cemetery.  

The conference highlighted the Mennonite/Hutterite connection to the Jews.  Also, the many Jewish leaders who came from our communities were mentioned and several informative letters were sent by them for us to read.  Mayor Sam Katz from Winnipeg sent congratulations.  Our local mayors were represented by their deputies:  Deputy Mayor  Irvin Wiebe of Morden spoke about the Jewish connections to Morden.  Deputy Mayor Mr. Henry Siemens of Winkler spoke words of welcome to the Jews being honored and shared about their important connections to Winkler.  The Manitoba Island Breeze team from Niverville and Fiji entertained us with lively Fijian cultural dances and Hawiian dances both at conference and at the Winkler Park Amphitheatre bowl stage on Sunday.  Our conference is traveling to Abuja, Nigeria in November, 2011.  We are invited to Kenya, India, and for return to Fiji in the future. 

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