On Sept 20th, the Rose and Max Rady Jewish Community Centre celebrated its 18th Anniversary with a lovely outdoor picnic and games event free of charge where over 700 people, including many young families and many new immigrants, attended. After the crowd had lunch and the children played on outdoor bouncers and other games, there was a short ceremony to mark this special anniversary. Marjorie Blankstein, the daughter of Rose and Max Rady, spoke about the Rady JCC to mark the occasion.
“I am sure that Mom and Dad would be watching and smiling from up above,” she said, noting that her parents would be very pleased to know that the Rady is “so welcoming and inclusive, with people of all races and creeds and all ages, from tots to seniors, using this great facility.’
Blankstein recalled that 18 years ago when the Asper Campus and the Rady JCC opened Rabbi Green blew the shofar. “He said a shofar is beautiful. But it’s what you put into it that’s more beautiful. ” Similarly, Blankstein said that the campus building behind her was very handsome, “but it’s what goes on inside that is so very important.”
Blankstein concluded by thanking the Board of the Rady JCC, Gayle Waxman, and all of the excellent staff. She thanked “each and every Rady JCC member and participant for what they contribute towards the vibrancy of the Rady JCC.
Elliott Garfinkel, President of the Rady JCC thanked all of the preceding presidents of the Rady for all of their significant efforts in making the Rady JCC such a successful institution. He went on to acknowledge that this event coincided with Super Sunday and was an example of what donations to the CJA Campaign can do for our whole community.
He also spoke about the issue of daycare. The Rady JCC currently operates its Kaufman Child Care Centre with 113 children in the daycare. Last month, the Rady JCC announced that construction will soon be underway on its plans to convert 1710 Grosvenor Avenue into a not-for-profit public daycare with 48 child spaces for the community. Garfinkel indicated that in 2016 the Grosvenor Avenue daycare should be completed.
Garfinkel was excited to announce that David and Ruth Asper have put their support behind the Grosvenor daycare by providing the lead gift and “it will be called the David and Ruth Asper Early Learning Centre."
In a telephone conversation with the Winnipeg Jewish Review Waxman explained that, "The total cost of the project will be $1.4 million. This literally is an investment in the future of our community. As she continued, "The children are with us all day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year" and the Rady's daycare program reinforces "Jewish identity and Jewish values, and this has an impact".
In answer to a question from the WJR, Waxman indicated that the Rady JCC “is still in the process of raising funds for the new Early Learning Centre, but we are confident that like David and Ruth Asper, others in our community will recognize the importance of this initiative.”
“Nothing is more important to our community than our children, and this project confirms that Garfinkel noted in a press release sent out earlier. “This is such an important need, and based on the past generosity of our community, we hope families will step forward to support this as they’ve always done.”
As Waxman told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, "there are close to 800 children on the wait list for daycare", but realistically, the estimate is that "about 1/3 of that list or approximately 270 will accept the spot if it were available." Accordingly, Waxman calculated that even after the Grosvenor location is ready, "a community need for additional child care remains," and "the Rady has made it a priority to help provide more space for families." (Anyone who would like to get on the wait list, those seeking child care can register online at the Manitoba On-Line Child Care Registry here.
Waxman explained that the provincial government is giving $325,000 towards the construction of the Grosvenor daycare, as well as providing an operating grant following licensing, that covers about half of the operating costs "which makes child care affordable and accessible for all families."
In July of this summer the federal government announced it was giving a grant of $180,100 to renovate the Aquatic Centre of the Rady JCC. When asked what the renovations will entail, Waxman said "that the deck (flooring) around the Rady JCC pool needs to be replaced", and in addition "a water slide will be put in, near Schmoozer's restaurant, which will open into the deep end of the pool." As well Waxman noted that work will be done to "increase the number of lockers" at the Rady. Waxman added that members of the facility will be given "lots of notice regarding the renovations in order to reduce the inconvenience."
At the Anniversary event, Garfinkel also thanked the Kaufman family for the long-standing support they have provided to the Kaufman Child Care Centre as well as Mel and Karen Lazareck and family for their long- standing support of the special needs program of the Rady JCC.
At the event, Jack Hurtig, President of the Asper Campus gave greetings, noting that his father Larry Hurtig, had been president of the Asper Campus 18 years ago when the campus first opened.
Adam Levine, President of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg also gave remarks, and noted that that same day the CJA would be having a Super Sunday telethon for this year’s CJA campaign. The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg was a co-sponsor of the Rady JCC's 18th anniversary. Levine said it was "amazing" to think about everything that had been accomplished over the last 18 years.