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by Rhonda Spivak June 10, 2016

Sidney Halpern was recently honoured on May 12 at a Members’ Recognition Dinner of CPA Manitoba at the Canadian human rights Museum  with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award This constitutes recognition by the Profession of an individual who, the organization says, “has brought honour to the designation through distinction in service to the profession and  community.”


In his remarks at the ceremony accepting the award, Halpern firstly expressed his gratitude to his wife Esther (ne: Nepon) , with whom he has been on a "63 year odyssey," consisting of  "5 years of courtship and 58 years of marriage." As he said, "without Esther and her love and support here would not be a Sid Halpern," and as he told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, "Esther has been the key ingredient for everything I have achieved."


He noted  “the long road  from Winnipeg’s core area, my  Selkirk to Jarvis  avenues  community  center,  to the heights where he stood to accept the award – the Canaduian Museum For Human Rights –on  Israel Asper way ,  where his  intellectual friends Babs and Issy asper established  a beacon of light for the world, of dreams  coming to fruition and the quest for universal tolerance.”


“Without Esther and her love and support there would not be a Sid Halpern” he emphatically noted


Sid then expressed his gratitude to his parents  Chaim , & Bertha Halpern , who  settled here after arriving from Zeleshchiki Poland in 1929 ( Chaim worked hard as a pedler and Bertha as a "chicken flicker".) As Sid said, "My parents had  the courage to exit the killing fields of Europe, leaving their parents and siblings to a certain fate in unmarked graves, so my brothers and I would have a better life in Winnipeg, the gentlest and most caring society in North America.They instilled in us a titanium spine replete with resolve and determination. They had warm and caring hearts filled with love and compassion and a determination to build a better world and life for our family."


Sid noted that he was born at the height of the Depression but notwithstanding this his parents were optimistic, and worked hard to provide an education for their three sons. He graduated from St john's Tech and went to U of M to become a Chartered Accountant . "The reason I  became an accountant is because  my older brother Dave (who lives in Calgary) became the first accountant in the family. I  followed him," he said, with a chuckle. His older brother Izzy graduated as a Civil engineer and prematurely passed away in 1974


Sid's career started with "a lucky introduction to Max Shore by Izzy Peltz and  the apparel industry with what was to become the Rice group of companies , "the largest manufacturer of  mens' , ladies', and children's leather and textile outerwear and sweaters in Canada". Sid spent 36 rewarding years there, where he went from the more traditional role of being an auditor and accountant" to becoming an overall  business leader  "where I learned to lead, follow or get out of the way." Sid stressed that wisdom comes from learning to "thinking out of the box", and from being willing to question the "status quo.", to innovate, think differently, to be curious and ask "why" as well as "why not." He recalled how  "I learned to  calculate profit (loss was never in our lexicon) on the back of a napkin without detailed financials ...This was  an opportunity for me to learn how to communicate complex finances in simple lay people's terms,"



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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.