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Dorothy (Babe) Hershfield

Dorothy (Babe) Hershfield

Leible Hershfield


posted October 18, 2011

Dorothy (Babe) Hershfield, 19 June 1917 to 5 October 2011
            Beloved mother of Susan (Professor Myron 'Mike' Turner) & Joel (Kathy); cherished sister of Sara Tuberman; grandmother of Matthew, Jordan, & Leah Hershfield; darling aunt of Mark Goldstein. Predeceased by husband Leible (Western Canada Jewish Athlete of the 20th Century, Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame); sister/brother-in-law Lillian & David Goldstein; parents Annie & Lazar Tuberman; brothers & sisters-in-law Dr. Harry & Ada Hershfield, Aaron & Rose Hershfield, Dr. Sheppy & Teenie Hershfield. Babe and her beloved Leible were married in 1939, together for 60 years at his passing. Babe died so softly that John Donne's beautiful AValediction Forbidding Mourning came to mind: "As virtuous men pass mildly away And whisper to their souls to go, Whilst some of their sad friends do say, 'his breath goes now,' and some say, 'Nay.'"

            When Babe was very young, the Tubermans left Winnipeg for Saskatchewan, where Annie and Lazar made a living operating small grocery stores in the towns of Briercrest, Neville, and Swift Current, where Babe graduated high school. On the family's return to Winnipeg, Babe worked at the Jewish Orphanage on Matheson Ave, where impoverished families would often send their children to be raised. She played piano to accompany the silent movies. She worked at Quality Bed and Spring. Always a woman of exquisite style, Babe sold women's French and Italian knit suits in the 1960s. For over twenty fulfilling years until her retirement as Executive Director in 1989, Babe worked at the Jewish Historical Society of Western Canada. She was a force in helping build the JHS into one of Canada's most significant institutions devoted to ethnocultural archiving and heritage programming. She also took great pride in her involvement in multicultural work through the JHS. She was an informed and frequent caller to the CBC late 1960s radio show Cross Country Checkup, which invited Canadians to voice their opinions on the topic of Canadian affairs being discussed. In the early 1970s she was involved as a volunteer in the development of the Chrohn's & Colitis Foundation of Canada, Manitoba Division; she sat as a citizen assessor on Government of Canada Old Age Pension Award panels; she volunteered at the Sharon Home and for the CJA. She was a vibrant and proud member of Shaarey Zedek Synagogue her entire life, and after retiring from the Jewish Historical Society, she created an archive complete with finding aids at the Synagogue. She maintained Jewish tradition in the home through the celebration of all the holidays, and passed on her love of the Jewish heritage to her family. She and Leible were ardent ballet and opera lovers, contributed to many Manitoba charitable and cultural institutions, and were supporters of the State of Israel. Babe loved music, was a pianist, and could sight read and play complex classical pieces up to a few months before her passing.

            She was an elegant and beautiful woman, intelligent, forthright and sometimes challenging, a delightful hostesss, and warm, kind, and generous to friends and strangers alike. Her sense of humour, charm, and interest in life and people remained until the end. Though her illness robbed her of strength, independence, and clarity of mind, she was at the end left with the core of her personality, which was love for her family and for the world. The week prior to her death, she attended Rosh Hashanah services at the Sharon Home Simkin Centre, comforted by the prayers and music she had known and loved her entire life.

             Babe lived at the Sharon Home Simkin Centre for two and a half years. The family thanks with gratitude for their loving care the nurses, healthcare aides, recreation and spiritual care staff, all of whom treated her, as the Sharon Home dictates, with the kedushah/sanctity, derech eretz/respect for all people, and kavod/honour that all our elderly should receive. To honour Babe's memory, donations for the provision of music therapy to residents can be made to the Simkin Centre, 1 Falcon Ridge Drive, Wpg, MB R3Y 1V9.

            Funeral services were held 9 October 2011 at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue with interment at  Shaarey Zedek Memorial Park.  Pallbearers were David Guttman, Mark Goldstein, Matthew Hershfield, Stephen Hyman, Damian Surasky, Martin Surasky.

 To read  Babe's story when she signed  the endowment book of life at the  Jewish Foundation, click here:
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