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Jenni Heltay Menashe

Rabbi Nir Menashe

Photo Credit: Maya Goldberg

Photo credit: Adele Lewin Photography


Former Winnipegger, Jenni Heltay Menashe launches new event planning and tourism business in Israel

by Rhonda J. Prepes, P. Eng., December 7, 2012

Former Winnipegger Jenni Heltay and her husband Rabbi Nir Menashe now living in Israel launched a new business last year called Israel Simcha Central ( The company does everything to make your simcha event, such as, Bar, Bat and B'nai Mitzvahs, Sheva Brachot, Weddings, Vow Renewals, Birthdays, Anniversaries, etc. run smooth. They offer a fully comprehensive event planning service booking accommodations, cars, cell phones, photographers and videographers, catering, ceremony venues, music, rabbis, etc.

This past summer Israel Simcha Central organized the B’nai Mitzvah for seven families originally from Winnipeg. “Israel Central Simcha arranged for the B’nai Mitzvah ceremony and brunch to be held in the Terassa restaurant at the Menachem Begin Heritage Centre on the balcony overlooking the Old City. There was one big ceremony with each child reading the Torah portion. It was elegant, delicious and special,” said Jenni.

Lisa Diamond Burchuk, whose son Skyler was Bar Mizvahed, said, “The families didn’t want to do the same B’nai Mitzvah service at the same location that everyone does but, it was so hard to organize things from so far away. Once we connected with Jenni, she took care of everything but, she allowed us to make all the final decisions. She took care of all the little things that inevitably come up at the last minute so that we didn't have to deal with anything stressful that day.”

Marni Hellner whose daughter Noa Goldberg was Bat Miztvahed said, “Jenni worked with the management of the Begin Centre, as well as with our Rabbi, to ensure that all details were addressed, from the securing of a beautiful Sephardic Torah, and a delicious catered buffet, to the seating arrangements and acoustics. All went smoothly and our simcha was truly everything we hoped for.” 

Using their knowledge of the country, Israel Simcha Central also builds personalized itineraries for visitors to Israel and offers tourism advice while in the country. Whether it's your first time or 15th time to Israel not everyone likes to have a tour guide with them 24/7. Many attractions today offer in-house guided tours at no extra cost.

“Why pay $250 or more a day for a guide when you can take advantage of free in-house guides? We will suggest attractions that you may never have thought of. If you want to do a Tzedakah based tour, or a tour of Israel's award winning boutique vineyards, or an extreme tour of Israel, Israel Simcha Central can arrange that for you.  For a little more than the cost of a $300 a day guide, you can get an amazing itinerary for up to two weeks,” said Jenni.

 “We give tours all over Jerusalem and the Judean Hills and Valleys, the City of David (first temple excavations), the Kotel Tunnels, the Hurva Synagogue (the one rebuilt on the site of a number of previous synagogues), etc.”

“Jenni and her husband also led one of our tours in Jerusalem and they made it engaging and fascinating for the children as well as the adults. I would definitely recommend Jenni and her husband for organizing both a simcha and any personalized tours you might be interested in,” added Lisa Diamond Burchuk.

Jenni began working for the Western Wall Heritage Foundation in 1991 after returning to Israel from Shlichut in London, England where she and her husband were running a Zionist youth group.  Shlichut is an emissary position where Israelis are sent abroad to do Zionist/Jewish/Israeli work. 

While working at the WWHF, she found herself organizing simchas for friends, family and friends of friends who knew that she worked at the Kotel.  While Menashe was in the IDF, she and Menashe were asked to help arrange Bar and Bat Mitzvah ceremonies for many of his soldier's children.  After Menashe left the IDF in 2009, they both began to work in tourism in and around Jerusalem. 

Jenni was born in Edmonton and grew up in Winnipeg. She attended Ramah Hebrew School for Grades 1 to 6, Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate for Grades 7 and 8, River Heights Junior High for Grade 9, Kelvin High School for 10 and 11 and then Shaftesbury High School for Grade 12 (1984). She was active in the Jewish community being involved with USY and Folklorama. She made Aliyah in 1987 and studied at the Tadmor Hotel Management School in Herzliya Pituah. She married Nir Menashe in 1990.  Nir was born in Israel but grew up in London, England.  He served as a Rabbi in the IDF for 8 years.

They live in Kochav Yaakov a village just north of Jerusalem and have six children BenZion 20, Tzofia, 18, Netanel, 16, Rivka, 9, Yedidya, 5, and Avraham Shlomo, 4.


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Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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