Winnipeg Jewish Review  
Site Search:
Home  |  Archives  |  Contact Us
Features Local Israel Next Generation Arts/Op-Eds Editorial/Letters Links Obituary/In Memoriam

Michelle and David Berkowits & Dr. Rachel Eni - co chair

Noy - BGU student

Samantha Loxton - Ex. Director


posted June 5, 2013

[Editor's note : Samantha Loxton is no longer working as the Executive Director of Ben-Gurion University. She was in that position when this article was written ]


I could tell that the atmosphere at the Shabbat dinner put on by the Winnipeg chapter of the Canadian Associates of Ben Gurion University was warm and inviting the moment I arrived at the event at the home of David and Michelle Berkowits on May 10th.
There I met six Israeli students from Ben Gurion University's Guildford Glazer School of Business and Administration, who were in Winnipeg on the Arni Thorsteinson exchange program with the University of Manitoba's Asper School of Business. The  BGU students had been hosted all week by the  U of M students and together they were set to travel to Israel where the BGU students would take their turn at hosting. On the way, they were to stop in Toronto to meet with one of the sponsors of the program, Gerry Schwartz of Onex Corporation and his wife Heather Reisman.

As Samantha Loxton,   Executive Director of the Winnipeg chapter of CABGU said  the exchange program " provides the opportunity for university students from Manitoba and Israel to learn business practices and cultures of their respective countries."   This dynamic Program "would not exist without the continuous financial support from the Gerald Schwartz & Heather Reisman Foundation as well as from Arni Thorsteinson himself." 
Sean MacDonald, a sessional instructor at the Asper School of Business, who has accompanied U of M students to Israel on the program told me how  exciting the program is.

"I love visiting Israel--I loved everything--the history, the people I met, the people I was with, the society, the motivation ad the passion that people who live there have."
Macdonald also explained that because of the sponsorship provided, "Students only pay $500.00 to participate."

As Loxton noted,  "Today, BGU is a world-class academic and research institution with some 20,000 students on five

campuses in Beer-Sheva, Sede Boqer and Eilat. BGU is an incubator for innovative research and a haven for the humanities and social sciences. It is an integral part of the global community, with researchers sharing internationally their expertise in such fields as Hi-Tech, Bio-Tech, medicine, arid zone agriculture, solar energy, water resource management, nanotechnology and more.   As a matter of fact, BGU according to a recent survey commissioned by the National Union of Israeli Students is ranked the number one choice by Israeli undergraduates."

Noit Lewit ,  a 22 year old  student majoring in Management and Sociology  from BGU who spoke at the event,  explained the special atmosphere at the BGU campus, which fosters community service:

"Beer Sheva, the capital of the Negev, is a very unique place to live in. Far from their homes and parents, the students build an independent life for themselves. As part of the strong community feeling the university spreads, community service has become a standard among all students. Many of the students in Ben Gurion are involved in different projects of community service within Be'er Sheva and its surroundings. Among us, there are representatives of different kinds of projects: Goldi [Pazzit]  is teaching children ecological awareness at a school. Dor [Bahat] is participating in an organization called "Keren Moshe", where he educates and motivates kids to be leaders and involved in their community. I am in a project called "Perach", which is Hebrew for "flower", where I act as an "older sister" to a pre-teen girl that is from a poorer neighborhood in Be'er Sheva. Aside from those projects, there are many others, that focus on the elderly population, the mentally ill, and the hospitalized."  

Lewit was born in Tel Aviv and lived there until she was 11 years old and then moved with her family to live in Atlanta, Georgia. When she was 18 years old, she I decided to move back to Israel to join the Israeli Defense Forces and lived on a Kibbutz in the North with a group of other lone soldiers during her service.

The students at the Shabbat dinner were welcomed by  the Dean of the Asper School  of Business, Michael Benarroch.

Unfortunately, the students from Winnipeg were not able to actually attend the BGU campus this year due to liability concerns on the part  of the University of Manitoba. Ever since 2009, when rockets  from Hamas in Gaza landed in Be'er Sheva Canada has a had a travel advisory warning tourists that Be'er Sheva is not safe. As a result, the University of Manitoba will not take its students to the South of Israel since it can not get proper liability insurance because of  this travel warning.

However, as Prof Sergio Carvalho, an organizer of the exchange program noted, "We are going to be able to travel to many parts of Israel --Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, the Dead Sea and the Galilee."

Rena, one of the U of M  students I spoke with who had participated in the program the year before, said "I would love to go back and visit Israel again. It's at the top of my list. I hope I'll  get  a chance to go again soon." 
The  Shabbat dinner was co-chaired by Grant Zipursky and Dr. Rachel Eni, who is a prof in the faculty of human ecology at the U of M.

<<Previous Article       Next Article >>
Subscribe to the Winnipeg Jewish Review
  • Jewish Federation of Winnipeg
  • Fillmore Riley
  • Jewish Federation of Winnipeg
  • Winter's Collision Repair
  • Gray Academy
  • Jacqueline Simkin
  • Coughlin Insurance
  • Joyce Rykiss
  • CHW
  • The J Hansen HVAC Group
  • Munroe Pharmacy
  • The Lazareck Family
  • Imperial Soap
  • GTP
  • Piston Ring
  • Nick's Inn
  • Lori Shenkarow
  • Roseman Corp.
  • Tyler Bucklaschuk
  • TD Canada Trust
  • Josef Ryan
  • Sobey's
  • Daniel Friedman and Rob Dalgliesh
  • The Lipkin Family
  • Booke and Partners
  • Bruce Shefrin Interior Design
  • Fair Service
  • Daien Denture Clinic
  • Thovaldson Care
  • Laufman Reprographics
  • Amalgamated Drywall Systems Ltd.
  • Maric Homes
  • Artista Homes
  • Tradesman Mechanical
  • Accurate Lawn & Garden
  • Ronald B. Zimmerman
  • Commercial Pool
  • Lanny Silver
  • Fetching Style
  • Rudy Fidel
  • Shindico
  • Dakota Chiropractic Office
  • Myrna Driedger
  • Shirley and Bob Freedman
  • The Chisick Family
  • Carol and Barry McArton
  • The Shinewald Family
  • Dr. Ted and Harriet Lyons
  • Munroe Dental Centre
  • Ixtapa Travel
  • Hill Sokalski Walsh
  • D'arcy and Deacon
  • The Charach Family
  • Esther and Sid Halpern
  • Myers LLP
  • The Lazar Family
  • Dr. Marshall Stitz
  • Cavalier Candies
  • Cdn Visa
  • Kowall Chiropractic Centres
  • Dr. Brent Schacter
  • Doheny Securities
  • Ambassador Mechanical
  • Peerless Garments
  • Pitblado
  • Cindy Lamoureux
  • HUB International
  • Philip Kahanovtich
  • Global Philathropic Canada
  • Sorrento's
  • Taverna Rodos
  • Aziza Family
  • Western Scrap Metals
  • Cascade Financial Group Inc.
  • James Bezan
  • Larry N. Maguire
  • Malaya Marcelino
  • Candice Bergen
  • Safeway
  • John Orlikow
  • Ross Eadie
  • Orthodox Union
  • Saul Simmonds
  • Bridges for Peace
  • Chochy's
  • City Sheet Metal
  • Superlite
  • Stephen Rosenfield
  • Abe and Toni Berenhait
  • The Lofchick Famiy
  • Stringer Rentals
  • John Wishnowski
  • Ingrid Bennet
  • Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education
  • Asper Jewish Community Campus
  • Jewish Federation of Winnipeg
  • Grant Kurian Trucking
  • Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Gulay Plumbing
  • Kristina's
  • West Kildonan Auto
  • The Center for Near East Policy Research Ltd.
  • Sarel Canada
  • Santa Lucia Pizza
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Roofco Winnipeg Roofing
  • Center for Near East Policy Research
  • Nachum Bedein
  • Maric Homes
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.