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Al Benarroch


by Rhonda Spivak, June 30, 2015


At the JCFS Annual meeting on June 8 in the Berney Theatre of the Asper Campus, JCFS President Jeffrey Gilbert emphasized in his report the continued importance of JCFS in providing a wide range of needed programs for the community.


JCFS Executive Director Al Benarroch paid tribute to Emily Shane, his accomplished predecessor who retired after a long career of 30 years, who was travelling with her daughter and unable to be present.  He also paid tribute to Merrill Shwaid, JCFS's communications director, who also retired this past year after 30 years of devoted service, and was present for  the meeting. 


Benarroch noted that David Azeulos who will be replacing social worker Jeff Kryger who is leaving after 40 years of service, and indicated that Wade Bilodeau will be joining JCFS in a new position specializing in child welfare.


Benarroch noted that a new position, Director of Communications and Outreach has been created ,and Benarroch confirmed to the Winnipeg Jewish Review  that Rena Elbaze, who has been the Engagement Specialist with the Jewish Federation will be filling this new position as of July 2015.  "The current strategic plan the most living and breathing document" he had ever worked with and  he spoke of the impact of the JCFS,  be it from providing homecare to a Holocaust survivor to helping put food on the table of a needy Jewish family.


He spoke of the story of the uneducated Jewish  man who asks Rabbi Shammai to teach him the Torah while  standing on one foot. Shammai dismissed him. He then went to Rabbi Hillel asking him to teach him the Torah while standing on one foot and Rabbi Hillel  "Love thy neighbor as thyself . All the rest is commentary." Benarroch said the lesson from Rabbi Hillel is to treat each person with dignity and respect, and he noted that this  what the JCFS does each day with all its clients.



Benarroch said that JCFS "impacted over 5000 individuals" and "reached over 2000 families last year." He added that the JCFS will be renovating and expanding their offices, and that JCFS intends to open a second location elsewhere in the city that will service clients there. It also intends to have centres for addictions, recovery and wellness.



According to the financial statements of the JCFS, the revenue available to the agency was reduced this past fiscal year, but thankfully there was a similar reduction in  expenses of the JCFS.  Revenues decreased by $195, 278 ($3,099,268 in 2014 to $2,903,990 in 2015. The decrease in revenue is largely due to the fact that there was a decrease in funding from the Province of Manitoba. Regarding expenses, funding from child maintenance was decreased by $148,836.


At the AGM Benarroch asked Sam Katz to come up to give out  the Kaye Four Properties Scholarship set up at the Jewish Foundation to help support educating local youth.The three recipients for the scholarships were Dylan Cohen, Dena Abra and Jessica Mahoney.



 Benarroch also handed out certificates of appreciation from JCFS to representatives of  a variety of agencies and organizations that  partner with JCFS to provide services  to members of our community. Present at the AGM were: 


Marilyn Regiec ,Elaine Stern, and Karen Grant  of the Gwen Secter Centre

Robyn Avery, Aleph Bet Child Life Centre

Eleonara Caporalini, Rady JCC

Lori Binder and Joyce Kerr, Gray Academy of Jwewish Education

Ian Staniloff, Shaarey Zedek Synagogue

Cindy Lazar,Rose Aziman and Reva Craven, National Council of Jewish Women

Rabbi Baruch Heidigsfeld, Chabad Lubavich Centre

Dr. Earl Hershfield, Herzlia  Adas Yeshurun Synagogue

Miral Gabor, representing both the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and Temple Shalom 

Irwin Corobow, the Simkin Centre


Dr. Harvey Chochinov spoke at the event on palliative care and his remarks will be the subject of a separate article.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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