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JOEL LAZER, PRESIDENT OF THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF WINNIPEG: MY VIEW FROM THE INSIDE DURING COVID-19

by Joel Lazer, June 5, 2020

Dear Community,

Gray Academy, Rady JCC and Jewish Child and Family Service (JCFS) are the three most well-known organizations in our community and are run by Lori Binder, Rob Berkowits and Al Benarroch respectively.

Candidly, Gray takes care of the kids, providing a meaningful Jewish education. Rady takes care of our physical and cultural health. JCFS, like the name implies, takes care of us in our moments of need. I had met with Lori, Rob and Al before COVID. They are different from each other and I like them.

Lori quickly pivoted the school to Gray Away, a virtual platform for learning, when they had to close. This move kept all the kids connected with the school and their classmates. Communication with stakeholders increased, especially with the parents. Gray Academy has provided as stable an environment as possible. There is no question about the commitment and passion of Lori and her team. Yasher Koach.

Rob was quick off the mark when the pandemic arrived. He and his team are working to balance the financial stability of the Centre with his team’s interests and the well-being of the members. When the Rady JCC closed on March 16, they began to suffer the largest revenue shortfall of any agency in our community. Through this, the daycare has remained open to the children of essential front-line workers. I, along with the rest of the community, will be happy to see the fitness centre open its doors on June 15, with day camps set to open July 6. Thank you for all you have done.

Al provides steady leadership and does what needs to be done in a calm and supportive fashion. They have seen an increase in senior needs, and anticipate an increase in the need for mental health and addictions services. Family financial needs will increase with the length of the pandemic. Al and his team are attending to these needs, and will get the job done with little fanfare. Their invaluable contributions to our community are appreciated.

There is a lot of good in our community and there is still much to do. If you are able, consider showing your support by volunteering or making a donation. Thank you.

Shabbat Shalom,

Joel Lazer
President

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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.