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Prof Michael Eskin


May 19, 2021

Michael Eskin, Professor in the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences,  Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, has been awarded the Order of Manitoba for his contributions to the successful development of canola oil and for his impact as one of the world’s leading food science writers. This is the ninth award he has received in the last ten years.  Dr. Eskin, who just celebrated his 80th Birthday, is in his 53rd year at the University of Manitoba . He has been on a reduced appointment since 2010. When asked why he hasn’t retired? He replied, “If you are doing something you love, why retire?  If you are still an effective teacher, and have a lot to contribute, a reduced appointment is the perfect arrangement.”   My mother-in-law, Rosa Kessler, who sadly died last year just short of her 103rd birthday, told me never to retire. Dr. Eskin is indeed beloved by his colleagues and the students in his faculty voted him Professor of the Year in 2017.

During the pandemic lockdown, most people are depressed and trying to cope with the new abnormal situation. Michael, however, saw it as an opportunity to be really productive and was able to complete two academic books, several book chapters as well as a number of research papers. This was in addition to teaching two online courses to over 250 students from around the world. He is already busy working on his next   2 books, his 18th and 19th, for several major American Publishers.

Besides hi s academic career, Michael is a trained Cantor as well as experienced folk singer.  When he first came to Winnipeg he was in great demand by both Jewish and non-Jewish  organizations, including performing  at  the Israeli Pavilion in Foklorama.  He has written songs, both biblical and environmental, that are humorous, yet educational. In 1985, he was asked to prepare a song about the late Izzy Asper for a major Hebrew University event honouring him.  After a very impressive performance, Izzy recorded it at the Global Studios. Michael also performed at a major Cantors’ Concert in Winnipeg in 1985 and together with Kinzey Posen, produced a wonderful   CD of that concert about 4 years ago. He organized a release of the CD at a very successful concert sponsored by the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada.   Michael has also produced a beautiful children’s CD MOSTLY GENESIS WITH A LITTLE EXODUS with his son Josh, used in schools.  A special teacher’s guide to the CD, was written by former Winnipeger Jason Marantz, with a wonderful  foreword by the late  Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks. .

During the past decade, Michael has become well known for his LiPID RAPS, which are used in courses around the world as well at a Nutrition Centre in Moscow, Russia. In fact, reference was made to his raps in the citation read out when he received the Order of Canada in 2016. The Governor General’s wife insisted he perform one at the evening dinner event. After being provided with an excellent kosher meal, Michael performed one of the raps to a very receptive audience.  When Michael was the Associate Dean, he worked with the Honorable Janice Filmon on the 100th Anniversary of  the  now disbanded Faculty of Human Ecology, previously Home Economics.  When the Lieutenant General informed of his latest award, she inquired  whether he had  any new raps? Michael informed her that he had a protein rap ready to record once the pandemic is over. In the meantime, he had prepared a video of a song honouring the 100th Anniversary of the Discovery of Insulin in Canada that was just shown at the American Oil Chemists’ Society Virtual Annual Meeting .  The video is on UTube and Michael was recently interviewed about it on CBC radio.  At 80 years, Michael has no immediate plans to slow down  and  looks forward to a challenging but productive post-pandemic  year ahead.


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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

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