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Gray Academy honours Grade 12 student Ben Ben Chimol, who tragically passed away from cancer, with a fund in his memory at the Jewish Foundation

by Rhonda Spivak, March 23, 2023 with material provided by Gray Academy


Ben Ben Chimol, z"l , a grade 12 student at Gray Academy who passed away in December 2022 after a courageous battle with cancer, loved life.


As Lori Binder, head of school at Gray Academy, told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, "Ben is described by his friends as always wanting to make other people laugh.... he always wanted to make the most of every moment and enjoy life."


Ben arrived in Winnipeg from Israel in 2017 with his parents, Tatiyana and David, as well as his younger siblings, sister Lihi and brother Natan, and his dog, Yuki. Ben had a variety of interests, including painting, writing music, skateboarding, beatbox, practising martial arts, and enjoying nature. Even after Ben was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer in 2019, he maintained a positive attitude. He often paraphrased a line from the movie Scarface: “You deserve the entire world and everything in it.”


Binder notes that until now "our school had never had a student pass during their time in school.” She  went on to add that, "All of grade 12 went together with us to his funeral… for many, it was the first funeral they had attended."

As the Gray Academy community continues to mourn his loss, the school worked with Ben's parents, to formally honour Ben's memory, his love of life and the positive impact he had on his classmates, teachers, family and friends.


In tribute to Ben – days before what would have been his 18th birthday on March 5 – Gray Academy launched a new fund that will be part of the Gray Academy endowment at the Jewish Foundation, the Ben Ben Chimol (z”l) Simchat Chayim Fund.


As an email sent out to Gray Academy parents on March 4 explained, “Dollars earned annually from this fund will be used for programs in the school that bring joy to others and provide students with opportunities to share their passions and celebrate life. This fund will help to ensure Ben’s legacy lives on in the Gray Academy school community. As his family explains, he enjoyed everything, most of all giving joy to others, ‘Simchat Chayim!’


If you would like to contribute to this fund, visit


A video, compiled by some of Ben’s closest friends and offering a glimpse of Ben’s life can be seen here:


As of March 17, the fund in Ben's honour had just over $5,000. Binder explains "We'll keep on giving opportunities for people to contribute to this fund from time to time." She added that anyone who knew Ben was inspired by the way he lived his life in the face of  such adversity. 


There is a podcast about Ben Ben Chimol that can be listened to here:


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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.