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Ben Carr hoping to follow in his late father Jim Carr’s footsteps

By MYRON LOVE Ben Carr, the son of the late Jim Carr, has thrown his hat into the ring to become the next Liberal Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South Centre.
And, he is well aware that he has big shoes to fill. The riding became vacant with the passing of his father, Jim Carr, on December 12, at the age of 71. Jim Carr had been a Liberal MP since 2016, during which time he served in several Cabinet positions. Jim’s resumé also featured time as an MLA, a member of the editorial board of the Free Press, executive director of external relations for the University of Winnipeg, and founding president and CEO of the Business Council of Manitoba – just to list the highlights.
Ben Carr’s own record of achievement to date is also quite impressive. Early in his career, Ben was Brand Coordinator for the United Nations Association in Canada (Manitoba), and a research associate at the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg.
As an educator, he has been a teacher at both Robert H. Smith Elementary School’s French immersion program and at Kelvin High School (his alma mater) – where he was also the head coach of the Kelvin Clippers JV football team. In more recent years, he has served as a principal in the Seven Oak School Division, most recently as principal of the nationally award-winning Maples Met High School.
He is currently the Vice-President of Indigenous Strategy Alliance.
This would be Carr’s second attempt to win political office. Three years ago, he campaigned for a seat as a trustee for the Winnipeg School Board’s Ward 3. He notes the election was cancelled due to the Covid lockdowns.
Now, Ben Carr is no political neophyte. As he pointed out on his webpage, “the Liberal Party of Canada has always been a place where I have felt at home. It has been a second family to me for over 30 years. Early on, he served as president of the Young Liberals of Canada (Manitoba branch).
He has also had an extensive career behind the scenes in politics, including serving as Manitoba campaign manager for former Federal Liberal Party leadership aspirants Scott Brison and Bob Rae, Parliamentary Assistant to Reg Alcock, and Director of Parliamentary Affairs in Ottawa under former Minister of Cultural Heritage Melanie Joly. He had also been a part of his father’s campaign team as a senior adviser.
“I couldn’t have had a better mentor politically or in life,” he says of his father. “I learned from him the importance of building relationships, really listening to what people have to say and trying to understand what is important to people. I also learned to think carefully before speaking.”
Although Carr did not receive a formal Jewish education growing up, he notes that his Jewish identity was strengthened by experiences such as being part of the first all-Jewish group of Grade 9 students to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington under the auspices of the Asper Foundation, and later going on Birthright to Auschwitz and Israel.
“Fighting anti-Semitism is very important to me – both here at home and abroad,” he comments.
Also important to Carr is working toward reconciliation with Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. – and human rights in general.
“My whole life has been about working to make a difference right here in this community – one that has given me so much,” he notes on his website. “I see this by-election as an opportunity to further my contributions.”

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Shaarey Zedek renovation update

Shaarey Zedek renovations are now well underway. Here’s a video posted by Shaarey Zedek about the renovations:

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Winnipeg Council of Rabbis criticizes suggestion that Simkin Centre ought to offer non-kosher meals – as well as kosher meals

Rabbi Yosef Benarroch

We received the following letter from the Winnipeg Council of Rabbis in response to the suggestion that the Simkin Centre ought to offer non-kosher meals (Read story at🙂

Dear Bernie
We read your opinion piece on kashrut at the Simkin Centre with a certain amount of shock, as you advocated that the Simkin Centre not be a kosher facility. After a long discussion we had with food services at Simkin, it is clear that your statements about the quality of food are simply wrong. Residents at Simkin receive meals that are on par with all other similar facilities in Manitoba. The menu includes chicken both dark and white, meats including roast beef, ground meat, and much more. The only item not offered at Simkin that is offered at other similar homes is pork, which we hope you are not advocating for. 

In addition, every major Jewish organization in Winnipeg has a Kashrut policy in place. The reason for this is simple. Kashrut is a Jewish value — and for many, a core Jewish value —  and it is the responsibility of Jewish organizations to uphold Jewish values. How odd is it that Winnipeg’s “Jewish” newspaper would be advocating for treif food, and in your words  will “never give up the fight” to make sure it happens. A Jewish newspaper should be advocating for Jewish values, period. 

Finally, Kashrut allows the Simkin Centre to be an inclusive Jewish institution that accommodates the needs of the entire Jewish community. There are many residents and families that consider kashrut as an integral element in how they express their Judaism. They would have no other place to send their loved ones if the Simkin Centre was not Kosher.

The vast majority of Jews in Winnipeg want to see the Simkin Centre continue to be Kosher, and we hope you will either reconsider your position or not press a minority position onto the majority. We, as the rabbis of the Winnipeg Council of Rabbis, all endorse and fully support this position.

Winnipeg Council of Rabbis

  • Rabbi Yosef Benarroch, Adas Yeshurun Herzlia
  • Rabbi Allan Finkel, Temple Shalom
  • Rabbi Matthew Leibl, Simkin Center
  • Rabbi Anibal Mass, Shaarey Tzedek
  • Rabbi Kliel Rose, Eitz Chayim

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Bernie Bellan asks: If kashrut is so intrinsic to Jewish organizations in Winnipeg, why was the Rady JCC allowed to make its annual sports dinner non-kosher?

Bernie Bellan

Here’s a question for the Council of Rabbis – whose letter tearing a strip off me for daring to question the necessity of serving fully kosher meals to every resident of the Simkin Centre appears on this website: Have you ever considered the total hypocrisy inherent in your insisting that kashrut is vital to the Simkin Centre, while the Rady JCC some years ago abandoned the requisite that its annual sports dinner be kosher?
The sports dinner asks anyone attending whether they’d like a kosher meal (which is what I suggested the Simkin Centre could also do) and, from what I’ve been told, the number of individuals who respond in the affirmative can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
I don’t recall the council of rabbis kicking up a huge fuss over that change. But, to be consistent guys, (and by the way, only one of the five rabbis on that council is actually a subscriber to The Jewish Post, butI’m glad you’re all such vociferous readers), I expect you to demand that the Rady JCC sports dinner revert to being fully kosher.
After all, as Rabbi Benarroch so succinctly puts it in his letter: “Kashrut is a Jewish value — and for many, a core Jewish value —  and it is the responsibility of Jewish organizations to uphold Jewish values.”
I won’t hold my breath waiting for you to publicly demand that the sports dinner revert to being fully kosher. As I recall, the reason that kashrut was abandoned as a prerequisite for the dinner was because of the cost. So, when Simkin Centre CEO Laurie Cerqueti wrote me in an email,  “I know for this year as of the end of October we are over budget on food by $150,000. We must continue to fund any costs on food from our existing annual budget or through fundraised dollars,” I fully expect the council of rabbis – and anyone else who is adamant that the Simkin Centre remain absolutely kosher to join in a campaign to raise that $150,000 so that Simkin can remain kosher without cutting into other areas of operation. How about it, guys?
My point in advocating for Simkin to modify its kashrut policy was to be as realistic as the people behind the sports dinner were in recognizing that the cost of a full adherence to kashrut can be prohibitively expensive. But, the sports dinner still allows anyone who wants a kosher meal to have one. That’s all that I was advocating for the Simkin Centre. So, tell me rabbis: Where do you draw the line from one Jewish institution to another? Or, does the slippery slope that you’re on also have an off ramp that allows you to abandon principles when it’s expedient to do so?

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