By MYRON LOVE Elaine Goldstine, our Jewish Federation of Winnipeg CEO for the past seven plus years, is – on the one hand – looking forward to stepping away from the hectic pace of her position – being on call 24-7 – and being able to relax and – as the expression goes – “stop and smell the roses”.
On the other hand, looking back over the course of 30 years serving our community, she feels a sense of satisfaction for a job well done – and gratitude for having had the opportunity.
“Through my work with the Federation, I have met a lot of truly amazing people during my career. I most likely would never have had the opportunity to get to know,” she says. “I have also had the pleasure of working with many long time, dedicated staff members.”
Elaine also has much praise for our community. “It is truly remarkable that our CJA (Combined Jewish Appeal) campaign has been able to raise more and more and more money every year,” she notes. “We have many very generous donors. Our campaign raises more per capita than any other Jewish community in North America. We really do punch above our weight. I have been very fortunate to have worked with such dedicated volunteers throughout the years.”
Then there have been all the missions and visits to Israel that Elaine has participated in over the past 30 years. “I have been to Israel 22 times,” she says.
Her first visit to the Jewish homeland, she notes, was in 1996. “Over the years, I have met people throughout the country and from all walks of life and heard many compelling speakers,” she adds.
The most impactful trip, Elaine recalls, was the mission in 2014 at the height of the Gaza conflict that year. “It was so different from any of our other visit,” she recounts. “There was no one on the beach at Tel Aviv. Our group was taken to Ashdod and Sderot. We visited hospitals. We received a briefing from the mayor of Sderot while in a bomb shelter. “I felt guilty leaving all the people behind. This experience made me really appreciate what the people of Israel go through way to often.”
For Elaine Goldstine, Winnipeg has always been “home.” She was born, the youngest of three daughters – to Ben and Sadie Raber and grew up in River Heights. After graduation from Grant Park High School, Elaine went to work at the University of Manitoba in the Budgets and Grants department. Later, she transferred to the medical mollege where she worked in the purchasing departments for both the medical and dental faculties.
Elaine has been married to Ian Goldstine for 46 year and has two sons Daniel, 41, (Lainie); and Jason, 37, (Genevieve). Elaine says she was a stay-at-home mom when the boys were young.
She notes thoughj, that throughout her life, volunteer work in the community has been a constant – and that didn’t change while she was home with the kids.
“Community involvement has been a way of life for me,” she commented in her entry in the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba’s Endowment Book of Life.. “My father was very active in the community and canvassed for the CJA for over 40 years, and my mother was involved with Histadrut, National Council of Jewish Women, Brandeis Lodge Ladies Auxiliary, as well as Combined Jewish Appeal including a term as chair of Super Sunday.
“As a teen, I was active in USY and was President of the Gabriels Chapter of BBYO. In 1979 I became involved with National Council of Jewish Women, and have served as President of the Sarah Branch, President of the NCJW Winnipeg section, and served as National Treasurer and Vice President. I have served on the PTA of Ramah Hebrew School, the Business and Professional Development Committee of Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University, and on the Board of the Shaarey Zedek Sisterhood.
So, when the boys both reached school age, it is not surprising that Elaine chose to rejoin the workforce in the form of service to the Jewish community. She started working half time for the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council (as the Federation was then called). When the late Gerry Koffman, who was the CJA Director, passed away in 2004, Elaine – who had served as Women’s Campaign Director and Financial Resource Development Associate – was asked to take on the role.
And, in 2015, after the retirement of long time Federation CEO Bob Freedman – and a successor who left after a year – Elaine was tapped to become the new CEO.
Elaine considers her greatest strength throughout her time as CEO has been her ability to listen to people and bring people together. “It is really important to be kind and to listen. We are a small community, and we need to work together,” she observes.
She tells the story of one member of the community who was frequently emailing her. “I contacted him and asked him if he would like to come into my office to talk about his concerns,” she recalls. “He was surprised about the invitation because, he said, it was not like he gave a lot of money to the CJA campaign.
“For me, every community member matters, My door is open to anyone in the community. The Federation is supposed to be the representative for the entire Jewish community and everyone is important.”
One important form of ”listening” for Goldstine has been the focus groups with newcomers to the community, a program that began shortly after she became CEO. “Laurel Malkin was our president at that time, and we thought it was important that we reach out to hear how they were doing. The focus groups were inspiring,” Elaine recalls. “A couple of times a year, we get together with 20-25 people who have come to Winnipeg from different parts of the world and listen to their stories and why they chose Winnipeg. Even though, many come from much larger cities, they all talk about how they love living in Winnipeg and being part of such a warm and welcoming Jewish community.
“It has been gratifying to hear.”
Elaine Goldstine will be retiring at the end of August. While she says that she has no plans yet after retirement, she expects that she will continue to volunteer her time and is looking forward to doing some travelling with Ian (who retired a couple of years ago) and spending time with family – especially baby granddaughter Abby.
Congregation Etz Chayim says good bye to 123 Matheson Ave.
By BERNIE BELLAN After 71 years of serving as the home for first the Rosh Pina Synagogue, then for the past 21 years as the home for what was the merger of three different congregations – Rosh Pina’s, along with the Bnay Abraham and Beth Israel, the Etz Chayim Congregation held its final service on Wednesday, November 29.
You can read the story by CJN writer John Longhurst elsewhere on this site (https://jewishpostandnews.ca/rss/congregation-etz-chayim-in-winnipeg-says-a-bittersweet-farewell-to-their-old-building-as-they-prepare-to-move/) along with our earlier story about the sale of the building to an Eritrean Church (https://jewishpostandnews.ca/faqs/rokmicronews-fp-1/former-congregation-etz-chayim-synagogue-building-to-become-eritrean-orthodox-church/), but here are some pictures from the final service.
(Photos courtesy of Keith Levit)
Israel report by former Winnipegger Bruce Brown
By BRUCE BROWN (posted Nov. 28/23) Was driving home from work the other day. Pre-ceasefire. Left the office early to reduce driving time in the evening hours. Hamas likes their 6PM missile barrage and I’m honing my missile-avoidance routine.
Was listening to talk-radio… but kind of had enough of the news. Too much war talk and its getting a bit overwhelming. So switched to Spotify and up popped Supertramp – the Logical Song. For sure how ‘wonderful, beautiful, magical’ life once felt. Before Oct 7th. Before Hamas.
Then, as if on cue. I gaze towards the sky. And saw missiles flying overhead. At first it didn’t really click. And then. Yikes! I quickly switched back to the news. Where, in a very calming voice, they were announcing areas under missile attack. Which is another reason to listen to the radio while driving during war – real-time information. Lesson learned.
Suddenly my smartphone’s flashlight started flashing. Which was pretty darn cool! And there I was, on Star Trek. Standing on the bridge. Even recalled the vessel number – NCC-1701. There I was with Captain Kirk. No! I was Captain Kirk. Dr. McCoy by my side. Sulu and Chekov at the controls. The Klingons were attacking. And Mr. Spock -standing to the side- was calmy advising the attack coordinates. No Wait! That was the radio announcer. Seriously. This all took place within a split second in my over-active imagination.
The flashing continued. Then I realized my cellphone was communicating with me. Warning of danger. I have the Home Front Command application which sounds an amazingly loud alarm during a missile attack in my area. But changing between the radio and Spotify prevented the siren from going off. So instead, the phone activated my flashlight. Sending out an S.O.S. Now how neat is that! In a geeky sort of way. Like for someone who imagines himself on Star Trek during a real-life missile attack.
Then. Reality set in. There were Home Front Command instructions to follow. Momentary-panic set in. Where was my wife. To tell me what to do. Like she always does…but that’s another story. This time I wanted her there, instructing me.
All these thoughts racing through my mind in milliseconds. As I calmly slowed the car and veered to the shoulder. Like other cars around me. I put on the blinkers. More flashing lights but the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise now a distant thought. Looking both ways I left the car and hopped over the road- barrier. Moving away from the car. Although probably not far enough. Because there was a steep decline just below. It was getting dark and, suffering from poor night vision, I didn’t want to trip and hurt myself. I heard my son laughing at me. “Nerd!” he called out. But that was just my imagination.
I should have laid flat. Prostrating myself for maximum protection. But it rained earlier that day, the ground was wet and I didn’t want to get muddy. ‘”Nerd!” This time it was my daughter in my mind’s eye. “Okay,” I said to no one in particular. “I’ll squat.” Good enough…but not really.
The family in the car ahead were huddling together but too close to their vehicle. I shouted for them to move further away. But they didn’t react. Probably didn’t understand me, especially given my still heavily accented Canadian Hebrew. This time I heard both my kids. Teasing me – thirty years and still talk like an immigrant! “Hey, they just don’t hear me.” I said to the darkness. Otherwise it was very moving seeing the father crouching down on top of his brood, in a protective sort of way. “Isn’t that touching.” I said to my wife. “For sure.” She said somewhat sarcastically in the back of my mind, “I know you’d do the same.”
Then it was over. The sky went quiet. People returned to their cars. The nestled family broke apart and entered theirs. We should have stayed in place several more minutes. Ten minutes is the recommended time. But it was dark. Getting late. Also a bit cold. I just wanted to get home. Back to the real chiding of my kids and to my wife… somehow longing for her ordering me about.
A few minutes later my wife called. Making sure I was safe. And then routine set in. “Don’t forget to pick up some milk and bread from the corner store.” She instructed me.
Um Israel Chai
Bruce Brown. A Canadian. And an Israeli. Bruce made Aliyah…a long time ago. He works in Israel’s hi-tech sector by day and, in spurts, is a somewhat inspired writer by night. Bruce is the winner of the 2019 American Jewish Press Association Simon Rockower Award for excellence in writing. And wrote the 1998 satire, An Israeli is…. Bruce’s reflects on life in Israel – political, social, economic and personal. With lots of biting, contrarian, sardonic and irreverent insight.
Jewish community holds solidarity rally November 25
The Jewish Federation of Winnipeg held a rally in support of Israel on Saturday evening, November 25.
A number of speakers addressed the crowd of 800, including Rabbi Yosef Benarroch of Adas Yeshurun-Herzlia Congregation; Members of Parliament Ben Carr & Marty Morantz; Yolanda Papini-Pollock of Winnipeg Friends of Israel; Paula McPherson, former Brock Corydon teacher; and Gustavo Zentner, President of the Jewish Federation.
Click here to watch Ben Carr’s remarks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crfREGNRKfg
Click here to watch a video of Marty Morantz’s remarks: https://studio.youtube.com/video/zHzC-iaqivg/ed
Click here to watch a video of Gustavo Zentner’s remarks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3M_cCYuLgs