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The mayor of Jerusalem visited Winnipeg – but I never got a chance to speak with him

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion being
greeted by Larry Vickar while
his wife, Stavit, & Jerusalem
Foundation Executive Director
Shai Doron look on

By BERNIE BELLAN On Wednesday, June 15 I was expecting to have a chance to meet the mayor of Jerusalem, whose name I found out is Moshe Lion. What follows is an email I sent to Keith Levit, who was taking pictures of the mayor and his entourage that day, and who asked me whether I was going to use any of the pictures he took.

Hi Keith,
Wednesday was a crazy day. I didn’t know what was expected of me as far as those visitors from Israel was concerned. I kept getting different information from different people. It started with a phone call from Joe Wilder last week, who told me the mayor of Jerusalem was going to be in Winnipeg and asked whether I would meet with him? I said “sure, just tell me when.” Joe said he would get back to me.
Then I received an email from someone from Israel who asked me whether I would be willing to meet with someone by the name of Shai Doron, who is the executive director of the Jerusalem Foundation. When I wrote back saying that I would, she responded that I should meet him in “Tuxedo Mall” on Wednesday. (I assumed that Doron must be traveling with the mayor.) When I told her that seemed really strange because that’s a vast outlet mall, she said she would get back to me. (She never told me why I was being asked to meet with him.)
Subsequently, the person in Israel phoned me to discuss what was going to be happening. I asked her whether, in addition to meeting Doron, I might have a chance to talk to the mayor. She said the mayor didn’t like to do interviews. (That’s so typical of politicians who hold office these day.)

So, I contacted Elaine Goldstine (CEO of the Jewish Federation), to ask whether I’d have a chance to meet the mayor of Jerusalem when he was here. Elaine said she’d let me know. On Wednesday morning she sent me an email telling me to come down to the campus at 1:15. Well, you saw what happened. You were outside taking pictures of a very large entourage (and I had no idea who most of those people were). It turned out they were getting ready to go to the Human Rights Museum. Joe Wilder introduced me quickly to the mayor. I shook his hand and when he asked who I was, someone told him I was with the Jewish newspaper. That was it – off he and the entourage went. (Someone asked me if I wanted to come along, but I figured “What for?” They were going to be touring the museum and I knew I wasn’t going to get a chance to talk to the mayor.)
But, before they left Shai Doron introduced himself to me and asked me whether I could meet him at Polo Park at 3:00. I asked where and he told me wherever there was a place to get something to eat.
So, off I went on my bike to Polo Park shortly before 3. Doron had given me his WhatsApp number to call, but it turns out someone already has to be a contact who’s accepted you as a contact before you can phone them, so I wasn’t able to phone him to tell him I was there.
I kept looking around the food court for him and was ready to leave when I got a phone call from him. (I don’t know how he got my number.) He said he was in Polo Park and when I said I was in the food court, he said, “Just wait there, I’m coming up the escalator.”
When I finally saw him he said he’d like a coffee. It turns out that none of the food kiosks in Polo Park serve coffee. Strange, huh?
We finally sat down and I asked him where the mayor was? He said he was shopping before they had to go to the airport to catch a flight to Vancouver. I thought that was neat: the mayor of Jerusalem shopping in Polo Park. I wonder whether he had a bodyguard with him. (I doubt it. Doron said that he and the mayor and another woman came together in one car.)
Anyway, when Doron told me what he wanted to talk about, he told me that I couldn’t write about what he just told me – at least not yet. I said: “Don’t worry. I’m not going to divulge your scoop.” (It is an interesting story, but not of earth-shaking importance, and anyway it will have to wait until I get official word that it’s okay to publish something – if I decide that it’s even newsworthy.)
I said to Doron that I had to leave to go watch the Jewish Foundation AGM. I said good bye and returned home in time to watch a very short AGM. (Boy, it’s great having these AGMs on Zoom. They’re done in no time at all.)
But really, why did I have to meet Doron at Polo Park anyway? We could just as well have talked over the phone or someone could have sent me an email telling me there was going to be an interesting story coming soon, but I couldn’t write about it yet. (I love hearing that someone has a great story for me – but I can’t write about it yet.)
So, I have nothing to write about why the mayor was visiting Winnipeg here, other than meeting with various individuals. You sent lots of pictures – and they’re all very nice, but if he had anything interesting to say, well, I wasn’t there to hear it. It all seems kind of strange to me. I know that probably because of security concerns and because he was here for such a brief visit that other media weren’t alerted to his coming here, but I would have liked to have heard what he had to say. I’ll use at least one of the pictures you sent, and I’m going to use this email as the story to go with them – instead of what could have been a more substantial report about the mayor of Jerusalem’s whirlwind visit to Winnipeg.
One more thing: I wonder what he was shopping for in Polo Park?

Follow-up: Keith Levit did respond to my email. He also wondered how things got so fouled up as far as my meeting the mayor went. (I should note that Joe Wilder observed that there were simply too many cooks in the kitchen.) Keith also explained that it was the mayor’s wife who was the woman in the car with the mayor and Shai Doron and it was she who wanted to do some shopping at Polo Park for her grandchildren.

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Winnipeg-born Elliot Lazar to star as Paul Simon in “The Simon & Garfunkel Story” at Centennial Concert Hall

By BERNIE BELLAN Elliot Lazar’s career has long been chronicled in the pages of The Jewish Post & News. Do a search for his name in our “Search Archives” button and you will find a multitude of stories about Elliot from the time he was five years old.
A talented singer, musician, and musical arranger, also a graduate of Gray Academy, the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music, and the Boston Conservatory, Elliot has appeared many times in Winnipeg, including most recently last summer in Rainbow Stage’s production of “Rent.”
He’s been constantly busy – as a review of some of his past acting credits reveals. Last season alone, in addition to his performing in “Rent,” Elliot also appeared in the National Tour of “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “The Band’s Visit” (Huntington/Speakeasy Stage).
We’re excited to announce that Elliot will be appearing in Winnipeg for one night only, May 21, starring as Paul Simon in “The Simon & Garfunkel Story.”

Here’s Elliot’s own story about his growing up in Winnipeg:
“I grew up in Garden City, attended Gray Academy (K-12) and majored in vocal performance at the University of Manitoba’s Desautels Faculty of Music. I lived in Winnipeg until I was 22, so I’m pretty connected with the arts scene there still. The venue we’re playing, the Centennial Concert Hall, I was last seen in Guys and Dolls in concert with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra and Rainbow Stage (2019), and before that I sang with the Manitoba Opera Chorus in 3 productions there. My last performance in Winnipeg was in Rent with Rainbow Stage this past summer. Other local performing arts companies I have a history with there are Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, Winnipeg Studio Theatre, Dry Cold Productions, Manitoba Theatre for Young People, Manitoba Underground Opera, Little Opera Company, and the Winnipeg Fringe Festival. I grew up going to see shows at the Concert Hall, so it’s a wonderful full circle moment for me.”

Elliot Lazar (second from left bottom row) as Paul Simon

About “The Simon & Garfunkel Story”:
Nostalgia-inducing unforgettable hits! The internationally-acclaimed hit theater show The Simon & Garfunkel Story ( returns to the road in 2024 with a North American tour to more than 25 cities. Kicking off in Richmond, Kentucky on January 28, 2024, the immersive concert-style tribute show will recreate the magic and authenticity of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel on stage and chronicles the amazing journey shared by the iconic, GRAMMY-award winning folk-rock duo. It tells the story from their humble beginnings as Tom & Jerry, to their incredible success as one of the best-selling music groups of the ‘60s, and to their dramatic split in 1970. The Simon & Garfunkel Story culminates with the pair’s famous “The Concert in Central Park” reunion in 1981 which had more than half a million fans in attendance. Tickets are on sale now.
The show features a set list of nearly 30 songs and uses state-of-the-art video projection, photos and original film footage. A full live band will perform all of the hits including “Mrs. Robinson,” “Cecilia,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Homeward Bound” and many more complete with the unmistakably perfect harmonies that will transport audiences down memory lane.
With more than 100 million album sales since 1965, Simon & Garfunkel’s unforgettable songs and poetic lyrics poignantly captured the times made them one of the most successful folk-rock duos of all time. Over the years, they won 10 GRAMMY Awards and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. In 1977, the Brit Awards honored their “Bridge Over Troubled Water” album with Best International Album. In 2003, Simon & Garfunkel were awarded a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the following year saw their “The Sound of Silence” awarded a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.

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Ida and the late Saul Alpern have donated 2 ambulances and a scooter to Magen David Adom in past 4 years

Saul z"l and Ida Alpern

By BERNIE BELLAN Saul Alpern passed away in 2022, but before he died he and his wife Ida had decided to make Magen David Adom a major recipient of their generosity.

As Myron Love noted in an October 2020 article the Alperns had been contributing small amounts to the Canadian Magen David Adom for some time, but it was in that year they decided to donate $160,000 for the purchase of a Mobile Intensive Care Unit for Israel’s Magen David Adom.

As Myron wrote in that 2020 article, an MICUA (which is larger than an ambulance, is staffed by paramedics, and responds only to the most medically serious cases) was donated “to the people of Israel in memory of Saul Alpern’s parents and siblings who perished in the Holocaust.

“It is an expression of my love for my family and my love of Israel,” Saul Alpern said at the time.

In early 2022 the Alperns donated yet another $170,000 for the purchase of a second MICU for Magen David Adom.

The scooter recently donated by Ida Alpern in memory of her late husband and parents/plaque imprinted on the front of the scooter carrier box

Saul Alpern passed away in November 2022, but Ida Alpern has now continued the legacy of giving to Canadian Magen David Adom that she and Saul had begun several years before. Just recently Ida contributed $39,000 toward the purchase of an emergency medical scooter. According to the CMDA website, “the scooter, which is driven by a paramedic, can get through traffic faster than the Standard Ambulance or MICU and provide pre-hospital care. It contains life-saving equipment, including a defibrillator, an oxygen tank, and other essential medical equipment.”

I asked Ida whether she wanted to say anything about the motivation for her and her late husband’s support for CMDA. She wrote, “Having survived the Holocaust, and being a Zionist, Saul felt that supporting Israel was of the utmost importance.”

On May 7, CMDA will be honouring Ida and Saul z”l Alpern at a dinner and show at the Centro Caboto Centre. Another highlight that evening will be the announcement of the purchase of an ambulance for CMDA by another Winnipegger, Ruth Ann Borenstein. That ambulance will be in honour of Ruth’s late parents, Gertrude and Harry Mitchell. The evening will also commemorate the late Yoram East (aka Hamizrachi), who was a well-known figure both in Israel and here in Winnipeg.

For more information about the May 7 event go to or to purchase tickets phone 587-435-5808 or email

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Local News

Simkin Centre looking for volunteers

A scene from last year's Simkin Stroll

We received the following email from Heather Blackman, Simkin Centre Director of Volunteers & Resident Experience:

Happy Spring Everyone! Hope you all are well. We have a number of upcoming volunteer opportunities that I wanted to share with you. Please take a look at what we have listed here and let me know if you are available for any of the following. I can be reached at or 204-589-9008.
Save the date! The Simkin Stroll is on June 25th this year and we need tons of volunteers to assist. This is our annual fundraiser and there is something for everyone to help with from walking with Residents in the Stroll to manning booths and tables, event set up and take down and much more. Volunteers will be needed from 3 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on this day. Come and help for the full event or for any period within that timeframe that works for you.
Resident Store – This tuck shop style cart will be up for business shortly. Residents will be assisting to stock and run the store for 2 hours 2- 3 times per week in the afternoons. Volunteer support is needed to assist residents with restocking items and monetary transactions.
Passover Volunteers
Volunteers are needed to assist with plating Seder plates for Residents (date to be determined for plating)
Volunteers are needed to assist Residents to and from Passover Services and Come and Go Teas.
Times volunteers are needed for services/teas:
April 22cnd – First Seder 1:30-3:30 p.m.
April 23rd – Passover Service Day 1 – 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
April 23rd – Second Seder – 1:30-3:30 p.m.
April 24th – Passover Service – Day 2 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
April 29th – Passover Service – 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
April 29th- Passover Tea – 1:30-3:30 p.m.
April 30th – Passover Service – 9:30 -11:30 a.m.
April 30th – Passover Tea – 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Admin/Paperwork Volunteers – Volunteers are needed to assist with filing and other administrative duties. A monthly volunteering job is also available to input information on programming into Recreation activity calendars. Support would be provided for this.
Adult Day Program – A volunteer is needed to assist with the Mondays Adult Day Program Group. A regular ongoing weekly commitment on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Assist with Recreation programming and lunch supervision for our Adult Day Program participants that come in from the community for the day.
Biking Volunteers – Take our residents out for a spin on one of our specialty mobility bicycles. Training is provided and volunteers will be needed throughout the Spring, Summer and early Fall.

With summer coming there is also opportunity to assist with outings and other outdoor programming! Please let me know if you are interested!

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