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Jackie Silverberg

By GERRY POSNER

How much can a daughter be like her mother? Apparently, if you look at the life of Jackie Silverberg, quite a lot. Not only is there a physical resemblance and a vocal similarity, but Jackie has captured her mother, the late Laila Silverberg’s passion for running (and indeed beyond that). The parallels are striking.

 


For those readers who may not remember Laila Silverberg, she was at one time the former Laila Barsky. She later married Harry Silverberg (there was more than one Harry Silverberg in Winnipeg at that time).
The couple had three children, of whom Jackie was the eldest child. Laila worked as a teacher’s aide for a period of time. I suppose it was no coincidence that Jackie Silverberg became a teacher in Ontario for a number of years. Jackie came to teaching after her employment in the fashion industry. This was an echo in reverse of her mother’s departure from teaching to work in sales for the World Book Encyclopedia Company. (I’m guessing they are not selling those books door to door anymore).
Jackie’s career, in fact, has had several lives to it. Upon graduating from the Faculty of Home Economics at the University of Manitoba, Jackie worked in childcare in Winnipeg for a couple years. She spent a year in Israel and then, upon her return to Winnipeg in 1973, she graduated from a Family Studies program.


“Diversified” is the word to describe Jackie. In 1977, Jackie moved to Toronto and entered the fashion world. She later ran her own fashion business, known as “Jackie and Co.”, which she operated for eight years. Then, she made an abrupt turn and entered the world of teaching. For over 20 years, Jackie was a high school teacher..
But, all these various changes in her life were nothing compared to the most major life change that she undertook upon retirement.
Jackie once again followed the path carved out by her mother - who ran in eight marathons. Keep in mind that Laila Silverberg only began running in marathons when she was in her 50s, and one of those marathons included a run of the half marathon in Tel Aviv.


The next time you are in the Rady JCC, take a look at the Wall of Fame and you’ll see a picture of Laila Silverberg there. Thus, Laila was a model for her daughter Jackie, who embraced the challenge.
Jackie has now competed in many marathons in various locations across North America, often placing first or second in her age category. None of this ought to be so surprising as Jackie admits she is a “poster child for retirement” and that she is fitter now than she has ever been.
Jackie is not into just running; she is an avid cyclist as well. In fact, in May 2019, Jackie and her daughter Zoe cycled from Montreal to Vermont on a self supported trip. If that were not enough, in June, 2019, Jackie Silverberg, a Jewish woman from the north end of Winnipeg - a month after her cycling expedition, hiked in Iceland and, in the summer,canoed in Northern Ontario.
This same year Jackie cycled from Rwanda to Uganda (which is slightly longer than the Winnipeg Beach to Gimli trek - to put it mildly). From Uganda, she flew to Cairo and participated in a little bicycle journey to Khartoum. You get the picture. Jackie is a committed athlete even as she draws near a new number for her: 70.


Jackie is petite, yet she has the resolve and focus that all great athletes must have. Her achievements are truly extraordinary, and I suggest worthy of a change in her last name from SILVERberg to GOLDberg. My best guess is that there are more marathons ahead for Jackie Silverberg.

 

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