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This year’s Jewish Federation Kavod Awards were held at the Etz Chayim on Wednesday evening, May 20th.

The Kavod awards are always a somewhat light-hearted affair. While award recipients are aware of the honours that are about to be bestowed upon them well in advance, watching the parade of award givers and recipients move to the requisite spot to be photographed by long-time Kavod Awards photographer Manuel Sousa one after the another usually leads to at least one funny moment.
For instance, during this year’s ceremony, MC David Kroft, outgoing president of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, had, at one point to introduce himself as a presenter (of a Shem Tov award) to Barbara Goszer.
Kroft said something like this: “And now, the Jewish Federation’s Shem Tov award is to be presented by David Kroft.” Then, while Kroft read out the description of Barbara Goszer’s contributions to the Jewish Federation, Barbara went to grab her award, which she gave to David to give back to her.
When Tracy Kasner Greaves went to the podium (on the right side of the Etz Chayim bimah) to give her acceptance speech for the Larry Hurtig Communal Professional Award, she told the audience that she wasn’t used to standing on that side of the bimah. (Of course, Tracy is probably best known as the Etz Chayim cantor, always standing at the podium on the opposite side of the bimah.)
Here are excerpts from some of the remarks made by major award recipients:
Tracy Kasner Greaves: “That feeling of responsibility and commitment to my people has brought me a great joy every day of my life…My understanding of the meaning of community has come to me in the 13 years I have served as cantor of the Etz Chayim…I’m always moved by the simple truth that has carried us through centuries of Jewish life: ‘People need people who need people.’ “(Can you imagine if Barbra Streisand had been a cantor too?)
“Winnipeg is a community, though relatively small, mightier than most in its commitment to youth and seniors…50 years from now, when young people hear the words “from strength to strength’ they will reconnect because they are true.”

In introducing Baillie Chisick, recipient of the Harry Silverberg Young Leader of Distinction Award, David Kroft noted that, under Baillie’s direction, the Combined Jewish Appeal had attracted more new young people to its donor rolls than ever before (129 new donors between the ages 20-40, Baillie pointed out later).
During her remarks, Baillie paid tribute to other young members of the community who had also contributed so successfully to the enlargement of the young donor pool, particularly Jared Ackman, Danial Sprintz, Jason Gisser, Beni Rothman and Dov Secter.
Baillie explained that, growing up as the granddaughter of Ken and Elyse Halprin, and the daughter of Brian and Susan Klein, “the idea of the CJA was prevalent in my parents’ home as I saw the canvasser cards out on the table.”
She noted the sense of commitment to community that had been imbued her at a very early age, saying that it just seemed so natural to want to take a lead role in bringing other young people into the fold with her.

Daniel Friedman was the recipient of the Max Nathanson Young Leadership Award. This past year Daniel had co-chaired the CJA campaign (along with Bob Silver).
Daniel, who came to Winnipeg with his parents a little over 20 years ago from his native Israel, said to the audience: “Our strength is not in our numbers - it’s what we do as a community…In Winnipeg being Jewish is an ongoing effort – in Israel, where I come from, it’s taken for granted.”

Larry Vickar introduced Max and Mollie Shore Memorial Award recipient Harold Fleishman.
Larry asked the audience: “How many of you can say you’ve canvassed for the CJA for more than 50 years (speaking of Harold)?”
Larry pointed out that, in 2006, Harold’s wife Brownie received the same award as Harold was receiving, while his daughter, Debbie, received a Shem Tov award for her work on behalf of Camp Massad.
In accepting his award, Harold, who was speaking from a wheelchair, noted that he has always believed that no donation, no matter how small, is not worth calling a potential donor. He said that he has long held a belief to “equality of access by all members of the community to community institutions.”

The final award, the Sol Kanee Distinguished Service Medal, was presented by Gail Asper to Moe Levy. Given the long relationship that Gail and Moe have had, beginning with Moe’s serving as executive director of the Asper Foundation, it was only fitting that the always very spontaneous Gail Asper would introduce him.
Gail noted that, prime among Moe’s achievements – in addition to his stellar work in seeing the Canadian Museum for Human Rights to fruition, as a result of Moe’s efforts, over 13,000 Canadian high school students have now taken a trip to Washington, DC to visit the Holocaust Museum there. (Gail added the Asper Foundation’s focus will now be on bringing high school students to Winnipeg to visit the CMHR.)
Moe’s own remarks were very light-hearted. He began by explaining how important a role the Rady JCC men’s locker room played in his canvassing for contributions to the CMHR over the years: “I was able to get more pledges for the museum in the Rady steam room than any other place. If I tried to buttonhole executives at Canwest (which used to be an Asper-owned company back in the good old days), they could run away. But in the steam room there’s no place to hide!”
(Later David Kroft added that wasn’t an image he particularly wanted to envision.)
Moe further noted that his earliest plunge into fundraising had been somewhat less exciting than trying to raise $150 million for the CMHR (which is how much was eventually raised from private donors).
“My fundraising activities had been limited to fundraising for the Herzlia to rescue a boiler that was about to blow. “(Ed. note: That boiler has finally been laid to rest. It can still be seen in the basement of the Herzlia, similar to a now-extinct volcano.) Or, Moe added, he had been called upon to lead ponies around the Ramah playground for five hours during a Ramah School fun fair. Moe noted that one of the riders had once happened to be Baillie Chisick.
“I let her ride around one more time even though she only gave me one ticket,” he remarked.
On a more serious note, Moe told the audience that “you don’t have to write a cheque to inspire and create change.”
He told the story of an Arab waiter working at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem whom Moe befriended. Over the years, Moe said, he offered that waiter advice on various matters.
“Now his kids are doctors and lawyers,” he noted, pointing out that astute advice can often be worth more than actual financial aid.
Similarly, he told of helping a security guard at the Asper Campus write his resumé (I assume he told that individual not to write his resumé in the steam room, however.)
Moe ended his remarks with this very apt quotation from none other than Benjamin Franklin (who was not, to the best of my knowledge a canvasser for the CJA, although I’m sure he would have been glad to contribute to the campaign had he been asked):
“Tell me and I may forget,
Teach may and I may remember,
Involve me and I will learn.”
And with that attendees headed to the sumptuous desserts.

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