Hope & Howard Morry

By MYRON LOVE
There were accolades in abundance for Hope and Howard Morry on Wednesday, October 23, as more than 600 people turned out at the Winnipeg Convention Centre for a gala evening, organized by the Canadian Associates of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (CABGU) in honour of the long time community leaders.


Mitchell Oelbaum, CABGU president, described them as “the epitome of a caring couple” who “personify the Jewish tenet of tikkun olam”.
Gail Asper noted that they are people “who get things done” as well as being strong Zionists.
Chuck LaFleche, former president and CEO of the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, and master of ceremonies for the evening, commented on how much he admired and respected the Morrys’ commitment to philanthropic endeavours. He also praised Howard for his long-standing work with First Nations Communities and involvement in furthering reconciliation efforts.
And Larry Vickar added that CABGU couldn’t have chosen a more deserving couple to honour. “This recognition for Hope and Howard is long overdue,” he said.


Together and separately, Howard and Hope Morry have played an outsized role in the life of our Jewish community and the community at large. Hope has served on the boards of the Jewish Federation, Hadassah-WIZO, the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Manitoba Opera. She has chaired many highly successful events in the community, and has been previously honoured by a number of organizations for her efforts.
Howard – who is a lawyer with Pitblado Law specializing in Aboriginal Law, Business Restructuring and Tax and Estates – was the youngest president in the history of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg. He is a founding member of the Arab-Jewish Dialogue, a two-time co-chair of the Combined Jewish Appeal campaign, and has had leadership roles with State of Israel Bonds, the Jewish National Fund, Hadassah, Shaarey Zedek Congregation, UIA Federations Canada, and the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba.
He is particularly gratified by his efforts in fostering Indigenous business leadership through the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, an organization on whose board of directors he has served for 25 years.


In his remarks, Howard Morry focused on the importance of leadership. “We have been inspired by the giants of our community – people such as Izzy Asper, Harold Buchwald and Marjorie Blankstein – on whose shoulders we stand,” he said. “And the job for my generation is to pass on the right education and values to the next generation so that they will assume our roles in the future. We need to do more to prepare our youth to become the leaders of tomorrow, to dream big and inspire others.”
To that end, the more than $600,000 raised by the Gala evening is going toward creating the new Hope and Howard Morry Global Leadership Initiative at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheva. Mitchell Oelbaum noted that the sum is the largest amount of money ever raised in one community in Canada – and possibly in all of North America – for Ben-Gurion University.
Professor Daniel Chamovitz, newly-installed president of Ben-Gurion University, noted that the “Hope and Howard Morry Global Leadership Initiative comes at a perfect time in BGU’s development and fits perfectly with our strategic plan. The initiative will become a driving force in seeding, nurturing and inspiring needed leadership skills among our partners (including Israeli Arabs and Bedouins) in the development of Israel’s southern Negev region.“


The program will also be open to students worldwide, Howard Morry noted. The University of Manitoba may be a potential partner in the program, following in the footsteps of current collaborative research efforts between BGU and the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation and the ten-year-old Arni Thorsteinson Exchange Program – funded by the Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman Foundation – that annually brings together Asper School of Business students and their counterparts from BGU’s Guilford Glazer Faculty of Business and Management.
Next spring, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. Over that period of time, the university student body has grown to number 20,000 students taught by 4,000 staff and faculty members on three campuses. Israel’s youngest and fastest-growing university has become a global leader in high tech in many fields and has turned Beersheva into the Israeli Silicon Valley.
In his presentation, Professor Chamovitz recalled the words of the late, great David Ben-Gurion who said that “in order to be a realist in Israel you have to believe in miracles” and the creation and growth of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev is one such miracle.