New documentary by Winnipeg filmmaker Yolanda Papini-Pollock exposes horrors of Falun Gong persecution in China

At the premiere of “Painful Truth: The Falun Gong Genocide”, Jan. 9, in the Berney Theatre (l-r): Ran Ukashi, National Director, B'nai Brith League for Human Rights; lawyer David Matas, longtime crusader for members of Falun Gong; Adriana Glickman, National Program Coordinator, B’nai Brith Canada; filmmaker Yolanda Papini-Pollock (standing behind Adriana); Prof Maria Cheung (Associate Professor in the U of M Faculty of Social Work, and herself a Falun Gong practitioner and survivor of the Chinese gulag); and Erol Meryl (a survivor of the Rwandan genocide)

By MYRON LOVE
Genocide can take different forms. The Holocaust, for example, and the more recent Rwandan genocide were condensed in a frenzy of killing. For the Indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australia, the killing and attempted erasure of their cultures transpired over several hundred years.
Then, there is the matter of the Falun Gong.
Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa and Qi Gong) is a practice combining simple exercises with meditation based on the principles of truthfulness, compassion and forbearance.Of ancient Chinese origin, the practice – with the encouragement of the Chinese Communist government – developed a very large following in modern China. In 1999, however, Li Peng, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, decided that practicing Falun Gong was a threat to the Chinese Communist government. He initiated a thoroughgoing campaign to demonize the practice and eradicate anyone who continued to practice the tradition.

Lifesaving Israeli training coming to Winnipeg

Magen David Adom paramedic Don Sharpe will be offering training for emergencies on Feb. 5 at the Rady JCC

By REBECA KUROPATWA

In 2016, when Magen David Adom (MDA) introduced the Life Guardian Program, thousands of Israelis with no medical training jumped at the opportunity to participate.
The Life Guardian Program added another layer of responders to emergencies to potentially save more lives with faster response time, by certifying or recertifying everyday Israeli citizens. Many participants had learned CPR as part of their army service or teacher certification, and others took first-aid basics for the first time.

Music ‘N’ Mavens kicks off 22nd season

singer Jennifer Hanson kicked off this year's edition of Music 'n Mavens

By MYRON LOVE
The Rady JCC’s popular Music ‘N’ Mavens kicked off its 22nd season on Tuesday, January 14, with a bravura performance by the incomparable Jennifer Hanson. Accompanied by Gilles Fournier on base and Murray Pulver on guitar (both of whom are also fixtures on the local music scene) – and still getting over a cold, one of Winnipeg’s leading ladies of song delivered a range of numbers beginning with long ago hits from Cole Porter and encompassing the Turtles, the Beatles, the Pointer Sisters, Linda Ronstadt and more (including a song of her own composition) while between songs chatting comfortably with her audience of nearly 200 who filled the Berney Theatre.

Bermax Caffé case takes new twist

 

Bermax Caffé the day after the alleged break-in & vandalism- April 19

By BERNIE BELLAN

As reported on the CBC website on January 16, two of the three lawyers who had been representing different members of the Berent family, which owned Bermax Caffé & Bistro, “are no longer defending” two members of the Berent family – Alexander and Oksana Berent, following a” ‘breakdown in the solicitor-client relationship,’ Crown prosecutor Mike Himmelman told the court.”
Both James Lowry, who had been defending Alexander Berent, and Martin Glazer, who had been defending Oksana Berent, have resigned as counsel for the accused, according to the CBC report.

Situation re possible sale of Town Island gets even murkier

By BERNIE BELLAN
The situation regarding the possible sale of Town Island took a somewhat confusing twist these past two weeks when an online publication known as Kenora Online reported on Monday, January 13, that Kenora-Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford (who is also Ontario’s Northern Development Minister) said “he’s working with the City of Kenora on a possible Town Island land swap.”

Dr. Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg named as an “Officer to the Order of Canada”

Dr. Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg

By BERNIE BELLAN
The list of recipients of the Order of Canada named by Canada’s Governor General, Julie Payette, now includes Dr. Cheryl Rockman-Greenberg of Winnipeg.

Rady AGM finishes in record time of 37 minutes

Recipients of Kehilot Awards at this year's AGM (for service to the Rady JCC) were (clockwise from top left): Barb Hyman, Patrick Elazar, Jannah Rittberg, Bluma Levine, Nolan Watson, Lena Steinberg (with Rady JCC Exec. Director Rob Berkowits)

By BERNIE BELLAN
There’s a lesson to be learned from how the board and staff of the Rady JCC handled their Annual General Meeting on Monday, December 16: It was over in record time!
Why was that? The answer is: No long speeches! After all, like almost any Jewish event, the main point of the evening was to get to the food - not to hear how great a year an organization just had. (Does any organization ever say they’ve had a really crappy year?)

Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education awarded judgment in lawsuit brought against parents of former Gray Academy students - but costs likely to be limited only to $100

By BERNIE BELLAN

A story about which we have been reporting since December 2018 has been the lawsuit brought by the Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education against Ido and Rochelle Raam for unpaid tuition relating to the 2017-18 school year.
In a judgment delivered by Justice Shawn Greenberg on December 17, 2019, Justice Greenberg found in favour of the plaintiff (the WBJE) in the amount of “$7,450 plus pre-judgment interest and post-judgment interest at the agreed rate.”

Groups pitch in to help less fortunate Winnipeggers

food bags put together by B'nai Brith

Various groups contributed to making this holiday season somewhat more pleasant for those among us who are less fortunate. B'nai Brith, in conjunction with Jewish Child & Family Service and the Chabad Lubavtich, provided 60 bags containing food and Chanukah-related items for different Winnipeg Jewish families.

Winnipeg Friends of Israel provided food bags containing only Israeli products - this year for Willow Place, which is a women's shelter. Read more about the great work that was the result of dedicated volunteers devoting hours of their time to worthy causes.

City of Kenora says it is not interested in subdividing Town Island; will sell to only one purchaser

left: Adam Smith - Kenora Manager of Development Services; right: Aaron London - spokesperson for the "Friends of Town Island"

By BERNIE BELLAN
A story that we have been following closely has taken an interesting twist. In the case of the looming sale of that portion of Town Island which is not already owned by BB Camp, the City of Kenora has clarified that if the rest of Town Island is sold, it will not be sold to more than one purchaser.

Chanukah around the community

8-month-old Aryeh Pfeffer holding a latke (& warning the pararazzi not to take his picture!) while mother Julie & father Aaron look on at the Chabad Chanukah celebration Dec. 22

So many different organizations had different ways to mark Chanukah this year. We've put together a series of short descriptions of what's been happening in Winnipeg's Jewish community this year. Click "read more" to see what's been going on: