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Obituaries

Roseline Usiskin (née Wolodarsky)

With great sadness, we announce the sudden passing of Roseline Usiskin on November 2, 2022 after a brief illness. She was ninety-four years old. Roseline (also known as Baba, Rose or Roz) was an important person in so many people’s lives. She was a friend and a mentor to us all; a shining example of integrity, principle and kindness.
Roz was born in 1928 in Winnipeg, the third of seven surviving children born to Joseph Wolodarsky and Florence (Litman). She married Larry Usiskin in 1949. Roz is survived by her sons Michael (Jean), Arnie (Robyn) and Len (Priscilla), and her grandchildren Jana (Nic), Josh (Shelley), Aaron (Kasandra), Beth (Rob), Jacqui (Max), Mika (Alekcei), and great grandchildren Laurence, Miriam, Konrad, Julia, Felix, Aria, Nolan, Edie, Basil, Nya and Lola as well as her sister Evelyn, brother Bill (AnnMaree), brothers-in-law Dave and Sid (Viki) and sister-in-law Marcia, and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews. Her parents, Joseph and Florence, her husband Larry, her siblings Doris, Jack, Shirley and Marilyn, and her sisters- and brothers-in-law Fred, Shirley, Sid, and Martin predeceased her.
Roz lived a remarkable and engaged life, which was shaped in her youth by radical left wing family members and friends who were writers and activists. She thought critically and she was curious about the world and other’s points of view. She loved to read and debate ideas and to discuss the pressing issues of the day.
Some of her activities and accomplishments include teaching kindergarten at Peretz and Shalom Aleichem schools; director of the children’s summer Camp Husavik; completion of high school as an adult and then going on to complete a Master’s degree in Sociology and History (earning a gold medal for both); lecturer at the University of Winnipeg; published articles and book reviews focused on the Jewish radical left in Winnipeg (she was widely consulted about her research); founding executive director of the Manitoba Multicultural Resource Centre; president of the Jewish Historical Society of Western Canada where she facilitated its’ move to the Jewish Community Campus; a lifelong member of the United Jewish People’s Order (UJPO) serving for many years as local President and also as a member of the national executive board; member of the national editorial board of the Canadian Jewish Outlook; and member of Jewish Voices for Peace. Roz also translated (from Yiddish to English), edited and published two books of letters by her father and his relatives.
Roz’s social and political activism included many progressive issues related to human rights, peace and social justice. She was part of the secular Jewish movement and was passionate about preserving Yiddish language and culture. She sang in various Jewish and labour choirs and was a founding organizer of the Shalom Aleichem Cultural group.
Roz and Larry travelled extensively all over the world. She loved attending cultural events — theatre, concerts, movies, ballet and opera.
Maintaining close family connections was extremely important to Roz. She was the matriarch of both the Wolodarsky and Usiskin families and she ensured that family and friends came together for every possible milestone or simcha. She loved to host suppers and gatherings in her Winnipeg home and at her Winnipeg Beach cottage. Food was an essential part of every get together. She especially enjoyed lively conversations with family and friends, often with a cup of tea in hand.
Both Roz and Larry were supportive, loving and proud parents and grandparents. They raised three active boys in a modest bungalow on Burrin Avenue in West Kildonan. Roz was very involved in her childrens’ and grandchildrens’ lives. She was also involved in the lives of her siblings and many nieces and nephews. Many people not in our family adopted her as a mother figure. They knew they could always come to her for support and advice.
We are inspired by her enthusiasm for life, her kindness and generosity, and the curiosity and intellect she demonstrated throughout her life. Her whole family is proud of all her accomplishments and the ideals she stood for. We know Roz felt there was still much work to be done to make the world a better place for all, and she was involved in projects as recently as this past autumn. She planted many seeds for peace and justice, and her legacy will carry on to make a better world.
Roz’s funeral was held Sunday, November 6, 2022, at the Hebrew Sick Cemetery. We are planning a larger celebration of Roz’s life at Winnipeg Beach next summer. Donations in Roz’s honour may be made to: UJPO (United Peoples Jewish Order), the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada, the Judaic Studies Program at the University of Manitoba, or to a meaningful organization of your choice.

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Obituaries

GERTRUDE YUSIM

Trudy was born July 29, 1926 in Winnipeg. She grew up in River Heights, attended Mulvey Elementary, continued on to graduate from Gordon Bell High School, and studied at a technical college to become a bookkeeper.

Trudy and Moe Yusim married on June 30, 1952 and raised their family, Alan, Norman, Susan and Robert.

Trudy was smart, beautiful, poised, dignified and elegant. She enjoyed bowling, playing bridge (she was a Life Grand Master who played well into her 90s.)

Moe’s sudden death in 1977 was heartbreaking. and Trudy faced her heartbreak with resolve, determination, strength, and resilience.

Trudy continued to live in the family home for another 35 years. She was an amazing cook and her meals brought the whole family together many times a year and for holiday celebrations. It was hard for her to leave the family home after her health took a turn, but during her 12 years at the Shaftesbury Residence she found continued comfort and a place to be social, to join activities, and a place where she could proudly entertain her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

As a grandmother she was Nanny Trudy. Her love for and interest in everything her grandchildren and great- grandchildren were doing was obvious. She absorbed their interests and made them her own. She celebrated all their accomplishments and achievements, both personal and professional. 
Trudy passed away peacefully on January 8, 2024 at the Simkin Centre. The family is grateful for the tender care she received during her final months.  Trudy leaves behind her four children and their spouses, nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by her parents Rose and Max Thow and her beloved husband Moe and her great- grandson Leo.
The family would like to thank Rabbi Matthew Leibl for officiating at Trudy’s graveside service. As a long-time family friend his eulogy to Trudy was both personal and poignant.

In conclusion, here are words written by Trudy’s eldest granddaughter: 
“She was the strongest woman, going through the tragedy of losing her beloved husband suddenly and at a young age. Left with 4 children and without the love of her life. She persevered, and became a more independent woman than she ever was before. She still enjoyed life and continued on to live another 47 years with grace and love. She lived a full life of 97 years, with many different chapters. We love her and will miss her always.”

May Trudy Yusim be at peace.

And may her memory be a blessing.

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Obituaries

ANN NOVAK

Anne Novak (née Fink) passed away peacefully in her 100th year on January 24, 2024. She lived a life that spanned three continents and two centuries. Born in Sanok, Poland on March 18, 1923, Anne was the second of five siblings born to an observant Jewish family. Her early years in Poland were happy, but life became bleak when Hitler invaded in 1939. Before long the Fink family fled to their grandparents’ home in the Russian controlled part of Poland seeking safety. Unfortunately, the Russians deported the family to the depths of Siberia where they were resettled in work camps. The war years were filled with hunger and depravation, but ultimately six of the seven family members survived.

When the family was allowed to leave Siberia, they made their way to  Germany and ultimately to Canada.

By the time Anne arrived in Winnipeg in 1948, she had married her beloved husband Oscar Novak and had her first child Carol. Having worked in kindergartens in Russia and Germany, she got a job at the Peretz School as a kindergarten teacher. Like many other immigrants, her husband bought a small grocery store and the young family began to grow and thrive. Two more children, Phil and Allan, completed the Novak family.

Anne’s best times were with family. Her siblings Sally, Sol, and Ruth were an important part of daily life and all lived close by. Last year, they were designated by the Shoah Foundation as the oldest Holocaust survivor siblings in the world. Her son Allan Novak recently made a film about the Fink family which had its world premiere in New York six days before she died.

Anne also took great pride in her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren, delighting in their visits, family celebrations, and accomplishments. 

Anne was a wonderful cook and baker, making legendary tortes and cakes for special occasions. Food was love to her and she showered her family with tasty delicacies until well into her 90s. No visit to her kids in Toronto was complete without a box of food containing homemade treats.

Although she was a quiet and refined person, she also had a great sense of humour and enjoyed the funny side of life. She was always kind to the people around her and was the peacemaker in the family. 

The family would like to thank Dr. Hamedani and the nursing staff at the Grace Hospital for their kind attention in the final weeks of her life. 

She will be sadly missed by her surviving children and their spouses Carol and Brian Sevitt, Allan Novak and Keely Sherman, her grandchildren and their partners Julia Sevitt, David Sevitt and Alexa Abiscott, and Evan and Samantha Novak, and by her great-grandchildren Theo, Zac, Miles, Simone, Matthew and Phil.

In memoriam donations can be made to Jewish Child and Family Services of Winnipeg https://www.jcfswinnipeg.org/donate

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Obituaries

SHERRY CHOCHINOV

Our loving mom and baba, Sherry Chochinov, passed away on January 7, 2024, at the age of 97.

She was predeceased by her husband Ben Chochinov; her parents, Chana and Max Rubinfield; and her sister Naomi Wolfe. She leaves behind her brother Jack Rubinfield; sister Eddy Werier (Lawrence); children, Alecs (Ruth Graham), Cindy (Charles Guberman), Lori (Andy Rafelman), Shale (Sary) and Michelle (Morry Murad); and grandchildren, Janna (Peter), Michael (Nataliia), Matthew, Noah, Ethan, Leah, Adam, Maya, Sydney, Annie, Eden and Jonah.

Sherry was born Sarah Rubinfield in a small town near Mokre, Poland. She immigrated to Canada in 1929, at the age of four. Canada was much safer than Europe in those years for a Jewish family but was also on the threshold of a depression. Her family lived in the back of a small grocery store on Alfred Avenue, across from Isaac Newton, where she went to school. She didn’t know it at the time, but she would grow to have a life of incredible richness, though not in the literal sense.

As a young teen, Sarah wanted a more modern, fashionable name so when her friends nicknamed her Sherry, it stuck. While her younger siblings played tennis and volleyball, socializing was Sherry’s preferred sport. She regaled her kids with stories about her dates as a teenager, but once Ben came into the picture, that was it. They were together for 73 years and she gave up her social life almost entirely, but willingly, for her family.

Mom waited seven years before Alecs was born but by the age of 45 she had five children and a vibrant household, where there was never a quiet moment, only the sounds of children. Those sounds were music to mom’s ears.

Sherry was a beautiful young mother, in every sense of the word. In the early 1960s, her shopping excursions with the kids left indelible memories. Lori and Cindy would watch with rapt attention as she transformed into a model from Vogue magazine, putting on her lipstick, gloves, fancy hat and outfit. A day at The Bay would often end at the Paddlewheel, with chocolate cream pie for all of us, Sherry included. She really seemed like the perfect mom – glamorous, nurturing, gentle, patient and happy.

Later, as teenagers, she’d wait up for us with coffee and cinnamon buns on Friday and Saturday nights, and we’d chat for hours. Mom was eternally curious about the details of our lives and those of our close friends.

Even after the kids left home – each departure a great upheaval and one of the rare times we would see mom cry – she called her daughters every day for years, until they had stable relationships of their own. She just needed to know that her babies were safe, even though the youngest of those babies was already an anesthesiologist in Toronto.

Sherry had an unflinching belief in the ability of her kids to achieve whatever they put their minds to, which gave us the confidence to be independent and successful in our own lives.

She knew who she was, lived life on her terms and didn’t care a whit about what anyone else thought. She was as strong, smart and determined as they came, yet incredibly gentle. Her independence of mind and stubbornness were hallmarks till the end, and her eccentricities will be the stuff of family legend.

Sherry’s home was a haven for her and her brood for her entire life. She is still at home now, in the only lasting home we can ever have, in the hearts and loving memories of her kids and grandkids, where she will remain, smiling, forever.

Mom’s generosity extended to everyone she touched in her life and was especially evident in her relationship with the ladies who cared for her these last eight years, after Ben passed away: Shirley Halpenny, Cresilda Magno, Susan Genido, Lisa Comia and Gloria Laconico. Sherry had a special relationship with each of them, and they clearly loved and took exceptional care of her. Our family will be forever grateful for their devotion and kindness.

Donations can be made to the Sherry and Ben Chochinov Fund at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba.

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