Jewish synagogues react to rapid spread of Omicron variant – most put temporary end to in-person services

Synagogue logos montageBy BERNIE BELLAN With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant it comes as no surprise that many local synagogues have taken a proactive approach to dealing with the pandemic. For the time being, however, the Rady JCC is maintaining its existing schedule, although that may change quickly depending on possible new restrictions that may be issued by the provincial government.

17 cases of Covid now at Simkin Centre

Simkin Centre logoUpdated April 2 The past few days have seen a resurgence of Covid at the Simkin Centre, although the current variant affecting residents, Omicron B-1 is milder than the previous Delta and Alpha variants. According to information provided on the Simkin Centre Facebook page, 14 residents on Simkin 2 are currently testing positive for Covid, while three residents on Weinberg 1 are also testing positive.

Previously, seven residents on Weinberg 1 had tested positive but, as of March 28, four have recovered. The outbreak on Simkin 2 was first made public on March 28. At that point only one resident on Simkin 2 tested positive. The fact that the outbreak has now spread to 13 other residents is an indication how virulent the current strain of Covid is.

The April 1 Simkin Centre Facebook post warns that "Designated Caregivers on Simkin 2 are welcome to visit at their own risk. Personal protective equipment will be provided and must be worn during your visit."

The post goes on to say that "With the rising number of Resident and staff cases we are experiencing significant staffing shortages. We want to thank the Designated Caregivers for their assistance during this challenging time."


Poarws Jan. 17 A total of 20 Residents have tested positive for Covid. Of those 20, 15 have recovered. The remainder are in the Covid isolation unit. In addition, two more staff have tested positive, bringing the total number of staff who have tested positive to 31. Twenty-six of the staff have returned to work.

New JCFS office manager Mara Pellettieri has strong ties to our Jewish community

Mara Pellettieri

By MYRON LOVE For Mara Pellettieri, the Jewish Child and Family Service’s new office manager, community has always been of prime importance. One of eight children of Leslie and the late Les Nepon, she has truly been immersed in our Jewish community from birth.

Community leader Heather Leonoff receives prestigious Law Society award

Richard Scott
and Heather Leonoff

By MYRON LOVE Heather Leonoff is this year’s recipient of the Law Society of Manitoba’s Richard J. Scott award.
“I am honoured,” says the Director of the Manitoba Department of Justice’s Constitutional Law Branch of the award that was presented to her on November 26. “I am very pleased to be recognized by my peers.”


Jewish Federation AGM: Record year both for revenues and expenditures - fuelled by one-time contributions in aid of Covid relief

Jewish Fed logoBy BERNIE BELLAN For the second year in a row the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg held its Annual General Meeting online. This year’s meeting, which took place Wednesday evening, December 8, was relatively brief, lasting only 45 minutes, but while the meeting may have been relatively short in length, it certainly delivered some uplifting news.

CJOB sports guy Cameron Poitras living the dream

CJOB's newly married couple:
producer Skye Kneller
& announcer Cameron Poitras

By MYRON LOVE Ten years ago or so, Cameron Poitras was at loose ends. He had just dropped out of university and, as with many young people entering their 20s, wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.


COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic for Pediatric Doses at Gray Academy Dec. 7

Gray Academy logoWe received the following communication from Gray Academy, informing parents of any children age 5-11 of a special clinic that will be held at Gray Academy Tuesday, December 7...During School Hours and After School...Register by Wednesday, December 1

Lessons in Fusion” speaks to the fluidity of Jewish identity in the contemporary world

Primrose Mayadag Knazan
cover of "Lessons in Fusion:

Reviewed by BERNIE BELLAN In preparing to write this review I searched our archives to see whether we had ever published anything previously about Primrose Mayadag Knazan; sad to say, we hadn’t.

It’s about time we made up for that oversight, as Primrose had already established herself as a playwright of considerable talent, having had her three plays been awarded “Best of Fest” at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival on each occasion she premiered a new play at the Fringe.

Ashkenazie Synagogue seeks to repurpose itself into a synagogue/museum

The House of Ashkenazie
Opened in 1922, it was rebuilt
in 1948 after a fire
destroyed the original building.

By BERNIE BELLAN The Ashkenazie Synagogue at the corner of Burrows and Charles is Winnipeg's oldest synagogue and the last remaining of 18 synagogues which once dotted Winnipeg's North End. Now, like all the other synagogues that once existed contemporaneously with the House of Ashkenazie, it finds itself in a precarious position.

Winnipeg-born writer Sidura Ludwig receives 2021 Vine Award for new collection of short stories

Sidura Ludwig

By MYRON LOVE You could rightly say that Sidura Ludwig is “over the moon” about being named the winner of the 2021 Vine Award for fiction for “You Are Not What We Expected”, her first collection of short stories.
“This is a huge honour,” says the former Winnipegger. “I am thrilled, overwhelmed, speechless. It was a real surprise. I didn’t even realize that my book still qualified as it was released 18 months ago.”

Jewish Heritage Centre lands CNN anchor Jake Tapper as next Kanee lecturer

Jake Tapper

The following is taken from a Jewish Heritage Centre release:
CNN Anchor and Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper to Deliver the 2022 Sol and Florence Kanee Distinguished Lecture
The Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada is thrilled to announce that the 2022 Sol and Florence Kanee Distinguished Lecturer will be Jake Tapper.