Blumie Portnoy

My Story...

I feel that I have been blessed in my lifetime. I had a very happy childhood, growing up with my two brothers, Dave and Rubie, in a peaceful and nourishing home, and experiencing success and fun at school. My greatest joy as an adult was to be married to Iser, a wonderful man, great humanitarian, a lover of music and all good things - a man whom everyone loved. My parents, Sam and Ida (Orlikow) Polinsky came from Russia in the early 1900's. At first my father did some fur trapping but soon started City Auto Wrecking (City Machinery). Throughout their lives, both my parents were involved in the Winnipeg Jewish Community. I attended I.L. Peretz School, Machray, St. John's Tech and the University of Manitoba. I loved sports, and I was the only Jewish child at the Y.W.C.A.

Iser, whom I married in 1944 (passed away in 1991), was first involved in the business his father started, and later he became its owner, under the name of Perth's Dry Cleaners. Early in our marriage I participated in Hadassah and National Council of Jewish Women, and later supported Iser in all his community interests, including Combined Jewish Appeal, Hebrew University, Ben Gurion University, and Winnipeg Jewish Theatre.

My three daughters, Phyllis (PhD in English, teacher at University of Winnipeg), Susan (Bachelor of Fine Arts, instructor at Winnipeg Art Gallery), and Sallie (Bachelor of Fine Arts, glass artist living in Australia) thus grew up in a home environment characterized by community involvement and full of Yiddishkeit. I am hopeful that our five grandchildren and two great grandchildren will connect with their Jewish heritage.

The frequency of intermarriage concerns me: how will it affect the long-term life of this community? I would also like to see more young people interested and active in the community.

I remember when Iser and I attended the first meeting, held at the Glendale, to plan the Campus. It was hard then to imagine that we would have this beautiful facility. I am proud of the Campus and love coming here, and my wish is that the Winnipeg Jewish Community thrives to enjoy it for many years to come.