Donald N. Aronovitch

My Story...

As a youth and as an adult, Jewish community life has assisted in meeting both my social needs and my connectedness with “things Jewish”. I counted it a great privilege and honour when, as President of the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council, I was in a pivotal role as our community undertook and completed the restructuring necessary for building the Campus. It has been fulfilling to contribute, in some small measure, to the continuity of our people, who have survived years of turmoil over many centuries.

The above kind of commitment and attitude was a natural outgrowth of the influences and examples around me. My grandfather, Abraham Herman Aronovitch, arrived in Winnipeg from the U.S. at the turn of the century. He began to make a living by selling insurance, and in 1905 he enlisted his brother-in-law, Louis Leipsic and his friend, Isaac Ripstein, to form Aronovitch, Ripstein and Leipsic (Ripstein left for other pursuits and Aronovitch and Leipsic became a Winnipeg mainstay). A.H. was the Western representative for the Canadian Jewish Congress, and he enjoyed a close relationship with Sam Bronfman. My other grandfather, Isaac Greenberg, was very involved with the Sharon Home.

I was born in Winnipeg in 1944, the son of Edgar Judah (Juk) and Reva (Greenberg) Aronovitch.  E.J. was very involved with B’nai Brith and was one of the signatories to the charter of the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba. My first involvement with the Jewish community was purely social - with clubs at the YMHA (“Discs”) and with the B’nai Brith Youth Organization (Winnipeg 38s). When I was 16, I went to Israel with a BBYO summer program, and this experience was very significant in connecting me to my heritage. At University, I was a member (and President) of the Jewish fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu, whose advisor later drafted me into volunteer community work. I began with the Holocaust Remembrance Committee, continuing with the WJCC and the Jewish Foundation and spent many years on the Executives of both organizations. Outside the Jewish community, I spent several years on the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Board in my early 40’s, and then became the vice-president of the MusikBarock Ensemble in my mid 50’s.

My final volunteer years were very rewarding as I committed all my volunteer time to the Simkin Centre & the Winnipeg International Writer’s Festival. At the Simkin Centre, I was both the Chair of the Foundation and the inaugural Chair of a Long-Term Planning Committee. With the Simkin Centre Foundation, we codified the policy where under 70% of all undesignated gifts >$10,000 would be allocated to a new Building Reserve Fund at the Jewish Foundation. The net receipt of $8.3 million from a land sale gave us the capacity to have the JFM introduce an Overread rebate Policy which gave the Simkin Centre a permanent additional .5% in annual distributions ($50,000/yr). At the WIWF, I guided the organization to develop significant funding from Foundations and wean themselves off near total dependency on government grants. To both the Simkin Centre and the WIWF, I was able to bring experience from my time at the JFM & the Federation to enhance Board functioning.  

I am married to Beverly (Krolik), who has also made a significant contribution to community life as the co-founder of the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre and through musicals at Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate. We have two children, Joshua and Judith. I look forward to a bright future for Winnipeg’s Jewish community, and I am confident in the community’s strength to meet all future challenges.