Lisa Kroft

My Story...

I was born in 1970 and believe that my generation needs to play a more active role in sustaining and growing our community for the future. Our parents and grandparents took risks, worked hard, innovated, and dreamed. Now it is our turn; and that's why I'm so honoured to participate in the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba's Endowment Book of Life program.

My father, Charles Golfman, was born in 1944 in Lestock, Saskatchewan, to Sid and Eleanor Golfman (née Rosenberg). His parents came to North America at the beginning of the 1900s: Sid from Russia; Eleanor from Poland. Sid settled in Canada, while Eleanor first lived in Minnesota.

My mother, Rosalyn Golfman (née Linhart), was born in 1945 in Winnipeg. Her parents were Jack and Clara Linhart (née Langsam). They were both born in Poland. My Baba Clara lost many family members in the Holocaust, a truth that shapes my resolve to help build a strong Jewish community.

I used to have sleepovers with my Golfman grandparents' and have wonderful memories of their apartment in Edinburgh House, then their house on Oak. They were the first Jewish family to build a home in Tuxedo (on Laidlaw). I used to swim in their pool and I remember a beautiful mural that Eleanor, my "Grammy Dolly," painted in the basement. I would make pickles with her every summer, and their home was the site of wonderful Pesach, Rosh Hashanah, and Thanksgiving celebrations. Interestingly, my parents later purchased that same house and still live there. The mural is still there!

I was close with my Linhart grandparents, too. I would have sleepovers at their house and the Shabbat dinners, featuring my Baba's chicken soup, were wonderful. I have a very strong memory of my grandparents taking me to Palm Springs when I was in grade five. It was just me and them, and it was a very special bonding experience.

My parents are accomplished and wonderful people who gave me and my siblings, Jeffrey and Jill, a beautiful childhood, while succeeding in their careers and staying active in the community. My dad ran Regal Furniture and my mom continues to work as a therapist. My dad was the president of Shaarey Zedek for a while and my mom was active in National Council of Jewish Women.

As a family, we travelled and camped; we skied in Banff (Alberta), Colorado, and around Manitoba. I recall a glorious family trip to Israel for my brother's Bar Mitzvah. I fell in love with the country (especially Jerusalem) and returned a few years later with a backpack for a six-week kibbutz experience. I feel a deep connection to the country and my husband and I look forward to taking our sons there next summer.

My parents had, and still do have, a strong sense of connection to the Jewish community. They sent me to Ramah School for my elementary years. It was a very positive experience and I have retained many friendships from those years. I was active in Kadima, USY, and BBYO, where I was a member of Gabriels. I am a firm believer in the importance of Jewish summer camping, having had tremendous experiences at BB Camp in Kenora and at BB Pine Lake in Alberta.

After Ramah, I attended Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate, St. John's Ravenscourt, and University of Winnipeg Collegiate. After high school, I studied food and nutrition at the University of Manitoba, and worked in the food industry for some time.

I married Steve Kroft in 1994. We had known each other in childhood and his aunt and uncle were good friends of my parents. Our amazing children, Nathan and Alex, were born in 1998 and 2000 respectively.

In recent years, I have devoted my time to volunteer pursuits. I'm on the BB Camp board, I'm on a committee with Winnipeg Harvest, and I volunteer at the kids' school. In the past, I also volunteered with the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and Shaarey Zedek.

I am proud of my family, proud of the contributions my parents and grandparents made, and proud of my own sense of connection to the community. The Endowment Book of Life program is a great way for me to demonstrate this pride, and to articulate what is important to me. I sincerely hope that others, particularly younger adults, will participate so that we can leave a strong community for our children and grandchildren.