Both my involvement in Winnipeg's Jewish community and in our family business are the product of a century of historic example.
My great great grandparents, Moses and Sarah Leipsic, came to North Dakota via New York in the 1880's. At the turn of the century, their son, my grandfather Louis Leipsic, came to Winnipeg where he met my grandmother Nell Silverstein. In 1905, together with his brother-in-law Abraham Herman Aronovitch and a cousin, Isaac Ripstein, the insurance firm of Aronovitch, Ripstein and Leipsic was born. Ripstein soon pursued other interests and Aronovitch & Leipsic became a Winnipeg mainstay.
My grandfather Louis had three sons, Sylvan, Joe and Barry. Sylvan and Barry followed their father into the family business. Sylvan's son Michael, and then Michael's son Greg have continued in the business. Barry was my father and he had two sons. I too followed my father's career choice; my brother Richard is a prominent lawyer in Winnipeg. I am pleased that my son-in-law, Kevin Solomon, is now involved in the business, which has evolved into Leipsic Insurance and Horizon Insurance. Over the years the business has grown to twelve Manitoba locations, six rural and six in the City of Winnipeg.
My mother's parents were Martha (Meissner) and Alfred Lowenberg. My mother, Yvonne, was born in Vienna and left there for London in 1938 when the rumblings of war began. My father Barry was a captain in the Fort Garry Horse tank unit stationed in London when he met my mother. They were married and came home to Winnipeg. My mother, accustomed to culture and refined living, found adjustment to Winnipeg difficult.
I was raised in the south end of Winnipeg. As a young man in 1967, I travelled to Israel to volunteer during the Six Day War. It was a heady, impacting time. People came from all over the world and worked and drew together in support of Israel. While the Leipsics had always been strong supporters of the community, it was a pivotal time in my own personal commitment to Israel and to my Jewish community. Over the years I have served on the Executive of Jewish Child and Family Service, the Board of the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, Finance Chair of the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council, and the Board of the Rady Jewish Community Centre. Among other involvements, I have co-chaired the Combined Jewish Appeal, worked on the Hebrew School lottery and sat on the Board of the Glendale Golf and Country Club.
In 1970 I married Karen Silverman, the daughter of Rose and Coleman Silverman from Melville, Saskatchewan. We have two children, Jonathon and Sarah. Jonathon is a cardiac radiologist in Vancouver. He is married to Karly Bogner and they have two children, Isabella Rose and Carsyn Ariel. Sarah is a school teacher and is married to Kevin Solomon who manages our Private Client Division. They have two children, Hugh Edward and Ryann Ava. We could not be more proud of our children and thrilled with our grandchildren.
I am also proud of our community. The Campus facility is an amazing accomplishment for a small community like ours. I am pleased that efforts are being made to encourage immigration. This will help us build a stronger, healthier community. The deep roots in this community, as well as the many resources, can provide a wonderful support system for newcomers. If we all pull together, it will work.
As for my commitment to the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba... "As my fathers planted for me before I was born, so do I plant for those who will come after me."