Robyn Lieberman

My Story...

From my parents, I learned the importance of living a Jewish life and contributing to the well-being of the community. These are values I try to share with my children in the hopes that they, too, will care deeply about community throughout their lives.

I was born in 1966 to Martin and Mira Buchwald (née Hamovich) in Winnipeg. My younger brother, Jonathan, and I had a happy childhood growing up on Montrose Street. Spending time together as a family was very important to my mom and dad, and so we spent many summers together at Clear Lake. My mother worked as an X-ray technician before I was born and my dad spent most of his career as an architect, later launching his own business helping people improve their time management skills. They were also both extremely active as volunteers in the Jewish community.

My roots are Eastern European. My father's parents were Frank and Bessie Buchwald (née Portigal). My Zaida was from Basilia, Poland, and my Baba was from Dubova, Russia. Interestingly, my Zaida Frank's family first settled in Winkler, Manitoba, when they arrived in Canada. My mother's parents were Ralph and Clara Hamovich (née Freed). They were born in Winnipeg, but their parents came from Romania and Russia. I had a very special relationship with my Hamovich grandparents. They played a pivotal role in my upbringing and in the development of my Jewish roots and values. We spent a great deal of time at their home, especially for Jewish holidays. I was also privileged to know my great-grandmother, Mary Freed, who passed away when I was 18.

As a child I attended Ramah Hebrew School and graduated high school from Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate. I played soccer and ringette, and took dance lessons. I was active in BBYO as well as in USY at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue. When I wasn't at Clear Lake with my family, my summers were spent at B'nai Brith Camp as a camper and then as a counsellor — ten years in total. Another highlight of my teen years was dancing with the Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble.

My involvement with all of these organizations and programs helped to strengthen and solidify my Jewish identity. The pride I feel is unwavering.

After high school, I attended the University of Manitoba where I earned a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree with a major in political science. Upon graduation, I helped my father at his business. It was around then that I met Jeffrey Lieberman in 1988. We married a year later at the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue.

Jeff and I have three wonderful children: Amy (born in 1992); Josh (born in 1995); and Noah (born in 1999). Being their mom and supporting them in their education and their activities brings me great joy.

Over the years, I have been an active volunteer in the community, just like my parents were. I've been active with the Parent Advisory Committee at the Gray Academy where my kids go to school; Shalom Square, the pavilion where I used to perform as a Chai dancer; the Combined Jewish Appeal; Hadassah; the Board of Jewish Education, and more. Professionally, I work as the Membership Manager at the Rady Jewish Community Centre.

Tzedaka and tikkun olam are essential values for me, and I like to express those values through volunteerism. My participation in the Foundation's Endowment Book of Life is another way I express those values. It is my greatest hope that Amy, Josh, and Noah will lead happy and healthy lives while finding their own ways to help improve life in our Jewish community, in Winnipeg as a whole, in Canada, and, indeed, the world.