My reason for participating in the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba's Endowment Book of Life program is a simple one. Being a part of Winnipeg's Jewish community has been an outstanding experience for Ellie and me. As members of the community today, it is our responsibility to do our best to make sure that the future is even more vibrant than the present. We want to set an example through our participation—for our children and for our fellow community members.
I was born in Winnipeg in 1946 to Edward and Lillian Rosenblat (née Finkel). My parents, both warm and wonderful people, were born in Winnipeg. My father was in the fuel business and ultimately joined Building Products and Concrete Supply as General Manager. He loved to travel and play golf. My mother had a degree in home economics and was a homemaker. Like my father, she liked to travel and golf and also liked to play canasta and bridge. My father died in 1984; my mother in 2005.
My paternal grandparents were Michael and Ida Rosenblat (née Sair). My grandfather, a big tall man, was born in Odessa in 1871; my grandmother, who passed away before I was born, came from Kishinev.
My maternal grandparents were Sam and Krandel Finkel, both of whom were born in Russia. My memories of them remain vibrant. My Baba Krandel was a short, spirited woman; my Zaida Sam was a jokester who worked long days at the concession at the CNR station. My brother Richard and I used to go to the station to get the latest comic books and lots of candy. Zaida Sam was also a good cook, and loved making delicious potato pancakes for us.
As a child, I attended Grosvenor School, River Heights and Kelvin, and went to Hebrew school at Shaarey Zedek and Ramah. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Manitoba and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Western Ontario in London.
I loved sports and played a lot of soccer, baseball, football and golf growing up, and still enjoy the game of golf after many years. I was an active member of the Platters, my YMHA club, and I was in the Toppers chapter of BBYO. I'm still in touch with some of my childhood friends and have regular reunions with five or six guys from my university fraternity, Sigma Alpha Mu.
In 1973, I met and married Eleanor (Ellie) Libby who was living in Vancouver, but was visiting Winnipeg for a Bar Mitzvah. We were fixed up by an aunt of Ellie's who was also a friend of our family. We are blessed to have two children: Kara and Josh. Kara lives in Winnipeg, a short walk from our house, with her husband Jason and their two very young children, Owen and Sadie. Our son Josh currently lives in New York studying advertising.
I'm retired today and look back on my career fondly. I worked for Great Northern Capital, Transair, BACM, and like my father, Building Products and Concrete Supply. In 1980 my brother and I bought the company and ran it for 30 years.
I have long been a passionate volunteer with the Canadian Technion Society. I served as President of the Winnipeg chapter for 10 years and still serve on the executive committee.
Among my greatest pleasures was building our home in Winnipeg and rebuilding our old cottage in Gimli in 2000.
In retirement, I enjoy my time golfing, playing with my grandchildren and travelling. In recent years, Ellie and I have been to Israel, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Turkey and several countries in Europe.
I have always tried to live by the "golden rule"—treating others as I like to be treated.
I hope that rule is part of my legacy to my children and my grandchildren.
I hope that my Endowment Book of Life gift helps Jewish organizations in Winnipeg to excel for many years to come.