Sandy Tapper

My Story...

Like many Jewish families in the diaspora, mine traces its roots to the pogroms of Russia.  My grandfathers both made their way to Winnipeg, seeking a better life for their families, hoping to find a new home where they would be able to live their lives in a free society that offered the opportunities to prosper through hard work.

My maternal grandfather, Morris Bernard Morantz, was sent here by himself at age 11.  An eleven-year-old child, not speaking the language and with only a few years of formal education, entrusted with the family's hopes of a better future!  He was the oldest son, and his mother, a young widow, put him on a ship and told him he was to earn money for her and his three siblings to join him in America.  One can imagine the desperation and hopelessness of their lives that this was the only solution. How he managed to do it is not known to me, but he was able to send money back to the "old country," which allowed him to be reunited with his mother and siblings.  He eventually founded Globe General Agencies, which dealt with Insurance and Real Estate.  He married and had three children, the oldest of whom was my mother, Shirley.  Sadly, he was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 53 and died in 1960 at age 60.

My paternal grandfather, Tom Diamond, came to Canada from Ukraine at age 21, bringing several young cousins with him.  He initially settled in Plum Coulee, Manitoba, where a cousin, who had immigrated years earlier, had established a hotel.  My Zaida moved to Winnipeg, where he became a successful cattle dealer, married and had six children.  His wife, Sarah, for whom I am named, suffered from Asthma, and died at age 44, leaving children ranging in age from 4 to 16.  He lived until age 70, dying in 1953.

I remember both of my Zaides and grew up hearing their stories from my parents.  I have always been tremendously proud to descend from people who had the courage to leave their homes and families at such young ages, hoping for a better future for their families.  Through their hard work and determination, future generations were blessed with the opportunity to live in a country that has allowed us to practice our religion without fear of discrimination and to pursue the multitude of opportunities which our new home afforded us.  Life many other immigrants, our family valued education above all else, knowing that it was the key to the success and prosperity that our grandfathers dreamed of when they boarded those ships.  I think they would be proud to know that almost all of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren pursued higher education, and include many professionals, lawyers, doctors, and accountants, among others.

Having grown up knowing my Zaides' stories, I have always felt an obligation to give back to the country and city that gave them and successive generations the opportunity to thrive and to live in freedom.  What better way to give back, and to repay the debt of gratitude that we owe this magnificent city that has been so good to us than to leave money in an Endowment Fund at the Jewish Foundation to provide for the needs of the community in perpetuity?  My parents established a fund at the Jewish Foundation many years ago, and I have decided to follow their lead.  It is with an immense sense of pride in my family, my city and my community that this gift is being made.