My paternal grandfather, Arthur Louis Rosenhek, was born in Sambor Austria and came to Canada in the early 1900's when war was threatening Europe. He became a farmer in the Hirsch Colony in Hirsch Saskatchewan. He married my grandmother, Mindel (Minnie) who was born in Canada. He passed away before I was born, but I remember her as a kind and caring person. My maternal grandparents, Zalman and Chia Nimchonok, were born in Russia and came to Canada in the early 1900's because of the pending war and also because of anti-Semitism. Zalman was a blacksmith, a soft-spoken, kind man.
My parents were both born in Winnipeg in 1914. My father, Ben, worked as a carpenter and a union organizer. My mother, Pearl, was a housewife and spent her time raising the children.
I was born in Winnipeg on January 13, 1941 and grew up at 268 Pritchard Avenue in Winnipeg's renowned north end. I have one brother, Eric, and two sisters, Arlene Wiener and Anita Eccles. I attended David Livingston, Aberdeen, and St. John's High School. Part of my youth was spent at the YMHA where I loved to play basketball. I played high school basketball and soccer and also enjoyed bowling, golf, hockey and tennis. Growing up in the north end and having my grandparents, aunties and uncles living on the same street provided a fun, warm and thoroughly enjoyable childhood!
Following high school I articled with a Chartered Accountancy firm while attending United College. I graduated as a Chartered Accountant in 1963 and practiced as a C.A. for a few years. From 1970 to 1983, I owned and managed Builder's Furniture Ltd., a company that built hotel furniture and store fixtures. I then branched into land development and construction and presently I am semi retired.
Community involvement has always been a key value in my life. I have been involved with organizations such as the YMHA, the Wellness Institute, Glendale Golf & Country Club, the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba and the Sharon Home. I enjoy fundraising for a variety of charitable organizations and am also a strong supporter of Israel. One of my greatest satisfactions was being part of the Steering Committee that assisted in the amalgamation of the Beth Israel, Bnay Abraham and Rosh Pina synagogues into Congregation Etz Chayim. Countless hours were spent in this process and I believe the result has greatly benefitted the community. I served as Treasurer on the first Executive Committee of Congregation Etz Chayim and continue to be a member of the Board for the last six years.
Joyce Morry and I were married at the Bnay Abraham Synagogue in 1963. We have two children. Our son Jeffrey lives in Richmond B.C. and is an electrical engineer. He is married to Elena and they have two children, Scott and Sean. Our daughter Mindi lives in Toronto. She has a degree in Fashion Merchandising. She is married to Steven Green and they have two children, Ryan and Lexi. I am proud of my family; my children have grown up to be good people. My wish for the generations that follow me is that they continue to support Jewish life and that they think of others and willingly assist people in need, wherever they may be.
Joyce and I still have strong ties to the north end of Winnipeg and feel very badly that the majority of Jewish activities and organizations have moved south. The vibrant Jewish north end is slowly disappearing and we are saddened by that.
Our commitment to the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba will assist in the continuation of the many programs that exist in our community. We hope that by providing a wonderful, rich, vibrant community life in Winnipeg, the migration of young people leaving our community will slow. Even though the north end is no longer the centre of Jewish life in Winnipeg, the place where we were born and raised remains dear to our hearts. We can only hope that future generations will have the same experience.