Rady JCC Announces Volunteer Awards

December 17, 2015

Our annual Ken H. Kronson Kehilla Awards, recognizing volunteers for their contribution to the Rady JCC and the Jewish community, were handed out at the Annual General Meeting on Monday, Dec. 14.

These awards were created to pay tribute to Ken Kronson, who has given so much of his time, talent, and enthusiasm to the Rady JCC over the last 40-plus years as the driving force behind the Rady JCC’s largest and most successful fundraiser; the Sports Dinner.


Reva Craven receives her volunteer award from Ken Kronson and Gayle Waxman

Reva Craven and Rose Aziman (Cultural Arts)

Reva and Rose are this year’s co-recipients of the Ken H. Kronson Kehilla award for volunteerism in the cultural arts department.

Whether it’s at her synagogue, for Winnipeg Harvest, or for a variety of programs here at the Rady JCC including the Jewish Film Festival, jazz programs, Israeli programs, the Kaufman Day Care Centre, or giving a helping hand in the kitchen, for Craven, volunteering is an integral part of her life.

“I love meeting new people, and I love to help out,” she says. “Every organization is always short on people, and I really enjoy doing it.”

“I support the Rady Centre. I think it’s an important venue that we have for everybody to come and enjoy.  I participate in a lot of programs that are available here, and it’s just important for me to be a part of it,” says Craven.

Another big reason Craven enjoys her volunteer work at Rady JCC is because she gets to do it with her close friend, Rose Aziman.

The two met about ten years ago when Rose and her family moved to Winnipeg, and they hit it off immediately.

“We come from the same background, both born in Israel, both children of Holocaust survivor parents,” says Craven. “We even learned we lived on the same street. Not at the same time – but on the same street, in Toronto. “

For Reva and Rose the shared experience is invaluable.

“She has a granddaughter who is the same age as my granddaughter,” she says.

“We’re just on the same wavelength for so many things. Sometimes people call us ‘R-Squared’ and mistake us for sisters! We’re together a lot, I’m a part of their family and they’re a part of mine,” says Craven.

Much like Reva, Rose sees her volunteerism as a joy, not an obligation.

“I get more out of volunteering than I give, and I’ve met so many fabulous people. I always walk out of the Rady JCC with a smile on my face,” says Aziman.

Leita Nemiroff (Kaufman Child Care Centre)

Leita Nemiroff is is this year’s recipient of the Kaufman Child Care Centre’s Ken H. Kronson Kehilla award for volunteerism.

Leita has been an integral member of the Rady JCC’s Intergenerational program, which brings seniors from the community into the child care centre to interact with children.

“Being a part of the Intergenerational Program gives me the opportunity to spend time with my grandson and be a part of his growth. It’s been amazing,” Leita said.

Sophie Hershfield (Youth Programs)

Sophie has been involved in BBYO for four years. Sophie has planned and been a part of many Jewish and community service oriented programs for teens all across the community. Sophie has also shown leadership serving as regional Shlicha the past two years.

“Being a part of BBYO has given me so many incredible opportunities,” Hershfield said. “Since BBYO is youth led, I’ve been able to meet up with and connect with tons of teens across the city, and been able to work with them to create programming and initiatives.”

It’s not just the life skills that have been so valuable, but the camaraderie developed with fellow participants that’ll carry forward with her.

“BBYO has always given me a strong sense of sisterhood, and I’ve been able to network with Jews around Winnipeg and around the world,” she added.

“BBYO has given me a special family within the community.”

Sophie says volunteering has given her a fresh perspective on her life, motivating her to help others.

“Volunteering has given me the chance to see the world in a new way. Volunteering helped me understand how lucky I am, and has motivated me to help as many people in the community as possible.

“I’ve grown so much as a person and a leader because of the volunteer opportunities I’ve been given with BBYO.”

Brenda St. Clair (Fitness)

Brenda is an integral member of the Fitness Walking group that meets three times a week. Brenda has shown what a positive attitude and resiliency can do – and is the first one to call when one of her fellow walkers misses a class. She’s part of the glue that keeps that group strong.

Brenda has shown what a positive attitude and resiliency can do – she suffered a heart attack in 2010. But it hasn’t slowed her down.

“After my most recent series of tests, my cardiologist he said, “Whatever it is that you are doing – keep doing it!”  I intend to do that,” St Clair said.

“The fitness walking class is like a second family to me and I know others view it the same way.  It isn’t just the exercise, it’s the comradery and the friendships we have developed over the years,” St. Clair said. “If someone doesn’t show up to class, I phone them to ask why.  My classmates find this funny, but I think they appreciate we miss them when they are not there.

“We listen to one another’s problems and we laugh together. It is cathartic. I tell folks that do not know about the Rady that the muscle I exercise the most is my ‘smile’ muscle!” St. Clair adds.

Dora Lantsman (Older Adults)

Dora is an immigrant from Russia who routinely takes two buses (in the winter!) to volunteer with the children in the child care centre as part of Rady JCC’s Intergenerational program. She has opened her heart to the children ever since and is loved and adored.

Shiri Berkowitz (Special Needs)

Shiri has been a dedicated volunteer in our special needs programming for over 5 years, bringing a cheerful and warm presence to her interaction with participants. Whether it’s at Fun and Fitness or during Teen Connection Camp, Shiri is mature beyond her years and a treat to have on our volunteer team.

Rena Boroditsky (Folklorama)

Rena has been an integral member of the large volunteer team put together for Rady JCC’s annual Shalom Square, Israeli Pavilion as part of Folklorama. No role is beyond her limits. She lends a hand wherever needed and those efforts have been greatly appreciated.

Lori Gilfix (Sports Dinner)

Lori has been an integral member of our Sports Dinner committee. Her ability to generate top level auction items has raised the profile of the event. Without Lori, the auction wouldn’t be the success it is.

Sid Slonim Award

This award is named in memory of Sid Slonim, a long-time member of the Rady JCC and previously YMHA.  Sid symbolized the values of the Rady JCC, bringing people together through their participation at our centre.

This year’s recipient is a regular participant of “Ben’s Group”, who count, chant and sing their way through exercises. At 91 years of age, he’s exemplary of  what an active lifestyle can do, regularly swimming in the Rady pool when he isn’t participating in class. Though long retired, he happily admits his part-time job is working out at the Rady nowadays. His enthusiasm, wide smile and warm personality is infectious, and he is a wonderful example of the virtue of staying active and keeping a positive outlook on life.

Saul Fink was this year’s winner.