"Of Course, Hershele!" - Peretz School Class of '72 Holds Reunion with Help from JFM

by Stu Slayen | Dec 23, 2019
Early in August, Howard Morry approached his grade three teacher, Betty Warshawsky—now 102—and gently asked: “Do you remember me, Mrs. Warshawsky?”

“Of course, Hershele!,” she replied lovingly, using Morry’s Yiddish name. It was a short conversation, but one that resonated deeply.

The encounter took place at Morry’s home where he and his wife, Hope, hosted a barbecue as part of a weekend of festivities for the I.L. Peretz School Class of 1972 reunion that Morry co-chaired with Eric Zipman and Keith Levit. The reunion attracted 18 of 24 students along with spouses and significant others. Guests came from Florida, Arizona, Toronto, and Victoria. Betty Warshawsky was joined by former fellow teacher, Arnice Pollock.

“The whole thing started off as a plan to go on an Arizona golf trip to celebrate our 60th birthdays,” says Morry. “We changed it to a golf event in Winnipeg, and then the guest list and the vision grew. It turned into a class reunion.”

Zipman, Levit, and Morry told the Gray Academy of Jewish Education of their plans and were advised that the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba had a template in place to help alumni of Winnipeg’s Jewish schools put reunions together and establish endowment funds.

“We were so happy and grateful that our community’s institutions stepped up to help,” said Morry. “It made for a much better experience.”

The weekend included the barbecue, a special Kiddush on Shabbat at Gray Academy, and VIP treatment at the Shalom Square Israel Pavilion during Folklorama at the Rady Jewish Community Centre. The Sarah Sommer Chai Folk Ensemble even reached into its Yiddish repertoire in honour of their special guests.

“The Jewish Foundation of Manitoba helped make the magic happen,” says Morry. “Their support was seamless and made the whole experience much better.”

The Foundation organized invitations, registration, RSVPs, and other correspondence using the online Eventbrite platform. And the Foundation set up an endowment fund for the class of ’72 in honour of David Polsky z’l and Marshall Shuster z’l, classmates who passed away in 2019. Income earned by the fund will support Jewish education at Gray Academy in perpetuity.

For Morry and his classmates, the elementary school reunion was a heartwarming and powerful exercise: “Not only did we reconnect with old friends, we reconnected with our younger selves. We’re so grateful to the Jewish Foundation, Gray Academy, and the Rady JCC.”


If you attended a Winnipeg Jewish school and want help organizing a reunion and establishing an endowment fund, contact Zac Minuk, JFM’s Director of Marketing and Communications at 204.477.7523 or toll-free from Canada and the U.S., 1.855.284.1918.