SoCal Dinner With A Prairie Twist

by Josh Kerr | Sep 15, 2021

Ex-Winnipegger Funds Winnipeg Endowment

In 2019, for the third time since the start of the millennium, a Winnipegger Get-Together in California took place thanks to Carol Woodward. Despite living elsewhere for much of her life, her love for Winnipeg and its Jewish community is strong and unwavering.

Though born in Winnipeg, she spent her first few years living in Canora, Saskatchewan, with her parents. It wasn’t until a few years later, when a wave of childhood jealousy overcame her while watching her friends go to Jewish day schools, that she returned to Manitoba.

Her parents, still with their home in Canora, purchased a second home in Winnipeg so that Carol could attend I.L. Peretz Folk School. Thrilled that she was a part of Winnipeg’s Jewish community, she quickly immersed herself in all that it had to offer.

Later in life, Carol married and shortly after relocated to Grand Forks, North Dakota. Even then, she still travelled back and forth to her childhood home, maintaining the friendships she had found in her years in BBYO and the YMHA. Some of those friendships have now been held for over 60 years. “Growing up in Winnipeg, it was such a wonderful, strong Jewish community,” Woodward recalls. 

In 2000, Woodward purchased a home in Palm Desert, California. Not long after her move, she came across a fellow Winnipegger now living in San Diego. Together they came up with the idea to host a dinner with the intent of connecting with other Winnipeggers now residing on the west coast.

Carol mainly relied on word of mouth through family, friends, and the community to get the word out about the dinner. However, she put a small ad in the Winnipeg Jewish Post inviting people from north of the border who may want to make the trip south for the dinner party or know people in the area who may like to attend. 

In the end, over 100 people attended that inaugural event, coming from Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, even Toronto, as well as many places in between. The dinner was so successful that it was held once more early in the millennium, before taking a hiatus for many years for various reasons.

In 2019, Carol decided it was time to revive their event that had brought together so many people. This time, the Get-Together came about a little differently. The Jewish Post ad was swapped for invitations personally sent to people Carol knew, and the results were even more exciting. Over 50 ladies joined the third Winnipegger Get-Together, this time being held over lunch with the proceeds creating an endowment fund housed at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba.

“After covering our costs, there was money left over,” says Woodward. “I thought an endowment at the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba was a great place for it.”

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 Pandemic got in the way of a 2020 iteration of the event. Carol remains hopeful that the dinners will happen again soon, so she can continue to share her love for the community that raised her with her peers who share that sentiment and continue to give back to the community she so fondly recalls.