WINNIPEG — When Rob Berkowits accepted the role of executive director of the Jewish National Fund of Canada, Manitoba/Saskatchewan region, two years ago, he vowed that he would be doing things differently than in the past.
He has shown that he is a man of his word.
Berkowits’ latest journey into unexplored territory – from a fundraising perspective – takes place this Sunday, Aug. 11, in cottage country, at the Lake Winnipeg beach resort of Gimli. He is expecting about 120 people to turn out for the first annual “Breakfast for Israel” at Lakeview Resort Gimli.
For several decades, Gimli, located about an hour’s drive northwest of Winnipeg, and Winnipeg Beach, just south of Gimli, have been the location of summer homes for a large number of Jewish residents of Winnipeg.
“I began thinking about taking the JNF to the beach about 18 months ago,” Berkowits said. “This is a way to engage JNF supporters who spend their summers at the beach or would appreciate a reason to escape the city on a hot summer day for the lake.”
He added that there would be several people driving in from the city especially for the breakfast program.
The breakfast will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon. Dress will be beach-like (shorts, summer dresses). The menu will be Israeli-themed with salads, blintzes, cream cheeses, hard cheeses and baked goods. Berkowits said the caterer is Winnipeg’s long-standing kosher Gunn’s Bakery.
“The hotel understands,” he said. “All JNF functions have to be kosher.”
Also on the menu will be a presentation by Eliaz Luf, deputy head of mission at the Israeli embassy in Ottawa, who will bring greetings and an update on the latest developments in Israel.
Berkowits said breakfast attendees are being encouraged to donate a minimum of $36 each, with the funding earmarked for restoring the outdoor space at the Ilanot Special Education School in Jerusalem.
The project was the recipient of the funding raised at the most recent JNF Negev Gala here in June.
Berkowits has visited the school and was impressed with what he saw. He says that he wanted to find ways to continue raising funds for the project post-gala.