Gerry Weinstein, a stalwart of B’nai Brith Canada who was instrumental in bringing its affordable seniors housing projects in Montreal to completion, is being remembered for his lifetime of service to the less fortunate, performed with no fanfare.
Weinstein, who died on May 23 at age 80, was a past B’nai Brith national president. He was also the key person behind the establishment of B’nai Brith House, a 95-unit apartment in Côte St. Luc for low and moderate-income seniors that opened 10 years ago at a cost of $13 million.
For the past couple of years, despite physical challenges and increasing health issues, he had been actively involved in getting a second residence, Château B’nai Brith, built. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the groundbreaking for the 126-unit apartment, also in Côte St. Luc, which is expected to take place later this year.
Both residences were financed jointly by B’nai Brith with the City of Montreal and the Quebec government, fundraising for which Weinstein was largely responsible.
Weinstein was also a prominent member of the Conservative party, serving as president of the Mount Royal Riding Association.
Former Côte St. Luc mayor and B’nai Brith regional director Robert Libman described Weinstein as “a community pillar for generations.
“[He] was a mensch in every sense of the word,” Libman said. “He worked tirelessly for our community, not for any praise or recognition, but to accomplish good and to get things done. He and I worked very closely together on B’nai Brith House and he was a constant dynamo in moving the project forward.”
Weinstein, a diabetic, was legally blind for some 20 years and, just before assuming the organization’s presidency in 2005, underwent a lifesaving kidney transplant. But he always remained positive, his admirers say.
B’nai Brith CEO Michael Mostyn commented: “Gerry had an incredible zest for life and was someone who could always be relied upon to get the job done, no matter how daunting the tasks seemed.
B’nai Brith House and the upcoming Château B’nai Brith were Gerry’s pride and passion, and both will prove lasting legacies of his charitable leadership in the community.”
On the eve of receiving B’nai Brith’s Award of Merit two years ago, Weinstein said, “I have to be honest and tell you that I do not feel as if I have any impediments.”
Until the end of his life, he continued to work in the family real estate business, Nirvana Management.
He also served as president of the Jewish Hospital of Hope Foundation and was a board member of the Jewish Eldercare Centre. He was a past president of the Foundation for Research into Children’s Diseases, which sponsored the annual Telethon of Stars for Montreal’s two children’s hospitals.
Weinstein is survived by his wife of 58 years, Lilian (Lynn) Polatshek, children Jeff and Suzee and their spouses, and his grandchildren.