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sid halpernBy GERRY POSNER Lifetime Achievement awards are becoming a pattern these days in the Jewish community. Elsewhere on this site you can find my story  about Ted Lyons receiving an award from the University of Manitoba.

Now Sidney Halpern is to be honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the CPA MANITOBA (Chartered Professional Accountants, following the amalgamation of the CACGA AND CMA organizations). This constitutes recognition by the industry to an individual who, the organization says, “has brought honour to the designation through distinction in service to the profession, his career or community.” Sid Halpern fits the description perfectly.
The Halpern roots were pure north end. Where have you read that story before? Sid was a student of the late Rabbi Abraham Kravetz, having attended the Talmud Torah and Maimonides College. He was clearly well educated there and Sid is clear that the values he cherishes today are those inspired by his family and his schools. Sid graduated from St. John’s Tech,  then made his way into chartered accountancy.
The career path to this award was an articling job with the then firm of Sandell, Peltz & Company. In 1961, Sid made a move to a bookkeeping position with Rice Sportswear. From bookkeeper, Sid ascended the Rice ladder to the point where,  by 1965, he was the executive vice-president. Sid was a key figure in taking Rice public in 1990. By 1995, Sid was president in charge of over 600 employees.  In addition to Rice, Sid ran as well: Knit Rite Mills, Symax Garments of Vancouver, St. Malo Manufacturing and Steinbach Manufacturing. In addition, not to be forgotten was the fact that Sid Halpern was very active in the business world by way of his role as president of the Manitoba Fashion Institute and the  Apparel Manufacturers of Manitoba; vice-president of the Canadian Apparel Federation and the National Association of Apparel Manufacturers. All those business connections surely caused a lot of “wear” and tear on Sid though you would never know it. Thus, from a career viewpoint, Sid was a logical candidate for this Lifetime Achievement Award. What Sid Halpern says about this award is that a large part of it is a result of the enormous influence his mentor, the late Max Shore, who gave Sid his career start, had on him.
The volunteer part of Sid Halpern is even more astonishing. One might wonder if there is any organization in the Jewish community that Sid Halpern has not touched in a significant way. Aside from being a past president of Herzliya Adas-Yeshurun Synagogue, the Hebrew Schools of Winnipeg, the Jewish Child and Family Service of Winnipeg, the Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education and the Winnipeg Jewish Federation, in 1994 Sid becamen  the national president of the Jewish National Fund of Canada. During the years between 1993 to 1999, he was President/Chair of the Sharon Home and spearheaded the development of the Simkin Centre. He has been a member of the Board of Governors of both the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg since 1992 and the Ben Gurion University of the Negev since 2013 to the present.  Sid was also the founding chair of the Sol Kanee Community Service Award, the Max & Mollie Shore Philanthropy Award and the community Kavod Awards, arising from his close friendship with the Kanee and Shore families.
Then there is what might be termed the personal involvement area of the Sidney Halpern story. Since 1995, Sid has been the executive producer and host for the Jewish Hour Radio Show - originally run by the late Noach Witman. Without Halpern’s willingness to take charge of this historical icon of Winnipeg Jewish life, a piece of the precious history of Winnipeg Jewry would have ended. Moreover, Halpern is regularly the leader of the weekly and holiday services at the Simkin Centre. He is often a guest lecturer at the Asper School of Business and the MCI College for Design and Fashion.
There is yet another aspect to Halpern’s dedication to his accounting profession which ought to be recognized. He is part of a group of eight accountants, some of whom he inspired to become accountants. They include his brother, son, his nephews and two sons of friends of his who accepted Sid’s guidance to pursue this profession. Now, that kind of impact and influence is worth just as much credit as the rest of his contributions.
What lies behind this guy, so driven to help create a better community? Sid is quick to say and say aloud that it was his wife Esther ( Nepon), who has been his partner for over 63 years. Part of it has been his philosophy that actions speak louder than words. And no doubt a part of his strong commitment to giving back is the result of the values instilled in him at an early age at Talmud Torah and from his family. For sure, an integral aspect of the force behind Halpern is his love of his family. Sid is totally devoted to his family of four children and five grandchildren. Whatever the reasons, the Jewish Community of Winnipeg salutes Sid. Kippahs off to Sidney Halpern.