Margaret Shuckett edited 1By MYRON LOVE

Margaret Shuckett feels both humbled and overwhelmed at having recently been the recipient of an Honourary Fellowship by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“I never saw myself in that light,” says the current president of the Winnipeg chapter of the Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University, member of the national board of the CFHU and an associate governor of Israel’s top-ranked university. “The Hebrew University has been a part of my life for a long time. Both of our daughters, Nicole and Cara, were students at the Rothberg International School. But I never expected this kind of an honour.”

The award was presented to Shuckett during the University’s 80th Board of Governors meetings, which were held from June 9-14 in Israel. In addition to the singular honour, Shuckett and her husband, Dr. Paul Shuckett, had their names added to the University’s Wall of Life.
The former Margaret Winograd is a fourth generation Winnipegger who learned the importance of community service from her parents, Neville and Grace Winograd. Although one could say that Margaret has flown under the radar somewhat, in her quiet way, she has played an important role in several community organizations.
A retired early years teacher in both the Jewish school system and Winnipeg School Division No. 1 (Brock Corydon School), Shuckett has served on the executive committee of the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue, the board of the Jewish Child and Family Service and chaired the March of the Living. She has also been involved in program planning for the Rady JCC.

The Shucketts first visited Israel in 1970 and have been back frequently. “We consider Israel to be our second home,” she says.
The couple was invited to join the Winnipeg chapter of CFHU more than 20 years ago by their friend, the late Paul Silver. A pediatric ophthalmologist and the former Head of the Department of Opthamolagy at the University of Manitoba, Paul Shuckett has also served as president of the local CFHU group.
Margaret began her tenure as Winnipeg CFHU president in 2012. She has served on the national board for four years and was invited to be an associate governor three years ago.
“We go to Israel twice a year for Board of Governor meetings,” she notes.
The Winnipeg chapter of the CFHU, she notes, is currently in a state of flux. In the spring of 2016, the CFHU decided to try an experiment in Winnipeg and Ottawa. The offices in the communities were closed and, in Winnipeg, executive director Sharon Zalik chose to retire (although she still serves as a consultant). Rather than hire a new executive director, the CFHU brought in a young couple, Sigal Kleynerman and Shai Josopov, recent Hebrew University grads, for a year to represent the university in our community.
They are returning to Israel in a few weeks.
“We are looking to hire someone from our community who knows our community to handle office responsibilities and develop programming and further raise our profile,” Shuckett says. “We have a small board and a data base of supporters. We are trying to encourage Hebrew University alumni here to become more active and we want to make a big push to get back on people’s radars.”

This summer, to celebrate their 50th anniversary, the Shucketts are planning to take their whole family to Israel. In the fall, they are looking forward to joining 30 other Hebrew University supporters in Europe for one of the university’s “Live and Learn” programs wherein a Hebrew U. professor joins the tour to talk about Jewish history in a specific European country. The European program will be followed by a visit to Israel.

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Like Margaret and Paul Shuckett, Murray Palay has also been a long-time mainstay of the Winnipeg Chapter of the CFHU. Not only has he been a past president of the local chapter, but, in September, he is also finishing a five-year term as the National Chair of CFHU.
A lawyer by training, who now is a managing director of Quadrant Asset Management, Palay was originally introduced to the CFHU by Yude Henteleff nearly 40 years ago. “I was a young lawyer at Buchwald Asper Henteleff,” he recalls. “Our firm required us to become involved in the community. CFHU was one of the organizations that it was suggested I join.”
He recalls one CFHU parlour meeting in the late 1970s which featured a visit by Hebrew University Chancellor Bernard Cherrick. “He was a British-born Zionist and an incredible guy,” Palay says of Cherrick. “I was really impressed by him and I was also impressed by his successor, Abraham Harman (who was also a British-born Zionist).

Palay’s real involvement with CFHU began in 1982 when Avi Shuv Ami, the new shaliach in Winnipeg, was the missing piece in creating Yude Henteleff’s vision of a new local younger branch of the CFHU in Winnipeg. The Professional and Business Division was the first of its kind in Canada and Palay asked his friend and cousin, the late Larry Rosenberg, to join him as co-chair.
“Larry and I made a good team,” Palay says. “He was comfortable being out front, meeting the public and fundraising. I was happier working behind the scene.”

Over the years, Palay moved up in the Winnipeg chapter, eventually becoming president and joining the national board. Much of his focus over the past five years, he says, has been on strengthening the CFHU’s governance systems.
“We have been working to ensure that we have proper audits, nomination procedures, investment oversight and regular reporting,” he says. “Sustainability is also a major issue. We have to be concerned with cash flow and overhead. Running a national organization is very expensive. I have sat with many donors, large and small, and explained why part of their gifts have to go toward supporting our organizational expenses.”

Among the highlights of his time as national president, he notes, has been his attendance at Board of Governor meetings in Jerusalem and reading aloud the scrolls recognizing Honorary Fellows such as Margaret Shuckett.
“I have also enjoyed chairing gala evenings where I have had the opportunity to meet personalities such as Chelsea Clinton and Anderson Cooper.
Then there is Rami Kleimann, the president and CEO of the CFHU for the past eight years. “Rami is one of the most innovative fundraisers I have ever known,” Palay says. “He has been a delight to work with.”
“And I have made many good friends in Jewish communities across the country, many of whom I still see when I travel.”
But it is the calibre of the Hebrew University itself that he is most passionate about. The Hebrew University has long been rated as Israel’s top university and one of the 100 best  universities in the world.
“The faculty are all top-notch,” he says, “and I have met a lot of very talented and brilliant people.”