News Articles
The Diamond Residence added to list of Calgary historic sites
Friday, 10 June 2011 00:00

By Irena Karshenbaum
For the Jewish Free Press
racheljacobdiamondWhen Dorothy Goldin passed away on August 23, 2004, it marked the end of an era. Dorothy was the last surviving child of Jacob and Rachel Diamond, the first Jewish family to settle permanently in Calgary in 1889. Dorothy Goldin was also one of the last surviving Diamond family members to live in the house known in heritage circles as the Diamond Residence, a historic house that has miraculously eluded demolition in the downtown.
The genesis of Calgary’s Jewish community centered on the Diamond family’s first home. Given their pioneer status, the Diamond family house on 10 Avenue between 3 and 4 Streets S.E. served as the city’s first synagogue, community centre and even the Chevra Kadisha.
But with increasing wealth thanks to the success of J. Diamond, Wholesale Wines, Liquors, and Cigars, Jacob Diamond was able to move with his wife and three of his five children from the poorer east side of the city to the wealthier, more affluent west. A historic title search that shows “Jacob Diamond of Calgary, merchant” took possession of the Edwardian Gable-Front style home on October 15, 1912. This family home at 823 – 6 Avenue S.W. has recently been added to the City of Calgary Inventory of Evaluated Historic Resources.



An early photo of Rachel and Jacob Diamond, considered the founding family of Jewish Calgary.

Yeshiva scholars share shabbat with Akiva Academy
Friday, 24 June 2011 00:00


The ‘big boys’ above (l. to r.) Yeshaya Levin, Binyomin Kreisberg, Ezra Wolf, Nissan Borr, Natan Wolf, Moshe Hirschfeld enjoy an upcoming  Shabbat with younger students at Akiva Academy recently.  The visitors are from the Pacific Torah Institute, a yeshiva for high school and post-high school students that is located in Vancouver.
The yeshiva students participated in a Friday morning Shabbat party with the Akiva students and staff, including singing and dancing. On Shabbat afternoon there was a learning program at Akiva Academy for kids, teens and adults, followed by refreshments. On Sunday some of the yeshiva students and others from Akiva went Lasertagging, then onto a BBQ, some basketball and a kumzits. Their weekend was organized by Rabbi Chaim Greenwald and the visitors were hosted by Akiva staff and parents from the school.

How to overcome a confidence crisis
Tuesday, 16 August 2011 20:13

By Annabelle Bondar
For the Jewish Free Press

Annabelle-Bondar-webNo matter how successful you are with your goals, career and family, you may still experience a confidence crisis. Even people with high self-esteem and self-confidence sometimes suffer from a confidence crash.
A confidence crisis may be caused by a normal life transition such as starting a new job, moving to a new city, or starting a new relationship. Life's losses can also cause confidence to sink - the loss of a relationship, a job, a client, or the loss of good health.

Israel trip – the ‘experience of our lives’
Tuesday, 16 August 2011 20:05

By Michael Grotsky, Jennifer Levin, and Rachel Levy
For the Jewish Free Press

P1000518-webEach year, Grade 9 students at the Calgary Jewish Academy are fortunate to embark on a three-week experience in Israel. During this years' trip, which took place between April 21 to May 12, we had the opportunity to learn about Israel and its struggles to survive in the changing Middle East. We were exposed to different religions, landscapes, and lifestyles. Whether it was swimming in the Mediterranean or hospitality at the Bedouins, we will cherish each moment for the rest of our lives.
Throughout the three weeks, we constantly traveled and barely had time to rest. Each day was a new adventure, no matter how tired or hungry we were. Many of us felt like we were walking through history while enjoying the breathtaking sights. One of the most meaningful sights was King Hezekiah's Tunnels where we all bonded by singing cheerful songs while traversing through the pitch-black tunnels. In addition, we visited a place that touched us all deeply spiritually – the Western Wall; “When you touch it, it's as if a bolt of Judaism strikes you,” says CJA student Carly Sparrow.

“Start-Up Nation” author in Calgary explains Israel’s successes
Tuesday, 16 August 2011 19:57

By Richard Bronstein
Jewish Free Press

P1010350-webEvery once in a while an idea comes along that is just right for the times.  The book “Start-Up Nation,” about Israel’s tremendous economic growth, seems to be one of those projects.  It is probably the most widely read “Jewish” book in Calgary in the past year or two and those who attended the Jewish National Fund Negev Gala on June 13 at Beth Tzedec were well rewarded by the presence of co-author Saul Singer.
In an address that was informal, wise and far-reaching, Singer outlined some of the reasons behind Israel’s recent economic resurgence. First of all, Singer says that he and co-author Dan Senor did not write a business book.  He describes “Start-Up Nation” as an exploration of Israel’s culture and psyche that created the conditions for Israel’s development as a high-tech, knowledge-based superpower.

Sam Switzer awarded honourary degree at MRU
Tuesday, 16 August 2011 19:44

webJ11 samcmykBy Angela Sengaus
For the Jewish Free Press

Mount Royal University honorary degree recipient Sam Switzer is said to be a tough businessman with a heart of gold.
The local real estate developer, entrepreneur and philanthropist has been a major influence in the Calgary community.
“I set my sights on something and I get fully involved. I put all my effort into what I believe in,” says Switzer. “The world is full of opportunities — never problems, only unseen solutions.”
With so many projects and businesses on the go, a typical person might find such a pace too much to handle, but Switzer sees the world through an exceptional set of eyes.
Carolyn Reu, secretary-treasurer of the Board of Directors for The Sam and Betty Switzer Foundation says, “Sam gets up in the morning and sees endless possibilities.”
Switzer lives to help people make their dreams a reality. He created The Sam and Betty Switzer Foundation in 2007.
“I was fortunate that my late wife, Betty, was my mentor and encouraged me to help others. I was also fortunate enough to become successful, so I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to contribute money to people who need it.’”
The Sam and Betty Switzer Foundation aims to provide funding for causes in the areas of medical research and treatment, education, culture and the arts.
Since 2008, the Foundation has provided bursary funding to Mount Royal for students who are single parents in need of financial and emotional support.
Switzer is an exemplary role model for any graduate and proves there is a parallel between entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
“It is important to remember when you’re successful to ask how you can help others to better their situation,” he says.

Calgary citizen of the year award for Hoffman
Friday, 24 June 2011 20:20


The City of Calgary bestowed its coveted 2010 Citizen of the Year Award on Gordon Hoffman, a prominent supporter of the Jewish community, at a ceremony at the City Hall Atrium on June 15.

Presented by Mayor Nahed Nenshi and broadcast live on Shaw TV, the award citation is for an “outstanding individual Calgarian who has made a recent extraordinary contribution that has improved the quality of life in Calgary or whose recent achievements have brought recognition to Calgary.”



At the City of Calgary Awards, Citizen of the Year for 2010, Gordon Hoffman, with wife Eva and friend W. Brett Wilson, who was also recognized for his achievements through the Signature Award

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