Not Crying for Argentina - Couple Invests in Winnipeg's Jewish Future

by Stu Slayen | Dec 04, 2017
Hernan Popper and Andrea Roitman sat teary-eyed at their table at Congregation Etz Chayim on October 18 as an excerpt of their Endowment Book of Life story was read aloud and performers sang “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina”. 

They weren’t crying for Argentina, the country they left in 2003. They were crying tears of joy and deep feelings for the community they have embraced in Winnipeg. And at the Endowment Book of Life Donor Recognition Evening, they felt embraced, too. 

“We are Winnipeggers by choice, not by chance. Participating in the Endowment Book of Life felt like something we could do now to strengthen our community,” says Popper, 46, a telecommunications consultant. “We didn’t want to wait until we were 80.” 

Popper and Roitman are the first Argentinians from the wave of immigration that started in the late 1990s to participate in the EBOL program.

“When we understood what this program was all about, it made a lot of sense to participate,” says Roitman, an x-ray technologist with CancerCare Manitoba’s BreastCheck Mobile Unit. “We like the idea that our gift will help the community in perpetuity. I hope that we can encourage others to participate.” 

“Our goal is to have Jewish grandchildren living in Winnipeg,” says Popper, who sits on the Foundation’s Endowment Book of Life Committee. “The best way to make that happen is to make sure we have a strong community in the future. The EBOL program strengthens the community.” 

Popper and Roitman have two children: Martín, 16, who was born in Argentina; and Samantha, 12, who was born in Winnipeg. 

“We like the city’s size, lifestyle, friendliness, and the Jewish community,” says Popper. “Moving here was an excellent decision and we want to invest our energy into making Winnipeg an even greater place.”