A Taste of Home - Spotlighting William Hechter

by Stu Slayen | Dec 23, 2019
For Will Hechter, supporting the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba is “just a natural thing to do”, even though he moved away from Winnipeg in the early 1970s. 

“My Winnipeg connection is a source of pride for me as it is for many others in my generation,” says Hechter, who was born in 1947. “There is something magical about the attachment so many people feel.”

Hechter lives in Toronto with his wife, Linda. They have two children and six grandchildren, all in Toronto as well. Hechter enjoys his daily game of tennis, spending time with his grandchildren, and travelling, including an annual visit to his summer home in Clear Lake, Manitoba. 

When he reflects on his Winnipeg Jewish roots, Hechter speaks with joy about his BBYO chapter (Kadima) and about the enduring friendships he formed.  

He also speaks with pride about how the Jewish community was always on the front lines in the battle for social justice, pointing to such activists as Saul Cherniack, David Orlikow, and Sid Green. “We always had people who fought for the underdog,” says Hechter. “That might be what inspired me to go into criminal law.”

Indeed, Hechter worked as a criminal lawyer in Toronto for 20 years. Earlier, he served as a clerk for the late Justice Samuel Freedman and taught law in Minnesota. He later left law to open an investment fund with fellow Winnipegger, Marty Weinberg. 

Hechter also has a deep interest in film. While at the University of Manitoba, he opened Cinema 3 with a couple of friends and, more recently, he made two documentaries: A.K.A. Doc Pomus, a film about a legendary songwriter; and Jews and Baseball: An American Love Story, narrated by Dustin Hoffman.

He credits his good fortune, in part, and his philanthropy to his Winnipeg upbringing: “We were taught that education was important and we were raised to understand that giving is joyful.”