Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Louis Berkel

Hon. Anita Neville NevilA@parl.gc.ca ( Winnipeg South Centre, Lib.): 
 
Mr. Speaker, I stand today to pay tribute to and honour the memory of Rabbi Louis Berkel who died last week in Winnipeg at the age of 95.
 
In 1954, he joined the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue in Winnipeg where he served as a cantor and assistant rabbi for over 50 years. A soft-spoken man, he has been described by many as a gentle soul. His work, his teaching and his kindness, coupled with his humility and his dedication to the immediate needs of both the Jewish and non-Jewish communities of Winnipeg , made him greatly loved and respected. His cantorial voice soared when he chanted the traditional prayers, allowing him to draw those around him into the spiritual space he inhabited.
 
His legacy will be in the lives well lived by the thousands of students who were privileged to have him as their teacher. I would like to quote the words of the Dalai Lama, for they exemplify the life of this very special man:
 
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.