Manitoba Organization: Jewish Radical School / I. L. Peretz School / I. L. Peretz Folk School / Talmud Torah I. L. Peretz Folk School / Gray Academy of Jewish Education / Asper Jewish Community Campus
Yiddish language instruction for Jewish children in Winnipeg began in May 1914. First located in two rented classrooms at Aberdeen School, under the banner of the Jewish Radical School, teachers for the first 17 students were Dr. Boris Gingsburg and Ben Victor. The following year, the school was renamed the I. L. Peretz School for the Polish-Jewish writer Isaac Leib Peretz (1852-1915). Within the year, 92 students were signed up and the school relocated to a building on McKenzie Street at Pritchard Avenue.
Enrollment kept rising and, in 1917, the school moved to 412 Burrows Avenue, then to 418 Aberdeen Avenue in 1922. The latter facility site was enlarged to become, during the 1930s, the largest Jewish day-school in North America, offering a complete range of grades from kindergarten to grade 12. A schism in the organization occurred in 1927, with Zionists (who wanted more emphasis on Zionism and spoken Hebrew) splitting off to form the Jewish Folk School.
In 1944, the school merged with the smaller, four-grade Jewish Folk School to become the I. L. Peretz Folk School (ILPFS). The school expanded to include satellite campuses at 601 Aikins Street (1950) and 600 Jefferson Avenue (1956), and the Jewish Folk Library. In September 1983, the Board of Jewish Education (organized in the 1970s by the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council) merged with the ILPFS and the Talmud Torah (Winnipeg Hebrew School) to become the Talmud Torah I. L. Peretz Folk School. The Board later amalgamated the school with the Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate and Ramah Hebrew School. Further mergers in 1996 formed the Gray Academy of Jewish Education. Today, the school is consolidated at 123 Doncaster Avenue.
“[A memorial meeting ...],” Manitoba Free Press, 8 April 1915, page 32.
“Jewish ball,” Manitoba Free Press, 12 March 1917, page 4.
“Masquerade raises $500,” Winnipeg Tribune, 12 March 1917, page 5.
“Peretz school will add wing,” Winnipeg Tribune, 7 June 1927, page 5.
“Peretz School hails advance at anniversary,” Winnipeg Tribune, 18 June 1934, page 5.
“Religious teaching in Jewish Schools to be discussed,” Winnipeg Tribune, 29 April 1944, page 28.
“Years of service recalled in opening of combined I. L. Peretz-Folk Schools,” Winnipeg Tribune, 16 October 1944, page 3.
“Peretz-Folk Enrolment grows to 450 from tiny 17,” Winnipeg Free Press, 2 May 1964, page 11.
“A message from the Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education Director of Education,” Winnipeg Free Press Lifestyles [Fall Issue], 22 August 1997, page 6.
“Yiddish alumni to mark a once in-a-lifetime event,” Winnipeg Free Press Winnipeg Neighbours, 23 July 2003, page W5.
“Reunion a celebration of heritage,” by Sharon Chisvin, Winnipeg Free Press, 2 August 2003, page A15.
Biographical sketch, I.L. Peretz, Encyclopedia Britannica.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 6 March 2016Back to top of page