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Memorable Manitobans: Max James Finkelstein (1882-1960)

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Max James Finkelstein
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Born on 7 September 1882, son of Joseph Finkelstein and Mary Lieberman, he came to Winnipeg in 1891. After going through public schools and the Winnipeg Collegiate Institute, he attended the University of Manitoba from which he graduated in 1904. He read law with the firm of Hough, Campbell & Ferguson and was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1907. He formed a law partnership with Elias R. Levinson. In one of his early cases, he fought the extradition of Fedorenko, a political refuge from the Czarist government of Russia. Later in his life he practiced law with his daughter Rytsa in the firm of Finkelstein, Finkelstein & White. He was made a King’s Counsel in 1936.

On 29 July 1923, he married Rose Evelyn Ripstein (1884-1940), daughter of Simon A. Ripstein. They had three daughters: Miriam Joy Finkelstein (1925-1997; wife of Leonard Halprin), Rytsa Enid Finkelstein (1927-2009), and Gyta Hope Finkelstein (1929-2007; wife of S. Leonard Wolchock). He was a member of the IOOF, Knights of Pythias, Woodmen, Maccabees, B’nai B’rith Lodge, Masons, Canadian Friends of Hebrew University, and Shaarey Zedek Synagogue. He served on the executive committee of the Canadian Club of Winnipeg and was patron of the Young Men’s Liberal Club. He was honorary vice-president of the South Centre Liberal Association, president of the Jewish Community Council of Winnipeg, president of the Canadian Jewish Congress (Western Division), honorary vice-president of the Zionist Organization of Canada, and President of the Order of B’nai B’rith. His recreations included golf, motoring and football.

He died in his Winnipeg office on 9 May 1960 and was buried in the Shaarey Zedek Cemetery.


Pioneers and Prominent People of Manitoba, Winnipeg: Canadian Publicity Company, 1925.

“Six Manitoba barristers appointed King’s Counsel,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 January 1936, page 1.

“Death climaxes careers of many notable people in course of 1940,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 January 1941, page 1.

“City lawyer, civic leader, dies at 77,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 May 1960.

We thank Megan Halprin, Paul Silverstone, Mendy Wolchock, and Stan Carbone for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 18 January 2018

Memorable Manitobans

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