Federations Mourn the Passing of Richard Tapper, z”l May 23,
The Jewish Federations of North America mourns the passing of Richard
Tapper, z”l, a remarkable young leader and devoted supporter of Jewish
Federations. Tapper, of Winnipeg, passed away on Saturday, May 19, at age
Tapper was born and raised in Winnipeg. Active in Jewish life from a young
age, he spent 13 years attending Camp Massad, a Jewish camp, as a camper,
counselor and eventually assistant director. He was also a leader in his BBYO
chapter, and participated in the March of the Living program, which led him to
Israel for the first time. The trip, he said, “changed me forever. I couldn’t
stop staring at the land.”
After graduating from the University of Winnipeg with a B.S. in 1998, Tapper
attended Southern California University of Health Sciences, where he received a
doctorate in chiropracty in 2002. He opened his first practice in Winnipeg in
2003 and subsequently wrote two books, one of which ("In Service: Living the
Life You Love") became a Barnes and Noble best-seller.
Tapper was deeply involved at the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, serving as a
member of its board, and as president of the Ben Gurion Society. Tapper
participated in the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba’s Endowment Book of Life in
the summer of 2011, and was the youngest signer of the book to-date. The planned
giving program leaves a financial, and historical, legacy to the community.
“The passing of Richard Tapper is a devastating loss for the Jewish
community,” said Bob Freedman, CEO at the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg.
“Richard was a natural leader whose loving character and selfless generosity was
an inspiration to all who knew him.”
In the general Jewish community, Tapper was a third-year member of JFNA’s
National Young Leadership Cabinet, and the first member of NYL Cabinet from
Winnipeg in 20 years.
Tapper’s third-year NYL Cabinet class members recalled a loving, cheerful
humanitarian, Jewish leader and friend.
“Having Richard Tapper in our Cabinet class was like having our own personal
scholar-in-residence. Richard, or ‘Peg’ as I affectionately called him (short
for Winnipeg, of course) always had an incredible and impressive knack for being
able to share stories or recite quotes on an impromptu basis, and he would
always prove both insightful and inspiring,” said Alison Lebovitz of
“His penchant for public speaking was equally matched by his ability to
genuinely listen when others spoke. He was a deeply spiritual person whose
passion for life was evident by his infectious smile, his wacky sense of humor
and his caring spirit. Richard's passing is nothing short of tragic, but the
impact he made on our class, on Cabinet, and the larger Jewish community is
nothing short of profound.”
Josh Green of Sarasota said, “Richard was passionate about his love for
Jewish causes and Jewish ideals. He was one of those rare people that you come
across that had a real zest for living, to really be involved, not just sit on
the sidelines. He spoke from his heart and with incredible conviction.”
“He was never one to back down from a challenge and always found a way to
make everyone around him happy and full of laughter,” added Daniel J. Feiner of
Denver. “He was a bright star at Cabinet Retreat, and he loved professing his
affection for ‘Peg City,’ representing the Jewish community there. Richard will
be sorely missed, and our chevre will not be the same without his
Tapper was also involved in philanthropic work outside the Jewish community.
He served as president of the Chiropractic Division of the United Way and
received an international award for his work at Siloam Mission.
To honor his dedication to the Jewish community in Winnipeg, Tapper was set
to receive the Harry Silverberg Young Leader of Distinction Award at a ceremony
this week. The award, which celebrates an individual who has demonstrated
outstanding service and leadership in support of the activities of the
Federation or who shows potential for future leadership, will be presented to
Tapper’s family next year.
Tapper described the return for his charitable giving as “immeasurable”
during one of his Jewish community honors. “I once heard a speaker say: ‘The
hole you give through is the hole you receive through,’” he said. “In other
words, you get back everything you give. I truly believe that.”
Tapper is survived by his wife Lauren, son Gabriel, parents Leya and Bernie,
and sister and brother-in-law, Heather and Jeff Koplovich.
Services were held earlier this week and shiva is being held through Thursday
evening, from 7-9 p.m., at Lauren Tapper’s home, 22 Fall Ridge Rd., Winnipeg,
Canada. Donations can be made in Tapper’s memory through the Winnipeg Federation
to help build the Richard Tapper cabin at Camp Massad.
May the entire Tapper family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and
Jerusalem and may his memory be forever as a blessing.