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 Leadership Briefing 
The Jewish Federations of North America
Jewish Federations Mourn the Passing of Richard Tapper, z”l
May 23, 2012

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 35.

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 Chattanooga.

“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 presence.”

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.

The Jewish Federations of North America
Wall Street Station
PO Box 157
New York, NY 10268

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