Welcome to Episode 27 of Hatradio! with our guest, Benjamin (Benjy) Shinewald.

A question I always ask myself when I write these blurbs is, why did I bring this particular person on Hatradio! I’m not willy-nilly about my choice of guests. Not at all! I am very particular in fact, as I want to interview folks who are articulate and can express their narrative in a cogent fashion. I delight in schmoozing with a man or woman who has a colorful past. And mostly I enjoy nice people who are thoughtful and by definition, inspiring.

All of that being said, Benjy was an obvious choice 0as a guest because he is a fine person who is highly inspiring. He has a sweet disposition and from what I know about him through the time we worked together at Ve’ahavta (Benjy is on the board), and when he was the CEO of Canadian Jewish Congress, Benjy has always displayed generosity of spirit – a trait that is paramount to the strengthening of our world.

A good example of that, is Benjy’s thoughts on his memorial article in the Canadian Jewish News having to do with his Jewish school teacher, the late Mr. Berger. Benjy didn’t eulogize the man as if he was a superstar or a hero. Instead he recognized the passion his teacher had for the kids and for learning and turned that into something organically epic, small town big. He reminded us that our teachers, often lead us intellectually and ethically, quietly, stick in hand, in a way that can impact on us forever. And we can imagine Mr. Berger’s leadership. And that image parks itself on a shelf somewhere, deep down in our soul.

That generosity of spirit is a big deal in our day and age, in fact at any time in history. It’s the niceness, the decency, the caring for others that allows our world to edge forward ever so slightly, a step at a time. Listen to this show. Be conscious of Benjy’s compliments for his family (especially his 106 year-old grandma), his colleagues and the kind words he directs toward me. It’s subtle but incredibly important.

We like people like that. Mostly, they are the ones we want to make our friends.

The other thing that compelled me to ask Benjy to be a guest is that he is bright. The man has developed his intellect. Not so much like a Talmudic scholar, but more so like a well-read neighbor, with a fertile curiosity and a drive to know and uncover. You’ll detect this in our guest a number of times when he replies to a question, “I haven’t really thought of this”, or “Good question, Avrum”. It’s clear from these short retorts, that Benjy did not come Hatradio! to simply toss out answers to stuff. He’s not fluffy. Benjy was there to share with us truths he’d arrived at or postulations he’d mulled about, or to say, “I don’t know”. We had an honest, thoughtful dialogue, one which I believe will compel the listener to consider alternatives.

There’s a lot more to the interview like: Benjy’s many trips abroad and visits to synagogues in far away lands like Beijing, where he saw a mother-of-pearl inlaid ark; like his no-holds-barred challengeto Jewish leadership for being somewhat namby-pamby in its response to anti-Semitism; like his 9-year old wonderment and magical thinking, as to why his tie-wearing Dad, the boss, didn’t ride the forklift at his work all day instead of administering systems from his office. And yes, we’re privy too, to Benjamin’s work on the Privy Council and his toil today bringing green to buildings in Canada and around the world.

I chose Benjamin Schinewald as a guest on Episode 27 of Hatradio! because there are aspects of his character that I’d like to emulate, and suspect others would as well. Again, this father of two girls, is a decent sort full of love for all personkind, caring and he’s bright with the nuts to be contentious. And yes, Benjy is a tad off balance just like the rest of us.  But that just adds to the layers of excitement in our schmooze.

Enjoy! It’s a good show. I liked doing it with Benjy. Please share it with others and be in touch with any questions or suggestions for guests at info@hatradio.ca

Hatradio! The show that schmoozes (with regular folk).


Thanks to David Nefesh for the Hatradio! blues song. A pat on the back to Howard Pasternack for his post- production, like deletions of coughs and finger tapping on the Hatradio! table, and goofy things I said that I’m too embarrassed to share with you. :)

Credit for music in commercial:
Slow Burn Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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