Sam & Bella Bojman z”l

As told by their daughter Deborah Bojman

I write this story in memory of my parents, Sam and Bella Bojman z”l.

My parents exemplified what it means to survive and thrive even amidst unspeakable difficult times.

Born in Poland, they were young adults when WW2 broke out. Within the atrocities of the Holocaust, they miraculously survived. Many of their family members did not.

My father hid in the woods with one of his brothers. They survived but his father and another brother perished. My mother survived the Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps but her mother, grandmother, and four of her siblings were killed.

Once the war ended, each of my parents made their way to the Stuttgart camp for displaced persons which is where they met. In 1948 they moved to Canada, settling in Toronto to start a new life together.

My parents never let their traumatic experiences diminish their faith in G-d, and love for Jewish life. Deeply committed to Jewish values, identity, and community, our lives were filled with all the traditions of Jewish holidays, Shabbat—and were taught early the importance of tzedakah.

My mother was active in Hadassah, and loved to read and learn. She joined a Jewish book club and attended night school to learn English. She insisted that my sister Pearl z”l and I go to Jewish school. An inspiration, I named my store in Gravenhurst Muskoka after my mom, Aunty Bella’s Convenience.

My father became a very successful developer. His company, New Style Construction, flourished. Always at the cutting edge, he was one of the first to develop high rise buildings in Toronto. He would often say that his best meetings happened in the ‘shvitz’ where he blended his community socializing with business talk.

As the business grew, so did my father’s compassion and generosity. No one should go without a home, so he gave people in need generous discounts for their rent. He also helped his employees develop their own businesses. Today, Pearl’s children Natalie, Daniel, and Barry Berens are at the helm and keeping the business going strong.

My father gave his time and money to the Jewish community, supporting their shul (Shaarei Shomayim Synagogue and Radomeer Synagogue); the UJA, JNF Soldiers of Israel, Associated Hebrew Schools, Baycrest Home for the Aged, Hadassah and B’nai Brith.

I can only imagine the sorrow they would be feeling now if they saw the horrific events unfolding in Israel with worldwide antisemitism soaring again.

It is more crucial than ever that we stand together to protect Jewish life—everywhere.

I established a Fund with the Jewish Foundation to honour my parents and their legacy of giving and caring. They believed that collectively we have the character to survive and thrive as a Jewish people.

I’m hopeful this is true.