Becoming actively involved with the Jewish community was a natural evolution for me. I was born in Moncton, New Brunswick, and lived there until I was 5 years old. Although the Jewish community was very small, it was vital. My family lived two doors away from the synagogue, and my father — knowing the need for supporting the Jewish community — would drive the visiting Shlechim around the city to raise much needed funds. They were always welcomed into our kosher home and were made to feel a part of our family and small community.
After the war, trains carrying holocaust survivors en route to Montreal and Toronto stopped in Moncton. My mother was one of the people who brought food and clothing to these new immigrants.
On one occasion, a family arrived with a very sick baby boy. My mother immediately took the frantic family to see our own doctor; medication was provided for the child, and the family was able to continue on their way. Many years later my mother received an invitation to this boy's Bar Mitzvah. It is this kind of connection to Jewish life that affected me profoundly.
Still in my early years, we moved to Montreal, where my brothers and I would receive a more comprehensive Jewish education. We all attended Talmud Torah, and my eldest brother went onto study at the Yeshiva in Brooklyn. I kept my Maritime connection; I went back to Camp Kadimah every summer.
To my husband Edward and me, supporting the Jewish community has always been extremely important. It is a fundamental part of our shared value system.
I have reached a point in my life, where I realize it is necessary for me to take a stand on certain issues that threaten Jewish people around the world - especially anti semitism. One of the ways I could help was to raise my voice and get involved — both personally and financially.
Last November in Israel, I saw first hand what life is like when you live with the daily threat of terrorism. It is our responsibility to help; I wanted to show my solidarity by making a special gift.
It is important that the next generation continue to feel the genuine need to give. My daughter has gotten that message. My father used to say, "When you give from the heart,the pleasure of giving is your reward."