Lisa and I were both born and raised in Toronto; it is our community and our home. Our parents always taught us that when you live in a community, you give back to it, and we have made this important lesson the centerpiece of our Jewish involvement and our family’s tzedakah.
Lisa’s father, in particular, was guided by this philosophy and over the years made a tremendous impact on Jewish Toronto. From his position as Past Chair of UJA’s Annual Campaign, to his involvement as one of the Founding Families of the Tomorrow Capital Campaign, Harold Lederman embraced his many roles as leader, philanthropist, volunteer and visionary. He recognized the needs of our community and the importance of planning for the future. The impact he made became the inspiration for the Lederman Endowment Fund at the Jewish Foundation, which supports the “Harold Lederman Award.” This honour is awarded annually by the Past Chairs Council of UJA to recognize outstanding achievement by a member of the community who has demonstrated philanthropic and volunteer leadership in the field of philanthropy.
Today, we strive to follow in the footsteps of our parents, Harold and Shirley Lederman, and Harold and Beverley Brown, by giving back and making a difference here at home and around the world. This is accomplished through our involvement in organizations such Princess Margaret Hospital and by the creation of “The Harold and Shirley Lederman Palliative Care Centre.” In honour of my late father-in-law’s position as Chairman of the Board of the Baycrest Foundation, we also support the Baycrest Centre, having named “The Harold Lederman Board Room” after him. At the Bernard Betel Centre, I volunteer my time and sit on the Board of Directors and serve as President. As well, I am also on the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto, and sit on the Board of Governors for the Friends of Simon Wiesenthal.
We are doing our part to help the local community by furthering our family commitment, insuring the success of the Tomorrow Campaign by naming “The Brown/Lederman Outdoor Pool” at the Joseph & Wolf Lebovic Jewish Community Campus. Through my past involvement in the Israel and Overseas Committee, leading UJA missions to Israel, and assisting the Jewish community in Kishinev, Moldova, we are assisting not only our community but also Jewish people abroad, helping to ensure that Jewish life in the GTA and other Jewish communities will thrive for years to come.
Most importantly, through our actions, our commitment, and our support, we are sending a message to our children. While monetary contributions do help so many, it is about much more than that. For us, it is just as important to show our support and connection to your community. By getting involved, helping others and appreciating all that you are blessed with, you can truly make a difference in this world. The giving of one’s self to help others in your community, the way you would like to be treated, defines what a good person is.