On Being Jewish - What We Believe and Learned from our Parents.
Our family has been blessed. Our parents, Eph z”l and Shirley, started with nothing, scratching out a living after the war at a time when being Jewish was a challenge. Despite that, they always understood that Jewish values, Jewish thought, and Jewish teachings were far more important in defining one’s happiness and success than material things.
While always maintaining the highest ethical standards, through hard work, strategic decisions, and as our father would say, “a lot of luck”, our father and mother created a closely knit family focused as soon as our circumstances permitted on philanthropy.
We were taught that giving to those less advantaged than ourselves, and in other ways to advance our Jewish community, the State of Israel and society at large was both a gift and an obligation we were fortunate to possess.
Now as we enter a fourth generation of “Diamonds” we continue to foster and embrace those same values and share in healthy debate on many issues. We are not a monolithic group in our thinking. We are “left” and “right”, have different views on many social and political issues, and enjoy the spirited debates that inevitably occur among caring people with different points of view.
But there are common values that we all share, and which we have absorbed and inherited from our parents, especially our response to our being Jewish….that to be a Jew is an opportunity, a mitzvah, something good that has happened to all of us which enriches our lives, and makes us stronger, better people. How we reflect and respond to that Jewishness will vary, but the underlying understanding that we are part of something larger than any of us, part of something that has existed miraculously for over three thousand years, is core to our thinking, and to whom we are as people and as Jews.
We have been long-term supporters of many organizations, including the Hebrew University,
Sunnybrook Hospital, Ve’ahavta, Leave Out Violence, Baycrest, United Way and many others.
Our father launched the Canadian branch of Save a Child’s Heart and it remains a family mainstay as it does its wonderful work.
Our major investments in our Jewish community and in Israel have taken place through our annual contributions to UJA, which our family has been supporting for well over half a century. These donations, in addition to occasional responses for critical emergency funding, and as important, our major involvement personally in making our community stronger, reflect those underlying Jewish drivers. Being Jewish is a mitzvah and we are thankful for the opportunity to help our community be that much stronger as a result.