For us, one of the most important Jewish values is tzedakah. While we are not religious, we value tradition and we believe in instilling a strong sense of Jewishness into family life. We feel that the best way for our children to learn is by seeing what we do and although we have encouraged them, it has not been difficult because they have the philanthropic spirit within them.
From directing all of their Bar and Bat Mitzvah gifts to charities that they chose to support, and now as adults, with their support of other worthwhile causes, our children, Haley, Shelby and Andy have demonstrated their interest in supporting the vulnerable in our community. Today, we still sit down as a family at the end of the year and choose a charity that is outside our normal causes and make a meaningful contribution to it.
Our philanthropy has very much been shaped by our backgrounds. The Draper and Frankel families were fairly prominent in the Jewish community. “My great grandfather was president of Holy Blossom Temple for 25 years and I clearly remember my parents being involved in different causes. Their effort to support the community had a strong influence on me.
Lisa is a second generation Canadian whose family came from Eastern Europe. “One of my fondest memories is my relationship with my dear grandmother, Rose Finkenthal. She worked hard her entire life, kept her extended family together through Jewish holiday traditions and had a tremendous sense of community and giving back.
About five years ago, we started to consider the possibility of Lisa leaving her job to pursue her passion for charity. I asked Lisa to take her time deciding where her charitable efforts could be directed. Not much more than 24 hours later, she was already chairing a major project for Mount Sinai Hospital. Today, she is chair of UJA Women's Campaign & Advocacy.
At the end of the day, you can’t necessarily measure success by the size of your pay cheque – we all need to understand what being generous is. And if we don’t support Jewish causes, then who will? It is up to all of us to take care of the community. That is something we truly believe in.