I am proud to be the third generation in my family to be part of the Book of Life by having made a legacy gift to the Jewish Foundation.
My tzedakah ‘training’ started very young. I was only two months old when my family moved to Toronto from Montreal. You can say I literally grew up in the halls of UJA Federation being one of those kids racing around at telethons trying to help, but mostly creating havoc. Over the years, I grew up seeing so many amazing people model what it is to be a good, giving member of our community. I wanted in.
I’ve had some giant footsteps to follow: My parents, David and Judy Engel, are both extraordinarily committed to the community and have made this pursuit an integral part of our family’s life and values. My grandparents (Issie and Anna Engel) too, were profound tzedakah role models in Montreal. My sister, Tina, is also passionately forging her own imprint in Jewish community contribution and leadership.
We’ve been taught well. As the next generation, we’ve been passed a torch. There’s a lot of work still to be done. I’ve learned that to sustain and thrive as a community we need to build on the wisdom, experience and foundation set by those before us. And we must engage the commitment of the younger and future generations. I believe the continuity of our community efforts is what is most at stake.
In my own experience having served in various roles (UJA Young Leadership, Keren Hayesod International Young Leadership, CCBC – and many more), I have had the privilege of mentors. The guidance, inspiration and support from the Koschitzkys, Sokolskys, and many more have had a profound impact on me.
To my peers, I encourage you to get involved today. You might believe you are too young to be thinking about giving (time or financial) when you are only just starting your career and family life. But there’s never a better time to get involved. It is the ‘now’ that has the greatest potential for exponential impact and will ensure that next generations have a strong, vibrant Jewish community.
Leaving a legacy can be much more affordable and accessible than you might think. Giving of your time can be priceless. One of the greatest perks of giving is that you get back more than you can imagine, in friendships, learning opportunities and being connected to a great cause.
M’dor le dor. From generation to generation…..will you join in?