I am most grateful and appreciative to the Government of Canada for allowing my parents to emigrate in 1911 from Latvia, otherwise I would probably have been a statistic of the Holocaust.
My parents brought with them the traditions and the observances of the typical Shtetl Jew. The blue Jewish National Fund charity box was a fixture in our kitchen. Contributions were made regularly depending on the economy, or lack thereof.
As a young teenager during the world-wide depression of 1929 and enduring the shortcomings of that era, my experiences molded my mind and senses which resulted in compassion for others less fortunate in many ways.
In my later years I did volunteer work including co-chairing the Pharmacy Division of UJA Federation. I played the trumpet in a Klezmer band which entertained at synagogue affairs, institutions and retirement homes lifting the spirits of shut-ins. I also participated in the monthly Mazel Tov nights at Baycrest.
I have the greatest respect and admiration for the leadership qualities of the individuals who master-minded and promoted the Jewish Foundation concept. It provides the Jewish community and others the essential and valuable assistance that is required. It is indeed the mitzvah of “Tikkun Olam”. I hope, by example, that our children and grandchildren will be inspired and encouraged to perpetuate this practice, to solidify and affirm that we, as Jews, are one. Through the UJA commitment to giving, it becomes a permanent, everlasting, righteous and unselfish inclination for the betterment of the world. By providing funds for research, education and helping those in need, your rewards will be forthcoming in many ways.
Contentment is being satisfied with what you have…satisfaction is the fulfillment you savour when you think positively to help others through whatever means are available.