As siblings who grew up in the Cedarvale neighbourhood of Toronto, we hold dear the memory of our parents, Lottie and Philip, answering every knock at the door from the ‘meshulachim' who came asking for contributions. Often times, as if they knew precisely when we would gather for our family dinner, they would be warmly greeted by either of our parents. No one ever walked away empty handed and was never begrudged for interrupting our meal. We specifically recall our mother handing a pair of our father's shoes to one individual who rang. He was in need of just one pair of shoes, while we had enough that parting with one pair was inconsequential.
What ever our parents did, by way of charity, was always done quietly, sans fanfare, sans recognition. But it was loud enough for us to hear and to replicate. As our mother says, she and our late father established the roots and now it is the responsibility of us and our children to nurture these roots, to have them stretch father and deeper through ourown acts of charity. Our parents also believed firmly in formal Jewish education and ensured that both we and all of our children attended day school.
The venerable tradition of helping others was started by our grandparents. When our family in Europe was subjected to the evil clutches of Nazism, our father's father, Kalmen — who was already comfortably established in Toronto— provided them safe passage to Canada and set them up with work upon their arrival. This left a lasting impression on our parents and ourselves.
We give back, as did the generations before us, and our children have displayed the results of this most essential lesson through their own activities such as percentages of bar/bat mitzvah gifts being donated to charity or, by their own initiative, handing out holiday meal leftovers to the homeless. They appreciate what it means to have and understand well how to share with those that don't.
Told by children Beverley, Alan & Joni