While neither of us grew up in observant families, together we have built a home rooted in traditional Jewish values. We have 5 wonderful children, Yosef, Binyomin, Hadassa, Tehila and Miriam, and we have raised them with the same strong sense of community and social justice that we learned from our own parents.
Mark is the youngest of 4 brothers, and tragically lost his father, Izzy Halpern, z”l, when he was only 11 years old. Despite these difficult circumstances, Mark’s mother, Frances Halpern z”l, was always philanthropic and set an example of giving back to others and to the community.
Rhonda grew up in Toronto, nurtured by a family that anchored in her a strong sense of compassion and community service. Both her parents were active with B’nai Brith, and were involved with initiatives to assist those in need. She was always drawn to social causes and sought ways to be of service to others.
As adults, we both found that our personal values drew us towards traditional Judaism. Mark began to study Torah and went to Yeshiva in Israel. We soon married and spent two years living and learning in Jerusalem, where our first son was born.
Returning to Toronto, our priority was to build a strong Jewish home for our family, and to support our Jewish community. We are blessed with a loving and supportive partnership that has allowed each of us to contribute to this vision in our own unique ways.
We are both engaged in teaching and working to strengthen the Thornhill Woods Jewish community. We often open our home to host people for Shabbat and we are involved with Jewish education for young families. Mark is the President of Aish HaTorah Toronto, and Rhonda runs a Montessori preschool in our home, weaving a progressive educational approach with traditional Jewish values.
Professionally, Mark has been building his business WEALTHinsurance.com, in estate planning and insurance for almost 30 years. In this role he educates clients about legacy giving and how to make a charitable impact, and also works with foundations and non-profits to build planned giving programs. He has chaired UJA’s Insurance Division, participated in the two year Jewish Leadership Development Program and is a member of the Jewish Foundation’s Professional Advisory Committee (PAC).
As a family, we are guided by Torah values, which inspire our passion and our vision to give back. Our gift to the Jewish Foundation reflects the compassion, gratitude, and generosity we strive to nurture in our children, in our home, and in our community.