Our involvement in the Toronto Jewish community began in our adulthood. Neither of us were born or brought up here. Mara grew up with her parents and sisters in New York, while Jay was raised in Florida by a single mother. Jay came to Toronto for university and his community involvement began with Alpha Epsilon Pi, the Jewish fraternity, at York University. Mara moved to Toronto when we were dating. We are now married and the very proud parents of our son Jax.
The values we share are deep rooted in age-old tradition and we were fortunate to have them instilled in us by our parents and grandparents. These values guide our shared passion and commitment to the Jewish community. Mara did not grow up in a predominantly Jewish environment. When she did have the first experience as an 18-year-old living on her own in New York City, she realized how much she loved being a part of a vibrant Jewish community and it became a must in her life.
Both of us have been actively involved with UJA’s Young Leadership and Cabinet. It allowed us to meet so many others who share the same passion and interests. Being new to Toronto, it was a great way to meet people and forge meaningful friendships. When you are doing something that is important to you, everything else falls into place.
Being a part of the Book of Life, as it coincides with our new roles as parents to our son Jax, seems fittingly timed. The Book of Life will capture our first few chapters, but our story will continue. There is still so much more to come and it excites us to think about what has yet to be written.
We are responsible for the future and we must do our part to ensure a safe and vibrant place where Jewish life can thrive. There are just over 14 million Jewish people in the world and it’s a compilation of a lifetime of stories. As we are writing our story for the Book of Life, we summarize in so many ways the people who came before us: our families and the many people we’ve read about. We hope to take our story and enhance it, share and learn with our own family and the community. We look forward to building the Jewish community to be the strongest it has ever been.