Julia Koschitzky

I was born in Cardiff, South Wales - a safe haven for my parents who were fortunate enough to flee Germany in 1939. Though my sister and I were both born in Wales, we always identified and understood the values and traditions of my family's life as part of the Jewish community of Germany, where our family had lived happily and prosperously for many generations before the tragedy of the Holocaust.

In 1949, we made the ocean voyage to Canada, eventually settling into the wonderful community of Toronto. My sister and I grew up in a very traditional home. From our parents we learned a love of Judaism and the importance of giving, not only financially, but of ourselves.

I met my husband, Henry, during my last year of high school. We have been married for 40 years and are blessed with four children and 14 grandchildren. Growing up, our children always saw us being very involved in a host of community endeavours. Today, my husband and I are extremely proud that our children are all participating in meaningful ways in their respective communities, be it in Israel, New York or Toronto.

My own involvement began in the early years of my married life with Associated Hebrew Schools, my children's school. One day I received a call asking me to help with an outreach program to bring more observant women into the UJA Federation system. It was a call that would launch an entire Jewish communal career for me. I went on to chair Women's Campaign & Advocacy and was one of the founders of Lion of Judah in Toronto.

Today, I am still involved in UJA Federation, UIA Federations Canada, the Centre for Jewish Studies at York University and Keren Hayesod.

This year, I am the Co-Chair of the Education Committee forthe Jewish Agency. I always think what glorious moments I would have missed out on had I said no instead of yes.

I made my Lion of Judah Endowment because I wanted my gift to carry on in perpetuity. When I reflect on our past, I come to the conclusion that our survival and what we possess today are not the result of any wise decisions, but rather a gift from G-d, and, having been blessed with this gift, I feel that it is incumbent upon me to share in every way possible my good fortune with the rest of Klal Yisroel.


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