I grew up in Vancouver in an Orthodox Jewish household. My parents were very charitable, involved in the Jewish community and my father served a term as president of the synagogue. In my adult years, I became estranged from my Jewish identity. Now I know that supporting the Jewish community is of the utmost importance and I'm trying to find my way.
About twelve years ago I began to take a greater interest in my Jewish roots. Perhaps it was the situation in Israel, and reading more about Jewish affairs that created this awareness in me. My late wife Rachel and I decided then that it was time to do something for the Jewish community, but we could not connect with a cause.
I was fortunate to meet Sharon Goldberg, a remarkable lawyer with a very strong sense of Jewish values, who introduced me to Carol Kassel at the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto. Sharon knew my feelings, and felt that Carol would be the person to direct me. I was very impressed with Carol's personalized attention and insight, and together we worked out a plan that felt right. I decided to create a fund with half of the proceeds going directly to Israel, and half remaining with UJA Federation to support our local needs.
It's a wonderful feeling to be able to give to the community and realize that many people will benefit.
The old adage that you get more than you give is really true. There is very little that feels as good as being able to help others.
Thinking about all those years of not being affiliated has made me want to reestablish myself as a committed Jew and take my place in the community where I belong.
I feel that giving is my most important aspect of living— giving to everyone; and now, especially to the Jewish community. I would like to live to see peace in Israel, and some of the fruits of my renewed involvement.