Although we are fifty and nearing fifty years of age, our story is still being written. It is a suitable time to consider the values we wish to model. We live in a unique period in Jewish history. Here in Canada, we live in freedom, with our potential no longer limited by the historical prejudice against our people. And we have a Jewish state, which is a source of pride and ensures a place of refuge for all Jews in need. These benefits are not guaranteed for the future. We must continue to care, work, and finance — as our parents and grandparents do and did — to ensure the future for our children and theirs.
Jewish education is critical to the strength of our community and in creating future generations who internalize our practices, culture, and history. Through education, our children will understand the jewel we possess in the State of Israel and the importance of continuing to support it.
We have both participated with our children in philanthropic projects in Kiryat Shmona and Sderot, Israel. These communities are threatened and have been damaged by vicious enemies. Those of us living outside Israel have the obligation to help keep these communities safe and strong.
Our parents and grandparents taught us these lessons. David’s paternal grandparents, Archie and Goldie Matlow, dreamed of a Jewish state and settled there in 1954. David’s father, Irving, volunteered to fight in the War of Independence and dedicated his life to helping Israel’s soldiers. His mother, Esther, is a lifetime supporter of Canadian Hadassah-WIZO, and was its national president.
Leanne grew up in Kitchener and participated with her parents, Jack and Rochelle Singer, and grandparents Joe and Nellie Brown in Kitchener’s Jewish life. Because she came from a small town, meeting other Jewish kids at Camp Ramah was an important part of forging her Jewish identity. Kitchener did not offer a day-school Jewish education, and Leanne, through her dedication to TanenbaumCHAT is determined to assure that this opportunity is available in our city. Joe Brown lost his parents and three siblings in the Holocaust. A strong Israel will ensure the Holocaust does not happen again.
There is much work to be done for Toronto’s Jewish community to continue to prosper and for Israel to remain safe and strong. It is now the time for our generation and future generations to make it so. It is a privilege to have that opportunity.