As we mark a special milestone in our lives – we are both about to celebrate a special birthday – we have become quite reflective about our past, both in how our parents shaped us, and also about what we chose to pursue personally and professionally. Only now do we fully appreciate the impact of our actions as our own children have grown, and it is our greatest joy to see them pursuing their careers and growing their own families all the while partaking in philanthropic and charitable work, as we do.
Both Michael and I began our community involvement as young adults. I was a young Torontonian who watched my mother busy herself as an active volunteer with Hadassah-WIZO. Michael, born and raised in Hamilton, was greatly influenced by his father who was very active both within the organized Jewish community of Hamilton as well as with the community at large.
When Michael and I, along with each of our 2 children, became a blended family, we also combined our commitment to community involvement as supporters and active volunteers. I was very active with such organizations as Mount Sinai Hospital, Baycrest, ORT and UJA. Michael was involved with Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) and Jewish Family and Child Services (JF&CS), both for which he served as President. Our work made us realize how much the Jewish community does for its members and the community at large. We are truly amazed at how much time and financial support is contributed to this community. We also realized how we have a responsibility to help others.
Not everyone has had the opportunities we’ve had and we must help others who cannot necessarily help themselves. By the same token, we must support Israel, because if not us, then who?
And so it was only natural that I endow my Lion of Judah gift as it will ensure my support continues but also serves as a lesson to our children: Romy and Jeremy; Zac and Gillian; Betsy and Rob; and Niki and Adam, that they must be cognizant of their good fortune and give back in some way. We are hopeful that the cast from which our parents molded us will now shape our children in much the same way.