Giving tzedakah can mean different things. For us, it began with volunteerism.
When Darryl was a young boy, he regularly visited his elderly relatives who lived at Baycrest. From those visits, Darryl developed a connection with Baycrest. As an adult, he became a dedicated volunteer, chairing a variety of fundraisers and participating in various committees of the Baycrest Foundation, raising money to enrich the lives of the elderly.
As a teen, I had the opportunity to spend a few summers, volunteering on kibbutzim in Israel. There was a feeling of excitement, working in a Jewish homeland and contributing to the lives of its citizens. And, I came away with a sense of responsibility to support Israel and our community, in its survival against difficult odds.
Darryl and I both grew up in traditional Jewish homes. Although we were each raised in homes with different degrees of religious observance, both our sets of parents were actively involved in the community, synagogues, B’nai Brith, and the National Council of Jewish Women. We learned about charitable participation through example and we hope that we are instilling those virtues in our family. Our children, who have received a Jewish education, understand the importance of their heritage. The significance of their Judaism was heightened when we celebrated Darryl’s son, Daniel’s, Bar Mitzvah at sunrise on Massada.
Our volunteer lives continue. We are both dedicated to Baycrest and I currently have the honour of serving as President of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Baycrest Foundation. And now, we are very fortunate to have the privilege to enhance our commitment to the community by establishing funds at both UJA Federation and Baycrest. It is our hope that those in need will benefit from our support.
In our diverse world, there are many people and organizations that are in need of philanthropic assistance. However, I always encourage our children to first support Israel, our Jewish community, and its causes. As Jews, it is our obligation to secure the future of our religion and valued traditions, both globally and locally. May we continue to go from strength to strength.