I am grateful to my parents, Genia z”l and Moniek z”l Prusznowski. They were extraordinary examples of strength, integrity, and commitment to family. As survivors of the Holocaust, they came to Canada in search of a new life. What the two lacked in finances and language, my parents made up in perseverance and a work ethic that realized their dreams. They created a loving and solid foundation for my siblings and me.
There was always a focus on family as most of my parents’ family had perished. The darkness of their pasts never entirely left them, yet they were able to build new, happy lives. They worked very hard and I had to assume some parental responsibilities. This forced me to grow up very quickly. I developed an outlook of purpose, commitment and concern for others. I began working part time at the age of 12 and had a multitude of jobs by the time I was in my twenties. I understood hard work and asking for things was never easy. However, taking responsibility, action, and caring became second nature to me. Perhaps this is what led me to choose a career in social work.
Family was integral growing up, and so raising my children with love and a strong foundation was paramount. They always showed a deep love and respect for their grandparents who in turn absolutely adored them. In an effort for our family to be close, our household became the hub where everyone gathered for the holidays. It was a noisy, joyful and loving gift to my parents and myself. My children, Joshua, Matthew, Alexandra and Sami have grown into incredible adults who have enriched my life with their wonderful partners and children.
The children grew up understanding the importance of tzedakah. When life permitted, I became involved in the community. Some of my endeavours were president of USDS Parents Association serving on the boards of USDS, VOICE, The Learning to Listen Foundation and the Client Care Committee of Baycrest. Being the child of survivors intensifies the significance of Israel as the Jewish homeland. Supporting Israel will always be important to me.
Reflecting on life, I know there will always be bumps on our road. Being grateful for the love and joy on the way makes it beautiful. My gift to the Jewish Foundation is about leaving a legacy of caring and support for others.