A lot of things in life capture your attention. Fewer capture your heart. My family and Jewish community are two of my greatest passions.
I grew up in a fairly secular Jewish home. There wasn't a great deal of talk about Israel or Jewish community. Still, I have fond memories of my grandma, in New York, being actively involved in her local Hadassah chapter, and of my Bubie in Toronto lighting Shabbos candles with a tear in her eye. I always wondered what that tear was about and what she felt in those moments. Today, I think I understand.
The feeling of being Jewish and being part of a community with such rich history and traditions can be very powerful. It is for me now but it wasn't always.
The doors — and my heart — really opened to Jewish life in the early ‘90s, almost by accident. I got involved with Holy Blossom Temple professionally as an editor of their newsletter. I became increasingly more immersed over the years, participating in many volunteer positions, including Chair of the Holy Blossom Temple Foundation. I also made Israel a large part of my life, visiting at least once a year, with my friends from the Temple.
As I studied and learned more, and explored my own Jewish identity, I realized there's as much room for individuality as there is for community in Jewish life. I met fantastic people along the way, many who have become lifelong friends.
If it wasn't for Holy Blossom's open and inviting approach — and the rabbis who ignited my Jewish spark — I wonder where I would have found this connection and what I may have missed.
I want to give back what I've received. Tzedakah is my privilege and my husband, Harley Mintz, shares this feeling. Although we give as a family, as a working woman, it's important for me to make my own contribution. That's why I funded my own Lion of Judah endowment at UJA and I continue to give of my time to UJA, Holy Blossom and many other worthy organizations in the Jewish community and beyond.
My hope is that, by example, I will inspire Jewish values and the joys of Jewish life in my children, Jay and Rebecca. If I can help ignite a spark that will encourage others to create their own meaningful Jewish life then I know I will have made a difference.