Annette Oelbaum

I was born in Palmerston, Ontario in 1938 to parents who were very active in the community. Although we were the only Jewish family in town, my parents had a strong sense of their place in the community and felt great responsibility because they carried the weight of the Jewish world on their shoulders. They kept a kosher home and any time a fellow Jew came to town, they were welcome in our home as if they were family.

Tzedakah was always a part of our life. It was just that simple. When Ronny and I were engaged, his mother and father sat us down and said that we had to give 10% without question to charity each year, and that it was written in stone and could never be removed. It’s a lesson we learned well and always honoured.

My husband’s family was most influential in that way and I have enormous respect for them. Tzedakah, tikun olam and other vital Jewish values were something that we lived by, as did his family and it is our sincere hope that we have passed these values on to our children.

I like being Jewish. I appreciate being Jewish. As a Jew, my hope for the future of our community is that it continues to thrive, strengthen and grow, while educating our children.

I also hope that we, as Jews, continue to set an example to the world, and show how much we contribute to not only our community but to the community-at-large. This is one reason why I am so proud to be a Jew, and it is vital that our children and our children’s children carry that pride forward.

We have an enormous responsibility to continue the legacy of all those who came before us, and who worked so hard to build and strengthen the Jewish community for generations to come.


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