Leslie Orbach

At the core of my commitment to tzedakah stands the certainty that it is essential to provide a voice for those in our community who are invisible. It is imperative that we speak for those in need; as well as sustain and build upon the foundations and organizations shaped by our parents and grandparents.

I grew up as part of a large extended family where the roots of Judaism spanned the religious spectrum. There was a lovely feeling of tolerance that ensued, a celebration of Judaism and a collective sense of community. There were lots of different ideas percolating in this wonderful and vibrant Jewish mosaic that was my home. This tremendous strength of family that my parents, Harry and Cecile Erlich, inspired, remains in my heart and is the voice in my head that serve as my compass for commitment.

This ideology echoed as I carved my own path of community life. I know the moment. I attended a rally at Earl Bales Park for Operation Exodus, and was invited to a retreat by a student from the Jewish Student Network. Here, I was part of an invigorating, enthusiastic, intelligent and committed group of young people. It was the combination of this group, and my first trip to Israel, that was the springboard for my continuing involvement. At every stage of my life, the social vitality of the Jewish community has provided me with remarkable opportunities, and has solidified my unwavering devotion to giving.

It is not enough to expect that our resources and institutions will be there just for our children and us. It is critical to support our own community. If we don’t, who else will? It really is up to us to create the kind of environment that my husband, Nir, and I want for our three sons, David, Benjamin and Aaron. Endowing my Lion of Judah gift allows me to make a different kind of commitment, one where I can give for the present and provide a voice for the future of our community as well.


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