Toronto has always been my home. I was born and raised here and hold so many precious memories of being a part of the Jewish community.
One of my earliest memories is attending Camp Fundale, which was housed in the old Bathurst Jewish Community Centre—now the Sherman Campus. It strikes me now how incredible it was that those before me had the foresight to set up such incredible Jewish programs like the camp and JCC in order to bring the community together. Little did I know then, as a young camper, that I too would be someone who would commit herself to the very same cause.
My family was of, what I call, mixed stock. One side was orthodox and the other atheist but very Zionistic. Tzedakah was always practiced even in modest terms. I remember my grandmother walking door to door with a pushka in hand, asking for whatever people could give. I also recall bringing loose change to Sunday school in order to buy trees to be planted in Israel for Tu B’shvat. These little acts all added up to something big.
Today, with two grown children, Cydney and Jesse, I am so proud to be able to contribute so much of my time and donate in greater amounts. I continue to learn and be inspired. Honey Shermanz”l was one of my greatest mentors. She taught me to roll up my sleeves. She taught me to do a lot and not just by giving monetarily. She was a dear friend whose legacy I cherish and attempt to honour with my continued involvement.
I carry on as I believe that we all must contribute what we can. I, for one, will not let the community fall apart—not on my watch. I continue to give and be involved in an array of volunteer positions so that the necessary services and programs will exist for years to come.
My commitment is secured by my legacy gift at the Jewish Foundation. It demonstrates to my kids how important it is to give back and that it will continue long after I am gone. And I have had the best partner, my husband Harry, sharing in these important community activities.
We must keep the Jewish community going for my kids and future generations. If we want to keep Judaism alive, there has to be a place that enables this. And we can all play a part.