I grew up in Germany in a modern orthodox family. The Jewish education, which I received in my childhood in Religious Day Schools, has guided me through the journey of my life. I was fortunate to escape from the European inferno before the outbreak of war and, although I did not experience the horrendous cruelties of the extermination camps, the fact that I am of the Holocaust generation, has had a tremendous and over-riding effect on my goals and aspirations and is the motivation for my intense involvement in Jewish life in Canada, Israel and world-wide.
In the early war years, I reached the shores of Canada among a group of several thousand young German Jewish internees and, after spending two years behind barbed wire, gained Canadian residence to study Electrical Engineering at Queens Universityin Kingston. This was followed by building up a national electrical and mechanical contracting group engaged in industrial and commercial construction from coast to coast.
In 1987 I sold State Contractors to devote myself full time to the Jewish community and its various educational and social activities. It is a career that is full of challenge, sometimes frustrations, but one that I do not regret. Today I am on the boards of schools and yeshivot in Toronto, Shaare ZedekHospital, Jerusalem College of Technology, Bar Ilan Universityin Israel, Yeshiva University in New York, to name but a few. It is a very diversified and exhilarating experience. Toronto is one of the most vibrant and generous Jewish communities in the world. I am proud to share my passion for Israel, for Jewish life and for community with so many wonderful people with whom I have worked over the years.
To safeguard and promote Jewish continuity, the funding of Jewish education is first and foremost on my list of obligations. Our youth must be taught the ethics of our Torah and our incredible history throughout the ages in order to identify as Jews and carry on our precious traditions.
It is through strong and committed family life that our traditions and values are passed on to the next generations. In this regard I have been abundantly blessed with a beautiful family — my wife Edith, my children Lenny (Toronto), Naomi (Jerusalem)and Michael (Monsey), 21 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. We are grateful that all our children have internalized our way of Tzedakah and chessed in their lives and are passing it on to the next generation.