One of the shared values we brought to our marriage was the effort to always do for others and help whenever and however we can. This is evident in the career paths we each pursued. Betty’s work began in environmental sciences, which led to a career as an environmental consultant and greater environmental awareness. She eventually became a Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine, a career change made at a relatively later stage of life, which allowed her to combine her passions for the environment and medicine. Sonny has been a Financial Consultant for his entire career and continues to work at it today. In addition to our careers that are centred on guiding and helping others, the same applies to our charitable giving.
Our community is extremely important to us. We are active members at our synagogue, Congregation Habonim, where Betty is a member of the choir and Sonny is a board member. We are supporting their capital campaign for a new building. Our community also encompasses families not even known to us personally, who are dealing with children with life limiting illnesses and we support them through Chai Lifeline, Emily’s House and Care For Kids (Toronto), a charity Sonny started with his daughter, Michelle, in 1993 to fund paediatric palliative care at SickKids Hospital.
We are equally committed to UJA Federation supporting both the annual and capital campaigns, since we believe firmly that community funded agencies and programs are essential and must be sustained for the good of our entire community.
We must also acknowledge the lessons from our beloved parents whose acts of tzedakah never waivered, even in the midst of poverty and struggle. Betty’s parents were Dutch Holocaust survivors, hidden children, who had very little monetarily, but their embrace of inclusivity and acceptance was impressed upon Betty. Sonny was raised in Ingersoll, a small town outside of London, Ontario, where, in his modest home, there was a constant open-door policy and a meal was offered to anyone who needed it.
The simple acts of kindness demonstrated by our parents and the success we had achieved in our own lives made our decision to endow our gift to the Jewish Foundation a natural progression. We are now in a position to do a lot for our community and it is a wonderful way to guide our children and grandchildren.
We may look after people in different ways but we both strive to see those we help have better lives. We know our fund and the causes it supports will certainly help achieve this.