The more you give the more you get back. That's what I experienced more than 45 years ago when I barely had two cents to my name but still pledged my first gift of $200 to the Jewish community. The feeling I got from that first pledge was in itself a gift right back to me.
Over the years, I was blessed with the ability to give more — both financially and also with my time and commitment.
One of my most rewarding Tzedekah experiences has been with my involvement with Beit Halochem, an organization for disabled Israeli war veterans. In 1978, I started Beit Halochem Canada and brought groups of Israeli war veterans to Canada for two week visits. Not only as a respite for them from their hardships, but also as a fabulous opportunity to build bridges and forge relationships in Toronto with our Israeli friends who protect our cherished land of Israel. They visited schools, talked to members of the community and experienced a bit of our life in Canada. All around many lives were touched — including mine.
Over the years, Beit Halochem Canada has grown substantially as others have joined in the cause. My involvement has always been personally rewarding because I knew I was contributing something meaningful. The friendships and relationships I made over the years, with both our Israeli and Canadian friends, are priceless. Many are like second family to mine. Testament to my belief that you get back far more than you can ever imagine.
I share my values of Tzedakah and a love for Israel and the Jewish community with my family: my wife Belle, our children Lawrence and Heather, and our grandchildren, Stacey, Michael and Jonathan. We are all in this together.
My message today and to future generations is to go out and give your best. Visit Israel. Connect locally. Just get involved and contribute in some way. No words can describe the rewards. But if you do it, you'll know what I mean.