I owe much of who I am today to my parents. This sounds obvious but I truly have my parents to thank for shaping me from a young age until this very day.
My mother, Flo, was born in Bombay, India and my father, Michael, was born in Romania. They had little in common. She came from a very large family with 11 siblings, while my father was one of few in his family to survive the Holocaust. Both ended up in Israel, during its early years. My parents met through common friends. Because my mother was of Indian descent, she had a British passport. My parents moved to England for a short time, where I was born. Some extended family had already settled in Toronto and because family was paramount to my parents – one of their many valuable teachings – we moved to Canada.
In Toronto, we lived in an apartment complex on the edge of Forest Hill. My father said it was “like living in a castle” because we were not simply apartment dwellers: we called everyone family or friend and we looked after one another. My parents may have lacked monetarily, but they made up for it with their abundance of love and care for others.
My experience as a youngster exemplified the definition of a caring, functional community.
My father tragically passed away at age 56. It was a terrible blow to me but even more so to my mother. But his passing marked an important crossroads in my life and it was after his death that I began to make different decisions, many of which put me in a better place.
I married my husband Jack and had three wonderful children. I worked full time as a property manager all the while raising my family. My mother developed Alzheimer’s and she passed away after my third child was born. Her passing was another painful loss. But I remained driven in my career and dedicated to my young family. About a decade ago, I pursued a new career as a life coach at a time when many my age prefer to wind down. I also started to give more of my time to charitable causes.
I am most grateful for my life today and the comforts that surround me. But I am equally grateful for my past and the path that brought me here. My Lion of Judah Endowed (LOJE) gift guarantees my commitment to the community and simultaneously honours my late parents since it was their guidance that got me here.