For us, the surrounding Jewish community has always been like family; meaning, we help out however we can.
The Toronto Jewish community was not our initial family. We started our lives in the United States; Brenda in New York and Ed in Macon, Georgia. Ed’s maternal lineage, in fact, dates back several generations in Georgia, which is an interesting Jewish story in and of itself.
We met in New York in our college years. Shortly after our daughter, Aliza Malka, was born, we moved to Toronto where our son, Uri Tzvi, was born. We moved to Calgary for four years because of a work opportunity for Ed. The longing for a larger Jewish community with orthodox Jewish schools for our children brought us back to Toronto in 1986.
Ed is a psychologist by profession and has spent his entire career working both on the clinical and administrative side. Initially, his focus was working with youth where he worked tirelessly to provide residential treatment care for kids with behavioural and mental health challenges. This led to the founding of Regesh Child & Family Services in 1983. Brenda was its business administrator from the beginning until her recent retirement. Regesh started as a residential treatment group home for teens with emotional problems and has transitioned to day treatment counseling programs for all ages.
Both of us feel very strongly about contributing to our community in any way we can. We do so through our compassionate work and through our financial support. We define both as tzedakah. Neither of us came from wealthy families. Ed was not raised in a religious home while Brenda’s family was observant. Prior to their marriage, Ed had already become interested and had started living a religious lifestyle and with Brenda’s help, their religious values grew in their marriage. Their love of learning Torah continues to grow as an important part of their daily lives.
Our Fund at the Jewish Foundation is our way of maintaining our commitment to our communal family and serves as a wonderful example for our children. We have been blessed with two wonderful children, 11 grandchildren and even one great-granddaughter, so far. They appreciate the work we do for our community and we can only hope that they see this relationship as we do: the concept of giving is part of the excitement of living in a Jewish community.