We were fortunate to grow up in this beautiful Toronto community with a strong Jewish upbringing. Both of our families were always very involved in many aspects of Jewish Toronto, just as their parents had been before them. Through their active involvement, we were taught the importance of giving back to others, both in Toronto and abroad.
Once we married, we focused on raising our family with love and respect. We taught our children to live Jewishly, contribute to the community, and give tzedakah. Over the years this has remained a priority. We have both been involved with various organizations, including Baycrest, Beth Sholom Synagogue, UJA, Peace of Mind, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto General Hospital, B’nai B’rith, Hadassah, and others.
We are so proud of our four children: Stacey Helmann, Kimberley Walters, Jillian Robins, and Michael Wortsman, and it warms our hearts to see them actively giving back. They are excellent role models and are certainly teaching their children—our thirteen grandchildren and one great grandchild—well.
Our Toronto community is exceptionally strong. This is not by chance, but by choice—and it makes us very optimistic for the future. Yet, we also appreciate that our work is not done. Good fortune does not come to everyone, and there will always be people in need, both near and afar. It is our obligation to instill Jewish identity and a sense of responsibility in the younger and future generations.
We feel blessed and grateful to be able to establish a Lion of Judah Fund with the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto because we know this will help ensure a better tomorrow for our children and future generations.
We see this Fund as a forest; our ancestors were the roots, we are the trees, our children are the branches, and our grandchildren are the fruits. And the seeds of the fruits will start anew. This forest will provide protection, sustenance, and relief for all those who seek comfort below its canopy. We hope that each generation will demonstrate the values we have prioritized, and thus the forest will thrive.
The mitzvah of tzedakah is about knowing that when we stand together as a family and as a community, we can accomplish great things. Every seed counts, every gift matters, and every person can make a difference for today and tomorrow. L’dor v’dor.