Settling in Canada after the Holocaust, my parents, Stan and Helen Vine, brought with them the values by which they had been raised: the importance of education and tzedakah, and a love for family and the Jewish people. They had both been active in Zionist youth groups, and marveled that they had lived to see the rebirth of a Jewish homeland, something that had only been a dream during their youth in pre-war Poland. Naturally, it was important to them to ensure a strong and secure Israel.
My parents were volunteers for many organizations, and our home was often the venue for fundraising activities. I saw many forms of tzedakah when I was growing up, as giving was a way of life to them. They were always ready to help friends, relatives and even strangers who needed financial and other forms of assistance for education or to start new lives in Canada or Israel.
As they became more established, they were able to make generous contributions to Canadian and Israeli organizations. Now that they are gone, it makes our family happy when we see their name on a plaque or wall. To us, they “live on” by the legacy of their good deeds and the worthy causes they supported in their lifetime.
By their example and encouragement, I too became involved after participating in a UJA Young Leadership Program where I was made aware of the many and diverse programs that require funding.
My husband Norman shares my belief that tzedakah is our individual and communal responsibility and we do our best to help maintain a vital community here and in Israel. We have a special place in our hearts for two local causes that carry our parents’ names: The Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Awards perpetuate and encourage Jewish literature and scholarship; The Rose and Jonas Glowinsky Nursing Scholarship honours my mother-in-law’s many years as a dedicated nurse at Baycrest.
By my Lion of Judah endowment, I believe my children and grandchildren will understand that helping our community was important enough to me to make sure that I not only supported its present needs, but those that might arise in the future when I will no longer be here. As is our family’s tradition, I hope the “mitzvah” of tzedakah will continue to be passed from one generation to the next.