“In every community there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart there is the power to do it.”
A livened sense of community was instilled in me at a very early age. Haddasah Wizo, B'nai Brith, The Jewish National Fund, and Baron de Hirsh were all very much a part of my upbringing. These were the organizations that helped my father’s entire family settle into the city when they escaped the pogroms of Poland. Further, these were the organizations that my Canadian- born mother was proud to belong to. It was therefore natural for me to become involved in community volunteerism, to not only honour my roots, but to help countless others lay down roots of their own.
With a background in fine arts, I’ve enjoyed the privilege of sharing my artistic abilities across many volunteering programs; teaching former psychiatric patients, children with learning disabilities, and still today, facilitating an art program for cancer victims at the Wellness Center of Hope and Cope.
1978 was a defining year for me. While pregnant with my first child, the security of our future became all the more imperative to me. This desire to ensure communal security is what first ushered me through the doors of Federation CJA, and is why I remain today, 30 years later. My involvement in Women's Philanthropy has taken me on a fulfilling journey from canvasser to Women's Campaign Chair, learning how essential the different agencies are to the well being of all Jews in Montreal, Israel, India, Poland, Ethiopia and throughout the Diaspora. Along with other women, I continually bear witness to, and participate in, remarkable feats of compassion. To me, there is no greater gift than being able to offer help and hope to those who need it most, and I am grateful to have enjoyed this gift in abundance. Throughout my career at Federation, I have been mentored by so many knowledgeable, kind, and generous people –people who teach by deeds, demonstrating bravery and kindness while going above and beyond the call of duty. These women have inspired me in so many ways, and I can only hope to impart the same wisdom and leadership on a new generation of incredible women.
Through the programs and volunteer opportunities created by past leadership, my ultimate goal is to connect with future generations and guide and encourage them to reach out in cohesive strength, wherever the needs may be. We have proven time and time again that when our goals are unified, our power to provoke positive change is boundless.
A few years ago, while on the March of the Living, I had the opportunity to say Kaddish for my late father in his hometown of Kurov, Poland. It was a moving experience, and served as a reminder of how far we’ve come as Jewish people. I am so grateful for the hard work and courage exhibited by our previous generations to get us to where we are today. It is our responsibility to continue building our community, strengthening our identity, and ensuring that, collectively, we grow even more vibrant for generations to come. As President of Women’s Philanthropy, I am so honoured to be a part of that. I feel blessed to be part of this wonderful Jewish community, and extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to continue to nourish its precious legacy.
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President, Women’s Philanthropy