Dorothy Reitman

National President, Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (Canadian Jewish Congress), 1986-1989

How did you get involved with Federation CJA?

During my term as President of the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada, our “status of women” committee conducted a survey to find out how many women were involved as volunteers or professionals in Jewish agencies. As a result we found out that women were a minority in both volunteer and professional leadership in these agencies! As a result of this finding, I was urged to run for President of the Canadian Jewish Congress which was having an open election. After an active campaign, with the help of many women, I won the election and became the first female President of the Canadian Jewish Congress!

What is your fondest memory working with Canadian Jewish Congress?

My fondest memory in the Canadian Jewish Congress was following our successful advocacy, when we chartered a plane for Soviet Jewry advocates to Washington DC. We met with the released Russian Jews whom we had visited previously in the Soviet Union when they were Refuseniks who were refused immigration.

Describe a particular event that impacted you profoundly?

As Canadian Jewish Congress President I represented the Jewish community during occasions in which my officers and I met with many leading world dignitaries including Pope John Paul II. These occasions were very impactful to me!

What advice would I give to the young women who will become the next leaders of Women's Philanthropy?

It is essential that young women get a good community training and education about community dynamics at the outset of their involvement. It is also very important that they like what they're doing and enjoy their relationship with the people who are involved with them

What is your legacy?

My legacy are the agencies which I helped create and develop in the Montreal Jewish community, including the Cummings Centre for Jewish seniors, the kosher Meals on Wheels service, and the Auberge Shalom for battered women.

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