Margot Spiegelman

Sepharade Women's Campaign Chair, 1996-1997

1) How did you get involved in the Federation CJA – and why?

In 1983, I was approached by the President of the Sepharade Campaign, Fabienne Morelli. She asked me to take part in the canvassing team for the City of Saint-Laurent. I was given cards. I called people and they agreed to make a donation to the Combined Jewish Appeal campaign. I then went to collect their donation in person. When I thanked them warmly for their contribution, some of them told me “your mitzvah is bigger than ours!” I accepted Ms. Morelli’s proposition because I was honoured to be associated with this fund raiser. Since then, I’ve continued to do be a part of the Annual Campaign with pride and joy.

2) What is the fondest memory you have today of your time working with the Federation CJA?

I have many excellent memories of all the Campaigns that I’ve taken part in since 1983. But it was because of the 1996 Campaign, with my Co-President Sylvain Abitbol as well as the Rabbi Sydney Shoham z’’l and Ety Bienstrock, and the many events I participated in that I was able to meet so many men and women committed to the Federation.

3) Do you remember a moment or an event in particular that deeply impacted you?

The public figures invited to the special events were always of great interest. I never missed a single one. It moves me deeply to remember having the late Elie Wiesel z’’l among us and his speech.

4) What advice would you give to a young woman who wants to follow in your footsteps in the field of philanthropy?

I would recommend to all of the women who are committed to serving their community to look beyond the one and only presidency of the Combined Jewish Appeal to pursue their public service. There are many organizations within our Federation to which they can offer their dynamism, ideas and time. For my part, I had the pleasure of sitting on the Allocations Committee, the Jewish Family Services board of directors (for 12 years) and managing the Cash Realization Program.

5) What legacy would you like to pass on?

What I wish to leave to those who are part of this remarkable community, characterized by its vitality, solidarity and the way it responds to a great number of needs, is the following message: The Federation CJA is our shared pride. It must endure for all generations to come. Continue to keep the flame alive by becoming an active member of our community!

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