Alta Levenson

Women's Campaign Chair, 1997-1998

How did I get involved with FCJA?

It all began when I got married to Harvey (Levenson) in 1990. He had been very involved with Federation CJA since the early 1980s. I noticed that he always had these early morning meetings as well as ones at the end of the work day. I quickly realized that if I wanted to see him often I had to become involved as well. So I did just that, and our common interest made our young married life most interesting. We would go on missions to Israel and many events in Montreal as well – It was great fun. We made so many new friends with the common interest of ‘tikun olam’. It felt so rewarding to be doing it.

My fondest memory of working with Federation CJA came on Super Sunday way back in the early 90s. There we were, sitting at the telephones, working together and laughing a great deal. Community work was inspiring. At the end of the day we had raised a good deal of money and it just felt good helping in such a small way.

A particular moment or event that impacted me profoundly:

Well, I guess that ‘moment’ lasted a whole year. It began when I was asked to be the Women’s Campaign Chair with the late Rabbi Sydney Shoham. I had been working full time at Bialik High School when I was asked to consider being his co-Chair.

It meant I would have to take a sabbatical from teaching. I decided to try that change for one year. Working with Rabbi Shoham was a most enriching experience. I was truly honoured to
co-Chair the Campaign and together we helped make a difference in people’s lives.

What advice would I give to young women following in my philanthropic footsteps?

When you have the opportunity to work on a particular project which may appear daunting, grab it and try. The important thing is to give it your best shot. Your effort will impact many lives. Once you embark on this journey, it is truly transformative. That sense of satisfaction of working hard and honestly giving of yourself to help those less fortunate is most gratifying.

What is my legacy?

For Harvey and me, we hope that we have inspired our children and grandchildren to do deeds of loving kindness. Our community service has enriched our lives in a myriad of ways. We have been blessed and we are most grateful for these blessings. Is this not what life is all about?


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