Women's Campaign Chair, 2003-2004
When I sat down to write about my involvement in our illustrious Jewish community it was difficult for me to answer each of the given questions specifically. I don’t think there is one specific reason why I became involved, or one fond memory over my thirty-something years of community work, or one specific moment which impacted me profoundly, but rather many.
I must, however, give the most credit – for my commitment to helping to make our community and the world in which we live a better place – in large measure, to my parents. My parents were hard working people who always cared about the community. My dad would say “We are lucky but some people are not as lucky as us.” A moment that impacted me occurred when I was a young teen. I must have been around 12 years of age and watched as my parents became involved in a clothing drive run by B’nai Brith Canada. Spurred on by my mom, both of my parents became involved in a project to provide clothing for children attending a school in an underprivileged area of Montreal. One evening around dinnertime, the principal of the school rang our doorbell and delivered a letter signed by students and parents of the school expressing that due to their efforts and that of their committee, those children would be able to attend school dressed properly for the severe weather ahead. Many had not owned overcoats or proper boots. The principal came to shake my dad’s hand and thank him personally for the work he had done. Having been involved in the garment industry, my father knew many suppliers and went door to door to ask for their involvement. This was who my parents were. They led by example.
Life meant not only caring about yourself, but for those less fortunate than ourselves. This is only one example of the kind of values I grew up with. Sharing and caring was a way of life. My mother canvassed door to door for Federation CJA until she was eighty- five years of age.
As a young mother I would attend programs run at Federation CJA. There were many outreach events and opportunities for young women to become involved, and many relationships to be formed. One Friday morning, shopping for Shabbat on the corner of Victoria and Bourret I was approached by Elaine Dubrovsky. She asked if I would like to become an area Chairperson for the upcoming Campaign. Area chairpeople were asked to give an annual gift of $365. Surely, when it was explained that all it meant was to give a dollar a day, there was no hesitation on my part! So began the beginning of my many leadership roles at Federation CJA. I was fortunate to have gone on leadership missions to Israel and was enriched by the many challenging responsibilities I assumed.
It has been said, “When you give of yourself, you in turn receive much more.” Your children will learn from you and be proud of what they are seeing, and they too will pay it forward one day and continue to make our world a better place. My involvement was probably the most important legacy I gave to my family. I am thankful to have had the opportunity!