During my early childhood in Calgary, I was raised by my bubbe, Bella Singer. She was a very strong woman philanthropist, way ahead of her time. She brought many family members, and others, over from Europe, saving them from the Nazis. I learned a lot from her example. I also take a lot of inspiration from my husband, Gordon. He is so giving in so many ways. My father-in-law, Jack, was also a very important role model.
Women really are the stalwarts of their families. Now that we’re equals, I really do believe we have a responsibility to be strong and stand up for what we believe in.
Once I learned about the Lion of Judah Endowment, I immediately felt compelled to set one up. I currently chair the LOJE program, and I believe very strongly in it. As the matriarchs of our families - the sisters, aunts, mothers and grandmothers - we need to set an example. Setting up a LOJE is an important part of that.
As an elder and leader in the community, the time has come for me to begin to step aside to let the next generation come forward. I have attended at least a dozen recent events in Vancouver where young women have taken over the positions that my peers and I once held. I think these women are doing an amazing job, better even then when I was a young woman growing up in this city.
Our Judaism teaches us to give back to those who are in need. What a privilege it is to be able to give back to this community that has been so good to us. Whether it’s $5, $5,000, or $500,000. Just give! And you can’t put a price tag on volunteering either. It is worth so much. When you give, you get so much in return, including the satisfaction of knowing that you had something to do with the survival and success of Jewish Federation, Vancouver Talmud Torah, King David High School, and the Louis Brier Home and Hospital, among many other beloved Vancouver Jewish community institutions, present and future!