Shirley Fitterman


The Jewish community of Medicine Hat, Alberta, was a rather small one growing up, but both my mother and father were very involved. For my mother, there were the bazaars and cookbooks for Hadassah.  For my father, there were Israel Bonds.


I have always felt that women have a personal responsibility, separate from that of their husbands or families, for their involvement in Jewish organizations. Women have a tremendous say about what goes on in any family, and they need to stand on their own two feet and participate independently in their communities.


Though the Lion of Judah Endowment that I set up, I endeavour to carry on my parents’ values of pride in myself and my community. I wanted to set an example for my children and ensure that my gift will keep giving after I’m gone.


As I see it, philanthropy and community involvement is very individual. I set up my LOJE because I see it as the right thing to do. I’ve been an independent woman my whole life and I think that a LOJE is a great way to assert that independence.


What types of programs do I believe in? I feel education is very important. We have to educate our people about what it means to be Jewish. People in need shouldn’t go without, especially people in the Jewish community. I have been very fortunate in my life, and I just want to give back and help these people.


Essentially, I established my LOJE because I wanted to make sure that future generations will enjoy the full range of benefits from our Jewish community that my family and I did.