Any event that features Gail Asper is bound to be far from average. And that is exactly what guests at an “Extraordinary Evening” with Gail Asper experienced when she spoke to a group of 50 women on October 16th at the home of Mira Thow. As Chair of the 2012 Combined Jewish Appeal (CJA) Annual Campaign, Gail explained that there has never been a better time in history to be a Jewish woman. We are free, well educated, healthy, independent women of means who have every opportunity to live the lives we want for ourselves and our children in a country that values our contributions. All of us are in a position to help others, and we have support available when we need it.
She then went on to elaborate that the CJA annual campaign funds 18 different organizations that provide support to our Jewish community here and around the world. All of us benefit from the work they do, and all of them are important. If each of us gave only to the agencies that are important to us, our community would be lessened. Lower profile agencies such a Shalom Residences, which provides Jewish group homes for intellectually adults, wouldn’t be able to operate with the money raised by CJA. Our children wouldn’t be able to go on the March of the Living, or participate in a birthright trip to Israel. Jewish children living in non- Jewish foster care wouldn’t be able to attend Gray Academy, BB Camp or Camp Massad.
In closing, she encouraged all to reflect and think about the year gone by and this new year. What do you want to accomplish? How are you personally going to make the world a better place? How will your behaviour inspire others to make a difference? How will your actions encourage your family and friends to try to do something extraordinary? Food for thought, as each of us considers the ways we can make a difference in our community, with both our financial contributions and our time.