Growing up in Winnipeg, my mom instilled in us a love and pride in our Jewish heritage. Attending Jewish school and summer camps, Jewish life was all around us.
Upon completing my year of articling in Toronto, I moved back to Winnipeg in the fall of 2003. It was then that I heard about the Federation’s Community Relations Committee and its role. I instantly wanted to become a member as it would tie in my ardent Zionism (enhanced through my Birthright-Israel trip) with my government and community relations and outreach background. I also served on the Board of the Federation beginning just days after my younger son was born because of how much I believed in Federation.
My husband and I love attending Federation sponsored events and meeting new families – both locals whom we have never met and newcomers from beyond our borders. We have made many great friends this way! We are proud of our community’s efforts in expanding our members and welcoming newcomers with open arms. We think back to how our grandparents felt, coming to Canada with limited resources to join a Jewish community in Canada, leaving family behind in eastern Europe.
PJ Library, a program sponsored in part by Federation, brings Jewish identity into our home each month with the arrival of new books. Every month our boys eagerly await their newest PJ Library arrivals and enthusiastically open up their own mail! We love to read the books together before bed that same night (often more than once)! Each year when a Jewish holiday returns, we bring out all of our related PJ Library books and read them again. And of course, we try to attend as many of the PJ Library Programs as we can! What more can we ask for than having fun as a family at a Jewish-themed event?! PJ Library has inspired my family and me so much that I am now the chair of the committee in Winnipeg.
Another event that connected us to our Jewish identity was the CJA’s Ben-Gurion Society and Jewish Child & Family Service Passover Hamper event. This was eye opening for our children. They learned how important it was for many families to keep strictly kosher during the holidays and how for some this would be impossible but for the generosity and understanding of others. They learned how much the gratitude of those who received the hampers could make the act of giving as enjoyable as that of receiving. While volunteering for this hamper delivery event, my husband couldn’t help but remember delivering Kosher Meals on Wheels with his Bubbe Edith, z”l when he was around the same age as our older son. We then realized that the values we instill, by teaching by example, would remain with our children forever.
We strongly believe in Federation and its mission. Through our donation to the Combined Jewish Appeal, we know we are helping sustain and enhance our community and the broader Jewish community worldwide.