“You never know where one ‘yes’ can lead you. That’s my theme,” said Julia Koschitzky, about the keynote address she will deliver at this year’s Choices event.
Choices, an annual Women’s Campaign event, will take place October 8 at Congregation Agudath Israel.
Koschitzky, an activist, philanthropist and Jewish community leader in Canada and around the world, told the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin that she spent the first 20 years of her life working on herself, the next 20 years working on her family, and the following 20 years working on behalf of her community, her country, and for Israel. Koschitzky said it was her own family history that set her on a lifelong path of communal commitment.
Born to German Jewish parents, Koschitzky said they escaped to Wales after Kristallnacht. After 10 years in Wales, where Koschitzky was born in 1943, her parents wanted to build a new life and immigrated to Canada.
Many years later, Koschitzky would meet her husband whose family history was similar to her own.
“It completed the picture,” said Koschitzky, because they understood each other’s history and shared strong family roots.
“At the dinner table, the conversation always revolved around Jewish day school and Jewish education,” said Koschitzky, who said their four children, now adults, are all involved in their communities.
Knowing that her parents’ story could have ended very differently, Koschitzky said she feels a responsibility to give back and share her good fortune with the Jewish world and beyond.
Describing herself as “a doer,” Koschitzky feels it’s always been her basic instinct to participate.
“That’s how I captured my Jewish being: by doing,” she said.
Koschitzky said her volunteer work at her children’s Hebrew school led to an invitation to become involved in the United Jewish Appeal Women’s Division Campaign in Toronto.
“Had I said ‘no,’ I wouldn’t have been where I am today,” said Koschitzky, who has received numerous awards in Canada and Israel for her leadership and philanthropy.
Most recently, Koschitzky was appointed to the Order of Canada on July 1.
Over the years, Koschitzky has held numerous leadership positions in the Toronto Jewish community. At the national level, she has served as chair of Jewish Federations of Canada – UIA, and internationally as chair of the Keren Hayesod World Board of Trustees.
At Choices, Koschitzky will speak about how the choices people make in life influence their life’s path and will share her joy of commitment, and stress the importance of Jewish volunteerism and on setting an example for one’s children and family.
“Some people believe that it’s not within them to make a change, but they need to have faith within themselves,” she said.
“Everybody has something within them: a passion, a talent, an energy or expertise. When you use it to its full potential, there is no limit to what you can achieve to make a change.”
Choices, an annual event for women, will be held Thursday, October 8 at Agudath Israel Congregation, 1400 Coldrey Avenue. Cocktails are at 6 pm and dinner at 6:45.
Couvert is $54 plus a suggested minimum gift of $150 to the Jewish Federation of Ottawa 2016 Annual Campaign.
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-798-4696, ext. 305.