Founders were honoured, awards were presented, and the leadership torch was passed, June 7, when the Ottawa Jewish Community Foundation held its annual general meeting at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre.
As Lawrence Soloway, the son of Hy Soloway, one of the Foundation’s founders explained, the Foundation was launched in 1971 with a gift of $100,000. By March of this year, the Foundation’s assets had reached $61 million.
Soloway conducted a short interview with the Foundation’s two surviving founders, Bernard Shinder and Norman Zagerman, who explained the idea behind the Foundation was to go beyond the Jewish Federation of Ottawa’s Annual Campaign – then known as the UJA Campaign – to create mechanisms to ensure the long-term future of Ottawa’s Jewish community.
Shinder noted that Ottawa was the first Jewish community in Canada to establish a foundation. “Then we went and taught other communities how to do it.”
“None of the Foundation’s successes would have been possible if it wasn’t for the group of innovative and discerning people,” said Soloway. “It was these community members who understood the Talmudic precept: ‘As my ancestors planted for me, so do I plant for those who will come after me.’”
Plaques were presented to Shinder and Zagerman, and to family members of Foundation founders Alex Betcherman, Hy Bessin, Gilbert Greenberg, Hy Harris, Hy Hochberg, David Loeb, Abe Palmer, Casey Swedlove, Samuel Taller, Harold Shenkman and Hy Soloway.
In her remarks, Foundation President and CEO Andrea Freedman noted the vision of the Foundation founders and said each of us the power to further that vision through philanthropy and to inspire others to do so.
The Ilana and Steven Rubin Scholarship Award was presented for the first time to two students graduating from high school and going on to university. The award fund was launched by Steven Rubin in honour of his late wife, Ilana, a beloved Jewish studies teacher in Ottawa and Florida. Recipients Yaffa Segal, who plans to become a teacher, and Olivia Vale, who plans to become a biopharmaceutical researcher, each received scholarships in the amount of $1,800, “100 times chai,” to help further their educations.
The Norman Lesh Philanthropy Award was presented to Tamir for the creation of “Stepping Out in Style,” an annual fundraising fashion show.
The $3,500 award was presented by Paul Finn, the late Norman Lesh’s son-in-law, who noted the event “will showcase beauty on its many shapes and forms; body types, ages and levels of ability.” The award was accepted by Bob Thompson, president of the Tamir Board, and Krystal Valencia, director of development and communication.
Lynne Oreck-Wener presented two grants on behalf of the Women’s Collective Philanthropy Program. Miriam Friedman-Tanger received $1,907 for her initiative to create a new organization in support of single and divorced mothers and their children in Ottawa’s Jewish community; and the Ottawa Kosher Food Bank received $1,000 for its new holiday basket program helping families headed by women. Volunteer Donna Strauss accepted the grant on behalf of the food bank.
Paul Finn also presented the George Joseph Cooper Scholarship, valued this year at $15,687, to Anna Frenkel for her leadership, academic excellence and strong commitment to the Jewish community. Frenkel is pursuing a master’s degree in education while continuing to study speech-language pathology.
Michael Landau ended his term as chair of the Foundation noting that much was done during his tenure to further the Foundation’s fundraising efforts.
“I believe we should continue to pursue higher goals,” Landau said, noting the Foundation’s annual distribution to community agencies is now about $3 million.
“I have big shoes to fill,” said incoming Foundation Chair Gillie Vered. “Thank you for this opportunity to keep up the good work of those who had come before me. Passing the torch is what the Foundation is about.”