I lived in Winnipeg for 22 years of my life and have very fond memories of growing up there. Some of these memories include summers spent at Winnipeg Beach; family vacations in December; my Baba Goldie Kaufman z"l coming for Friday night dinner and bringing with her home-baked goodies, and my years at Ramah Hebrew School.
I attended Ramah up until the end of grade four, and Tuxedo Park for grades five and six. I then attended junior high at Laidlaw School and high school at Tuxedo Shaftesbury. Upon graduation from Grade 12, I went to work and also picked up some extra high school credits at the University of Winnipeg Collegiate.
At the age of 20, I went to work for my father, David S. Kaufman z"l, at Silpit Industries, the garment business that he owned. As a child I had often accompanied him to the office on Saturday mornings — a treat that was always followed by lunch at Salisbury House.
In August of 1982, I moved to Toronto for a two year program in Fashion Merchandising at Seneca College. I worked in the fashion industry for several years following that, both in the retail sector and the wholesale end.
I married my husband, Eric Cohen, in May 1991. We have two daughters, Lindsay, 18, and Loren,13. Lindsay recently graduated from CHAT (Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto) and is currently studying business at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Loren is currently in grade 8 at The Toronto Heschel School. I have resided in Toronto now for 29 years.
My volunteer work in the Toronto Jewish community began 13 years ago. A friend of mine introduced me to an organization called Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF). I never looked back.
In my first year with ICRF - my first year as any kind of volunteer — I raised the most money in ticket sales for our annual gala. The following year I was invited to sit on the board of ICRF and became co-chair of the next three galas. During my first year as co-chair I was given the task of co-ordinating the gala programme book, which required some layout work but mainly involved obtaining advertisements. I increased the amount of money raised from the ads substantially and for the next three years continued in this role, raising the bar annually.
I know that my work with ICRF was greatly appreciated by Suzanne Kaye, Executive Director at that time, as she recently acknowledged that "Joy is happy to take responsibility for jobs that many shy away from."
My success raising financial support for ICRF inspired me to take on other fundraising roles within the community. I have been involved with the Toronto Jewish Film Festival for the past five years as advertising co-ordinator, responsible once again for soliciting ads for the programme book.
I also have been fundraising for The Toronto Heschel School for the past eight years. I served as the school's gala co-chair for one year. My main role for that event was silent auction chair. The auction was extremely successful and we raised the most money that year than we have ever raised.
More recently, my role at The Toronto Heschel School has been to obtain the ads for the school calendar. This project has been increasingly successful in the three years that I have been in charge of it. Mark Abramsohn, director of the school's business operations, recently referred to me as a "self-motivated volunteer who sets herself very high goals and goes out to achieve them no matter what, often exceeded the expectation."
One of the secrets to my fundraising successes is that I always set different goals each year. I respect the fact that there are many people out there who are not comfortable asking for money, but I am not one of them. I have excellent interpersonal skills and do not take rejection personally when it comes to fundraising. The fact that I have FNDRAZER license plates says a lot about how proud I am of what I do. I would like to add the following quote:
"I like being Jewish because my faith promotes kindness, compassion, wisdom & charity above all else. "Being Jewish" is more about being a good person than adhering to all the rules of Judaism."
I also am proud that my daughters understand the importance of volunteering and giving back to community. They both volunteer for B'nai B'rith with my husband Eric, delivering Chanukah and Pesach food baskets and helping out with other activities in the Jewish community. Lindsay has volunteered with Chabad for four years, working with a child with special needs. She also was Chabad's "go to" person when they required volunteers for any of their events.
I am supporting the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba in memory of my amazing dad. He was my role model, not just in the way in which he supported his community and fundraised, but in so many other ways. One of the very important lessons that my dad taught me was that everyone is equal and should be treated as such. He was a very fair person. He realized that each one of his children was different and treated us all equally. I was very lucky to have Dave Kaufman as my dad. My children were very lucky to have him as their Zaida.