Leading by Example: From Father to Daughter

Carl Laxer, past President of Federation CJA, and current President Susan Laxer, his daughter.

By Susan Laxer, President, Federation CJA

As the recently-appointed president of Federation CJA, I look ahead at the next two years of my term with optimism—that we will strengthen the core of our community, with determination to confront the challenges we face, and with resolve to build the partnerships that will move us forward as a community. I am proud of our community and all that we accomplish, together. Montreal has a long tradition of generosity, commitment and mobilizing our shared Jewish values into action.

It is a distinct privilege to partake in a new “first” at Federation CJA: a daughter who succeeds her father as president of the community. My parents have been central in passing on those values as a legacy to their children. My siblings and I grew up in a home that was steeped in the Jewish values of tzedakah—charity and justice; of social and communal responsibility and action; and with a strong Jewish education and a deep connection to the Montreal Jewish community, to the Jewish people, to Israel and to our heritage. They modeled volunteerism, philanthropy, leadership and initiative, the importance of being productive and the sense of responsibility to rise to our calling—be it professionally, in business, for our families or for our community. They taught us to say: “hineni”, I am here.

This theme was central to this year’s Combined Jewish Appeal campaign, and with over 16,000 donors, “I am here” has been a resounding proclamation. I am thrilled to announce that the 2013 CJA campaign is projected to reach $35,741,397 for the general campaign, with an additional $ 969,237 raised in one-time free donations, and $1,967,476 in one-time gifts designated to local and Israel-based projects—for a grand total of $38,678,110. Despite a difficult fundraising year in 2012, this year marks a positive upswing but also reflects the on-going challenge of meeting the changing needs and realities of the community.

It is truly an honour to be part of such a consistently generous community—one that appreciates our collective responsibility and the power of the collective gift. Each and every contributor has the power to make a significant difference in the lives of so many, ensuring that we thrive today, tomorrow and for generations to come. The Talmud states: “As my ancestors planted for me, so must I plant for my children”. From generation to generation, we have endured, we have succeeded, and we have pledged our commitment to making the world a better place.

As we celebrate Chanukah, let us also celebrate another miracle – the miracle of a community that continues to band together, in spirit and deed, in order to bring light into the lives of so many who count on us year after year. What better time than now to celebrate the brilliance of our community.

“27 years ago was my first Campaign. Carl Laxer was President, Marvin Corber was the General Campaign Chair, and Roz Goodman, who won the Bronfman Medal this year, was the Women’s Campaign Chair. I am proud to be a part of this organization, which truly exemplifies the wonderful message of L’Dor v’dor.” – Judith Leichter, Director of Technology Services at Federation CJA

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