Mickey Rosenthal does his share

“As a people, we are good people. We don’t believe in killing, in war; we believe in kindness, in charity, in education and these are primary qualities that make us an outstanding people,” said philanthropist Mickey Rosenthal.

Throughout Mickey Rosenthal’s 95 years, he has made it his personal mission to encourage people to help the Jewish community of Montreal and he has led by example through his own philanthropy and volunteerism.

“I have always had a philosophy that every man must do his share. It’s a way of life. It covers so much, like education, marriage and charity. It never hurt me and it never denied my family a good life. If you do your share, you are doing things. We are supposed to do our part and I do it and really believe in that,” Rosenthal said. “We are taught from childhood to give and to help, to give a piece of the field to the poor. From the Bible days, we are told it’s moral and ethical and social. We learn it whenever we come in front of our leaders, religious leaders or social leaders. We have to help out. So I do. You can always do more, but I believe in always doing something that is respected and substantial.”

Aside from contributing to Combined Jewish Appeal financially, Rosenthal has also been a dedicated fundraiser for the Campaign for close to 30 years, serving as Campaign Chair in 1986, raising $30 million that year. He attributes his success in fundraising to his no-holds barred attitude.

Mickey Rosenthal, through Federation CJA, has supported the building of a library and auditorium in Mercaz Sapir in the Arava desert far south of Beer Sheva, Israel for the community to enjoy.

“I don’t resist my drive to consider their ability to participate in charitable activities. I consider what I can ask, what I can try to get. I look at everything – then you can know in what framework you can think to make your request reasonable and effective without fear of insult,” he said. “I believe you should give fair and give appropriately. That’s what I do; I speak like that every day of the year.”

Rosenthal does all of this because he believes so strongly that Federation CJA addresses all of the most important social service areas facing the Jewish community of Montreal today.

“I think we are a growing community that offers more help every year in many respects to many organizations. Education. The needy. Of course, Israel. Anti-Semitism. I truly believe Federation CJA, with the 20 odd divisions or agencies, covers the widest range of needs and is number one in my books,” he said, noting that he has made it his life’s mission to encourage people to give at a higher contribution level with respect to their total income. “In a progressive world, there is always room for giving and helping more.”

Rosenthal began spreading this word upon selling his family business at the age of 67. A leader in the electronic distribution industry, Rosenthal ran the company CESCO (Canadian Electrical Supply Company) with his father Jack.

“I sold my business and I had a contract to work for three years. They fired me four months later and paid my full contract and I wasn’t ready to retire. So I made a list of a dozen things to do. I was at a point where I was retired and ended up getting deeply involved and I find it very satisfying,” he said, as do the numerous organizations that have honoured Rosenthal over the years – a testament to the important part that he has played in the development of this community.

“There are so many people that are so pleased and appreciative, it’s unbelievable to me. People I don’t even remember, I don’t know their names and they know me. Everybody knows that I did my share. It gives me great pride in having contributed to our Jewish people. I receive tremendous respect as a major compensation.”


Do your share

To get involved at Federation CJA as a volunteer, fundraiser or donor, please call 514-345-2600 or visit www.federationcja.org.

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