by Josh Raizman
(Edmonton) – I want to take this opportunity to tell you a little about myself and why I decided to take on the role of co-chair for the 2023/2024 United Jewish Appeal (UJA) campaign. I am 42 years old. I am the father of a two-year-old boy. I am a medical director of diagnostic patient laboratories at five hospitals. I grew up in Winnipeg, but did most of my post-graduate education in Ottawa and Toronto. I moved to Edmonton eight years ago with my wife to begin our careers.
As a professional in my 40s who is not originally from Edmonton, you may ask why I decided to invest so much time into this campaign when I am already juggling many other responsibilities.
The answer: my Zaidas (my grandfathers).
I am co-chairing this year’s campaign because I believe in the importance of tzedakah (charity), not just in the form of dollars, but in the form of giving back to the community. Both of my Zaidas were Holocaust survivors. One was hidden by righteous gentiles in a potato attic, while the other was a victim of concentration camps.
Growing up I watched both of them selflessly volunteer their time as Holocaust educators by courageously recounting their journey of rising from despair in Poland to hope in Canada. Their involvement in the Jewish community and the support they received helped to build their new lives. This has inspired me to continue in their volunteering footsteps.
From one generation to the next, l’dor va- dor, I am now inspired to pass the value of tzedakah onto my children. In a digital age where distractions are abundant and demands on your time and resources are ever-present, your decision to support this year’s UJA campaign is a testament to your commitment to making a difference in people’s lives.
At the UJA canvasser training event on August 28, I moderated a round table discussion where three community members shared their stories about how programs funded by the UJA have directly created positive change to their lives in the city.
A generous bursary allowed a student to have a primary Jewish education by attending Talmud Torah school. The Shalom Baby program allowed a newly arrived mom to feel connected with other moms. Aid from the Jewish Family Services allowed a recent refugee family from Ukraine to make a new home here.
As the grandson of Holocaust survivors, I believe we must work together to create a safe, inclusive, and enriching Jewish community that promotes traditions, unity, and education. As a young co-chair of UJA, I believe we must carry the torch of previous generations who helped support and build our community so that we can benefit now and well into the future. Your
UJA donation ensures the important work of the Jewish Federation of Edmonton can continue to provide hope, compassion, and the belief that change is possible.
Josh Raizman is co-chair of the 2023 Edmonton UJA campaign.