Calgary philanthropists step up support for HU students who served in the IDF

Calgary philanthropists Lenny and Faigel Shapiro have stepped up their scholarship program at Hebrew University with a major donation and a promise to match funds for any new donation for scholarships for HU student soldiers made as a result of this article.

(July 2020) – In the latest initiative in Lenny Shapiro’s already storied philanthropic career, the Calgary resident has announced he and his wife Faigel are expanding their scholarship program at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. As part of a new five-year commitment, the couple is increasing the number and value of scholarships they will be awarding to students pursuing their university studies after completing their mandatory service in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

A strong believer in the concept of zedakah, the Jewish term for the ethical obligation of charitable support, Lenny has an impressive record of donating generously to non-profit organizations in both Canada and Israel. He has long supported students at HU, having provided scholarships to hundreds of students over the years.

This month, Lenny decided to make a substantial donation to be used over the next five years for scholarships for students who have served in the IDF. To add to the impact, Canadian Friends of Hebrew University (CFHU) and Hebrew University will be matching a portion of Mr. Shapiro’s contribution.

Mr. Shapiro will also provide matching funds for any donation given to HU scholarships for student soldiers resulting from this article. 

At the heart of this action is Lenny’s longstanding respect and appreciation for those who risk their lives in defense of Israel.

“I’m in love with the soldiers,” says Lenny.

“Soldiers put their lives on the line. Many have lost friends in battle. For those that then go on to study at Hebrew University who I can help, I feel they’re like my family.

I see myself as being like a grandfather for them. Their needs are my needs, and I’m so pleased to do what I can to help them get their degree as they make their way through life.”

At CFHU, there’s great appreciation that Lenny has shared his passion for Hebrew University with the next generation in his family. One of his daughters, Robin Murphy, is a valuable member of CFHU’s National Board.

Born in Montreal, Lenny grew up in modest conditions. After graduating from Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) with a Bachelor of Commerce, he went on to head Allied Resources Management which was highly successful in the petroleum industry in Alberta.

He has always operated according to the principle that there’s no better exercise for your heart than reaching down and helping to lift someone up. His impact is vividly reflected in the many letters he’s received over the years from HU students for whom his scholarships have allowed them to complete their studies.

“With the financial support I received from you, it’s easier for me to concentrate on my studies,” Julia Arziantzev wrote to Lenny during the second year of her MA degree in Cultural Studies at HU. “Without your scholarship, I doubt I would be able to keep up my average or even keep studying. Thank you for your generous assistance. It makes me optimistic to know there are people like you who willing to help in such a tremendous way.”

That’s what Lenny is all about. Helping others.

If you would like to join Mr. Lenny Shapiro who offered to match any donation given toward a scholarship to the student soldiers at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, please contact Dina Wachtel at 604-257 5133 or E:

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