Volunteerism, Men and Golf!  These are a few of my favourite things!

It is time to give men credit for being more than breadwinners and sex objects.  I have been lucky throughout my thirty year volunteer career to work with some very special guys – and today is the day I am going to talk about these committed volunteers…who also happen to be men.

Their interests are diverse – the first volunteer group of Canadian Friends of Israel Elwyn, gives their time and commitment to raising money for the Israel Elwyn program in Jerusalem – it is a leading facility dealing in rehabilitation, supported living, vocational training and employment for persons with special needs.  They recently created the Manson Sensory Garden, a unique and challenging space for those without all of the senses most of us enjoy.  How does it work?  A picture wheel spins.  Glass and mirrors enlarge, reduce and distort.  Chimes and bells peal in response to plucking or rotating.  Heady scents waft from a maze of spice plants.  It is a fabulous place!

Three of the dynamite volunteers who help to raise the money to make it happen:

Moshe Greengarten, a senior  consultant with the Hay Group – he knows community, health care issues and how to persuade even the most stubborn people that commitment to those who need help is the best present we can all give ourselves.

David Rechtsman, now retired as one of the head honchos at Greenpark Homes and an engineer!  So I asked him why he picked that profession.

“Well, in the early sixties I was told that Jews don’t become engineers.  So, naturally, I had to do it.”  Interesting.  David has the full head of grey/white hair and sweet smile that is so yummy – unfortunately his wife Wendi is dynamite – so that is that ladies. Forget him.

And then there is Robert Cohen –much younger and of course, brilliant in the world of social media and internet.  He will be bringing Canadian Friends of Israel Elwyn’s web page into the modern world. Rob was deeply involved with the Canadian Air Space Museum which, unfortunately, had to close its doors last year. But he gave it 100% as he does to anything in which he is involved.

Yasher Koach Gentlemen!

The Beth Tzedec Men’s Club 

I have to declare my personal involvement – the Men’s Club bought a large number of print copies of my latest novel, The Third Hole to give out at their golf tournament on Friday morning, May 31 at Copper Creek.  I will be coming out at 6:00 a.m. before their breakfast and tee off in order to sign the books – and if anyone is late, I am going to stay over lunch (I assume it will be delicious) to make sure everyone who registered gets a personally signed book.

Now I love that kind of job!  But who are these guys?  And what exactly does a men’s club do as a part of one of the largest synagogues in North America?

They volunteer – they donate – they hustle their friends and associates to buy tickets to events like their golf tournament – they do whatever they have to in order to continue the programs they started:

– Donations for emergency relief for earthquake victims in Haiti

– Financial support for providing kosher Passover food to Jews in Cuba

– Shabbat services for veterans and patients at Sunnybrook Hospital

– Annual distribution of Holocaust memorial candles to 2500 homes

– “Out of the Cold” – an incredible program for those, no matter what their religion or ethnic background, who need “a hand up – not a hand out”.

Which now brings me back to one of my favourite things.  Telling you about four of the guys who are at the heart of the program.  Of course there are many more volunteers who give so generously of their time just as there are so many more Israel Elwyn volunteers. But this blog is focussing on certain men who volunteer– and as the writer, I am picking the ones I have found so interesting.

Sam Hoffer – volunteer extraordinaire – always there – dependable and committed

Mark Lapedus – President of the Men’s Club – and a successful mortgage broker

Dr. Sheldon Rotman, dentist – who also likes to act in his spare time

Arthur Mensher – the owner of Westbury Foods – Arthur is a committed Jew and a committed volunteer – and he also flies his own airplane!  Now that is an interesting addendum to his presence in this blog – and he is also a good friend.

Yasher Koach to you as well.

So come on all of you golf lovers out there! Sign up for the tournament – 416-781-3511 – and enjoy breakfast, lunch and The Third Hole.  Does the name of the book and the location of the event give you a clue about a fabulous murder?  You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I’ll so look forward to meeting all of you at Copper Creek Golf Course –11191 27 Hwy, Kleinburg – Friday morning, May 31 – 6:30 a.m.

The band has definitely started warming up.