Emunah dinner to honour couple involved in community
May 4, 2012 | Shlomo Kapustin - Correspondent
TORONTO – Organizers of Emunah Women of Toronto’s annual Family in Israel Dinner believe this year’s edition could be their biggest.
The May 23 event will roll together a farewell bash honouring long-time philanthropists Faygie and Phil Schwartz with a social-services fundraiser at the BAYT synagogue. The Schwartzes, who will be moving to Israel later this year, were among the founders of Toronto high schools Yeshivat Or Chaim and Ulpanat Orot, the boys and girls branches respectively of the religious Zionist B’nei Akiva Schools.
Between them, they have also assumed leadership positions in synagogues and community organizations, and Faygie Schwartz has been a member of Emunah for many years. Three of their four children live in Israel.
“A lot of people will come to pay tribute to the Schwartzes for their years of service in Toronto,” said Edie Kalb, dinner co-chair, who hopes for 450 attendees. “People are giving double, triple and quadruple what they’ve given in the past.”
The dinner will raise funds for Neve Michael Children’s Village in Israel, a pet project of Emunah, a religious Zionist group.
Located in Pardes Chana, in the northwestern part of the country, Neve Michael houses about 300 children who have been rescued from harmful family situations. A crisis centre for especially acute cases is home to about 40 children, who receive more intensive care.
“It’s a 24-hour facility for children who have really been traumatized and who have to be pulled out by police,” said Sari Rosenblum, dinner co-chair.
The honourees weren’t chosen at random.
“We have long known that Emunah is an organization worthy of support,” said Faygie Schwartz in an e-mail from Israel, where she and her husband currently live part-time.
“The funds raised through the dinner will be presented to Neve Michael, an outstanding Canadian project. We have visited Neve Michael and were impressed by the sincerity and devotion of the staff members we met. We believe it is a mitzvah to help the children from dysfunctional and abusive homes to become worthy members of society and that is what Neve Michael is all about.”
The event will also feature Michelle Rojas, Diaspora education director of Israel advocacy organization StandWithUs, who will speak about Israel and its “war of words and images.”