For the past 46 years, since the inception of Toronto’s annual Walk with Israel, Samuel Hershenhorn has joined thousands of people of all ages to raise funds for the Jewish state.
Hershenhorn, who turned 90 on Feb. 25, plans to walk again in the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto’s event this year, on May 29.
“The annual fundraiser has become a family matter for me. My children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren will walk with me to support this worthy cause.”
He says that last year he raised $45,000, “and this year I hope to raise $60,000. Over the past 45 years, I have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Israel.”
Hershenhorn has visited Israel 11 times and has also participated in fundraising walks in Israel.
He attributes his ability to participate to the fact that “I have been a relentless walker and I made good choices in my health care. I have a wonderful partner, Gert, who helped me explore my strengths.”
Born in Tarnow, Poland, he left with his mother, two brothers and a sister in 1935 to join his father, who escaped the anti-Semitism there a few years earlier. His father had established a career as a tailor in Toronto.
When Hershenhorn was nine years old, he attended Orde Street Public School near the Kensington Market area where many Yiddish-speaking families settled in the 1930s. He was recently a member of the planning committee for an event celebrating the school’s 100th anniversary.
After school, he sold newspapers and recalls that he would pay two cents wholesale for a paper and many people would give him a nickel and tell him to keep the change.
He went on to Harbord Collegiate, and after graduation, entered Central Technical School where he graduated as a draftsman.
In 1943, Hershenhorn joined the Air Force and became a radio operator. When he left the services, he joined his family in the women’s fashion business. After almost 50 years, he retired from full-time work in 1994, and went to work at Tom’s Place, where he continues to work at their large sales.
As a frequent visitor to Israel, he notes that this year’s Toronto walk will be supporting projects in Sderot, Bat Yam and Eilat.
“I am looking forward to walking with thousands of Jewish people of all ages waving Israeli flags, and delighted that I am able to help my brethren in Israel. I am truly blessed and grateful to so many people who sponsor me every year, from small donations to thousands of dollars.”
A true salesman in every way with a joie de vivre, Hershenhorn notes that he has established an online donation page inviting members of the community to donate to Team Hershenhorn.
He personally contacts each person who has supported him in the past. He adds that tax receipts will be issues by UJA for all donations. “And I will even pick up your donation.”
To donate to the Hershenhorn team, contact [email protected] or call 416-481-5988.