On May 5, 90 members from Leonard Mayzel Ontario Lodge and Don Mills Lodge, B’nai Brith celebrated their anniversaries. Those in attendance ranged in age from their early 70s to the mid-90s. Some came with a spouse, but many without. Time may have taken its toll on everyone, but our memories will keep us young.
Memories come in many packages: some good, some bad.
Memories bring tears of joy.
Memories bring tears of sadness.
Memories, when you think of it, are all you have left of the past.
Some of the participants arrived using walkers, some had canes, some used other items of assistance, but all had a smile on their face. Tonight, they had left the confines of their room, their house, their small domain and mingled with the living past.
Tonight, they were with friends.
Tonight, they were able to relive the past.
Tonight was a time to be proud of their past participation by helping others.
Tonight, those who passed away lived again in the stories being re-told.
This evening had many purposes:
To celebrate upwards of 70 years plus volunteering throughout the GTA.
To remember those who had passed on who had done so much, asking nothing in return.
To celebrate a way of life that will be no longer be with our demise.
The clock of time slowly ticks on. Tomorrow brings a new day, with new problems and new solutions. But this evening brought those who were able together in one last bid to share their memories. A few were publicly commended for their longevity as volunteers. A few were chosen to represent everyone when lighting the candles. A few women were quietly honoured with a gift in appreciation for their late husband’s dedication.
The list of accomplishments were many and varied: Jerry Lewis Telethon, Baycrest Hospital, The A.L.S. Walk, Out of the Cold, Na-Ma-Res Pow Wow, Kadima Group Apple Picking, Senior Chanukah Bingo, R.I.D.E., JFCS Chanukah Party, Sunnybrook Shabbat Services, MS Walk, Purim Food Baskets, Pine Villa Chanukah, Jewish Kosher Food Bank, B’nai Brith Chanukah Food Drive, Senior Chanukah Party, B’nai Brith Chanukah Baskets, Kadimah BBQ, Herb Charles Wheelchair Lift at Baycrest, and many, many more.
Ninety people may not appear as a large number, but over the years, both lodges have attracted a thousand men and women as members. Some joined when they were 18. Some joined to become bowlers. Some joined to play baseball. Some joined to volunteer in the community. The reasons for joining were many. The results united people. The results united spouses. The results brought people together.
Some of the giants in both Lodges have passed away, but their names are engraved in our hearts. Their deeds will be remembered by the many that have benefitted from their devotion to serving the community. Their deeds have inspired us to be better than we were. Time passes. Health issues may dominate our time now, but still what remains are our memories.
Let love and memories become the motivation for giving.
Let our memories forever be the path to the future.
Let us never forget that we were the ones who opened the door to the future.