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Mira Narvey being presented the Kavod award by Adam Levene

Read Mira Narvey's Address on receiving the Max Nathanson Young Leadership Award at Kavod Evening

Richard Tapper never asked “Should I give?” or “How much should I give?” Richard always asked “What is the most I Can give?”

by Mira Narvey, posted here June 1, 2012

Good Evening. Thank you, Adam, for your kind introduction. It is an honor and a privilege to stand here tonight and accept this award. I would like to thank the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg for this honor as well as the Nathanson family.
My family, the past and even our future is why I stand here tonight. I grew up in a home where the importance of Tzedekah and being involved in our community was just part of life. My great-grandparents, Morris and Luba Neaman, immigrated to Winnipeg from the Ukraine and after settling, they became active in the community – Morris, along with my grandfather, Sam Shenkarow, were among the founders of the Jewish Foundation. But, Judaism was not just giving in our family – it was living. My childhood was filled with family holiday celebrations and Shabbat dinners at my Baba and Zaida’s, which were never complete without discussions ranging from synagogue politics to community events.
For me, at young age, BBYO became a catalyst and allowed me to find my niche, where I felt comfortable as a young leader. Later, I went on March of the Living which forever impacted how I feel about Israel and the vulnerability of Jews in the Diaspora. For years now, I have been involved with the CJA, chairing the Ben Gurion Society and being a regular canvasser for the annual campaign. Just as my great-grandparents, grandparents and parents set an example for me - now that I am a parent it is important to me and my husband Matthew that our children know that Tzedakah is not JUST giving. We definitely discuss the importance of Tzedakah with our 2 children, Simon and Paul – how a dollar is not just about how much candy you can buy, but also how much you can give. For the past 2 years, Matthew and I have taken Simon and Paul to the Gwen Secter, loading our car with kosher for Passover food and delivering it to JCFS clients. We are joined by a dozen other young families – and all of us agree that it is so important for our children to be exposed to the diversity of our community. But, in truth it is also a huge eye-opener for us as well. Last year, seeing the wide range of clientele of JCFS, from elderly people to new immigrant families to young mentally challenged individuals, peaked my interest in the important work that Jewish Child and Family Services does for our community and inspired me to join their board.
A couple weeks ago, Matthew and I were out for dinner with several couples celebrating our friends 40th birthday. Of the 5 couples, 3 of them had moved back to Winnipeg in the past few years. Returning from Toronto, Edmonton, and New York they were all thrilled to be here and be part of our community. They love our campus, they want their children to go to the Gray academy and BB Camp like they did … Winnipeg is a great place to live but in truth it is our Jewish community that is so warm and inviting that enticed them back here. My generation needs to ensure that our community continues to thrive and be here for more generations to come.
As I think about ensuring the future, I can not help but think about the example set by my Ben Gurion Society co-chair, Richard Tapper. Richard never asked “Should I give?” or “How much should I give?” Richard always asked “What is the most I Can give?” He was a donor at the cabinet level with the Federation – a level few young people in our community reach. He gave generously to camp Massad, volunteered with Winnipeg Harvest and was the youngest person to ever sign the Jewish Foundations Book of Life. And that is all that I know about … there had to be more. Richard was a good person, fun and easy to work with, and a tremendous example to all of us. It is a huge oversimplification to say that he will be missed. I hope we all learn from his generosity. I certainly have.
I really enjoy volunteering. It makes me feel good, and every now and then you feel like you have made a difference. Volunteering in the Jewish community is an easy choice for me – made even easier by the enthusiastic and professional staff including my good friends David Greaves and Judy Price Rosen. Elaine Goldstein and Jody Novak are always a pleasure to work with in the federation office, and Emily Shane has warmly welcomed me to the JCFS organization. We are fortunate to have such a passionate staff as they transmit their energy to all there volunteers. Lastly, Matthew, Simon and Paul, thank you for your support and encouragement always.
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