Terri Lewis is being honored with the internationally recognized 2022 Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award for her extraordinary involvement in the Hamilton Jewish community.
The prestigious, internationally recognized Kipnis-Wilson/Friedland Award is given to Lions of Judah who have demonstrated the highest ideals of leadership and involvement. A proud Lion of Judah since 2013, Terri is part of the most dynamic philanthropic group of Jewish women in the world. They are strong women of all ages and an international sisterhood of thousands of global activists who care deeply about the Jewish future.
Terri’s parents, Annette Dorfman and Sam Handelman, were two impoverished teenagers when they arrived in Toronto from Russia in the early 1920s. The couple worked hard, married and settled into Canadian society. By the time their third daughter Terri was one-year-old, they had saved enough money to open a poultry processing plant in Watford, Ontario. Despite their being the only Jews living in the small town located halfway between London and Sarnia, Terri’s mother still kept a strictly kosher home.
Charitable giving has always been a big part of Terri’s life. As a child, whenever she and her siblings received their weekly allowance, the first thing they were taught was to allocate a portion for those in need and add it to the blue tzedakah box on their kitchen table.
“Because our parents never forgot their humble beginnings, one thing we knew for sure was that in every budget we made, we had to include one line for savings and one line for charitable donations,” she has said.
Terri and her husband Milt have been stalwart supporters of many Hamilton Jewish organizations for decades, but in 2021, Terri decided to leave her own mark on the community through the Lion of Judah Endowment (LOJE) Fund program, so that the community would continue to benefit from her annual Lion of Judah gift in perpetuity.
“When I first heard of the LOJE program, I decided that I was one of the lucky ones who could contribute. And then, I wanted nothing more than to pay up while I was alive, to see any good that might come from my generosity,” said Terri.
Terri Lewis’s commitment to the continuation of Jewish life in Hamilton – a commitment that goes beyond her own and her children’s generation, is a commitment to the eternal well-being of the Hamilton Jewish community and to a historical legacy of caring, loving kindness and social justice.