by Stacy Markin
Ten years ago, two very creative and charitable best friends, Sheryl Steiner and Esti Cohen, brainstormed how they could create a special memorial event honouring their beloved mothers who passed away just 2 weeks apart from each other.
So the idea began as a small cozy gathering of 30 women from the Toronto community in Steiner’s backyard, and morphed into a very special annual memorial event bringing together hundreds of ladies each year.
Each annual event has a well coordinated and creative theme, blending decor, colour, edible delights, floral arrangements, and centrepieces with important speakers educating seated guests benefitting a charity and worthy cause.
Funds raised are always earmarked toward a different deserving charity they carefully choose together, each year.
Over the past few years, all of the Steiner and Janowski sisters, Gittie, Shiffi, Tami, and Dena came on board to personally put their hearts and energy into organizing the event which is so meaningful to all the family members.
This year, 300 women gathered for an emotional, educational and social evening entitled “Repairing Rainbows” at B’nai Brith in Toronto.
This year, Cohen and Steiner followed their dream and raised enough funds to send a couple of medically fragile children to summer camp, who would not otherwise have the opportunity.
Their charity of choice was Chai Lifeline, which will arrange for the deserving children to attend Camp Simcha this summer.
Guests first listened to the story of Lynda Fishman, author of Repairing Rainbows, as she recounted her traumatic personal story of the loss of her own mother and 2 sisters in a tragic plane crash, when she was just 13 years old. Fishman understands firsthand the importance of Chai Lifeline. Fishman was able to ultimately achieve financial and personal success in her own life. Fishman married her soulmate, Barry Fishman, another survivor of tragedy, who rose to CEO of Teva Pharmaceutical. Mrs. Fishman was a natural match for the event as she and her husband also give back through their involvement in Chai Lifeline.
Eighteen year old Eden Filonov, also recounted her personal success story. At 15, she lost her important teen years when she was hospitalized for complete loss of her eyesight when her kidneys failed. She endured painful and lengthy medical treatments but, thankfully, her eyesight was restored and she made a full recovery. Chai Lifeline supported her and her mother financially and emotionally, throughout her long journey.
Guests left the first part of the event with a better appreciation of the charity which inspired conversations of hope and support as they socialized in the adjoining room, and marvelled at the beautifully uplifting rainbow coloured tables featuring a full dessert reception.
Looking back over the past ten years, these two best friends can only marvel at how this event has evolved, how much they have enjoyed planning together with family members, all while keeping their mothers’ memory alive in the name of charity.
Cookies by: Esti Cohen, Floral display by : Creations by Gitta, Linens by : Table of Contents, Sushi by: Mi Kamocha, Cupcakes by: Two Moms, Photography by Esther Moyal / mavendesign.ca.