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Giving Back
Runs in the Family

Long before they fell in love after a blind date, Jennifer and Richard Goldhar shared a connection centred on the importance of giving back.

They grew up in families where tzedakah was instilled from an early age. This Hebrew word most closely translates to philanthropy, but it is also conveys the values of social justice, building trusting relationships and giving in any way you can.

Jennifer and Richard strive to live up to this commitment in their everyday lives.

For Richard, it’s a lesson passed on from his grandparents, who played a large role in his life well into his 20s. “My grandparents always said the gifts we give should be meaningful.”

Jennifer feels the same way: “Give as much as you can, no matter the size of the gift — that is how I was raised, too.”

It’s a lesson they are imparting on their own children: 6-year-old Jack, 4-year-old Samuel and 2-year-old Benjamin.

All three were born at Sunnybrook, thanks to the caring skill of Dr. Elaine Herer.

“She is the person who first brought our family to Sunnybrook,” says Jennifer, who describes Dr. Herer as the “most warm and caring doctor,” and a “big part of our lives in recent years, given how close in age our children are.”

The Goldhar family.
Richard and Jennifer grew up in families where tzedakah was instilled from an early age. This Hebrew word most closely translates to philanthropy, but it is also conveys the values of social justice, building trusting relationships and giving in any way you can.

Sunnybrook’s DAN Women & Babies Program is not the only part of the hospital that’s near and dear to the Goldhar family.

Richard remembers fondly the care his grandfather received at Sunnybrook, some years ago in the Veterans Centre. “My grandfather compared it to a five-star hotel,” says Richard with a laugh.

Jennifer, too, had a similar experience with her own father, who was admitted more recently to Sunnybrook in May 2020 after a stroke. “He was there for 36 days,” she recalls, but because of necessary restrictions during the pandemic, the family was unable to visit him.

Richard dropped off dinners every night of the 36-day stretch, and Sunnybrook staff made sure that his father-in-law not only had the best care possible, but also felt the love coming from his family, even if it was at a distance.

“Under the direction of Dr. Andy Smith, the care was just phenomenal,” says Richard. “He went above and beyond as a President and CEO to ensure families knew their loved ones were safe and cared for during the pandemic — going as far as to personally check in on patients, including my father-in-law.”

Richard says he knows that public funding can only go so far, and were it not for philanthropy hospitals could not do the things they are able to do for his family and others.

With so many talented doctors to thank for their family’s health and happiness, it’s no wonder the Goldhars decided to give a gift toward Sunnybrook’s highest priority needs. Because their gift isn’t earmarked toward a specific program or project, it can be directed where and when it is needed most.

“We wanted to allow Dr. Andy Smith the opportunity to quickly mobilize and direct our funds to the most urgent needs, as he sees fit,” says Richard. “This gift is a statement of gratitude to Dr. Smith for supporting us, especially when we couldn’t be there physically to support my father-in-law.”

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