Who was Alex Dworkin?
- Alex Dworkin was born in Ottawa in 1909 to Abraham
and Rose (Deborah) Dworkin, originally of Lithuania. In 1901, his
father had founded Dworkin Furs, a profitable company that is still
in existence. Alex was thus raised in material comfort, unlike many
children of recent immigrants of his time. However, he was blessed
with a keen social conscience that manifested itself throughout his
adult life, both private and public. Alex Dworkin was a
forward-thinking and generous employer, a man who recognized the
importance of higher education and supported those less fortunate
to attain it, a person of charm and wit yet one who was also
described as a "no-nonsense" man, and a man of principled and
Alex Dworkin's introduction to philanthropy began in 1956 when he
met Max Etra
, a New York lawyer, businessman and
communal leader, a man whom he deemed his "greatest inspiration."
Etra invited Alex to become a co-founder of New York's Albert
Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Dworkin thus
became one of eight Canadians who spearheaded the development and
growth of this prestigious institution.
In Montreal, he was invited by Robert Kleinman,
Executive Director of the Jewish Community Foundation of
Montreal, to visit various Jewish agencies. It was an
eye-opening experience."It was seeing the other side of life I had
never experienced - the handicapped, the poor and the frail
elderly. I hope I can alleviate some of the suffering in my
lifetime, to make it a little easier for them."
Since that time, numerous philanthropic projects bear his name,
many along with his wife Ruth. They include the Dworkin Poverty
Initiative, the Ruth and Alexander Dworkin Test Centre at the
Jewish General Hospital, the Alex and Ruth Dworkin Tolerance
Initiative Fund, the Ruth & Alex Dworkin Moot Court of Jewish
Law Beit Din, the Ruth and Alex Dworkin Scholarship, the Alex and
Ruth Dworkin Foundation, the Jewish Community Foundation's
Alexander Dworkin Charitable Foundation, and, most recently, the
Alex Dworkin Foundation for Jewish Archives.
Alex Dworkin passed away June 18, 2004, but his legacy to
Montreal's Jewish community and to numerous institutions elsewhere
The Alex Dworkin Foundation for Jewish
Archives at the Jewish Community Foundation of Montreal
encourages and sustains dynamic initiatives in Canadian Jewish
heritage preservation. Thanks to the generous legacy of Alex
Dworkin, the Foundation is committed to fostering the growth of
cross-Canada partnerships in the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network. The
Foundation also supports the operations of both the Alex Dworkin
Canadian Jewish Archives (formerly the Canadian Jewish Congress
Charities Committee National Archives) and the Jewish
Public Library Archives.
The Alex Dworkin Foundation for Jewish Archives
will ensure access to the treasures of our history and culture for
generations to come.