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The Stephan and Sophie Lewar JIAS Canada Endowment Fund

Officially established in Nov. 2006, the Stephan and Sophie Lewar JIAS Canada Endowment Fund supports programs benefiting Jewish immigrants to Canada. In Oct. 2008, the Allocations Committee decided to award funding to Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver for a two-year period.

As a young boy, Stephan Lewar was sent to the bakery every day to buy fresh bread for his family. But his parents always gave him some extra money to buy a loaf for the man who stood outside the bakery begging for food. He never forgot this lesson.

Stephan was born in Warsaw, Poland, attended a private school and university, graduating with a Masters in Economics in 1939. His thesis was on “The Expanding Japanese Economy”. Never in his life did he dream that he would leave Poland. World War II completely changed his life. His parents died, and only he and his brother survived the atrocities that wracked Europe. After the war, with his wife Sophie, he moved to Paris to wait for Canadian visas.

Arriving in Canada with nothing but his talent and education, and with Sophie by his side, Stephan built some exceptionally successful international businesses, travelling all over the world, but especially to Japan, the country he had studied as a young student.

Even in their most successful years, Sophie and Stephan never forgot the lesson of his childhood. Their generosity extended both to and beyond the Jewish community at home and abroad. They were benefactors of the Kishinev Jewish Community Centre in Moldova, of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Carlton University in Ottawa (their son Richard’s alma mater), the United Way, JIAS Canada and the United Jewish Appeal, as well as many other worthy organizations.

When Richard passed away unexpectedly in 1998, they established the Heart and Stroke Richard Lewar Centre of Excellence for Cardiovascular Research at the University of Toronto. In 2000, Stephan was awarded the Order of Ontario. His citation contains the following words: “His generosity to his adopted country and province is unparalleled and has improved the lives of thousands of people. Mr. Lewar is truly a model citizen for all Ontarians.”

As immigrants to Canada themselves, Sophie and Stephan were very aware of the obstacles that newcomers face when they arrive in our country.

We are most grateful for this generous gesture which will enable us to better serve the cause of immigrants across the country, and assist those who have chosen Canada as their new home, realize their dreams of settling and integrating into the Canadian Jewish community.

pic2The late Stephan and Sophie Lewar. Photo courtesy of Ms. Betty Hutton.




For further information:

Mila Voihanski, Executive Director

JIAS Canada

4600 Bathurst Street

Suite 315

Toronto, Ontario

M2R 3V3

Tel.: (416) 630-9051

Fax: (416) 630-9029





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