Gina hits the road again

Gina and Rev. Rudy Fidel

Gina Fidel began teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) at Fort Osborne Barracks in 1969. Soon moving to RRCC, she worked at various centres: Miles Macdonell, St. Marie Centre, the trailers at Brookland School, Luxton School, Britannia School, the Massey Building on William Ave and the Via Train Station. Gina retired January 31st 2005, after 35 years of loyal service.

Gina’s husband, Rev. Rudy Fidel, organizes trips to Israel, which they both host. Pastor Rudy—minister for many long years at Faith Temple—has gone 23 times, and Gina 20.

When not travelling to Israel, Gina fills her days visiting their grandchildren (two in Niverville, three in Carstairs, Alberta), enjoying their condo in Boca Raton, Florida, and golfing. Both their children, John and Jennifer Ordonez, went through the RRC system: John in electrical, Jennifer in nursing.

An invitation to Emunah

by Gina Fidel

This past trip to Israel (September 8th to 19th 2022) Rudy and I were invited to visit Emunah, one of Israel’s leading social agencies. Emunah has been a safe haven and loving home for hundreds of thousands of Israel’s most abused, vulnerable and at risk children, women and families.

The Hebrew word EMUNAH means faithfulness, honouring your commitments, doing what you said you would do and acting in such a way as to inspire trust.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
{served as chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregation of the Commonwealth}

Our group of six spent the first two days of the trip relaxing and taking in the beauty of Tel Aviv’s beaches. 

The many Emunah initiatives

(left to right) Ruth Guggenheim of World Emunah, Gina Fidel, Rebbetzin Inna Markovitch & her husband Rabbi Jonatan Markovitch, Chief Rabbi of Kyiv Ukraine, Rev. Rudy Fidel

The first day of our five-day Emunah tour included meeting the leadership of World Emunah, Rabbi Jonatan and Rebbetzin Inna Markovitch of Kyiv Ukraine. Our church has supported their work since 2014. Rabbi Jonatan is the Chief Rabbi of Kyiv, where they operate a school for the underprivileged and most vulnerable, feed Holocaust survivors, and feed and house refugees who have fled the war in eastern Ukraine.

Emunah’s work began in 1925, and continues to have tremendous community impact:

  • 8,000 children in 125 Daycare Centres
  • 1,000 children in Residential Homes
  • 1,200 Families receiving care at 11 Crisis Centres
  • 1,100 students in 4 High Schools
  • 550 Students in Emunah College
  • Programs & Services for the Elderly & Holocaust Survivors

Next, we toured the Emunah Neve Sarah Herzog High School, whose STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) program we have supported for many years. There, we were honoured with a plaque for our financial support.

Young ladies from the STEM program in Emunah Neve Sarah Herzog High School

Retired social worker at Emunah Achuzat Sarah Children’s Home

Then on to Emunah Achuzat Sarah’s Children Home, a therapeutic residential home to more than 100 at-risk children aged 8 to 18. We visited with a family that takes care of twelve girls, aged eight to twelve. The girls live three to a room, and are taught jewellery making (necklaces and bracelets made with beads of their choice). Meeting the girls was a highlight. The girls only spoke Hebrew, but were so willing to help us. A retired social worker works with the girls, and there is a gift shop where their jewellery is sold.

At the Emunah Sarah Herzog Children’s Home, in Afula, we did woodworking with the children in their carpentry shop. I made a flower pot using power drills—a great experience

Touring the Emunah Neve Landry Children’s Village, we made challah (a special bread, usually braided) with the boys and their counselors. The boys were very creative with their challah. One made a cat—very original. We also had a chance to ask the boys interesting questions to get to know each other. It proved a fascinating interaction.

Gina and Carmen with Shusha the camel in the Judean hills on the way to the Dead Sea

We also journeyed to see the work that Emunah was doing in Ashdod, Sderot and Hebron, before our tour ended on September 15th.

Four of us then stayed on until September 19th to tour Jerusalem, the North, Galilee and the Dead Sea. One of our highlights was having our 19-year-old granddaughter Carmen taking part of this magnificent tour.

Gina & Judith / Rudy & Harry

We’ve just unpacked and will be repacking for a ten-day road trip to London Ontario for a family wedding: two days in Niagara Falls, two days in New York to visit our dear friends and Holocaust survivors Harry & Judith Goldstein. They were our neighbours in Boca Raton, Florida. Harry just celebrated his 99th birthday and wants to see us.

“When will I see you again?” he asked.

It is so good that we’ll be on the road again.

Our motto : Next year in Jerusalem.

This is Gina’s first contribution to our Celebration of (Retired) Life series. Welcome aboard, Gina! We welcome any uplifting, funny, inspiring, or otherwise simply interesting story, profile, or bit of whimsy. To share with our other retirees, simply email your 300- to 2,400-word piece to HG-Editor@RRC.CA.

Categories: All, HG Life, Travel

2 replies »

  1. Bravo Gina and Rudy. You are certainly living life to the fullest and helping the world at the same time.

  2. What a wonderful article Gina. I learned lots. How wonderful also to have Carmen join you. You and Rudy are truly enjoying your retirement and giving your time and love to communities.

Leave a Reply