Life & Legacy Testimonial: Rabbi Moshe and Leah Shemtov

Each edition of the New Jewish Voice features the testimonials of community members just like you who have declared their intent to leave a legacy gift to a Jewish organization in the Stamford, New Canaan and Darien Jewish community. This program is funded by United Jewish Federation and the Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Learn why they look to secure our Jewish future and discover your reasons to join them. Together, we can all work to guarantee the future of the Stamford, New Canaan, and Darien Jewish communities we love.

Rabbi Moshe and I have been Shluchim (Chabad emissaries) in Stamford for 27 years. We are proud participants in the Life & Legacy program. I initially moved to the Stamford community in 1996 and married Rabbi Moshe the following year. Although our move to Stamford was initially temporary, we decided to make it permanent after three years as we absolutely loved this incredible community Having both been born into shluchim families in Michigan and Johannesburg, we were immersed in Jewish communal life from birth.

Growing up I always thought that Jewish institutions and organizations were just there – and always would be. As I got older, I started to understand that our institutions were not “just there”, but had dedicated people behind them, who were investing time, vision and incredibly hard work to ensure that they would flourish, thrive, grow and be there for others. I also understood that financial stability was necessary for strong growth and continuity.

Inspired by the Talmudic tale of Choni and the carob tree, I have come to understand the importance of ensuring future generations inherit strong Jewish institutions through our labor, dedication and investment. As I continue to grow and expand my understanding and involvement in Jewish life, I always marvel at “the ready-grown carob trees” - the strong and vibrant Jewish organizations - we have right here in Stamford. Both Rabbi Moshe and I realize that our job is not enough to simply invest time and effort, we all have to invest financially to ensure there are ready-grown and strong institutions (“carob trees”) now, and for the generations to come.

The Life & Legacy program has provided us with an easy framework for us to contribute and share what we can to ensure strong, flourishing Jewish organizations in the years to come.

This article is featured in the July-August issue of The New Jewish Voice. For more information about UJF’s Life & Legacy program, please contact Lenore Fogel at (203) 321-1373 or at