Jessica Walker and Micah Garten

Starting young to plan for future generations

Jessica Walker and Micah Garten decided to make a legacy gift to Temple Israel “because it was an easy way for us to support the temple perpetually.”

Micah, Director of Development for the Jewish Federation of Ottawa, and his wife, a nurse practitioner, are among the Temple members who have signed a Letter of Intent for Temple’s Life and Legacy program.

“We are young – 37 and 35,” he says, “and while we can only afford to do so much annually, by leaving a portion of our estate in our wills we hope that our assets will have grown so that it is much more than we could ever do during our lifetime.”

While Micah has been a member of Temple Israel through his family since he was 12, he and his wife “actively became members because of how welcoming the temple community was to Jess.”

“Her parents are ministers, and while that meant she was actively involved at church growing up, they moved often. When her father passed away, people from Temple went above and beyond to reach out and offer condolences and kind words,” said. “There were times at the wake when it felt like it was a shiva because of how many Jews were there.” 

Afterwards when Micah and Jess decided to get married, they had a conversation about wanting to belong to Temple more actively and raising their children to be part of the community. “It seemed like a great way to help shape their values,” he explains, “and to ensure that they had the same kind of experiences we had but that we never fully appreciated as kids.” 

The busy couple has two children, Winn, 5, and Izzy, 2.
“Bringing them to Temple, having them sing the songs, getting to share in celebrations with people I have grown up with, is an incredibly special feeling. At times it feels like they have dozens of Bubbies and Zaidies and that is extraordinary.

“It is also fun going to children’s programming, sharing those moments with people I went to religious school with and knowing that our kids will grow up together.” 

Because the couple’s Life & Legacy pledge is a percentage, it fluctuates, “and so we don’t have to worry about outliving our wealth; we know that our children will still be taken care of with the majority of our estate.” 

“Jess and I recognize how much time, effort and money the generations before us contributed to ensuring we have the kind of incredible community we have been blessed with. It is our duty to do that for future generations, and I believe that by funding an endowment, we are providing that building block.”