Lillian & Jack Soroka Fund

The Fund was created in May 2023 with an initial gift of $18,000 made by Ken Soroka in memory of his parents. This permanent endowment fund will provide support for the Jewish Archives & Historical Society of Edmonton and Northern Alberta (JAHSENA) through the investment income earned in the fund. I wanted to support JAHSENA because of the great work it does in preserving our heritage, and recognizing my parents’ long-time involvement in the Edmonton Jewish Community.


Jack was born on August 19, 1922 in Brooklyn, New York, and passed away on October 31, 2020. He served in the United States Army from November 1942 to February 1946 in administrative duties. For a few months after the war, he served in Inchon, Korea as part of the U.S. Army’s administration of the city. When he returned to the United States, he took a train from the West Coast back to Brooklyn. At the train stops along the way, he and the other soldiers were greeted by American citizens celebrating the troops and the end of the war. At the stop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Jack was randomly greeted by Pearl Balkansky, one of George Starkman’s married sisters. She was the one who fixed up Jack with her niece, Lillian, from Canada.

Jack married Lillian (nee Starkman) on January 26, 1947 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. They were married for 72 years, 4 months. They initially lived in Brooklyn, New York. In August 1951, Jack & Lillian moved to Edmonton, at the encouragement of Lillian’s parents, George and Molly Starkman, who were now established there.

Jack initially worked in the Starkman Dry Goods business, but ultimately worked at the Army & Navy Department store on 97th Street until his mandatory retirement at age 65. Afterward, Jack was actively involved with his real estate holdings.

Lillian was born in Lubomel, Poland on March 16, 1926, and passed away on June 9, 2019. Her father, George Starkman, who was already living in Camper, Manitoba, was able to bring his wife, Molly, and his two children, Benjamin and Lillian, to Canada in 1927. George was later able to buy a General Store in Lampman, Saskatchewan, where Lillian spent her youth.

As a mother of four now living in Edmonton, Lillian went to complete her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1964, and her Bachelor of Education degree in 1974, both from the University of Alberta. She taught in the elementary grades with Edmonton Public Schools for 23 years until her retirement on June 30, 1989. After her teaching career, Lillian worked along side Jack with their real estate holdings.

Both Jack & Lillian were actively involved in the Beth Israel Synagogue, where they were long-time Board members.



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