ca. 180 photographs : col. and b&w (ca. 165 col. negatives) ; 21 x 26 cm or smaller
Established in 1949 as the Bureau of Jewish Education, the Board of Jewish Education (BJE) is the central Jewish agency in Toronto whose mandate is to preserve, enrich, and promote Jewish education in the Greater Toronto area. Its primary tasks are to coordinate and provide leadership in teacher training and professional development, curriculum development, school administration, and inter-school activities, and also to allocate funds to affiliated Jewish schools raised through the annual UJA Federation fundraising campaign.
The BJE was established following the recommendations of a 1948 study of Jewish education in Toronto undertaken by Dr. Uriah Z. Engelman of the American Association for Jewish Education, and sponsored by the United Jewish Welfare Fund (UJWF; now, the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto) and the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), Central Region. In its constitution, the bureau was described as having the dual characteristics of being an autonomous agency of the UJWF and also as acting for the UJWF in the field of Jewish education. The bureau was governed by a board of governors with representatives from affiliated schools, the UJWF, CJC Central Region, and from the community at large. The inaugural meeting of the board took place on 20 March 1950.
The organizational structure of the Bureau of Jewish Education mirrored that of the UJWF, with a board of directors and executive committee, standing comittees, and a professional staff. Samuel Posluns was the first president of the BJE and Dr. Joseph Diamond was its first executive director, serving in this position for 18 years. In the 1950s, the staff consisted of the executive director, an administrative assistant, and a school consultant. Over time, the staff was expanded to meet the increased demand for BJE services as the number of affiliated schools grew. For example, the position of director of school finances was created in 1976 to oversee school budgets, monitor tuition fees and teacher salary profiles, and perform other duties relating to financial management.
The BJE's offices were located with those of the United Jewish Welfare Fund, first on Spadina Avenue and then on Beverley Street, until the 1960s, when the board moved to offices in the Jewish Public Library on Glen Park Avenue. The board remained there until 1983, when the BJE moved into the newly built Lipa Green Building, on Bathurst Street, along with the other departments of the Toronto Jewish Congress, as the UJWF was renamed in 1976.
During the 1950s and early 1960s, the BJE sponsored adult education programs in Toronto through the Institute for Jewish Studies, in collaboration with the Jewish Community Centre (JCC) and CJC. The BJE also provided assistance and advice to the CJC in support of Jewish education in the smaller Jewish communities in Ontario. The BJE's role in adult education diminished significantly after its reorganization in 1968, but this again became a responsibility for the BJE in the late 1990s.
The BJE has gone through several periods of reorganization since it was founded: in 1968, when the bureau became the Board of Jewish Education and its board was reduced in size significantly; in the late 1970s, with the implementation of recommendations of the 1975 UJWF Study Committee on Jewish Education; in the early 1990s, following the development of a strategic plan for the BJE; and in the late 1990s, following the recommendations of the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto Commission on Jewish Education (1996). The 1968 reorganization was the most significant of these, with the BJE Board of Directors reduced from over 80 members to just 20 members approved by the UJWF, and the number of standing committees was reduced to two. Stephen Berger was appointed as first chairman of the Board of Jewish Education in 1968, and in 1969, Rabbi Irwin E. Witty became the second executive director of the BJE. Later reorganizations typically involved alterations to the number and responsibilities of BJE committees.
Although its primary function is to support existing educational institutions, the BJE has also participated in establishing several new instititions in Toronto. In 1953, to meet the need for qualified teachers in affiliated schools, the BJE and CJC Central Region founded a Jewish teachers' seminary (Midrasha L'Morim) in Toronto, which was jointly funded by the BJE and CJC for many years. In 1960, the BJE and UJWF sponsored the establishment of a non-denominational Jewish high school, the Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto (CHAT), with the BJE Executive Director as its director. In 1978, the Orah School for Jewish Children from the Soviet Union was established by the BJE, to meet the special needs of the large numbers of recent immigrants from the Soviet Union.
At its founding, the BJE served a total of 21 day and supplementary schools. When it ceased functioning in 2012, the BJE served more than 70 day and supplementary schools in the Greater Toronto area, with the position of chair held by Baila Lubek and the position of executive director held by Dr. Seymour Epstein. The Board was replaced by the Mercaz and later, the Centre for Jewish Education.
The BJE records in accession 1995-8-2 were in the possession of Harvey Raben, formerly a school consultant with the BJE, for several years prior to his donation in 1995, while Raben worked on his Doctor of Education thesis on the history of the BJE.
Scope and Content
The fonds documents the interactions of the BJE with affiliated schools, the UJWF and its successors -- the Toronto Jewish Congress (TJC), Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto (JFGT) and UJA Federation of Greater Toronto -- and the community in its work of facilitating and financing Jewish education in Toronto. The bulk of the records consist of the files of the executive director, associate director and director of school finances, and minutes of the BJE Board of Directors and its committees. As well as meeting minutes, these records include memoranda, correspondence, committee reports, budget and financial statements, and a small number of photographs of individuals and of BJE events.
The fonds is arranged into eighteen series defined by the BJE's organizational units, projects and programs, institutions established by the BJE or its officers, and by record form. These series are as follows: Board of directors and executive committee, Executive director, Director of school finances, Subject files, School files, Chronological correspondence and memoranda, Newsletters and other publications, Midrasha L'Morim, Bible contests, Canada-Israel Secondary School Program, Community Hebrew Academy of Toronto, Orah School for Russian Jewish Children, Dr. Abraham Shore She'arim Hebrew Day School, Toronto Jewish Media Centre, Meyer W. Gasner Memorial Scholarship Fund, Principals councils, Association of Jewish Day School Administrators, and Parents Council of Hebrew Day Schools
Board of Jewish Education
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
The records of the Educational and Cultural Committee in the Canadian Jewish Congress Central Region fonds document the CJC's involvement in the establishment of the BJE and the operation and funding of the Midrasha L'Morim. The UJA Federation of Greater Toronto fonds, accessions 2002-10-54, 2004-6-4 and 2004-6-9 contain records on the establishment of the Bureau of Jewish Education, the appointment of UJWF representatives to its board, the reorganization of the bureau as the Board of Jewish Education in 1968, the various studies conducted of the BJE, and the annual review and approval of allotments for Jewish education in Toronto by UJA Federation and its predecessors. Accession 2004-6-4 also contains records on the funding of Jewish education in Toronto by the UJWF in the late 1930s and the 1940s, prior to the establishment of the BJE.
Files at the BJE were typically organized alphabetically by subject with no clear division by function or program. While some files were kept in a central filing system maintained by an administrative assistant and shared by all professional staff, staff members also kept their own series of alphabetical subject files. Since staff responsibilities for programs and support of board committees shifted over time, records relating to these programs and activities became dispersed across several sets of files. The archivist has extracted files relating to programs, committees, and areas of activity from these various sets of subject files and defined series according to these activities, programs and functions. The remaining alphabetical subject files have been integrated into one subject file series. File titles have been edited to bring together records relating to similar topics, events and activities within this series.
The other two common filing methods employed at the BJE were to store correspondence, memoranda and committee minutes chronologically (often in 3-ring binders), and in series of "School files" -- files organized alphabetically by school name, containing correspondence and other records relating to the school. The school files have been brought together into one school file series. The chronological series have been left in their original order.
The series consists of newsletters and bulletins published by the BJE as part of its outreach and promotional activities. The intended audiences for these publications were parents, teachers at affiliated schools, and school principals and administrators. The newsletters for teachers are "Likutim : a bulletin for teachers" (1951-1955; in Hebrew and English), and "Teachers' bulletin" (1957-1959). Likutim was intended primarily to keep teachers informed of new developments in pedagogy. Teachers' bulletin contains information on the BJE, its programs and services.
A newsletter specifically aimed at parents was initially titled "Our children" (1954), and then "Home and school" (1954-1963). This newsletter contained articles on Jewish holidays and other aspects of Judaism, news articles on the BJE and Jewish education, and articles on how parents could encourage and be involved in their children's education.
In the 1970s, the BJE published the "Board of Jewish Education newsletter," which contains short articles on current events relating to the BJE and Jewish education, and the services and activities of the BJE.
By 1919 the plight of post-war eastern European Jewry and the need for a united community voice for Canadian Jewry led to the creation of the Canadian Jewish Congress. Its founding meeting was held on March 16, 1919 in Montreal. Though it briefly maintained a tiny regional office in Toronto, the CJC remained inactive until 1933, when it fully reconvened by opening offices in Winnipeg, Montreal, and Toronto. Egmont L. Frankel was the first president of the new central division in Toronto. While the national office in Montreal focused on the overarching issues of the social and economic rights of European Jewry, assistance for Jewish immigrants, and combating prejudice in Canada, the Toronto office dealt with local, violent anti-Jewish demonstrations as well as continuing discrimination both in employment and in access to public recreational facilities. The structure was based on regular national biennial plenary conferences, at which policies were delineated and national and regional executives were elected. Between plenary sessions, national and regional councils were in charge. These were augmented by the following standing committees: administrative, officers, fersonnel, financial, publications, and educational and cultural. Special committees were created to deal with issues such as: youth, community loans, kashruth, fundraising, Israel, Russian Jewry, and various emergency issues such as refugees, immigration, and housing.
During the 1930s the central division office moved several times and occupied offices in the following locations: Yonge Street, the Bond Street Synagogue, Scheuer House, the Zionist Building, and its long-term home at 150-152 Beverley Street, where it remained until its July 1983 move to the Lipa Green Building in North York.
The CJC's activities expanded to include taking responsibility for Jewish educational standards, but by 1941 its main efforts shifted to support for Canada’s war effort. Immediately after the end of the war, the focus again shifted to Jewish immigration projects and the maintenance of Jewish identity in small communities. By 1950, the CJC’s use of the title “division” was changed to “region” to accommodate internal operational divisions within each region. Also, by then, the central region was busy expanding its programs for all Ontario Jewish communities, creating a province-wide council of youth groups, and working with the newly-created Bureau of Jewish Education (later Board of Jewish Education, now Mercaz). Standardization of kashruth rules in Ontario was implemented. As well, regular educational conferences and cultural events were held throughout the province, while province-wide fundraising efforts in support of Moess Chittin for relief projects in Israel and for local Congress activities were expanded. Many of its educational and cultural responsibilities necessitated working with other Jewish organizations such as the United Jewish Welfare Fund, Jewish Immigrant Aid Society (JIAS), Hadassah, the Canadian Legion, B’nai Brith, the World Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Congress, and the many landsmenshaften (Jewish mutual benefit societies, each formed by immigrants originating from the same Eastern European community).
During the 1960s, the central region began sending Moess Chittin relief shipments to Cuban Jews unable to acquire kosher foods for Passover. Its lobbying efforts included participation in the Royal Commissions on Hate Propaganda, and its greatest success came with the introduction and implementation of Ontario’s fair employment and fair accommodation practices legislation, an achievement in which Congress played a pivotal role.
From 1971 to 1989 the major focus became international and national lobbying for, and providing support to, Soviet Jewry. Virtually all local and Canadian efforts to assist the Soviet Jewish “refusniks” were organized and coordinated in Toronto by the Ontario region office, which provided staff and funding for the many lobbying activities and public demonstrations that characterized this successful effort.
As of November 1975, the central region’s responsibilities in Toronto were radically altered. To improve cost efficiency in Toronto, CJC educational and social service program activities were merged with similar programs already provided by Toronto’s United Jewish Appeal. The UJA assumed sole responsibility for these amalgamated programs in Toronto and was renamed Toronto Jewish Congress. The central region still retained province-wide responsibilities for Ontario’s smaller Jewish communities, and its office remained in Toronto. Also, following this reorganization, its name was changed to Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario Region. Although CJC no longer provided direct social and educational programs to Toronto, the TJC’s senior executive was, at the time, still obliged to continue to keep it notified about developments concerning previous Congress responsibilities.
From 1983, the Ontario Region's offices were located in the Lipa Green Building at 4600 Bathurst Street. It continued its work of financially supporting various Israeli institutions and fostering Canada-Israel relations. It also spearheaded the movement to support and protect Jews in Arab lands, especially in Syria. Funding for the CJC came from the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, which restributed a portion of the funds raised by the local Jewish federations across Canada.
The CJC dissolved in 2011. Today, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) acts as the Jewish community's primary lobby group.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of the records of the Ontario Region office of the Canadian Jewish Congress. Of primary importance in documenting this organization’s history are its minutes of the Executive and Administrative Committees and the various standing, and short-term committees such as Community Organization, Finance, Fund Raising, Educational and Cultural, Research, Immigration, War Efforts, and Jewish Education. Most of these records are still managed all together within Fonds 17, Series 1.
Fonds 17, Series 2 contains the general subject and correspondence files of these committees. Records in both series require further processing.
Records now found in Series 3 document the efforts of the Committee for Soviet Jewry in coordinating the activities of the many Toronto and Ontario organizations involved in assisting Soviet Jewry during the 1971 to 1989 period.
Series 4 consists of administrative and committee records of the United Jewish Refugee and War Relief Agencies in Toronto from 1938 through 1967. These document its work rescuing the survivors of European Jewish communities, settling as many as possible in Ontario, and providing assistance to those attempting to obtain restitution payments.
Series 5 consists of the records of the Community Relations Committee (1938-1976). Responding to depression-era anti-Semitism in Canada, the Canadian Jewish Congress and B’nai Brith together established in 1938 a new joint committee. Since then this Committee has documented racist threats in Canada; initiated advocacy activities to work for improved civil rights; promoted legislation combating hate; worked to ensure equality of access to employment, education and accommodation; and investigated specific incidents of discrimination. The Committee, for example, played a key role in achieving the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1944, and the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1951, key steps leading to Canada’s current Human Rights Code. Although originally named Joint Public Relations Committee in 1938, a series of name changes later occurred; s follows: Joint Community Relations Committee, Central Region (1962-1978), Joint Community Relations Committee, CJC, Ontario Region (ca. 1978-ca. 1991) Community Relations Committee, CJC, Ontario Region (ca. 1991-present) Records in this series were reorganized into 5 sub-series and a further 9 sub-sub-series during the 2009 to 2011 period. For further details please view the database records for Fonds 17, Series 5. Although this series will eventually hold all CRC records up to 1992, only those prior to 1979 are currently fully processed.
Physical description note: Includes 1839 photographs, 89 audio cassettes, 11 videocassettes, 4 drawings, and 6 microfilm reels (16 mm).
Processing note: Processing of this fonds is ongoing. Additional descriptive entries will be added in future.
Canadian Jewish Congress. Ontario Region
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the Archivist prior to accessing some of the records
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the Archivist prior to accessing some of the records.
Canadian Jewish Congress. Ontario Region (1919-2011)
File consists of correspondence. Included in the file are letters of thanks to David Green for his ongoing work and contributions to organizations in Israel. Mentioned are the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Yeshivat Bnei Akiva, Children's Fund, Histadrut, Jerusalem College for Women, and State of Israel Bonds,
Series consists of records relating to David Green's personal interests. Of note is correspondence relating to Green's ongoing charitable work in Israel, the Jewish Home for the Aged and Baycrest Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital, JIAS, CJC, UJWF, and the State of Israel Bonds. Also included is a copy of a speech given in honour of Menachem (Manny) Kraicer, Executive Director of JIAS central region and the War Efforts Committee presentation of photographs of Ontario Jews in the armed forces during the Second World War.
This file consists of meeting minutes from the Mizrachi Organization of America, a program for a Mizrachi Organization of America conference, Shekel membership to the Zionist World Organization, a program from the Jewish National Choir Concert, correspondence pertaining to the Youth Conference at the Zionist Congress, a letter from Keren Kayemeth Leisrael and letters requesting banquet money/ticket return from the Mizrachi Organization of Toronto.
This file consists of programs from the first conference of the Mizrachi Organization of Canada from 1939, publications put out by Mizrachi World Central from 1935-1939, a 1944 publication from the Mizrachi Organization in New York.
This file consists of hand-written notes from an executive meeting, a booklet highlighting the achievement of the United Jewish Welfare Fund, an information package for 1940 for the United Jewish Welfare Fund, a letter from the Toronto Shekel Board, a New Year's card from Jonah Wise, receipts for a New Year's greetings in 1940 in the Toronto Daily Hebrew Journal and Canadian News, some letters from various organizations (including Toronto Jewish Old Folks Home, Jabotinsky Memorial Meeting, Bikur Cholim), letters from Katz's bank manager, a booklet with manuscripts from Rabbi A. J. Kook, July 1940 meeting minutes form the Mizrachi Organization of America, an invitation to the National Mizrachi Conference in November 1940 and letters from Katz in Yiddish to Mizrachi Organization in Israel.
The series consists of alphabetically-organized subject files, which reflect Katz's involvement with various organizations and philanthropic efforts. Included is written correspondence, financial records, membership lists, publications and meeting minutes. Many of the correspondence files are organized by the name of the correspondent, many of whom are Rabbis or community leaders throughout Canada and the United States.
The file consists of general correspondence from 1939. Included are personal letters, a wedding invitation and correspondence and literature pertaining to Katz's involvement with philanthropic, Zionistic and religious activities. Of note are letters and bulletins released by the Joint Distribution Committee in 1939, including updates concerning the status of the refugees on board the SS St. Louis and bulletins describing the overseas activities of J.D.C. in September and October 1939.
The file consists of general correspondence from 1936. Included is correspondence/literature pertaining to Katz's involvement with various Zionistic, religious and philanthropic organizations (e.g. Mizrachi organizations, United Palestine Appeal, The Hebrew Theological College).
Series consists of a variety of personal records including: medical reports, certificates and plaques recognizing Katz's service; mementos from conferences and trips; personal receipts from charitable donations to Israel Bonds, Jewish National Fund and B'nai Zion; general correspondence, bill payments for services and taxes for his home, cottage and business; and 60th birthday greetings.