The first Canadian chapter of Hadassah was established in Toronto in 1916. Subsequent chapters emerged in other large Canadian cities thereafter. In 1919 several chapters organized to form the Hadassah Organization of Canada. And in 1921, Hadassah Canada joined the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO), and subsequently changed its name to Hadassah-WIZO. The original goal of Hadassah was to raise funds for refugees in Eastern Europe. Later on, their mandate shifted to that of providing money and support for the Jews in Israel. Although it spent a great deal of time and resources raising funds for this cause, Hadassah-WIZO was a philanthropic organization that encouraged productivity rather than charity.
Today, Hadassah-WIZO is the largest organization of Jewish women in Canada. In addition to providing Jewish women with an opportunity to liaise with other women from the community and volunteer for a worthy cause, this organization also promotes some important national and international goals. These goals include: encouraging Jewish and Hebrew culture in Canada; extending the material and moral support of Jewish women in Canada to the people of Israel who require assistance; and cooperating with other organizations in the promotion of Canadian ideals of democracy.
The records in this fonds were created by the Toronto chapter of Hadassah-WIZO. The Toronto chapter is not only the oldest, but also one of the largest and most active affiliates of the 304 Hadassah-WIZO chapters in Canada. Some of the activities that it sponsors include the famous annual bazaar, which was started in 1924 and is one of the largest in North America. They also contribute to the support of a host of Canadian Hadassah-WIZO initiatives in Israel which include: the Nahalal School, the Netanya Technological High School, the Hadassim Children and Youth Village, several day care centres, women’s and youth clubs, the Hadassah-WIZO Canada Research Institute, and two medical centers. The Toronto chapter in particular sponsors youth aliyah, and raises funds and honours important volunteers through the organization of tribute dinners, golf tournaments, and other events. Finally, this chapter is also responsible for producing the Hadassah Reporter, which is the newsletter that documents the activities of the Toronto chapter.
The records were acquired from the main Hadassah office on Sheppard Ave.
Scope and Content
The records in this fonds document the activities of Toronto Hadassah-WIZO. They include the Hadassah magazine the Reporter as well as the national publication Orah. The fonds also consists of photographs, minutes of meetings, certificates, press clippings, correspondence, audio-visual material, posters and scrapbooks.
Associated material note: The Library and Archives of Canada also possesses material created by members of Toronto Hadassah.