Dora Till (1896-1987) was a leading member of the Toronto Jewish community. She helped found and served on the executives and boards of many organizations, including the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto, the United Jewish Welfare Fund (UJWF), the Candian Jewish Congress Central Region, and the Baycrest Hospital Women's Auxiliary. She was honoured numerous times in her life with awards and tributes for her contributions to the Jewish community.
Till was born in New York City on 20 March 1896, one of six children of Max and Yeta Tobias. Her parents had emigrated from Poland prior to 1892. When Dora was four, the family moved to Toronto where Max Tobias worked as a tailor. In her teens, Till was an active member of two social clubs for girls, the Boot and Shoe Society (for mothers and children in need) and the Herzl Girls Club.
Dora Tobias married Morris S. Till on 21 May 1916, in Toronto. They had two children, Sigmund and Cecile, both of whom she outlived. Sigmund died tragically at the age of 11 after a sudden illness. Cecile married Frank Goldhar and they had two children, Sheila Anne and Meyer Garson.
In 1918, Till joined the Hebrew Maternity Aid Society and she served as its vice-president for the next fifteen years. This was the beginning of a lifetime career in family welfare, health care and services for the aged. Till helped found and was the first president of the Mothers' and Babes' Summer Rest Home located in Bronte and then Tollandale, which provided mothers and children in need with a two-week holiday in the country.
From the 1920s until the 1940s, Till served on several boards including the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto, and the United Jewish Welfare Fund, as well as the Welfare Fund's Women's Division and Women's Service Council. In 1950, she became the first woman to be named honourary vice-president of the UJWF. In 1955, after many years affiliation with the Jewish Home for the Aged, Dora Till organized the newly built Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care's Women's Auxiliary, becoming its first president. She also served for 40 years on the executive board of the Family and Child Service Bureau, the precursor to Jewish Family & Child Services. Till was an active member of many other Jewish organizations, including the Naomi Chapter of Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women, B'nai Brith Women, the Mount Sinai Women's Auxiliary, the Jewish Camp Council, and Toronto United Community Appeal - Community Chest. She was also a member of Goel Tzedec Congregation and its successor, Beth Tzedec Congregation.
Dora Till was honoured with several awards and tributes in her lifetime for her contributions to Jewish life, health and welfare in Toronto. In 1956, the Dora and Morris Till Bungalow at the Mothers and Babes Summer Rest Home was dedicated. In 1969, she was the first woman to recieve UJWF's Ben Sadowski Award for Jewish Community Service. As well, in 1977, she received the Queen's Silver Jubilee medal for outstanding community service. In 1983 a Baycrest Centre tribute dinner was held in her honour and in 1984, the top floor of the Baycrest Centre was dedicated to her. This was the culmination of a lifetime devoted to social welfare and community service, and it came just a few years before Till's death, on 22 November 1987.
The records were in the possession of Dora Till's granddaughter, Mrs. Sheila Gottlieb, until they were donated to the OJA in 1987.
Scope and Content
This fonds consists of records documenting the personal and philanthropic activities of Dora Till, including her ongoing involvement with the Mothers' and Babes' Summer Rest Home, the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care Women's Auxiliary, the United Jewish Welfare Fund, and to a lesser extent other organizations that she was involved or affiliated with. Till's records of the Mothers' and Babes' Rest Home are some of the few to have survived from this important social service organization.
The organizational records in the fonds include minutes, correspondence, reports, speeches, financial records, newsclippings, pamphlets, brochures, invitations, architectural drawings, and photographs, primarily of the Mothers and Babes Rest Home and the Baycrest Centre. As well, there are two artifacts: a Baycrest Centre pin and a gold shovel from the groundbreaking ceremony. The personal records in the fonds include family photographs and portraits, writings, newsclippings and general correspondence.
The fonds has been arranged into eight series: 1. Mothers' and Babes' Summer Rest Home Association. 2. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care Women's Auxiliary. 3. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care Heritage Museum Committee. 4. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care Furnishings Committee. 5. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care : other committees. 6. United Jewish Welfare Fund. 7. Other organizations. 8. Personal. The records have been described to the file level, while a selection of photographs have been scanned and described at the item level.
Physical description note: includes 197 photographs (54 negatives), 9 architectural drawings, and 2 objects
Till, Dora, 1896-1987
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
For related material on the Mothers' and Babes' Summer Rest Home, please see: Jewish Community Centre of Toronto fonds 61, Federation of Jewish Philanthropies fonds 66, United Jewish Welfare Fund fonds 67, Ida Lewis Siegel fonds 15, and the Rebecca Kamarner family fonds 11.
For related material on the Baycrest Centre Women's Auxiliary, please see: Pat Joy Alpert fonds 77 and fonds 14.
For related material on National Council of Jewish Women please see fonds 38.
This fonds had previously been arranged and described as MG6 H. The current arrangement was implemented by the archivist in 2010 and as a result, several files from the former MG were culled or merged. Therefore, the former MG finding aid is no longer accurate.
The Schwartz-Reisman Jewish Community Centre, the Prosserman Jewish Community Centre (formerly the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre or BJCC) and the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre (MNJCC) in Toronto are the current incarnations of what began, in 1919, as the Hebrew Association of Young Men's and Young Women's Clubs, later known as the Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association of Toronto (Y.M.-Y.W.H.A.). The Y.M.-Y.W.H.A., in turn, began as a merger between several other small athletic clubs operating in the city. The original mandate was strictly athletic, but soon broadened to include other areas of interest, in order to provide a sense of Jewish identity and camaraderie through physical, educational, cultural and community based programming. During the 1920s, the 'Y' became known simply as the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (Y.M.H.A.) – the name under which it was incorporated in 1930.
For close to two decades, the ‘Y’ had rented rooms in the Brunswick Avenue and College Street area, including the basement facilities of the Brunswick Avenue Talmud Torah. By the mid-1930s, these facilities were overcrowded and unable to support the growing membership, particularly when the young women’s programming was reintroduced in 1936.
As a result, in 1937, the Y.M.-Y.W.H.A. constructed its own athletic building at 15 Brunswick Avenue, next door to the Talmud Torah, to ease the overcrowding. However, the ‘Y’ still had to make use of five scattered buildings to meet its needs, including the Central Y.M.C.A. gym for its basketball teams. The early ‘Y’ was staffed by volunteers who were granted free memberships in exchange for their time and expertise.
On 3 February 1953, a new Jewish Community Centre was dedicated at the corner of Bloor Street and Spadina Avenue. By the end of the 1950s, the ‘Y’ was providing services for all ages, ranging from a nursery school to their Good Age Club for seniors.
As the Jewish community moved northward, so too did the ‘Y’, with the dedication of a new northern branch on 1 May 1961. This new branch, located at Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue, was created in order to address the athletic, educational, cultural and community needs of the expanding Jewish community in the north end of the city. Fourteen years later, an improved cultural and physical education wing was added as part of the completion campaign. This included the addition of the Leah Posluns Theatre and the Murray Koffler Centre of the Arts. In 1978, the Y.M.-Y.W.H.A. changed its name to the Jewish Community Centre of Toronto, in order to better reflect its broader role in the community. A new Northeast Valley branch was also established in Thornhill in the early 1980s and later closed in the late 1990s.
In 1994, the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto took over the operation of the northern branch, due to financial difficulties. At this point, all three branches became independent of one another and were no longer constituted as the Jewish Community Centre of Toronto. They each had independent boards of directors, while still receiving some of their operating funds from the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto.
Scope and Content
This fonds consists of the records created and accumulated by the Jewish Community Centre of Toronto -- which included the Bloor branch and the northern Bathurst Jewish Community Centre -- and its predecessor, the Y.M.-Y.W.H.A. The records include textual records maintained by the office of the executive director, financial reports, architectural plans, Y-Times newsletters, program material, photographs and oral histories.
The records have been arranged into the following series: Executive director, Jewish Community Centre Archives Committee, Publication Committee, Communications Department, Sports Celebrity Dinner, and Combined Building Campaign Committee.
Includes 2539 photographs, 42 drawings, 13 sound recordings, 4 artifacts and 2 posters.
Harold Solomon Kaplan (1895-1973) was a Toronto-based architect who, in partnership with Abraham Sprachman in the firm Kaplan & Sprachman, was well-known for the design of Art deco and Art moderne movie theatres in the 1930s and 1940s and for designing buildings for Jewish communities across Canada from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Kaplan was born 10 Sept. 1895, in Bucharest, Romania. At the age of three, he and his widowed mother, Tillie Hohan, moved to London, England, and in 1902 they moved to Toronto where his mother subsequently married Frank Kaplan. While in his teens, Kaplan spent time in Philadelphia living with an uncle and studying draftsmanship. Upon returning to Toronto, Kaplan attended Toronto Technical School where he took courses in architecture and building construction. He also served an apprenticeship with the architect Henry Simpson. In 1919-1920, Kaplan worked for the firm of Page & Warrington, before establishing Kaplan & Sprachman with Abraham Sprachman in 1922. In 1923, he married Dorothy Spain. They had two daughters, Phyllis (Pepper) and Ruthetta (Reiss).
Kaplan & Sprachman were best known for their more than 300 movie theatre projects completed from the 1920s to the 1960s, designing and renovating theatres across Canada in progressive "modern" styles and using innovative building materials. In 1937, they were awarded the bronze medal in the Sixth Biennial Toronto Exhibition for their interiors to the Eglinton Theatre (400 Eglinton Ave. W.) in Toronto, considered to be the finest example of their Art deco design work.
Over the course of their careers, they designed many synagogues for the Jewish community, such as the Anshei Minsk and Shaarei Shomayim synagogues in Toronto, Beth Israel Synagogue, Edmonton, and Beth Israel Synagogue in Vancouver. They also designed the new Mount Sinai Hospital, the Oakdale Golf & Country Club, the Jewish Home for the Aged (Baycrest), and the Jewish Community Centres of Toronto and Hamilton. Their design for the Oakdale Golf & Country Club was chosen as a Canadian entrant in the Arts Competition of the 14th Olympic Games in London, 1948.
In addition to the projects already mentioned, Kaplan & Sprachman worked on retail stores, warehouses and factories, apartment buildings, and single family residences. Their partnership continued until 1965, when the firm of Kaplan & Sprachman was dissolved as of 30 October 1965. Kaplan continued to work as an architectural consultant for several years after this date. Harold Kaplan died 1 April 1973 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Kaplan was a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Ontario Association of Architects, and the Province of Quebec Association of Architects. Kaplan & Sprachman's contribution to the architecture profession was recognized by the Ontario Association of Architects when both Kaplan's and Abraham Sprachman's names were entered on the Honor Roll for prominent members of the profession, established by the association in 1989.
Scope and Content
The fonds documents Kaplan's work as an architect from the 1930s to the 1960s with Kaplan & Sprachman and some of the consulting work he undertook after the dissolution of the partnership in 1965, primarily through architectural drawings and photographs. The preponderance of the materials relates to a series of renovations of Loew's Yonge Street Theatre (189 Yonge St., Toronto, now the Elgin Theatre) and the Uptown Theatre (764 Yonge St., Toronto, just South of Bloor St.) between the 1930s and 1960s, and Kaplan & Sprachman's design of the Primrose Club (Russell Hill Rd at St. Clair Ave., Toronto) in 1958-1959. There is also a large number of photographs by commercial photographers of movie theatres designed or renovated by Kaplan & Sprachman.
Project records are arranged chronologically, with sub-sub-series defined for successive projects at the same site. Some of the materials document project proposals which were not carried out (e.g., proposed renovations of the Winter Garden Theatre).
Other series in the fonds contain business correspondence and newspaper clippings concerning Kaplan & Sprachman projects, and a small amount of personal material such as family photographs, awards Kaplan received over the years for his design work and a colour photocopy of the invitation to Kaplan's stag party in 1923.
Includes: 132 photographs (131 b&w, including 8 negatives; 1 col.), 8 cm of textual records, and 1 bronze medal.
Kaplan, Harold S., 1895-1973
Kaplan & Sprachman (Firm)
Loew's Yonge Street Theatre (Toronto, Ont.)
Primrose Club (Toronto, Ont.)
Uptown Theatre (Toronto, Ont.)
Winter Garden Theatre (Toronto, Ont.)
Some of the blueprints and drawings are torn or water-damaged. All of the architectural drawings are currently stored in rolls.
Accession 2003-7-1 contains additional photographs of buildings designed or renovated by Kaplan & Sprachman, as well as a copy of a published inventory of Kaplan & Sprachman movie theatre projects, compiled by Mandel Sprachman from Kaplan & Sprachman records
Mina Sprachman, widow of Abraham Sprachman, discusses Kaplan & Sprachman in oral history recording AC-142
Kaplan & Sprachman records can also be found in the Mandel Sprachman fonds, at the City of Toronto Archives
5593 photographs, 25 x 20 cm and smaller, and other media
The Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto was incorporated in Ontario in March 1917 to coordinate the fundraising activities of Jewish charitable, philanthropic, and social service agencies in Toronto. In 1918, ten separate agencies were funded by the FJPT. By 1937, fourteen agencies were funded. The Great Depression of the 1930s and the development of several newer Jewish aid, education, and medical care organizations created both increased need for resources and growing competition for ever-more scarce dollars. Within a very few years this funding crisis forced a major review of the organization.
During 1936 a series of special meetings of leading individuals were held to examine the income and expenditures of all Toronto Jewish agencies and also to speculate about the need for a new Toronto Jewish "Community Chest" as the sole fund-raising organization for a federation of all Jewish agencies including the FJPT. In 1938, the new United Jewish Welfare Fund was formally constituted. Added to the FJPT's previous list of Toronto client agencies in 1938 were: the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Hebrew National Association, the Jewish Immigrant Aid Association, the Mizrachi Society, the Toronto Free Loan Association, the Geverkshaften, and Old Folks Home, and the United Palestine Appeal, raising the total number of agencies to 22.
When the State of Israel was established in 1948, the UJWF's annual fundraising campaign was combined with the CJC's United Palestine appeal to form a new, combined campaign named the United Jewish Appeal (UJA). In 1967, the UJA name was legally changed to the United Jewish Appeal of Metropolitan Toronto.
In mid-1976, the organization's public name was changed to the Toronto Jewish Congress. Although initially thought of as a merger between the UJWF and the CJC, the actual result was the expansion of the UJWF responsibilities to include local education and welfare services previously shared with the Canadian Jewish Congress, Central Region. The UJWF, however, remained the legal senior entity.
In 1991 the public name was again changed to the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto and in 1999, to UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. By this date, over 30 beneficiary and affiliated agencies, 49 affiliated schools and five Federation departments were fully or partly funded by the UJA Federation.
In June, 2010, the organization altered its legal structure, with the senior legal entity becoming the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of 25 series: Annual Meetings, Annual Reports, Board of Directors, Constitution Committee, Executive Committee, Officers Committee, Budget and Finance Committee, Administration Committee, Social Planning Committee, Committee on Capital Needs and Planning, Central Committee on Scholarships in Aid, Joint Committee of the BJE and UJWF Study on Jewish Education, Nominations Committee, Pension Fund Committee, Coordinating Committee, Special Ad Hoc and Temporary Committees, Annual Campaign, Client Agencies, Joint Committee of the CJC and the UJWF, Committee on Community Organization, Sub-Committee on Construction and Administration of Community Schools, Joint Committee on Fundraising, Personnel Committee, Community Leadership Development Council, and Israel at Fifty Community Celebration.
Over 4500 photographs and a variety of other media are managed within Series 17, Campaign records.
For exact details about the contents of individual series and sub-series, please review their scope and contents notes.
United Jewish Welfare Fund
Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto
United Jewish Appeal
Toronto Jewish Congress
Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
For records of the predecessor of the UJWF, see Fonds 66, the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto fonds.
Further detailed documentation of the proposed merger between the UJWF and the CJC (creation of the TJC) may be found in Fonds 67, Sub-sub-series 5-5-1, Files 171 and 221.
Further documentation on the United Jewish Welfare Fund may be found within Fonds 9, Series 7, records of the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society.
For further detailed records of a key community leader's involvement with the UJWF see Accession 1982-8-8, the records of Samuel Godfrey, 1943-1972.