Accession consists of records documenting the Coppel and Cooper families of Galt (now Cambridge) and Toronto respectively. Coppel family records include family correspondence, photocopies of Moses Kappel's discharge papers from the Austro-Hungarian military (1884), B'nai Israel Synagogue sisterhood meeting minutes, financial records, photographs, Hadassah booklets and programmes, and a photo album documenting the closing of B'nai Israel Synagogue in 1985. Also included are records relating to Elizabeth Cooper (née Coppel)'s involvement in Canadian Young Judaea and her work as a camp counselor at a Jewish day camp near Kitchener-Waterloo (Judaean Day Camp/Camp Ruach). These records include correspondence, publications, activity schedules, lists of camp counselors, and a Young Judaean scarf. Coppel family records also include marriage and burial records of Aaron Coppel, audio cassettes of an oral history interview conducted with Cy Coppel in 1976, and military records documenting Max David Simonoff's service in the Canadian Navy during the Second World War. Finally, included is a Farband Shule (Folks School) program book (1927) and class photo (ca. 1931). Identified in the photograph is Ethel Raicus (first row, third from the right).
Cooper family records include digital photographs of Sam Cooper and the weightlifting club at the YMHA in Toronto (1930s), portraits of Jacob Cooper (Cooperberg), a school photo of Sam and Max Cooper, and a photo of Hilda Cooper.
Finally accession consists of program books for various events, including a Canadian Jewish Congress song book, an Israel Dance Theatre at the Royal Alexandra, and a Queen Esther Purim play.
Aaron Selig (Archie Aaron) Coppel (Kappel / Koppel / Cappell / Kappele) was born to Moses Kappel and Perl (nee Pistenfeld) in Galicia in 1882. He came to Canada in 1903 and lived with a landsmen family, the Siegels. Mr. Siegel was a horse dealer who took Aaron under his wing and taught him the horse trade. Aaron married Mr. Siegel's daughter, Chaya Geitel (Gertrude) Seigel, in 1905. Aaron and Geitel had seven children: Helen, Rose, Newt, Cyrus ("Cy," born in 1911), Les, George, and Harry. After marrying, Aaron and Geitel remained in Galt, and Aaron continued dealing in livestock. Although he was eager to assimilate into Canadian society (he gave his children British names and spoke with no accent), the family kept kosher and Aaron hired itinerant Hebrew teachers for the children.
Cyrus Coppel married Channa "Anna" Simonoff on 25 August1946. Anna was born in Russia to Avraham Dov and Chashe Bryna Tzaitzeck. Anna had three siblings: Sarah Merle, Faigle (died en route to Canada), and Mordecai Doved. She immigrated to Ottawa in 1914 with her family. An uncle already living in Ottawa had changed his last name to Simonoff and the family decided to change their name to Simonoff as well. Avraham worked as a tailor in Russia and likely continued in this profession in Canada. The family moved to Toronto sometime after 1919 and was actively involved in the Labour Zionist movement. Anna was in the milliner's union and two of her aunts, Slaava Raicus and Esther Cohen, were members of Club One (Pioneer Women). Anna and Cyrus had two children together: Bryna (24 February 1949-12 January 2006) and Elizabeth (b. 16 Dec. 1950). Cyrus initially worked as a mechanic, but later worked in the office of an auto shop and traded in auto parts. He also traded in livestock as a hobby. Cyrus was one of the founders of the B'nai Israel Synagogue in Galt. Initially, synagogue services were held in the homes of local residents, such as the Spring family; however, a building was finally purchased in 1946. After the synagogue closed, the Torahs and plaques went to the synagogue in Kitchener.
Jacob Cooperberg (Kupferberg, Cooper) came to Canada around 1910 from Kielce, Poland. His wife and children (Max, Sam, and Aidel or Ida) remained in Poland, waiting for Jacob to earn enough money for them to come to Canada as well. His family was unable to join him until after the First World War had ended, arriving in 1920. Jacob and Sarah had three more children in Canada: Irving, Joey, and Hilda. Jacob worked as a peddler in Toronto and later opened a scrap yard, Cooper Iron and Medal. The family lived on Oxford Street in the Kensington Market area.
Sam Cooper married Kay Gernstein in 1948. They had two children together: Neil and Donna (married name is Speigel). Sam initially worked as a tailor, but later worked as a scrap dealer. Neil married Donna Coppel and also works in the scrap trade. Donna is a librarian.
Copyright is in the public domain and permission for use is not required. Please credit the Ontario Jewish Archives as the source of the photograph.
Includes 1 photo album, 7 photographs (tiff), 3 photographs, 2 audio cassettes, and 1 scarf.
Accession consists of material documenting the personal life and family of Myra Merkur. The bulk of the accession consists of photographs and home movies documenting family activities and an outing to High Park and the Toronto Zoo, holiday celebrations (such as, Chanukah, Purim, Passover, and New Year's Eve costume parties), milestones (such as, Myra's wedding and graduation), cottage life at Gamebridge Beach and Camp Wishiwami, and family holidays and travel (such as to Israel, Blue Mountains in Collingwood, and Grossingers in New York).
Also included are sound recordings of a speech made by David Merkur to Nomi Tepperman at her Bat Mitzvah (17 May 1998) and of an interview with David Merkur who explains to his tweleve year old granddaughter what life was like when he was twelve (1 Nov. 2000).
Finally, accession includes a photocopy of a tribute Myra wrote for her late mother Lena Charlotte Gula documenting Lena's life and Myra's memories of her.
Myra (Gula) Merkur was born to Lena (nee Neimen) and Jack Gula in Toronto in 1933. She has one sister, Elaine Wolfish. As a child Myra and her family lived with her maternal grandmother, Betty "Brindel", at 234 Markham Street. They later moved into their own home at 1 Enid Crescent in 1949. Myra's father initially worked as a tailor but later went into the sales business selling furniture and insurance. Myra's mother initially stayed at home, but obtained work in the mid-1950s as a saleswoman at Morgan's department store.
Myra married David Israel Merkur in 1954. David was a civil engineer and lawyer. He later started a family real estate business that involved buying, selling and maintaining properties. Myra and David had three children together: Shauna Tepperman (b. 1956), Lorne Merkur (b. 1957) and Jordan Merkur (b. 1962).
Myra completed her undergraduate degree from Atkinson College (York University) around 1975. She obtained her Master of Education from OISE in 1982. Myra worked as an ESL teacher with the Toronto Public School Board and was involved as a volunteer and leader with the National Council of Jewish Women, JF&CS, and the Jewish Women's Federation (Women's Philanthropy).
Physical description note: includes 1 folder of textual records, 2 sound recordings (wav), and 7 DVDs
Accession consists of the records related to the activities and operations of the First Narayever Congregation. Included are board and general meeting minutes (1984-1996); general correspondence, high holiday tickets and membership lists (1970s-1990s); membership and dues ledger (1929-1983); Ritual Committee meeting minutes (1984-1988); Implementation Committee records (1970s-1980s); constitutions (1980s); newsletters (1983-2004); a blank seat deed (1920s); a cemetery map (1950s?); records regarding burial rights for the Owen Sound Hebrew Congregation (1966-1980); records regarding a court case filed by members of the congregation surrounding the egalitarian changes being planned; an album documenting SHTICK! A Celebration of Jewish Playrights (2005-2006); an album documenting the congregation's participation in a UJA Mission to Israel (2003-2004); a binder of material containing photocopied and original records in support of the research for the congregation's 100th anniversary celebrations (1970s-2014); photographs and a video recording of the 100th Anniversary exhbition opening at the Miles Nadal JCC; photographs of events hosted by the congregation; and 9 video interviews with individuals connected to the shul conducted by Sharoni Siboney for the anniversary celebrations. Interviewees are: Peter Gold, Sharon Weintraub, Murray Teitel, Rosalyn Katz, Julia Gluck, Shaya Petroff, Stuart Schoenfeld, Sylvia Solomon and Ben Rothman. Also included are family photographs and written transcripts of oral interviews conducted with members of the Hersh Petersiel family, who lived in Hastings, Ontario and had early connections to the Narayever Congregation.
The records related to Hersh Petersiel were given to the First Narayever by Marsha Beck for their upcoming 100th anniversary. Marsha agreed to donate them to the OJA along with the Narayever records.
In 1914, Jews from eastern Galicia (now in modern Ukraine) established the First Narayever Congregation in Toronto as a landsmanshaf, i.e. a society of Jewish immigrants from the same town or region. The synagogue takes its name from the small market town of Narayev, which is located in eastern Galicia. The synagogue's founders belonged to the working class and many worked in Toronto's garment industry.
Initially, congregation members met in different locations, but by 1923 their numbers and financial means had grown such that they were able to rent a small house at 70 Huron Street at the corner of Huron and Dundas. This house served as the congregation's home for twenty years.
The congregation's first president was Israel Chaim Katz and its first meeting was held at the Katz home at 156 William Street. The congregation's first rabbi was Solomon Langner, who was hired by the congregation in 1923. He retained this affiliation despite serving the Kiever Synagogue as a full-time rabbi from 1929 until he died in 1973.
In 1943, the congregation purchased property at 187-189 Brunswick Avenue from Bethel Church. This is where the the synagogue is located today.
In 1950, Henry Young became president of the congregation. He occupied that position until his death in 1976.
Shalom Langner, the son of Rabbi Solomon Langner, succeeded Young as president.
As Toronto's Jewish population began to move north, the First Narayever continued to serve Orthodox Jews living downtown. In the 1980s, the congregation struggled to balance the needs of this older generation with the young generation's desire to make the synagogue more egalitarian with respect to gender. In 1983, the congregation's new leadership team successfully advanced a proposal to allow the full participation of women in traditional services. This innovation led to several long-standing members taking legal action, but their case was dismissed on the grounds that it was not a matter for civil law.
The First Narayever's identity continued to evolve. In 2009, its membership voted to allow its rabbi, Edward Elkin, who began serving the congregation in 2000, to officiate at same-sex marriages.
Accession consists of material documenting Cantor Harold Klein and Rabbi Stuart Rosenberg. Cantor Klein's records include sound recordings and sheet music. Rabbi Rosenberg's records include certificates of conversion, divorce, and marriage; counselling and pastoral cards; decree absolutes; a letter to Mr. A. Copnick from Garry Goldberg regarding a "Burn the Mortgage Campaign" (the letter includes a note to the rabbi); a letter Rabbi Rosenberg from Rabbi Bernard Baskin; and wedding record cards.
6/25/2018: Rabbi Yossi Sapirman of Beth Torah Congregation donated the records to the Ontario Jewish Archives.
Cantor Harold Klein was the chazzan of the Shaarei Shomayim Congregation in Toronto. Cantor Klein was a classmate, and then later a student for many years, of Professor Noach Schall of Yeshiva University.
Rabbi Stuart E. Rosenberg led Beth Torah Congregation for nine years. Prior to that, he was senior rabbi for seventeen years at Beth Tzedic, the largest Conservative congregation in Canada.
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
Accession consists of material documenting Cantor Harold Klein. Included are audio recordings that belonged to Klein, sheet music, and other textual records.
Cantor Harold Klein was born in Borough Park, Brooklyn in 1929. The child of eastern European immigrants, Klein was the second of three sons. When he was four, the family moved to Williamsburg. It was there that he attended yeshiva.
As a child, Klein was inspired by Rabbi Levi Greenwald, Rabbi Dovid Rabinowitz, and Earl Spero to pursue his vocation as a cantor. He studied with Cantor Noah Schall and [Frederick?] Pugel. In a 1984 interview with author Mark Slobin, Klein credited both with his later success.
In the course of his career, Klein sung for several congregations. The first was Sutton Place Synagogue, aka the U.N. Synagogue, where he introduced congregational singing. In 1968, he moved to Toronto and became cantor at Beth Emeth Bais Yehuda Synagogue. After several years at Beth Emeth, he went to Shaarei Shomayim, where he sung for many years.
In addition to regular singing, Klein occupied a number of important posts within the cantorial community. In the 1970s, he was elected to the executive council of the Cantors Assembly of America. At the time he was elected, Klein was serving as the president of the Toronto Council of Hazzanim.
Klein was also a published author. After a friend encouraged him to write a songbook, he formed Mydas Music Company, which published his Let's Sing and Daven songbook in 1985. The songbook, which was accompanied by a ninety-minute cassette of Klein singing to piano accompaniment, won praise from a number of cantors. A sequel, Let's Sing and Celebrate,was released in 1987.
In 1988, the Cantors Institute of the Jewish Theological Seminary inducted Klein as one of its honourary fellows.
Copyright is not held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission prior to use.
Accession consists of material documenting J. B. Salsberg. Included are: tributes to him on his ninetieth birthday, his death in 1998, and the ten-year anniversary of his death in 2008. These include descriptions of his accomplishments and recorded interviews, including transcripts, with a number of his colleagues and friends. Included also are five microcassettes of interviews held in June 1991 with Norman Penner, Harry Simon (two tapes), Morris Biderman, Bob Nixon, and Ethel Harris.
Joseph Baruch Salsberg (1902-1998) was a labour leader, political activist, politician, insurance salesman, and journalist. He was also active in various Jewish organizations, including: the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto, and the New Fraternal Jewish Association. He is well-remembered by contemporaries, such as Sam Lipshitz, as a “champion of the people”, committed to social justice, the plight of the working class, and the preservation of Jewish culture.
J. B. was born in Lagov, Poland on November 5, 1902 to Abraham and Sarah-Gittel Salsberg. Abraham immigrated to Toronto in 1910 and J. B. followed with his mother and two younger sisters in 1913. They settled at 73 Cecil Street. Abraham and Sarah-Gittel had additional children in Canada: Nathan (b. 1915), Reuven (Bob or Robert, b. 1917), Betty, and Thelma. Abraham worked as a peddler in Toronto.
J. B. briefly attended Landsdowne Public School, but dropped out around 1915, against his parents' wishes, and took a job in a leather goods factory to contribute to his family’s income. J. B.’s parents had hoped he would become a rabbi and, despite his full-time employment, J.B. continued to study the Torah with scholars at the synagogue on Centre Avenue.
In 1917, J. B. decided to pursue the ideas of Zionism and socialism and, abandoning his plans to become a rabbi, became involved in establishing the Young Poale Zion organization, a Labour Zionist youth group dedicated to secular aims. Around 1922, J. B. was made secretary general of the Young Poale Zion of America in New York, where he worked for one year. Shortly after returning to Toronto, he became the organizer for the Hat, Cap, and Millinery Workers Union of North America in Chicago. J. B. married Dora Wilensky in 1927.
In 1926, J. B. joined the Communist Party of Canada (CPC). He was an active member of the CPC for 30 years, serving as the head of its Trade Union Department for two decades. In 1929 he was suspended from the party for one year as a dissenter. In 1932, he became the Southern Ontario District union organizer for the Communist Workers' Unity League.
It was as a member of the CPC that J. B. entered electoral politics. After a series of failed bids in municipal and provincial elections between 1935 and 1937, J. B. was elected alderman of Ward 4 in Toronto in 1938. He only held the position for one year. In 1943, J. B. was elected to the Ontario Legislature as the representative for the St. Andrew riding. J. B. sat as Member of Provincial Parliament for the Labor-Progressive Party (the provincial wing of the CPC) for 12 years. For several years, he was the only elected Communist in North America. As MPP, he helped create legislation banning discrimination in public places and introduced a bill that would ensure fair employment practices in the province. He lost his seat to Allan Grossman in 1955 and unsuccessfully ran in the federal election later that year. Remembered by journalist Gordon Sinclair as “one of the best debaters in the house”, J. B. was well-respected by members of all political parties. Out of admiration for J. B., Conservative Premier Leslie Frost named Salsberg Township in Northern Ontario in his honour.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, J. B. had grown increasingly concerned about reports of Soviet antisemitism and privately urged party leaders to pursue the issue. In 1956, when Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev exposed the transgressions of Stalin’s regime, J. B. went to Moscow as part of a CPC delegation. After meeting with Khrushchev himself, it became clear to J. B. that antisemitism was indeed a problem in the USSR and that his efforts to probe the situation were being stonewalled.
J. B. publicly expressed his concerns about Soviet antisemitism in a series of articles published in the Vochenblatt from October 25, 1956 to December 13, 1956. He finally left the Communist Party in 1957. However, he remained a member of the United Jewish People’s Order (UJPO), a Communist Jewish fraternal organization.
Entering the business world, J. B. established the Model Insurance Agency Limited in 1957, where he served as president for several years. In 1959 J. B.’s wife, Dora, passed away. Around this time J. B. also resigned from the UJPO, along with other members who felt the organization needed to be more critical of the Soviet Union. They founded an alternative, non-Communist left-wing Jewish organization, the New Fraternal Jewish Association, where J. B. served as president for several terms and edited its publication “Fraternally Yours”.
In his later life, J. B. was active as an executive member of organizations, such as the CJC and the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. He was the first chairman for the CJC Ontario Region’s Soviet Jewry Committee and the Committee for Yiddish. He also began writing an award-winning weekly column for the Canadian Jewish News. J. B. was awarded the CJC’s Samuel Bronfman Medal for distinguished service, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto’s Ben Sadowski Award of Merit. A strong supporter of Israel, he was involved in the creation of two Israeli medical centres that are named in his honour. He also helped establish the J. B. and Dora Salsberg Fund and the J. B. Salsberg Fund for Yiddish at the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto. J. B. passed away in 1998.
Accession consists of material documenting Pearl Mekler, her family, and her involvement in several Jewish organizations including Na'amat Canada and Bialik Hebrew Day School.
Included are: 41 photographs dating from Pearl's time with Na'amat Canada, 1 photo album that was given to Pearl by Marianne Ross, formerly of Vancouver Na'amat Pioneer Women; which features photographs of Na'amat Pioneer Women; a farewell letter to the Masada Club in Vancouver from the same; a DVD copy of a DVD recording titled Recalling the History of Bialik Hebrew Day School with Pearl Mekler (9 min 36 sec), a DVD produced by Na'amat Canada (Toronto) containing a Masada tribute video (25 min 54 sec) and photo archive, and an mp3 copy of a CD recording of the Freeman seder in 1970. The latter features the donor's father, Abraham Freeman, and two uncles, Israel and Harry, singing at the Pesach seder in 1970. It was recorded at the donor's apartment on Spadina Road.
Pearl Mekler was president of Na'amat Canada from 1981-1984. She and her husband, Peter, had three children: Mimi, Alan, and Jay. Pearl died on February 4, 2019.
Marianne Ross was involved with Vancouver Na'amat Pioneer Women before moving to Toronto. She died on 13 February 2018.
Copyright is not held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission prior to use.
Location of originals: USB flash drive, from which an mp4 copy of the Living History interview was made, is held by the donor. DVD of the Bialik Hebrew Day School, from which a DVD copy was made, is held by the donor.
General: A pdf copy of the booklet that came with the Freeman seder CD was made. The latter provides information about who sang at the seder.
ca. 1000 photographs : b&w and col. ; 25 x 20 cm or smaller
Scope and Content
Accession consists of photographs and textual records that document the activities of the General Wingate Branch 256 from 1976-2007. Also included in the accession are 6 albums dated 1976, 1984, 1985-1986, 1998-2002, 2002-2004, and 2002-2007.
The album for 1976 consists of material related to the First World Assembly of Jewish War Veterans held in Jerusalem. Included are photographs, correspondence, a contact list for branch officers, executive committee and chaplains for 1976/77, newsclippings and general memorabilia related to the First World Assembly in Israel. Of note is a photograph of Moshe Dayan at a lecture of the First World Assembly and of President Ephraim Katzir, Israel's 4th President.
The album for 1984 consists of material related to the unveiling of the Canadian Jewish War Veterans's Cenotaph at Mt. Sinai Cemetery, Toronto. Included are photographs of the Cenotaph, Mt. Sinai cemetery, the annual Remembrance Day parade, newsclippings, drawings and political cartoons. Of note are letters of congratulations from members of Parliament to the General Wingate Branch for their efforts in making the Cenotaph possible.
The album for 1985-1986 consists of material related to the annual memorial service dedicated to the men and women who lost their lives in World War II and in particular the 430 Jewish men and women slain in the Canadian Forces. Included are photographs and newsclippings related to the annual memorial service at Mt. Sinai cemetery, Remembrance Day parade and fundraising events.
The album for 1998-2002 consists of material related to the memorial service dedicated to 50th anniversary of the end of WWII. Included are photographs of the memorial service, articles related the Wingate Branch donations to Baycrest and Sunnybrook Hospitals, the CNE Warrior Day parade, the annual Veterans' seder and poppy campaign and the Jewish military exhibit held at Toronto's Lipa Green Building. Of note is a letter from Jean Chretien paying tribute to war veterans.
The album for 2002-2004 consists of material related to the 70th anniversary of the General Wingate Branch 256. Included is a 70th anniversary commemorative soft cover booklet, photographs, newsclippings, general meeting newsletters, correspondence, letters from members of Parliament and the 2004-2005 report to the community.
The album for 2002-2007 consists of material relating to the Wingate Branch annual memorial services held at Mt. Sinai cemetery. Included are photographs of the annual memorial services, community and fundraising events, newsclippings concerning the diminishing membership of the Canadian Legion, letters from members of Parliament, a Portraits of Bravery: Canadian Jewish War Veterans brochure and photo negatives of 2003-2006 events.
The Jewish Brigade was a member of the Great War Association in the 1920s. After its first president was installed in the early 1930s, the Royal Canadian Legion granted a charter for a Jewish Veteran’s Branch. The brigade was renamed the General Wingate Branch in the mid-1940s after the British army officer Major General Orde Charles Wingate, D.S.O. Although Major Wingate was not Jewish, he was a passionate Zionist.
At first, the branch met at a veteran’s hall at Crawford and College Street in Toronto, but later purchased its own house at 1610 Bathurst Street. In 1968, the branch moved to Eglinton Avenue West. It is currently located at the Zionist Centre on Marlee Avenue.
The Branch holds an annual memorial march and service at the Mt. Sinai Cemetery where there stands a Cenotaph funded and maintained by the branch. The Cenotaph memorializes Jewish servicemen who died and are buried overseas, as well as those who fought in Israel's War of Independence and partisans who fought the Nazis. Once a year veterans distribute poppies and the funds raised are disbursed to assist veterans and their families, hospitals, medical research and charitable causes in the community. In 2018, after more than eight decades of operation Toronto's General Wingate Branch 256 of the Royal Canadian Legion voted to close its doors and give up its charter.
The Koffler Centre of the Arts was established in 1977, as part of the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre at Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue, to enrich the cultural life of Toronto through arts education and exhibitions. The Koffler exists to encourage and develop the creative and artistic potential of the diverse community it serves. The Koffler Gallery as a public gallery and member of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries exhibits, interprets, and documents works of excellence in the visual arts with a focus on contemporary Canadian art, including the work of visual artists, emerging artists, and programming of special interest in the Jewish community.
The Koffler has offered an array of programmatic, education, and learning programs, including national and international art exhibitions, educational tours, and workshops, literary arts programs, art classes, lectures, concerts, film screenings, and theatre performances. The Koffler has also served public and private school students and their teachers through Koffler Gallery exhibition tours and workshops.
The Koffler Centre is governed by an executive board and standing and ad-hoc committees and is funded by endowments, donations, and sponsorhips as its primary sources of funding. The Koffler also receives annual operating support from the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and all levels of government, including the City of Toronto, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Council. The staff consists of an executive director, curators, and administrative support staff.
In 2013, after five years of off-site programs, the Koffler Centre of the Arts opened its administrative offices and the new Koffler Gallery at Artscape Youngplace on Shaw Street in downtown Toronto. The Artscape Youngplace facilities showcase Koffler Gallery exhibitions, public programs, and expanded school and education programs, as well as Koffler cross-disciplinary programs: literary events, theatre readings and performances, concerts, workshops, and more.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the activities and functions of the Koffler Centre of the Arts and its role in bringing Jewish-inspired visual, dance, dramatic and musical arts to the community. Included are records related to its board of directors and committees, its former affiliation with the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre and the YM-YWHA, building campaigns, financial operations, art exhibitions, the Jewish Book Fair and Bookmark Project, educational programming, performances, and special events. Records include meeting minutes, memoranda, correspondence, committee reports, budget and financial statements, press clippings and reviews, program guides, art exhibition catalogues, artist statements and CVs, promotional material, photographs, architectural drawings, a sound recording, and moving images. The fonds is arranged into the following ten series: Board of directors, Committees, Planning and development, Financial and administrative, Public relations, Educational programming, Book fair, Art exhibitions, Performances and events, and the Bookmark Project.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION NOTE: Includes 672 photographs, 3 architectural drawings, 1 sound recording, and 7 moving images.
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.
5541 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.