Accession consists of material documenting the Silberg family's immigration to Ontario, family life in South Africa and Ontario, education, communal involvement in Hamilton, and pharmacy businesses. Included are photographs, correspondence, ephemera from the pharmacy businesses (such as bags and a name tag), newspaper clippings, certificates, invitations, flyers, school transcripts, architectural drawings for Night-Day Pharmacy on Ryman Road East, cookbooks, and photo albums. Also included is a JNF book for a Negev dinner honouring Hilton and Shirley Silberg as well a copy of Beth Jacob Synagogue's 125th anniversary book (the Beth Jacob Family Album).
Hilton Silberg was born in Durban, South Africa in 1951 to Sam and Brina Silberg. Sam worked in the retail furniture business and Hilton has three siblings: Sheryl, Lynn and Brett. Hilton was very active in sports and played soccer, cricket and swimming. At age 11, he started competing in ballroom dancing with his sister Lynn. At age 16, he and Lynn were the South African Juvenile Ballroom Champions and runners up in the Latin American Championship. In highschool, Hilton started his own DJ business which he continued through his first years of pharmacy school.
Shirley (nee Gitlin) Silberg was born in Durban in 1951 to Max and Isabel Gitlin. Max was a physical medicine specialist and Isabel ran his practice. Shirley has two siblings: Brian and Barbara. Shirley was very active in her school's netball, field hockey and swimming teams.
Hilton and Shirley met at the Natal Pharmacy School in Durban and married in 1974. After marriage, Hilton completed his one-year mandatory service in the South African army as an officer. After his service, he and Shirley went on a ten month long backpacking trip which ended at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. This trip was an eye-opener for them and they realized that they no longer wanted to live in a country with apartaid politics. They didn't want to raise children in South Africa. They chose Canada as their destination and applied three times for entry. Thier application was rejected all three times, but Hilton staged a "sit-in" at the Canadian embassy in Pretoria and an immigration officer eventually met with him and overturned thier rejection. They arrived in Canada in August 1977.
They went to the University of Toronto School of Pharmacy for two years to re-license in Canada. In the evenings they worked in a pharmacy owned by their Canadian sponsor. In 1981, Hilton and Shirley partnered with their Canadian sponsors and opened the Amhurst Pharmacy in Dundas. In 1982 the pharmacy's name was changed to Hilton's Pharmacy. In 1987 Shopper's Drug Mart purchased Hilton's Pharmacy. The Silberg's stayed on to operate two of the franchises in Dundas. In 1992, Hilton and Shirley left Shppers Drug Mart to open the DayNight Pharmacy on the east Hamilton Mountain. This was the first pharmacy in Hamilton to remain open until midnight. Their pharmacy eventually expanded to include five stores. In 2007, they sold their business to Rexall Pharma Plus.
Hilton and Shirley have three children: Mark, Maxine and Brad. Hilton and Shirley were very active in Hamilton's community. Hilton was involved in a variety of organizations including, Beth Jacob synagogue, Shalom Village, and Jewish National Fund Hamilton. Shirley has volunteered with various Hamilton JCC programs, the Hamilton North End Breakfast Program, the 'Out of the Cold' Program, Goldie's Place day program for adults at Shalom Village, and the Jewish National Fund Hamilton.
Physical description note: includes ca. 80 photographs, 4 cookbooks, 1 architectural drawing, 3 bags, and 1 name tag.
ca. 94 photographs : b&w and col. (44 tiff.) ; 20 x 25 cm or smaller
1936-1990, predominant 1951-1990
Scope and Content
Accession consists of records documenting the activities of Ronnie Roth. Included are textual and graphic materials relating to Ronnie's personal life and career such as, photographs of family milestones and events; Ronnie's youth and early adulthood in South Africa, his involvement with Betar; and time as a paratrooper with the Israeli Army; Ronnie and Sandra's wedding; travel; Ronnie's insurance broker license graduation; and condolence letters sent to the Roth family after his passing. Also included are records documenting Ronnie's communal involvement, particularly his involvement with B'nai Brith Raoul Wallenberg - Yorkdale Circle Lodge, Antibes-Torresdale Ratepayers Association, and Forest Hill Ratepayers Association . B'nai Brith material includes photographs of Ronnie's participation in B'nai Brith Canada's 1986 Mission to Israel; photographs of events honouring Ronnie and his work; and an issue of The Orbit that eulogizes Ronnie. Finally, the accession consists of a business card for Ronnie's film and video entertainment company in South Africa and a Prime Minister's Certificate of Appreciation from the Conservative Party of Canada.
Identified in the photographs are: Ronnie Roth, Sandra Roth, Chantal [Roth], Gavin Roth, Elana [Roth], Morris Flicht, Frank Dimant, Ralph Snow, Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir, Harry Bick, Sam Pacht, Merv Rosenstein, Ralph Cohen, [?] Steinmetz, Colin Baskind, Dr. Meister, Esther Shiner, Peter Roth, Paul Roth, and Annie Guttman.
Material was in possession of Sandra Roth, Ronnie's wife. Sandra donated it to the OJA.
Ronnie Roth was born on December 24, 1938 to Mr. Dezso (Desmond) and Mrs. Erzsi (Elizabeth) Abraham of Johannesburg, South Africa. Throughout his youth, Ronnie was active in a variety of Zionist groups including: the Zionist Youth Movement of South Africa, Betar, the Zionist Revisionist Organization and the South African Zionist Federation. In his late teens, Ronnie went on Na[c]hal Tzonei-ach and joined the Tzanchanim, the elite paratrooper corps of the Israeli Army. Ronnie served in the military for three years. His time in Israel also included work on a kibbutz.
By the age of 25, Ronnie had returned to South Africa and was a director of the Tollman Group of hotels and manager of the famous Johannesburg restaurant, The Colony. Ronnie married Sandra Benn from Port Elizabeth, SA, in August 1964. Sandra was a singer, dancer and entertainer. After their marriage, they settled in Johannesburg where Ronnie continued to work as an hotelier. Their first daughter, Chantal, was born in 1966 followed by Gavin in 1969 and Elana in 1973. During this period, Ronnie’s community involvement grew as he became Executive Director of Tel Hai in 1968 and served in this role until 1970. He then joined the Jewish United Communal Fund and ran their fundraising campaign.
The Roth’s were unhappy with South Africa’s apartheid politics and were eager to emigrate. Ronnie sought employment opportunity abroad and was offered employment as a fundraiser for UJA Federation in Toronto in 1975. Ronnie accepted the position and immigrated to Toronto in 1976. Sandra followed him with their children a few months later. When he completed his UJA assignment, he became an insurance broker. After a year, he founded KRG Insurance Brokers with two partners in 1980.
Upon arriving in Canada, Ronnie became interested in immigration issues and co-founded the South African Jewish Association in Canada (SAJAC) to help other South Africans with immigration and adjustment to Canadian life. He was the organization’s first president from 1976 to 1981 and again from 1986 to 1987. Ronnie’s involvement in assisting newcomers extended to his roles as Member of the Board of Directors and Member of the Integration Committee of the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society as well as Chairman of the Sherut Shalom Employment & Integration Assistance to African Jews.
Ronnie was also active in B’nai Brith Canada. He joined the Yorkdale Lodge in 1983 and went on to serve as both Vice-President and President. During his tenure as President, he played a critical role in the integration of the Yorkdale and Circle Lodges into the unified Raoul Wallenberg Lodge. He also served in various positions at the National level with B’nai Brith Canada, including as National Chairman of the Israel Cabinet, Co-Chairman of the Fundraising Committee and a member of the National Executive and Board of Governors. In 1986, the National Leadership awarded him with the B’nai Brith Canada Achievement Award. In the same year, he and his wife and fellow lodge member Sandra (the lodge’s first female full member) were honoured recipients of the Israel Bonds Negev Award.
Ronnie also held important roles in the community at-large as President of the Antibes-Torresdale Ratepayers Association and Forest Hill Ratepayers Association; President and Founder of the Rockford Community Summer Day Camp; Member of the City of North York Condominium Committee; Member of the Board of Directors of Baycrest’s Men’s Service Group; and Member of the Board of Directors of Bank Leumi (Canada).
Ronnie passed away on October 14, 1989 at the age of 50 years.
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