The National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (NCJWC) was the first national Jewish women's organization in Canada. The council had its beginnings among the urban elite, and played a strong role over the years in influencing public policy in such areas as relations with Israel, national unity, and the plight of world Jewry. The NCJWC is dedicated, in the spirit of Judaism, to furthering human welfare in the Jewish and general communities -- locally, nationally and internationally. It operated around three main pillars: service, education, and social action.
The National Council of Jewish Women was founded in the United States in 1893 by activist Hannah G. Solomon. In 1897, its first Canadian chapter was established in Toronto. In 1925, with seven chapters in Canada, a Canadian liaison position to the National Council of Jewish Women was created. A full-fledged “Canadian Division” of the NCJW was formed in 1934, with rules drafted at the first conference in Winnipeg three years later. Irene Samuel served as the Canadian Division’s first national president. In 1943, the division was renamed the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada, and was officially incorporated in 1944, though it did not receive its letters patent until three years later. Even so, the NCJWC still retained some affiliation with the NCJW, whereby they paid per-capita dues to the Americans in return for program and administrative materials. In 1967 the NCJWC ceased these payments altogether, thereby separating from NCJW completely.
The early NCJWC focused on providing service to young girls and immigrants. They also involved themselves in contemporary politics through support for the war effort; the council donated vehicles to the Red Cross, turned Council House into a servicemen's centre, and even built several libraries at Canadian army camps. A national office opened ca. 1950 in Toronto, but until 1966 it moved to the national president's home city with every election. That year the office was permanently anchored in Toronto. In the 1950s and 1960s the council established Good Age clubs, the Irene Samuel Scholarship Fund, and developed the national Higher Horizons child-care and Newer Horizons elder-care programs. It expanded its overseas programs with support for the Israel Family Counseling Association and Ship-a-Box. The Soviet Jewry projects in the 1970s and 1980s reflected the council’s increasing emphasis on social action. Since the late 1990s, the council has focused on women's issues with efforts such as the Breast Self-Examination (BSE) program.
The NCJWC was governed by an executive council, led by a president. Vice-presidents were each responsible for one portfolio, such as membership, public affairs, etc., which were in turn made up of a number of national committees. The national executive was responsible for producing by-laws, guidelines, policies and procedures, as well as developing national service and social action programs. National also provided support and program materials to the sections, and held biennial meetings every other year from 1937 in cities across Canada. Its decentralized structure meant that while the national office remained in Toronto, officers of the executive have resided right across the country.
As of 1997, the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada was an affiliate member of the International Council of Jewish Women, a member of UNESCO Canadian Subcommission of the Status of Women, and a member of the Coalition of Jewish Women Against Domestic Violence and the Coalition for Agunot Rights. Prominent past presidents include Mrs. Harry (Irene) Samuel, Mrs. Lucille Lorie, Dr. Reva Gerstein, Mozah Zemans, Mina Hollenberg, Sophie Drache, Thelma Rolingher, Helen Marr, Bunny Gurvey, Sheila Freeman, Penny Yellen, and Gloria Strom. The council’s national office moved to Winnipeg in November, 1993. As of 2006, the council still had 5 active sections in Canada: Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal.
NCJWC donated these records to the OJA after they had finished a historical exhibit and catalogue in 1997 called "Faith and Humanity," celebrating 100 years of NCJWC.
Scope and Content
The fonds documents NCJWC’s fundraising, social service and social action work in Toronto, in other cities across the country, and overseas. Records include conference and meeting programs, minutes, hand-written correspondence, speeches and reports, national newsletters, published histories, by-laws and policies, photographs, publicity material, historical subject files and artifacts. The records have been arranged into nine series: National biennial conventions and annual meetings; National Executive Council; National portfolios and committees; National program and event materials; National history research and subject files; International Council of Jewish Women; Toronto Section; Photos and audio-visual material; and National Council of Jewish Juniors, Toronto Section.
Physical description note: includes ca. 2470 photographs, 13 architectural drawings, 2 artistic drawings, 3 badges, 3 medals, 1 pin, 28 audio cassettes, and 1 videocassette.
National Council of Jewish Women of Canada
See also: photographs 3207, 3192, 4140, 4067, 4066, 4434; Accession 1977-8-7 for National Council of Jewish Women of Welland; National Council of Jewish Juniors, photographs 458, 459, 460, 463, 464, 465, 466, 468; MG2 B-1K
Records have been arranged by function, in accordance with information gleaned from NCJWC's organizational charts and annual reports
ca. 70 photographs: b&w and col. ; 10 cm x 15 cm or smaller
Scope and Content
Accession consists of records documenting the activities of "Council '63", a branch of the Toronto Section of the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (NCJWC). Types of records include a photograph album, a scrapbook, correspondence, souvenirs, meeting minutes, membership lists, program materials and budgets.
The "Council '63" Branch of the Toronto Section of the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (NCJWC) was formed in 1963. Currently consisting of 20 members, the group was initially spearheaded by Barbara Norwich (d. 2011), and they met regularly in homes in the Cedarvale area. The group primarily did volunteer work, although it later evolved into a study group and book club.
Accession consists of material documenting the personal and professional activities of Janice Benatar. Personal records include a family tree, speeches Janice delivered at the Lipa Lippers Toastmaster's Group meetings, a sephardic cookbook, and immigration papers, and a Sharon School Reunion invitation for alumni living in Toronto. Also included are photographs of Janice with her family, performing in a ballet production with the Academy of Ballet and Jazz, with her newborn son, at her son's Bar Mitzvah at Chabad Flamingo, and with the keys to her first home in Thornhill. Also identified in photographs are: Elan Levitan, Viviane Benatar, Michael Benatar, Claudia Benatar, Rachel Pasternak, and Samuel Pasternak.
Also included are speeches, invitations, event programs and video recordings of Book Of Life events as well as a bookmark that was designed by artist Enya Keshet for Book of Life honourees. Finally, accession also includes Professional Advisory Committee meeting minutes (2009-2015) and breakfast seminar presentations (2014-2015).
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Physical description note: includes 7 photographs, 4 DVDs, 200 KB of textual records, and 1 bookmark.
Accession consists of material documenting the Act to End Violence Against Women organization. Included are: meeting minutes of the executive board; a ledger containing executive board waivers of notice; meeting minutes and resolutions from the yearly conventions; photographs of Act to End Violence Against Women members; correspondence with other organizations; correspondence, research material, public reactions, and ephemera from various campaigns; a commemorative booklet for a B'nai Brith cantorial concert; a scrapbook on the formation of the B'nai Brith Women Claire Morry Chapter; constitutions, constitutional amendments, reports, budgets, resolutions and other records of Act to End Violence Against Women; member lists and honour roll of past chapters; material and correspondence with B'nai Brith Washington; UJA material concerning assimilation and intermarriage and 2001 Jewish census data results.
The first Canadian chapter of B'nai Brith Women International was formed in Windsor, Ontario in 1923. Other chapters were soon formed throughout Eastern Canada and additional chapters were established in Winnipeg and British Columbia after 1949. The organization was initially administered by the American B'nai Brith Women. In 1976, it finally became autonomous (although still affiliated with the American agency) and changed its name to B'nai Brith Women of Eastern Canada. In 1981, its name was changed again to B'nai Brith Women of Canada. In 1995, the organization became known as Jewish Women International of Canada (JWIC). In November 2011, the organization underwent a final name change to Act to End Violence Against Women.
JWIC is committed to social change, with a particular focus on improving the lives of women and their families. In the 1980s, the agency initiated programs to counter domestic violence and began operating safe housing for Jewish women and children known as ASTEH (Alternative Safe Temporary Emergency Housing). JWIC also runs the JWI Residential Treatment Centre for emotionally disturbed youth.
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
Language note: Material in English, Russian and French.