Accession consists of textual and graphic material documenting the Cohen family, their immigration to Canada from South Africa and life in Toronto. Textual records include photocopies of correspondence and paperwork relating to the Cohen's immigration, certificates, and a typed document containing humorous stories their South African friends shared at a "10 Years Out Of Africa" party relating to their adjustment to Canadian life. Also included are family portraits and photographs documenting family celebrations such as, weddings and bar mitzvahs. Of note is an image of Vivien and John at the "10 Years Out of Africa" party.
John Cohen was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1944 to Phil and Flora Cohen. Vivien (nee Lehwess) Cohen was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1947 to Henry and Isle (nee Wronsky) Lehwess. John's cousin was in physiotherapy school with Vivien and they were introduced to each other. They married on Dec. 3, 1969 and had three children together: Nicole (b. 1972), Steven (b. 1974), and Jeremy David (1979). Vivien was a physiotherapist and John was a textile sales agent. Due to the unstable political situation in South Africa, they immigrated to North York in March 1977. For the first few weeks, they lived in a rental apartment in North York. They soon moved into a townhouse nearby. In 1980, they bought their first house in Thornhill. They were both able to continue in their professions after immigrating to Canada. Both of their mothers and many of their friends also moved to Toronto. John and Vivien were members of Shaarei Shalom synagogue for twenty-five years and are now members of Darchei Noam.
Accession consists of textual and graphic material documenting the activities of Ivor Simmons. Included is personal correspondence and photographs of Ivor's early life in South Africa and his family life and activities in Toronto. Of note are family portraits, Bialik Hebrew Day School class photos, Holy Blossom Temple Religious school images, images of the Toronto Island Yacht Club, images of Camp New Moon, Camp Ahmek, and Camp Walden, an image at Crystal Beach, and images of Ivor and his family visiting South Africa. Identified in the photographs are: Ivor Simmons, Milly Simmons, Jack Simmons, Renee Simmons, Gail Simmons, Alan Simmons, Eric Simmons, Anthony Giffard, Theo Wardaugh, Ruth Gold, Marlene Goldbach, Vicki Feraris, and Kim Bresge.
Ivor Simmons was born in Bloemfontein, South Africa in 1937 to Milly and Jack Simmons. He has two younger brothers: Michael (B. 1941) and David (b. 1945). Ivor's father owned a printing business. Ivor studied chemical engineering at the University of Capetown and found work at a petroleum refinery near Johannesburg soon after graduating. Around 1961, Ivor moved to London, England where he worked for the Lummus Company. He moved to Canada in 1963 and settled in Toronto. He worked for Union Carbide for a few years conducting industrial market research and then took a job performing the same work for Falconbridge Nickelmines. Around 1970, he opened his own business called A&A Liquid Waste Removal Company.
Ivor married Renee Rothman in 1966. Together they had three children: Alan, Eric, and Gail. Ivor sold his business in 1997. In his retirement, Ivor has volunteered with a variety of organizations including, animal and bird rehabilitations centres, Friends of Cedarvale, the Escarpment Biosphere Conservancy, and Trinity College (assisting with its annual book fair). Ivor is a member of Adath Israel Synagogue and was a member of B'nai Brith for many years.
Accession consists of material documenting the activities of Ben Zion Shapiro and his family. The bulk of the records document the Shapiro family's involvement in Young Judea. Young Judea material includes: yearbooks, photographs, correspondence, meeting minutes, event programmes, song books, newsletters, and two Camp Biluim flags made by Bunny Shapiro. One flag contains Camp Biluim's crest (1951) and the other one was created for Camp Biluim's colour war and contains the text "We will try and we will succeed Camp Biluim" (1954?). Also included is a VHS tape containing a copy of the Toronto Zionist Council's video about Camp Shalom (1991?). Of note are minute books maintained by Roy Shapiro for the Toronto Young Judea Administrative Board (1928-1934) and for the Leadership Club (1940-1948).
Accession also contains material relating to Roy and Ben Zion's involvement with the following organizations: the Coordinated Services to the Jewish Elderly (Circle of Care), B'nai Israel Beth David Congregation, Beth Tzedec's Mispacha Program, Beth Tzedec's Israel Action Program, Congregation Beth Haminyan, and Holy Blossom Temple's Department for Jewish Living. These records include, minutes, correspondence, newsletters and publications, evaluation reports and other reports. Also included is a demographic report entitied, "Rapid Growth and Transformation: Demographic Challenges Facing the Jewish Community of Greater Toronto" (1995), material from a conference at the University of Toronto on the university's partnership with Israel, CHAT alumni directories, and a CHAT book entitled, "Voices: Jewish Teens of the 90's". Of note are buttons, photographs, reports and correspondence documenting Bunny and Ben Zion's trip to the Soviet Union on behalf of the CJC's Committee for Soviet Jewry.
Finally accession includes material documenting family activities of the Shapiro and Sherman family. Included is a transcript of Bessie Sherman telling her life story (1978), haggadot, PowerPoint presentations created by Ben Zion for his grandchildren and for a family reunion outlining the family history of his family and Bunny's family. There is also a video of Ben Zion presenting his PowerPoint at the Michalski / Cohen family reunion. Also included are family films and videos containing footage of Bunny and Ben Zion's wedding and honeymoon, Camp Biluim, Young Judea events, Bunny on Machon, family wedding anniversaries and birthday parties, trips to Israel, the United States, and Europe as well as footage of the Cousin's Club. Also included is a VHS tape containing a recorded segment from CityPulse News featuring the family's Pesach festivities in 1995.
Photo identification: Back row, left to right: Ray Markus, Michelle Landsberg, Menachem ?, Frank Narrol. Front row, left to right: Gilda Mitchell, Bunny Shapiro, BenZion Shapiro, Malka Rabinowitz.
Ben Zion Shapiro was born in Toronto in 1931 to Roy and Beck (nee Cohen) Shapiro. He has a younger brother, Morden (Mort) Shapiro (b. 1940). His father worked as an office manager at Rotstein Furniture and Maple Leaf Cleaners and his mother worked as a legal secretary until marriage. Roy was active in a number of organizations including: Young Judea, Sons of Jacob Society, Toronto Camera Club, a founding member of Beth David Synagogue, Coordinated Services to the Jewish Elderly (Circle of Care) and President of the Association of Jewish Seniors. Beck was active in Young Judea and Pioneer Women (President of the Golda Meir Club).
Ben Zion received a Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto and attended the Jewish Agency Institute for Youth Leaders from Abroad in Jerusalem, Israel (1951-1952). He has worked for a number of organizations throughout his career, including: Young Judea (he was Director of both Camp Shalom (1962-1969) and Camp Biluim (1954-1956)), B'nai Brith Youth Organization, University Settlement, St. Christopher's House and Director of the Novomeysky Centre in Jerusalem (1957-1961). He was also Professor and Associate Dean of Social Work at the University of Toronto and three times Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Ben married Bunny (Bernice) Shaprio in 1955. Bunny was born in 1934 in Noranda, Quebec to Irving and Bessie (nee Consky) Sherman. Bunny attended public school in Noranda, Noranda High School and Forest Hill Collegiate in Toronto, University of Toronto (BA), the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (M.Ed. in Special Education), and the Jewish Agency Institute for Jewish Leaders from Abroad (1952-1953).
Bunny graduated from the first Camp Biluim Institute for leadership training in 1951 and worked with Ben Zion at Camp Shalom as Camp Mother in 1962 and from 1964-1969. She also worked at Camp Biluim from 1955-1956. In 1983, Bunny and Ben Zion went to the Soviet Union to visit Refuseniks on behalf of the Soviet Jewry Committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario Region.
Bunny and Ben have two children: Ayala and Ilan. Since Ben Zion's retirement in 1996, he and Bunny have been living in Jerusalem for half of each year. In 2015, they moved full-time to Jerusalem.
Physical description note: includes ca. 300 photographs (256 tiff), 2 PowerPoint presentations, 1 textual record (doc), 4 buttons, 2 flags, 5 VHS tapes, and 18 film reels (8 mm).