Dr. Isadore M. Cass (1916-1996), a well-known pathologist and practicing mohel--Jewish ritual circumcisor--for the Toronto Jewish community, was born and educated in Toronto, attending the University of Toronto's medical school. After serving with the army during the Second World War, Dr. Cass returned to Toronto to private practice. He began studying pathology in 1953, and performed research at the Ontario Cancer Institute, Connaught Labs and the Ontario Department of Health throughout his career. He was chief of pathology at Ajax and Pickering hospitals for twenty-three years, until his retirement in 1986.
In 1945, Dr. Cass began doing ritual circumcisions and was the first medical doctor in Toronto to do so. He performed over 40,000 circumcisions throughout Canada and the eastern United States and trained many physicians to perform them as well.
Dr. Cass was a member of the following organizations: New York Academy of Sciences; the Academy of Medicine, Toronto; the Israel Medical Association; General Wingate Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion; and many other associations and societies.
Dr. Cass studied Torah under Rabbi Jacob Gordon and was a Torah reader at Goel Tzedec Synagogue and later, Beth Tzedec. He also studied and taught Torah throughout his life, chairing the Canadian Jewish Congress' Tanach study group for many years, and leading weekly Gemara classes at Beth Tzedec. He belonged to Shaarei Shomayim and Beth Lida synagogues, as well as Lubavitch. In 1987, Dr. and Mrs. Cass were honoured as "Couple of the Year" by Machanaim, The Network of Educational Institutions in Kiryat Gat, Israel, for their great contributions to this charity over the years.
Dr. Cass was married to Miriam Cass and they had four daughters: Sharon, Hylah, Judy, and Elaine. He had four brothers: the late Rabbi Samuel Cass, Harry, Al, and Elie (who was a Reform mohel), and two sisters: Miriam Cass and Zelda Fink. He also had seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Dr. Cass died on January 24, 1996 of cancer.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of records relating to the personal and professional life of Dr. Isadore Cass. These records include appointment books documenting circumcisions he performed, correspondence, writings, Tanach study group notes, a Machanaim invitation and programme, prayer books, certificates, memorial cards, and photographs.
Cass, Isadore M., 1916-1996
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
The prayer book is in poor condition and some of the early daytimers are in fair condition.
See also the Ontario Jewish Archives' reference news clipping file under "Cass, Dr. Isadore".
Accession consists of materials assembled by Stanley Emerson and donated to the Ontario Jewish Archives. Included are: one hardbound book commemorating the Toronto Hebrew Free School's liquidation of its capital debt on May 8, 1947; one spiral-bound book assembled on the occassion of Shomrai Shaboth Congregation's twentieth anniversary testimonial dinner honouring Rabbi Gedalia Felder to be held on Sunday, June 18, 1972; one Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto programme for its annual dinner to be held on Thursday, June 22, 1978; one programme for a Machanaim Testimonial Dinner honouring Dr. Isadore Cass on Wednesday, May 2, 1979; one Associated Hebrew Schools graduation programme for Wednesday, June 27, 1979; one newspaper clipping from the Thursday, June 6, 1985 edition of the Canadian Jewish News relating to Rabbi Gedalia Felder, former spiritual leader of Shomrai Shaboth-Chevra Mishnayoth Congregation; one newspaper clipping from the Thursday, June 13, 1985 edition of the Canadian Jewish News relating to Harold Dessen, former president of Associated Hebrew Schools; and one paperbound book assembled on the occassion of a Sol Edell tribute dinner commoemorating the fiftieth yahrzeit (death anniversary) of HaRav Yosef Weinreb and the establishment of the Saol Edell Family Endowment Fund to be held on Saturday, October 31, 1992.
As early as 1916 the Ezras Noshem Society (a mutual benefit society for Jewish women) started to raise funds to purchase and renovate what would become The Toronto Jewish Old Folks' Home (Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care’s forerunner) after its members recognized the need for a home in Toronto where the Jewish elderly could receive kosher meals and communicate with staff in their own language. Property at 31 Cecil Street was purchased in 1917 and sometime between September 1918 and January 1920 the Home officially opened there. The Home was run by a small staff and the women of Ezras Noshem who volunteered their time to make beds, cook kosher meals, do laundry and sponsor fundraising events. By 1938 the Home had expanded into its neighboring houses at 29, 33, and 35 Cecil Street and was caring for 115 residents. It provided residents with synagogue services, a hospital ward and social activities. At this time the Home also became a member of the United Jewish Welfare Fund.
In 1946, the need for a larger and more modern building prompted a fundraising campaign, which was headed by Abe Posluns, to purchase and build a new facility. In December 1954, the new building opened at 3650 Bathurst Street and consisted of two new institutions: The Jewish Home for the Aged and Baycrest Hospital. This location continued to expand over the years, including a new building for residents in 1968, an apartment building for seniors called the Baycrest Terrace in 1976, and a community centre known as The Joseph E. and Minnie Wagman Centre in 1977. These additions enabled Baycrest to expand its programs to include a day care program, recreational programs, and a Sheltered Workshop which was run in cooperation with the Jewish Vocational Service and provided residents with employment. In 1986 a new Baycrest Hospital was erected, and in 1989, the Rotman Research Institute, which is also affiliated with the University of Toronto, opened to create a research facility where top researchers could study and find new treatment methods for the elderly.
In recent years, Baycrest’s services and programs have continued to expand. In 2000, the Apotex Centre, the Jewish Home for the Aged and the Louis and Leah Posluns Centre for Stroke and Cognition opened to help residents with progressive dementia caused by vascular disorders. In 2001 a condominium building opened at 2 Neptune Drive for seniors, and in 2003 the Sam and Ida Ross Memory Clinic was established to provide out-patient services for seniors with memory disorders. Baycrest Centre also provides numerous cultural and religious programs for the inhabitants and the greater community, including a heritage museum, art exhibits and a Holocaust program.
Records were donated to the OJA in a series of accessions from a variety of sources, including the Baycrest Women's Auxiliary and the Multicultural Historical Society of Ontario.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the history, governance, and activities of the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. Included are meeting notices, agendas and minutes, correspondence, reports, speeches, photographs, artifacts, constitutions, publications, press releases, financial records, event invitations, programs, a scrapbook, a poster, lists, theatrical scripts, newspaper clippings, brochures and booklets, flyers, a land deed, certificates, schedules, annual calendars, cards, questionnaires, and lists.
Fonds is arranged into eleven series: 1. Board of Directors and Executive Committee; 2. Annual General Meetings and Annual Reports; 3. Committees and meetings; 4. Women's Auxiliary; 5. Men's Service Group; 6. Toronto Jewish Old Folks Home; 7. Programs and services; 8. Religious services; 9. Fundraising; 10. Publications and publicity; and, 11. Events. Records are described to the file level with some item level descriptions.
Associated material note: related material at Library and Archives Canada includes a small Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care fonds, and the Eric Exton fonds. For architectural records see the Irving D. Boigon fonds 243 at the City of Toronto Archives (Boigon was an architect who designed many of Baycrest's buildings between the 1970s and 1990s). Contact Baycrest Centre's Heritage Museum for committee records from the 1930s, and consult Baycrest's website to access electronic copies of current issues of Baycrest's publications.
Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care
Ezras Noshem Society (Toronto, Ont.)
Jewish Home for the Aged (Toronto, Ont.)
Jewish Old Folks Home (Toronto, Ont.)
Old age homes
See Gordon Mendly Fonds 18, series 3-4; Jewish Vocational Services of Toronto fonds 75; United Jewish Welfare Fund fonds 67; accession # 2009-6-2; Dora Till Fonds 52; J. Irving Oelbaum Fonds 24; Jewish Community Centre of Toronto fonds 61, series 1-1; Gilbert Studios fonds 37; Ben Kayfetz fonds 62, series 3, file 3; JFWB fonds 87, series 6, files 5 and 6; JIAS fonds 9, series 7, file 1; Harold S. Kaplan fonds 27, series 1-4, and Morris Norman fonds 22.
This accession consists of 18 black and white photographs that document Sol and Esther Shiner. They include early photographs of Sol Shiner and his friends and family as well as photographs of Esther Shiner during her political campaign.
Records were donated by Sol Shiner.
Esther Shiner was born in Toronto during the early 1930s. She graduated from Harbord Collegiate and completed a B.S.C. at the University of Toronto. She married Sol Sheiner in 1947 and together they had four children. Sol operated a fur cleaning and storage business and Esther worked as a housewife during the early years.
In 1971, she became a driving force in the Go Spadina Committee, which fought to extend the Spadina Expressway. In 1972, she decided to run for office for City Council and won. She remained in office from 1972 until her death in 1987. During that time, she was responsible for having the Spadina Expressway re-named the William R. Allen Expressway. She also re-launched her Go Spadina Committee in 1986. In turn, she also campaigned to reduce the legal age of drinking in Ontario, for safer bumpers on Toronto street cars, as well as to include photographs of drivers on Ontario licenses. By the end of her career, she had attained the position of North York Senior Controller and Deputy Mayor
Associated material note: Detailed documentation of Esther Shiner’s life and political career may be found at the City of Toronto Archives within Fonds 36, the Esther Shiner fonds, which contains over 10 m of textual and other records and includes several hundred photographs