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.
Accession consists of material documenting the Grimson family. Included is a painting of the donor's grandfather; a theatre poster for a 1985 Yiddish/English production of Neil Simon's Come Blow Yourn Horn, in which Sylvia Grimson starred; and a an issue of Our Own Words, to which Sylvia Grimson contributed two poems.
General note: According to the donor, the painting is "actually a hand coloured photo that my father painted."
Accession consists of a binder of materials related primarily to a Yiddish theatre production entitled "Shver tzu Zein a Yid" ("Hard to be a Jew") by Shalom Aleichem. This play was produced by Sylvia Grimson for the Yiddish Renascence Theatre and held at the Crest Theatre in 1975. The binder includes: photographs, critiques, letters of support, and reviews. Some loose copies of photographs of the The Heritage Players are also included.
Sylvia Fistell Grimson was born in Montreal ca. 1920s (she was never registered at birth) and grew up in Toronto. As a single mother of one son, Grimson worked for several years in factories and government offices before opening an antique store at Yonge and Wellesley which she ran for ten years. Grimson taught ballet and modern dance, wrote poetry, and always had a passion for theatre, Yiddish culture, and the need for Jewish self expression. Her dream was to bring Yiddish professional theatre to Toronto. In 1972, Grimson founded the Yiddish Renascence Theatre (which later became the Toronto Jewish Arts Theatre?) for which she produced the plays "Shver tzu Zein a Yid" and "The Three Lives of Adam". She has also performed in other plays such as "Come Blow Your Horn" and with The Heritage Players. She continues to live in Toronto, write poetry, and is also working on a book.