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".
42 photographs : b&w and col. (21 jpgs) ; 41 x 51 cm and 300dpi
Scope and Content
The accession consists of 21 portrait prints and corresponding digital images. These items document national and international figures and include: Bill Barber, Tony and Elizabeth Comper, Barney Danson, Tony Esposito, Victor Feldbrill, Monty Hall, Beverley Harvard, Pope John Paul II, Robert Kaplan, Sophie Milman, Henry Moore, Benjamin Netanyahu, Brad Park, Shimon Peres, Gilbert Perreault, Marjorie Pigott, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Vladislav Alexander Tretiak, Pamela Wallen, Sara and Al Waxman, and Micahel Wilson.
Nachman (Nathan) Gittelmacher was born in Kiev, Ukraine in 1898, the son of Shloima and Mattie Gittelmacher. Suffering terribly during the pogroms of 1918 and 1920, he fled from place to place and then emigrated to Canada in 1921. Trained as a photographer in Europe, he opened his own photography studio in Toronto in 1922, called Elite Studios. First located at 513 Queen Street West, he soon moved to 615 Queen Street West. Nathan serviced a largely Jewish clientele, photographing weddings, bar mitzvahs, as well as Jewish community events.
Nathan was married to Nina Sokoloff and they had three sons and a daughter: Louis (Lou), Albert (Al), Jack, and Ruth.
During the early 1940s, the family legally changed their name from Gittelmacher to Gilbert and subsequently altered the name of the business to Gilbert Studios. When Nathan moved to the United States, Al, who had been working there since a young age, took over the business and under his management it thrived. In order to accommodate his growing clientele, he moved the studio to Eglinton Avenue and later to 170 Davenport Road, where it is situated today.
Al made a name for himself as a portrait photographer, using natural light in innovative ways to create more natural looking portraits. Al’s primary work involved producing portraits of families, weddings, bar mitzvahs, special events and dinners. Most of his early clients were from the Jewish community. In turn, he also was paid to produce portraits of local entrepreneurs, and his multi-year contract with the city, gave him sole responsibility for the production of portraits of the mayors and councilmen and women. He later branched out beyond the Jewish community, and began to produce images of businessmen and leaders from the Italian community in Toronto.
In addition to the paid contracts involving local personalities and groups, Al Gilbert has also produced many artistic portraits of local, national and international celebrities, artists and leaders such as: Wayne and Shuster, Howie Mandel, Oscar Peterson, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Robertson Davies, several Canadian prime ministers as well as Prince Charles, all of the Israeli prime ministers, which were made into stamps by the Israeli government, and finally, the last Pope. Gilbert’s work therefore captures a huge range of individuals from the ordinary bride to extraordinary world leaders.
Al has won many awards as well as accolades from his peers throughout his career. He is the three-time recipient of the prestigious Professional Photographers of Canada (PPOC) Photographer of the year honour. He has been named Fellow of the photographic societies in Canada, Britain and the United States. In 1990, he was awarded the Order of Canada. In January 2007, the Professional Photographers of America presented him with their Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is the highest honor PPA can bestow on a person for their body of work and influence on professional photography.
Copyright is not held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission prior to use.
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.
13 photographs : 20x25 cm and 10x15 cm, b&w and col.
Scope and Content
File consists of photographs of participants and invited dignitaries for formal events supporting the United Israel Appeal campaign. Images include those of Yitzak Rabin, Golda Meir, Benjamin Netanyahu, Yittzak Shamir, Henry Kissinger, and Women's Campaign Chair Julia Koschitzky.