The Schwartz-Reisman Jewish Community Centre, the Prosserman Jewish Community Centre (formerly the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre or BJCC) and the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre (MNJCC) in Toronto are the current incarnations of what began, in 1919, as the Hebrew Association of Young Men's and Young Women's Clubs, later known as the Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew Association of Toronto (Y.M.-Y.W.H.A.). The Y.M.-Y.W.H.A., in turn, began as a merger between several other small athletic clubs operating in the city. The original mandate was strictly athletic, but soon broadened to include other areas of interest, in order to provide a sense of Jewish identity and camaraderie through physical, educational, cultural and community based programming. During the 1920s, the 'Y' became known simply as the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (Y.M.H.A.) – the name under which it was incorporated in 1930.
For close to two decades, the ‘Y’ had rented rooms in the Brunswick Avenue and College Street area, including the basement facilities of the Brunswick Avenue Talmud Torah. By the mid-1930s, these facilities were overcrowded and unable to support the growing membership, particularly when the young women’s programming was reintroduced in 1936.
As a result, in 1937, the Y.M.-Y.W.H.A. constructed its own athletic building at 15 Brunswick Avenue, next door to the Talmud Torah, to ease the overcrowding. However, the ‘Y’ still had to make use of five scattered buildings to meet its needs, including the Central Y.M.C.A. gym for its basketball teams. The early ‘Y’ was staffed by volunteers who were granted free memberships in exchange for their time and expertise.
On 3 February 1953, a new Jewish Community Centre was dedicated at the corner of Bloor Street and Spadina Avenue. By the end of the 1950s, the ‘Y’ was providing services for all ages, ranging from a nursery school to their Good Age Club for seniors.
As the Jewish community moved northward, so too did the ‘Y’, with the dedication of a new northern branch on 1 May 1961. This new branch, located at Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue, was created in order to address the athletic, educational, cultural and community needs of the expanding Jewish community in the north end of the city. Fourteen years later, an improved cultural and physical education wing was added as part of the completion campaign. This included the addition of the Leah Posluns Theatre and the Murray Koffler Centre of the Arts. In 1978, the Y.M.-Y.W.H.A. changed its name to the Jewish Community Centre of Toronto, in order to better reflect its broader role in the community. A new Northeast Valley branch was also established in Thornhill in the early 1980s and later closed in the late 1990s.
In 1994, the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto took over the operation of the northern branch, due to financial difficulties. At this point, all three branches became independent of one another and were no longer constituted as the Jewish Community Centre of Toronto. They each had independent boards of directors, while still receiving some of their operating funds from the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto.
Scope and Content
This fonds consists of the records created and accumulated by the Jewish Community Centre of Toronto -- which included the Bloor branch and the northern Bathurst Jewish Community Centre -- and its predecessor, the Y.M.-Y.W.H.A. The records include textual records maintained by the office of the executive director, financial reports, architectural plans, Y-Times newsletters, program material, photographs and oral histories.
The records have been arranged into the following series: Executive director, Jewish Community Centre Archives Committee, Publication Committee, Communications Department, Sports Celebrity Dinner, and Combined Building Campaign Committee.
Includes 2539 photographs, 42 drawings, 13 sound recordings, 4 artifacts and 2 posters.
File consists of records documenting the appeal hearings in the court case of Ernst Zundel, who was under trial for distributing antisemitic literature. Included is correspondence, court transcripts, press releases, memos, and newspaper clippings.
File consists of records documenting fundraising programs sponsored by State of Israel Bonds in conjunction with Clanton Park synagogue. Included is correspondence, an invitation to a tribute dinner honouring Dr. Norman Shaul, one of the founding members of Clanton Park and a newspaper article about Sol Edell receiving the Tower of David Award.
Accession consists of 13 portrait photographs of past presidents of the YM-YWHA and the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre. Included are: Sam Granatstein; Bernard J. Kamen, Q.C., 1985-1989; Allan B. Zender, 1989-1992; Jack Wahl, 1972-1974; Wilfred Posluns, 1974-1978; Irwin Soren; Bert Fine; Louis Borsook; Alex Fisher; Martin Mendelow, 1982-1985; Ellis I. Shapiro; Bernard S. Dales, 1978-1982; and Max Schwartz.
There is no acquisition information for these photographs. The accession number has been assigned by the archivist. It is likely that the photographs originated at the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre.
Accession consists of material documenting the diverse interests of Paul Brown. Included are: 177 audio recordings of various talks and events, most of which pertain to Judaism, the Holocaust, and Middle East politics and were held in Toronto. Speakers include Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel; New York Times best-selling author Rabbi Joseph Telushkin; former Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel Yisrael Meir Lau; and conservative talk show host Dennis Prager as well many other rabbis and prominent Jewish figures.
Paul Brown (1942-) was born 30 January 1942 in Toronto. As a young student, he attended Hebrew day school on Brunswick Avenue followed by North Toronto College Institute. Later, Brown majored in Psychology at the University of Toronto. After completing his undergradudate studies, he enrolled in a Master of Education program in Guidance and Counselling offered by the Ontario Institute for Sutdies in Education (OISE).
Brown taught for 30 years under the North York Board of Education (NYBE) and subsequently the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). He completed his formal teaching career with eight years at Bnei Akiva Schools.
Brown is a member of Shaarei Shomayim and Beth Lida Forest Hill Synagogue.
Copyright may not be held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission prior to use.
Mr. Brown assigned numbers to some of the cassettes.
Accession consists of material documenting Shoel Silver's involvement with various committees, including: Project Renewal, NECHAMA. Keren Hayesod, Israel Center for Treatment of Psychotrauma and The Jewish Agency for Israel, UJA and others. Included are reports, correspondence, proposals, a 1979 edition of the Jewish Standard, first edition of the Children's Newspaper in Kfar Gvirol and assorted research material.
Conditional Access. Researchers must receive permission from the donor prior to accessing the records. Please contact the OJA for more information.
Language: Most of the items are in English, with some items partially or fully in Hebrew.
Accession consists of material involving Shoel Silver's involvement with various Jewish organizations including B'nai Brith Canada (BBC), the Canada-Israel Committee (CIC), the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA), the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), UJA Federation of Greater Toronto (UJA), and the United Israel Appeal (UIA). Included are meeting minutes, reports, memoranda, correspondence, budgets, discussion documents, resource material, newspaper clippings, photocopies of newspaper articles, briefing papers, resolutions.
Records remained in the custody of Shoel Silver until 27 July 2018 when the OJA acquired the records from the former.
Shoel Silver is a Toronto businessman. He formerly co-chaired the Unity of the Jewish People Committee with Natan Sharansky. Prior to that, he was the scholar in residence for the first Federation Shabbaton.
Accession is closed for 25 years from date of donation.
Accession consists of material documenting Pearl Mekler, her family, and her involvement in several Jewish organizations including Na'amat Canada and Bialik Hebrew Day School.
Included are: 41 photographs dating from Pearl's time with Na'amat Canada, 1 photo album that was given to Pearl by Marianne Ross, formerly of Vancouver Na'amat Pioneer Women; which features photographs of Na'amat Pioneer Women; a farewell letter to the Masada Club in Vancouver from the same; a DVD copy of a DVD recording titled Recalling the History of Bialik Hebrew Day School with Pearl Mekler (9 min 36 sec), a DVD produced by Na'amat Canada (Toronto) containing a Masada tribute video (25 min 54 sec) and photo archive, and an mp3 copy of a CD recording of the Freeman seder in 1970. The latter features the donor's father, Abraham Freeman, and two uncles, Israel and Harry, singing at the Pesach seder in 1970. It was recorded at the donor's apartment on Spadina Road.
Pearl Mekler was president of Na'amat Canada from 1981-1984. She and her husband, Peter, had three children: Mimi, Alan, and Jay. Pearl died on 4 February 2019.
Marianne Ross was involved with Vancouver Na'amat Pioneer Women before moving to Toronto. She died on 13 February 2018.
Copyright is not held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission prior to use.
Location of originals: USB flash drive, from which an mp4 copy of the Living History interview was made, is held by the donor. DVD of the Bialik Hebrew Day School, from which a DVD copy was made, is held by the donor.
General: A pdf copy of the booklet that came with the Freeman seder CD was made. The latter provides information about who sang at the seder.
Sol Edell made charitable donations to a large number of Jewish organizations mainly ones located in Canada, Israel and the United States.
Scope and Content
Sub-series consists of correspondence, receipts and certificates from Canadian, American and Israeli educational, religious and welfare organizations and institutions that received charitable donations from the Edell family.