Maurice "Moishe" Berg (1913-1993) was a Toronto businessman who devoted much of his life to Jewish communal work and particularly to Zionist work. He was born on July 29th, 1913 in Russia to Rachel and Jacob Hochberg. He came to Canada in 1920, with his mother, two brothers, and one sister.
Berg was educated in Toronto and became president of Maple Leaf Press, a printing and office furniture company that was founded in 1945. He was also an active member and leader of Canadian Young Judaea and past president of Ajalon Lodge. He became president of the Central Region of Young Judaea, and later, national president. He was also chairman of the Regional Young Judaea Committee and chairman of the Biluim Committee. Berg was instrumental in starting up Camp Shalom. He also served on the Board of Directors of the YM & YWHA and was active with many other Jewish groups and organizations. He was affliliated with Adath Sholom Congregation. Maurice Berg died on February 27th, 1993.
Scope and Content
The fonds consists of records related to the personal and professional life of Maurice Berg and his involvement with various Zionist organizations. These organizations include Ajalon Lodge and Canadian Young Judaea. The records include scrapbooks, correspondence, photographs, certificates, programmes, ephemera, clippings, bulletins, and an award certificate.
Includes 111 photographs : b&w and col., 3 scrapbooks, 1 album of philatelic records, and 1 artifact (Artifact #291).
Berg, Maurice, 1913-1993
See also photo #4627, 4628, and 4650
See also fonds 2 : 6 : 62 : Item 1
See also fonds 28-1 : 4 : 12
See also fonds 28-1 : 7 : 22
The fonds has been arranged and described as 21 files and 1 item by the archivist. The original order was maintained where it was discernible. The scrapbooks were kept intact though some were taken out of their original physical enclosure where possible for conservation purposes. The records have been placed in acid-free folders
Saul Cowan (1910-2002) was the seventh of nine children born to Zvi Hirsh (Harris) Cohen (1872-1954) and Chana Leah (Annie) (née Gollom) Cohen (1873-1960). His siblings were Woolf Cowan (Colvin) (1896-1987), Kate Cowan (b.1898) (m. Wener), Jack Cowan (1900-1992), Rivka (Reva) Cowan (1902-ca.2002) (m. Lieberman), Moe Cowan (b.1904), Jeanne Cowan (b.1906) (m. Kallman), Norman Cowan (b. 1909) and Miriam Cowan (b. 1919) (m. Rose).
The Cowan family immigrated to Toronto from England with their six oldest children circa 1908. Harris worked as a tailor in England and as an operator in men's clothing factory Tip Top Tailors in Toronto.
Saul graduated from the University of Toronto in 1931 in honours philosophy.
In 1932, Cowan married Lillian Rosenthal (1910-1978), the daughter of Morris (1883-1967) and Nessie (Celia) (née Soren) Rosenthal (1881-1969). Together, they had two children, Michael (b. 1939) and Trudy (b. 1941). The Rosenthal family ran a boarding house on Hanlan's Point and had a place at Belle Ewart. In 1945, Morris and Celia purchased Wapaska Lodge on Muskoka Bay just outside Gravenhurst and ran it as a family resort from 1948-1965.
Lillian, who was a public school teacher, passed away in 1978 and the following year Saul married Libbie Aiken (d. 2006). Libbie had been the head physiotherapist at the Toronto General Hospital during the late 1940s.
Saul pursued a career with the North York Board of Education serving as both trustee and chairman from 1958 to 1976. He was also very involved with the Jewish community and the growing North York community. He was also involved with organizations such as B'nai Brith, Canadian Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (CPPNW), and the North York Social Planning Committee. He was a founder of the York Finch General Hospital.
Trudy studied physical and occupational therapy at the University of Toronto but changed career direction when she moved to Calgary in 1969 and became involved in historical organizations such as the Glenbow Museum, the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation, and the Lougheed House Conservation Society. She married Leonid Luker (b. 1937) in 1982.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the Cowan (Cohen) family and their connected branches including the Rosenthal, Soren, Gollom, Aiken, and Altshuller families. The records originated from Saul Cowan, his first and second wives, Lillian Rosenthal and Libbie Aiken, and his daughter, Trudy Cowan Luker. Records include photographs of family members at graduations, weddings, school, religious events, camping activities, and milestone celebrations. Textual records include traditional and email correspondence, marriage certificates, passports, immigration documents, family histories, theatre and concert programmes, and newspaper clippings. Many of the records document Saul Cowan's personal and professional activities. The majority of the material relates to the Cowan and Rosenthal families.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION NOTE: Includes 386 photographs, 2 audiotapes, and 6 objects.
Four books from the collection have been removed and integrated into the OJA's library holdings. These include titles Have I Ever lied To You Before? by Jerry Goodis, My Outlook by Jack Cowan, When Partners Become Parents by Carolyn Pape Cowan and Philip A. Cowan, and Front Page Challenge: History of a Television Legend by Alex Barris.
Benjamin Gershon Kayfetz was born on December 24, 1916 in Toronto, graduating from the University of Toronto in 1939, with a B.A. in modern languages. Between the years 1941 and 1943, he worked as a high school teacher in Huntsville and Niagara Falls. In 1943, he joined the war effort, working for the Department of National Defense in Postal Censorship and was responsible for reviewing prisoner of war mail. After the war, Kayfetz traveled to British Occupied Germany where he worked as a censor of telecommunications with the Control Commission until 1947.
Upon returning to Toronto, he was hired as the National Director of Community Relations by the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), and as the Executive (National) Director of the Joint Community Relations Committee (JCRC), a CJC - B'nai B'rith cooperative organization. He also served as the Central Region Executive Director of the CJC between 1973 and 1978. During his tenure, he worked with various churches, unions and minority groups to develop anti-discrimination laws and for the protection of minority and religious rights. Kayfetz was also actively involved in promoting the welfare of Jewish Communities worldwide, and made visits to Cuba in 1962 and 1965, and Russia in 1985, to study and report on the state of these Jewish Communities. After his retirement in 1985, he was awarded the Samuel Bronfman Medal by the Canadian Jewish Congress. In recognition of his efforts to promote Human Rights, he was also awarded the Order of Canada in 1986.
In addition to his professional activities, Kayfetz wrote articles for various Jewish publications under both his own name and the pseudonym, Gershon B. Newman, and gave a weekly radio address on CHIN radio addressing various contemporary Jewish issues. He was also actively involved in the Toronto Jewish Historical Society (serving as its president), Canadian Jewish Historical Society and Yiddish Luncheon Circle. Ben Kayfetz died in 2002.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of materials produced or acquired by Ben Kayfetz in both his personal and professional capacity. It includes biographical materials, minutes, correspondence, recorded CJC and JCRC meetings, memorabilia, transcripts and recorded versions of CHIN radio broadcasts he delivered, as well as various interviews, speeches, articles, book reviews and works he composed. Fonds also consists of minutes, agendas and other records of various Yiddish and historical associations Mr. Kayfetz was involved in.
Physical Description note: includes 20 photographs, 107 audio cassettes, 1 Beta video cassette and 1 object.
The “Shuls Project” was the work of three University of Toronto architecture students, who in 1977 wrote a research paper on the eight Toronto synagogues built before World War II. Concerned at the lack of resources on these synagogues, Sidney Tenenbaum, Lynn Milstone and Sheldon Levitt foresaw the loss of communities’ recorded history as membership dwindled and elders passed on. The students conceived a project that would photograph and document every synagogue in Canada, gathering visual evidence, memorabilia, plaques and stories before they disappeared and history was lost. The students’ goal was to document synagogues’ architecture, art, and historical development through research, interviews and site visits.
The students secured a large portion of the required funding for the project from the Samuel and Saidye Bronfman Family Foundation in Montreal, funding which was matched by the Canadian Jewish Congress. This financial support enabled Levitt, Milstone and Tenenbaum to begin their study, named “Shuls… A Study of Canadian Synagogue Architecture.” They began in the summer of 1977, traveling through the Western provinces. The next summer, they visited eight Maritime cities, Montreal and other Quebec communities. Financial support in the project’s second year was again provided by the Bronfman Family Foundation, along with the Canadian government and donations in kind from businesses, including Benjamin Photo Finishers in Toronto, and Polaroid. The summer of 1979 was spent in Ontario, with an added grant from Wintario. In total, the Shuls project team traveled over 24,000 kilometres, taking thousands of photographs and conducting several hundred interviews. Photographs were taken by Tenenbaum, with Levitt and Milstone assuming primary responsibility for researching synagogues’ history and gathering historic records. Interviews were conducted by all three researchers, in both English and Yiddish.
With no handy index of every shul in Canada, the researchers located small shuls by word of mouth. They spread word of their project and solicited assistance using press releases, letters to known communities, and slideshow presentations as they traveled. They would first examine a building to get an idea of a community’s character and heritage, then conduct interviews with designers, architects, rabbis and other prominent community members.
With the research and photographs created, the team compiled three catalogues of the Western, Eastern/Quebec, and Ontario phases of the project. These catalogues have entries on each synagogue that include historical summaries highlighting the founding, growth, mergers and decline of Jewish communities, their changing needs, changing architectural expressions and trends, and the evolving uses of synagogues over the course of the twentieth century. There are also building descriptions, some with critical comments by the authors, and lists of the photographs and slides produced.
The compilation of materials and preparation of these catalogues took place at the Project’s offices at 26 Ava Road in Toronto, and continued through the summer of 1980 when the Ontario catalogue was completed. In 1985, Tenenbaum, Milstone and Levitt published a book highlighting their work, called Treasures of a People: The Synagogues of Canada.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of the records created and collected by the team of students conducting the Shuls study from 1977 to 1980. The majority of the fonds is made up of graphic material, in the form of 35mm colour slides and black-and-white Polaroid prints and (print-size) negatives. There are approximately 5110 photographs in the fonds. Fonds also consists of notes and inventory forms of buildings' architectural features. There are no interview transcripts, but the fonds does include three audio cassettes with recorded interviews and shul tours. Reference materials used in researching the history of the shuls include dedication and anniversary commemorative books and programmes, newsletters, articles and newspaper clippings. In addition the fonds contains 47 blueprints, the majority from Montreal synagogues. The fonds is arranged in the following series: 1. Quebec synagogues; 2. Ontario synagogues; 3. Western Canada synagogues; 4. Eastern Canada synagogues; 5. Reference.
Physical description note: includes 92 cm of textual records, 42 architectural drawings, 3 audio cassettes, and 1 drawing.
Physical extent note: many of the slides were culled because they were felt to be reproductions. Some of the synagogue images in the research book may therefore not be included in the fonds.
Copyright is not held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission prior to use.
1.35 metres of textual records (20 vols.) and other material
Philip Gerard Givens (1922-1995) was a municipal, provincial and federal politician, a judge, a police commissioner and an active Jewish communal leader. He is largely remembered as the 54th Mayor of Toronto.
Phil Givens was born in Toronto on April 24th, 1922, the only son of Hyman and Mary Gevertz (Gewercz). As a youth, he attended Harbord Collegiate and graduated from the University of Toronto in political science and economics in 1945 and from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1949. In 1947, he married Minnie "Min" Rubin (born February 7th, 1924) and together they had two children, Eleanor and Michael.
Givens graduated as a lawyer from Osgoode Hall; however, shortly thereafter he decided to enter politics, running as a municipal school board trustee in 1950. In 1951 he was elected as alderman for Ward 5, serving in this capacity until 1960, when he was subsequently elected as a city Controller.
Givens was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1962.
Following the sudden death of Mayor David Summerville in 1963, Givens was appointed by City Council as the Mayor of Toronto and was officially elected to the position in 1964, winning a close race against the former mayor, Allan Lamport. As mayor, Givens was automatically a member of the Metropolitan Toronto Executive and Council, the Metropolitan Toronto Police Commission, the Consumer’s Gas Company Executive, the Toronto Hydro Commission and the governing boards of Toronto’s major hospitals.
Givens was publicly seen as an affable and populist mayor but his tenure was not without controversy. His support for the construction of the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts and his decision to acquire Henry Moore’s bronze sculpture “the Archer” for the new Nathan Phillips Square were both highly controversial during his term in office. In particular, the Moore sculpture sparked intense controversy and public debate amongst council members and citizens alike. Although ultimately purchased with private solicited donations, the controversy surrounding the statue’s purchase was still partly to blame for Givens’ 1966 election defeat to William Dennison.
In 1967 Givens entered national politics for the second time, the first being a failed 1957 bid in Toronto’s Spadina riding, winning a seat as a Liberal in Toronto’s York West riding. In 1971 he stepped down before the end of his term to campaign for a seat in the Provincial Legislature. Again running under the Liberal banner, Givens won his seat in York-Forest Hill and after the elimination of this riding in 1975, was re-elected in the new riding of Armourdale. In 1977 he retired from politics. He also worked briefly as a current affairs commentator for local radio broadcaster CHUM 1050 AM.
In 1977, Givens was appointed as a provincial court judge and chairman of the Metropolitan Toronto Police Commission, serving in both capacities until 1985, when he left the Commission but continued in the judiciary as a civil trial judge until officially retiring from public life in 1988.
An ardent Zionist, Givens was also a prominent leader of several Jewish communal organizations. He was the founder and first president of the Upper Canada Lodge of B’nai Brith and sat on the executives of the Canadian Jewish Congress, the United Jewish Welfare Fund, the Talmud Torah Eitz Chaim, the Zionist Organization of Canada, the Toronto Zionist Council, Jewish National Fund, State of Israel Bonds and the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. He was chairman of the United Israel Appeal-Israel Emergency Fund in 1967 and the United Jewish Appeal-Israel Special Fund in 1968. From 1973 to 1985 he was the national president of the Canadian Zionist Federation and in the 1990s was the national chairman of the Canadian Jewish Congress’ Committee for Yiddish.
Givens was honoured by Jewish community organizations, including the Jewish National Fund’s Negev Award in 1968 and the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews’ Human Relations Award in 1969. As well, in 1972, he received the Award of Honour from the Toronto Regional Council of B’nai Brith.
Givens was also known to be a passionate sailor and was a member of both the Royal Canadian and the Island Yacht Clubs in Toronto. He died on November 30th, 1995 at the age of 73.
The records were in the possession of Phil Givens until they were donated to the Archives in September 1990 by his wife.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the personal, professional and communal activities of Phil Givens. The bulk of the material is graphic and most of the photographs relate to his tenure as Mayor of Toronto and to his Jewish communal work. The records also include general correspondence, speeches, campaign material, scrapbooks, cartoons, certificates and awards, biographical writings, audio and visual materials and artifacts. The records have been arranged into nine series representing Givens’ various roles and activities and have been described to the file level and item level when necessary. These series are: 1. Personal life; 2. City of Toronto Alderman; 3. City of Toronto Controller; 4. City of Toronto Mayor; 5. Metropolitan Toronto Police Commissioner; 6. Provincial politics; 7. National politics; 8. Legal career; 9. Jewish communal service.
Physical Description Note: Includes ca. 915 photographs, 14 drawings, 1 print, 1 presentation piece, 27 objects, 4 DVD’s, 4 videocassettes and 1 audiocassette.
Physical Extent Note: Fonds was reduced from 5.5 m of records to 2.6 m of records. Please see accession record for further details regarding the records that were culled.
General Note: Previously cited as MG6 B
Associated material note: City of Toronto Archives: “Philip Givens fonds” (fonds 1301) and Series 363, Sub-series 2 “Mayor' Office journals” (fonds 200). Library and Archives Canada: “Correspondence and subjects” series (R4942-1-1-E) in the Stuart E. Rosenberg fonds (R4942-0-X-E); Henry S. Rosenberg fonds (R3946-0-9-E); Jewish National Fund of Canada fonds (R4347-0-1-E), “Subject series: Givens, Judge Philip G. – Toronto” (R4347-7-4-E); “Correspondence, memoranda, minutes, reports” series (MG31-H67), Zdzislaw Przygoda fonds (R6257-0-0-E) [Sir Casimir Gzowski monument committee records –chaired by Phil Givens]; B'nai Brith Canada fonds (R6348-0-9-E); Canadian Zionist Federation fonds (R9377-0-6-E).
Givens, Phillip, 1922-1995
Givens (nee Rubin), Min
See Fonds 2: Benjamin Dunkelman fonds
See Fonds 18: Gordon Mendly fonds
See Fonds 28: Zionist Organization of Canada fonds
See Fonds 37: Gilbert Studios fonds (Negev dinners series, Zionist Building series, Portraits series).
Maurice Solway (1906-2001) was a violinist, music teacher, composer, author and actor who lived and worked for most of his life in Toronto. Although he was highly respected as a musician in Toronto, and thoroughly immersed in the city’s musical culture from the 1920s until the 1980s, his greatest fame came to him later in life, as an actor in the Academy Award nominated NFB short film “The Violin”.
Maurice Solway's family lived at 164 York Street, Toronto, where he was born, in 1906. His parents, Jakob (b.1877) and Roza Solway (b.1877), had only just emigrated that year from Halofzen, Russia, where Jakob had been a musician and band leader. In Canada, Jakob adopted his father's trade and worked as a Kosher butcher, in Toronto’s St. John’s Ward. As a youth, Maurice played the violin in variety programmes with his sister, Dora, accompanying him on piano. His father was his first teacher, but he quickly showed enough promise to warrant private lessons with Harry Adaskin, and later with Dr. Luigi von Kunits, at the Canadian Academy of Music. He also studied at the Hambourg Conservatory in Toronto with Henri Czaplinsky and Geza de Kresz, starting in 1921.
Solway began his professional career with the New Symphony, which later became the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO). During the 1920s, he also played in the Famous Players Cinema orchestras that accompanied silent films, and performed lunch concerts in Toronto hotel and department store orchestras, professional venues that would disappear by the 1930s.
From 1926 to 1928, Solway left Canada to study in Brussels with the highly regarded violinist, Eugène Ysaÿe. There he befriended other students of Ysaÿe, such as Nathan Milstein, William Primrose, Viola Mitchell, Robert Velton, and Joseph Gingold.
Upon his return to Toronto, Solway gave several recitals that were both critically and publicly well-received. Few such opportunities, however, existed in Canada at the time, and Solway was obliged to find work in-between solo concerts. He also suffered an injury to his left hand while moving a piano in 1929 that required him to adjust his technique for three fingers and interfered with his being able to play comfortably for a number of years.
He was married in 1930 to Anne Cass (1907-1994), and they had a son, Stephen. Facing his financial obligations to his new family, he opted for the more dependable income of orchestral playing versus the riskier and transitory life of a soloist. Besides classical music, he played with jazz groups like the Jolly Bachelor’s Orchestra, Oscar Peterson, Jerome Kern, and Percy Faith, and on numerous recordings for the CBC, CFCA, and CKGW radio stations. He also played chamber music with the Joyce Trio, founded by Simeon Joyce (piano) and featuring Charles Mathe (cello).
In 1952, Solway retired from the TSO, dedicating himself to his chamber playing and radio work. He founded the Solway String Quartet (SSQ) in 1947, with Marcus Adeney (cello), Nathan Green (viola) and Jack Groob (violin). The quartet played a mixed repertoire that included standard classical music with more widely recognized popular songs and new compositions, especially works by Canadian composers such as Howard Cable, John Weinzweig and Jean Coulthard. Sponsored by the Ontario Board of Education and the CBC, the SSQ played rural Ontario towns and broadcast concerts for a wide demographic of music listeners. In 1955, they performed the Canadian debut of the Castelnuovo-Tedesco Quintet for guitar and strings with Andres Segovia. The SSQ, with frequent changes in personnel, continued performing until 1968. Other players in the SSQ included Robert Warburton, Martin Chenhall, Murray Adaskin, Arthur Milligan, Charles Dobias, Eugene Hudson, Berul Sugerman, Joseph Pach and Ivan Romanoff.
In 1973, Solway was invited to act in a short children’s film “The Violin,” co-produced by George Pastic and Andrew Walsh. Solway also contributed the original music to the film, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1975. Following the success of the film, Solway also appeared on television, making guest appearances with Sharon, Lois and Bram, on the Elephant Show and Mr. Dressup. During this time, his wife Anne traveled with him and managed his appointments.
Solway was also a violin teacher throughout his career. In 1989, he published a preparatory book, Fiddling for Fun: the Visual and Aural Art of Violin Playing, in which he outlined a new theory for violin practice that proposed an easy to use visual system for familiarizing students with intervals and fingerboard positions.
He also wrote an autobiography, Recollections of a Violinist, in 1984, and continued to lecture and speak about music. In 1981 and 1983 he devised a lecture performance series to commemorate Ysaÿe, the proceeds of which went to the establishment of a music scholarship at the Royal Conservatory. As he began to play less frequently in the 1980s, he also began to compose more regularly, completing more than one hundred compositions, primarily works for solo violin and for violin and piano. As a composer, he returned frequently to folk themes and completed a series of songs based on his travels around the world. Among his folk themes are songs inspired by his visits to such diverse countries as Norway, Maui, Japan, Israel and Spain.
Maurice Solway was affiliated with the Beth Tzedec Synagogue and frequently contributed to charity concerts and fundraising efforts for organizations such as the Inner City Angels, a cultural society for disadvantaged children. He died in 2001 in Toronto.
Scope and Content
The Solway fonds is arranged into twelve files. The documents relate to Solway's professional activities as a musician, educator, composer, actor and author. These include printed texts, photographs, original music scores, promotional materials, programmes, audio cassettes, articles, correspondence, radioscripts and a video.
Includes 31 photographs, 2 v. of text, 1 videocassette (VHS) and 17 audio cassettes.
Benjamin Dunkelman (1913-1997) was a successful businessman and President of Tip Top Tailors. He had a distinguished military career in both the Canadian army during the Second World War and in the Haganah during the 1948-1949 Arab-Israeli War.
Dunkelman was born in Toronto to David Dunkelman (1883-1978) and Rose (nee Miller) (1889-1949). He had three sisters and two brothers: Joseph, a movie executive; Ernest, a manufacturer; Zelda; Veronica; and Theodora. His father, David, was a successful entrepreneur who established Tip Top Tailors in 1910. Both David and his wife Rose were fervent Zionist community activists.
Benjamin Dunkelman attended Upper Canada College and, at the age of 18, visited Palestine (now Israel). While in Palestine, he worked for a year on a kibbutz, mostly as a guard protecting it from nearby Palestinians. During the Second World War, Dunkelman served as a Major in the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada and in that role gained respect for his knowledge of mortars. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) in 1945 for his role in the final Allied assault on Germany. Two years later, Benjamin Dunkelman returned to Palestine to join the Haganah in the 1948-1949 Arab-Israeli War. As a commander, Dunkelman captured Nazareth, and brought northern Galilee under Jewish control. Near the end of the war, Dunkelman met and married Yael Lifshitz, a corporal in the Israeli Army. Dunkelman was elected National Commander of the Jewish War Veterans of Canada in 1977.
In addition to his work as a soldier, Dunkelman was a successful businessman. He served as president of Tip Top Tailors after his father stepped down, and was also director of Colonial Finance Corporation, president of Cloverdale Shopping Centre and president of Renforth Developments. Besides operating the Dunkelman Gallery for modern art, Dunkelman and his wife Yael ran the Constellation Hotel and Dunkelman’s Restaurant.
Dunkelman later wrote of his experiences in both wars in his autobiography Dual allegiance (MacMillan, 1976). As well as the DSO, Dunkelman was awarded the Fighter’s Decoration of the State of Israel (1970), and an Israel Bonds Award Dinner in Tribute to Ben Dunkelman (1977). He was a guest of honour both at a reception hosted by the Canadian Society for the Weizmann Institute of Science and the veterans of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada (1976) and at a 7th Brigade Reunion in Israel (1991).
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting Benjamin Dunkelman's personal, business, and military activities. Included is personal and business correspondence and other records, maps, photographs, news clippings, and scrapbooks assembled by Dunkelman. The bulk of the records relate both to Dunkelman’s autobiography Dual allegiance and to his military career in the Second World War and in the Arab-Israeli War of 1948-1949. Other records relate to his business work with Tip Top Tailors, the Constellation Hotel, Dunkelman’s Restaurant and the Dunkelman Gallery, as well as to his Zionist actvities, his writing and public speeches, and his personal life.
The fonds is organized into the following series: Personal records and correspondence, Zionist materials, Businesses, Second World War, Arab-Israeli War, Dual allegiance, and Speeches.
Physical description note: Includes 218 photographs, 60 maps, 7 postcards, 5 architectural drawings, and 3 albums.
Associated material note: see the Ben Dunkelman fonds at Library and Archives Canada.
Benjamin Brown (ca. 1888-1974) was the first practicing Jewish architect in Toronto. Born in what is now Lithuania, he arrived in Toronto at an early age and soon after, quit school to take a job in a garment manufacturing factory to help out his impoverished family. Not finding this career to his liking, Brown enrolled in the Ontario School of Art and Design with the intention of becoming an artist. When this profession proved financially unfeasible, Brown decided to pursue a career in architecture. After completing his high school equivalency, he enrolled in the University of Toronto architectural program, graduating in 1913. Soon after, Brown opened up a practice with fellow architect Robert McConnell, which lasted until the early 1920s. After the partnership ended, Brown set up an independent practice, which he maintained until his retirement in 1955.
Scope and Content
The fonds documents Brown’s design work and renovations of existing buildings through his original drawings, renderings, and building blueprints. The fonds consists of approximately 1500 drawings that are organized into about 150 projects. These projects include single-family residences, apartment buildings, commercial and industrial buildings, as well as synagogue and other community buildings. Many of Brown's buildings were designed in the Art Deco style, with some containing Georgian, Craftsman, Colonial Revival, Tudor and Romanesque elements.
Brown's most important commissions include the Beth Jacob Synagogue located on Henry Street, which was one the largest synagogues in Toronto, and the Balfour Building, an office tower built in the Art Deco style. The designs of Mendel Granatstein’s mansion, which contained a retractable roof for Sukkoth, and a colour sketch of the Primrose Club, which is currently the University of Toronto Faculty Club, may also be of interest to researchers. The fonds also includes some of Brown's files containing articles and illustrations from architecture and design journals of the early twentieth century, which he used as a resource to assist him with his work.
Fonds includes six photographs, one of the Balfour Building, one of Cumberland Hall, and four of Brown as a young man.
Architectural plans of a lead mine in Burnt River Ontario have been sent to the Kawartha Lakes Archives.
Dora Till (1896-1987) was a leading member of the Toronto Jewish community. She helped found and served on the executives and boards of many organizations, including the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto, the United Jewish Welfare Fund (UJWF), the Candian Jewish Congress Central Region, and the Baycrest Hospital Women's Auxiliary. She was honoured numerous times in her life with awards and tributes for her contributions to the Jewish community.
Till was born in New York City on 20 March 1896, one of six children of Max and Yeta Tobias. Her parents had emigrated from Poland prior to 1892. When Dora was four, the family moved to Toronto where Max Tobias worked as a tailor. In her teens, Till was an active member of two social clubs for girls, the Boot and Shoe Society (for mothers and children in need) and the Herzl Girls Club.
Dora Tobias married Morris S. Till on 21 May 1916, in Toronto. They had two children, Sigmund and Cecile, both of whom she outlived. Sigmund died tragically at the age of 11 after a sudden illness. Cecile married Frank Goldhar and they had two children, Sheila Anne and Meyer Garson.
In 1918, Till joined the Hebrew Maternity Aid Society and she served as its vice-president for the next fifteen years. This was the beginning of a lifetime career in family welfare, health care and services for the aged. Till helped found and was the first president of the Mothers' and Babes' Summer Rest Home located in Bronte and then Tollandale, which provided mothers and children in need with a two-week holiday in the country.
From the 1920s until the 1940s, Till served on several boards including the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto, and the United Jewish Welfare Fund, as well as the Welfare Fund's Women's Division and Women's Service Council. In 1950, she became the first woman to be named honourary vice-president of the UJWF. In 1955, after many years affiliation with the Jewish Home for the Aged, Dora Till organized the newly built Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care's Women's Auxiliary, becoming its first president. She also served for 40 years on the executive board of the Family and Child Service Bureau, the precursor to Jewish Family & Child Services. Till was an active member of many other Jewish organizations, including the Naomi Chapter of Hadassah and the National Council of Jewish Women, B'nai Brith Women, the Mount Sinai Women's Auxiliary, the Jewish Camp Council, and Toronto United Community Appeal - Community Chest. She was also a member of Goel Tzedec Congregation and its successor, Beth Tzedec Congregation.
Dora Till was honoured with several awards and tributes in her lifetime for her contributions to Jewish life, health and welfare in Toronto. In 1956, the Dora and Morris Till Bungalow at the Mothers and Babes Summer Rest Home was dedicated. In 1969, she was the first woman to recieve UJWF's Ben Sadowski Award for Jewish Community Service. As well, in 1977, she received the Queen's Silver Jubilee medal for outstanding community service. In 1983 a Baycrest Centre tribute dinner was held in her honour and in 1984, the top floor of the Baycrest Centre was dedicated to her. This was the culmination of a lifetime devoted to social welfare and community service, and it came just a few years before Till's death, on 22 November 1987.
The records were in the possession of Dora Till's granddaughter, Mrs. Sheila Gottlieb, until they were donated to the OJA in 1987.
Scope and Content
This fonds consists of records documenting the personal and philanthropic activities of Dora Till, including her ongoing involvement with the Mothers' and Babes' Summer Rest Home, the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care Women's Auxiliary, the United Jewish Welfare Fund, and to a lesser extent other organizations that she was involved or affiliated with. Till's records of the Mothers' and Babes' Rest Home are some of the few to have survived from this important social service organization.
The organizational records in the fonds include minutes, correspondence, reports, speeches, financial records, newsclippings, pamphlets, brochures, invitations, architectural drawings, and photographs, primarily of the Mothers and Babes Rest Home and the Baycrest Centre. As well, there are two artifacts: a Baycrest Centre pin and a gold shovel from the groundbreaking ceremony. The personal records in the fonds include family photographs and portraits, writings, newsclippings and general correspondence.
The fonds has been arranged into eight series: 1. Mothers' and Babes' Summer Rest Home Association. 2. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care Women's Auxiliary. 3. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care Heritage Museum Committee. 4. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care Furnishings Committee. 5. Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care : other committees. 6. United Jewish Welfare Fund. 7. Other organizations. 8. Personal. The records have been described to the file level, while a selection of photographs have been scanned and described at the item level.
Physical description note: includes 197 photographs (54 negatives), 9 architectural drawings, and 2 objects
Till, Dora, 1896-1987
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
For related material on the Mothers' and Babes' Summer Rest Home, please see: Jewish Community Centre of Toronto fonds 61, Federation of Jewish Philanthropies fonds 66, United Jewish Welfare Fund fonds 67, Ida Lewis Siegel fonds 15, and the Rebecca Kamarner family fonds 11.
For related material on the Baycrest Centre Women's Auxiliary, please see: Pat Joy Alpert fonds 77 and fonds 14.
For related material on National Council of Jewish Women please see fonds 38.
This fonds had previously been arranged and described as MG6 H. The current arrangement was implemented by the archivist in 2010 and as a result, several files from the former MG were culled or merged. Therefore, the former MG finding aid is no longer accurate.
Sol Edell (1919-2000) was a prominant member of the Toronto Jewish community who initially pursued a career as a pharmacist and was later founder and president of the property development company, Elmdale Investments. He held positions as board member or chair in a wide variety of religious, educational and social service organizations and institutions both in Canada and Israel. In Toronto, these included: Clanton Park Synagogue, Adas Israel Synagogue, Jones Avenue Cemetery, Canadian Jewish Congress and the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto (formerly Toronto Jewish Congress, and now the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater Toronto).
Edell was born in Toronto on 5 March 1919, the son of Pesach and Molly Edell. He attended Harbord Collegiate and graduated from the Toronto College of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, in 1943 while on leave of absence from the army. He was enlisted in the Canadian Armed Forces during the Second World War and served in the signal corps.
After he completed his army service, he opened Edell’s Drug Store at 1978 Queen Street in Etobicoke in 1948, the first shomer Shabbat drug store in the city. He operated a second store at 494 Spadina Avenue in the late 1940s. In 1955 the Queen Street location was expropriated by the City of Toronto. Subsequently, Edell founded Elmdale Investments, the company which built and managed the Elmhurst Plaza in Etobicoke. He reopened the drug store, which was renamed Elmhurst Drugs in the plaza. He also invested in two retail textile stores, Deltex Drapery and Dodd’s Drapery which had been founded by group of businessmen including his cousin Israel Edell.
In 1952 he married Dolly Weinstock, the daughter of Moishe and Sylvia Weinstock. They lived in the newly developed suburb of North York with their four children: Ethel, Simcha, Malka and Joseph. After 10 years of marriage, Dolly died and in 1966, he married Celia Rogen Hoffman.
Sol Edell was a founding member and first president of the Clanton Park Congregation. He was actively involved in the construction of the synagogue and its development. He continued to be affiliated with Shomrai Shabbos where his grandfather Rabbi Yosef Weinreb had been the rabbi. He was also involved with Adas Israel, the synagogue in Hamilton where his wife Celia had been an active member.
He was chair of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario Region -- Toronto Jewish Congress Archives Committee, which subsequently became the Ontario Jewish Archives. During his tenure, the archives was responsible for the reconstruction of the Kiever Synagogue which had been built in the early 1900s but had fallen into a state of disrepair by the 1960s.
Sol Edell was also involved in a number of Zionist organizations. He was the founding chair of the Aliyah Support Committee of the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto, whose mandate was to assist Torontonians who had moved to Israel and ease their transition into Israeli society. He was also an active member of the Mizrachi organization and its affiliated institutions. Another one of Sol Edell’s interests was ensuring the preservation of local cemeteries. He was president of the Jones Avenue Cemetery and on the board of Pardes Shalom and the Bathurst Lawn Cemetery, Clanton Park section.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting Sol Edell's business activities, community involvement and personal life. Included is correspondence, meeting minutes, photographs, financial records, legal records, publications, audio-visual material, invitations, newspaper clippings, artifacts, lists, reports, speeches, and architectural drawings.
The fonds is organized into the following eleven series: Personal; Edell's Drug Store and Elmhurst Pharmacy; Elmdale Investments; Deltex Drapery and Dodd's Drapery; Adas Israel Synagogue; Clanton Park Synagogue; Shomrai Shabbos; Aliyah; Cemetery and funeral home; Historical materials; and, Activities and organizations.
Physical description note: includes 739 photographs, 232 architectural drawings, 11 audio cassettes, 9 audio reels, 13 film reels, 7 videocassettes, 4 slides, 1 plaque, 4 badges, and 1 key.
Edell Solomon, 1919-2000
Clanton Park Synagogue (Toronto, Ont.)
Edell's Drug Store
Jones Avenue Cemetery
Canadian Jewish Congress/ Toronto Jewish Congress Archives
Aliyah Support Committee
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
The bulk of the architectural drawings are currently being stored rolled up. They should be flattened and encapsulated in melinex.
Film and sound reels should be digitized.
See fonds #5 for material related to Paul Edell.
See accession #2012-10/9 for material related to the Edell family.
Sammy Luftspring was born on May 14, 1916 in "The Ward" in Toronto. His parents were working-class Jews who emigrated from Eastern Europe. Sammy began training as a youth at the Brunswick YMHA. He lived in Kensington Market and attended B'nai Brith summer camp as a youngster. In 1932 he started entering boxing matches. He competed in 105 fights and only lost five bouts, capturing the Golden Glove tournaments in the weight classes ranging from bantamweight to welterweight. Sammy became famous for his fighting prowess as well as his Jewish pride, always sporting a Star of David on his boxing shorts.
By 1933, he became the Ontario lightweight champion, representing the Elm Grove boxing club. That same year, he took part in the Christie Pits riot. Because of his accomplishments in the ring and his contribution to his community, he became a highly respected athlete within the Jewish community.
In 1936, he was selected for the Canadian team to take part in the Berlin Olympics that year. Although he was eager to compete, his parents and the community pressured him to boycott the games in protest over the Nazis' treatment of Jews in Germany. Luftspring and "Baby Yak," another famous local Jewish boxer, decided to participate instead in the alternate games in Barcelona, Spain, called the People's Olympics. After making the trip to Europe by ship, the two faced the disappointment of having the event cancelled after the Spanish Civil War broke out on the eve of the opening ceremonies.
After his return to Toronto, Luftspring began to box professionally. In 1938, he won the Canadian welterweight championship after a 15-round fight where he defeated Frank Genovese. He held the title for two years. During a fight in New York against Steve Belloise, Luftspring was poked in the eye, resulting in a detached retina. This injury left him blind in one eye, ending his boxing career.
By 1948, he began a new career as a boxing referee. He refereed for several decades, overseeing some of the most celebrated fights of that time. He also ran a nightclub in Toronto called the Mercury Club with three partners. It attracted famous entertainers such as Henry Youngman, Vic Damone, and Tony Bennett. He subsequently ran other nightclubs such as the Tropicana.
In addition to his boxing career, Sammy was also a devoted family man. He married his wife Elsie in 1938 at the McCaul Street synagogue. Three hundred and fifty people attended and hundreds waited outside of the synagogue to wish them well. They had two children: Brian and Orian.
His biography, Call Me Sammy, was published in 1975. Luftspring was given the great honour in 1985 of being inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. He passed away on September 27, 2000.
The scrapbooks were created by Sammy Luftspring. He kept them at his house and when he passed away they were safegaurded by his son Brian.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of two scrapbooks that reflect Sammy Luftspring's personal life and various careers as a boxer, referee, author, and nightclub manager and owner. Scrapbooks contain correspondence, ephemera, newspaper clippings, brochures, autographs, coins, and approximately 700 photographs.
Personal records include photographs of Sammy and his family during his childhood, family weddings, trips and vacations, and other family events, such as birthday parties and his son's bar mitzvah. There are also letters and cards from Sammy's wife, children, grandchildren and friends, and other ephemeral items Sammy collected, such as ticket stubs from baseball games.
Professional records include images of Sammy training for upcoming boxing matches, portraits of Sammy posing in his boxing attire, images from the grand opening of the Mercury Club, photographs of Sammy as a referee, as well as photographs of Sammy at various celebrity boxing matches. There is also correspondence and a brochure documenting Sammy's incorporation into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and some correspondence regarding the publication and promotion of his book. Finally, there are numerous newspaper clippings relating to all of Sammy's professional endeavours.
Luftspring, Sammy, 1916-2000
The scrapbooks are in poor condition. Many of the photographs, documents and clippings were glued to the pages and the pages have almost all fallen out of the bindings.
The scrapbooks have been kept intact and no arrangement has been done. However, some of the key images have been scanned and item level descriptions have been completed for them.
The Island Yacht Club (IYC) was founded in 1951 by a small group of Jewish sailing enthusiasts at a time when Jewish applicants were denied membership to Toronto's yacht clubs. The founding members included Cecil Yolles, Dr. Bernard “Bunny” Willinsky, Ben Dunkelman, John Bussin, Eon Gilmore, Mel and Irving Gould, Mark Speyer, Norm Kerzner, Joe Kitz, Boris Adelberg, and Bill Ackerman. The group obtained a lease from the City of Toronto for a parcel of undeveloped land on Mugg's Island in Blockhouse Bay. They then obtained a provincial charter incorporating the Island Yacht Club as a non-profit corporation. A board of directors was elected, with Bunny Willinsky as its first Commodore.
In 1952, the original group had grown to approximately 35 members. Work parties were formed from among the members to clear the land and a prefabricated building was purchased by the club which served as the early clubhouse. A generator was donated by member Al Jacobs for electricity and two floating docks were built. As the club membership grew, more land was acquired; the original clubhouse was expanded; grounds were landscaped; a swimming pool, lockers, dining room, lounge, docks, and marine railway were installed; and a tender was purchased. By 1956, the membership had grown to 350 with a fleet of eighty sail and power boats and the IYC was accepted into the Lake Yacht Racing Association (LYRA), the oldest association of its kind in North America.
In 1957, the IYC hosted its first open sailing regatta for the seven Toronto area yacht clubs and has since hosted many other regattas including four LYRA events. In order to accommodate its more junior members, a Junior Sailing Club was founded by Commodore John Zeldin in 1958, which has played a large role in the development of the IYC. In 1964, an adult sailing program was instituted to teach members and non-members racing tactics and rules. Racing competitions have been an important part of the IYC’s history. IYC sailors have been members of Canada’s Olympic sailing team and have competed in the Pan-American Games, Maccabiah Games, CORK regattas and other competitions in Canada and the United States.
Over the years, the purpose of the IYC has changed from a racing club that has developed champion sailors, to a more recreational club, oriented to family and leisurely activities. The IYC has also played a large social role in the lives of its membership, hosting galas, auctions, fashion shows, theme nights, bowling events, anniversary parties, the Commodore's Ball, and other activities during both the sailing season and off-season months.
The IYC has suffered from two fires in its fifty-five year history. The first fire occurred in 1986 in the IYC’s boat yard, destroying several boats. The second fire occurred in 2004 and destroyed the IYC’s clubhouse and its contents. A new clubhouse was officially opened on June 18th, 2006 and the IYC continues to serve its members in boating, socializing, dining, and marine services.
The records were donated to the OJA by Brooky Robins, archivist for the Island Yacht Club. Brooky and her husband, Hartley, are both members of the IYC. Hartley Robins has been a member since 1956 and was commodore from 1973 to 1976.
Scope and Content
Fonds documents the various functions and activities of the Island Yacht Club. The records include correspondence, financial records, meeting minutes, invitations, program flyers, year books, photographs, slides, films, flags, tickets and tokens, drawings, clippings, bulletins and newsletters, racing programmes and calendars, as well as the files of founding member, Cecil Yolles, and member and past commodore, Hartley Robins. The fonds also includes the original letters patent for the IYC.
Physical description note: includes ca. 600 b&w and col. photographs, ca. 400 col. slides, 5 flags, 3 film reels, 2 videocassettes, 1 architectural plan, 1 sketch, and 1 compact disc.
Storage location note: Box 8 (3" Letter Hollinger), 504 col. slides plus 2 b&w photos
Island Yacht Club
See also fonds 2, Benjamin Dunkelman fonds, series 1 and sub-series 1-4 for textual records and photographs pertaining to the IYC
See also fonds 37, Gilbert Studios fonds, series 4-1, item 18, for photo of IYC member Mr. William Bernard Herman
See "Island Yacht Club" vertical file in OJA file cabinet for newspaper clippings
Ida Lewis Siegel (1885-1982) was instrumental in the founding and development of several prominent Jewish organizations, such as the Daughters of Zion, Hadassah-Wizo Organization of Canada, the Hebrew Ladies' Maternity Aid Society and the Y.M.-Y.W.H.A. She was also particularly active in the educational sector and in campaigning for the rights of female educators. She was internationally known for her devotion to Jewish learning and for her contributions to the development of the Toronto Jewish community.
Ida was born to Samuel Lewis (b. 1859) and Hannah Ruth (Ticktin) Lewis (b. 1864) on 14 February 1885 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She was the first child to be born in the United States after her parents immigrated from Lithuania. She had two brothers, Abe Lewis (b. 1880) and Charles S. Lewis (b. 1883). She attended elementary school in Pittsburgh, and in 1894, she and her family moved to Toronto.
On 14 February 1905, Ida married Isidore Hirsch Siegel at the Elm Street Synagogue. Isidore was a travelling peddler, and later, owner of a store in Cochrane, Ontario. Together, they had six children: Rohama Lee (1905-?), Leah Gittel (Labovitz) (1907-2004), David Isar (1909-2004), Sarah (Sontag) (1912-1942), Avrom Fichel (1916-2010), and Rivka Hadassah (Gurau) (1923-2001).
Ida is credited with helping to found a large number of Jewish philanthropic and social organizations including the Daughters of Zion, the first ladies' Zionist society in Canada (1899); the Herzl Girls' Club (1904); Hadassah-Wizo Organization of Canada (1916); the Hebrew Ladies' Sewing Circle, which developed into the Hebrew Ladies' Maternity Aid Society (1907); the Y.M.-Y.W.H.A. (1919); the Women’s League of the United Synagogues of America in Toronto (192-); the Goel Tzedec Sunday School (1914); and the Goel Tzedec Sisterhood (192-). She was also named honorary president of the Beth Tzedec Sisterhood in 1953. With the help of her brother Abe, Ida formed the first free Jewish Dispensary in Toronto, located on Elizabeth Street in the Ward, which was the forerunner to the Mount Sinai Hospital.
Ida also helped form a unified fundraising body for the Jewish community known as the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies (1917), which would become the current UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. However, Ida was denied a seat on the executive after campaigning for a female representative.
Always involved in the field of education, Ida was one of the original founders of the Home and School Association in 1919. In 1930, she became the first Jewish woman to be elected to the Toronto Board of Education, a post which she held for six years. She was later named honorary secretary of the Toronto Board of Jewish Education. In 1937, she ran unsuccessfully for alderman in Toronto, but remained politically active with the Association of Women's Electors. She was active in the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom from 1915 onward and was an outspoken opponent of both world wars. Throughout her lifetime, Ida held the position of national vice-president of the Zionist Organization of Canada, sat on the executive board of the Canadian Jewish Congress and was a member of the Jewish Historical Society.
Her religious affiliations were with Goel Tzedec, Beth Tzedec, Shaar Shomayim and the Beach Hebrew Institute.
The records were created by Ida Siegel and were in her possession until 1982. After her death, her son Avrom and daughter Rivka took possession of the records until they were donated to the archives in 1998 and 2004.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of the records created and accumulated by Ida Siegel, documenting her personal and professional life, along with her philanthropic work. The types of records include personal reminiscences, diaries and memoirs, family correspondence, professional correspondence, speeches, scrapbooks, newsclippings, oral histories and photographs.
Includes 30 photographs, 2 scrapbooks, 13 audio cassettes and 7 audio reels.
Siegel, Ida Lewis, 1885-1982
Siegel, Isidore Hirsch
Siegel, Leah Gittel (Labovitz) (Sadker)
Siegel, Rohama Lee
Siegel, David Isar
Siegel, Sarah (Sontag)
Siegel, Avrom Fichel
Siegel, Rivka Hadassah (Gurau)
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
National Council of Jewish Women fonds 38
Records had previously been placed in acid free boxes and file folders and labeled according to their contents.
The Koffler Centre of the Arts was established in 1977, as part of the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre at Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue, to enrich the cultural life of Toronto through arts education and exhibitions. The Koffler exists to encourage and develop the creative and artistic potential of the diverse community it serves. The Koffler Gallery as a public gallery and member of the Ontario Association of Art Galleries exhibits, interprets, and documents works of excellence in the visual arts with a focus on contemporary Canadian art, including the work of visual artists, emerging artists, and programming of special interest in the Jewish community.
The Koffler has offered an array of programmatic, education, and learning programs, including national and international art exhibitions, educational tours, and workshops, literary arts programs, art classes, lectures, concerts, film screenings, and theatre performances. The Koffler has also served public and private school students and their teachers through Koffler Gallery exhibition tours and workshops.
The Koffler Centre is governed by an executive board and standing and ad-hoc committees and is funded by endowments, donations, and sponsorhips as its primary sources of funding. The Koffler also receives annual operating support from the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto and all levels of government, including the City of Toronto, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Council. The staff consists of an executive director, curators, and administrative support staff.
In 2013, after five years of off-site programs, the Koffler Centre of the Arts opened its administrative offices and the new Koffler Gallery at Artscape Youngplace on Shaw Street in downtown Toronto. The Artscape Youngplace facilities showcase Koffler Gallery exhibitions, public programs, and expanded school and education programs, as well as Koffler cross-disciplinary programs: literary events, theatre readings and performances, concerts, workshops, and more.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the activities and functions of the Koffler Centre of the Arts and its role in bringing Jewish-inspired visual, dance, dramatic and musical arts to the community. Included are records related to its board of directors and committees, its former affiliation with the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre and the YM-YWHA, building campaigns, financial operations, art exhibitions, the Jewish Book Fair and Bookmark Project, educational programming, performances, and special events. Records include meeting minutes, memoranda, correspondence, committee reports, budget and financial statements, press clippings and reviews, program guides, art exhibition catalogues, artist statements and CVs, promotional material, photographs, architectural drawings, a sound recording, and moving images. The fonds is arranged into the following ten series: Board of directors, Committees, Planning and development, Financial and administrative, Public relations, Educational programming, Book fair, Art exhibitions, Performances and events, and the Bookmark Project.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION NOTE: Includes 672 photographs, 3 architectural drawings, 1 sound recording, and 7 moving images.
1.2 m of textual records (2 v.) and other material
Joseph Baruch Salsberg (1902-1998) was a labour leader, political activist, politician, insurance salesman, and journalist. He was also active in various Jewish organizations, including the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC), the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto, and the New Fraternal Jewish Association. He is well-remembered by contemporaries, such as Sam Lipshitz, as a “champion of the people," committed to social justice, the plight of the working class, and the preservation of Jewish culture.
J. B. was born in Lagov, Poland on November 5, 1902 to Abraham and Sarah-Gittel Salsberg. Abraham immigrated to Toronto in 1910 and J. B. followed with his mother and two younger sisters in 1913. They settled at 73 Cecil Street. Abraham and Sarah-Gittel had additional children in Canada: Nathan (b. 1915), Reuven (Bob or Robert, b. 1917), Betty, and Thelma. Abraham worked as a peddler in Toronto.
J. B. briefly attended Landsdowne Public School, but dropped out around 1915, against his parents' wishes, and took a job in a leather goods factory to contribute to his family’s income. J. B.’s parents had hoped he would become a rabbi and, despite his full-time employment, J.B. continued to study Torah with scholars at the synagogue on Centre Avenue.
In 1917, J. B. decided to pursue the ideas of Zionism and socialism and, abandoning his plans to become a rabbi, became involved in establishing the Young Poale Zion organization, a Labour Zionist youth group dedicated to secular aims. Around 1922, J. B. was made secretary general of the Young Poale Zion of America in New York, where he worked for one year. Shortly after returning to Toronto, he became the organizer for the Hat, Cap, and Millinery Workers Union of North America in Chicago. J. B. married Dora Wilensky in 1927.
In 1926, J. B. joined the Communist Party of Canada (CPC). He was an active member of the CPC for 30 years, serving as the head of its Trade Union Department for two decades. In 1929 he was suspended from the party for one year as a dissenter. In 1932, he became the Southern Ontario District union organizer for the Communist Workers' Unity League.
It was as a member of the CPC that J. B. entered electoral politics. After a series of failed bids in municipal and provincial elections between 1935 and 1937, J. B. was elected alderman of Ward 4 in Toronto in 1938. He only held the position for one year. In 1943, J. B. was elected to the Ontario Legislature as the representative for the St. Andrew riding. J. B. sat as member of provincial parliament for the Labor-Progressive Party (the provincial wing of the CPC) for 12 years. For several years, he was the only elected Communist in North America. As MPP, he helped create legislation banning discrimination in public places and introduced a bill that would ensure fair employment practices in the province. He lost his seat to Allan Grossman in 1955 and unsuccessfully ran in the federal election later that year. Remembered by journalist Gordon Sinclair as “one of the best debaters in the house," J. B. was well-respected by members of all political parties. Out of admiration for J. B., Conservative Premier Leslie Frost named Salsberg Township in Northern Ontario in his honour.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, J. B. had grown increasingly concerned about reports of Soviet antisemitism and privately urged party leaders to pursue the issue. In 1956, when Soviet First Secretary Nikita Khrushchev exposed the transgressions of Stalin’s regime, J. B. went to Moscow as part of a CPC delegation. After meeting with Khrushchev himself, it became clear to J. B. that antisemitism was indeed a problem in the USSR and that his efforts to probe the situation were being stonewalled.
J. B. publicly expressed his concerns about Soviet antisemitism in a series of articles published in the Vochenblatt from October 25, 1956 to December 13, 1956. He finally left the Communist Party in 1957. However, he remained a member of the United Jewish People’s Order (UJPO), a Communist Jewish fraternal organization.
Entering the business world, J. B. established the Model Insurance Agency Limited in 1957, where he served as president for several years. In 1959 J. B.’s wife, Dora, passed away. Around this time J. B. also resigned from the UJPO, along with other members who felt the organization needed to be more critical of the Soviet Union. They founded an alternative, non-Communist, left-wing Jewish organization, the New Fraternal Jewish Association, where J. B. served as president for several terms and edited its publication, Fraternally Yours.
In his later life, J. B. was active as an executive member of organizations, such as the CJC and the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care. He was the first chairman for the CJC Ontario Region’s Soviet Jewry Committee and the Committee for Yiddish. He also began writing an award-winning weekly column for the Canadian Jewish News. J. B. was awarded the CJC’s Samuel Bronfman Medal for distinguished service, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto’s Ben Sadowski Award of Merit. A strong supporter of Israel, he was involved in the creation of two Israeli medical centres that are named in his honour. He also helped establish the J. B. and Dora Salsberg Fund and the J. B. Salsberg Fund for Yiddish at the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto. J. B. passed away in 1998.
The records were donated to the OJA in a series of accessions. Material from accessions 1991-5-4 and 1992-9-4 were donated by J. B. Salsberg. The remaining material was donated by his estate after his death.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting J. B. Salsberg's personal, professional and Jewish communal activities. The bulk of the records are textual and relate to his membership in the CPC (later LPP), election campaigns, and Jewish communal work. Included is correspondence; photographs; reports; political writings; certificates; agendas; pamphlets; brochures; booklets; flyers; campaign literature; campaign notes; posters; newspaper clippings; press releases; articles; transcripts; speeches; telegrams; political platforms, briefs and submissions; statements; constitutions; resolutions; newspapers; meeting minutes; bulletins; periodicals; notebooks; notes; course guides and outlines; medallions; pins; plaques; donation receipts; event invitations and programmes; lists; blank employment applications; a school test; a study; a coin; a drawing; a sketch; an audio cassette; and a delegate card.
Records are arranged into the following five series: 1. Personal ; 2. Labour Zionism and union activities ; 3. Political career ; and, 4. Jewish community involvement. There are also four files and one item attached directly to the fonds.
Physical Description Note: Includes 53 photographs, 7 medallions, 11 pins, 4 posters, 2 plaques, 1 sketch, 1 drawing, 1 audio cassette, 1 desk name plate, and 1 coin.
Physical Extent Note: Fonds was reduced from approximately 7 metres to 1.5 metres. The culled material consisted primarily of published books, periodicals and pamphlets that had been collected by J. B. Salsberg. For further details about what was culled please view the accession records.
Associated Material Note: Queen's University Archive also has a J. B. Salsberg fonds, 14 hours of interview tapes with J. B. Salsberg and records of the UJPO are held by the Multicultural Historical Society of Ontario (MHSO).
Salsberg, J. B. (Joseph B.), ca. 1903-1998
For additional records in OJA's holdings, see: Ben Kayfetz fonds 62, series 8, file 2 ; accession 2008-11-2 ; accession 2004-1-4 ; and oral histories AC 71 and AC 226.
The Brantford Hebrew Association, Congregation Beth David’s precursor, was founded in 1907 when Rabbi Backer officiated Brantford’s first public Jewish religious service in an upper hall on George Street. Services had previously taken place in the homes of Jewish families, who had begun settling in the area around the turn of the century. By 1911, services had moved to the old Conservative Hall at Dalhousie and King Street. In 1915, the congregation purchased a building at 33 Palace Street and remodeled it into a synagogue. This building was also used as a community centre and for the Congregation’s Hebrew school.
On October 13th, 1911 the congregation was incorporated, and the following year it purchased land for a cemetery in the northeast corner of Mount Hope Cemetery. Due to increasing membership, a new synagogue was built at 50 Waterloo Street in 1948. In January 1950, the congregation changed its name to Beth David in honour of member David Axler, who died during the Second World War while training as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force.
The congregation was at its peak in the 1960s with 150 member families. However, membership drastically fell after the children of this generation moved to larger cities and their parents followed after retirement. By 1999, only 28 families remained as members and services were reduced to being held on the High Holidays and special occasions, such as, b'nai mitzvah. Dwindling resources and membership forced the congregation to close around 2001. Throughout its existence, over 30 rabbis served the congregation, including Rabbi Saul Wolfe Gringorten (ca. 1910-1923). Its cemetery continues to be looked after by Allan Norris, a past president of the congregation.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the acitivities, religious programs and services, membership, and finances of Congregation Beth David, as well as the recognition and honours awarded by and to Brantford's Jewish community. Included are meeting minutes, photographs, plaques, a key, a marriage register, general ledgers, ledgers and lists of membership dues and receipts, audited financial statements, budgets, correspondece, bulletins, office stationary, newsclippings, certificates, library book cards, bookplates, rabbi contracts, and surveys.
Fonds has been arranged into the following six series: 1. Meetings ; 2. Religious programs and services; 3. Finances & accounting ; 4. Administrative functions ; 5. Bulletins ; and, 6. Events.
Includes 10 microfiches of textual records, 5 architectural drawings, 11 photographs (4 negatives), 3 plaques, 1 mounted letter and 1 key.
Fonds was reduced from ca. 1 metre to ca. 45 cm. See accession 2001-10-3 for further information about the culled material.
Congregation Beth David (Brantford, Ont.)
The binding on some of the general ledgers is fragile and coming apart. They have been stored flat to reduce any strain.
The architectural drawings have some tears and should be flattened.
Please see the Sadie Stren fonds 78 for other records documenting Brantford's Jewish community and the Beth David Congregation, including the synagogue's original letters of incorporation.
For records related to Beth David's namesake, David Axler, and photographs of its cemetery, please see accession #2004-5-71.
For records of Rabbi Gringorten, see accession #2009-2-5 and 2008-11-3
For additional records related to Brantford families and other Jewish organizations, such as the Hadassah chapter and B'nai Brith lodge, please see accession #2001-10-3; MG 2J29a, #2009-7-1, 1978-11-4, 1977-8-16, 1992-8-3, 1980-1-14, 1978-1-2, 2008-7-1, photo# 109, photo# 755, and photo #758.
Fonds is arranged to the file-level, but only described to the series-level. Three file-level descriptions exist for files attached directly to the fonds. Photographs with existing item-level descriptions were also attached to the fonds.
Gottschall Frankel (1832-1918) and his wife Mina Meyer (1841-1921) were born in Biblis (Hessen) and Aschaffenburg, Germany respectively. Gottschall died in Biblis and is buried in Alsbach, Germany. Mina passed away in Toronto and is interred in the old Holy Blossom Cemetery.
Leo Frankel (1864-1933) was one of nine children born in Biblis, Germany to Gottschall and Mina. His siblings were Salmon (1874-1906), Benno (d. 1921), Ike (d. 1950), Louis (1879-1952), Maurice (1865-1935), Sigmund (1866-1936), Ida (1870-1952) (m. Levy) and Herman (1871-1939). Three of the siblings are buried in Montreal, and the rest in Toronto.
Leo immigrated to Canada in 1881 at the age of seventeen and in 1886 established Frankel Brothers (scrap metal and processing) in association with his brothers. The siblings were eventually succeeded by several sons of the original partners. The company subsequently became Frankel Steel Ltd. and Steel Structures Corporation.
Leo married Helena "Lena" Mayer of Florsheim, Germany on July 2, 1890 in New York City. They had three sons: Egmont Leo (1891-1964), Carl Milford (1894-1984), and Roy Hecker (1896-1983). The family lived at 504 Jarvis Street, the former Goodman residence in Toronto, from 1908.
Carl married Dorothy Jacobs (1903-1987) who was born in St. Louis, Missouri. Her parents were Bernard Jacobs of Texas and Henrietta Altheimer of Arkansas. Carl and Dorothy had two daughters: Nancy Jean Frankel (b. 1928) and Carol Nina Frankel (1930-1999).
Carl was a prominent member of the Toronto Jewish community, active in Holy Blossom Temple, several Masonic lodges, and was a founder of the North Toronto Y.M.-Y.W.H.A.
His daughter Nancy attended Jarvis Collegiate Institute and was confirmed at Holy Blossom Temple. She married Darrell (Drapkin) Draper (1922-1992) of Fort William/Port Arthur in 1949. Darrell had studied at the University of Toronto and became a lawyer and judge. The couple's three children are Dr. Paula Jean Draper (b. 1953), a historian; Phillip Jacobs (b. 1954), a real estate lawyer; and Kenneth Lewis (b. 1957). Collectively the siblings have six children and several grandchildren. Nancy Draper has been a long time volunteer at the Ontario Jewish Archives.
Nancy's sister Carol married Mandel Sprachman (1925-2002), the son of a renowned architect Abraham Sprachman of the firm Kaplan and Sprachman. Mandel followed his father into the profession, specializing in cinemas and theatres, including the award-winning restoration of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres (1985-1989).
The Frankel family genealogy is wide in scope, extending from Germany and England to the United States and Canada. One notable ancestor with German lineage is Israel Beer Josephat who changed his name to Paul Julius Reuter and founded the Reuters News Agency.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the Frankel and Draper (Drapkin) families and their connected branches, such as the Jacobs (English in origin), Josephat, Meyer, and Altheimer (all German in origin) families. Records include: photographs of the exterior and interior of the Frankel home at 504 Jarvis Street, Toronto; formal individual and group photographs taken in Toronto and other cities of family members at various gatherings and of Nancy Frankel's confirmation class at Holy Blossom; pictures of Darrell Drapkin (later Draper) and his Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity brothers at the University of Toronto; group photographs of members of the Palestine Lodge of Masons, of which Carl and his brother Egmont were members; and a variety of candid shots in many locations including outside the Frankel family home in Biblis, Germany.
Textual records include: essays and programs concerning Holy Blossom, publications from Camp Wabi-Kon and Jarvis Collegiate yearbooks, and material from the Ulyssean Society at Hart House, the Oakdale Golf and Country Club, and the Carmel Chapter of Hadassah documenting Nancy's involvement with these organizations.
Objects include a souvenir matchbook from the wedding of Darrell Draper and Nancy Frankel and a membership coin and badge in a leather case documenting Carl Frankel's involvement with Masonic lodges.
Physical description note: Includes 250 photographs, 3 objects,1 CD, and 1 video cassette.
The first Canadian chapter of Hadassah was established in Toronto in 1916. Subsequent chapters emerged in other large Canadian cities thereafter. In 1919 several chapters organized to form the Hadassah Organization of Canada. And in 1921, Hadassah Canada joined the Women’s International Zionist Organization (WIZO), and subsequently changed its name to Hadassah-WIZO. The original goal of Hadassah was to raise funds for refugees in Eastern Europe. Later on, their mandate shifted to that of providing money and support for the Jews in Israel. Although it spent a great deal of time and resources raising funds for this cause, Hadassah-WIZO was a philanthropic organization that encouraged productivity rather than charity.
Today, Hadassah-WIZO is the largest organization of Jewish women in Canada. In addition to providing Jewish women with an opportunity to liaise with other women from the community and volunteer for a worthy cause, this organization also promotes some important national and international goals. These goals include: encouraging Jewish and Hebrew culture in Canada; extending the material and moral support of Jewish women in Canada to the people of Israel who require assistance; and cooperating with other organizations in the promotion of Canadian ideals of democracy.
The records in this fonds were created by the Toronto chapter of Hadassah-WIZO. The Toronto chapter is not only the oldest, but also one of the largest and most active affiliates of the 304 Hadassah-WIZO chapters in Canada. Some of the activities that it sponsors include the famous annual bazaar, which was started in 1924 and is one of the largest in North America. They also contribute to the support of a host of Canadian Hadassah-WIZO initiatives in Israel which include: the Nahalal School, the Netanya Technological High School, the Hadassim Children and Youth Village, several day care centres, women’s and youth clubs, the Hadassah-WIZO Canada Research Institute, and two medical centers. The Toronto chapter in particular sponsors youth aliyah, and raises funds and honours important volunteers through the organization of tribute dinners, golf tournaments, and other events. Finally, this chapter is also responsible for producing the Hadassah Reporter, which is the newsletter that documents the activities of the Toronto chapter.
The records were acquired from the main Hadassah office on Sheppard Ave.
Scope and Content
The records in this fonds document the activities of Toronto Hadassah-WIZO. They include the Hadassah magazine the Reporter as well as the national publication Orah. The fonds also consists of photographs, minutes of meetings, certificates, press clippings, correspondence, audio-visual material, posters and scrapbooks.
Associated material note: The Library and Archives of Canada also possesses material created by members of Toronto Hadassah.
Jewish Family & Child was established in 1943 from the amalgamation of a variety of different social agencies formed as early as 1868. These included the Ladies Benevolent Fund, the Free Burial Society, Jewish Family Welfare Bureau, Jewish Children’s Bureau, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and the Ladies Maternal Aid Society. Much of its funding and support after its inception came from the United Jewish Welfare Fund.
The first executive director of the agency was Dora Wilensky. She was a trained social worker who served for twenty-eight years, until her untimely death from cancer in 1959. Jerome Diamond took over in 1960 and Gordon Wolfe succeeded him in 1981. Ron Levin briefly replaced Wolfe after his retirement in 2003, and was succeeded in 2006 by Dr. Richard Cummings who then retired in 2015. As of 2017, Brian Prousky is the organization’s current executive director.
During the early years, fees were established, but the agency never refused to assist clients because of their inability to pay. JF&CS became one of the first agencies to rely on trained social workers. It was also the first social agency in Canada to become unionized.
Over the years the agency’s role has changed and it has expanded significantly, in terms of its staff and services. After the Second World War it played a pivotal role supporting the Holocaust orphans who came to Canada as refugees, particularly in the area of locating foster parents for these children. By 1957, the agency hired its first counsellor and became a member of the United Community Fund of Greater Toronto. The year 1968 marked the start of JF&CS’ new program involving the use of a mobile treatment centre to reach out to Jewish street kids and in 1974 they established the Jerome D. Diamond Adolescent Centre.
In 1981, JF&CS was mandated by the Province of Ontario as a Jewish children’s aid society responsible for the care and protection of all Jewish youth in the GTA. In 1983 they established the Just-A-Second Shop at 3101 Bathurst Street, which took in used goods from the community to pass on to needy families. Two years later they established the Henry G. Goodman Home for developmentally handicapped children on Wilmington Avenue. The following year marked the opening of the Elm Ridge Group Living Residence for elderly people. In 1988, they opened a special shelter for abused women and children, and in 1994, they introduced their Homework Club for kids.
The current mission of Jewish Family & Child is to support the healthy development of individuals, children, families, and communities through prevention, protection, counselling, education, and advocacy services, within the context of Jewish values. Their services include counselling, rehabilitation and support, foster care, family services, and community services. These services are offered in a host of different languages including Hebrew, Yiddish, Russian, French, and English.
JF&CS is an independent organization that receives its funding from a variety of different sources such as UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, United Way Toronto and York Region, the Government of Ontario, and individual donations.
As of 2017, JF&CS has nearly 130 staff providing more than thirty community services with a budget of almost $20 million. Their main office is located in the Lipa Green Centre for Community Services at 4600 Bathurst Street. They also maintain offices and run services out of their downtown branch at 35 Madison Avenue, their York Region branch inside UJA’s 1 Open Door at the Lebovic JCC, and their Jerome D. Diamond Adolescent Centre in midtown Toronto.
Jewish Family and Child
Wilensky, Dora, 1902-1959
Diamond, Jerome D.
Closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director and head of Jewish Family and Child prior to accessing the records.
See also: Jewish Child Welfare Association fonds (fonds 86); Jewish Family Welfare Bureau fonds (fonds 87); Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto fonds (fonds 66); and, United Jewish Welfare Fund fonds (fonds 67).
Harold Solomon Kaplan (1895-1973) was a Toronto-based architect who, in partnership with Abraham Sprachman in the firm Kaplan & Sprachman, was well-known for the design of Art deco and Art moderne movie theatres in the 1930s and 1940s and for designing buildings for Jewish communities across Canada from the 1930s to the 1960s.
Kaplan was born 10 Sept. 1895, in Bucharest, Romania. At the age of three, he and his widowed mother, Tillie Hohan, moved to London, England, and in 1902 they moved to Toronto where his mother subsequently married Frank Kaplan. While in his teens, Kaplan spent time in Philadelphia living with an uncle and studying draftsmanship. Upon returning to Toronto, Kaplan attended Toronto Technical School where he took courses in architecture and building construction. He also served an apprenticeship with the architect Henry Simpson. In 1919-1920, Kaplan worked for the firm of Page & Warrington, before establishing Kaplan & Sprachman with Abraham Sprachman in 1922. In 1923, he married Dorothy Spain. They had two daughters, Phyllis (Pepper) and Ruthetta (Reiss).
Kaplan & Sprachman were best known for their more than 300 movie theatre projects completed from the 1920s to the 1960s, designing and renovating theatres across Canada in progressive "modern" styles and using innovative building materials. In 1937, they were awarded the bronze medal in the Sixth Biennial Toronto Exhibition for their interiors to the Eglinton Theatre (400 Eglinton Ave. W.) in Toronto, considered to be the finest example of their Art deco design work.
Over the course of their careers, they designed many synagogues for the Jewish community, such as the Anshei Minsk and Shaarei Shomayim synagogues in Toronto, Beth Israel Synagogue, Edmonton, and Beth Israel Synagogue in Vancouver. They also designed the new Mount Sinai Hospital, the Oakdale Golf & Country Club, the Jewish Home for the Aged (Baycrest), and the Jewish Community Centres of Toronto and Hamilton. Their design for the Oakdale Golf & Country Club was chosen as a Canadian entrant in the Arts Competition of the 14th Olympic Games in London, 1948.
In addition to the projects already mentioned, Kaplan & Sprachman worked on retail stores, warehouses and factories, apartment buildings, and single family residences. Their partnership continued until 1965, when the firm of Kaplan & Sprachman was dissolved as of 30 October 1965. Kaplan continued to work as an architectural consultant for several years after this date. Harold Kaplan died 1 April 1973 in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Kaplan was a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, the Ontario Association of Architects, and the Province of Quebec Association of Architects. Kaplan & Sprachman's contribution to the architecture profession was recognized by the Ontario Association of Architects when both Kaplan's and Abraham Sprachman's names were entered on the Honor Roll for prominent members of the profession, established by the association in 1989.
Scope and Content
The fonds documents Kaplan's work as an architect from the 1930s to the 1960s with Kaplan & Sprachman and some of the consulting work he undertook after the dissolution of the partnership in 1965, primarily through architectural drawings and photographs. The preponderance of the materials relates to a series of renovations of Loew's Yonge Street Theatre (189 Yonge St., Toronto, now the Elgin Theatre) and the Uptown Theatre (764 Yonge St., Toronto, just South of Bloor St.) between the 1930s and 1960s, and Kaplan & Sprachman's design of the Primrose Club (Russell Hill Rd at St. Clair Ave., Toronto) in 1958-1959. There is also a large number of photographs by commercial photographers of movie theatres designed or renovated by Kaplan & Sprachman.
Project records are arranged chronologically, with sub-sub-series defined for successive projects at the same site. Some of the materials document project proposals which were not carried out (e.g., proposed renovations of the Winter Garden Theatre).
Other series in the fonds contain business correspondence and newspaper clippings concerning Kaplan & Sprachman projects, and a small amount of personal material such as family photographs, awards Kaplan received over the years for his design work and a colour photocopy of the invitation to Kaplan's stag party in 1923.
Includes: 132 photographs (131 b&w, including 8 negatives; 1 col.), 8 cm of textual records, and 1 bronze medal.
Kaplan, Harold S., 1895-1973
Kaplan & Sprachman (Firm)
Loew's Yonge Street Theatre (Toronto, Ont.)
Primrose Club (Toronto, Ont.)
Uptown Theatre (Toronto, Ont.)
Winter Garden Theatre (Toronto, Ont.)
Some of the blueprints and drawings are torn or water-damaged. All of the architectural drawings are currently stored in rolls.
Accession 2003-7-1 contains additional photographs of buildings designed or renovated by Kaplan & Sprachman, as well as a copy of a published inventory of Kaplan & Sprachman movie theatre projects, compiled by Mandel Sprachman from Kaplan & Sprachman records
Mina Sprachman, widow of Abraham Sprachman, discusses Kaplan & Sprachman in oral history recording AC-142
Kaplan & Sprachman records can also be found in the Mandel Sprachman fonds, at the City of Toronto Archives
5541 photographs, 25 x 20 cm and smaller, and other media
The Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto was incorporated in Ontario in March 1917 to coordinate the fundraising activities of Jewish charitable, philanthropic, and social service agencies in Toronto. In 1918, ten separate agencies were funded by the FJPT. By 1937, fourteen agencies were funded. The Great Depression of the 1930s and the development of several newer Jewish aid, education, and medical care organizations created both increased need for resources and growing competition for ever-more scarce dollars. Within a very few years this funding crisis forced a major review of the organization.
During 1936 a series of special meetings of leading individuals were held to examine the income and expenditures of all Toronto Jewish agencies and also to speculate about the need for a new Toronto Jewish "Community Chest" as the sole fund-raising organization for a federation of all Jewish agencies including the FJPT. In 1938, the new United Jewish Welfare Fund was formally constituted. Added to the FJPT's previous list of Toronto client agencies in 1938 were: the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Hebrew National Association, the Jewish Immigrant Aid Association, the Mizrachi Society, the Toronto Free Loan Association, the Geverkshaften, and Old Folks Home, and the United Palestine Appeal, raising the total number of agencies to 22.
When the State of Israel was established in 1948, the UJWF's annual fundraising campaign was combined with the CJC's United Palestine appeal to form a new, combined campaign named the United Jewish Appeal (UJA). In 1967, the UJA name was legally changed to the United Jewish Appeal of Metropolitan Toronto.
In mid-1976, the organization's public name was changed to the Toronto Jewish Congress. Although initially thought of as a merger between the UJWF and the CJC, the actual result was the expansion of the UJWF responsibilities to include local education and welfare services previously shared with the Canadian Jewish Congress, Central Region. The UJWF, however, remained the legal senior entity.
In 1991 the public name was again changed to the Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto and in 1999, to UJA Federation of Greater Toronto. By this date, over 30 beneficiary and affiliated agencies, 49 affiliated schools and five Federation departments were fully or partly funded by the UJA Federation.
In June, 2010, the organization altered its legal structure, with the senior legal entity becoming the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of 25 series: Annual Meetings, Annual Reports, Board of Directors, Constitution Committee, Executive Committee, Officers Committee, Budget and Finance Committee, Administration Committee, Social Planning Committee, Committee on Capital Needs and Planning, Central Committee on Scholarships in Aid, Joint Committee of the BJE and UJWF Study on Jewish Education, Nominations Committee, Pension Fund Committee, Coordinating Committee, Special Ad Hoc and Temporary Committees, Annual Campaign, Client Agencies, Joint Committee of the CJC and the UJWF, Committee on Community Organization, Sub-Committee on Construction and Administration of Community Schools, Joint Committee on Fundraising, Personnel Committee, Community Leadership Development Council, and Israel at Fifty Community Celebration.
Over 4500 photographs and a variety of other media are managed within Series 17, Campaign records.
For exact details about the contents of individual series and sub-series, please review their scope and contents notes.
United Jewish Welfare Fund
Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto
United Jewish Appeal
Toronto Jewish Congress
Jewish Federation of Greater Toronto
UJA Federation of Greater Toronto
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
For records of the predecessor of the UJWF, see Fonds 66, the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto fonds.
Further detailed documentation of the proposed merger between the UJWF and the CJC (creation of the TJC) may be found in Fonds 67, Sub-sub-series 5-5-1, Files 171 and 221.
Further documentation on the United Jewish Welfare Fund may be found within Fonds 9, Series 7, records of the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society.
For further detailed records of a key community leader's involvement with the UJWF see Accession 1982-8-8, the records of Samuel Godfrey, 1943-1972.
Brantford’s B’nai Brith Lodge No. 1154 was formed on December 31, 1931 with Max White as its first president. B’nai Brith is an international service organization that was first formed in New York in 1843 to unify the American Jewish Community. B’nai Brith lodges began appearing in Canada in the late 1800s and by 1981 Canadian membership in the organization had grown large enough for the establishment of a separate Canadian district, B’nai Brith Canada. As a member of B’nai Brith, the Brantford lodge shared its mandate of assisting those in need both at home and abroad, supporting the state of Israel, and promoting human rights. The Brantford lodge has not been active since 1974. Brantford’s Jewish community has been largely inactive since 2001, when the diminishing Jewish population finally forced the closure of Brantford’s synagogue, Congregation Beth David.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the founding, presidents, and charitable activities of Brantford's B'nai Brith lodge No. 1154. Included are photographs, certificates, banners, a bell, plaques, a chanukiah, a charity box, pins, and a medal. Records are arranged at the file-level, with two items attached directly to the fonds-level.
Includes 4 plaques, 4 certificates, 1 photo album, 6 objects, and 2 banners.
Photographers and photography studios are identified on the photographs.
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.
The National Council of Jewish Women of Canada (NCJWC) was the first national Jewish women's organization in Canada. The council had its beginnings among the urban elite, and played a strong role over the years in influencing public policy in such areas as relations with Israel, national unity, and the plight of world Jewry. The NCJWC is dedicated, in the spirit of Judaism, to furthering human welfare in the Jewish and general communities -- locally, nationally and internationally. It operated around three main pillars: service, education, and social action.
The National Council of Jewish Women was founded in the United States in 1893 by activist Hannah G. Solomon. In 1897, its first Canadian chapter was established in Toronto. In 1925, with seven chapters in Canada, a Canadian liaison position to the National Council of Jewish Women was created. A full-fledged “Canadian Division” of the NCJW was formed in 1934, with rules drafted at the first conference in Winnipeg three years later. Irene Samuel served as the Canadian Division’s first national president. In 1943, the division was renamed the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada, and was officially incorporated in 1944, though it did not receive its letters patent until three years later. Even so, the NCJWC still retained some affiliation with the NCJW, whereby they paid per-capita dues to the Americans in return for program and administrative materials. In 1967 the NCJWC ceased these payments altogether, thereby separating from NCJW completely.
The early NCJWC focused on providing service to young girls and immigrants. They also involved themselves in contemporary politics through support for the war effort; the council donated vehicles to the Red Cross, turned Council House into a servicemen's centre, and even built several libraries at Canadian army camps. A national office opened ca. 1950 in Toronto, but until 1966 it moved to the national president's home city with every election. That year the office was permanently anchored in Toronto. In the 1950s and 1960s the council established Good Age clubs, the Irene Samuel Scholarship Fund, and developed the national Higher Horizons child-care and Newer Horizons elder-care programs. It expanded its overseas programs with support for the Israel Family Counseling Association and Ship-a-Box. The Soviet Jewry projects in the 1970s and 1980s reflected the council’s increasing emphasis on social action. Since the late 1990s, the council has focused on women's issues with efforts such as the Breast Self-Examination (BSE) program.
The NCJWC was governed by an executive council, led by a president. Vice-presidents were each responsible for one portfolio, such as membership, public affairs, etc., which were in turn made up of a number of national committees. The national executive was responsible for producing by-laws, guidelines, policies and procedures, as well as developing national service and social action programs. National also provided support and program materials to the sections, and held biennial meetings every other year from 1937 in cities across Canada. Its decentralized structure meant that while the national office remained in Toronto, officers of the executive have resided right across the country.
As of 1997, the National Council of Jewish Women of Canada was an affiliate member of the International Council of Jewish Women, a member of UNESCO Canadian Subcommission of the Status of Women, and a member of the Coalition of Jewish Women Against Domestic Violence and the Coalition for Agunot Rights. Prominent past presidents include Mrs. Harry (Irene) Samuel, Mrs. Lucille Lorie, Dr. Reva Gerstein, Mozah Zemans, Mina Hollenberg, Sophie Drache, Thelma Rolingher, Helen Marr, Bunny Gurvey, Sheila Freeman, Penny Yellen, and Gloria Strom. The council’s national office moved to Winnipeg in November, 1993. As of 2006, the council still had 5 active sections in Canada: Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal.
NCJWC donated these records to the OJA after they had finished a historical exhibit and catalogue in 1997 called "Faith and Humanity," celebrating 100 years of NCJWC.
Scope and Content
The fonds documents NCJWC’s fundraising, social service and social action work in Toronto, in other cities across the country, and overseas. Records include conference and meeting programs, minutes, hand-written correspondence, speeches and reports, national newsletters, published histories, by-laws and policies, photographs, publicity material, historical subject files and artifacts. The records have been arranged into nine series: National biennial conventions and annual meetings; National Executive Council; National portfolios and committees; National program and event materials; National history research and subject files; International Council of Jewish Women; Toronto Section; Photos and audio-visual material; and National Council of Jewish Juniors, Toronto Section.
Physical description note: includes ca. 2470 photographs, 13 architectural drawings, 2 artistic drawings, 3 badges, 3 medals, 1 pin, 28 audio cassettes, and 1 videocassette.
National Council of Jewish Women of Canada
See also: photographs 3207, 3192, 4140, 4067, 4066, 4434; Accession 1977-8-7 for National Council of Jewish Women of Welland; National Council of Jewish Juniors, photographs 458, 459, 460, 463, 464, 465, 466, 468; MG2 B-1K
Records have been arranged by function, in accordance with information gleaned from NCJWC's organizational charts and annual reports
By 1919 the plight of post-war eastern European Jewry and the need for a united community voice for Canadian Jewry led to the creation of the Canadian Jewish Congress. Its founding meeting was held on March 16, 1919 in Montreal. Though it briefly maintained a tiny regional office in Toronto, the CJC remained inactive until 1933, when it fully reconvened by opening offices in Winnipeg, Montreal, and Toronto. Egmont L. Frankel was the first president of the new central division in Toronto. While the national office in Montreal focused on the overarching issues of the social and economic rights of European Jewry, assistance for Jewish immigrants, and combating prejudice in Canada, the Toronto office dealt with local, violent anti-Jewish demonstrations as well as continuing discrimination both in employment and in access to public recreational facilities. The structure was based on regular national biennial plenary conferences, at which policies were delineated and national and regional executives were elected. Between plenary sessions, national and regional councils were in charge. These were augmented by the following standing committees: administrative, officers, fersonnel, financial, publications, and educational and cultural. Special committees were created to deal with issues such as: youth, community loans, kashruth, fundraising, Israel, Russian Jewry, and various emergency issues such as refugees, immigration, and housing.
During the 1930s the central division office moved several times and occupied offices in the following locations: Yonge Street, the Bond Street Synagogue, Scheuer House, the Zionist Building, and its long-term home at 150-152 Beverley Street, where it remained until its July 1983 move to the Lipa Green Building in North York.
The CJC's activities expanded to include taking responsibility for Jewish educational standards, but by 1941 its main efforts shifted to support for Canada’s war effort. Immediately after the end of the war, the focus again shifted to Jewish immigration projects and the maintenance of Jewish identity in small communities. By 1950, the CJC’s use of the title “division” was changed to “region” to accommodate internal operational divisions within each region. Also, by then, the central region was busy expanding its programs for all Ontario Jewish communities, creating a province-wide council of youth groups, and working with the newly-created Bureau of Jewish Education (later Board of Jewish Education, now Mercaz). Standardization of kashruth rules in Ontario was implemented. As well, regular educational conferences and cultural events were held throughout the province, while province-wide fundraising efforts in support of Moess Chittin for relief projects in Israel and for local Congress activities were expanded. Many of its educational and cultural responsibilities necessitated working with other Jewish organizations such as the United Jewish Welfare Fund, Jewish Immigrant Aid Society (JIAS), Hadassah, the Canadian Legion, B’nai Brith, the World Jewish Congress, the American Jewish Congress, and the many landsmenshaften (Jewish mutual benefit societies, each formed by immigrants originating from the same Eastern European community).
During the 1960s, the central region began sending Moess Chittin relief shipments to Cuban Jews unable to acquire kosher foods for Passover. Its lobbying efforts included participation in the Royal Commissions on Hate Propaganda, and its greatest success came with the introduction and implementation of Ontario’s fair employment and fair accommodation practices legislation, an achievement in which Congress played a pivotal role.
From 1971 to 1989 the major focus became international and national lobbying for, and providing support to, Soviet Jewry. Virtually all local and Canadian efforts to assist the Soviet Jewish “refusniks” were organized and coordinated in Toronto by the Ontario region office, which provided staff and funding for the many lobbying activities and public demonstrations that characterized this successful effort.
As of November 1975, the central region’s responsibilities in Toronto were radically altered. To improve cost efficiency in Toronto, CJC educational and social service program activities were merged with similar programs already provided by Toronto’s United Jewish Appeal. The UJA assumed sole responsibility for these amalgamated programs in Toronto and was renamed Toronto Jewish Congress. The central region still retained province-wide responsibilities for Ontario’s smaller Jewish communities, and its office remained in Toronto. Also, following this reorganization, its name was changed to Canadian Jewish Congress, Ontario Region. Although CJC no longer provided direct social and educational programs to Toronto, the TJC’s senior executive was, at the time, still obliged to continue to keep it notified about developments concerning previous Congress responsibilities.
From 1983, the Ontario Region's offices were located in the Lipa Green Building at 4600 Bathurst Street. It continued its work of financially supporting various Israeli institutions and fostering Canada-Israel relations. It also spearheaded the movement to support and protect Jews in Arab lands, especially in Syria. Funding for the CJC came from the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy, which restributed a portion of the funds raised by the local Jewish federations across Canada.
The CJC dissolved in 2011. Today, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) acts as the Jewish community's primary lobby group.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of the records of the Ontario Region office of the Canadian Jewish Congress. Of primary importance in documenting this organization’s history are its minutes of the Executive and Administrative Committees and the various standing, and short-term committees such as Community Organization, Finance, Fund Raising, Educational and Cultural, Research, Immigration, War Efforts, and Jewish Education. Most of these records are still managed all together within Fonds 17, Series 1.
Fonds 17, Series 2 contains the general subject and correspondence files of these committees. Records in both series require further processing.
Records now found in Series 3 document the efforts of the Committee for Soviet Jewry in coordinating the activities of the many Toronto and Ontario organizations involved in assisting Soviet Jewry during the 1971 to 1989 period.
Series 4 consists of administrative and committee records of the United Jewish Refugee and War Relief Agencies in Toronto from 1938 through 1967. These document its work rescuing the survivors of European Jewish communities, settling as many as possible in Ontario, and providing assistance to those attempting to obtain restitution payments.
Series 5 consists of the records of the Community Relations Committee (1938-1976). Responding to depression-era anti-Semitism in Canada, the Canadian Jewish Congress and B’nai Brith together established in 1938 a new joint committee. Since then this Committee has documented racist threats in Canada; initiated advocacy activities to work for improved civil rights; promoted legislation combating hate; worked to ensure equality of access to employment, education and accommodation; and investigated specific incidents of discrimination. The Committee, for example, played a key role in achieving the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1944, and the Fair Employment Practices Act of 1951, key steps leading to Canada’s current Human Rights Code. Although originally named Joint Public Relations Committee in 1938, a series of name changes later occurred; s follows: Joint Community Relations Committee, Central Region (1962-1978), Joint Community Relations Committee, CJC, Ontario Region (ca. 1978-ca. 1991) Community Relations Committee, CJC, Ontario Region (ca. 1991-present) Records in this series were reorganized into 5 sub-series and a further 9 sub-sub-series during the 2009 to 2011 period. For further details please view the database records for Fonds 17, Series 5. Although this series will eventually hold all CRC records up to 1992, only those prior to 1979 are currently fully processed.
Physical description note: Includes 1839 photographs, 89 audio cassettes, 11 videocassettes, 4 drawings, and 6 microfilm reels (16 mm).
Processing note: Processing of this fonds is ongoing. Additional descriptive entries will be added in future.
Canadian Jewish Congress. Ontario Region
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the Archivist prior to accessing some of the records
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the Archivist prior to accessing some of the records.
Canadian Jewish Congress. Ontario Region (1919-2011)
In 1909, the congregation legally adopted the name Chavra B’nai Israel and R. J. Hoffman became the first president. Services were held at a variety of different homes, including those of Mr. Barnett and Mr. Zalavinsky.
After the synagogue was left a large bequest in 1917 by the Friedman family, the congregation decided to purchase the house that it had been renting earlier for $3,500. The partitions between the rooms were removed to construct the sanctuary. It still continued to house the Hebrew school and provide living accommodations for the teacher and shochtim.
Due to the expansion of the community after the First World War, the house became too small to accommodate the congregation. The community therefore began to plan for a new building. The Building Committee accepted a design submitted by Nicholson & McBeth and the shul was built by the Newman Brothers. The groundbreaking ceremony was held on September 14, 1924. Once the synagogue was completed, a larger ceremony took place in July 1925. Services were conducted according to Orthodox tradition and membership at that time was about 30 families.
The congregation adopted a constitution in 1945. The synagogue remained affiliated with the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America. Mixed seating emerged during the later years of the decade; however, Orthodox rabbis continued to serve the synagogue for years to come.
In 1981, the synagogue was incorporated as a charitable and religious organization. It also joined the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism organization. At this time, membership began to decline and they were barely able to maintain a minyan for daily and Friday night services.
In May 2002, B’nai Israel celebrated the 100th anniversary of the community. The celebration included an extended Shabbat service featuring Cantor Howard Shalowitz from New York, followed by a gala dinner on Saturday night with entertainment by the Toronto band Bais Groove.
The records were donated by individuals who were members of the synagogue as well as Congregation B'nai Israel from 1976 until 2009.
Scope and Content
The records document the activities of Congregation B'nai Israel of St. Catharines, Ontario. The material consists of textual, graphic, architectural and electronic records.
The fonds include bulletins, board of governors meeting minutes and reports, anniversary books, correspondence, sisterhood records, financial statements, constitutional documents, committee reports, building plans, Hebrew school materials and other items.
001. Hebrew school graduating class, 1962. Top row, from left to right: Michael Mandel, Rabbi Dr. Israel Freedman, David Cooperman, Jerry Uretsky. Bottom row, from left to right: Peter Cooperman, Bruce Nepan, Marilyn Granek, Lorraine Tator, Linda Sherman, Rick Uretsky, Howard Slepkov.
002. 1974 Bar Mitzvah class. Eden Orvitz, Jocques Kesselman, Kevin Semson, Mr. Leo Possen, Ross Metzer, Larry Ritchie, Auby Fenig, Leslie Goldfarb.
003. B’nai Brith Cub Scouts, Fall 1959. B’nai Israel Scout and Cub Pack. This photo was taken as the Troop prepared for a parade in honour of Baden Powell’s birthday.
004. Synagogue board. Top row, from left to right: Harry Offstein, Harry Rubin, Eddie Offstein, Max Silver, Harry Tomarin, Martin Revzin, Jack Engel. Bottom row, from left to right: Ben Fruitman, Dave Katzman, Jacob Cooperman, Joseph Halperin, Saul Granek.
Physical Description Note: Includes 25 photographs (jpg), 8 architectural drawings (jpg), and 1 document (jpg).
Congregation B'nai Israel (St. Catharines, Ont.)
Records are in good condition.
The records are arranged at the file level by function.