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Ontario Jewish Archives
OH 441 Part 1
0:22 Cyrel outlines her academic background and discusses her volunteer & professional positions, including Chair of the OJA, Chair of Cultural Planning & Allocation, served on the Board of the Canadian Jewish Congress & Ontario Jewish Congress and currently serves on the Board of OJA.
0:53 Cyrel discusses the history of the Ontario Jewish Archives. Cyrel. & Susan Cohen obtained federal grants to create a local initiative project with the initial focus to collect information on prominent members of the Toronto Jewish community. Cyrel identifies the organizations & individuals who assisted them initially (e.g. Toronto Jewish Historical Society,Victor Sefton) . She discusses the staff, including Steven Speisman, Bess Shockett & Ruth Ladovsky and the location in Shaarei Shomayim Synagogue.
4:53 Cyrel describes the creation of the Sense of Spadina Walking tours which were an offshoot of a living exhibit designed for the Triennial for the Canadian Jewish Congress in 1974. She discusses the contributors to the project, including Steven Speisman, Bess Shockett, Marty Mendelow, Charlie & Peggy Goldsbie and Mrs. Langner, the wife of the Rabbi from the Kiever Synagogue.
6:05 Cyrel describes the successful Sense of Spadina Walking Tours held in June 1974.
7:47 Cyrel discusses the formation of day & evening volunteer committees to help catalogue material in OJA’s new location in the basement of 150 Beverly St. She discusses some of the archival donations e.g. Sidney Harris, Ben Kayfetz.
9:12 Cyrel recalls the move to Lipa Green building in early 1980’s.
9:48 Cyrel describes the OJA office at 150 Beverly. St. She describes some of the historical documents that were discovered in the basement. She discusses the volunteers’ responsibilities.
11:27 Cyrel discusses the function of the OJA committee. She discusses Photo Committee.
13:00 Cyrel discusses early efforts to acquire material for the OJA.
15:56 Cyrel explains why an archive specific to the Ontario Jewish community was established. The effort to establish the OJA arose from a small group of researchers, including Steven Speisman, who recognized the importance of preserving ethnic Jewish history.
17:18 Cyrel explains how the material collected by OJA is unique to & valued by the Ontario Jewish community.
18:48 Cyrel discusses some of the challenges faced by OJA in the early years.
19:58 Cyrel discusses the end result of the Toronto Jewish Historical Society.
20:45 Cyrel discusses the evolvement of the Sense of Spadina Walking Tours. She explains how Ellen Scheinberg, archivist, was pivotal in the advancement of the walking tours. Spadina Walking Tours became a part of “Jane’s Walk”.
24:02 Cyrel shares an amusing story about Henry Papernick, retired lawyer & OJA volunteer.
25:35 Cyrel discusses the contributions made by Brooky Robins, assistant to Steven Speisman. She spearheaded the collection of material from northern Ontario. Also involved was Fred Schaeffer.
26:46 Cyrel discusses OJA hosting various community events to donate materials to the archives.
27:41 Cyrel explains that due to the volume of donated material, off-site storage facilities were used at Yonge & Eglinton.
28:04 Cyrel describes the changes and improvements that occurred after moving to the facilities at Lipa Green.
28:55 Cyrel discusses her responsibilities as Chair of OJA between 1983 and 1998. She mentions that she also served on the Ontario Jewish Congress, Ontario Region Executive & the Toronto Jewish Congress.
30:11 Cyrel explains that Jewish Communist papers were passed on to the collection of Multicultural History at St. Michael’s.
30:36 Cyrel discusses some of the projects and exhibits that OJA pursued.
32:05 Cyrel discusses the efforts made by Sol Edell & Marty Mendelow to fix up the Kiever synagogue in the early 1980’s.
34:25 Cyrel explains why the Kiever synagogue was chosen as a focus for an OJA project.
35:25 Cyrel discusses the special projects & direction of the OJA during the period she was Chair.
36:19 Cyrel discusses the biggest challenges faced by the OJA during her sevice as Chair.
OH 441 Part 2
00:00 Cyrel discusses the changes in leadership and operation at the OJA ca 2000. Staff included Brooky Robins, Susan Jackson and Ellen Scheinberg.
1:54 Cyrel discusses the major projects that occurred while Ellen Scheinberg was Director.
3:09 Cyrel discusses her role with the OJA while Ellen served as Director.
4:07 Cyrel discusses the challenges faced by OJA while Ellen served as Director.
5:23 Cyrel discusses the relationship between OJA and other archives and agencies.
8:00 Cyrel addresses the factors that contributed to the success of the Sense of Spadina Walking Tours.
11:13 Cyrel points that out the general groups participating in the Sense of Spadina Walking Tours tend to be Jewish but Jane’ Walk groups are varied & drawn to the neighbourhood.
11:53 Cyrel discusses why the OJA has played a major role in her life.
12:25 Cyrel shares a story from her personal life in order to illustrate the importance of preserving oral histories.
13:51 Cyrel relates a story told to her by Ben Kayfetz about the Strettiner Rebbe on Cecil Street.
OH 441 Part 3
00:00 Cyrel describes the efforts of Sol Edell, Susan Brown and Cyrel to put together an audio-visual presentation to mark the opening of the archives.
2:17 Cyrel describes a conceived project that was not realized.
File consists of reports submitted by the Toronto Jewish Congress Archives Committee to TJC's Executive Committee. Also included is a report likely regarding the creation of an archive for the records of the Alpha Omega Fraternity and a report by Stephen Speisman regarding his position and salary.
File consists of publicity and acquisitions policies, a manuscript inventory list, a list of questions to ask small communities, a list of community institutions, and notes for the Charter of the Ontario Jewish Archives Foundation.
4 technical drawings : blackline prints ; 86 x 100 cm or smaller
Scope and Content
File consists of lists of artifacts on loan, exhibit captions, panel lists, an audio-visual production script, and packing instructions. Also included are floor plans for the travelling exhibit space at the Victoria Provincial Archives, Toronto City Hall, and Baycrest Residence.
Ontario Jewish Archives
Jewish Historical Society of Canada
Architectural drawings should be placed in melinex for protection and stored flat.
File consists of records documenting the Ontario Jewish Archives's Sense of Spadina walking tour. Included is correspondence, brochures, news releases, flyers, instructions for guides, and a grant application to take part in Ontario's bicentennial. Also included is a photograph of the exterior of the Kiever Synagogue.
File consists of correspondence and flyers documenting various outreach activities of the Ontario Jewish Archives. The bulk of the records are thank you letters for exhibit loans and special presentations.
Accession consists of records documenting Rolf Lederer's involvement with JIAS, the Canadian Jewish Congress's Chaplaincy Services Committee, the Toronto Jewish Congress Ontario Region Archives Committee, SAJAC, and the Jewish Genealogical Society. JIAS records make up the bulk of the accession and include; statistical reports; meeting notices; agendas and minutes for various committees, such as the Executive Committee, Immigrant Case Committee, Integration Committee and the Board of Directors; newsclippings, correspondence, programmes, reports, JIAS Information bulletins, and JIAS News newsletters.
Chaplaincy records include meeting notices, agendas and minutes, bulletins, invitations, brochures, and general correspondence. JGS records include one photograph of a plaque awarded to the agency and correspondence regarding its cemetery project. Archives Committee records include event invitations, correspondence, and documents related to the Sense of Spadina tour. Finally, accession also consists of SAJAC News publications (1989), correspondence with the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists and a Congregation B'nai Torah dedication banquet programme (1984).
The records were in the possession of Rolf Lederer until he donated them to the OJA on June 22, 2011.
Dr. Rolf Lederer was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1934. His family immigrated to South Africa in 1936 and Rolf remained there until 1961, earning his medical degree from Cape Town University. After completing his psychiatric training in Edinburgh and Boston, Rolf settled in Toronto in 1968. There he set up private practice as a General Psychiatrist.
After moving to Toronto, Rolf became actively involved in the Jewish community and served on a number of committees. He was on both the local and national board of directors of the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society (JIAS) as well as a number of JIAS sub-committees, including the South African Jewish Association of Canada (SAJAC), the Local Case File Committee and the Management Committee.
From 1985 to 1988 Rolf was chairman of the Canadian Jewish Congress’s (CJC) Chaplaincy Services Committee. He was also a member of other CJC committees; including, the Jewish Cultural Council and the Joint Adult Education Committee. In addition, Rolf co-founded the Jewish Genealogical Society (JGS) in 1985 and served as the society’s president from 1987 to 1991. Finally, he was an active member of B’nai Torah Congregation, serving as secretary and first vice-president in the early 1980s
Accession consists of correspondence to and from Stephen Speisman, former Director of the Ontario Jewish Archives. Also included is a report on the collection, conservation and utilization of the historical records of the Canadian Jewish community prepared by John Andreassen of the Records Management Company of Canada (1969), a condition report for the Knesseth Israel Synagogue (1986), an invitation to the opening of the archives in the new Lipa Green building (1984), and an invitation to the gala opening and an exhibit booklet from the Coat of Many Colours (1990).
Accession consists of material documenting Cyrel Troster's involvement with various Jewish committees and organizations. Included are: transcripts of oral histories with prominent Jewish Torontonians that were conducted as part of an oral history project in 1973; correspondence between Cyrel Troster and interviewees; index cards listing the dates of the oral history interviews; promotional materials for Jewish arts festivals; public proposal document for the new Shaarei Shomayim Synagogue; and documents and records from Cyrel's involvement in various Jewish organizations. Also included are Local Initiatives Program application forms (1973), lists of presidents of various Jewish organizations, a map of the Jewish York Region (1999), issues of Exodus Magazine in both English and Russian from May 2018, and two issues of the Wilson Heights High School yearbook The Torch (1962-63).
The six tape cassettes are as follows: Cantor Paul Kowarsky Live in Concert (no date); Highlights from the 1994 Toronto Jewish Storytelling Festival; interview with Esther Volpe (two cassette tapes); interview with Samuel Harris; and one cassette marked "Dov Noy copy of Library tape" (Dov Noy was a Jewish folklorist).
The accession contains transcripts for the following interviewees: Mrs. Arbus, David Biderman, Benjamin Brown, Benjamin Sherman, Arthur Cohen, Mrs. Draimin, Max Federman, Morris Flicht, Joshua Gershman, Samuel Harris, Ben Heisel, Rose Heisel, Mr. Lean, Mary Levy, Harry Pullan, J. B. Salsberg, Yekil Silverman, A. S. Socol, Nathan Strauss, Esther Volpe, and Annie Zeidman.
The accession contains records related to Cyrel's involvement in the following committees and organizations: Committee for Yiddish (1997-2004); Cultural Services and Planning Committee (1990-2005), Jewish Public Library (2005); Canadian Jewish Congress, Orthodox Division (1982-1984); Holocaust Centre (1979-2004); Limmud (2000); Ontario Jewish Archives (1973-2004); Jewish Theatre (1996-2002); Jewish Arts Council (2000-2004); Jewish Toronto Tomorrow (1994-2004); Ashkenaz (1997-2004); UJA Federation (1978, 1984, 1990-2004).
Credit to be given to Susan Cohen and Cyrel Troster—coordinators of the Local Initiatives Project project in 1973—and to interviewer(s) and transcribers when using tapes or transcribed interviews.
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
RELATED MATERIAL NOTE: See accession 2017-4-6 for related sound recordings. Some may be duplicates.