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Ontario Jewish Archives
AC 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 St. She describes some of the historical documents that were discovered in the basement.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.
AC 441 Part 2
00:00 Cyrel discusses the changes in leadership and operation at the OJA ca2000. 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.
AC 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.
The Koffler Centre of the Arts was established in 1977, as part of the Bathurst Jewish Community Centre at Bathurst Street and Sheppard Ave., 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, 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 Jewish 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, 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.