Accession consists of the records related to the life and career of Dr. Fred Wienberg. Included are textual and photographic records documenting his personal and family life, his medial career, scholarly activities, involvement with the Jewish community, his collecting of Judaica, medical antiques and art, and his synagogue involvement. Other items include the Ostrovtzer Mutual Benefit Society minute book and a 1776 letter from Jonas Phillips, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War and an American merchant in New York City and Philadelphia.
Fred Weinberg (1919-2003) was born in Ostrawiec, Poland on July 6, 1919 to Rose and Israel Weinberg. Israel immigrated to Canada in 1920 and his wife and children joined him several years later in March of 1924. The family settled in Toronto where Israel worked in the fur manufacturing business. Israel was a supporter and aficionado of cantorial music as well as a founder of the Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto and the Ostrovtzer Synagogue on Cecil Street.
Fred completed his primary and secondary education at Clinton Street Public School and Harbord Collegiate. He also attended the Brunswick Talmud Torah, celebrating his bar mitzvah in 1932. Fred decided to pursue a medical career, graduating from the University of Toronto’s medical school in 1944. During his studies he enlisted in the army and completed officers’ training in April 1945, attaining the rank of Captain. During his military career he served in the RCAMC at Camp Borden, Christie St. Hospital and at the Stanley Barracks in Toronto. Towards the end of the war he served as Officer in charge of repatriation of the POWs.
After the war Fred pursued his post-graduate work at Seaview and Bellevue hospitals in New York City from 1946 to 1947 and then moved on to the Children’s and Washington University hospitals in St. Louis, Missouri the following year. He was subsequently accepted as a resident at Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto and was ultimately appointed Chief Resident under the supervision of the internationally renowned paediatrician, Dr. Alan Brown. In 1950, Dr. Weinberg was hired as a physician in paediatrics at Sick Kids Hospital, making him the first Jewish doctor on staff. In addition to his staff responsibilities, he also lectured and was a faculty member at the University of Toronto’s Medical School for many years.
By the mid-point of his career, Dr. Weinberg went on to specialise in Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), delivering lectures and publishing articles in medical journals. He also ran his own practice, which operated from 1950 to 1976, and later become Associate Medical Director of the Child Development Clinic, Neurology Division of Sick Kids until his retirement in 1984. He later continued his service at Sick Kids as a senior staff consultant and ran a specialized practice in Developmental Pediatrics for close to twenty years, which was later situated at 208 Bloor Street West.
Fred married Joy Cherry on December 16, 1952 at Goel Tzedec Synagogue. The couple had four children: Joel (b. 1953), Barry (b. 1955), Sari (b. 1956) and Deena (b. 1961). Throughout his life, Fred was actively engaged in Jewish communal work in a variety of capacities: assisting with the establishment of the United Synagogue Day School during the 1950s; as a fundraiser for the United Jewish Appeal (UJA); and as a participant in two of UJA’s early study missions to Israel in 1960 and 1961. He was also an influential figure within his synagogue, joining the Board of Directors of Beth Tzedec Synagogue during the late 1960s and serving as President from 1972 to 1975.
Fred and his wife Joy also collected Judaica, antiques and artwork. As a physician, Fred developed a passion and expertise in the area of medical antiques. He published articles in both the mainstream and Jewish press on subjects related to Jewish rituals, Judaica and art. He also had a regular column in the Canadian Journal of Diagnosis from 1998 to 2002 entitled “Antique instruments”. Over time, the Weinberg’s assembled a world-class collection of Judaica and became increasingly active in the museum world. Fred assisted in the establishment of Beth Tzedec’s Helene and Rubin Dennis Jewish Museum, contributing items from the couple’s Judaica collection and securing the acquisition of the renowned Cecil Roth collection for the Museum during the early to mid-1960s. As a result of his significant contributions, he was bestowed the title of honourary curator to the Museum. Dr. Weinberg later branched out and assisted with the Koffler Gallery’s Lifecycle exhibition in 1984 as guest curator. The following year, he served as a special presenter and instructor to the docents at the “Precious Legacy” Czech Judaica exhibition at the ROM. The Weinberg’s most significant contribution to the museum world, however, was marked in September of 2000, when they were honoured at the opening of the Dr. Fred and Joy Cherry Weinberg Gallery of Judaica at the ROM, featuring some of their most valuable and treasured pieces.
Dr. Fred Weinberg passed away on October 30, 2003 at 84 years of age. The Weinberg Endowment Fund was established by the family at the University of Toronto’s Jewish Studies Program to honour Fred’s passion for Jewish history, rituals and artefacts. That year the Weinberg family also set up a fund in Fred’s name in support of the Therapeutic Clown Program, a highly visible and successful program within Sick Kids’ Pediatric Division.
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
Use Conditions Note: Records contain patient names and medical information.