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.
In 1924 the first official Toronto annual Hadassah Bazaar was held at the Masonic Temple at Davenport and Yonge. Over the years, venues changed with increasing demands for space as the popularity of the event grew. These locations included Varsity Stadium (1945-1948), the Automotive Building at the CNE (1949-1999), and currently the CNE’s National Trade Centre (Direct Energy Centre).Toronto pioneered the mammoth volunteer-run bazaar concept and was followed by other cities – Montreal (ca.1932), Vancouver (1951) and a number of smaller communities.
Admission fees were documented from 25 cents in 1934 to $4 in the 1990s.In most instances throughout the years, reduced or free admission was offered to preschoolers and seniors.
The early bazaars sold used clothing, hand sewn articles and home cooked kosher specialties. The 1930s saw the introduction of “carnival elements” such as fortune telling and bingo, and social events that included dinners, floor shows and dancing to the music of well known bands. The “Beautiful Child Photography Contests”, fashion shows, art exhibits, and the Hadassah Exposition and Bazaar Cooking Schools were inaugurated during the same decade.
During the Second World War, the Red Cross and war efforts were incorporated into bazaar activities. In the 1950s auctions were introduced.1963 saw the first Eilat Lighthouse – a colossal advertising pyramid. From the 1970s to the 1990s, new features such as clothes boutiques, mini-stores, and disco contests appeared.
Proceeds from the fairs and bazaars from the Bazaar’s inception until recent years rose exponentially from a thousand or so dollars to hundreds of thousands. These funds have generally been directed to medical and welfare services for needy women and children in Israel. From 1939-45, some of the monies were directed to war projects in Palestine, England, and Egypt. Recent beneficiaries include Asaf Harofe Rehabilitation Hospital, Nahalal (a co-educational secondary school focusing on farming technology), and medical research at the Hebrew University.
Enthusiastic crowds of up to 60,000 continue to line up at 6 am on the last Wednesday of October every year. The City of Toronto has recognized the Bazaar since 1989 with it’s proclamation of “Hadassah – Wizo Bazaar Day”.
From modest beginnings, Toronto’s Hadassah Bazaar has evolved into what is billed as the “largest one day bazaar in the world”.
The 84th was the last bazaar held in October 2008.
Scope and Content
The series consists of records in the form of textual documents, photographs, posters, scrapbooks and audio- visual recordings that document the history of the Toronto Hadassah Bazaar from 1924-2006.These include activities such as social events, meetings, rallies, as well as records including press clippings, memorabilia, correspondence, and financial reports.
028 - [Unidentified], Ella Fleischmann, [Unidentified], Israel Booth at Hadassah Bazaar, Exhibition Place, Toronto, Ontario [ca. 1965].
Physical description note: Includes 2472 photographs, 3 posters, 2 audio recordings, 4 video recordings, 2 artifacts, and 8 scrapbooks.
The textual records are aranged in chronological order and then by activity such as planning, correspondence and publicity.
33 photographs : b&w and col. (17 negatives) ; 21 x 26 cm or smaller
15 cm of textual records
Founded in the spring of 1949 by Mrs. Dolly Tarshis and Mrs. Elaine Culiner, the Ilana Chapter of the Hadassah – Wizo Organization of Canada was created under the organization’s national mandate dedicated to financially and socially supporting the peoples of Israel and promoting Jewish culture and ideals in Canada. Under the leadership of Elaine Culiner as it’s first President, membership in the Ilana Chapter began with 15 women in 1949 and grew to 26 women in it’s second year. By 1965 there were 50 members in total, residing in several different neighbourhoods across central and north Toronto. All chapter meetings were held in members’ homes, generally twice a month. Executive meetings were held once a month between September and June. Over the years many Ilana members were also active in the Toronto Hadassah Council Executive.
The Ilana Chapter was constructed according to the mandate of the Hadassah – Wizo Organization of Canada, and as such, was obligated to administer itself accordingly. It’s administration was comprised of 2 levels – an administrative council and a general membership. The executive consisted of a president, vice-president, treasurer, recording secretary, corresponding secretary, past president, 2 members-at-large, and various portfolio chairmen. The executive met at least once a month to discuss chapter issues, and the general membership met approximately twice a month. All other meetings were held on a rotating basis at members’ homes and the minutes were recorded by the secretary. All issues and activities would be voted on by the membership at large, although it was the executive’s responsibility to ensure that all activities were carried out. Members were required to pay annual dues, of which the chapter retained only a small portion for expenses, as the balance was relegated to the regional council to pay for administrative costs and donations.As well, all fundraising profits raised by the Chapter for support of the various Hadassah - Wizo programs was required to be forwarded to the regional council by the 10th of each month.
Membership in Ilana remained relatively constant until the chapter merged with the Deborah Chapter in 1990, primarily due to waning meeting attendance.
The Ilana Chapter participated in numerous organization-wide fundraising activities, contributing to such social programs as Youth Aliyah, the Children’s Village in Hadassim, the Jewish National Fund, and the Henrietta Szold Memorial Scholarship Fund.
The Rose Dunkelman Day Care Center in Tel Aviv is one of 10 Israeli centers sponsored by the Hadassah-Wizo Organization of Canada and is directly affiliated with the Toronto branch and it’s constituent chapters.The Ilana Chapter contributed financially to this center through it’s child sponsorship program, in which a child at the center would be “adopted” for one year.
Fundraising campaigns unique to the Ilana Chapter included the Clothing Name Tape program benefiting the Children’s Village in Hadassim, and the innovative “House That Goodwill Built”, later adopted by the Toronto Hadassah Council, which featured it as the “Eilat Lighthouse” at the annual Toronto Hadassah Bazaar.
Cocktail parties, teas, luncheons, raffle draws, theatre outings, and dinner-dances were also popular fundraising activities for the Ilana Chapter, most taking place in members’ homes and relying heavily on membership donations.In 1964 the Chapter inaugurated a highly successful fundraising event, their annual Treasure Trove and Antique Auction, with proceeds benefiting Youth Aliyah.This project ran until the early 1980’s. Linens, silver, clothing, and other like goods were either donated for sale or offered on consignment by local businesses, proving to be a successful fundraising event for the Chapter. Originally organized in members’ homes, the Auction and Treasure Trove was held at the following venues during the 1960s and early 1970s:The North York Memorial Gardens, St. Lawrence Hall, Edwards Gardens, and finally the Holiday Inn Yorkdale, where it remained from 1973 until its final years.
Scope and Content
The series consists of records in the form of textual documents, photographs, press clippings, memorabilia, and scrapbooks that document the history of the Ilana Chapter from 1949 – 1990, and its successor the Deborah-Ilana Chapter from 1990-1996.
These include administrative documents such as executive council lists (1951-1983), membership lists (1949-1993), master lists of past presidents (1949-1983) and financial records (1952-1991).
Other documents include executive meeting minutes (1952-1972) and general meeting minutes (1951-1982), the opening prayer read before all meetings, a Chapter history compiled by a former President in 1966, and the Chapter Constitution and By-Laws (1964).
Documents of the chapter’s involvement in the Rose Dunkelman Day Care Center include letters, photos, certificates and case histories issued by Hadassim and Wizo Baby Services from 1997- 1988.
Among the membership memorabilia are photos, cards, invitations, press clippings, a sympathy card, and an obituary.
Finally this series includes the meeting gavel which was used by the president to chair the meetings.
The records are arranged in chronological order by subject, such as membership lists, executive council nominations, and executive meeting minutes. The contents of 3 scrapbooks have been placed in files and are arranged chronologically.
Hadassim Youth Village was conceived and planned by the members of Canadian Hadassah-WIZO during the Second World War. In December 1944, the first furrow was plowed on a Jewish National Fund tract close to malaria-infested swampland near Natanya in the Sharon region. A master architectural plan was prepared in that year, and three years later during the 1947-48 school year, a residential education centre opened for children orphaned or left homeless during the Holocaust.
Fifty Hungarian and Polish orphans were soon joined by fifty “Sabra” children, for even then, the goal was to integrate as well as educate. From the beginning, Hadassim’s philosophy has been to serve children who are in distress or underachievers, because of family disfunction, behavioral, or cultural issues. Many pupils are new immigrants from such countries as the former Soviet Union, Iran, and Ethiopia.
Four dormitories, a dining hall, and kitchen were the first buildings constructed, and an Arab orange grove was acquired as the first agricultural property. Through the years, the campus of one hundred acres has grown to include primary, junior and senior high schools with upwards of one thousand day students, five hundred residential students, and a staff of over two hundred. There are a dozen student dormitories, housing units for employees and their families, an amphitheatre and performance hall, a synagogue, medical facilities, technical workshops, gymnasium, swimming pool, offices, and many other facilities.The management of the village is directed by the Schools Department of World WIZO, with the involvement of the Israel Ministry of Education and the Youth Aliyah Department of the Jewish Agency.
In order to maximize the use of facilities, the village operates summer camp programs for the children of wounded soldiers, children in distress or from large families, and students visiting from Jewish schools in the diaspora.
In the 1970s, Hadassim and WIZO Baby Services extended their mandate to build crèches (day care centres) for children from one month to four years. These facilities are located in all areas of Israel.
In 1994 Hadassim and Day Care Centres campaign became known as WIZO Services.This “umbrella” of projects includes the Hadassim Children and Youth Village, other schools, day care centres, women and youth clubs, and “Women for Women” services for battered women.
Other Village initiatives include guest accommodations, and special programs for underprivileged or academically-challenged children from the local area. A proactive public relations campaign attracts much media attention and visitors to Hadassim. Canadian chapters of Hadassah –WIZO continue to provide major funding for the village.
Scope and Content
The series consists of 1 photograph and textual records, documenting the history of Hadassim Youth Village and Hadassim and WIZO Baby Services in Israel (now known as WIZO Services) from the 1950s to1999.
Included are executive and committee lists, executive and donor correspondence, press clippings, reports, histories, flyers, case histories of students, as well as information about “Women for Women” and Baby Creche and Kindergarten Services.
Major fund raising initiatives such as raffle draws, auction and party events (1970-1989), Famous People Players,and "Lend Your Heart to Hadassim" are documented by invitations, programs, tickets, and publicity.
The records are arranged by function, such as the history of Hadassim, publicity, correspondence, committee lists, and documentation of fund raising activities.
The first edition of the Toronto Hadassah Reporter was published in September 1937 by the Toronto Hadassah Council. The mandate of this periodical was stated to be “A new venture to present to members the doings of the chapters, the plans of it’s council, and Jewish news of importance all over the world.” In 1991 the editor’s responsibility was described as “Informing membership of current projects and recording past successes.” In 1998 the readership was reminded that the Reporter functions to make them aware of every activity at every level of WIZO
From the early years of publication, from 1937 through to the end of the Second World War, current events reports from countries and cities around the world kept readers informed about Jewish issues and war efforts. The founding of the State of Israel in 1948, and subsequent developments there was a major theme. Subsequent topics of historical significance included Expo 67 in Montreal, Soviet Jewry in the 1970s and 1980s, the American Bicentennial in 1976, and Camp David in 1978.
WIZO’s strong affiliation with other community organizations is well documented. These organizations include the Toronto branches of Jewish National Fund, Israel Bonds, Hebrew University, and Young Judaea. Activities of the United Jewish Appeal, Jewish Vocational Service, Jewish Family and Child Service, B’Nai Brith Women, the Jewish Book Fair, and others were also promoted.
The coverage of internal Hadassah activities was very thorough. Conventions, yearly bazaars, fund raising events, financial reports, listings and biographies of officers and executives, chapter histories, and the development of Hadassah’s own archive, as well as reports from members visiting Israel and other countries around the world, are some of the highlights. Cultural topics include book reviews and advertisements for lectures.
A prominent feature is the listing in almost every issue of the Life Members, and since 1972, Male Life Associates, as well as “Specific Gifts” donors to such projects as Youth Aliyah, Hadassim, Asaf Harofe Hospital, Hebrew University Medical Centre, and Project Enrichment.
The Reporter served a financial role by including ads for local businesses in the early editions, and from 1954 on, by promoting the commercial ventures
Scope and Content
The series consists of a collection of periodicals called the Toronto Hadassah Reporter, covering the years 1937 to 2004.
From 1937 to 1955 the Reporter was published monthly. The collection is not complete for these years, with an average of seven to eight issues missing per year. During the years 1956 to 1969 an average of six editions was published. From 1970 to 2000 the number of issues varied from three to five. During 2000 to 2004 the frequency stabilized at four per year, of which half are missing. Due to the frequently changing publication schedule it is not possible to know with certainty which issues are not included.
Files in this series have been arranged in chronological order.