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Dr. Sam Hurwich was involved in a number of organzations including the Canadian Jewish Congress, JIAS, and several Labour Zionist groups.
Hospital for Sick Children
AC 22 Side 1:
00:14 Dr. Hurwich explains that while he was in medical school between 1919 and 1926 a number of organizations started Sunday schools to provide Jewish education for children in the community. The earliest schools he recalls were at Holy Blossom and were established by Edmund Scheuer at the Zionist Centre. Dr. Hurwich briefly taught at the Zionist Centre.
1:04 The Ladies Group at the McCaul St. Shul asked Dr. Hurwich to organize a school and serve as principal. Dr. Hurwich list the women involved with the program. 150 students, both boys and girls, met once a week on Sundays initially. Later, classes were held twice a week.
3:00 Dr. Hurwich explains that the leaders of the synagogue were very supportive. Outside of Talmud Torah, there was no other formal Jewish education.
3:30 Dr. Hurwich list the melameds (private teachers) at the time and discusses his own Jewish education.
4:40 Dr. Hurwich mentions Dr. L. J. Solway, the son of one of Sam’s teachers, and describes his path to study medicine. Dr. Hurwich and Stephen Speisman discuss other members of the Solway family. Two brothers were shochtim (ritual slaughterers), and one brother was a sofer (scribe).
6:39 Dr. Hurwich explains that he was approached to be the school’s principal because of his background knowledge and previous experience as a teacher.
7:20 The students were taught Hebrew, Chumash (Torah), tefillah (Jewish prayer), and Yiddish.
8:58 Dr. Hurwich explains that he has no knowledge of school established by Ida Siegal in 1912/1913.
9:24 Dr. Hurwich’s family attended the McCaul Street shul.
9:32 Mrs. Hurwich explains that the National Radical School, the first secular Yiddish school, opened in 1911/1912 on Simcoe Street. Mrs. Hurwich attended this school.
10:25 The Farband School, which was Zionist in spirit, was organized in the 1920s as an offshoot of the Radical School, which later became the Peretz Shule. The latter was anti-Zionist. The Farband School taught both Yiddish and Hebrew. Dr. Hurwich briefly discusses the history of the Farband starting in the US, opening in Montreal, and then opening later in Toronto.
12:30 Dr. Hurwich mentions other secular schools and their locations.
13:19 Dr. Hurwich discusses the conflict between the religious community and the National Radical School (later Workman’s Circle). Examples include religious groups opposed the secular groups because they organized events on Saturday. The Workman’s Circle, meanwhile, opposed Zionist groups, etc.
14:58 Dr. Hurwich comments that the signing of the Balfour Declaration had a uniting effect on the Jewish community.
16:19 Mrs. Hurwich describes the inception and growth of the National Radical School between 1911 and 1916. The school was able to spark the spirit of Jewish/Yiddish revival through the teaching of language, music, literature, and folklore. At its peak there were five hundred children attending the school three times a week.
21:00 Mrs. Hurwich discusses how, after the First World War, a school was established by Mr. Morris Goldstick. Mrs. Hurwich explains that each Sunday children would collect money for the school at 194 Beverly Street.
22:11 Stephen Speisman comments that this type of organization grew into the Canadian Jewish Congress.
23:00 Mrs. Hurwich speaks of the influence this school had on her and other children’s lives. She comments, for example, that the children mourned Peretz’s death as if he were a relative.
24:29 Mrs. Hurwich discusses the leadership and teachers of the National Radical School.
25:58 Stephen Speisman cites an incident in which the National Radical School was accused of attempting to convert children to Christianity. Dr. and Mrs. Hurwich were not aware of this accusation.
26:58 Dr. Hurwich suggests that the signing of the Balfour Declaration was the stimulus for the creation of the Sunday school at the Zionist Centre. The school was designed to augment Jewish education with Zionist ideology.
28:12 Stephen Speisman cites a second incident involving objections from the religious community to a proposal to hold a picnic in Lambton Park on Shabbat. Dr and Mrs. Hurwich concur that this may have occurred.
29:10 Dr. Hurwich explains that the school at Holy Blossom run by Edmund Scheuer did not have a Zionist spirit. The Zionist Sunday school was a reaction to this school.
31:10 Dr. Hurwich describes the efforts of Mr. ?Hyman, an engineer turned Hebrew teacher, and Mr. Israel Freeman, a chalutz (pioneer) from Palestine who moved to Canada, to organize a Hebrew-speaking club for young people at the Simcoe Street Talmud Torah.
34:26 Dr. Hurwich discusses the various Yiddish and Hebrew groups available for Jewish youth in Toronto.
36:10 Dr. Hurwich suggests there was no animosity among the Zionists. Young Judaea had been founded by that time.
37:16 Dr. and Mrs. Hurwich list people who were active in youth groups and education in that era.
39:30 Dr. Hurwich discusses some synagogues from that era: a shul on Richmond Street that his grandfather helped found and a shul on Elm Street. He recalls learning Gemara at the Elm Street Shul in 1912.
42:24 Rabbi Yudi Rosenberg was rabbi at the Elm Street Shul. Dr. Hurwich mentions other rabbis from that era: Rabbis Weinreb, Gordon, and Graubart.
AC 22 Side 2
00:10 Dr. Hurwich discusses his encounters with antisemitism while in public school and in an attempt to find a paediatric internship at the Hospital for Sick Children.