110 photographs : b&w and col. (hand-tinted) ; 51 x 41 cm or smaller
6 architectural drawings : 70 x 36 or smaller
The Folks Farein, also known as the Hebrew National Association, was established in 1914 by a group of Toronto Jewish immigrants as a society dedicated to anti-missionary and educational outreach. They were first located at 23 Cecil Street and moved to 37 Cecil Street around 1940.
In the early years of the Folks Farein's existence, Christian missions and a number of Jewish converts to Christianity sought to exploit the situation of poor Jews in the community through the distribution of direct relief, services of doctors and midwives and by street-corner preaching and proselytizing. To counteract the work of the Toronto missionaries the Folks Farein offered a number of services including welfare for working mothers, a reading room, English language classes and translation services for Yiddish immigrants.
When the threat from missionary activity was no longer an issue, the Folks Farein transformed itself into a philanthropic society. Under its revised mandate the society looked after the sick and needy in hospitals, sanatoriums, mental health institutions and in their homes, and arranged for free doctor services, translation services, medicine, dentures, eyeglasses, orthopedic shoes and medical appliances. The Folks Farein guaranteed the full or partial payment of medical bills by maintaining a fund in several hospitals for the benefit of Jewish patients in need of assistance. They provided assistance to seniors applying for old age pensions, to widows and mothers applying for benefits, assisted needy families and patients with kosher meals, provided cash relief during Passover, and fed and billeted the unemployed and homeless at their premises at 37 Cecil Street.
In the course of their work, the Folks Farein collaborated with many Jewish organizations and societies such as the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society, Jewish Family Welfare Bureau, Relief Unemployment Fund, Jewish Joint Application Bureau, Jewish Children's Bureau, the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of Toronto, Canadian Jewish Congress and the Toronto Hebrew Free Loan Association.
Its basis of revenue came from its large membership, house-to-house contributions from the public and from special events such as its annual ball, Moes Chittin campaign, Purim ball, and beauty contests.
In addition to its regular activities the Folks Farein assumed responsibility for providing aid to refugees of the Second World War: the first group arriving from Europe in 1945 and in 1948 to a group of Jewish tailors liberated from the DP camps of Germany. In 1947, the Folks Farein established Hachnoses Orchim, a temporary shelter to accommodate refugees and displaced persons. The shelter was located at 37 Cecil Street.
The Folks Farein's first officers were Mr. J. Graner (president), Mr. J. Meisniker (vice-president), Mr. Meyer Littner (superintendent), Chuna Mosoff and Mr. W. Welman (trustees), Miss Weiner and Mr. Cohen (board of education), Mr. A. Kaminsky (recording secretary) and Mr. Cohen (treasurer). Mr. Epstein referred to as "Grandfather" was one of the founders of the Folks Farein.
Other pioneers included Moshe Oelbaum, and M. Spiegel (1st vice-president), J. Hurwitz (1st vice-president and president), Abraham Sher, S.M. Shapiro Shlesinger, Joseph Grenner, Mrs. Minna Winter (president of the Women's Auxiliary) and Kalman Wagner. In 1930, David Green assumed the position of president of the Folks Farein and served as its exclusive president from 1934 until his passing on 13 May 1977. Sam Cohen was then elected the new president of the Folks Farein.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records documenting the Folks Farein's philanthropic activities in the Toronto Jewish community from 1914 to 1977. Records include meeting minutes and agendas of the executive board and committees, resolutions of board of directors, newspaper clippings in both Yiddish and English, publicity material, photographs, general correspondence, architectural drawings, cemetery deeds, legal documents, records relating to David Green's personal interests, financial and fundraising records, wills and bequests, and client case files. The records have been arranged into nine series: Meeting minutes; Scrapbooks; Executive services; Celebrations and events; Building and operations; David Green; Finance and fundraising; and Case files.
Series consists of meeting minutes and agendas of the executive board and officers, the membership campaign committee, board and welfare meetings, annual meetings, the contact committee, the constitution committee, the ladies auxiliary, and annual and general meetings. Also included are accompanying materials distributed at meetings such as the nomination of officers, monthly case work reports, financial and auditor reports, and campaign reports. Of note is David Green's resignation letter, records documenting the slander suit of Kirshenbaum vs David Green, the final order of foreclosure of lands and premises at 23 Cecil St., the establishment of Hachnoses Orchim (the shelter house for refugees), the discussion regarding the purchase of a cemetery, the sale of the Jewish Old Folks Home and Folks Farein's motion to purchase, and records documenting the Folks Farein merger with the Chaplaincy division of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
File consists of meeting minutes of the executive board and officers, the membership campaign committee, board and welfare meetings, annual meetings, the contact committee, the constitution committee, and the election for President and officers. Mentioned in the minutes are activities surrounding hospital and case work, the Passover drive, the membership campaign, the Folks Farein judicial action against the Canadian News, the case of Kramer vs Folks Farein, the election of a Constitution committee, report on negotiations with the United Jewish Welfare Fund and the Canadian Jewish Congress. Included are financial reports, an analysis of income and expenditures, and election results of officers and Board of Directors. Of note is a letter from David Green announcing his resignation as President of the Folks Farein in 1942. Following his resignation David Green continued to serve as Hospital Chairman.
File consists of meeting minutes of the board and executive, the officers, the ladies auxiliary, annual meetings and nomination of officers, an emergency meeting and general meeting minutes. Included in the minutes are hospital and case work reports, building committee reports, good and welfare reports, financial statements, reports on the establishment of Hachnoses Orchim, the Shelter house for refugees on the premises of the Folks Farein, and the nomination of David Green as President in 1948. Also included is a notebook containing Yiddish notes from meetings between 1943 and 1948.
File consists of meeting minutes of the executive board and officers, delegates, ladies auxiliary, annual meetings, the Passover relief cases committee, nomination and election committee and the hospital visitation committee. Included are hospital and case work reports, building committee reports, good and welfare reports, financial statements, report of activities of the Hachnoses Orchim, discussions regarding the purchase of a cemetery, the plans for a 20th year Jubilee banquet in honour of President David Green, the sale of the Jewish Old Folks Home buildings and Folks Farein's motion to purchase, and the first concert given at the Ontario Hospital School in Orillia.
File consists of a ledger for the Hachnoses Orchim program. The ledger provides a log of visitors to the program and other journal entries. Hachnoses Orchim was established by the Folks Farein Ladies' Auxiliary in 1945 with the goal of providing accommodations and aid for visitors to Toronto.
Series consists of photocopied scrapbooks containing newspaper clippings relating to Folks Farein activities. The majority of clippings are from the Daily Hebrew Journal, the Daily Packet and Times, the Mail and Empire, the Evening Telegram, the Toronto Daily Star, the Globe and Mail, the Jewish Standard, the Yiddisher Zhurnal, View, the Toronto Jewish Reporter and the Canadian Jewish News. A large number of articles relate to Folks Farein charitable activities for the sick and needy in Ontario hospitals, sanatoriums, and asylums, Passover meals and seders, concerts, the annual fund raising campaign, beauty contest and New Years Eve Ball, the 50th Anniversary Jubilee Year celebration, the Children's Haven at Kfar Saba Israel, and the Toronto Israel Bond Drive. Of note is an article entitled Folks Farein 35 years of devoted service to the Jewish community. Included in the article are reprints of excerpts from the Hebrew Journal of 1914 addressing the activity of missionary groups seeking to convert members of the immigrant Jewish community and the Anti-Conversion Farein society organized to counteract the work of the missionaries.
File consists of a photocopied scrapbook containing newspaper clippings relating to Folks Farein activities. The majority of the clippings are from the Daily Hebrew Journal (Yiddisher Zhurnal), the Daily Packet and Times, The Mail and Empire, Evening Telegram, The Toronto Daily Star, The Globe and Mail, The Jewish Standard. A large number of articles relate to the charitable activities of the Folks Farein such as the annual fund raising campaign, the annual beauty contest and New Years Eve Ball, concerts, and charity work in hospitals, sanatoriums and asylums. Of note is the motion of Kirshenbaum vs David Green, the official opening of the Folks Farein new home at 37 Cecil St., and the election of Rabbi Monson as treasurer of the Folks Farein. Included among the newspaper articles are photographs of David Green, H. Weiner, I. Grossman, M. Spiegel, A. Simon, Ben Fish, Ida Segal, Rabbi Samuel Sachs and Sam Kronick. Also included is a photocopied photograph of the Graner Family [192-?], seated is Joseph Graner, founder and first president of the Folks Farein
File consists of a photocopied scrapbook containing newspaper clippings relating to Folks Farein activities. The majority of the clippings are from the Daily Hebrew Journal/The Yiddisher Zhurnal and the Toronto Daily Star. A large number of articles relate to the election of David Green as President of the Folks Farein, charitable activities such as the annual fund raising campaign, the annual beauty contest and New Years Eve Ball, and charity work in hospitals, sanatoriums and asylums. Of note is an interview with David Green at the time of his resignation as President, and an article regarding a meeting of the Labor Lyceum honoring Sholom Schwartzband.
File consists of a photocopied scrapbook containing newspaper clippings relating to Folks Farein activities. The majority of the clippings are from the Daily Hebrew Journal, The Jewish Standard, and The Telegram. Articles relate to Folks Farein charitable activities in the community, Passover meals and seders for the sick and needy, a pamphlet highlighting the activities of the Folks Farein in the community, the installation of officers of the Ladies Auxiliary, the Toronto Israel Bond Drive with photos of David Green, Louis Zuker of the Landsmanshaften Committee, Syd Applebaum, and Bert Godfrey of the State of Israel Bond campaign. Also included is a photocopied photograph of David Green.
File consists of a photocopied scrapbook containing newspaper clippings relating to Folks Farein activities. The clippings are from The Jewish Standard, View, The Toronto Jewish Reporter, and the Canadian Jewish News. Articles relate to Folks Farein's 50th Anniversary Jubilee Year celebration, the Children's Haven at Kfar Saba in Israel, and expanded activities of Chaplaincy services in prisons and hospitals. Of note is an article entitled Folks Farein 35 years of devoted service to the Jewish community. The article includes reprints of editorials from the Hebrew Journal in 1914 addressing the activity of missionary groups seeking to gain Jewish proselytes. Mentioned are Rabbi Kelman and Rabbi Monson.
25 photographs : b&w and col. ; 51 x 41 cm or smaller
Scope and Content
Series consists of portraits, photographs and correspondence documenting the activities of the Folks Farein Executive. Of note is a letter from the Canadian Overseas Garment Commission to David Green regarding the issuance of discharge certificates for immigrants who came to Toronto under the Tailor's Project.
File consists of 19 photographs of Folks Farein members and executive. Included are photographs of David Green, S. Shuhyn (Superintendent), M. Handelman, M. Oelbaum, K. Geller, Jack Bender, Harry Charendoff, M. Speigel, M. Littner, Rabbi David Monson and 3 unknown individuals.
File consists of Folks Farein correspondence. The majority of letters are requests for donations, letters of condolence and congratulations and requests for volunteers. Of note is a letter from S. Cohen, Vice President, addressing the passing of David Green, and a statement made by Rabbi Monson regarding his resignation as Treasurer of the Folks Farein.
File consists of correspondence to the Folks Farein. The majority are thank you letters for concerts, Passover meals, aid for refugees, donations, and chaplaincy services. Of note is a letter from the Canadian Overseas Garment Commission regarding the Tailor's Project, a letter from Sidney Diswood, Administrator of Mt. Sinai Hospital regarding the establishment of a working relationship between the Folks Farein and Mt. Sinai, a copy of an article written by Rabbi Kelman entitled Mental Hospitals, and a copy of a speech given by Jacob Bellar congratulating David Green on his leadership of the Folks Farein. The majority of letters are from various Ontario hospitals, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the United Jewish Appeal, the United Jewish Welfare Fund, the Jewish Home for the Aged, Jewish Immigration Aid Society, and the State of Israel Bonds.
Series consists of records of Folks Farein services offered to the community. Of note are Bathurst Lawn architectural drawings, cemetery deeds and delegates, resolution of the board of directors, the notification of registration as a charitable organization, the United Jewish Refugee and War Relief Agencies report of meeting held on January 5, 1945. There are also several photographs depicting Passover dinners and volunteer service performed by various Folks Farein volunteers at Ontario hospitals.
File consists of thank you letters for Christmas gifts, distribution of Passover kosher meals and concerts for patients in Ontario hospitals, santitoriums and penal institutions. The majority of letters are from the Ontario Hospital, Toronto General, Toronto Western, Jewish Home for the Aged, the Industrial Farm in Burwash and the St. John's Convalescent Hospital.
File consists of Folks Farein activity reports. Included in the file are pamphlets entitled The Ways We Help, Service with Meaning, Folks Farein Provides Help and a Personal Interest and a one page detailed account of services provided to patients in Toronto hospitals.
File consists of a report of the United Jewish Refugee and War Relief Agencies. The report deals with topics such as recent refugee arrivals and composition of the groups, distribution of refugees based on country of origin, reception of refugees at the port of entry, housing, employment, financial costs incurred, medical and convalescent services, the reuniting of European children with their parents, education, social adjustment, ex-internees, urban and farm workers, students, farmers, urban loans, war guests, refugee case committee, and agencies utilized in the rehabilitation of refugees. The Folks Farein is among the agencies and committees acknowledged for their co-operation and services.
Series consists of records documenting Folks Farein celebrations and events. The majority of records contain correspondence and related material for the 50th and 60th Jubilees, the Children's Haven in Kfar Saba Israel, the Passover campaign and the David Green testimonial dinner.
File consists of Folks Farein special events promotional material. Included is a 1936 Annual Ball and Beauty Contest program guide, announcements for the annual meeting and nomination of officers, the inauguration of the 1936 campaign special banquet and pamphlets describing the work of the Folks Farein.
Series consists of correspondence and legal documents relating to the building and operations of the Folks Farein. Of note is the offer to purchase the Toronto Jewish Old Folks Home, a letter regarding the merger of the Folks Farein and the Chaplaincy division of the Canadian Jewish Congress and a copy of the motion of Kirshenbaum vs Green.
Series consists of records relating to David Green's personal interests. Of note is correspondence relating to Green's ongoing charitable work in Israel, the Jewish Home for the Aged and Baycrest Hospital, Mt. Sinai Hospital, JIAS, CJC, UJWF, and the State of Israel Bonds. Also included is a copy of a speech given in honour of Menachem (Manny) Kraicer, Executive Director of JIAS central region and the War Efforts Committee presentation of photographs of Ontario Jews in the armed forces during the Second World War.
File consists of records of David Green's outside interests. Included in the file are event invitations, program guides, Jewish directories, correspondence and the new Mt. Sinai first annual report. Mentioned are novelist Sholem Asch, Chairman of the Jewish anit-fascist committee Solomon Michoels, poet Itzik Feffer, Rabbi David Monson, Senator David Kroll and Ben Gurion. Of note is the War Efforts Committee of the Canadian Jewish Congress presentation of photographs of Ontario Jews in the armed forces during the Second World War.
File consists of personal correspondence. Included are letters of appreciation, congratulations, requests for donations, invitations, program guides, and reports. The majority of correspondence is with the United Jewish Welfare Fund, Canadian Jewish Congress, National Jewish Welfare Fund and State of Israel Bonds. Mentioned is JIAS, the National War Finance Committee, B'nai Brith, Associated Hebrew Schools of Toronto and the Zionist Organization of Canada. Of note is a copy of a speech given in honour of Menachem (Manny) Kraicer, Executive Director of JIAS central region. Included in the file is a copy of photograph of an unidentified woman.
Series consists of financial and fundraising records of the Folks Farein. Of note are wills and bequests, correspondence with the Department of National Revenue and a letter from Mr. A.M Shainack describing the awarding a sefer Torah.
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
File consists of donation records. Included in the file are the donation records of small Ontario businesses and private individuals from theToronto Jewish community. Of note is a letter from A.M. Shainack awarding one sefer Torah and all associated ornaments to the Folks Farein.
Closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing the records.
File consists of fundraising letters. Included in the file are draft letters appealing for funds from private individuals, previous contributors, labor organizations, fraternal organizations and auxillaries. Also included is David Green's business card.
In general terms, the majority of Jewish immigrants arrived from Eastern Europe during the inter-war years settling primarily in the Kensington Market area working mainly as laborers in the garment industry or as peddlers. Immigrants sought the aid of the Folks Farein for financial assistance by helping to reduce fees for hospital stays, physicians, pharmaceuticals, dentists, vision care, medical appliances, home care, rent, food relief and specifically Passover relief, and legal fees. The Folks Farein would also provide interpretation services when necessary, such as at Toronto hospitals and when dealing with legal services or city officials, as the majority of their clients spoke only Yiddish. The Folks Farein worked in conjunction with a number of medical and mental health institutions such as the Toronto Hospital, the Ontario Hospital Whitby, Mt. Sinai, the Sick Children's Hospital and the Hospital for Incurables. Case workers would often make site visits to client homes in order to assess and/or remedy their living situation.
Scope and Content
Series consists of case files of individuals or families seeking financial, medical and legal aid. The files include intake forms, remarks, medical reports, legal documents, correspondence with hospitals, physicians, charitable organizations, social service agencies, and the department of immigration. In most cases, multiple people are mentioned in the file, such as spouses and children, or close relatives.
Intake forms are divided into two sections: one that captures general biographical information about the client at first contact, such as the client name, age, current address, telephone number, occupation, employer, birthplace, citizenship, length of time in Canada and Toronto, names and number of children, and name of spouse and relatives; and one section that captures ongoing general remarks about the individual's situation as recorded by the case worker.
Medical reports include the nature of the client's illness and record of ongoing care, health care provider correspondence, administration of fees for service, prescriptions, date and cause of death.
Correspondence includes letters to and from social service agencies, government departments, medical institutions, legal services and religious institutions. Also included are client letters of thanks to the Folks Farein. Most client letters are written in Yiddish.
Legal documents include original passports, birth certificates, marriage certificates, military records, landing papers, naturalization certificates, and medical certificates. Documents have often been translated from language of origin into English by case workers.
There are several different blocks of clients evident in the records: those who arrived during the inter-war years; post-Second World War refugees including those from DP camps brought over through the tailor's project, and those who were sponsored by relatives and businesses; those who came after the Hungarian Revolution of 1956; and in the later years, first-born Canadians in need of assistance and those having lived in Canada for a considerable time applying for old age security and mother's allowance.
Researchers should consult the Folks Farein case file database for information on individual files.
ACCESS RESTRICTION NOTE: Case files are closed until 120 years after date of creation or 50 years after death. In some cases the death of the individual is noted in the file, but in many of these instances there are other family members mentioned and so this information will require redaction.
The series was formerly known as MG2 O1N
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
Case numbers are based upon the date a case was first opened. The title of each file contains the client name, address and case number. This arrangement has been maintained.