The accession includes records documenting the family of Sharon Abron Drache. This includes both sides of her family: the Abramowitz/Abrons and the Levinters. The material consists of two beta home movie tapes, three DVDs, several photo albums, four artifacts (as well as newspaper clippings), correspondence, certificates, and other material. The donation also includes a book entitled Window on Toronto, a certificate for the Jewish Colonial Trust, examples of Murray Abron's photographs, and a recording of a speech Abba Eban gave at the UN.
The records were in the custody of Sharon Abron Drache. She has interherited the family photos and documents from both sides of her family.
Murray Abramowitz was born in 1912 in Toronto. His parents were David Abramowitz (1884-1963) and Sarah Abramowitz (née Winfield) (1885-1955). David arrived in Toronto in 1906. Sarah and her parents, Jacob and Anna, settled in Scranton, Pennsylvania around 1880. Jacob worked as a grocer and relocated his family to Toronto around 1894. Sarah and David were married at the McCaul Street Synagogue in Toronto on March 6, 1906. They resided at 159 York Street after their nuptials. The couple had three children: Rose (1907-2001), Oscar (1910-1986), and Murray (1912-2005). David's father, Shevach, served as the lay cantor at the First Roumanian Hebrew Congregation (now Adath Israel). David owned the men’s shop in Union Station. His sister, Sophie Abramowitz, ran the ladies' shop. The shops were located on the east end of the Great Hall, beneath the composite glass windows. Rose Abron Lahman became a physician, specializing in obstetrics and gynecology. Initially, she practised in Toronto; later, she practiced in Atlanta, Georgia. Rose graduated from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto when there were quotas for both women and Jews.
Murray married Edythe Levinter (m. Abramowitz) on June, 8, 1941. The event took place at the bride's family's home above their furniture store, J. Levinter Ltd, at 1169 Bloor Street West. The couple had one child, Sharon Abron Drache. Murray began using the Abron surname during the 1940s, changing it legally in the 1950s.
During his life, Murray worked as an hotelier and ran several businesses. These included the Rex Hotel in Toronto, Tent City at Lake Simcoe (ca. 1935-1945), and the St. Lawrence Hotel in Port Hope (1949-1955). When Murray managed the Rex Hotel he was a fifty-fifty partner with his mother's brother-in-law, Leo Hertzman. Leo owned and managed the store, United Clothing, which fronted the Rex Hotel on Queen Street at the south side of the beverage room. When Leo’s son Harold Hertzman returned from military service in 1945, Leo bought out Murray’s share in the business for Harold. Jack Ross and Morris Meyers purchased the hotel from the Hertzmans in 1951. Murray was also a co-owner of the Tent City business with his father, David Abramowitz, coinciding with his Rex Hotel years. During the late 1950s he worked as a real estate broker in Toronto and Florida. From the 1960s to the early 1970s, he worked in his mother-in-law’s furniture business, J. Levinter Ltd. After Murray retired from the furniture business, he became a stock broker. His hobbies included fishing, photography, and storytelling. He died on October 10, 2005.
The Levinter family was headed by Samuel Levinter and Rebecca Levinter (née Godfried). They were both born in Austria (Galicia) and came to Canada in their teens. After their marriage in 1890, they resided in St. John's Ward. The couple had seven children: Jacob (b. 1892), Etta (b. 1894), Manny (b. 1895), Isadore (b. 1898), Molly (b. 1900), Rose, and Dolly. Isadore became a prominent Toronto lawyer and was the first Jew appointed as a bencher at the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Samuel established Levinter Furniture in 1890. The business was initially located at 401-405 Queen Street. By 1925 Samuel had relocated his store to 287 Queen Street West, and his son Jacob had opened a second location at 1169 Bloor Street West. Jacob later expanded his location to 1171 Bloor Street West. Samuel died on April 30, 1942. Rebecca died in 1952. Jacob married Sara Kamin (b. 1894, Lodz, Poland) on June 25, 1916. They had six children: Edythe (1918 -2011), Alfred (1919-1919), Evelyn (1922-2006), Murray (1925-), Molly (1926 -), and Florence (b. 1930-). Jacob died of a heart attack in 1944. After his death, Sara took his place as owner and manager of the family business, grooming her son Murray to succeed her. Sara’s daughter Molly had an early career as a concert pianist in Toronto and New York. Sara died in Toronto in 1990.
Sharon Abron Drache attended Forest Hill Collegiate, graduating in 1962, and then completed an undergraduate degree and post-graduate diploma in psychology at the University of Toronto, the latter from the Institute of Child Study. She was enrolled as a special student in the Department of Religion at Carleton University from 1974-78. She has published four books of adult fiction: the Mikveh Man, Ritual Slaughter, the Golden Ghetto, and Barbara Klein Muskrat – Then and Now. She has also published two children's books: the Magic Pot and the Lubavitchers are Coming to Second Avenue. She has also worked as a literary journalist and book reviewer for several newspapers and journals including the Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, Books in Canada, the Glebe Report, and the Ottawa and Western Jewish Bulletins.
Copyright is held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. Please contact the Archives to obtain permission prior to use.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION NOTE: Includes 4 objects, 2 videocassettes (beta-tapes), 3 DVDs, 1 book, and 1 folder of textual records.
ASSOCIATED MATERIAL NOTE: Please see Sharon Drache's fonds at Library and Archives Canada and at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto for material related to her literary career. Please see Sharon Drache's fonds at the Ottawa Jewish Archives for material related to her journalism career. Finally, for additional material related to Sharon's family please see her fonds at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto.
RELATED MATERIAL NOTE: See accessions #2010-12/8 and # 2013-7/15 for addtional records donated by Sharon Abron Drache.