13 film reels (ca. 3 hrs.) : b&w and col., si. ; 16 mm and other material
[ca. 1938]-1965, 2013
Scope and Content
Accession consists of records documenting both sides of Sharon Abron Drache's family: the Abramowitz's/Abron's and the Levinter's. Included are film reels with footage of both the Abramowitz and Levinter families as well as an album documenting a Jewish National Fund Negev tribute dinner in honour of David Abramowitz's 70th birthday. The album includes congratulatory letters and telegrams, photographs, newspaper clippings, and one vinyl recording entitled "Great Moments of Beth Tzedec". Identified in the photographs are David Abramowitz and Nathan Phillips.
Accession also includes a copy of an oil painting of Jacob Levinter that was by Kenneth Forbes, a wedding portrait of Sharon Abron Drache (1965) by Al Gilbert, and Sharon's curriculum vitae (2013).
Sharon found these records in her home. She inherited them from her parents. The film reels had been stored in an old suitcase in her building's storage locker.
Murray Abramowitz was born in 1912 in Toronto. His parents were David (1884-1963) and Sarah (nee 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 6 March 1906. They resided at 159 York Street after their nuptials. The couple had three children: Rose (1907-2001); Oscar (1910-1986); 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 the Union Station and 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 and then 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 (née Levinter) on 8 June, 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. They included the Rex Hotel in Toronto and 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 50/50 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 10 October 2005.
The Levinter family was headed by Samuel and Rebecca (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 25 June 1916. They had six children: Edythe (1918 -2011); Alfred (1919-1919); Evelyn (1922-2006); Murray (1925-); Molly (1926 -); 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 (g. 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, Barbara Klein Muskrat – then and now, and 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, Ottawa Citizen, Books in Canada, the Glebe Report and the Ottawa and Western Jewish Bulletins.
Copyright may not be held by the Ontario Jewish Archives. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain permission prior to use.
Physical description note: includes 1 album, 1 painting, 1 photograph, 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 #2010-3/1 for addtional records donated to the OJA by Sharon Abron Drache.