Accession consists of photographs of Hon. Sydney Harris' activities with the Canadian Jewish Congress and as part of a Canadian delegation to the World Jewish Congress events. Among the events being photographed: World Jewish Congress Sixth Plenary Assembly in Jerusalem in 1975, World Jewish Congress Executive Meetings in Geneva in 1968 and Jerusalem in 1970, CJC Representatives Conference in Hamilton, a Central Region Meeting in 1964 and the International Conference on Soviet Jewry in Brussels in 1976. Also included is a programme from a Tribute Dinner presenting the Canada Israel Friendship Award to Honourable R. Roy McMurtry. Identified in the photographs: Sydney Harris, Enid Harris, Monroe Abbey, Minnie Abbey, Max Melamet, Evie Melamet, [?] Becher, Marcus Einfeld, Sol Kanee, Sam Sable, David Satok, Leon Kronitz, Saul Hayes, Beatrice Hays, Daniel Lewis, [?] Fidler, Leon Teitelbaum, [?] Rowe, [?] Daniels, Gerhard Riegner, Lord Sieff, Lady Reading, Stephen Roth, Harry Steiner, Meyer Sarner, Goldie Sarner, Julie Hayman, Leah Seller, [?] Finkleman, Sam Bronfman, Dave Peters, Shelly Kent, Sally Kent, Joachim Schneeweiss, Aryeh Tartakower, Zalman Shazar, Joachim Prinz, Nahum Goldman, John Roberts, Serge Joyal, Ruth [?], William Wexler, and Hugo Gryn.
Sydney Harris (1917-2009) was born on June 23, 1917, to Samuel Aaron and Rose Harris (nee: Geldzaeler). Samuel worked as a salesman. Sydney's maternal grandparents, Mark and Yetta Geldzaeler (nee: Shumer) immigrated to Toronto in the 1880s. Mark Geldzaeler was the Chazan at Holy Blossom Temple. Sydney's paternal grandparents, Samuel and Sarah Harris (nee: Buker), and their children, also immigrated to Canada in the 1890s. Samuel Harris (senior) owned the Harris Delicatessen (later a tobacco store) and was one of the founders of the Hebrew Free Loan Society.
Sydney Harris received degrees from the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School, and then worked as a lawyer in Ottawa. He, along with Harold Rubenstein, founded the law firm of Harris and Rubenstein.
Appointed as a judge of the Ontario Provincial Court in 1976, he rendered decisions on very noteworthy cases. In 1978 he acquitted officers of the Pink Triangle Press and gay magazine Body Politic of charges of possession and distribution of obscene materials. He also dismissed the charges against Magder Furs for doing business on a Sunday. In 1988, he convicted NHL player Dino Ciccarelli for his on-ice attack on a player from the opposing team.
He became a small claims court judge when he retired in 1982, and was also a part-time member of the Ontario Assessment Review Board, a referee for the Law Society of Upper Canada and a lay appointee of the Council for the Association of Ontario Land Surveyors.
Sydney Harris was a human rights advocate, fighting for stronger laws in the Criminal Code to combat neo-Nazism. He was also a fervent supporter of the civil rights movement, even meeting with Martin Luther King Junior in 1963.
He was active in the Jewish community, serving as president of the Canadian Council of Reform Congregations national president of Toronto Jewish Vocational Services, and president Canadian Friends of Boys Town Jerusalem. He was also a founding member of Upper Canada Lodge, B'nai Brith. Most notably, he served as president of Canadian Jewish Congress, after serving on CJC's National Executive Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee and Religious Welfare Committee. He was secretary of Holy Blossom Temple's board, and then active at Temple Sinai. He was also known for his opposition to religious education in public schools.
Sydney married Enid Pearlman, a Registered Nurse, in 1950 and they had two children, Mark and David. Sydney Harris died on January 17, 2009.