Accession consists of one ceremonial bronze key to the Brusnwick Ave. Talmud Torah (Toronto Hebrew Free School) presented to Moses Gelber in 1925.
The key was discovered in the former Israeli home of Moses Gelber's son and daughter-in-law Edward E. and Anna Gelber. Sheila Lemonsky purchased the home and all its contents and kept the key for many years before sending it to friends Esme and Elly Gotz in Toronto, who in turn donated it to the OJA.
Moses Gelber (1876-1940) was a businessman and a prominent member of Toronto’s Jewish community in the early 1900s. He was born in Brzezany, Galicia on October 1, 1876 to Nathan Gelber and Rosie Altman. In 1894, he immigrated to Toronto where he and his brother, Louis Gelber, opened a clothing business. After operating this business for twenty-five years, Moses and Louis entered the woolen industry. Their company, Gelber Bros. Ltd., was located on 217 Richmond St. West.
In 1901, Moses married Sophie Sparber (1882-1907) and together they had two sons; Israel Gelber (1902-1913) and Edward E. Gelber (1903-1970). In 1907 Sophie gave birth to a stillborn baby and passed away a few days later from an infection related to the birth. Moses was remarried later that year to Sophie Gradinger (1879-1953) of Montreal. They lived in Toronto on 483 Huron St.
Moses was involved in many philanthropic and charitable activities. For instance, during the First World War he helped raise funds for Jewish people afflicted by the war in Europe, and was vice-president of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies. Moses also had close ties to Canada’s Zionist movement and was vice-president of the Dominion Organization, president of the Central Division of Ontario, and president of Toronto’s Zionist Council. Moses was active in many other Jewish community organizations. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the University Avenue Synagogue and president of the Talmud Torah and YMHA on Brunswick Avenue. He was also a member of B’nai Zion, I.O.B.B., and the Primrose Club of Toronto. When the Canadian Jewish Congress was formed in 1919, Moses was elected as one of its founding delegates.