2 photographs : b&w (1 negative) ; 13 x 18 cm and 10 x 12 cm
Jack Leve was born in Russia. In 1904, after his brother was murdered in a pogrom, his parents put Jack—who was only nine at the time—on a ship to Montreal, where he lived with relatives. He did very well at Hebrew school, but one day he dipped a snowball in water to freeze it and hit the rabbi with it on his walk home, knocking him out. When he was caught, he decided to move to New York City and found a factory job, skinning skunks for fur coats.
After serving with the Canadian forces in the First World War, Jack decided to trade furs, working in James Bay. He spent most of his time with First Nations individuals, making many connections and even befriending Grey Owl. In 1938, Jack married Sarah Rives. When Judy was born in Montreal, the family had to send out a dog sled to notify Jack, who was in an igloo on Baffin Island.
Jack eventually settled in Sudbury around 1944. He had a base office just above Wolfe's book store where he kept two baby bears which he fed with baby bottles. He spent a great deal of time in the bush where he met with First Nations individuals, trapped, hunted, fished and purchased furs. Despite his rugged lifestyle, he was a staunch Zionist. In 1948, he relied on his contacts and skills as a fur trader to ship bullets hidden in mink, muskrat and otter furs to Israel to help the cause during the War of Independence. He was also an active member of the Jewish community in Sudbury. His wife kept a Kosher home and Jack served on the executive of the synagogue and B'nai Brith.
Scope and Content
This item is a copy print and corresponding negative of Jack Leve's fur store in Sudbury, Ontario. The image depicts a group of men standing on the sidewalk looking at two bear cubs on rope leashes in front of the store.
Copyright is in the public domain and permission for use is not required. Please credit the Ontario Jewish Archives as the source of the photograph.