The Zionist Organization of Canada (ZOC) (1921-1978) acted as the official voice of Zionism in Canada, promoting the aims of Zionism in communities across the country. The ZOC adhered to the principles of the Jerusalem Program of the Zionist movement founded by Theodor Herzl in 1898 during the First Zionist Congress held in Basle Switzerland. These principles included: 1) the promotion of immigration to Israel; 2) raising funds to carry out the aims of Zionism; 3) encouraging investment in Israel; 4) fostering Jewish consciousness; and 5) mobilizing public opinion about Israel and the Jewish communities of the Diaspora.
The Federation of Zionist Societies of Canada (FZSOC) was founded in 1898 as the national collective of groups representing Zionist interests in Canada. In 1921 the organization changed its name and was incorporated as the Zionist Organization of Canada, becoming the primary umbrella organization for Zionist groups in Canada.
The ZOC was a broad-based organization that embraced an ideology of nationhood which attracted influential national leaders within the Jewish community as well as thousands of members across the country. ZOC's main office was located in Montreal until 1970, when it moved to the Toronto Zionist Centre on Marlee Ave, Toronto. ZOC provided smaller communities, which had few institutional supports, with vital linkages to the metropolitan centres through their programs that were run out of the regional offices and local Zionist councils. The Zionist Organization of Canada operated as an umbrella group that oversaw Zionist funds and administered the budgets of such organizations as Canadian Hadassah-WIZO, the Men's Zionist Organization of Canada and Young Judaea. ZOC programs promoted a stronger Jewish identity amongst Canadian Jews and familiarity with Hebrew through the periodical, Canadian Zionist. These programs included book clubs, lunch clubs, film exhibits, youth camps, travel offices, and two television programs during the 1970s on cable television in Montreal and Toronto.
In 1967, ZOC became a constituent member of the new Federated Zionist Organization of Canada (FZOC), along with Canadian Hadassah-WIZO, the Labour Zionist Movement of Canada, Mizrachi Hapoel Hamizrachi Organization of Canada, Zionist Revisionist Organization of Canada, Achdut Avoda, and Friends of Pioneering Israel (Mapam). In 1972, FZOC became the Canadian Zionist Federation (CZF). During the 1970s, ZOC's functions were gradually absorbed by the Canadian Zionist Federation, the CZF Central Region based in Toronto, and by the Toronto Zionist Council. By 1978, the Zionist Organization of Canada had ceased to function as an organization.
Scope and Content
The Zionist Organization of Canada (ZOC) records span a 70 year period between 1908, with the formation of the Toronto Zionist Council (and its affiliated corporation, the United Zionists of Toronto) and the creation of the Zionist Organization of Canada in 1921, until 1978. The bulk of the records in the fonds were created after 1950.
The fonds is organized into two sous-fonds and eight record series. The sous-fonds contain records of the ZOC Central Region and the Toronto Zionist Council, which exercised considerable autonomy in their work under the ZOC umbrella. The record series include records relating to: ZOC's executive bodies, the National Administrative Council and Executive Board, and their predecessor, the Executive Committee of the Federation of Zionist Societies of Canada (1919-1976); the National Camps Association, responsible for overseeing the administration of summer camps owned by ZOC (1961-1968); Canadian Young Judaea, the youth wing of ZOC which was also responsible for the operation of ZOC summer camps (1957-1978); the ZOC Department of Education and Culture's cable television programme, Shalom (1971-1977); ZOC national conventions (1946-1975); the Federated Zionist Organization of Canada, of which ZOC became a member organization on its formation in 1967 (1972-1978); and the 28th World Zionist Congress held in 1972. The fonds also includes a series of subject files, the primary recordkeeping system for ZOC's administration, and a series of photographs of prominant persons and events maintained by ZOC for its public relations work.
Physical description note: Includes: ca. 1100 photographs (b&w and col.; some negatives), 24 embossed prints, 3 film reels (col., Super 8 mm), and 1 videocassette (col., VHS).
Associated material note: Additional records of the Zionist Organization of Canada can be found at the Canadian Jewish Congress National Archives (Montreal), Library & Archives Canada (Ottawa), and the World Zionist Organization's Central Zionist Archives (Jerusalem)
Zionist Organization of Canada
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.