The first meeting of the Canadian Jewish Congress was held in Montreal from March 16-19, 1919. Their intended goal was to mobilize Canadian Jews and discuss the following issues: the community's self-image and future, national minority rights in Eastern Europe, the future of a Jewish national home in Palestine and the recognition of a Jewish nation by the League of Nations. This conference was followed in May of that year by several district conferences held in Montreal, Toronto and Winnipeg.
On January 26, 1919, a conference attended by 125 local organizations was held in the Baron de Hirsch Institute. The conference recognized the necessity for a Canadian Jewish Congress, and elected a committee of forty to arrange the first national CJC meeting. The committee divided Canada into three territorial districts: Montreal (Quebec), Toronto (Ontario), and Winnipeg (Western Canada), and each district was to arrange elections to send delegates.
Ontario sent a total of 65 delegates to the first national CJC meeting in March of 1919. 40 of these were from Toronto. Elections for the all the delegates took place on March 2, 1919. A large majority of Canadian Jews participated in these elections.
Across the country, 25,000 ballots were cast during the 1919 election. This indicated that a huge portion of the Canadian Jewish community was involved in the CJC, since the total Jewish population at that time was 125,000.
The first CJC Plenary Assembly, involving the group seen in this photo, was from March 16-19, 1919 (Purim), and the photo was taken on the 18th on the steps of the Baron de Hirsch building at 2040 Bleury St., but the actual meetings were held nearby at the Monument Nationale Theatre, which had a larger auditorium.
Scope and Content
The item is a panoramic photograph of the delegates who took part in the first Canadian Jewish Congress plenary session in Montreal. The photo was taken on March 18, 1919 on the steps of the Baron de Hirsch building on 2040 Bleury St., though the actual meetings were held nearby at the Monument Nationale Theatre, which had a larger auditorium.
Three members of the Goldstick family were elected delegates to this conference from Toronto: Maurice Goldstick, Betty Goldstick and Henry Dworkin. In turn, many prominent members of the Toronto community took part such as: M. Gelber (manufacturer), Ben Zion Hyman (book store owner and scholar), I. Matenko (teacher), Dr. Pollock (physician), Sam Factor (lawyer), and A. Cohen (lawyer).
Canadian Jewish Congress
Congresses and conventions
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.
Photograph is in good condition.
A detailed account of the formation of the Canadian Jewish Congress can be found in A.D. Hart's "The Jew in Canada" (1926). An original ballot to elect Toronto's delegates to the meeting is located in accession 2004-5/162. Also, see the ZOC fonds, #27, for minutes documenting CJC from this time period. Finally, MG6E3 in the file cabinet contains 2 files documenting Maurice Goldstick and Betty's involvement in the CJC in 1919, and later Maurice and Dorothy's involvement in Congress during the 1930s. Some of the individuals have been identified in a photocopy of this item which is available in the accession records. A full delegates list can be found in Hart's "The Jew in Canada.".