December 2011

New developments on the ground and on the web

Since our last newsletter a major community reorganization resulted in the merging of the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Canadian Israel Committee, the University Outreach Committee and the Quebec-Israel Committee into a new entity; the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA). While other activities of the CJC Charities Committee have been scaled back as a result, the CJCCC National Archives continues to thrive, thanks to generous newly-initiated support from the Alex Dworkin Foundation for Jewish Archives.

Over the past months we have been busy with several new  and ongoing projects:

0570-arf -2As a result of a Young Canada Works grant received from Canadian Heritage this summer, the CJCCC National Archives has been able to transfer onto the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network most of the Congregation Shaar Hashomayim Museum and Archives items previously displayed on the now defunct Canadian Jewish Virtual Museum and Archives (CJVMA) website, which was taken over by CJCCCNA in 2004. Visitors can zero in on the Shaar Hashomayim Museum's digitized materials and their descriptions by going to the Advanced Search page and ticking off the "ShaarHashomayim" repository check box. 455 items  are online at present, all of them illustrated with either a photograph, a multi-page PDF document, or a video clip.

Thanks to funding from Penny Rubinoff and from the Jewish Genealogical Society of Montreal we have continued to add genealogical information to the CJHN's Family History search engine, to the delight of many researchers, some of whom have shared their success stories with us. We were especially gratified to learn that our Jewish Colonization Association colonist reports had helped researchers at JAHSENA (the Jewish Archives and Historical Society of Edmonton and Northern Alberta) discover the fate of one of the families who founded the "lost" colony of Pine Lake, Saskatchewan.

We are also in the process of finishing the cataloguing of audiovisual materials donated to us many years ago by filmmaker Jacques Bensimon, related to the making of his historic film "20 ans après" which documents the mood of Montreal's Moroccan Jewish community in the turbulent years of 1970s Quebec. This project was funded by a grant from the Bibliotheque et Archives nationales du Québec.

Seligsonproject-EuniceS-ShirleySNotable among the new collections we have acquired over the past year is a treasure trove of original caricature drawings by artist Lou Seligson, all accompanied by his trademark biographical profiles. We expect to display samples of these works on the Canadian Jewish Heritage Network once the collection has been arranged by our long-time volunteer Shirley Sibalis, assisted by Seligson's widow Eunice, who donated the material.

We are looking forward to another busy year, as 2011 winds down and 2012 beckons.