Ben Kayfetz

David Rome, an appreciation, by Ben Kayfetz

From the Canadian Jewish News, 1996 David Rome was born and spent his first ten years in Vilna, the “Jerusalem of Lithuania.” This tells us much about his love of books and writing, his search for deep roots in Canadian Jewish life and his overall ahavat Yisrael. When they came to America, his family settled,…

Growing Up on Dundas Street, by Ben Kayfetz

  From Growing Up Jewish: Canadians tell their own stories (1997) My earlier recollection goesback to the very early 1920s, sitting on the stoop of our dry-goods store on Spadina Avenue and Baldwin Street (southeast corner), watching the Sunday evening church parade go by. These were the strollers emerging from two nearby Christian churches, the Western Congregational Church, just…

Will the true story of Kensington Market ever come to light?

From the Canadian Jewish News, May 12, 1972 For some time now it has been open season for Toronto’s Spadina Avenue and its off-shoot the Kensington Market in the daily, weekly and periodical press. At one time when The Toronto Star and the late Telegram were both carrying TV and entertainment supplements, one could expect…

How Synagogues Are Named

From the Globe and Mail, September 17, 1955 Have you ever wondered about the meaning of those mysterious looking clusters of Hebrew letters inscribed over the doorways of Toronto’s synagogues? Only rarely is an English translation provided side by side, for like so many names, they have acquired a personality and identity of their own…

Obit: Florence Hutner (1907-1992)

From the Canadian Jewish News, January 30, 1992 Florence Hutner, who guided the United Jewish Welfare Fund through problem-filled war and postwar years as its executive director in the 1940s and beyond, died January 6 [1992] at Baycrest Hospital at the age of eighty-four. She was the first woman to head a major Jewish organization…

Toronto Jewry, Only Yesterday, by Ben Kayfetz (1967)

From the Canadian Jewish Review, November 24, 1967 Although Toronto Jewry is either 118 years old (if one estimates its age from the date of the Pape Avenue burial ground) or 111 years old (estimating from the first permanently organized congregation), its relative newness can be gauged by two facts: until only a few years…