Learning at the Ontario Jewish Archives: The Youth of Jewish Toronto, 1910-1950

2017, History, Ontario Jewish Archives, Report/Plan
curriculum, history, Jewish interest, Ontario, photography, Toronto, youth
About This Project

Date: April – May 2017

Partner: The Ontario Jewish Archives Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre

Venue: Bialik Hebrew Day School – map

Project Members: Maya Donkers and Danielle Rutkowksi


Learning at the Ontario Jewish Archives: The Youth of Jewish Toronto, 1910-1950 was a curriculum resource guide developed for teachers to implement in Masoret (Jewish Studies) coursework in the Jewish Day School system. Based on the Ontario Ministry of Education’s Grade 7 and 8 History curricula, the aim of this resource guide was to provide students with hands-on experience using primary sources to meet provincial learning outcomes. The resource guide was piloted at Bialik Hebrew Day School in Toronto, located on Bathurst Street. The unit was designed to fill one-month of consecutive learning in the Masoret stream of the Jewish Day School system. Although this is the pilot year at Bialik, it is intended to be used in all Jewish Day Schools across Toronto by next year.


The primary sponsor is the Ontario Jewish Archives, who consulted on each phase of project development. The UJA Federation provided copy editing following the submission of the final draft, and a creative team to design the hard copy that was distributed to teachers. Bialik Hebrew Day School sponsored the pilot of the resource guide and provided feedback on usability in the classroom, as well as from students during implementation. Planning the resource guide started in September 2016. The planning, research, and written design process totaled six months, with the final draft completed by mid-March. Graphic design was provided by the OJA and completed by mid-April for implementation in the classroom.


The Youth of Jewish Toronto was a comprehensive document that included four archive-based lesson plans: an introductory class visit from the OJA, an optional walking tour of Kensington Market, in-class activities, and a culminating group project in the form of a student-led exhibition. All activities were designed to be done consecutively in class over a one-month period. The main idea of the activities was to communicate the importance of primary-source learning in a historical context, paralleled with a focus on youth in early Jewish Toronto.


This project did not have any external marketing as the resource guide was created as a pilot program for Bialik Hebrew Day School.


The resource guide was taught from April – May 2017 to Grade 7 and 8 classes at Bialik Hebrew Day School. Feedback from students was recorded by an OJA representative and will be consulted for the upcoming years of instruction.


We would like to thank all our sponsors, in particular, the Ontario Jewish Archives, who supported us throughout the project process. Thank you to Donna Bernardo-Ceriz and her team of archivists who gave us their time, support, and expertise to build the content. Lastly, a special thank you to Professor Matthew Brower, Rebecca Noone, Hilary Walker Gugan, and the 2017 Masters of Museum Studies class for their endless support.