Mazel Tov! A Celebration of Jewish Weddings and Marriage in Ontario

2018, Culture, History, Ontario Jewish Archives, Photography
culture, Divorce, ephemera, Jewish, Jewish Weddings, Marriage, Ontario, Ontario Jewish Archives, Photographs, religion, Tradition, Weddings
About This Project

Project Members: Katie Paolozza, Leore Zecharia


Venue: The Gallery at the J. Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre


Dates: July 5, 2018 – August 6, 2018



What do Jewish weddings look like? Though, the scripture and structure have been consistent for over 3000 years, Jewish weddings have evolved over time through cultural traditions and the diasporic nature of the Jewish people. This exhibition explores many aspects of the Jewish wedding from the religious customs, to fashion, and food. The Jewish wedding is where Jewish tradition, and the unique lives of the couples and their families come together. Different customs have shaped the traditional Jewish wedding into a multi-tiered celebration that has reflecting the rich history surrounding it. Through photographs and material culture found in the Ontario Jewish Archives, this exhibition celebrates Jewish life and tradition.


This exhibition will be located in the Gallery at the J at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre located at the corner of Spadina Avenue and Bloor Street. The exhibition space also acts as a waiting area and lounge for the community centre. The intended audience is both the Jewish community of Toronto, but also the general public that go through the community centre. The Ontario Jewish Archives works in collaboration with the three Jewish community centres in Toronto to showcase the Archive’s collections through various exhibitions throughout the year. This will be a summer exhibition at the south campus of the community centres.


This is an exhibition for the Ontario Jewish Archives, a branch of the United Jewish Appeal Federation of Greater of Toronto. This project is supported by the Ontario Jewish Archives and the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. Stakeholders also include the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre, the Anne Tanenbaum Centre for Jewish Studies at the University of Toronto and the Book History and Print Culture collaboration at the University of Toronto.


Planning for this exhibition began in October 2017. The first steps of the project was to go through the collections in order to find photographs and other ephemera, and create a narrative. Once, the general idea of what the collections holds we began our research. The research phase took four months. The exhibition is still in-progress and currently in the editing stage of didactics and materials. The next phase will be the design and production phases.


This exhibition will consist of both photographs and ephemeral materials presented in display cases. The exhibition will have both text panels with embedded photographs and hanged photographs. The narrative is framed by the steps of the traditional Jewish wedding ceremony in order to look at various aspects of Jewish culture and life in Ontario. By embedding photographs into the text panels allow for more photographs from the Archives to be used because the exhibition space is so small. The main didactics consist of the Jewish wedding steps, and photographs are grouped by each step. Photographs will be explained through extended labels.


The exhibition will be advertised on the Ontario Jewish Archives website, the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre Website and through the UJA. This exhibition is still in progress, therefore there are no outcomes yet.


We would like to thank the Ontario Jewish Archives for all of their support throughout this process, especially Dara Solomon, Executive Director, and Donna Bernardo-Ceriz, Managing Director. Without them this process would not be as smooth and enjoyable.