Our Federation's history

The Jewish community of Toronto can trace its roots back to the 1800s. As Jews of Eastern Europe, living under oppression and persecution, fled their towns and villages, many arrived in Toronto seeking freedom and a brighter future.

Regardless of which Shtetl these new Torontonians came from, and any hardships they faced, they shared one common vision: building a city that could sustain a growing population and fulfill their need to live vibrant Jewish lives.


A strong history


In 1917, Toronto’s first federation – the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies – was incorporated, replacing the unorganized collection of individual Jewish charities, each knocking on doors and raising funds for their own causes.  In 1938, it was reorganized by the United Jewish Welfare Fund in order to cope with the increased pressures caused by the Depression. The Federation’s primary responsibility was fundraising for what, in 1948, became the United Jewish Appeal of Greater Toronto.

This comic was created for the last campaign under the UJWF banner in 1947. It was drawn by comic artist Winslow Mortimer, famous for his drawings of Superman and Batman.


Jewish Toronto remembers

Jewish Toronto Remembers, a feature of The Weekly Jewish News Report, pays homage to the people and places that have helped to shape our community, and playing a part in making it one of North America’s most vital and flourishing Diaspora communities. Subscribe now by clicking here to receive your weekly photo.