Tuesday, January 21, 2014

1960 UJA Study Mission to Israel

Much of my research into the interaction between fundraising and identity in Toronto's Jewish community has focused on the city's United Jewish Appeal, the largest Jewish fundraising organisation in the city. I recently came across this video of the UJA's 1960 study visit to Israel.

A few things are interesting about this video. Firstly, it is very relevant given Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's visit to Israel this week. Secondly, it shows the situation on the ground in 1960. As I did my research at the Ontario Jewish Archives, I spent most of my time looking at text with little visual reference as to what Israel actually looked like. This video shows shacks and rubble as Israel dealt with a staggering increase in population and also conflicts on many fronts. Regardless of political views, the transformation of Israel from a largely agrarian society in the 1950s to the modern, cosmopolitan, waterfront of Tel Aviv today is a remarkable story.