Dr. Stephen Speisman Bursary

The Ontario Jewish Archives, Blankenstein Family Heritage Centre has established a bursary in memory of the late Dr. Stephen Speisman, who passed away in October 2008. He served as the founding Director of the Ontario Jewish Archives from 1973 until 1999 and dedicated his life to the preservation of Ontario’s Jewish heritage.

The bursary provides financial support to individuals who are working on a thesis, paper, scholarly article or book in the area of Ontario Jewish history, in which records held by the OJA are integral to their work. A busary of up to $500 will be awarded each year to the selected recipeint(s). Applications are judged on their importance to the field, the plan for disseminating the final product, the costs incurred, as well as the types of OJA sources employed by the researcher.

The bursary is funded by Toronto Hebrew Memorial Parks with some assistance from the Ontario Association of Cemetery and Funeral Professionals. To make a donation, please send a cheque made out to the Ontario Jewish Archives to 4600 Bathurst St., Toronto ON, M2R 3V2. Tax receipts can be issued, upon request, for donations of $25 or higher.

Unfortunatly, the 2020 Speisman bursary will not be operating. Please stay tuned for submission dates for 2021.

Former recipients of the bursary are:


Jason Chartrand

PhD candidate investigating the role of interethnic, interracial and interreligious coalitions in North American human rights history, comparing anti-discrimination movements in Ontario and Quebec between 1934 and 1970, with a particular emphasis on the alliances between Jewish activists and sympathetic members from both the majority and minority populations of these two provinces.

Tyler Wentzell

Research book on William Krehm and his anti-Stalinist Marxist-Leninist organization, the League for Revolutionary Workers Party (LRWP), which was principally composed of young Jewish intellectuals in Toronto from 1934 until 1940.


Joel Dickau

PhD candidate studying Toronto’s evolving food system with a focus on the role of the municipal abattoir in the kosher meat trade and as well as the food chain that connected Toronto’s wholesale fresh grocery trade at the foot of Yonge Street to Kensington Market.

Josh Tapper

PhD candidate examining Soviet Jewish society and culture from 1953-1991, with a focus on the experiences of emigration and resettlement in North America from the 1970s onward.


Ellin Bessner

A comprehensive book documenting the 17,000 Jewish men and women in uniform who fought for Canada during the Second World War.

Christopher Chanco

Master’s thesis in Geography on the transnational practices and narratives of solidarity expressed by the Jewish Labour Committee (JLC) in Canada.


Jennifer Shaw Lander

A PhD dissertation on the experiences of Canadian Jewish women working on the homefront during the Second World War, in both paid and volunteer capacities, and how factors such as religion shaped those experiences.


Richard Menkis

A sourcebook of primary sources for the study of Canadian Jewish history.

Christine Whitehouse

A PhD dissertation on Jewish refugees interned in Canada from 1940-1943 focussing on modern nation-building, belonging, and the role of incarceration in moulding men.


Jill Culiner

A book about the life and local impact of Galician poet and singer, Benjamin Wolf Ehrenkranz (Velvel Zbarzher), whose social critical songs were sung up until the Second World War by those influenced by the Haskalah (Jewish Enlightenment).

Gordon L. Heath

Associate Professor of Christian History at McMaster Divinty College working on an edited volume on religious minorities in Canada and their response to the South African War (1899-1902).


Thomas Blampied

An undergraduate student from England researching The Transformation of Jewish Identity in Toronto: 1948-1975, which examines how events in Toronto and in Israel influenced fundraising and identity in Toronto's Jewish community.


Mark Celinscack

Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, investigating the Canadian involvement at the Bergen-Belson concentration camp at the end of the Second World War.

Hagit Hadaya

An architectural historian based in Ottawa whose book, In Search of Sacred Space: the architectural history of the synagogue in Ottawa, provides important documentation and analysis of Ottawa’s places of worship.

The First Narayever Congregation (Toronto)

In support of research for their upcoming 100th anniversary.


Jean-Philippe Croteau

A Montreal-based professor conducting research on the reception of immigrants within Toronto and Montreal and ideas of nativism.


Na Li

A graduate student writing her dissertation on the collective memories and urban landscapes of Kensington Market.

Dr. Kelly Train

A Toronto-based professor conducting research on Sephardic identity and experience with the broader Jewish community in Toronto.


Adara Goldberg

A graduate student writing her dissertation on the reception and integration of Holocaust survivors in Canada.