Fonds consists of newspaper articles (1945), financial document (1960), correspondence (1956, 1977), Ottawa District Lawn Tournament Championship badge (1949), Men’s Membership book (1945-1946), Women’s membership book (1945-1946), two audio reels, and 38 b&w photographs, 3 tennis racquets.
1944 - 1977
The Tel Aviv Tennis Club was started in 1935 when young Jewish tennis enthusiasts did not have a club to play at due to racial restrictions. They formed an alliance and by paying the back taxes of the defunct Victoria Tennis club purchased four courts. Later that season the Riverdale Tennis club was purchased which consisted of eight clay courts. It was located between Russell Road and the Rideau River, opposite Strathcona Park. Now gone, the site is between the RCMP building and Montreal Road.
In May of 1941, an Ottawa Citizen articles lists the club as having approximately 250 members.
The Tel Aviv club was located next to the Rideau Tennis Club. When Tel Aviv's club house burned in about 1952, the Rideau Tennis Club offered memberships to the Tel Aviv members. The Rideau Tennis club put up a footbridge across the Rideau River to provide access to its members from Sandy Hill. Syd Brownstein, 1949 Junior singles champ used this on his way from work on Parliament Hill to the Tel Aviv club.
Jess Abelson was the original promotor, organizer and fundraiser for the club. He was also the first president starting in 1935. He would solicit funds from local Jewish business men when the fees did not generate sufficient income. He refused to accept money from the Ottawa Va'ad Ha'ir as the club would have to be closed on Saturdays and he preferred to allow the kids to play tennis for the full weekend.
Original members of the club were Eddie Wolfe, Sam Palef, Harold Shankman, Martin Levinson, Joseph Coplan, Louis Coplan, Tseepa Shore and the Carlofsky siblings. In 1940, Sunday May 5th was opening day at the Overbrook club. The officers were Sol Max, President, Wilfred Gallay, Vice President, Moe Zumar, Secretary, John Mirsky, Treasurer, and Sid Pollock membership chair.
The club had separate men's and lady's locker room, a general activities room and a canteen. It served as an ad hoc Jewish Community Centre for over 20 years. It has been said that many Jewish weddings were a result of the social activities of the club including Alan Abelson and Estelle Levitin's who met on the steps of the club.
The club rented the premises from the National Capital Commission. Though a popular social and tennis club of the 1940's it became defunct after World War II due to the popularity of the game of golf and day camps. When the club closed in the late 1950's, remaining revenue was donated to the Jewish Community Centre.
1. Photographs are described in the database.
2. Further accruals, photographs and membership books, donated by Alan Abelson, July 13, 2005 and August 2006.
3. Two tennis racquets donated by Alan Abelson, 1 tennis racquet used by Dina Edelson and donated by Sharon Edelson, winter, 2007.
4. Conversation with Syd Brownstein (February 4, 2009) provided more detail about relationship with Rideau Tennis Club.
5. Tel Aviv name was suggested by Jess Abelson who felt that the club name should reflect its Jewish membership. Information provided by Allan Abelson October 2009.
1. Associated material located in the Jewish Community Centre of Ottawa fonds - box 2a.
2. Associated material located in the Jewish Community Council of Ottawa fonds. Planning, Priorities and Budget Committee - box 23.
3. Associated material relating to Helen Zivian can be located in the Jewish Community Council of Ottawa Fonds, Ottawa Hebrew Sunday School series - box 25.
1. Bottom Row L-R: Flash Koffman, Isobel Torontow, Frances Ash, Duke Abelson. Top Row: Max Epstein, Ritzy Bodnoff, Millie Bodnoff, Sid Pollock, Iz Cornblatt, Harry Koffman, Vera Brodie, Buck Pozitsky, Harold Pearl (President).
1. Tel Aviv Tennis Club Champion Tournament was an annual competition between Ottawa, Montreal and Toronto Jewish Tennis Clubs.
2. The winners were awarded the Lillian Freiman Trophy, current location is unknown.
3. Harold Pearl was president of the Tel Aviv Tennis Club in 1939.
4. Cy (Jack) Cornblatt was an air vice marshall.
5. Ben "Buck" Potitsqy was named best player.
6. Identified and information provided by Alan Abelson and Joseph Lieff
7. Three copies.
8. Front L-R: Joe "Flash" Koffman, Isabel Torontow (Firestone), Frances Ash (Schacter) and Lawrence "Duke" Abelson
Back: Max Epstein, Rachel Bodnoff (Gould), Millie Bodnoff, Sidney Pollock, Cy Cornblatt, Harry Koffman, Vera Brody, Ben Pozitsqy and Harold Pearl.