Shalom Life | November 18, 2014

Newly Elected Toronto Mayor John Tory Is Actually Jewish

A member of the United Church, Tory's maternal grandmother is Jewish, meaning he's a member of the tribe according to religious law

By: Sara Torvik

Published: November 7th, 2014 in News » World

Newly Elected Toronto Mayor John Tory Is Actually Jewish

Only three mayors in Toronto’s history have been Jewish, and now it looks like we can add a fourth to the list, at least according to Jewish law.

The Times of Israel apparently obtained records that indicate that newly elected mayor John Tory has a maternal Jewish grandmother. According to the Jewish law of matrilineal descent, this makes Tory himself Jewish.

But even with this newfound knowledge, Tory’s Jewish roots are generally unknown, even within the Jewish community. Many of his biographic articles state that he is Christian and a member of the United Church.

What is known is that Tory’s maternal grandmother, Helen Yvonne Solomon, was born in to a Russian Jewish family in 1909, and her parents, Norman (Nathan) and Kate immigrated to Toronto in 1903.

This is all according to research conducted by The Times of Israel with the guidance of the Ontario Jewish Archives, as well as by professional Toronto genealogist Bill Gladstone.

The other three Jewish Toronto mayors are Nathan Philips (1955-1962), Philip Givens (1963-1966), and most recently Mel Lastman (1998-2003).

A request was sent from the Times of Israel to John Tory for comment on his Jewish roots but it went unanswered, as did a request for comment from the Toronto UJA-Federation.

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