Fonds PF103 - Abraham Lieff fonds

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Abraham Lieff fonds

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CA ON00311 PF103

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11 cm of textual records

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Biographical history

Abraham Herman Lieff was born on March 21st, 1903, in Antopol, Russia (now Poland), to Barnett (sometimes referred to as Bernard) and Esther Malka Pomerantz. Lieff arrived in Canada with his mother in 1904 and settled in Ottawa in 1905. In 1929, he married Sadie Lazarovitz, of Quebec City, one of the first Jewish women lawyers in Canada. Together they had two daughters, Miriam and Lois. Lieff was admitted to Osgoode Hall Law School in 1921 and was called to the Bar in 1926. He was appointed a King's Counsel in 1948. During his career he acted as counsel for the Canadian House of Commons Committee on Industrial Relations (1946) and for the Canadian Senate Special Committee on Narcotic Drug Traffic (1956). Lieff was the first person of Jewish faith to serve as Justice of the High Court of Justice (1963-1978). Lieff served as President of the Ottawa B'nai B'rith (1943), President of the Agudath Israel Congregation (1946-1963), President of the Ottawa Jewish Community Council (1953-1955), President of the Ottawa Vaad Ha'Ir (1953-1956), and Chair of the Canadian Committee of the North American Section of the Commission on the Re-organization of the World Zionist Organization with Mr. Justice Harry Batshaw, of the Quebec Superior Court (1965-1966). Lieff founded the Ottawa Talmud Torah, West-End Branch (1943) and incorporated the Canada-Israel Foundation (1965). He was honoured at the Negev Testimonial Dinner of Jewish National Fund of Canada (1978) and at a centennial party at Beth Tzedec Synagogue in Toronto (March 2003). Lieff died in Toronto on February 12th, 2007, at the age of 103.

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Scope and content

Fonds consist of records documenting the judicial career of Abraham Lieff. Records in the fonds predominately document work related to instituting pre-trial conferences and mediation programmes as an alternative court room. Fonds also documents Lieff's appointment to and retirement from the bench. Records include consultation papers, meeting minutes, correspondence, speeches, reports, memoranda, and newspaper clippings.

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