Dworkin, Dorothy

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Dworkin, Dorothy

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Dorothy Dworkin (1890-1976) was a prominent health-care worker in the Toronto Jewish community and a founder of Mount Sinai Hospital (Toronto), whose family business, Dworkin Travel, assisted hundreds of European Jews immigrating to Canada. Dworkin was born in Latvia, one of ten children of William and Sarah Goldstick. She came to Canada in 1904, at 14 years of age. She studied nursing in the United States, by training at Mount Sinai Hospital in Cleveland. She then took her exams in midwifery, and in 1909, she received her diploma from the State Board of Ohio. Ida Siegel and her brother Abe Lewis had set up a free Jewish Dispensary in Toronto on Elizabeth Street. They hired Dorothy to take charge of it after her return. She ran the dispensary during the afternoon when it was open and made house calls the rest of the day. In 1910 she helped form the dispensary's women's auxiliary. This organization distributed pasteurized milk and offered other services. Later on, they organized an orphanage for Jewish children. In 1911 she married Henry Dworkin, who was the founder of the Toronto Labour Lyceum. The dispensary soon closed after her departure. Henry opened a small variety store in 1917, which later became the tobacco and shipping agency business called Dworkin Travel, located at 525 Dundas Street West. Together, the Dworkins helped bring in hundreds of Jewish immigrants to Toronto. They would travel to Poland, Roumania and Latvia in order to help the family members of their clients settle in Toronto. The couple had a daughter, Ellen, whom they referred to as Honey. In 1928, Henry was tragically killed in an automobile accident. The newspaper articles of the time indicated that as many as 20,000 people honoured him by attending his funeral. After her husband's death, Dorothy ran the travel business and continued committing a great deal of her time to charitable work. She helped open Mount Sinai Hospital in 1922, and was the president of the Mount Sinai Women's Auxiliary. Throughout her life, Dorothy Dworkin played a pivotal role in helping to raise both public and financial support for this important institution. Over the years, she also became the honourary president of the Sinais, a member of the Mount Sinai Hospital Board, president of the Continental Steamship Ticket Agents Association, a trustee of the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, and director of the Labour Lyceum. She continued to run the business and support the activities of Mount Sinai until her death in 1976, at the age of 86.


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