Mosaic to be put up at Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am

News Jul 26, 2013 by Fannie Sunshine North York Mirror

A mosaic that used to adorn the building housing the Rameses Temple Shrine Club is going back to the synagogue it was created for.

The piece, which measures about 45-feet wide and more than five-feet high, was created for Beth Am, which used to reside inside the building at 3100 Keele St. But in 1976, after declining membership left the synagogue with only 258 families, the decision was made to close and merge with another congregation. The mosaic remained on the building.

Beth Am joined with Beth David B’nai Israel in the Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue area in the spring of 1977, creating the Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am.
The building, at 3100 Keele St., currently houses the Rameses Temple Shrine Club, which has been bought by Decade Homes and will eventually turn the two-acre site into a mixed-use residential development set to launch in 2014.

Patrick O’Neill, a member of Downsview Lands Community Voice Association and longtime Downsview resident, said he often passes the Shriners site and wondered about the large mosaic.

After finding out in May the property had been sold and the site used to belong to a synagogue, O’Neill did some research and got in touch with Rosalyne and Alan Federman, who wrote a book on Beth Am’s history in 2007.

“It’s a shame if that one got torn down,” he said. “I was trying to bring the situation to everyone’s attention. This mosaic faces a busy city street and is very visible. It’s in very good shape.”

A Shriners employee confirmed the site has been sold to Decade Homes and suggested questions be directed toward the company.

When asked in late June about the mosaic, Michael Siskind, principal of Decade Homes, said he was informed by Downsview Lands Community Voice Association of the mosaic’s history, but had not been contacted directly by Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am about the piece’s future.

Siskind said he contacted the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto to see if there was interest in the mosaic and had yet to speak with Beth David, but was open to it.

“There is no rush to do anything,” he said. “The building will be here for at least the next year.”

The mosaic was then taken down to be preserved, Siskind said.

Steven Shulman, campaign director for the UJA, confirmed in early July Decade Homes had been in contact with the UJA to see if the organization would be interested in acquiring it.

“A mosaic is not something we would keep in our archives,” he said, adding he offered to put Decade Homes in contact with Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am.

In an interview Monday, July 22, Mike Rubin, Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am ritual director, said the mosaic has been donated to the synagogue by Decade Homes and hopes to install all or most of the 12 panels that make up the piece somewhere on the building’s premises.

“It has to be restored, and based on cost, we might ask the city for a subsidy or we might need to raise funds,” he said. “We will be talking over the next couple months about what to do.”

Finding out the identity of the mosaic’s creator has been a bit of a challenge, as it lacks a signature or initials.

Rosalyne Federman said she recalled the mosaic was donated to the synagogue in 1964 by a member who has since died, and the name Aba Bayefsky was associated with the piece, although she couldn’t conclusively confirm who made it.

An artist and teacher, Bayefsky died in 2001.

A flight lieutenant with the Royal Canadian Air Force, he worked as an art instructor at the Ontario College of Art and Design following the Second World War.

A Member of the Order of Canada, Bayefsky created a number of mosaics, including ones at Northview Heights Secondary School, Beth El Synagogue and Temple Sinai. His work is represented in the permanent collections at dozens of sites throughout Canada, the United States, Israel, Australia and India, including The Art Gallery of Ontario, Sarnia, Hamilton and London; Concordia University; University of Toronto; York University and The National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

When shown photos of the mosaic at the Shriners site, Bayefsky’s widow, Evelyn, said it looked like her husband’s work.

“I can’t recall the piece, but that doesn’t mean anything,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful it’s going to be preserved.”

She would like her husband’s name to be written on it or on a plaque once it goes up at Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am, she said.

Mosaic to be put up at Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am

News Jul 26, 2013 by Fannie Sunshine North York Mirror

A mosaic that used to adorn the building housing the Rameses Temple Shrine Club is going back to the synagogue it was created for.

The piece, which measures about 45-feet wide and more than five-feet high, was created for Beth Am, which used to reside inside the building at 3100 Keele St. But in 1976, after declining membership left the synagogue with only 258 families, the decision was made to close and merge with another congregation. The mosaic remained on the building.

Beth Am joined with Beth David B’nai Israel in the Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue area in the spring of 1977, creating the Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am.
The building, at 3100 Keele St., currently houses the Rameses Temple Shrine Club, which has been bought by Decade Homes and will eventually turn the two-acre site into a mixed-use residential development set to launch in 2014.

Patrick O’Neill, a member of Downsview Lands Community Voice Association and longtime Downsview resident, said he often passes the Shriners site and wondered about the large mosaic.

After finding out in May the property had been sold and the site used to belong to a synagogue, O’Neill did some research and got in touch with Rosalyne and Alan Federman, who wrote a book on Beth Am’s history in 2007.

“It’s a shame if that one got torn down,” he said. “I was trying to bring the situation to everyone’s attention. This mosaic faces a busy city street and is very visible. It’s in very good shape.”

A Shriners employee confirmed the site has been sold to Decade Homes and suggested questions be directed toward the company.

When asked in late June about the mosaic, Michael Siskind, principal of Decade Homes, said he was informed by Downsview Lands Community Voice Association of the mosaic’s history, but had not been contacted directly by Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am about the piece’s future.

Siskind said he contacted the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto to see if there was interest in the mosaic and had yet to speak with Beth David, but was open to it.

“There is no rush to do anything,” he said. “The building will be here for at least the next year.”

The mosaic was then taken down to be preserved, Siskind said.

Steven Shulman, campaign director for the UJA, confirmed in early July Decade Homes had been in contact with the UJA to see if the organization would be interested in acquiring it.

“A mosaic is not something we would keep in our archives,” he said, adding he offered to put Decade Homes in contact with Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am.

In an interview Monday, July 22, Mike Rubin, Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am ritual director, said the mosaic has been donated to the synagogue by Decade Homes and hopes to install all or most of the 12 panels that make up the piece somewhere on the building’s premises.

“It has to be restored, and based on cost, we might ask the city for a subsidy or we might need to raise funds,” he said. “We will be talking over the next couple months about what to do.”

Finding out the identity of the mosaic’s creator has been a bit of a challenge, as it lacks a signature or initials.

Rosalyne Federman said she recalled the mosaic was donated to the synagogue in 1964 by a member who has since died, and the name Aba Bayefsky was associated with the piece, although she couldn’t conclusively confirm who made it.

An artist and teacher, Bayefsky died in 2001.

A flight lieutenant with the Royal Canadian Air Force, he worked as an art instructor at the Ontario College of Art and Design following the Second World War.

A Member of the Order of Canada, Bayefsky created a number of mosaics, including ones at Northview Heights Secondary School, Beth El Synagogue and Temple Sinai. His work is represented in the permanent collections at dozens of sites throughout Canada, the United States, Israel, Australia and India, including The Art Gallery of Ontario, Sarnia, Hamilton and London; Concordia University; University of Toronto; York University and The National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

When shown photos of the mosaic at the Shriners site, Bayefsky’s widow, Evelyn, said it looked like her husband’s work.

“I can’t recall the piece, but that doesn’t mean anything,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful it’s going to be preserved.”

She would like her husband’s name to be written on it or on a plaque once it goes up at Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am, she said.

Mosaic to be put up at Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am

News Jul 26, 2013 by Fannie Sunshine North York Mirror

A mosaic that used to adorn the building housing the Rameses Temple Shrine Club is going back to the synagogue it was created for.

The piece, which measures about 45-feet wide and more than five-feet high, was created for Beth Am, which used to reside inside the building at 3100 Keele St. But in 1976, after declining membership left the synagogue with only 258 families, the decision was made to close and merge with another congregation. The mosaic remained on the building.

Beth Am joined with Beth David B’nai Israel in the Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue area in the spring of 1977, creating the Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am.
The building, at 3100 Keele St., currently houses the Rameses Temple Shrine Club, which has been bought by Decade Homes and will eventually turn the two-acre site into a mixed-use residential development set to launch in 2014.

Patrick O’Neill, a member of Downsview Lands Community Voice Association and longtime Downsview resident, said he often passes the Shriners site and wondered about the large mosaic.

After finding out in May the property had been sold and the site used to belong to a synagogue, O’Neill did some research and got in touch with Rosalyne and Alan Federman, who wrote a book on Beth Am’s history in 2007.

“It’s a shame if that one got torn down,” he said. “I was trying to bring the situation to everyone’s attention. This mosaic faces a busy city street and is very visible. It’s in very good shape.”

A Shriners employee confirmed the site has been sold to Decade Homes and suggested questions be directed toward the company.

When asked in late June about the mosaic, Michael Siskind, principal of Decade Homes, said he was informed by Downsview Lands Community Voice Association of the mosaic’s history, but had not been contacted directly by Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am about the piece’s future.

Siskind said he contacted the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto to see if there was interest in the mosaic and had yet to speak with Beth David, but was open to it.

“There is no rush to do anything,” he said. “The building will be here for at least the next year.”

The mosaic was then taken down to be preserved, Siskind said.

Steven Shulman, campaign director for the UJA, confirmed in early July Decade Homes had been in contact with the UJA to see if the organization would be interested in acquiring it.

“A mosaic is not something we would keep in our archives,” he said, adding he offered to put Decade Homes in contact with Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am.

In an interview Monday, July 22, Mike Rubin, Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am ritual director, said the mosaic has been donated to the synagogue by Decade Homes and hopes to install all or most of the 12 panels that make up the piece somewhere on the building’s premises.

“It has to be restored, and based on cost, we might ask the city for a subsidy or we might need to raise funds,” he said. “We will be talking over the next couple months about what to do.”

Finding out the identity of the mosaic’s creator has been a bit of a challenge, as it lacks a signature or initials.

Rosalyne Federman said she recalled the mosaic was donated to the synagogue in 1964 by a member who has since died, and the name Aba Bayefsky was associated with the piece, although she couldn’t conclusively confirm who made it.

An artist and teacher, Bayefsky died in 2001.

A flight lieutenant with the Royal Canadian Air Force, he worked as an art instructor at the Ontario College of Art and Design following the Second World War.

A Member of the Order of Canada, Bayefsky created a number of mosaics, including ones at Northview Heights Secondary School, Beth El Synagogue and Temple Sinai. His work is represented in the permanent collections at dozens of sites throughout Canada, the United States, Israel, Australia and India, including The Art Gallery of Ontario, Sarnia, Hamilton and London; Concordia University; University of Toronto; York University and The National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.

When shown photos of the mosaic at the Shriners site, Bayefsky’s widow, Evelyn, said it looked like her husband’s work.

“I can’t recall the piece, but that doesn’t mean anything,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful it’s going to be preserved.”

She would like her husband’s name to be written on it or on a plaque once it goes up at Beth David B’nai Israel Beth Am, she said.