Fred Weinberg, the Toronto pediatrician, Judaica collector and Yiddishist, died Thursday after a lengthy illness. He was 84.
Born in Ostrovtse (Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski), Poland, in 1919, he immigrated to Canada in 1924. As a Jewish community cultural activist, Weinberg was a published writer and noted lecturer in several fields including museology, medical history and Judaic ritual. His diverse publications include a catalogue of Judaica accompanying the Koffler Gallery exhibit on Jewish holiday ritual objects and over 50 articles in both English and Yiddish for the Canadian Jewish News. Weinberg also served as president of the largest Jewish congregation in North America, Beth Tzedek of Toronto, where he served from 1973 to 1977. There he organized Beth Tzedek’s Helene and Rubin Dennis Jewish Museum. In addition to donating his own collection to the museum, he was instrumental in arranging for the acquisition of the Cecil Roth Collection. This culminated with Roth’s visit to Weinberg in Toronto to supervise and acknowledge the transition of the acclaimed Judaica collection. Weinberg later served as consultant to the docent training during the “Precious Legacy” exhibition of Czech Judaica at the Royal Ontario Museum in 1985.
From 1942 to 1945 Weinberg served in the Canadian army, where he was in charge of the repatriation of prisoners of war. At the end of the war, upon completing his military service, he was accepted as the first Jewish chief medical resident to the noted physician Alan Brown. In his medical practice, Weinberg developed a rich and comprehensive understanding of children with Attention Deficit Disorder. As associate medical director of the child development clinic at Toronto’s leading children’s hospital, Sick Children’s Hospital, his fluency in Yiddish enabled him to extend his practice to include the ultra-Orthodox among his young patients.
Weinberg is survived by his wife, sons, daughters, five grandchildren and three siblings.