John Judah Glass (1895–1973) was born in England to Morris and Pearl Glass. In 1907, two years after his father, he immigrated to Toronto. In 1917, he graduated from the University of Toronto. Glass served in the Canadian Army during the First and Second World Wars. During the First World War, he served overseas and was awarded the Military Medal for bravery. Years after the end of the war, he participated in the unveiling of the Vimy Ridge Memorial in France as an official representative of the Government of Ontario. In 1921, Glass earned his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. He then became a practicing barrister and solicitor and was a member of the Canadian Bar Association.
Glass married Anne Ethel Glass (née Horowitz) and had two children: George and Jesse.
Glass went on to have a political career that spanned fifteen years. He served as trustee for the Toronto Board of Education and alderman for the former Ward 4 in Toronto City Council. He also represented the St. Andrew riding as Liberal MPP in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. In 1943, he left the world of active politics.
A significant portion of Glass’s life was devoted to Jewish community work. For more than ten years, he was national president of the Canadian Federation of Polish Jews. He was also a member of Beth Tzedec Congregation’s board of governors, a past president of the Toronto Zionist Council, a member of the Zionist Organization of Canada’s national and regional executive, a founder of the Canadian Jewish Congress, a past president of Toronto B’nai Brith, and a founder and first president of the General Wingate Branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. His affiliations included the Toronto Council of Christians and Jews, the Palestine Lodge (a Jewish Masonic lodge located in Toronto), the Jewish Home for the Aged and Baycrest Hospital, the Jewish Historical Society, United Jewish Appeal, the Jewish National Fund, and State of Israel Bonds.
In addition to his involvement in various Jewish organizations, Glass was a Mason and past president of the Scarborough Liberal Association.
Records in John J. Glass’s fonds provide an overview of his military service, personal life, and involvement in politics, as well as his contributions to the Jewish community. This fonds holds many fabulous historic photographs, such as panoramic images depicting large events hosted by various Jewish communal organizations, an autographed portrait of Ze’ev Jabotinsky given to Glass on Jabotinsky’s 1926 speaking engagement in Toronto, and photos that document Glass’s overseas military service during the Second World War. In addition, artifacts of this fonds are great representation of Glass’s military service and political career. John J. Glass’ records represent an invaluable resource for research on Jewish Canadian service in the two world wars and offer insight into the Jewish influence on Canadian politics in the first half of the twentieth century.