Zelda Young

Zelda Young, daughter of Sam and Manya Yuchtman, was a Canadian talk show host who worked extensively in radio and television in both Canada and the United States. Her father, Sam Yuchtman (1910–1979), was a Toronto broadcaster best known for hosting radio shows in Yiddish and English that were oriented towards the Toronto Jewish community. Sam was born in Lublin, Poland, and moved to Winnipeg as a teenager. In 1942, Sam teamed up with Max Mandel, a well-known folksinger and radio personality. Together, they managed and hosted the radio show The Jewish Hour (Yiddish Di Yidishe Shtunde), on the CKTB radio station in St. Catharines.

The Jewish Hour, was first launched by Mandel in 1936 in Toronto. It was sponsored by the Toronto Yiddish newspaper the Kanader Nayes (1936–1954), which was owned and operated by Dorothy Dworkin. The show was one of several Jewish radio programs broadcasted under that or similar names in Jewish population centres around North America. For many years, the show was predominantly in Yiddish. In the summer of 1946, Sam Yuchtman brought the show back to Toronto on CHUM, Toronto’s first new post-war radio station. Later, Sam launched The Jewish Hour on Toronto radio stations CKFH and CHIN in 1948 and 1966 respectively. The show became the longest-running Jewish radio program in Toronto. Following Sam’s retirement in 1976, the show was taken over by his daughter Zelda and hosted as The Zelda Show, being broadcasted only in English. Since then, Zelda dedicated herself to hosting and producing The Zelda Show in association with CHIN.

For more than thirty years, The Jewish Hour attracted listeners of different age groups, religions, genders, and nationalities. Zelda Young, as the producer and host of the show, continued to provide listeners with a variety or featured guests and topical subject matter. Her radio show also aired in Florida from 1998 to 1999 and in Vancouver from 1995 to 2000.

In addition to her extensive radio work, Zelda also hosted and produced the Zelda Young Show, formerly called Tapestry, a television talk show, which aired from 1986 to 1993 on Toronto’s CITY-TV (now known as Citytv).

Archivist Notes

The Zelda Young fonds is an audio collection that consists entirely of audio reels of The Jewish Hour (The Zelda Show) hosted by Zelda on CHIN Radio between 1982 and 1988. The reels contain pre-recorded segments for the radio show and cover a wide range of topics including interviews, cooking, fashion, finance, real estates, book and movie reviews, scientific innovations and research, news related to Israel and the broader Middle East, sports, health, and more. Until 2023, this collection was inaccessible to researchers because of the vulnerability of the tapes and our inability to play them safely. With the help of a preservation grant from the Documentary Heritage Communities Program of Library and Archives Canada, the OJA was able to inspect, clean, repair and digitize this valuable collection, the contents of which are now fully accessible to the public. The segments in the Zelda Young fonds not only open a window into the world of the 1980s but also serve as a testament to Zelda and her father’s contributions to the Jewish community.

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