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Reva Hutkin

Part 3 of interview with Reva Hutkin for On The Record: The BC Jewish Queer & Trans Oral History Project in collaboration with JQT Vancouver. Interviewed by Carmel Tanaka via remote Zoom video call. Reva recalls to her time in Montreal being active in Jewish lesbian community. She discusses having lesbian Seders which focused on women’s empowerment and Jewish women’s inclusion concerning Seder. She also participated in Jewish queer writing group that produced a queer Haggadah.

Reva Hutkin

Part 2 of interview with Reva Hutkin for On The Record: The BC Jewish Queer & Trans Oral History Project in collaboration with JQT Vancouver. Interviewed by Carmel Tanaka via remote Zoom video call. Reva talks about her involvement in a Jewish LGBTQ+ group called HaChud, which was a group active out of Temple Sholom in Vancouver during the late 1970s.

Reva Hutkin

Part 1 of interview with Reva Hutkin for On The Record: The BC Jewish Queer & Trans Oral History Project in collaboration with JQT Vancouver. Interviewed by Carmel Tanaka via remote Zoom video call. Reva (she/her) is a Jewish lesbian who was born in Montreal and residing in Victoria, B.C. Reva recalls her parents and grandparents and their origins in Eastern Europe and livelihoods in Montreal. Reva discusses realizing she was a lesbian while in a heterosexual marriage at age 21 and the distance her family kept when coming out, though finding acceptance being out in her communities, both in person and online. Reva describes her school life growing up with sports and literature, but also antisemitism and fear of communism in Montreal. She talks about university life, working in offices and prominent relationships she hard throughout her adulthood including her current partner Julie. She talks about how she ended up in B.C., how her and Julie met, and having a partner that is also Jewish. Reva talks about her children and grandchildren and how they’ve accepted her as a lesbian, and how they relate to Judaism in their own ways. She closes with the reflection of the importance of self-work and personal change.

Julie Elizabeth

Interview with Julie Elizabeth for On The Record: The BC Jewish Queer & Trans Oral History Project in collaboration with JQT Vancouver. Interviewed by Carmel Tanaka via remote Zoom video call. Julie (she/her) talks about her involvement in community organizing, including her time with Victoria Lesbian Senior Care Society or VLSCS.

Julie Elizabeth

Interview with Julie Elizabeth for On The Record: The BC Jewish Queer & Trans Oral History Project in collaboration with JQT Vancouver. Interviewed by Carmel Tanaka via remote Zoom video call. Julie (she/her) is a queer Jewish woman, born in Toronto and residing in Victoria, B.C. Julie shares about her parents’ lives in Toronto and family origins based in Russia. She talks about various childhood memories including the close relationships with her father and sister, but also the struggles of family members living with mental illness. Julie talks about rediscovering her father’s family connections in Montreal, leading her back to family history in France. Julie talks about discovering her bisexuality and being discouraged from coming out to her mother. She also talks about her journey with Judaism: as a child alienated from upper class Jewish kids in Toronto, to having a bat mitzvah on her 65th birthday after feeling acceptance and belonging on Salt Spring Island with her partner Reva. Julie talks about her education and career changes over her life. She talks about living with Reva and being accepted by her family. She closes with advice to ‘follow ones bliss’ and anecdotes about trying other religions like Wicca to find herself, and ultimately her way back to Judaism.

Marsha Ablowitz on Uncle Max Dexall

Interview with Marsha Ablowitz regarding her uncle Max Dexall for On The Record: The BC Jewish Queer & Trans Oral History Project in collaboration with JQT Vancouver. Interviewed by Carmel Tanaka via remote Zoom video call. Marsha recalls what she knows of Max (he/him) and his family who originated as farmers in and around Antopol, Belarus. He immigrated from Belarus to Vancouver with siblings in attempt to avoid Russian pogroms. Marsha describes how Max was well connected in the gay and Jewish communities, including stories of meeting gay men at gender-segregated synagogue meetings and how the community had hoped to make a Jewish gay synagogue in Vancouver similar to San Francisco. Marsha also discusses how Max continued in the family shoe store business where he was very successful and offered a safe space for the queer community including gay men and drag queens. Marsha shares the story of how Max would meet his life-long partner George at the store and discusses their relationship dynamic, including caring for the queer community in Vancouver. Marsha goes on to relish stories Max had shared about his time as a drag queen, different men he encountered and how he would get recognized wherever they went based on his reputation from his shoe store.

Marsha Ablowitz

Interview with Marsha Ablowitz for On The Record: The BC Jewish Queer & Trans Oral History Project in collaboration with JQT Vancouver. Interviewed by Carmel Tanaka via remote Zoom video call. Marsha (she/her) is a Jewish lesbian born in Vancouver. Marsha discusses her family’s origins both in Canada, and as immigrants from Europe. She tells stories of her immediate family in Winnipeg and Vancouver. She talks about her heterosexual marriage, and how she didn’t realize she was interested in women until after getting married. She explains her little exposure to queer Jews outside of her uncle Max, and how she experienced discrimination more through racism against her husband, than through anti-Semitism or homophobia in the community. Marsha talks about being aware of the Holocaust and Jewish issues as a kid, being involved in Jewish youth groups into her twenties, and eventually becoming a social worker. She describes her community initiatives within Jewish community organizations, teaching women’s self defense classes and empowering women and LGBT communities. Marsha closes the interview by talking about Quirk-e, a queer writing collective she is presently involved in, life with her partner Maribel during COVID, and her connection to feminist counselling and women’s health movements across Canada.

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