Interview with Jack Huberman 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. Jack (he/him) is a gay Jewish man born in Calgary, Alberta. Jack talks about his family’s origins in Poland and his parents’ livelihoods as grocers and property owners upon immigrating to Canada. Jack shares he realized he was gay very late in life, and how little dialogue about being queer and Jewish at the time made him reluctant to ‘come out’ within his Jewish community in Vancouver. He discusses the writing and mentorship of Rabbi Gil Steinlauf as a catalyst for understanding his sexuality within a Jewish context, though shares how ‘coming out’ did not make him feel welcomed across all parts of his Jewish community, including his own congregation. Jack talks about his desire to foster a greater awareness and acceptance for queer Jews. He discusses his experiences through school, including how he eventually became lawyer, and volunteering throughout the Jewish community in Vancouver. Jack closes by talking about his immediate family, including his husband, children, and grandchildren, and the importance of treating others equally and maintaining good relationships with those around you.
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.
Oral history interview with Harvey Gerber, who worked at Simon Fraser University as a logician when it opened in 1965. Harvey relates attaching himself and his wife to the Vancouver Jewish community, opening up a Peace in the Middle-East chapter at SFU and overall the academic climate towards Israel.
Oral history interview with Irving Rivkin who was born in Winnipeg, 1915. Father Samuel Rivkin was in Russian army stationed in St. Petersburg, around 1905-1912; Irving's mother Lena Romalowski worked in St. Petersberg's large knitting factory. Ivring's wife, Ann, comes from England.
The collection consists of sound recordings of Jewish pioneer and community figures relating to travel to and life in British Columbia and the Yukon from the Gold Rush era to the present. The memories chronicle Jewish life, community and organization development, and the transition from Jewish old world existence to that of the new world . Judaism and cultural elements, rural and urban life are explored in the interviews.
Oral history interview with Helen Gorbovitsky who helped establish the National Council of Jewish Women and was a member of the Pioneer Women and Gordonia Club. Her family originated in Rostov, Russia where her father was very active in the Zionist community. Helen discusses her thoughts and experiences with the Pioneer Women.