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.
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.
Photograph depicts three daughters of Frank Sylvester. Back: Louise (Lou) Sylvester (artist, painter; never married or had children). Sitting on chairs, l-r: Rachel Campbell (mother of Peter) (painted china dishes), Ruby Macrae (painted black and white sketches). Sitting on the floor, l-r: Peter Campbell, Donald Macrae.