The fonds consists of administrative and operational records generated by a variety of B’nai B’rith lodges and chapters, including: Victoria Lodge #365 and Victoria Lodge #758; Vancouver Lions’ Gate Vancouver Lodge #668 (Samuel Lodge #668 ; Vancouver Lodge #668); B’nai B’rith Women; Lions’ Gate Lodge #1716; B’nai B’rith Youth Organization; District 4; Alec Jackson; and Lions’ Gate B’nai B’rith Building Society.
The fonds is arranged into 8 series: Victoria Lodge #365 and Victoria Lodge #758; Vancouver Lions’ Gate Vancouver Lodge #668 (Samuel Lodge #668 ; Vancouver Lodge #668); B’nai B’rith Women; Lions’ Gate Lodge #1716; B’nai B’rith Youth Organization; District 4; Alec Jackson; and Lions’ Gate B’nai B’rith Building Society.
Oral history with Bertha Baron who arrived in Canada 1907 from Minsk, Russia; settled in Rumsey, Alberta. In this interview she discusses her involvement in the Victoria Jewish community and reflects on Zionism.
Oral history interview with Josephine Lancaster and Daisy Minchin, cousins, both were born in Victoria, in 1893 and 1892 respectively. The cousins recall the communities reaction, demolishing a number of Jewish businesses, to the sinking of the Lusitania in May 1915; because Victoria's Jewish community consisted of mainly Germans and Englishmen, when they found out that Lieutenant James Dunsmuir, Jr., Robert Dunsmuir's son, has perished. Josephine is a member of the Victoria Chapter Hadassah while Daisy is associated with B'nai B'rith Auxiliary in San Francisco, in L.A. divisional president of Council of Jewish Women; Florence past president of B'nai B'rith.
Oral history interview with Dr. Jacob Narod. He was born in Vilna and talks about the antisemitism there while growing up. At 22, he escaped and went to London. Then he went to New York, but he didn’t like it so he with to St. Louis, he worked in Scaffolding there. Next, he went to Portland and then up to Vancouver in 1910. He heard that Vancouver was a beautiful city. He talks about people (names and occupations) who moved to Vancouver during that time. He took a course in Chiropody and opened and office in 1929. The depression hit and he moved to Victoria in 1936. He talks in depth about the Victoria Community with a focus on the Synagogue during the war, entertaining the Jewish soldiers and helping refugees. He moved back to Vancouver in 1949. He was an active member of B’nai Brith.
Oral history interview with Horace Raphael who was born in Vancouver, 1920. His grandfather was born in Germany, 1832, and his grandmother was born in Poland. While his mother was born in Winnipeg and his father was born in Poland but left for Vancouver between 1904-05.
Follow-up oral interview with Leah Levitt. Interviewed by Debby Freiman. Leah talks about her extended family, education, and her involvement with B'nai Brith Girls and the National Council of Jewish Women.
Interview with Aaron Devor as part of the BC Jewish Queer & Trans Oral History Project, in collaboration with JQT Vancouver. Aaron shares his experience being both transgender and Jewish in BC. He also discusses his earlier experiences as a lesbian in the Jewish community, prior to transitioning. He experienced both friction and support. Aaron discusses leaving the Jewish community early in life because he felt there was no place for him as a woman. He returned later in life. He talks about same-sex marriage in the Jewish community, and shares stories about his transitioning ceremony. Aaron discusses anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic sentiments in the LGBTQ+ community. He talks about his career in academic, including his current position as chair of transgender studies at UVic.
Oral History interview with Adele Vernon. Born in London, England. During the war her mother told her and her siblings “don’t let anyone know we’re Jewish” and leaving the Jewish faith for years. Talks about being sponsored to come to Canada by his father's aunt, arriving at Pier 41, arriving during the Calgary stampede. Went back to school as a mature student in 1973 for performing arts. Started the Shalom Dancers in 1978/79. Took Wednesday night classes with Rabbi Victor Reinstein and returned to the Jewish faith later in life.
Oral interview with Nancy Halpern. Interviewed by Samantha Stokell for SLAIS Oral History class.
Nancy's father's family moved to Vancouver in 1906, when her father Norman Brown was less than six months old. She has stories of her own life in the Vancouver Jewish community and those of her grandparents and parents. She was involved in drama and theatre in the Vancouver and Spokane, WA areas, and worked as a librarian in Vancouver. She was also involved in creating the West Vancouver Jewish Community Association.
Nancy mentions her cousin's daughter, Barbara Liskov (née Huberman) from the States, a professor at MIT who was the first woman to graduate in Computer Science in the U.S., and who is a winner of the Turing Award.
Oral interview with Ralph Levy. Interviewed by Molly Kumar for SLAIS Oral History class. Ralph Levy was born in February, 1934 in Istanbul, Turkey. He is the youngest of four. He describes the language Ladino, which he speaks fluently. He lived in England as a child, where he witnessed the Blitzkrieg and attended post secondary there in Lester. He served in the British Military and was stationed in Egypt for two years. He met his wife in Lester and they were wed in 1957. After closing his marketplace business in England, he lived in the south of France till a storm struck. In 1968, he immigrated to Canada. He initially settled in Melfort, Saskatchewan, then went to Calgary, Fort McMurray and then moved to Victoria where he resided for thirty years before retiring in Vancouver.