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Vancouver B'nai B'rith Hillel Foundation fonds

  • CA JMABC A.2001.002
  • Archief
  • 1947-1998

The fonds consists of administrative and operational records (including minutes, reports, and financial statements), correspondence with representatives of other organizations, and publicity materials (including newsletters, flyers, and posters). It also includes reference material (e.g. magazine and newspaper clippings, pamphlets, press releases) on topics relevant to Jewish life such as conflicts in the Middle East, as well as anti-Semitism and the persecution of Jews around the world. While the fonds consists largely of textual records, there is also a small number of photographs as well as a few unique items (such as buttons and stickers).

The fonds is arranged into 6 series: Finances, Publicity, Administration, Relationship with other organizations, Reference and resources, and Programming and outreach.

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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.

Sheila Romalis

Follow-up interview with Sheila Romalis. Interviewed by Debby Freiman. Sheila talks about growing up in Vancouver during the Cold War, her education, and her involvement in the community. Her husband, Garson "Gary" Romalis, was a gynecologist who specialized in abortions. She talks about their shared beliefs on women's rights, and the attempts made on his life by by antiabortionists.

Sima Elizabeth Shefrin

Oral History Interview with Sima Elizabeth Shefrin for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Brynn Gillies. Shefrin was born in Ottawa in 1949. . She is married to Bob Bossin, a Canadian folk musician, and they live together on Gabriola Island. She spent her youth part-time in Italy, surrounded by family fabric-workers and tailors. She describes how this informed her enthusiasm for fabric as a medium, and how she aims to convey stories through sewn projects. The name of Shefrin’s studio as well as her website is Stitching for Social Change, which she explains how she does fabric arts while integrating folk art tradition with activism, including feminism, anti-war sentiments, and reclamation of her Jewish heritage. Most notably, Shefrin tells the story of the Middle East Peace Quilt which aimed to discuss what peace would look like between Israel and Palestine with participants sending her quilt squares with their visions of peace from around the world. Shefrin also shares her exploration of comic and illustrative arts working on Jewish themed children's books and comics about her own life, including her husband's cancer diagnosis and life over the Covid pandemic.

Anna Lutsky

Oral Interview with Anna Lutsky for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Helen Aqua. Anna was born in Tunis in 1952. She describes her family history, mostly situated within Tunisia, where her artistic influences came from her mother and sister. She recalls going to a strict French school in Tunis until the age of 16, when her family moved to a diverse kibbutz in Israel. She discusses the beginning of her art career as a young mother at the age of 22. Anna describes how her artwork acted as diaries for the places she lived throughout her life, including France, Italy and Cyprus, where the landscapes were the common sources of inspiration. She talks about how her art evolved into a mixed-media style that included painting on objects like furniture or clothing to repurpose their form and function, but one of her largest reoccurring themes remains nature. Anna tells of her most prominent memories of galleries and exhibitions where her art has been shown; this includes turning her home into a gallery, but also participating in World Expos abroad and being commissioned to represent France and Canada with her pieces. She further discusses how her art is more secular than reflective of Jewish connections.

Nora Patrich

Oral History Interview with Nora Patrich for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Carol Herbert. Patrich was born in Argentina in 1952 and speaks about her upbringing between Argentina, Israel and the United States. She discusses her exposure to political activism and Latin American expressionist art throughout her formative years, including mentorship within her father’s politically charged arts collective named the Spartacus Movement. She tells her experience of the military coup in Argentina during the ‘70s, that forced her into exile in Israel with young children after her husband was assassinated. She explains how this led to a life of traveling activism denouncing Argentina’s past military atrocities, including anti-Semitic genocide, and fighting for human rights through art and protest. Patrich’s primary art mediums are painted murals and sculptures; she discusses their public installments into places like past concentration camps and military bombing sites, and how her art will always be political. She closes by talking about doing mosaic work, independent book printing and publishing, and how there is a documentary about her stories of Argentina.

Olga Campbell

Oral History Interview with Olga Campbell for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Bill Gruenthal. Olga Campbell was born in Iraq in 1943 and immigrated to Canada at the age of five in 1948. She explains her family’s experience with both Russian prison camps and the Holocaust during WWII, where they eventually made it safely to Canada. She discusses her journey as a social worker turned arts professional, including her time spent at Emily Carr and Capilano arts schools. As a second generation Holocaust survivor, Olga discusses how being Jewish and the associated inter-generational trauma of Holocaust survivorship has informed her works. Olga is a mixed-media artist, working in digital and traditional mediums, including collage and sculpture. She also published her art in a book focused on her family’s experience of the Holocaust that has fostered connections to her story, shared herein.

Tanya Bub

Oral History Interview with Tanya Bub for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Daniella Givon. Tanya was born in Minnesota in 1969. Tanya speaks about her family history and her upbringing in Beit Yanai, Israel as a child as well as London, Ontario. Tanya discusses her life in academia while also focused on parenthood and finances, and how she transitioned into an art career in Vancouver. Tanya describes her art as part of the ‘eco-art’ genre, as her mediums are often natural, like driftwood, or recycled and/or found materials. Tanya tells stories of finding community by creating interactive sculptures, especially driftwood people and animals, shared through public art installations across B.C.

Jessica Freedman

Oral Interview with Jessica Freedman for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Daniella Givon via remote Zoom call. Jessica was born in Montreal, but recalls moving around as a child to Israel and back to Canada where she grew up in Calgary. She explains immediate family history which included her mother who was a professional actor, and her father and brother who are musicians. She was primarily introduced to the arts through dance and music, though eventually was trained in visual arts at Simon Fraser University. She describes her different careers as a dancer, choreographer, accountant and yoga studio owner and instructor, but pursued arts full time after quitting her job to take care of her mother who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Jessica explains how her painting style transitioned from realism to more expressive abstracts over time, and how she is inspired by emotions and colour. She also discusses how she is motivated by nature and chaos, collaborating on commissions, and the Jewish concept of tikkun olam, having her art contribute as a light to the world.

Barbara Heller

Oral Interview with Barbara Heller for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Daniella Givon. Barbara, born in Vancouver Canada, talks about her family’s origins in Poland and immigration to Canada. She speaks about her upbringing in Vancouver and how she was surrounded by art in her childhood, leading her to become a visual person and a creative. Barbara discusses her interest in religious mysticism which inspired her education and later, became a specific influence in her art pieces. She speaks about how at first she wanted to be a printmaker but pregnancy led her to work with tapestry and she never looked back. She speaks about recurring symbols, like dead birds, in her art which provide a greater message to her audience about themes like life and war. Barbara discusses the highlights of her career, like showing art in Poland and working with various art collectives within North America, all with the support of her family.

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