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Romy Ritter

Interview with Romy Ritter as part of the Canadian Jewish Congress oral history project, interviewed by David Schwartz. Romy speaks about her parent’s involvement with the Vancouver Jewish community. She discusses how her participation in March of the Living and hearing a Holocaust survivor speak at camp inspired her involvement in Canadian Jewish Congress. Romy talks about her career as community relations coordinator and regional director of CJC Pacific Region. She speaks about the successes of Canadian Jewish Congress, including inter-faith dialogue, Israeli issues, and being a role model for other organizations in Canada. Romy talks about Canadian Jewish Congress’ collaboration with the Jewish Federation of Greater Vancouver and provincial political parties. Romy also discusses the dissolvement of Canadian Jewish Congress due to it’s reorganization and it’s impact on the wider community. She states her present relationship with the Jewish community and her sentiment towards current Jewish advocacy organizations.

Mark Weintraub

Interview with Mark Weintraub as part of the Canadian Jewish Congress oral history project, interviewed by David Schwartz. Mark, born in St. Catharines, Ontario, talks about his family’s history in Poland and Canada. He speaks about his parent’s participation in St. Catharines and Vancouver’s Jewish community, notably his father’s involvement in Canadian Jewish Congress, prompting Mark’s early interest in the organization. Mark discusses the prevalence of anti-Semitism in St. Catharines and later Vancouver, British Columbia as another inspiration for his involvement. He speaks about his work for Canadian Jewish Congress’ Media Committee which advocated for objectivity and accuracy in public media. He explains how Canadian Jewish Congress advocated for human rights including combatting anti-Semitism, abetting Indigenous rights, and protesting the Darfur genocide. Mark also speaks about how Canadian Jewish Congress was exemplary to other organizations for how to advocate on behalf of a community, as he was a key note speaker at a conference in Japan. Mark discusses the demise of Canadian Jewish Congress due to a mass reorganization and the creation of the Centre for Israeli and Jewish Affairs. Mark also talks about his relationship with Canadian Jewish organizations today, his career as a lawyer, and how he continues to reflect of Canadian Jewish Congress’ success.

Yosef Wosk

Interview with Yosef Wosk, interviewed by Carol Herbert. Yosef speaks about his family’s history in Ukraine and Russia and how pogroms and anti-Semitism led to their immigration to Vancouver, Canada. Yosef discusses his father’s beginnings in Vancouver and the growth of the Wosk business as peddlers in the furniture business, primarily in South Granville. He talks about his upbringing and relationship to his family and their immense presence in both the Jewish and business community. He speaks about his lengthy education at numerous secular institutions and rabbinic schooling at two Yeshivas and with scholars in North America and Israel. Yosef discusses his career as a rabbi in North America and his directing of interdisciplinary programs at Simon Fraser University.

Renee Kursan

.Interview with Renee Kursan. Interviewed by Sara Bernstein. Renee talks about her family's history, her education, and her childhood growing up in Cape Town and Mossel Bay, South Africa. She discusses her career as a nurse and life raising her young children outside of Queenstown and in Cape Town. Renee speaks about her and her family’s immigration to Vancouver, Canada. She compares Jewish life in South Africa to Canada and the countries’ culture, race and the Apartheid in South Africa.

Alan Tapper

Oral history interview with Alan Tapper, interviewed by Matthew Graves and assisted by Alan’s wife, Daphne. Alan speaks on his family’s history as well as adolescence in the Jewish community of East London, England, including the artistic and political environment. Alan talks about his family’s experience during the Second World War in London where his neighborhood was heavily bombed and impoverished by rationing, leading to his family’s evacuation to Devon and Newcastle. Alan discusses his involvement in various youth groups and theatre during the war, such as the Brady’s Boy Club. He talks about his military training at Padgate and subsequent conscription into the Royal Air Force intelligence unit where he was stationed in Egypt to monitor conflict over the Suez Canal. Alan speaks about how his military experience impacted his life and also the anti-Semitism he observed. He discusses his immigration to Vancouver, Canada and his role in numerous Jewish and Zionist organizations and boards, including B’nai Brith and the Canadian Jewish Congress. He talks about his job in fundraising, teaching public speaking, and radio program hosting, as well as his children and marriage.

Irma Schneider

Oral history interview with Irma Schneider, interviewed by Cindy Rozen. Irma speaks on her family’s history as well as her early life and adolescence in East London, South Africa. Irma also discusses her childhood education in a Catholic convent and her experience with camp and Habonim. When she was married, she lived in Cape Town, where her children were also born, and in 1980, she immigrated to Vancouver, Canada. She details her family’s and her own experience with immigrating to Canada and speaks about her marriage and her children’s families.

David Skulski

Oral history interview with David Skulski, interviewed by Alysa Routtenberg. David, born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, speaks about his family’s history in Ukraine [Beresteczko] and Russia and immigration to Canada. David discusses his early life and adolescence in Moose Jaw and North Battleford and relocation to New Westminster, British Columbia. David talks about both his secular and religious education and relationship to the Peretz Centre for Secular Jewish Culture, both in his youth and later in his leadership. David also speaks of his experience as a professional oboist, which influenced his founding and direction of Early Music Vancouver, residency at SFU, and role in Vancouver’s symphony.

Shira Blustein

Interview with Shira Blustein about her relationship with food and the food industry. Shira discusses her experiences running vegetarian restaurants, The Acorn and The Arbor, in Vancouver. She talks about the role of food in her family. Shira also discusses her participation in the punk rock music scene in Calgary and her involvement in an alternative country band, Blood Meridian. There is also conversation about raising children in a multi-faith household and Birthright.

Avital Jarus Hakak

Interview with Avital Jarus Hakak as part of the BC Jewish Queer & Trans Oral History Project, in collaboration with JQT Vancouver. Avital shares her experience being both lesbian and Jewish.

Justine Balin

Interview with Justine Balin as a follow up to her interview in 2017; the interview focuses on food. Justine talks about life after being on the cooking show, Chopped Canada Teen, in 2017. She discusses the role of food in her life during her years at university in Halifax, as well as her changing relationship with Judaism. Justine shares her experience being on a second cooking show, Wall of Chefs, in 2019.

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