Oral History interview with Iris Andrews. Born in 1933, Iris lived in London before moving to Vancouver once war broke out in 1940. Iris’s maternal grandfather was the first in her family to come to Canada, arriving in Vancouver in 1911. He opened a kosher bakery called Mother Hubbard Bakery on the corner of West Broadway. Iris’s maternal grandparents belonged to the Beth Israel congregation prior to the construction of the synagogue on Oak St. Her paternal grandparents were from Balaya Tserkoff, Russia (Now Bila Tserkva, Ukraine). Her paternal grandfather was a soldier in the Russian Army in the calvary before being designated a free man. Iris’s paternal grandparents arrived in England in 1903, where her grandfather began to works as a cigarette maker. Iris lived in Vancouver from 1940-1945 as war evacuee, and later returned to the city with her husband and two children in 1962. Iris was very active in the Jewish community; she was involved with Sisterhood at Beth Israel, she joined the Nordau chapter of Hadassah-WIZO, she worked as a Rabbi Secretary at Beth Israel, and she was on the committee for the Beth Israel museum.
Interview with Shaira SD Holman 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. SD identifies themself overall as queer, but also as a butch dyke and genderqueer. SD talks about being raised as a secular and cultural Jew. SD talks about growing up in LA to a single parent and eventually moving to Rock Creek, BC becoming a cowboy on the countryside. SD shares about being ‘out’ as queer in high school and eventually going to Emily Carr for arts upon moving to Vancouver. SD talks about not feeling at home in Vancouver’s Jewish community as compared with the working class Jews in LA or their Jewish leatherdyke community in San Francisco. SD talks about their late wife Catherine, and how they were each others’ sanctuary where Catherine was encouraging to their arts endeavors. SD talks about the Pride in Arts Society, and creating the Queer Arts Festival. SD also talks about opening the SUM Gallery as a place for queer artists to be themselves and kickstarting queer recognition in Vancouver's arts scene. SD closes by giving the advice that life is not a sprint, but a marathon; to keep learning, and remember the history that comes before you.
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.
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 Ronald (Ron) Appleton, accompanied by his wife Brenda Appleton for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Carol Herbert. Ron Appleton was born in Vancouver and describes his youth working with his father who was an auctioneer and arts dealer. This experience introduced him to Inuit art which became the focus of his life’s work showing and selling works of Indigenous artists in his family-owned and operated galleries. Ron and Brenda describe the relationships they formed with Indigenous artists but also many art collectors, especially Jewish diaspora, around the world. Ron shares anecdotes related to prominent Canadian artists, as well as unique art pieces he’s seen across the decades in the business.
Oral Interview with Marcia Pitch for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Carol Herbert. Marcia discusses her upbringing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and her parents and grandparents’ origins in Eastern Europe and immigration to Canada. Marcia mentions influences that led her to the arts, including education at the University of Manitoba and doing graduate work in California. In 1969, Marcia experienced the police suppression in response to the People’s Park Revolution in Berkeley. Soon after she returned to Vancouver where she studied education at UBC and volunteered with Amnesty International. She pursued an art style that reflected her strong feelings about politics, war, and the influences of her grandparents’ stories of Eastern European pogroms. Marcia's art includes mixed media collages and sculptures, and producing large scale installations for her gallery exhibitions. Marcia speaks about her upcoming project focusing on sexuality, women’s repression and feminism. She further explains her perspective as an older woman in the art world and the differing responses she has received regarding her art online vs. in person. Marcia relates experiences such as having children, volunteering, and being a part of the recycling community to how they’ve inspired her pieces or participation in the arts community.
Oral Interview with Joyce Ozier for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Carol Herbert. She speaks about her upbringing in the Jewish community of Boston, MA and provides a brief summary of her immediate family. She talks about her education, including her early artistic influences, and anecdotes relating to producing art and experiences as a child and teen. Joyce talks about how her arts career truly started in the experimental theatre/performance art scene in 1970 Vancouver. She talks about how this led her into arts administration in dance companies, and later teaching English as a second language into her fifties. Joyce explains how ESL teaching didn’t bring her the same happiness as the arts, and how her son convinced her to try store window dressing, which she eventually turned into a business for 10 years. She tells of how she transitioned to a full time visual artist, and how her art style is based in abstraction, movement and thematic use of colour. She also describes a prominent collection of work about the Holocaust that she is most proud of. She talks about how she continues to paint, and is also a part of a collective that she created for artists aged 65 and above called the B-Older Gallery.
Oral Interview with Miriam Aroeste for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Daniella Givon. Miriam was born in Mexico City in 1961 and she explains how her family ended up in Mexico from Poland prior to WWII. She discusses her immediate family, and how her and her husband resettled in Vancouver in 1990. Miriam talks about her career in the film industry and how she transitioned to visual arts with inspiration from her father and the need to balance her career with parenthood. She speaks about having little interest in arts, besides dance, growing up, but that changed when she lived in Europe for almost a decade during her 20s. Miriam describes her art style as more abstract than figurative and discusses her love of bright colours and the necessity of knowing what you want from an art career. She talks about curating art for Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics, selling her work, and the kinds of commissions she enjoys. Lastly Miriam discusses her time in art galleries as an artist, curator and art consultant and what she had learned about art collectors and art institutions along the way.