The purpose of She Also Serves is to contribute to public awareness of the spectrum of the Canadian experience. The project will accomplish this goal by highlighting little known stories of Canadian Jewish military history through the website and a future engaging, interactive educational museum experience.
In the fall of 2020, we put out a call for submissions for an exhibition of art influenced by the stories of the servicewomen featured on the website. Selected artwork will be featured in a public exhibition physically mounted at The Military Museums, Calgary during Jewish Heritage Month, May 2022 and starting May 3, 2021 digitally on this website. Please contact us for information on the exhibition.
While for the most part an invisible minority in the Canadian mosaic, Jewish Canadians are nonetheless victims of racism. The Government of Canada reported that, in 2017, eighteen percent of all hate crimes in Canada were committed against Jews, even though Jews constitute only one percent of the population.
We suggest that projects like She Also Serves: Jewish Canadian Women in the Canadian Armed Forces will help advance anti-racism in Canada by providing engaging and artistic representations of Jewish Canadian women who contributed to the security of our country. The project will help create a more inclusive image of Canadian identity.
Jennifer Eiserman has been fascinated by how art can tell us stories about people since her early undergraduate days. She believes works of art can tell us who we are, what we believe, value, and what our goals are, both individually and collectively. She has also been interested in how different cultures tell their stories through their artworks. She has explored these things as an art museum educator, a curator and a scholar for the last thirty years. She Also Serves is an opportunity to introduce some exceptional women to our community, to our country, and hopefully to others beyond our borders. It will provide ten artists the chance to bring to life the stories of ten Jewish Canadian women who served Canada during a very difficult time.
Saundra Lipton worked as a Liaison Librarian at the University of Calgary for over forty years, responsible for reference services, collection development and library instruction in Anthropology, Archaeology, Greek and Roman Studies, Philosophy, and Religious Studies. Lipton has also been an historical sleuth, tracking down information about the over 265 Jewish women who served in Canada in World War II. Her fruitful detective work has uncovered the stories of many of these women, stories that stir one’s sense of adventure, and often tug at the heart strings. Her work has also uncovered many interesting questions about these women. What did they do after they returned to civilian life? Why do many of their obituaries not mention that they served? She would love to learn more about these women's experiences both during and post war. So, if you have information about someone you know who served, please contact her.
We most gratefully acknowledge the assistance of servicewomen's family members, researchers Ellin Bessner, Ester Reiter and Cynthia Toman, and the Jewish archives across Canada (Janice Rosen, Archives Director at the Alex Dworkin Canadian Jewish Archives; Andrew Morrison, Archivist at the Irma and Marvin Penn Archives at the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada; Colleen Paull, Archivist, Jewish Archives and Historical Society of Edmonton and Northern Alberta; Roberta Kerr, Archivist, Jewish Historical Society of Southern Alberta; Alysa Routtenberg, Archivist, Jewish Museum and Archives of BC; Faye Blum, Archivist at the Ontario Jewish Archives; Teigan Goldsmith, Archivist, Ottawa Jewish Archives; Katherine Biggs-Craft, Curator at the Saint John Jewish Historical Museum).
We would like to thank Hesam Rezaei for his patience and splendid work developing this website and our deep appreciation to Helen Clarke for her invaluable work as a volunteer editor
This project has been made possible through funding provided by an "Energizing Arts" grant from the Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary.