A medical social worker and community service volunteer, Reva Twersky works for both Jewish and secular organizations to serve those in need. Born and raised in Seattle, Reva’s grandparents and parents, leaders within the Ashkenazic Orthodox community, instilled a love of family and community in her. Reva received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology in 1945 and a Masters of Social Work Degree in 1968. For many years Reva worked at the University of Washington’s Medical Center as a Social Worker, Clinical Faculty Member, and Assistant Professor. With her boundless energy, Reva also volunteered for numerous Jewish and civic organizations. She and Meyer Twersky married in 1946 and had three children. Although she is officially “retired,” Reva continues to be a very committed and active volunteer.
“We moved to Jackson Street when I was five years old. My father was tired of being a traveling salesman. He wanted to have a little department store and to have living quarters built right in the back, attached to the store. That’s where we moved. Up until that time we were very poor, but when we came to our own place on Jackson Street, we had twin beds. It became the dressing room for our store because we sold women’s dresses from a small size up to 52. But also, now across the street from us, Schreiber and Volotin started a little furniture store. There was also across from us Piggly Wiggly, another furniture store, and next to the Roitbords there was also a Jewish store.
“If you went down Jackson, there were the Jewish cleaner, there was a wonderful Jewish bakery, a kosher bakery, Egger Brothers. They had the most delicious bread and pastry. Also later where the Jewish cleaner was, Reverend Scharhon and his children opened a grocery store. And they also barbecued little chickens and oh, that was a treat to us. Because we didn’t used to eat out.
“Our store was between 23rd and 24th and Jackson. Most of the people in the immediate area would shop mostly on Jackson Street, but Yesler Way was the main Jewish neighborhood. The stores were owned by Orthodox Ashkenazic Jews but Sephardim lived in their neighborhood and so they shopped there too.
“When a woman became a widow, she would have a little room built onto her house and she would start a little grocery store. So my mother’s aunt, she had this little store and not only did she have some groceries including fruit, but she also had all kinds of Jewish items. She had Sunshine crackers that had Hebrew writing on the boxes.
“So we had a wonderful childhood. We didn’t know we were poor. Everybody else was.”
© 2004 Jewish Women’s Archive. Photographs by Joan Roth.