Reva Twersky

b. May 8, 1923

Reva Ketzlach Twersky was born on May 8th, 1923, in Seattle, Washington, to Russian immigrants.  She grew up in an Orthodox household and belonged to Bikur Cholim Machazikay Hadath Synagogue.  Twersky attended the University of Washington, graduating in 1945 with a B.A. and in 1968 with a master's in social work. She studied at Talmud Torah in Seattle for her Jewish education between 1929 and 1936. For many years, Reva worked as a Social Worker, clinical faculty member, and assistant professor at the University of Washington's Medical Center. She worked in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington, working on the ground floor when the department started.  Twersky spent her life involved in medical social work and numerous civic and charitable organizations.  Reva married Meyer Twersky in 1946, and they raised three children together.

Scope and Content Note

Reva Twersky describes the village in Russia that her family immigrated from and the Orthodox values and traditions that stayed with the family beyond the Old World.  She describes the community that her family has been a part of in Seattle for generations, including the warmth and hospitality of a grandparent's house.  When Reva was in high school, she remembers the neighborhood's cultural makeup and describes the evacuation of her Japanese friends and peers during the Second World War.  She discusses her family in detail, describing the diaspora of her relatives worldwide throughout history.  Twersky talks about the social dynamics of her Jewish community and the desire for American assimilation that so many Russian Jews shared.  She remembers her grandmother's involvement in her and her siblings’ lives, visiting five or six days a week.  Reva remembers meeting her husband, Meyer Twersky, and their involvement in the community when she was the president of the Parent-Teacher Association and Vice President of the Sisterhood.  At the same time, Meyer was the president of the Synagogue and the Hebrew Academy.  She describes her children and their lives and careers.  Reva explains how their family has maintained a Passover seder tradition even as the children grew up and out of the house.  The extended family was very close and connected.  Reva explains that when talking about any given relative, it was common to refer to them as "cousins" regardless of their exact relationship.  Reva worked for the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington during the 1970s and recalls being one of the few Orthodox residents.  Though being an Orthodox woman in family medicine created challenges for her work, she notes that she managed to stay very active in Jewish organizations and her family life.  Reva talks about the evolution of roles that Orthodox women held and the lives and jobs of her peers and her daughters.  Finally, Reva talks in-depth about her courtship with Meyer Twersky, who she married in 1946.  Reva met Meyer when he was in the service and went on to have a robust group of friends and family that they socialized with frequently.  She recalls this era with fondness and closes by expressing her connection to these people and the traditions they maintained over many decades of her life.

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How to cite this page

Oral History of Reva Twersky. Interviewed by Roz Bornstein. 19 June 2001. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on April 22, 2024) <http://jwa.org/oralhistories/twersky-reva>.

Oral History of Reva Twersky by the Jewish Women's Archive is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://jwa.org/contact/OralHistory.