Tuesday, 6 August 2019


MEYER SHVARTSMAN (February 11, 1901-November 12, 1968)
            He was a rabbinical writer in Hebrew and Yiddish, born in Zagrove (Zagórów), Poland.  He attended religious elementary school and yeshivas.  He was an active Orthodox leader.  He helped to organize Tseire Agudat Yisrael (Youth of Agudat Yisrael) in Poland.  In 1938 he moved from Warsaw to Canada and worked there as a rabbi in Cornwall, later serving as administrator of a Talmud Torah in Toronto, and from 1948 a rabbi in Winnipeg.  In his last years, he was ill and at the time received his doctoral degree from the University of Winnipeg.  He wrote poetry, stories, impressions, and articles for: the weekly Unzer veg (Our way) in Shedlets (Siedlce); Ortodoksishe bletlekh (Orthodox sheets) in Lodz (1922); Kindergorten (Kindergarten), Dos yudishe togblat (The Jewish daily newspaper), and Beys-yankev zhurnal (Beys Yankev journal) in Lodz; Ortodoksishe yugend bleter (Orthodox youth pages) in Warsaw; Der id (The Jew), Tog (Day), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), Dos idishe vort (The Jewish word), and Der amerikaner (The American) in New York; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Keneder nayes (Canadian news) and Idisher zhurnal (Jewish journal) in Toronto; Dos yidishe vort (The Jewish word) in Winnipeg; Unzer tsaytung (Our newspaper) in Brazil; Yontef bleter (Holiday sheets) in Johannesburg; and Di idishe post (The Jewish mail) in London; among others.  His work also appeared in: Do amolike yidish varshe, 1914-1939 (The Jewish Warsaw of the past, 1914-1939) (Montreal, 1966).  In book form: Di lilyel (The lilies) (Warsaw, 1924), 32 pp.; Di alte bobe (The great grandmother) (Warsaw, 1925), 32 pp.—both of these were textbooks for the Beys Yankev schools, written under the pen name “Bal Shem”; Unzere yontoyvim (Our holidays) (Winnipeg, 1945/1946), 198 pp.; Der yidisher flam (The Jewish flame) (Winnipeg, 1958), 566 pp.  From among Shvartsman’s Hebrew texts, we should make mention of his Meir ene yesharim (Enlightening the eyes of the righteous), commentaries and sermons on the Pentateuch in five parts.  He died in Winnipeg.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Getzel Kressel, Leksikon hasifrut haivrit (Handbook of Hebrew literature), vol. 2 (Meravya, 1967); D. Tidhar, Entsiklopedyah lealutse hayishuv uvonav (Encyclopedia of the pioneers and builders of the yishuv), vol. 10, 18 (Tel Aviv, 1959, 1969); Sefer yiskor lekehilat shedlits (Remembrance volume for the community of Shedlets) (Buenos Aires, 1956), pp. 389-90; Khayim Leyb Fuks, Lodzh shel mayle, dos yidishe gaystiḳe un derhoybene lodzh, 100 yor yidishe un oykh hebreishe literatur un kultur in lodzh un in di arumiḳe shtet un shtetlekh (Lodz on high, the Jewish spiritual and elevated Lodz, 100 years of Yiddish and also Hebrew literature and culture in Lodz and in the surrounding cities and towns) (Tel Aviv: Perets Publ., 1972), see index; autobiography in “Osef g. kresel” (Collection of Getzel Kressel), held in the library of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Ruvn Goldberg

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