SHOLEM MILER (SALEM MILLER) (1900-May 25, 1947)
He was born in Molodetshne (Maladziečna), Byelorussia. He studied in religious elementary school, with private tutors, and later in Reynes’s yeshiva in Vilna. Over the years 1918-1921 he studied to be a lawyer at Vilna University. In 1921 he moved to Canada and settled in Winnipeg, where he completed his studies and became a lawyer. He was cofounder of a national Jewish community council for Western Canada and a builder of Yiddish and Hebrew school curricula. He taught for many years in Talmud-Torahs, Y. L. Peretz schools, and the Yiddish-Hebrew teachers’ seminary. He also was among the leadership of the Canadian Jewish Congress, Winnipeg Labor Zionists, the Histadruth campaign, and the Zionist action committee in Jerusalem. He was devoted to the study of Jewish folklore. He first published Hebrew poetry in Hatsfira (The siren) in Warsaw (1917), and from then contributed poems, stories, and articles to: Dos idishe vort (The Jewish word) in Winnipeg; Keneder odler (Canadian eagle) in Montreal; Der idisher zhurnal (The Jewish journal) in Toronto; Der idisher kemfer (The Jewish fighter), Morgn-zhurnal (Morning journal), and Hadoar (The mail) in New York. In Sefer hashana leyehude amerika (Annual of Jews in America) for 1950/1951, he published the study: “Yidisher humor in amerike” (Jewish humor in America). His books include: Funem idishn kval, idishe vitsn, anekdotn un glaykhverterlekh (The gist of the Jewish past, Jewish jokes, anecdotes, and aphorisms), with a foreword by Yude Elzet (Winnipeg, 1937), 301 pp. This book possessed “a great treasury of the Jewish spirit and naïveté,” wrote Elzet, “and it is characterized by its adaptive style of concrete classification and interpretation.” He died in Winnipeg.
Sources: Y. Elzet, foreword to Funem idishn kval, idishe vitsn, anekdotn un glaykhverterlekh (The gist of the Jewish past, Jewish jokes, anecdotes, and aphorisms) (Winnipeg, 1937), pp. 8-9; Mark (Zeltshen), in Dos idishe vort (Winnipeg) (May 27, 1947; June 25, 1947); Zeltshen, Der idisher kemfer (New York) (June 6, 1947); Zeltshen, in Hadoar (New York) (June 13, 1947); P. Zalts, in Keneder odler (Montreal) (June 16, 1948).
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