Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Shlomo Schneider


Born on the 13th of August 1897 in Dinovitz, Podolia. Till the age of eleven he studied in cheders (Jewish elementary schools). After that he studied in a gymasium (high school) in Komenitz, where his motherís father, the scholar and wealthy man R. Avraham Arenheim resided.

At the end of 1913, traveling through Germany and Switzerland he eventually made his way to Canada, where he finally settled in Montreal. In 1921 he made his debut writing songs spiced up with a variety of nuances. After that he concentrated on songs,  stories, articles and translations in Yiddish periodicals in both Canada and America. Together with Y.Y. Segal and A. Skolnikoff, first in Montreal and later in Toronto, he issued five booklets "Roy Erd" ("Virgin Land"). After Segalís departure, Sh. on his own took over editorship. Sh. was one of the first to organize a Yiddish cultural society in Canada.  He helped form and supported Yiddish non-religious schools and the Folks Library and was one of the first Yiddish teachers in Montreal. In the summer of 1924 he moved to New York. There he was active as a teacher and was also involved in the Sholem Aleichem Folks-Institute.

1927óSh. traveled extensively all over the USA and finally settled in Los Angeles, where he became a teacher in a Yiddish school. Together with H. Rosenblat and Sh. Miller he produced a journal "Pasipik."

Sh. produced a cycle of five mystical stories, "Tzelomim" (Idols), and translated from the Norwegian with the permission of the author, Knute Hampton's "The Blessing of the Earth" (Warsaw 1926) and "Children of their Times" (New York 1926). He also authored a book, "Shpilarayin (Games), New York and matones (Gifts).

Sh. produced a series of children holiday plays, such as "Chanukah Money" "Shalakh Mones" (sending food portions on Purim), "Repititziah" (Rehearsal), and "Grins oyf Shavuos" (Vegetables on Shavuot), all of which were performed in Yiddish schools.

On the 28th of December1936 Sh. died in Los Angeles, California.

Y. Steinbaum wrote about the one-act play "Chanukah Money":

"This play is about what children will do with money that they collect on the holiday. The contents are understood without asking permission from the author: In a school, children receive Chanukah money and a fight breaks out among them. Some say that the money should be given to the strikers. Others disagree while others donít. Finally, it is decided to put on a play, collect money and send it to the strikers. Sending money in support of the strikers is a very fine thing to do. especially when children take it on and then decided to earn the money themselves. Butówhat have strikers to do with the holiday, Chanukah? Arenít there enough other days in the calendar to do that? Is it only on Chanukah that our children can do something for them? And also, why do we have to put children through such an experience?  Why does it have to be Chanukah money? Why give the money away, either to the political left or to the political right?  From such heated arguments one can grow very disillusioned."

Delivering a short bit of Y.Y. Segalís article in "Der kanada adler" (The Canadian Eagle), where "Der kanada adler" talks about it on the "literary pages".

"Itís possible to say, that he, Schneider possessed a talented, refined ear for words. He knew Yiddish as well as any very cultured, well-off person. Intuitively he knew and understood the ingredients that a person possesses and the totality and innermost harmony of language. As a result such a person was able and know how to make stylish use of it. Wasnít such a story once written about Hannah and her seven sons? What was their purpose, to die in order not to serve all the idols?  Enough! If itís already written why must it be printed? I also know how to read and I too can stage such plays which, with the passage of time, can create a heated debate among the children; to whom does the money belong?"

Sh.'s published plays:

1. Shlomo Schneider
Grins oyf shavuos
(a Shavous play)
["Kinder zhurnal," N.Y., May 1928]

1a. "Di yidishe tsaytung," Buenos Aires, 14 June 1929.

1b. [F"g "Naye yidishe folksshul," Vilna, 20 pp.]

2. Shlomo Schneider
Chanukah Money
(a Chanukah play)
["Kinder zhurnal," N.Y., November 1928.]

3. Shlomo Schneider
(a Purim play)

4. Shlomo Schneider
[Passover play)
["Kinder zhurnal," N.Y., March 1928]

  • Z. Reisen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature," Vilna, 1929, Vol. 4, pp. 834-836.

  • Y. Steinbaum -- Bamerkungen fun a lerer, "Tsukunft," N.Y., January 1929.

  • Necrology in "Literarishe bleter," Warsaw, N' 9, 1936.

  • [--] fun tsvaytungen in zhurnaln, dort, N' 13, 1936.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 5133.

Translation courtesy of Paul Azaroff.

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