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Hirsch Wolofsky

WOLOFSKY, HIRSCH (1878–1949), Canadian Yiddish publisher and author. Wolofsky was born in Shidlovtse (Szydlowiec), Poland, into an observant ḥasidic community to which his father was crown rabbi. He received a traditional religious education until orphaned at 15. He moved to Lodz, married, and immigrated to Canada via England in 1900 to join a brother in Montreal. In 1907 Wolofsky founded Canada's first enduring Yiddish daily, the Keneder Adler (Canadian Jewish Eagle), and served as managing editor until his death. Wolofsky's newspaper served a wide readership across ideological lines. It promoted Jewish education, establishment of a Canadian Jewish Congress, creation of a Jewish Community Council (Va'ad Ha'ir), and building of a Jewish hospital.

The Adler attracted Jewish writers of international renown such as Hebraist Reuben Brainin, who served as editor from 1912 to 1915, and featured many of Canada's Yiddish writers. Wolofsky's Adler subsidized the literary and scholarly pursuits of its associates and published many of their books. Among the books published was Canada's first Yiddish book: Moshe Elimelech Levin's Kinder Ertsiyung bay Yidn ("Children's Education Among Jews," 1910), and a local edition of the Talmud, the Adler's Shas Talmud Bavli or, as it became popularly known, the Montreoler Shas ("Montreal Talmud," 1919).

Wolofsky also wrote for the Adler. He published three Yiddish books: a travelogue titled Eyrope un Erets-Yisroel nokh dem Veltkrig ("Europe and the Land of Israel after the World War," 1922), a volume of contemporary commentary on the weekly Torah portions, Fun Eybign Kval ("From the Eternal Source," 1930), and a book of memoirs, Mayn Lebns Rayze ("Journey of My Life," 1946; Eng. tr. 1945, Fr. tr. 2000). In addition, Wolofsky served as publisher of the Anglo-Jewish weekly the Canadian Jewish Chronicle (founded 1914). He held various leadership positions in the Montreal Jewish community, including the vice presidency of both the American Union of Polish Jews and the Canadian Jewish Congress.


L. Levendel, A Century of the Canadian Jewish Press: 1880s1980s (1989).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.