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3 records – page 1 of 1.
Accession Number
2015-9-10
Source
Archival Accessions
Accession Number
2015-9-10
Material Format
textual record
Physical Description
1 folder of textual records
Date
1930-1989
Scope and Content
Accession consists of various lettters, one in Polish and others in Hebrew and Yiddish. One of the letters appears to have been addressed to Rabbi Shemen's mother (Gitl), although undated, it appears to be from the late 1920s or early 1930s. A letter in Yiddish is addressed to the Boimoil family of Chodel, Poland. Boimol was the original last name of Rabbi Shemen.
Custodial History
It appears that the documents came directly from Rabbi Nachman Shemen
Administrative History
Rabbi Shemen was a Rabbinic scholar, author and Jewish civil servant. He held the following positions: Executive secretary of the Canadian Federation of Polish jews (1940-1993), Director of Orthodox Division of CJC, Ontario (1950-1992). Rabbi Shemen died in 1993.
Subjects
Families
Letters
Rabbis
Name Access
Shemen, Nachman, Rabbi, 1912-1993
Places
Toronto, Ont.
Source
Archival Accessions
Accession Number
1993-7-4
Source
Archival Accessions
Accession Number
1993-7-4
Material Format
textual record
Physical Description
75 m of textual records
Scope and Content
Accession consists of the records created and collected by Rabbi Nachum Shemen. Included are correspondence, newsclippings, writings, and organizational records.
Use Conditions
Records in off-site storage; advance notice required to view.
Subjects
Rabbis
Name Access
Shemen, Nachman, Rabbi, 1912-1993
Source
Archival Accessions
Level
Fonds
ID
Fonds 103
Source
Archival Descriptions
Level
Fonds
Fonds
103
Material Format
textual record
graphic material
Date
[192-?]-1993
Physical Description
45.9 m of textual records
35 photographs
Admin History/Bio
Nachman Shemen, a rabbinic scholar, author and Jewish civil servant, was born Nachman Boimoil in Chodel, Poland on March 15, 1912. His great-grandfather was a disciple of the founder of Hasidism in Poland, known as the “Seer of Lublin,” and both of his parents were descendants of Hasids and scholars. Shemen was ordained in Warsaw in 1929 at age seventeen by the chief rabbi of Warsaw, Rabbi Eliezer Ezra Kershenbaum of Lublin, and the famous scholar Rabbi Pinchas Eliezer Grosfershtand. In 1930, he settled in Toronto with his family, becoming a teacher at the Eitz Chaim Talmud Torah until 1965. He was also a disciple of Rabbi Yehuda Lieb Graubart, spiritual leader of the city’s Polish Jewish community and an internationally respected rabbinic authority and author. In 1936, he married Toby Rosenberg and they had a son and three daughters.
From 1940 until his death in 1993, Shemen was a secretary of the Canadian Federation of Polish Jews, later known as the Canadian Federation to Aid Polish Jews in Israel, serving as secretary of the Toronto branch and executive secretary of the national executive. From 1954 to 1993, he was Director of the Orthodox Division of the Canadian Jewish Congress, now known as the Kashruth Council of Canada.
Shemen was a prolific writer, contributing articles to periodicals not only in Canada, but also in the United States, Europe, South America, and Israel. Shortly after his arrival to Canada, Shemen began a journalistic career with the Toronto Hebrew Journal. Writing under seven pen names, his works appeared in numerous Yiddish dailies, weeklies, and periodicals around the world. From the mid-1950s, he served as the editor of Yidishe Nayes for a decade, a monthly bulletin published jointly by Canadian Jewish Congress and the United Jewish Welfare Fund of Toronto. He edited commemorative volumes for many Toronto Jewish organizations and wrote more than twenty books ranging from biographies of rabbis to fascism, from Chasidism to labour issues. He was also a founder and volunteer rabbi for the Torah V’Avodah Congregation.
Custodial History
The records of this fonds were housed in the basement study of Rabbi Shemen's home on Lonsmount Drive in Toronto until 1987, when a flood prompted an emergency effort by his family to rescue the collection. Material was not packed carefully, and was transferred to dry boxes without regard to size or subject. The flood also encouraged Shemen to offer the collection to the Archives.
It was Shemen's intention to donate the material piecemeal as he reordered it, and to assist in its processing at the Archives following his retirement, however illness prevented him from doing so. The collection was instead transferred to the Ontario Jewish Archives in a state of disarray in several accessions between 1987 and 1991. Processing began in May of 1996 when funds were made available from the Canadian Council of Archives and other sources.
Scope and Content
Fonds consists of records that provide insight into the career and thought of Rabbi Nachman Shemen, an influential figure in Canadian orthodox Jewry. It consists primarily of textual records, both in English and Yiddish, and includes minutes and correspondence related to Canadian Jewish Congress, the Kashruth Council of Toronto, the Canadian Federation to Aid Polish Jews in Israel and the Kehilla of Toronto, as well as Shemen's own articles and monographs together with research material for his writings. Also included are Shemen's private correspondence with scholars and literary figures throughout the Jewish world. Of special interest is the plethora of ephemera collected over a half-century.
Notes
Associated material: For related material, refer to records at the Archives of Religious Zionism at Bar Ilan University in Israel.
Name Access
Shemen, Nachman, Rabbi, 1912-1993
Torah V'Avodah Congregation (Toronto, Ont.)
Subjects
Orthodox Judaism
Rabbis
Access Restriction
Partially closed. Researchers must receive permission from the OJA Director prior to accessing some of the records.
Related Material
For related material at the OJA, refer to the Eitz Chaim Talmud Torah fonds, Canadian Jewish Congress fonds, United Jewish Welfare Fund fonds, United Jewish Refugee and War Relief series and the Rabbi David Kirshenbaum accession.
Arrangement
Attempts were made to restore the collection as much as possible to its original order, which required educated guesswork. Duplicate and irrelevant material were culled, and the remainder cleaned as required. Records were arranged into a preliminary series. Further rearrangement of the series and rehousing of material have been carried out by archivists to improve accessibility and address conservation needs.
Source
Archival Descriptions

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