Caiserman, Hanane Meier

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CAISERMAN, HANANE MEIER (1884–1950), Canadian Jewish communal leader. Born in Piatre-Neamt, Romania, Caiserman immigrated to Montreal in 1911. A lifelong Labor Zionist, Caiserman was also a union organizer for the Montreal clothing workers and Jewish bakers. During the 1910s he took a leading role in the strikes for better conditions and union recognition. He also organized and actively promoted Jewish cultural activity, giving evening courses to workers on political economy. In 1919 he helped organize the Canadian Jewish Congress and was named the organization's general secretary. While the Congress at first failed to bring Canadian Jews together under one roof, with Caiserman's help it did establish the Jewish Immigrant Aid Society of Canada in 1920, and Caiserman served as its honorary president. Always in the forefront of Montreal Jewish affairs, during the 1920s he actively supported the cause of separate Jewish schools in Quebec and was closely associated with educational and cultural institutions such as the Peretz School, the Jewish Folk School, and the Montreal Jewish Library. Caiserman wrote widely in the Yiddish press on political, communal, and literary themes. He is the author of Yiddishe dikhter in Canada (1934). With the advent of Hitlerism, and the rise of antisemitism, Caiserman helped rebuild the Canadian Jewish Congress into a dynamic and proactive organization. He was instrumental in bringing Sam *Bronfman into the organization and stepped aside so that Bronfman could assume leadership of it. Caiserman, however, remained a leading spirit in the Canadian Jewish Congress until his death.


B. Figler and D. Rome, H.M. Caiserman Book (1962); P. Anctil, Le Rendez-vous manqué: Les Juifs de Montréal face au Québec de l'entre-deux-guerres (1988).

[Gerald Tulchinsky (2nd ed.)]