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Hershl Hartman Celebration of Life

May 4 @ 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM PDT

This Saturday, the Sholem Community, together with his family, invite you to join us for a Celebration of the Life of Hershl Hartman (1929-2023), our esteemed Mentor, Principal, Education Director, and Vegvayzer.

Saturday, May 4, 2024
Hershl Hartman (1929-2023)
Celebration of Life
1:00 pm-4:00 pm PST (4:00-7:00pm EST)
The Church in Ocean Park
235 Hill Street, Santa Monica. CA 90405

Light refreshments will be served afterwards.

Please allow extra time for parking, which can be tricky. There are large public lots a few blocks west.

For those who are unable to attend in person, please join us via Zoom:

Memorial contributions may be made to the Sholem Community:


Hershl Hartman and his late wife, May Hartman (née Stein), were the only two graduates to hold degrees in both Jewish Education and Yiddish Journalism from the former School for Higher Jewish Education of the Jewish People’s Fraternal Order, International Workers Order (IWO) in New York. The Jewish People’s Fraternal Order focused on Secular Jewish culture and celebration, mutual support especially in health insurance coverage, and anti-fascist activism. The IWO, made up of 15 ethnic societies, also gave particular emphasis to supporting the rights and interests of African Americans.

Hershl was the first native-born Yiddish reporter in the U.S. (MorgnFrayhayt — Morning Freedom, 1947-1951) and was the principal of the secular Sholem Educational Institute (1967-1985) and Education Director of the Sholem Community (1985-2023) in Los Angeles.

Hershl’s Yiddish/English translations include many scores of Yiddish poems and essays and handwritten letters and manuscripts including an undated notebook of Isaac Bashevis Singer outlining a never-written trilogy of novels. Among the many full-length books he has translated are, most recently: a collection of essays by a prominent Yiddish humorist who survived the khurbn (holocaust), immigrated to the U.S. and satirized Jewish American lifestyles and Anglicized “Yinglish;” the text for a comics collection, A Bunch of Jews and Other Stories; the memoirs of the late L.A. Yiddish poet/journalist Moyshe Szklar; Itsik Manger’s Megile, and a translation commissioned by the Getty Museum, the 1915 verse-novel Shikhes Khulin — Mundane Matters by poet Moyshe Broderzon, illustrated by the major artist El Lessitsky.

Hershl was the co-editor of the UCLA on-line anthology of L.A. Yiddish literature and was associate editor with Harvey Pekar and Paul Buhle of Yiddishkeit: Jewish Vernacular & the New Land.

Hershl, a progressive secular Jew, was passionate about providing secular Jewish education to both children and adults. A Sholem member for close to 60 years, he served as a lecturer, school principal, education director, leader of adult discussions, creator of Sholem’s alternative bmitsve program, student mentor, guide for humanistic Jewish holiday observances, and much more.

Hershl was a founding member of the Congress of Secular Jewish Organizations (now the Cultural and Secular Jewish Organization) and the International Institute for Secular Humanistic Judaism. He was also active in numerous other nonprofit organizations including the SoCal Arbeter Ring/Workers Circle, Yiddishkayt, People for the American Way, Democratic Socialists of America and Bend the Arc.

Hershl was the Convener of the L.A. Secular Yeshiva which has trained 10 vegvayzer/madrikhot(im)/Leaders as officiants for holiday observances and life-cycle events. His publications include many booklets on Jewish holidays and texts for the secular observance of those and other holidays.

In Hershl’s 9-to-5 corporate career, “Harold” Hartman was the Director of Communications for two leading firms in the plastics building materials industry, one of which gets the credit for bringing him to L.A. from New York. He served an unprecedented two terms as Chair of the Fiberglass-Reinforced Panel Council, helping to write consumer-friendly product standards as well as plastics flammability tests for the American Society for Testing and Materials. With many friends among the unionized, striking workers at one firm, he turned down management’s request that he join the sales force on the production line as a scab — “temporary replacement” — proposing instead, with the union’s agreement, to be a standby photographer on the picket line. The strike was won within a week.

Hershl’s wife May died in 1994. She and Hershl had been married for 44 years but knew each other for at least 50. Hershl is survived by his children Gail Hartman and Shawna Hartman Brotsky, son-in-law Daniel Brotsky, and grandchildren Leanne Brotsky and Jenna Brotsky.

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May 4
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM PDT
Event Category:


May 4
1:00 PM - 4:00 PM PDT
Event Category: