Who was Shalom Aleichem?

  Shalom Aleichem is the pen name of Solomon Rabdjowitz, or Rabinovitz (1859-1916), Yiddish short-story writer and dramatist, born in Pereyaslav, near Kiev, in the Russian Ukraine. At the age of twenty-one he was a teacher in the nearby town of Lubny. From 1890 to 1905 he worked at various occupations at Odessa and Kiev, and then fled from Russia, where the Jews were victims of widespread massacres, to western Europe. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914 he took up permanent residence in New York City. His best-known works were written in Yid­dish. The main subject of his writings is the life of Russian Jews in small towns. Certain types recur in his stories: Menachem Mendel, the typical small-town Jew; the eternal dreamer and Schemer Luftmensch; and the best-loved of them all, Tobias the Dairyman (Tevya der Milchiger), indestructible optimist in spite of poverty. Between 1883, when he published his first short story Tavel Shteiner in St. Petersburg, and 1916, when part of his autobiography Fun Yarid appeared in the New York daily Die Wakrheit, he wrote over forty volumes of short stories, novels, and plays. His books of short stories include Stempenyu and Yosele Solovei, published first in the Folk-Bibliothèque (1889), Don Kishot mi-Mazepfwka (1892), Eisenbahn Geschichtes (1909), Der Blutiger Shpass (1912-13), and Der Grosse Gewinn (1916). Stempenyu ap­peared in English in 1913. English translations of other works are She Must Marry a Doctor (1916), Jewish Children (1920), and The Old Country (1946).