I was born in Kishinev (then Rumania) in 1924. My family escaped to Montreal, Canada, in 1926. My mother tongue is Yiddish, although I promptly began forgetting it when I started to learn English in kindergarten. I received my Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1953 at McGill University.
I married Rosalind Cohen in 1952, and we have a son and a daughter. We've lived in the United States since 1955. I am retired from the University of California at Irvine as Adjunct Professor. In my mid-50s my interest in Sholem-Aleykhem was sparked by vivid memories of my father laughing in delight while reading Sholem-Aleykhem's Yiddish to us in the dark days of the depression of the 1930s. What power that author had! The memories spurred and strengthened me to struggle mightily to recover my Yiddish vocabulary, which had remained that of a five-year-old. I had lost many words, but the music of the language has never left me.
I built on that vocabulary, adding enough to comprehend the intricate artistry of the master who created pictures and music with the Yiddish language, and I began to create an index to his work. Soon, my scientific research experience revealed that if I were to make progress, I needed a research tool that did not yet exist. From my experience in database construction and organization, insights emerged, directing me where to look for more insights. Refinements and additions came from collaborators I acknowledge in the indexes.
I have used the indexes with great satisfaction for well over ten years, and I have nakhes knowing that others are using them.
Now, my activities are concentrated on political activism. I'm the president of our very large club of Democrats. I have no intention of leaving Yiddish, ober vu nemt men di koykhes!
Louis (Leybl) Fridhandler