TORONTO — Family and friends remember Alek Silver, who died April 13 at age 84, as an optimist who always saw the good in the world.
As a Holocaust survivor, he lived through a nightmare, but it did not shape his life. “He did not let the horrific experience turn him into an unhappy soul,” said Rabbi Wayne Allen in a eulogy at Silver’s funeral.
Rabbi Allen related a story from the Talmud about two boys who enter a rose garden. “One complained about the thorns and thistles, and the other called it a wonderful and beautiful place.
“There are two kinds of people – those who see the world through hurt and pain, and those who recognize the dangers and obstacles and are saddened by it, but [still see the beauty].
“Alek did not ignore the pain and suffering – he transcended it. He loved and lived and celebrated. His life was filled with meaning, despite the evil that was done to him.”
A typesetter by profession – he was the longtime owner of Toronto Typesetting – Silver came to Canada with his parents and his sister, where he met his wife, Lesley, also a Holocaust survivor. They were married 55 years.
“He was pro-Israel, had tremendous faith and loved learning. He attended lectures almost every week and was always reading. He was attracted to anything that had to do with Judaism.” Lesley Silver said.
His passion, she said, was writing and editing in Yiddish, and over the years he spent his free time editing a Yiddish bulletin out of Miami and writing for the Hebrew Journal. “People from Europe or the United States often sent him manuscripts to be edited or translated,” she added
Since 2000, Silver wrote a Yiddish column twice a month for The CJN, in which he covered different aspects of Yiddish culture, often writing about poets and authors from past generations.
“He loved all of his writing. He wrote until the end,” Lesley Silver said.
Paula, Silver’s daughter, said despite a number of illnesses over the years, her father “just kept going and going. Nothing slowed him down.
“He always told us how thankful he was to be here, and he was happy to take care of his family, [be with his] friends, and work on his writing and editing.”
Silver leaves his wife Lesley, daughters Paula and Michelle, sons-in-law Peter and Ian, three granddaughters, and his sister Helen.