Alyssa Quint focuses on the early years of the modern Yiddish theater, from roughly 1876 to 1883, through the works of one of its best-known and most colorful figures, Avrom Goldfaden. Goldfaden (né Goldenfaden, 1840-1908) was one of the first playwrights to stage a commercially viable Yiddish-language theater, first in Romania and then in Russia. Goldfaden's work was rapidly disseminated in print and his plays were performed frequently for Jewish audiences. Sholem Aleichem considered him as a forger of a new language that "breathed the European spirit into our old jargon." Quint uses Goldfaden's theatrical works as a way to understand the social life of Jewish theater in Imperial Russia. Through a study of his libretti, she looks at the experiences of Russian Jewish actors, male and female, to explore connections between culture as artistic production and culture in the sense of broader social structures. Quint explores how Jewish actors who played Goldfaden's work on stage absorbed the theater into their everyday lives. Goldfaden's theater gives a rich view into the conduct, ideology, religion, and politics of Jews during an important moment in the history of late Imperial Russia.
Yiddish in Israel: A History challenges the commonly held view that Yiddish was suppressed or even banned by Israeli authorities for ideological reasons, offering instead a radical new interpretation of the interaction between Yiddish and Israeli Hebrew cultures. Author Rachel Rojanski tells the compelling and yet unknown story of how Yiddish, the most widely used Jewish language in the pre-Holocaust world, fared in Zionist Israel, the land of Hebrew. Following Yiddish in Israel from the proclamation of the State until today, Rojanski reveals that although Israeli leadership made promoting Hebrew a high priority, it did not have a definite policy on Yiddish. The language's varying fortune through the years was shaped by social and political developments, and the cultural atmosphere in Israel. Public perception of the language and its culture, the rise of identity politics, and political and financial interests all played a part. Using a wide range of archival sources, newspapers, and Yiddish literature, Rojanski follows the Israeli Yiddish scene through the history of the Yiddish press, Yiddish theater, early Israeli Yiddish literature, and high Yiddish culture. With compassion, she explores the tensions during Israel's early years between Yiddish writers and activists and Israel's leaders, most of whom were themselves Eastern European Jews balancing their love of Yiddish with their desire to promote Hebrew. Finally Rojanski follows Yiddish into the 21st century, telling the story of the revived interest in Yiddish among Israeli-born children of Holocaust survivors as they return to the language of their parents.
Acting as an important historical archive for the Jews of eastern Europe, The Rise of Modern Yiddish Culture examines the progress of Yiddish culture from its origins in Tsarist and inter-war Poland to its apex with the founding of the Yiddish Scientific Institute in 1925.
This book considers Yiddish theatre from a number of aspects: its historical development, its popular and critical reception, and the practice and consequences of state censorship. Its coverage ranges from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century and extends to locations as diverse as Cracow, London, Moscow, New York, St Petersburg, Vienna, and Warsaw. Yiddish Theatre not only presents a wide-ranging study of the field but also helps illustrate the significance of Yiddish theatre as a vital form of expression in the Jewish world: it has not only provided entertainment for audiences on six continents, but has also highlighted the social, political, religious, and economic concerns that Jews considered of vital interest. Yiddish Theatre is a valuable resource for scholars, university students, and general readers interested both in Yiddish theatre specifically and related fields such as Jewish literature and culture, east European history and culture, and European and American theatre. The book contains an extensive bibliography of sources relating to all aspects of Yiddish theatre. (PRINT ON DEMAND)
Traces the roots of ideologies and outlooks that shape Jewish life in Israel and the United States today Zionism and the Melting Pot pivots away from commonplace accounts of the origins of Jewish politics and focuses on the ongoing activities of actors instrumental in the theological, political, diplomatic, and philanthropic networks that enabled the establishment of new Jewish communities in Palestine and the United States. M. M. Silver's innovative new study highlights the grassroots nature of these actors and their efforts--preaching, fundraising, emigration campaigns, and mutual aid organizations--and argues that these activities were not fundamentally ideological in nature but instead grew organically from traditional Judaic customs, values, and community mores. Silver examines events in three key locales--Ottoman Palestine, czarist Russia and the United States--during a period from the early 1870s to a few years before World War I. This era which was defined by the rise of new forms of anti-Semitism and by mass Jewish migration, ended with institutional and artistic expressions of new perspectives on Zionism and American Jewish communal life. Within this timeframe, Silver demonstrates, Jewish ideologies arose somewhat amorphously, without clear agendas; they then evolved as attempts to influence the character, pace, and geographical coordinates of the modernization of East European Jews, particularly in, or from, Russia's czarist empire. Unique in his multidisciplinary approach, Silver combines political and diplomatic history, literary analysis, biography, and organizational history. Chapters switch successively from the Zionist context, both in the czarist and Ottoman empires, to the United States' melting-pot milieu. More than half of the figures discussed are sermonizers, emissaries, pioneers, or writers unknown to most readers. And for well-known figures like Theodor Herzl or Emma Lazarus, Silver's analysis typically relates to texts and episodes that are not covered in extant scholarship. By uncovering the foundations of Zionism--the Jewish nationalist ideology that became organized formally as a political movement--and of melting-pot theories of Jewish integration in the United States, Zionism and the Melting Pot breaks ample new ground.
This volume includes 100 major biographies and hundreds more thumbnail sketches of Jewish vaudevillians, singers, dramatic and comic actors, dancers, stand-up comics, and others who have made a significant contribution to the performing arts.
The author of acclaimed biographical works such as Great Jews in Music celebrates the lives of three hundred great Jewish performers -- including Billy Crystal, Lauren Bacall, Barbra Streisand, Bette Midler, Jerry Seinfeld, Morris Carnovsky, and George Burns. Generously illustrated in black and white, this refreshing look at some of the most popular entertainers of all time will inspire, instruct, and entertain.
A groundbreaking, thoughtfully researched guide through the Western canon explores the Jewish contribution to world literature, from Sholem Aleichem to Philip Roth, Elie Wieselt, Leon Uris, and Isaac Bashevis Singer.