The image is based on a PAPERCUT by the somewhat neglected JEWISH ARTIST of Romanian (Czernowits) descent ISIU SCHARF. SCHARF created this image of HOTSMACH , The good hearted JEWISH PEDDLER from the play ” The SORCERESS” by the YIDDISH play writer ABRAHAM GOLDFADEN. This image of the PEDDLER ia part of a cycle of MOTIVES and FIGURES From YIDDISH LITERATURE which bwas created by SCHARF in 1969. The MOSAIC PIECE is made with glossy WHITE and extremely dark green ceramic stones. The ARTIST and date of creation are unknown. Propably the 1960’s. Painted aluminum framing with a hanger. Size is around 10 x 7 x 1. (Pls look at scan for accurate AS IS images). W ill be sent rolled in a special protective rigid sealed tube. Will be sent rolled in a special protective rigid sealed tube. The Rediscovery of a Yiddish Master Painter From Czernovitz Julia M. Baron had seen some of Schärfs work before in the apartment of his maternal grandmother, Schärfs aunt, who had sponsored the artists emigration from Romania to Israel in 1974. And Baron and his wife Sari had received a painting from Schärf as a wedding gift. Baron went to the home of the late artists daughter Karla, who had stored his work in a locked room in the modest two-room apartment where Schärf and her mother had lived. It was located on the third floor of a row house in Rehovot, Israel, a few miles from Tel Aviv, Baron says. A tenant rented the other room. We set an appointment, Baron recalled in an interview at his Tudor-style home outside Philadelphia. The apartment was totally dark, the shutters were down. When she turned the lights on, I saw shelves packed with cardboard files. I couldnt even move inside. I was looking through one of them, and I liked every single picture. I didnt know what to do. Schärfs works encompassed a range of styles, subjects and media: Expressionist-influenced portraits, Impressionist landscapes, collages and ink drawings, prints and paintings based on motifs and scenes in Yiddish literature. These last were Barons favorites. Noting his indecision, Karla offered to give him three paintings if he bought just one. I need the room. I need to empty the house. And, so, for a few thousand dollars, it was done: Baron, a 64-year-old architect specializing in kitchen and bathroom design, and his wife Sari, who manages their Ardmore, Pennsylvania, showroom, became the owners of some 600 works by a Romanian-Jewish artist who had known the Yiddish writer Itzik Manger and whose life spanned the cataclysms of the 20th century. Isiu (short for Isidore) Schärf was born a century ago, in 1913, in Czernovitz, a town that passed from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to Romania to present-day Ukraine. Not much later began to paint, neither better nor worse than others of that period, he wrote, according to an introduction to an album of his work assembled in 1969 in Rehovot. The album included images inspired by the work of Sholem Aleichem and I. His art has to do with Judaism, says Baron, and it has to do with the human spirit, and it has to do with the Jewish struggle. It has a very mysterious quality, and he was deeply involved, rooted, in the Jewish Diaspora culture of the 19th and early 20th centuries, and a lot of these artworks are related to the literature of the various Yiddish poets and authors. Schärf designed his first stage sets for the Camelion Theatre of Czernowitz in 1934-35 and exhibited with other young Jewish painters in that city in 1935-36. In 1939, with war looming, he illustrated a book of Yiddish lullabies. The Barons say that Schärf s parents died in the Holocaust. Schärf fought in the Soviet Army during World War II and lived in the Ural region (which overlaps Siberia) afterward. The Barons have watercolors, titled Ural and dated from 1942 and 1943, depicting mountains, a marketplace and houses under construction. From 1950 to 1962, Schärf reportedly designed over 50 productions for the Yiddish State Theatre of Jassy, Romania, as well as creating designs for a puppet theater and exhibiting his work. In the 1960s, he designed sets and costumes for the Yiddish State Theatre of Bucharest, another city where his artwork was exhibited. According to Baron, his grandmother tried for years to bring Schärf, who was her brothers son, to Israel. He finally emigrated with his wife and grown daughter, Karla, an engineer. Karla died in 2010. Sari Baron says she has powerful memories of Schärf. I remember him tall, thin, and always laughing always a smile on his face, she says. The only thing he wanted was to paint. He even smiled when he didnt have food to eat. He was always happy, probably because he had all this art in him. In Israel, Haim Baron says, Schärf worked as a high school art teacher at a kibbutz and created more stage sets. Sari Baron says that Tel Avivs Emalia Arbel Gallery sponsored an exhibition of his work in a historical building in the Barons hometown of Rishon LeZion. The Barons have hung Schärfs work throughout their house, but much remains stored haphazardly in their basement, where they regularly discover new treasures. Schärfs landscapes and cityscapes from his years in Israel Sari Barons favorites employ a lighter palate than his earlier works and reflect Impressionist influences. By contrast, some of Schärfs portraits are reminiscent of the work of Soutine and other Expressionists. Other paintings evoke Chagalls whimsy and use of color. Some self-portraits are done with collage. One drawing shows Schärf with a long face, large ears and unruly hair. I think he looked very Romanian, Sari Baron says. Schärfs sense of humor emerges most clearly in his prints, including one whose Yiddish title is translated as Gentile Heaven. At its center is an enticing image of nude women and wine; on opposite sides, an Orthodox Jewish man and woman pretend to cover their eyes while sneaking peeks at the forbidden vision. In addition to the Yiddish folkloric scenes, Haim Baron is partial to a semi-abstract, energetically colored work featuring several fish. Even in the fish you can see some human expression, he says. The Barons say they wish they knew more about Schärf. He didnt have an easy life, Sari Baron says. We didnt probably ask him the right questions. [After his death], we thought, Why didnt we ask more? The frustration is unbelievable. But now, in Schärfs centenary year, they long most for importance and value of his work. We want him to be discovered as an artist, Haim Baron says. Isiu Scharf, painter, illustrator and stage designer, 1913 (Ukraine) 1997 (Israel) 20th Century Jewish Culture Expressionism Isiu Scharf was born in Czernowitz in 1913 and from earliest childhood and for the length of his life was engaged with art. He designed his first sets for Camelion Theatre of Czernowitz in 1934-35. He also participated in exhibitions for young Jewish artists in Czernowitz. Deeply involved in Yiddish literature, theatre and folklore, Isiu Scharf creates, in his individual style, the world of Sholem Aleichem, Y. Perets, Mendele Moycher Sfarim and the world of Yiddish folksong. His artistic creations are wondrously exciting, sparkling with charm and Yiddish humor; grief and joy, sorrow and hope, poetic humor, sarcasm and moods of tenderness, love of child and man, nature and universe, permeates Scharfs work. Isiu Scharf was a master in creating graphically translated stories from Yiddish literature into visual art paintings. He illustrated the modest booklet Six Lullabies melodies by Lebu Lewin, published by Hersh Segal (Czernowitz, 1939). Through World War II he served in the Red Army, reaching the Urals where some of his early paintings still survived. In the 50s, Isiu designed over fifty productions at the Yiddish State Theatre of Iasi and he also created designs for puppet theatre. Scharf exhibited 35 cardboard-cuts at the library of Iasi University. During the 50s and early 60s, he designed sets and costumes for the Yiddish State Theatre of Bucharest and also had an exhibition in Bucharest. He worked in many media and was awarded a government prize. The artist used a great variety of techniques: watercolors, gouache, oil, monotype, cardboard and many other materials. Scharf immigrated to Israel in 1974 with his wife, Ester and daughter, Carla. In his years in Israel in the 70s, he was able to express with his humoristic spirit the struggle of learning Hebrew and getting settled in a new country. He was fascinated with Israel landscaping and with its cultural diversity that is shown in his many paintings after he settled to Israel. He spent days in the outdoors with his easel and brushes painting in the nature the old way. Scharf taught painting and art in kibbutz Givat Brener near his home town of Rehovot. He continued to illustrate and to paint from Yiddish songs, poems, and plays including a series of paintings based on the Megila of Itik Manger. Scharf left a large collection of paintings and drawings on Judiaca themes. His work relates especially to the life of the Jews in pre-war Eastern Europe shtetls. Isiu Scharf died in 1997 in Rehovot, Israel. A shtetl English: /ttl/; Yiddish: , romanized: shtetl, sg.  was a small town with a large Jewish population which existed in Central and Eastern Europe before the Holocaust. Shtetlekh were mainly found in the areas that constituted the 19th century Pale of Settlement in the Russian Empire as well as in Congress Poland, Austrian Galicia, Romania and Hungary. In Yiddish, a larger city, like Lemberg i. Chernivtsi, is called a shtot (Yiddish: , German: Stadt); a village is called a dorf (Yiddish: German: Dorf).  Shtetl is a diminutive of shtot with the meaning “little town”. In official parlance the shtetl was referred to as a “Jewish miasteczko”, a type of settlement which originated in the former PolishLithuanian Commonwealth.  Contents 1 Overview 2 History 2.1 Modern usage 3 Shtetl culture 4 Artistic depictions of shtetlekh 4.1 Literary references 4.2 Painting 4.3 Photography 4.4 Film 4.5 Documentaries 5 See also 6 References 7 Further reading 8 External links Overview Map showing percentage of Jews in the Pale of Settlement and Congress Poland, c. 1905 A shtetl is defined by Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern as “an East European market town in private possession of a Polish magnate, inhabited mostly but not exclusively by Jews” and from the 1790s onward and until 1915 shtetls were also “subject to Russian bureaucracy”,  as the Russian Empire had annexed the eastern part of Poland, and was administering the area of Jewish settlement. The concept of shtetl culture describes the traditional way of life of Central and East European Jews. Shtetls are portrayed as pious communities following Orthodox Judaism, socially stable and unchanging despite outside influence or attacks. The decline of the shtetl started from about the 1840s. Contributing factors included poverty as a result of changes in economic climate (including industrialisation which hurt the traditional Jewish artisan and the movement of trade to the larger towns), repeated fires destroying the wooden homes, and overpopulation.  Also, the anti-Semitism of the Russian Imperial administrators and the Polish landlords, and later, from the 1880s, Russian pogroms, made life difficult for Jews in the shtetl. From the 1880s until 1915 up to 2 million Jews left Eastern Europe. At the time about three-quarters of its Jewish population lived in a shtetl. The Holocaust resulted in the total extermination of shtetls.  It was not uncommon for the entire Jewish population of a shtetl to be rounded up and murdered in a nearby forest or taken to the various concentration camps.  Some shtetl inhabitants did emigrate before and after the Holocaust, mostly to the United States, where some of the traditions were carried on. But, the shtetl as a phenomenon of Ashkenazi Jews in Eastern Europe was eradicated by the Nazis.  History The history of the oldest Eastern European shtetls began around the 13th century and saw long periods of relative tolerance and prosperity as well as times of extreme poverty, hardships, including pogroms in the 19th-century Russian Empire. The attitudes and thought habits characteristic of the learning tradition are as evident in the street and market place as the yeshiva. The popular picture of the Jew in Eastern Europe, held by Jew and Gentile alike, is true to the Talmudic tradition. The picture includes the tendency to examine, analyze and re-analyze, to seek meanings behind meanings and for implications and secondary consequences. It includes also a dependence on deductive logic as a basis for practical conclusions and actions. In life, as in the Torah, it is assumed that everything has deeper and secondary meanings, which must be probed. All subjects have implications and ramifications. Moreover, the person who makes a statement must have a reason, and this too must be probed. Often a comment will evoke an answer to the assumed reason behind it or to the meaning believed to lie beneath it, or to the remote consequences to which it leads. The process that produces such a responseoften with lightning speedis a modest reproduction of the pilpul process.  The May Laws introduced by Tsar Alexander III of Russia in 1882 banned Jews from rural areas and towns of fewer than ten thousand people. In the 20th century revolutions, civil wars, industrialisation and the Holocaust destroyed traditional shtetl existence. Modern usage In the later part of the 20th century, Hasidic Jews founded new communities in the United States, such as Kiryas Joel and New Square, and they often use the term “shtetl” to refer to these enclaves when referring to them in Yiddish, particularly those with village structures. [clarification needed] As well in modern Europe the last shtetl is considered by some to be the Ultra-Orthodox community in Antwerp, Belgium. Shtetl culture A reconstruction of a traditional Jewish shtetl in the South African Jewish Museum in Cape Town as it would have appeared in Lithuania. Interior of a wooden dwelling in a traditional Lithuanian shtetl, reconstructed in the South African Jewish Museum, Cape Town. Not only did the Jews of the shtetl speak a unique language (Yiddish), but they also had a unique rhetorical style, rooted in traditions of Talmudic learning: In keeping with his own conception of contradictory reality, the man of the shtetl is noted both for volubility and for laconic, allusive speech. Both pictures are true, and both are characteristic of the yeshiva as well as the market places. When the scholar converses with his intellectual peers, incomplete sentences, a hint, a gesture, may replace a whole paragraph. The listener is expected to understand the full meaning on the basis of a word or even a sound… Such a conversation, prolonged and animated, may be as incomprehensible to the uninitiated as if the excited discussants were talking in tongues. The same verbal economy may be found in domestic or business circles.  Shtetls provided a strong sense of community due to Jews carrying faith in God. The shtetl “at its heart, it was a community of faith built upon a deeply rooted religious culture”.  A Jewish education was most paramount in shtetls. Men and boys would spend up to 10 hours a day dedicated to studying at yeshivas. Discouraged from extensive study, women would perform the necessary tasks of a household. In addition, shtetls offered communal institutions such as temples (synagogues), ritual baths and ritual butchers. This approach to good deeds finds its roots in Jewish religious views, summarised in Pirkei Avot by Shimon Hatzaddik’s “three pillars”: On three things the world stands. On Torah, On service [of God], And on acts of human kindness.  Tzedaka (charity) is a key element of Jewish culture, both secular and religious, to this day. Tzedaka was essential for shtetl Jews, many of whom lived in poverty. Acts of philanthropy aided social institutions such as schools and orphanages. Jews viewed giving charity as an opportunity to do a good deed (mitzvah).  Material things were neither disdained nor extremely praised in the shtetl. Menial labor was generally looked down upon as prost, or prole. Even the poorer classes in the shtetl tended to work in jobs that required the use of skills, such as shoe-making or tailoring of clothes. The shtetl had a consistent work ethic which valued hard work and frowned upon laziness. Studying, of course, was considered the most valuable and hardest work of all. There is a belief found in historical and literary writings that the shtetl disintegrated before it was destroyed during World War II; however, this alleged cultural break-up is never clearly defined.  Artistic depictions of shtetlekh Literary references Jewish wedding with klezmer band in a shtetl in Russia, painting by Isaak Asknaziy, 1893 The Shtetl was invented twice, once in the 18th century by administrative decree, which gave it corporeal being, and again the 20th century, to serve as a consolation to American Jews.  Chem figures prominently in the Jewish humor as the legendary town of fools. Kasrilevke, the setting of many of Sholem Aleichem’s stories, and Anatevka, the setting of the musical Fiddler on the Roof (based on other stories of Sholem Aleichem) are other notable fictional shtetls. Devorah Baron made aliyah to Ottoman Palestine in 1910 after a pogrom destroyed her shtetl near Minsk. But she continued writing about shtetl life long after she had arrived in Palestine. Many of Joseph Roth’s books are based on shtetls on the Eastern fringes of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and most notably on his hometown Brody. Many of Isaac Bashevis Singer’s short stories and novels are set in shtetls. Singer’s mother was the daughter of the rabbi of Bigoraj, a town in south-eastern Poland. As a child, Singer lived in Bigoraj for periods with his family, and he wrote that life in the small town made a deep impression on him. The 2002 novel Everything Is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer, tells a fictional story set in the Ukrainian shtetl Trachimbrod (Trochenbrod). The 1992 children’s book Something from Nothing, written and illustrated by Phoebe Gilman, is an adaptation of a traditional Jewish folk tale set in a fictional shtetl. In 1996 the Frontline programme Shtetl broadcast; it was about Polish Christian and Jewish relations.  Harry Turtledove’s 2011 short story “Shtetl Days”, which can be read on-line, begins in a typical shtetl reminiscent of the works of Alecheim, Roth, et al. But soon reveals a plot twist which subverts the genre. Painting Many Jewish artists in Central and Eastern Europe dedicated much of their artistic careers to depictions of the shtetl. These include Marc Chagall, Chaim Goldberg, and Mane Katz. Their contribution is in making a permanent record in color of the life that is described in literaturethe klezmers, the weddings, the marketplaces and the religious aspects of the culture. , Yiddish diminutive for shtot meaning “town” or “city, ” to imply a relatively small community; in Eastern Europe a unique socio-cultural communal pattern. The real criteria for the size of a shtetl were vague and ill-defined, as the actual size could vary from much less than 1,000 inhabitants to 20,000 or more. When the community was very small it would be called a klaynshtetl or even a shtetele; however both terms could also carry the connotation of a parochial lack of sophistication or, at times, a feeling of warmth or nostalgia. The shtetl pattern first took shape within Poland-Lithuania before the partitions of the kingdom. Jews had been invited to settle in the private towns owned by the Polish nobility that developed from the 16th century, on relatively very favorable conditions. In many of such private towns Jews soon formed the preponderant majority of the population. Their occupation in arenda led many Jews to settle in the villages around these towns, while many who settled in them were also engaged in arenda as well as having other business in the villages. Hence both the economy as well as the style of living in such towns had close links with the villages, in addition to assuming the all-pervading character of a Jewish town. ” Originally dependent on the highly structured and powerful communities in the larger cities from which the settlers first came, these small communities increasingly acquired importance, since their development was unhampered by the established rights and inimical anti-Jewish traditions of the Christian towns-people, as the communities in the old “royal towns had been. Thus the movement of Jews to smaller towns where they were needed, and therefore protected, by the greater and lesser Polish nobility, continued. The community of the private town often constituted the town itself for all intents and purposes, and therefore could strengthen and consolidate a homogeneous pattern of values, attitudes, and mores. With the partitions of Poland-Lithuania the final crystallization of the socio-cultural pattern of the began amid the process of geopolitical differentiation of the communities on the territories divided between Poland’s neighbors. In Russia, the shtetl developed in the Pale of Settlement. In 1815, Congress Poland was incorporated into the Pale, which continued to exist until the October Revolution of 1917. Within Austria-Hungary, the shtetl communities were scattered in Galicia, Bohemia, Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia, Bukovina, and Hungary. In the area under Prussia the shtetl pattern did not develop to the same extent. Despite the basic cultural homogeneity which had consolidated in the past few centuries, the communities in the partitioned regions developed specific social traits in each of the states in which they were situated. This was the result on the one hand of the varying cultures of their host societies and on the other hand of the differing social and economic policies and trends which developed in the host society under the Hapsburg emperors or Russian czars. During the 19th century, the anti-Jewish persecutions, economic restrictions, and outbreaks of violence pressed increasingly on the socioeconomic foundations of the Jews, in czarist Russia in particular, while political and ideological revolutionary trends and movements began to undermine the strength of the life style of the shtetl, which became more and more unsatisfactory to younger generations. Thus weakened in its foundations, the shtetl entered the last phase of its existence. The liberal revolution of 1917 liquidated the Pale of Settlement, while the Communist revolution that followed liquidated the traditional shtetl life. Between the two world wars, independent Poland became the greatest Jewish center in Eastern Europe. Life in the Shtetl Yidishkeyt (“Jewishness”) and menshlikhkeyt (“humanness”) were the two major values of the community around which life centered. Both the sacred and the profane were integrated in this way of life. The traditional ideals of piety, learning and scholarship, communal justice, and charity, were fused in the warm and intimate lifestyle of the shtetl. Thus the Yidishkeyt and the menshlikhkeyt of the shtetl were expressed in innumerable activities, all of which were geared toward the goal of living the life of a “good Jew” and were manifested in the synagogue and at home, in the holiness of Sabbath and the humdrum existence of the market, in the structure of the community and in the organization of the family. The Synagogue The life of the Jew oscillated between synagogue, home, and market. In the synagogue he served God, studied His Law and participated in social activities created in response to the needs of the community and its individual members. The synagogue, whether a shul, a Ukrainian kloyz, or a Polish shtibl, was the house of prayer, the house of study, and the house of assembly combined. The seating arrangement in the synagogue reflected the social structure of the community: along the eastern wall, where the Ark was located, were ranged the most honored members of the community, the rabbi and the sheyne Yidn (the dignified Jews), the men of learning, of substance, and of status, i. Men with yihus symbol of distinction acquired through family position in the community or individual achievement in learning, business, or community participation. The seats facing the eastern wall were occupied by the balebatim or burghers, and behind them were placed the proste Yidn or common Jews the humble folk, usually assumed to be ignorant, poor, and uneducated. The value of the seats decreased with their distance from the eastern wall, until at the western wall were found the beggars and needy strangers. These were cared for by various community institutions as well as special associations (see evrah). The Home The home of the individual was the basic unit in the culture and life style of the shtetl; it was founded on a patriarchal and closely knit structure on traditional lines. His home was the place where the shtetl Jew enjoyed his Yidishkeyt in the serenity and peace of Sabbath, in the rituals of the Passover seder, or in the dignity and holiness of the High Holidays. It was where he derived the nakhes the proud pleasure from the achievement of his children, the son, or the son-in-law. There he fed the stranger on Friday, and provided meals to the poor student in the yeshivah. However the home was also part of the community, and hardly any important activity at home was separable from the synagogue or the total community. Birth and death, bar mitzvahs and weddings, illness and recovery, were family events which tied the home to the synagogue, and by extension to the community. No family event was a private event, for life in the shtetl was life with people, and therefore part of the total community life. Family joys, as well as family sorrows, were shared by the community, which had the right and duty to express its approval or disapproval about the conduct and behavior of the family as a whole or of each of its members. Thus community control over the life of its individual members became one of the major regulating forces in the shtetl society, which succeeded in surviving for centuries without a police force to maintain its internal law and order. The Market The market and marketplace were the source of livelihood and the meeting place with non-Jewish neighbors. The shtetl Jews served as middlemen between the big city and village economy. Only a few Jews in the shtetl engaged in enterprises on a larger scale involving substantial capital. To make a living the shtetl Jew tried his hand at anything and often at a number of things. Trades and occupations could vary with the season, as well as with a special opportunity encountered at the marketplace. Men and women, old and young, were daily involved in the difficult task of parnose (“livelihood”). Often women and children remained in charge of the stall or the store, while men traveled in the area looking for bargains or peddling city wares. The market was the area where the shtetl came in direct contact with the goyim, whose life patterns were alien and often hostile to the shtetl mores. The emphasis was considered by Jews to be on intellect, on a sense of moderation, on cultivation of peace, and on goal-directed activities within the framework of a tightly knit family and community. Among the goyim, the shtetl Jew saw the emphasis on the body, excess, blind instinct, sexual life, and physical force. For the Jews human power was in the mind and in the word, while for the goyim it appeared expressed in muscles and violence. The feeling was amply supported by experiences of riots, pogroms, and massacres, which often began at the marketplace and spread to homes and synagogues. Dissolution of the Shtetl The social, political, and economic forces in the 19th and 20th centuries eroded the patterns of life which had evolved in the shtel. Pogroms and persecutions, economic depressions and political revolutions caused mass migrations of Jews to larger cities in Europe and across the ocean to the United States. Eventually Hitler and the “final solution” brought death to millions of Jews in Eastern and Western Europe. The physical existence of the shtetl ended in the gas chambers and concentration camps of the Third Reich. However, despite the violent end of the shtetl community and of its life style, much of its influence has survived in Israel and in the Americas e. Canada, Mexico, and Argentina. The children of the shtetl parents immigrants and survivors of ghettos and concentration camps became carriers of values shaped in the shtetl, to be reflected in behavior patterns and social attitudes as well as in the art and literature of Israel and of American Jews. The shtetl values are reflected in the novels of American Jewish writers such as Bernard Malamud, as much as in the classic portrayals of shtetl life by Shalom Aleichem or the paintings of Marc Chagall. [Mark Zborowski] Lives and Roles of Women Gender hierarchies in the shtetl ascribed the mundane affairs of the world to women and lofty spiritual and religious pursuits to men. These expectations, perhaps more ideal than real, shaped women’s spirituality, family life, economic activities, education, and political choices. In response to the exclusion of women from arenas of public worship and study, “female variants” of Judaism emerged. Instead of the obligatory Hebrew prayers in the synagogue, women recited Yiddish prayers (tkhines) at home, which addressed everyday concerns. They also observed the three women’s commandments: namely, allah , niddah , and candle lighting on the eve of the Sabbath and holidays. At social gatherings or in private, women read homilies (Tsenerene) or ethical books (Lev Tov, “A Good Heart, ” and Brantshpigl, “Burning Mirror”) and pious tales (Mayse Bukh). Their models of piety were the biblical matriarchs, whom women invoked to intercede on their behalf. They also resorted to female leaders in the community for guidance and assistance; these might include the rebbetzin (rabbi’s wife), zogerke (reader of prayers in their section of the synagogue), gabete (pious woman who oversaw public charity), and klogerns (women hired to wail at burials). Women’s spirituality, though different from men’s, remained strictly within male-determined religious norms. The division of roles also reflected the value of the spiritual over the material. An inverted structure of work developed in the shtetl, which allocated the task of breadwinning to women in order to allow their husbands to study. While most couples shared economic responsibility, the cultural ideal dictated that a greater proportion of the burden fell on women. Wives of rabbinic scholars who studied at a distant yeshivah or asidic women whose husbands spent their time in a shtibl or rebbe’s home, often assumed the entire load. The primary site of female economic activity was the marketplace, where women ran small shops, peddled food products and household goods, and engaged in petty trade. In addition, women were active in the tobacco and alcohol trades. With the advent of industrialization in Russia in the late 19th century, women joined the workforce in handicrafts and small manufacturing. Notably, women in the general population were also highly active in the shtetl economy; hence, female work was not a unique feature of Jewish life. Women’s dominant role in the household economy extended to family relations. In many households, a matriarchal structure prevailed. The Haskalah (Jewish enlightenment) movement in Eastern Europe attacked this gender role reversal (that is, a subservient husband and dominant wife) and blamed the inverse work structure for this phenomenon. Satires like The Brief Travels of Benjamin the Third (1878) by S. Abramovich (Mendele Mokher Seforim) focused on the degrading feminization of men and moral decline of masculine women. ” In this particular novel, an emasculated husband runs away from his wife, “who wears the pants in the house, in search of the ten lost tribes. Biale suggested that the maskilim’s rebellion against matriarchal power may have stemmed from an animosity toward their mothers-in-law, who dominated their adolescent marriages (Eros and the Jews, 1992). Jewish women also played a defining role in the socialization of their children, particularly daughters who remained in their care until they married. Given the high birthrate in Eastern Europe, Jewish women were pregnant during most of their childbearing years. Prolonged breastfeeding reduced fertility to some extent but birth control was fairly primitive and inaccessible. Births usually took place at home with the assistance of a midwife. Women hung amulets on the wall and recited prayers to protect newborn infants from evil spirits. Images of strong mothers and grandmothers who supported their families and arranged matches for all the children are common in the memoir literature. Despite their power in the domestic sphere, women were vulnerable and became increasingly powerless in matters of divorce. This was due in part to Jewish law, which empowered men to dissolve marriages unilaterally. In the Czarist empire, where Jewish divorce rates were extraordinarily high, the childless woman, moredet (rebellious wife), and other “undesirable” wives were especially prone to divorce against their will. Moreover, a decline in rabbinic authority meant that women who sought to secure a divorce from a recalcitrant husband for wife beating or other reasons were usually unsuccessful. In desperation, some women turned to state courts to enforce a rabbi’s verdict or to overturn an unjust ruling. A gendered system of education was another product of shtetl life. Parush argues that because rabbinic authorities devoted all their energies to male religious learning, they neglected the education of women. During the 19th century, this “benefit of marginality” allowed women to acquire secular culture with greater ease. While some women remained illiterate, a large segment of Jewish women learned to read in Yiddish; this group was the first to read popular literature (often simplistic, sentimental chapbooks) at their own leisure. Upper-class daughters of Orthodox families even studied foreign languages and literature with governesses and private tutors. “Reading women, ” who experienced greater exposure to modern values, in turn served as agents of acculturation at home. Starting in the 1860s, Jewish girls flocked to the new state and private schools throughout the Russian empire; some even pursued higher education as kursistki (auditors). Similar trends took place in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, where secular education had been introduced even earlier. “Seductive secularization” gradually led to ruptures within traditional society well into the first three decades of the 20th century. The most extreme form of rejection was conversion to Christianity and marriage with Christian partners; not surprisingly, women constituted a disproportionate number of Jewish converts in the late 19th century. Another venue of rebellion was to join a revolutionary movement. Women participated actively in the Bund, various branches of the Zionist movement, as well as general Russian and Polish socialist groups. The Witch of Botoani or simply The Witch or The Sorceress (original Yiddish title Di Kishefmakhern) was an 1878, or possibly 1877, play by Abraham Goldfaden. Like most of Goldfaden’s major works, it included music. The play was based on popular superstition; Goldfaden would later remark, I wrote Di kishefmakhern (The Witch) in Romania, where the populace Jews as much as Romanians believe strongly in witches. [Bercovici, 1998] The title role, a female character, was written to be played by a man; it was first played by Israel Grodner. The play survived into a far different era of Yiddish theater: Maurice Schwartz played it at New York City’s Yiddish Art Theater in 1925. [Adler, 1999, 107 (commentary)] Jacob Adler made his 1878 stage debut in the role of the lover Marcus, in a production in Kherson, Ukraine, in which Israel Rosenberg played the title role. [Adler, 1999, 107] Contents 1 Restoration 1.1 Workshop performance 1.2 First full (restored) production 2 References Restoration In the Fall of 2017, the National Yiddish Theater Folksbiene of New York staged a revival of The Witch of Botoani (alternatively’The Sorceress’) as part of their restoration project an endeavor that will restore lost or nearly lost Yiddish works to the canon of Yiddish culture.  A table showing the dates and progress of that restoration effort is shown below. Directed by Motl Didner, musically directed by Zalman Mlotek the cast featured Michael Yashinsky in the title role, Stephanie Lynne Mason, Pat Constant, Steve Sterner, Rachel Botchan, Chelsea Feltman, Kirk Geritano, Emily Hoolihan, Richard Lisenby, Riley McFarland, Raquel Nobile, Bruce Rebold, Gera Sandler, Kayleen Seidl, Lisa Stockman, Bobby Underwood, Tatiana Wechsler.  First full (restored) production Two years later, in December 2019, the Folksbiene produced a full production of the restored work. Previews began on December 1, 2019, opening night was December 9, 2019, and closing performance was December 29, 2019. Abraham Goldfaden[a][b] (born Avrum Goldnfoden; 24 July 1840 9 January 1908) was a Russian-born Jewish poet, playwright, stage director and actor in the languages Yiddish and Hebrew, author of some 40 plays. Goldfaden is considered the father of modern Jewish theatre. In 1876 he founded in Romania what is generally credited as the world’s first professional Yiddish-language theater troupe. He was also responsible for the first Hebrew-language play performed in the United States. The Avram Goldfaden Festival of Iai, Romania, is named and held in his honour. Jacob Sternberg called him the Prince Charming who woke up the lethargic Romanian Jewish culture. “ Israil Bercovici wrote of his works: “we find points in common with what we now call’total theater’. In many of his plays he alternates prose and verse, pantomime and dance, moments of acrobatics and some of jonglerie, and even of spiritualism…  Contents 1 Early life 2 Iai 3 Searching for a theater 4 Bucharest 5 Turning serious 6 Russia 7 The prophet adrift 8 Lviv 9 Bucharest 10 New York City 11 Zionism 12 Works 12.1 Plays 12.2 Songs and poetry 13 See also 14 Notes and references 14.1 Notes 14.2 References 14.3 References 15 External links Early life Goldfaden was born in Starokonstantinov (Russia; present day Ukraine). His birthdate is sometimes given as July 12, following the “Old Style” calendar in use at that time in the Russian Empire. He attended a Jewish religious school (a cheder), but his middle-class family was strongly associated with the Haskalah, or Jewish Enlightenment, and his father, a watchmaker,  arranged that he receive private lessons in German and Russian. As a child, he is said to have appreciated and imitated the performances of wedding jesters and Brody singers to the degree that he acquired the nickname Avromele Badkhen, Abie the Jester.  In 1857 he began studies at the government-run rabbinical school at Zhytomyr,  from which he emerged in 1866 as a teacher and a poet (with some experience in amateur theater), but he never led a congregation. Goldfaden’s first published poem was called “Progress”; his The New York Times obituary described it as a plea for Zionism years before that movement developed. “ In 1865 he published his first book of poetry, Tzitzim u-Ferahim (in Hebrew); The Jewish Encyclopedia (19011906) says that “Goldfaden’s Hebrew poetry… Possesses considerable merit, but it has been eclipsed by his Yiddish poetry, which, for strength of expression and for depth of true Jewish feeling, remains unrivaled. The first book of verse in Yiddish was published in 1866, and in 1867 he took a job teaching in Simferopol on the Crimean Peninsula. A year later, he moved on to Odessa. He lived initially in his uncle’s house, where a cousin who was a good pianist helped him set some of his poems to music. In Odessa, Goldfaden renewed his acquaintance with fellow Yiddish-language writer Yitzkhok Yoel Linetzky, whom he knew from Zhytomyr and met Hebrew-language poet Eliahu Mordechai Werbel (whose daughter Paulina would become Goldfaden’s wife) and published poems in the newspaper Kol-Mevaser. He also wrote his first two plays, Die Tzwei Sheines (The Two Neighbors) and Die Murneh Sosfeh (Aunt Susie), included with some verses in a modestly successful 1869 book Die Yidene (The Jewish Woman), which went through three editions in three years. At this time, he and Paulina were living mainly on his meagre teacher’s salary of 18 rubles a year, supplemented by giving private lessons and taking a job as a cashier in a hat shop. In 1875, Goldfaden headed for Munich, intending to study medicine. This did not work out, and he headed for Lvov/Lemberg in Habsburg-ruled Galicia, where he again met up with Linetsky, now editor of a weekly paper, Isrulik or Der Alter Yisrulik (which was well reputed, but was soon shut by the government). A year later, he moved on to Chernivtsi in Habsburg Bukovina, where he edited the Yiddish-language daily Dos Bukoviner Israelitishe Folksblatt. He tried unsuccessfully to operate the paper under a different name, but soon moved on to Iai in Moldavia on the invitation of Isaac Librescu (18501930), a young wealthy communitary activist interested in theatre. Iai Avram Goldfaden’s statue near the Iai National Theatre Arriving in Iai (Jassy) in 1876, Goldfaden was fortunate to be better known as a good poet many of whose poems had been set to music and had become popular songs than as a less-than-successful businessman. Nevertheless, when he sought funds from Isaac Librescu for another newspaper, Librescu was uninterested in that proposition. Librescu’s wife remarked that Yiddish-language journalism was just a way to starve; she suggested that there would be a lot more of a market for Yiddish-language theater. Librescu offered Goldfaden 100 francs for a public recital of his songs in the garden of Shimen Mark, Grdina Pomul Verde (“the Green Fruit-Tree Garden”). Instead of a simple recital, Goldfaden expanded the program into something of a vaudeville performance; either this or an indoor performance he and his fellow performers gave later that year in Botoani is generally counted as the first professional Yiddish theatre performance. However, in the circumstances, the designation of a single performance as “the first” may be nominal: Goldfaden’s first actor, Israel Grodner, was already singing Goldfaden’s songs (and others) in the salons of Iai; also, in 1873, Grodner sang in a concert in Odessa (songs by Goldfaden, among others) that apparently included significant improvised material between songs, although no actual script. Although Goldfaden, by his own account, was familiar at this time with “practically all of Russian literature”, and also had plenty of exposure to Polish theater, and had even seen an African American tragedian, Ira Aldridge, performing Shakespeare,  the performance at Grdina Pomul Verde was only a bit more of a play than Grodner had participated in three years earlier. The songs were strung together with a bit of character and plot and a good bit of improvisation. The performance by Goldfaden, Grodner, Sokher Goldstein, and possibly as many as three other men went over well. The first performance was either Di bobe mitn einikl (Grandmother and Granddaughter) or Dos bintl holts (The Bundle of sticks); sources disagree. Some reports suggest that Goldfaden himself was a poor singer, or even a non-singer and poor actor; according to Bercovici, these reports stem from Goldfaden’s own self-disparaging remarks or from his countenance as an old man in New York, but contemporary reports show him to have been a decent, though not earth-shattering, actor and singer. After that time, Goldfaden continued miscellaneous newspaper work, but the stage became his main focus. As it happens, the famous Romanian poet Mihai Eminescu, then journalist, saw one of the Pomul Verde performances later that summer. He records in his review that the company had six players. A 1905 typographical error would turn this into a much-cited sixteen, suggesting a grander beginning for Yiddish theater. He was impressed by the quality of the singing and acting, but found the pieces without much dramatic interest.  His generally positive comments would seem to deserve to be taken seriously: Eminescu was known generally as virulently antisemitic. “ Eminescu appears to have seen four of Goldfaden’s early plays: a satiric musical revue Di velt a gan-edn (The World and Paradise), Der farlibter maskil un der oyfgeklerter hosid (a dialogue between “an infatuated philosopher” and “an enlightened Hasid), another musical revue Der shver mitn eidem (Father-in-law and Son-in-Law), and a comedy, Fishl der balegole un zayn knecht Sider (Fishel the Junkman and His Servant Sider).  Searching for a theater As the season for outdoor performances was coming to a close, Goldfaden tried and failed to rent an appropriate theater in Iai. A theatre owner named Reicher, presumably Jewish himself, told him that “a troupe of Jewish singers” would be too dirty. Goldfaden, Grodner, and Goldstein headed first to Botoani, where they lived in a garret and Goldfaden continued to churn out songs and plays. An initial successful performance of Di Rekruten (The Recruits) in an indoor theater with loges! As Goldfaden wrote was followed by days of rain so torrential that no one would come out to the theater; they pawned some possessions and left for Galai, which was to prove a bit more auspicious, with a successful three-week run. In Galai they acquired their first serious set designer, a housepainter known as Reb Moishe Bas. He had no formal artistic training, but he proved to be good at the job, and joined the troupe, as did Sara Segal, their first actress. She was not yet out of her teens. After seeing her perform in their Galai premiere, her mother objected to her unmarried daughter cavorting on a stage like that. Goldstein who, unlike Goldfaden and Grodner, was single promptly married her and she remained with the troupe. Besides being known as Sara Segal and Sofia Goldstein, she became best known as Sofia Karp, after a second marriage to actor Max Karp. After the successful run in Galai came a less successful attempt in Brila, but by now the company had honed its act and it was time to go to the capital, Bucharest. Bucharest As in Iai, Goldfaden arrived in Bucharest with his reputation already established. He and his players performed first in the early spring at the salon Lazr Cafegiu on Calea Vcreti (Vcreti Avenue, in the heart of the Jewish quarter), then, once the weather turned warm, at the Jignia garden, a pleasant tree-shaded beer garden on Str. Negru Vod that up until then had drawn only a neighborhood crowd. He filled out his cast from the great pool of Jewish vocal talent: synagogue cantors. He also recruited two eminently respectable classically trained prima donnas, the sisters Margaretta and Annetta Schwartz. Among the cantors in his casts that year were Lazr Zuckermann (also known as Laiser Zuckerman; as a song-and-dance man, he would eventually follow Goldfaden to New York and have a long stage career),  Moishe Zilberman (also known as Silberman), and Simhe Dinman, as well as the 18-year-old Zigmund Mogulescu (Sigmund Mogulesko), who soon became a stage star. Orphaned by his teen years, Mogulescu had already made his way in the world as a singer not only as a soloist in the Great Synagogue of Bucharest but also as a performer in cafes, at parties, with a visiting French operetta company, and even in a church choir. Before his voice changed, he had sung with Zuckerman, Dinman, and Moses Wald in the “Israelite Chorus, ” performing at important ceremonies in the Jewish community. Mogulescu’s audition for Goldfaden was a scene from Vlduu Mamei (Mama’s Boy), which formed the basis later that year for Goldfaden’s light comedy Shmendrik, oder Die Komishe Chaseneh (Shmendrik or The Comical Wedding), starring Mogulescu as the almost painfully clueless and hapless young man (a role later famously played in New York and elsewhere by actress Molly Picon). This recruiting of cantors was not without controversy: Cantor Cuper (also known as Kupfer), the head cantor of the Great Synagogue, considered it “impious” that cantors should perform in a secular setting, to crowds where both sexes mingled freely, keeping people up late so that they might not be on time for morning prayers. While one may argue over which performance “started” Yiddish theater, by the end of that summer in Bucharest Yiddish theater was an established fact. The influx of Jewish merchants and middlemen to the city at the start of the Russo-Turkish War had greatly expanded the audience; among these new arrivals were Israel Rosenberg and Jacob Spivakovsky, the highly cultured scion of a wealthy Russian Jewish family, both of whom actually joined Goldfaden’s troupe, but soon left to found the first Yiddish theater troupe in Imperial Russia.  Goldfaden was churning out a repertoire new songs, new plays, and translations of plays from Romanian, French, and other languages (in the first two years, he wrote 22 plays, and would eventually write about 40) and while he was not always able to retain the players in his company once they became stars in their own right, he continued for many years to recruit first-rate talent, and his company became a de facto training ground for Yiddish theater. By the end of the year, others were writing Yiddish plays as well, such as Moses Horowitz with Der tiranisher bankir (The Tyrannical Banker), or Grodner with Curve un ganev (Prostitute and Thief), and Yiddish theater had become big theater, with elaborate sets, duelling choruses, and extras to fill out crowd scenes. Goldfaden was helped by Ion Ghica, then head of the Romanian National Theater to legally establish a “dramatic society” to handle administrative matters. From those papers, we know that the troupe at the Jignia included Moris Teich, Michel Liechman (Glückman), Lazr Zuckermann, Margareta Schwartz, Sofia Palandi, Aba Goldstein, and Clara Goldstein. We also know from similar papers that when Grodner and Mogulescu walked out on Goldfaden to start their own company, it included (besides themselves) Israel Rosenberg, Jacob Spivakovsky, P. Banderevsky, Anetta Grodner, and Rosa Friedman. Ion Ghica was a valuable ally for Yiddish theater in Bucharest. On several occasions he expressed his favorable view of the quality of acting, and even more of the technical aspects of the Yiddish theater. In 1881, he obtained for the National Theater the costumes that had been used for a Yiddish pageant on the coronation of King Solomon, which had been timed in tribute to the actual coronation of Carol I of Romania. Turning serious While light comedy and satire might have established Yiddish theater as a commercially successful medium, it was Goldfaden’s higher aspirations for it that eventually earned him recognition as the Yiddish Shakespeare. “ As a man broadly read in several languages, he was acutely aware that there was no Eastern European Jewish tradition of dramatic literature that his audience was used to seeking just “a good glass of Odobeti and a song. ” Years later, he would paraphrase the typical Yiddish theatergoer of the time as saying to him: “We don’t go to the theater to make our head swim with sad things. We have enough troubles at home… We go to the theater to cheer ourselves up. We pay up a coin and hope to be distracted, we want to laugh from the heart. ” Goldfaden wrote that this attitude put him “pure and simply at war with the public. “ His stage was not to be merely “a masquerade”; he continued: “No, brothers. If I have arrived at having a stage, I want it to be a school for you. In youth you didn’t have time to learn and cultivate yourself… Laugh heartily if I amuse you with my jokes, while I, watching you, feel my heart crying. Then, brothers, I’ll give you a drama, a tragedy drawn from life, and you, too, shall cry while my heart shall be glad. “ Nonetheless, his “war with the public was based on understanding that public. He would also write, I wrote Di kishefmakhern (The Witch) in Romania, where the populace Jews as much as Romanians believe strongly in witches.  Local superstitions and concerns always made good subject matter, and, as Bercovici remarks, however strong his inspirational and didactic intent, his historical pieces were always connected to contemporary concerns. Even in the first couple of years of his company, Goldfaden did not shy away from serious themes: his rained-out vaudeville in Botoani had been Di Rekruten (The Recruits), playing with the theme of the press gangs working the streets of that town to conscript young men into the army. Before the end of 1876, Goldfaden had already translated Desolate Island by August von Kotzebue; thus, a play by a German aristocrat and Russian spy became the first non-comic play performed professionally in Yiddish. After his initial burst of mostly vaudevilles and light comedies (although Shmendrik and The Two Kuni-Lemls were reasonably sophisticated plays), Goldfaden would go on to write many serious Yiddish-language plays on Jewish themes, perhaps the most famous being Shulamith, also from 1880. Goldfaden himself suggested that this increasingly serious turn became possible because he had educated his audience. Nahma Sandrow suggests that it may have had equally as much to do with the arrival in Romania, at the time of the Russo-Turkish War, of Russian Jews who had been exposed to more sophisticated Russian language theater. Goldfaden’s strong turn toward almost uniformly serious subject matter roughly coincided with bringing his troupe to Odessa.  Goldfaden was both a theoretician and a practitioner of theater. That he was in no small measure a theoretician for example, he was interested almost from the start in having set design seriously support the themes of his plays relates to a key property of Yiddish theater at the time of its birth: in general, writes Bercovici, theory ran ahead of practice. Much of the Jewish community, Goldfaden included, were already familiar with contemporary theater in other languages. The initial itinerary of Goldfaden’s company Iai, Botoani, Galai, Brila, Bucharest could as easily have been the itinerary of a Romanian-language troupe. Yiddish theater may have been seen from the outset as an expression of a Jewish national character, but the theatrical values of Goldfaden’s company were in many ways those of a good Romanian theater of the time. Also, Yiddish was a German dialect which became a well-known language even among non-Jews in Moldavia (and Transylvania), an important language of commerce; the fact that one of the first to write about Yiddish theater was Romania’s national poet, Mihai Eminescu, is testimony that interest in Yiddish theater went beyond the Jewish community. Almost from the first, Yiddish theater drew a level of theater criticism comparable to any other European theater of its time. For example, Bercovici cites a “brochure” by one G. Abramski, published in 1877, that described and gave critiques of all of Goldfaden’s plays of that year. Abramski speculated that the present day might be for Yiddish theater a moment comparable to the Elizabethan era for English theater. He discussed what a Yiddish theater ought to be, noted its many sources (ranging from Purim plays to circus pantomime), and praised its incorporation of strong female roles. He also criticized where he saw weaknesses, noting how unconvincingly a male actor played the mother in Shmendrik, or remarking of the play Di shtume kale (The Mute Bride) a work that Goldfaden apparently wrote to accommodate a pretty, young actress who in the performance was too nervous to deliver her lines that the only evidence of Goldfaden’s authorship was his name. Russia Goldfaden’s father wrote him to solicit the troupe to come to Odessa in Ukraine, which was then part of Imperial Russia. The timing was opportune: the end of the war meant that much of his best audience were now in Odessa rather than Bucharest; Rosenberg had already quit Goldfaden’s troupe and was performing the Goldfadenian repertoire in Odessa. With a loan from Librescu, Goldfaden headed east with a group of 42 people, including performers, musicians, and their families. After the end of the Russo-Turkish War he and his troupe travelled extensively through Imperial Russia, notably to Kharkov (also in Ukraine), Moscow, and Saint Petersburg. Jacob Adler later described him at this time as “a bon vivant, ” “a cavalier, ” as difficult to approach as an emperor.  He continued to turn out plays at a prolific pace, now mostly serious pieces such as Doctor Almasada, oder Die Yiden in Palermo (Doctor Almasada, or The Jews of Palermo), Shulamith, and Bar Kokhba, the last being a rather dark operetta about Bar Kokhba’s revolt, written after the pogroms in Russia following the 1881 assassination of Czar Alexander II. As it happens, a Frenchman named Victor Tissot happened to be in Berdichev when Goldfaden’s company was there. He saw two plays Di Rekruten, first premiered in Botoani, and the later Di Shvebleh (Matches), a play of intrigue. Tissot’s account of what he saw gives an interesting picture of the theaters and audiences Goldfaden’s troupe encountered outside of the big cities. “Berdichev, ” he begins, has not one cafe, not one restaurant. Berdichev, which is a boring and sad city, nonetheless has a theatrical hall, a big building made of rough boards, where theater troupes passing through now and then put on a play.  Although there was a proper stage with a curtain, the cheap seats were bare benches, the more expensive ones were benches covered in red percale. Although there were many full beards, there were no long caftans, no skullcaps.  Some of the audience were quite poor, but these were assimilated Jews, basically secular. The audience also included Russian officers with their wives or girlfriends. In Russia, Goldfaden and his troupe drew large audiences and were generally popular with progressive Jewish intellectuals, but slowly ran afoul of both the Czarist government and conservative elements in the Jewish community. Goldfaden was calling for change in the Jewish world: Wake up my people From your sleep, wake up And believe no more in foolishness.  A call like this might be a bit ambiguous, but it was unsettling to those who were on the side of the status quo. Yiddish theater was banned in Russia starting September 14, 1883, as part of the anti-Jewish reaction following the assassination of Czar Alexander II. Goldfaden and his troupe were left adrift in Saint Petersburg. They headed various directions, some to England, some to New York City, some to Poland, some to Romania. The prophet adrift While Yiddish theater continued successfully in various places, Goldfaden was not on the best terms at this time with Mogulescu. They had quarrelled (and settled) several times over rights to plays, and Mogulescu and his partner Moishe “Maurice” Finkel now dominated Yiddish theater in Romania, with about ten lesser companies competing as well. Mogulescu was a towering figure in Bucharest theater at this point, lauded on a level comparable to the actors of the National Theater, performing at times in Romanian as well as Yiddish, drawing an audience that went well beyond the Jewish community. Goldfaden seems, in Bercovici’s words, to have lost “his theatrical elan” in this period. He briefly put together a theater company in 1886 in Warsaw, with no notable success. In 1887 he went to New York (as did Mogulescu, independently). After extensive negotiations and great anticipation in the Yiddish-language press in New York (“Goldfaden in America, ” read the headline in the 11 January 1888 edition of the New Yorker Yiddishe Ilustrirte Zaitung), he briefly took on the job of director of Mogulescu’s new “Rumanian Opera House”; they parted ways again after the failure of their first play, whose production values were apparently not up to New York standards. Goldfaden attempted (unsuccessfully) to found a theater school, then headed in 1889 for Paris, rather low on funds. There he wrote some poetry, worked on a play that he didn’t finish at that time, and put together a theater company that never got to the point of putting on a play (because the cashier made off with all of their funds). Lviv Lviv was not exactly a dramatist’s dream. Leon Dreykurs described audiences bringing meals into the theater, rustling paper, treating the theater like a beer garden. He also quotes Jacob Schatzky: All in all, the Galician milieu was not favorable to Yiddish theater. The intellectuals were assimilated, but the masses were fanatically religious and they viewed Jewish’comedians’ with disdain.  Nonetheless, Iacob Ber Ghimpel, who owned a Yiddish theater there, was glad to have a figure of Goldfaden’s stature. Goldfaden completed the play he’d started in Paris, Rabi Yoselman, oder Die Gzerot fun Alsas (“Rabbi Yoselman, or The Alsatian Decree”), in five acts and 23 scenes, based on the life of Josel of Rosheim. At this time he also wrote an operetta Rothschild and a semi-autobiographical play called Mashiach Tzeiten (Messiah Times) that gave a less-than-optimistic view of America. Kalman Juvelier, an actor in Ber Ghimpel’s company, credited Goldfaden with greatly strengthening the caliber of performance in Lviv during his brief time there, reporting that Goldfaden worked with every actor on understanding his or her character, so as to ensure that the play was more than just a series of songs and effects, and was respected by all.  Bucharest This Romanian-language poster for The Tenth Commandment offers an alternate title Heaven and Hell. His new company again included Lazr Zuckermann; other players were Marcu (Mordechai) Segalescu, and later Iacob Kalich, Carol Schramek, Malvina Treitler-Löbel and her father H. Among his notable plays from this period were Dos zenteh Gebot, oder Lo tachmod (The Tenth Commandment, or Thou Shalt Not Covet), Judas Maccabaeus, and Judith and Holofernes and a translation of Johann Strauss’s Gypsy Baron.  However, it was not a propitious time to return to Romania. Yiddish theater had become a business there, with slickly written advertisements, coordinated performances in multiple cities using the same publicity materials, and cutthroat competition: on one occasion in 1895, a young man named Bernfeld attended multiple performances of Goldfaden’s Story of Isaac, memorized it all (including the songs), and took the whole package to Kalman Juvilier, who put on an unauthorized production in Iai. Such outright theft was possible because once Ion Ghica headed off on a diplomatic career, the National Theater, which was supposed to adjudicate issues like unauthorized performances of plays, was no longer paying much attention to Yiddish theater. Juvilier and Goldfaden finally reached an out-of-court settlement.  Cutthroat competition was nothing to what was to follow. The 1890s were a tough time for the Romanian economy, and a rising tide of anti-Semitism made it an even tougher time for the Jews. One quarter of the Jewish population emigrated, with intellectuals particularly likely to leave, and those intellectuals who remained were more interested in politics than in theater: this was a period of social ferment, with Jewish socialists in Iai starting Der Veker (The Awakener). Goldfaden left Romania in 1896; soon Juvilier’s was the only active Yiddish theater troupe in the country, and foreign troupes had almost entirely ceased coming to the country. Although Lateiner, Horowitz, and Shumer kept writing, and occasionally managed to put on a play, it was not a good time for Yiddish theater or any theater in Romania, and would only become worse as the economy continued to decline. Goldfaden wandered Europe as a poet and journalist. His plays continued to be performed in Europe and America, but rarely, if ever, did anyone send him royalties. In 1903, he wrote Jacob Dinesohn from Paris, authorizing him to sell his remaining possessions in Romania, clothes and all. New York City In America, he again tried his hand at journalism, but a brief stint as editor of the New Yorker Yiddishe Ilustrirte Zaitung resulted only in getting the paper suspended and landing himself a rather large fine. On March 31, 1905, he recited poetry at a benefit performance at Cooper Union to raise a pension for Yiddish poet Eliakum Zunser, even worse off than himself because he had found himself unable to write since coming to America in 1889. Shortly afterwards, he met a group of young people who had a Hebrew language association at the Dr. Herzl Zion Club, and wrote a Hebrew-language play David ba-Milchama (David in the War), which they performed in March 1906, the first Hebrew-language play to be performed in America. Repeat performances in March 1907 and April 1908 drew successively larger crowds. He also wrote the spoken portions of Ben Ami, loosely based on George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda. After Goldfaden’s former bit player Jacob Adler by now the owner of a prominent New York Yiddish theater optioned and ignored it, even accusing Goldfaden of being “senile, ” it premiered successfully at rival Boris Thomashefsky’s People’s Theater December 25, 1907, with music by H. Friedzel and lyrics by Mogulescu, who was by this time an international star.  Goldfaden died in New York City in 1908. A contemporary account in The New York Times estimated that 75,000 people turned out for his funeral, joining the procession from the People’s Theater on Bowery to Washington Cemetery in Brooklyn; in recent scholarship the number of mourners has been given as 30,000.  In a follow-up article The New York Times called him “both a poet and a prophet, ” and noted that there was more evidence of genuine sympathy with and admiration for the man and his work than is likely to be manifested at the funeral of any poet now writing in the English language in this country. Zionism Goldfaden had an on-again off-again relationship with Zionism. Some of his earliest poetry was Zionist avant la lettre and one of his last plays was written in Hebrew; several of his plays were implicitly or explicitly Zionist Shulamith set in Jerusalem, Mashiach Tzeiten? ! Ending with its protagonists abandoning New York for Palestine; he served as a delegate from Paris to the World Zionist Congress in 1900.  Still, he spent most of his life (and set slightly more than half of his plays) in the Pale of Settlement and in the adjoining Jewish areas in Romania, and when he left it was never to go to Palestine, but to cities such as New York, London or Paris. This might be understandable when the number of his potential Jewish spectators in Palestine in his time was very small. Works Plays Libretto for Abraham Goldfaden’s historical operetta Bar Kochba (1883), published in 1917 Sources disagree about the dates (and even the names) of some of Goldfaden’s plays. The titles here represent YIVO Yiddish>English transliteration, though other variants exist. Di Mumeh Soseh (Aunt Susie) wr. 1869 Di Tzvey Sheynes (The Two Neighbours) wr. 1869 possibly the same as Di Sheynes 1877 Polyeh Shikor (Polyeh, the Drunkard) 1871 Anonimeh Komedyeh (Anonymous Comedy) 1876 Di Rekruten (The Recruits) 1876,  1877 Dos Bintl Holtz (The Bundle of Sticks) 1876 Fishl der balegole un zayn knecht Sider (Fishel the Junkman and His Servant Sider) 1876 Di Velt a Gan-Edn (The World and Paradise) 1876 Der Farlibter Maskil un der Oifgeklerter Hosid (The Infatuated Philosopher and the Enlightened Hasid) 1876 Der Shver mitn eydem (Father-in-Law and Son-in-Law) 1876 Di Bobeh mit dem Eynikel (The Grandmother and the Granddaughter) 1876,  1879 The Desolate Isle, Yiddish translation of a play by August von Kotzebue, 1876 Di Intrigeh oder Dvosye di pliotkemahern (The Intrigue or Dvoisie Intrigued) 1876,  1877 A Gloz Vaser (A Glass of Water) 1877 Hotye-mir un Zaytye-mir (Leftovers) 1877 Shmendrik, oder Di komishe Chaseneh (Schmendrik or The Comical Wedding) 1877,  1879 Shuster un Shnayder (Shoemaker and Tailor) 1877 Di Kaprizneh Kaleh, oder Kaptsnzon un Hungerman (The Capricious Bride or Pauper-son and Hunger-man) 1877 presumably the same play as Di kaprizneh Kaleh-Moyd (The Capricious Bridemaid) 1887 Yontl Shnayder (Yontl the Tailor) 1877 Vos tut men? What Did He Do? 1880,  1881 Dos Zenteh Gebot, oder Lo Tachmod (The Tenth Commandment, or Thou Shalt Not Covet) 1882,  1887 Der Sambatyen (Sambation) 1882 Doktor Almasada, oder Di Yiden in Palermo (Doctor Almasada, or The Jews of Palermo also known as Doctor Almasado, Doctor Almaraso, Doctor Almasaro) 1880,  1883 Bar Kokhba, 1883,  1885 Akeydos Yitschok (The Sacrifice of Isaac), 1891 Dos Finfteh Gebot, oder Kibed Ov (The Fifth Commandment, or Honor Thy Father), 1892 Rabi Yoselman, oder Di Gzerot fun Alsas (Rabbi Yoselman, or The Alsatian Decree) 1877,  1892 Judas Maccabeus, 1892 Judith and Holofernes, 1892 Mashiach Tzeiten? ! 1891 1893 Yiddish translation of Johann Strauss’s Gypsy Baron 1894 Sdom Veamora (Sodom and Gomorrah) 1895 Di Katastrofe fun Brayla (The Catastrophe in Brila) 1895 Meylits Yoysher (The Messenger of Justice) 1897 David ba-Milchama (David in the War) 1906,  in Hebrew Ben Ami (Son of My People) 1907,  1908 Songs and poetry Goldfaden wrote hundreds of songs and poems. Among his most famous are: “Der Malekh” (“The Angel”) “Royzhinkes mit mandlen” (Raisins and Almonds) “Shabes, Yontev, un Rosh Khoydesh” (“Sabbath, Festival, and New Moon”) Tsu Dayn Geburtstag! The item “Judaica JEWISH MOSAIC ART Yiddish SHTETL PEDDLER Romania ISIU Isidore SCHARF” is in sale since Saturday, May 8, 2021. This item is in the category “Collectibles\Religion & Spirituality\Judaism\Images”. The seller is “judaica-bookstore” and is located in TEL AVIV. This item can be shipped worldwide.
- Country of Manufacture: Israel
- Handmade: Yes
- Country/Region of Manufacture: Israel
- Religion: Judaism