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All About Sholem Aleichem (1859-1916 ) and Yiddish Theatre

May 13, 2006 marks the 90 anniversary of Sholem Aleichem's death . In commemoration, All About Jewish Theatre explores the relationship between the works by the father of Jewish Humor and The Yiddish Theatre . this project would not be possible without the  kind contribution and collaboration with Prof Avraham Novershtern , Director of  Beth Sholem Aliechem ( Sholem Aliechem Yiddish Culture Center ) in Tel Aviv.

Sholem Aleichem, (pseudonym for Sholem Rabinovitch 1859-1916) the self-appointed heir to Mendele, became and remains one of the most popular Yiddish/Jewish writers. His contribution to modern Yiddish literature include some of the most famous characters and places in Yiddish fiction; Tevye der milkhiker(Tevye the dairyman), Motl peyse dem khazns(Motl, the cantor's son), Kasrilevke, the quintessential , fictionalised shtetl of Eastern Europe, as well a dozens and dozens of monologues known by the large masses of Yiddish speakers.

Sholem Aleichem's unique humorous style,"laughter through tears," continued to provoke transformation among the Eastern European Jewry. His major contribution to modern Yiddish literature is considered to be in the area of language; in his ability to capture the essence of the spoken Yiddish word among a variety of folk characters, and to transfer it successfully to the written word.

Born Sholem Yakov Rabinovitsh or Rabinowitz (ru: Рабино́вич) to a poor patriarchal Jewish family in Pereyaslav (near Kiev), Ukraine. Sholem's mother died when he was thirteen. His first writing was alphabetical vocabulary of the epithets used by his stepmother. At the age of fifteen, inspired by Robinson Crusoe, he composed his own, Jewish version of the famous novel and decided to dedicate himself to writing. He adopted the pseudonym Sholom Aleichem  find our more

Of all the characters in modern Jewish fiction, the most beloved is Tevye, the buoyant, compassionate, philosophical, Bible-quoting dairyman whose life story formed the basis for the musical Fiddler on the Roof. And no Yiddish writer was more beloved than Tevye's creator Sholem Rabinovich (1859-1916), who wrote under the pen name of Sholem Aleichem (Yiddish for "hello there.") find out more

Sholem Aleichem is a man without didactic intentions or social ideology, one of those rare storytellers whose work sums up the outlook of a whole culture. Few writers have so completely captured the imagination of their people as Sholem Aleichem has that of the Jews find out more

Sholem Aleichem on Broadway find out more

Sholem Aleichem  filmography  find out more

Why Do the Jews Need a Land of Their own? by Shelom Aleichem (1898)

Why do Jews need a land of their own? Some question! There are people who would add another question. And they would be right. Why should Jews not want a country? If Jews are a nation, why should they be worse than all other nations? It's as though they were asking you what do you want a home for? Naturally everyone should have a home. find out more

Kaleidoscope with Stewart Lane on his Fiddler on the Roof Production in Broadway find out more

Papa Sholem Aleichem played an important role in my early childhood. We called him "Papa"; he was too youthful and full of fun to be a grandfather. He lived in New York during his last days, and he used to write me letters: TO ODESSA FROM AMERICA, FOR BELOCHKA. Bel Kaufman remembers her grandfather  Sholem Aleichem find out more

Yiddish theater constituted the primary form of entertainment for the three million Eastern European Jews who settled in America between the late 1800s and mid-1920s. Its roots can be traced to Romania, where in 1876 songwriter and poet Abraham Goldfaden launched the first troupe of professional Yiddish performers. Performing plays and operettas about biblical and historical events, these actors were products of the Jewish Enlightenment, or “Haskalah,” begun in Western Europe in the 18th century find out more

Yiddish Words and Expressions  click here  find a  List of Yiddish Words and Expressions  by Michael D. Fein "The Gantseh Megillah"


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  Bella Bryks-Klein, Tel Aviv    (9/14/2008)
  Bella Bryks-Klein, Tel Aviv    (10/2/2008)

Sholem Aleichem (1859-1916 )

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