Mark Centennial of Yiddish Theater

The capital of the Moldavian province, Jassy, was the scene of a remarkable gathering last Thursday. The leaders of the municipality’s artistic, cultural and scientific community and a delegation of prominent Jewish writers, poets, artists and journalists came to Jassy to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Yiddish theater.

The reception at the kosher restaurant was given by the Federation of Jewish Rumanian Communities. It was not far from there that Abraham Goldfaden, the father of the Yiddish theater, launched the Yiddish theater with a performance of his own play at Simon Marks’ Green Tree Inn.

Rabbi Moses Rosen, Chief Rabbi of Rumania, in his toast commemorating the event, said “Jewish dramaturgy was only continued by Goldfaden. Its beginning was in our tradition, folklore and song, in the Book of Esther and in the Song of Songs. It was rooted in our spiritual heritage and the Yiddish theater paid respect to this tradition both in terms of language and contest.”

EVENT IS A ‘YOM TOV’

Rosen said the gathering marked a “yom tov not only for Rumanian Jews and not only for the Rumanian people who provided the facilities to preserve this tradition but also for the Jewish people who are commemorating with pride” the memory of Goldfaden in the building of a Jewish state theater in Bucharest.

From Aug. 10-19 the state theater observed the centennial with successive performances of plays by Sholom Aleichem. S. Ansky, Israel Bercovici and Gotthold Lessing. Bercovici is the literary director and resident playwright of the state theater. His latest production, “The Golden Thread,” is devoted to the life and times of Goldfaden.

Among the speakers at last week’s commemoration were Ion Taranu, president of the Arts Council, V. Vilcu, director of the Rumanian National Theater and Frantz Auerbach, director of the Jewish State Theater. The gathering in Jassy was followed by a performance given by the theater in Bucharest.

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