Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Joel Berish Falkowitz

Born in the nineteenth century in Dubno, Volin. He received a thorough Jewish education. A great expert not only in Talmud, but also in Khkirh and Kabala, he had, pointed out, nokh in his youth taken to a general education, had heard several European languages, and became one of the pioneers of the Haskalah movement in Volin.

F. excelled as a Hebrew stylist and has even in 1820 adapted into Hebrew Lessing's drama "Pilatos" (this free translation was first published in 1868 in Odessa, under the name "Abindv".

Under the initial "Y.", F. printed essays in a Hebrew journal.

After living for a long time in Peterburg, he settled in Odessa, where he shmd't zikh (due to unknown reasons). But he also once again remained a friend of Jewry, and as a response to anti-Semitism, he performed as an editor of the Warsaw Russian newspaper "Warshavski Dnievnik, he wrote in German an apology "Vort-tsur-tseyt", which he translated into Hebrew, and it was published under the name "Dbr-bsu" in "HaKol". He also performed in the blood libel process, affirming with an oath the falseness of the blood blbulim.

In Yiddish, F. wrote theatre pieces under his initials J. B. F., and he issued "Rev khaym der ktsin", a theatre in four acts, adapted after K., written in St. Petersburg in 1864" [published in 1866, in Odessa], and "Rukhele di zingerin, a theatre in four acts, adapted after S. and R. K. [Zhitomir, 1866, 125 pp.]. It is not known if the theatrical pieces were ever performed.

B. Gorin writes: "Both pieces were remade from goyishe Gothic plays and never had any value[?], was never dramatized and never literary. The adapter was Y. B. Falkowitz, and it had driven him to that work, when there wasn't any hope to put it on the stage is incomprehensible.

Zalmen Reyzen also was of a similar opinion: "The literary and staged value of this "theatre piece" is very much a knaper. They have, however, a nice interest, either according to their entire purely popular language, or to the radical Haskalah tendencies, as the author leads them into."

No exact date and location where F. passed away in known, but according to Reyzen it was in the seventieth year of the nineteen century.

  • Z. Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature", Vol. III, pp. 13-16.

  • B. Gorin -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Theatre", Vol. I, p. 125.

  • A. Fridkin -- "Avraham gotlober un zeyn epokhe", Vilna, 1925, p. 219.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2202.

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