Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Aaron Kanievsky


Born on 17 July 1890 in Rzhyshchiv, Kiev Gubernia, Ukraine. Father -- a grains merchant, descended from rabbis and ritual slaughterers. Received a Jewish traditional education, learning in the local yeshiva. In 1905 he experienced a horrible pogrom in Kiev and joined in the Jewish Revolutionary Movement. From his very early youth he manifested a deep interest in Yiddish literature, even for the classics, also taking an interest in Yiddish theatre, especially with Goldfaden repertoire.

In 1908 he immigrated to America, where he settled in Philadelphia, participated in 1909 in Sackler's "Yukel ganef", founded the "Kunst-vinkl (Arts Corner)", where he also was theatre director. He founded the "Literary Dramatic Society", where he acted and directed, was active in the "Hebrew Literature Society", performed as recitator, later he git zikh shtark op with the established Yiddish folkshul, founder of the local branch of the "Kultur gezelshaft (Culture Society)", "YIVO", helping with the purchasing of Yiddish books and was generally active in all fields of Yiddish culture.

Especially however, K., in his great love for the Yiddish theatre, helped many both from the Philadelphia Yiddish theatre, and from the arriving guest-starring troupes or individual actors through his detailed reviews in articles about Yiddish theatre, which he used to publish in the local edition of "Tog" for a span of forty years time., under his own name and also under the pseudonym of Aaron Malyes and Arkanyev. R. also wrote about Jewish social problems in Philadelphia's "Idishe velt", and in Malamut's "Yom tov bleter".

 K. had raised his lone daughter Molly (Silver) in an authentic Jewish spirit, and after completing an art school, and she became a painter. She also was a teacher in the Workmen's Circle school, theatre directed with amateur groups and performed solo as a recitator in Yiddish.

K. had geklibn published autobiography, together with a selection of his published articles, His illness, however, prevented him from carry out his the plan. On 10 January 1960 he passed away and came to his eternal rest at Mount Lebanon [Cemetery] in Philadelphia.

Sh. E. from his daughter Molly.

  • Y. L. Malamut -- "Filadelfyer Idishe anshṭalṭn un zeyere fihrer", Philadelphia, 1943, pp. 382-383.

  • David Ber Tierkel -- "Di yungtlekhe bine", Philadelphia, 1940, pp. 30, 37, 41, 42, 43, 44, 53, 54, 59, 68.







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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 4, page 2541.

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