Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Aaron B. Rappaport


Born in 1895 in a village near the Berezina River, near Minsk, White Russia. His mother...descended from seven generations of rabbis. He received a traditional Jewish education. He learned Tanakh, Gemara and Russian with a teacher. At the age of sixteen, together with his parents, he immigrated to America, in New York completed a technical school and was a technician.

In 1918 R. became mobilized into the American Army, and after several weeks of easy preparation, he was sent off to the front in France, participating in several battles, and his ship became torpedoed. In 1919 he returned to America. 

After in 1916 he had in the "Forward," and in various local weekly pages, published songs, and after returning from the Front, he published in the "Forward" songs of war, which draws attention to the local and foreign Yiddish literature circles. In 1925 there was published his first book of war songs, "Durkh fayervent," in 1927 his dramatic poem, "Sheydim," and in 1935 his book of stories, "Mayse-shap."

R. wrote much and published in various literary editions. In 1922 he was a co-founder and participant in Avrom Reisen's monthly journal, "New Yiddish." Especially, R. published in "Di feder."

In January 1929 he began to publish in New York's "Hammer" his drama, "Devorah di Nevie un Baraḳ ben Avinoʻam" (in three parts, six scenes), already published after his death, in 1965 by Peretz Publishers in Tel Aviv.

 R. left over very many non-published things, among them the plays: "Mayster thomas," a dramatic poem in four scenes and an epilogue, which portrays the life and creations of an inventor in the beginning of the development of American industry; "Glgl mentsh," "Shuldik," a tragedy in four acts, and "A kholem in roym (Der satelit)," written in 1960.

On 1 September 1964 R. passed away in New York.

In her introduction to the drama, whose content also contains two letters to the author from Hayyim Nachman Bialik, R.'s wife, the poet Malka Lee, writes:

"...A number of important works lie in manuscript. They lie in a drawer and are awaiting their fate....

Modesty and quiet envy are the foundation of Aaron Rappaport's character. He never strays, not from simplicity, not from authenticity. He was a visionary with deep faith in human understanding, who will ever more and more reveal the secrets of the world.

The Tanakh was his holy book. In his soul the contents of this book were published; that the contents had lived within him, in him. And he was connected to "Devorah di Nevie," the drama about the Jewish struggle, and of Yiddish life, with struggle today for the development of the Land of Israel."

Sh.E. from Malka Lee.

  • Zalman Reisen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature," Vilna, 1929, Vol. 4, pp. 223-224.

  • Aaron Rappaport --"Devorah di Nevie un Baraḳ ben Avinoʻam," Tel Aviv, 1965, pp. 6-8.

  • B.Ts. Goldberg -- In gang fun tog, "Daily Morning Journal," N.Y., 24 Oct. 1966.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 6, page 4971.

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