Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


David Zahik

Born in 1852 in Slovita (Slavuta), Volin, into a Chasidic family. He received a traditional Chasidic education. However later, under the influence of Haskalah, he studied in the Zhitomir rabbinical school, then was a teacher of Hebrew and Russian in Starokonstantin (Starokonstantinov) and Kishinev, where he lived for three to four years.

In 1884 in the printing shop of P. Belchatowski, Pietrkow, Z.'s "Di roze tsivishen derner -- a theatre in four acts composed by David Zahik [80 pp., 16 in Russian: "Tsenzurirt in Kiev 5 September 1883"] was published. The play was never staged.

According to M Basin, Z. was a contributor to the Russian newspapers. When in 1885, due to political conditions, Z. had to flee Russia, he immigrated to America and settled in Cincinnati where he was a peddler of eyeglasses. Later, together with David Edelstadt, Dr. H. Zolotarov et al, founded the so-called "Epikursishin kreyz (Heretical Circle)". He was a fervent nationalist, a khubb-tsion, and then a political Zionist and founder of the Zionist organization in Cincinnati.

In America Z. adopted the name David Greenberg, and under the name, as well as under the pseudonym "Ben-Ishi", published stories and articles in "Di idishe velt", in Pittsburgh's "Folks fraynd", "Minikes yom-tov bleter", et al, songs in the "Idishes tageblat", and published songs and stories in book form.

After a paralysis of his right hand, Z. passed away on 22 June 1917 in Cincinnati.

"Di roze tsvishen derner ... sets forth -- according to Auslander -- a very interesting moment in the development of the older Yiddish dramas, songs in his [Z.'s] one and only work, meanwhile still little was realized".

Y. Dobrushin, in his opinion, the play is only a "khlumrshter theatre play", zi shprudlt but with shteyger gemel, passes with details of ethnographic life, flush with language and loshun.

  • Z. Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature", Vol. I, p. 645.

  • Z. Reyzen -- Dovid zahik farfaser fun dem teater shtik "Di royz tsvishn derner", "Archive", pp. 457-8.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 734.

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