1840 July 12, - 1908 ABRAHAM GOLDFADEN (Russia)
"Father of Modern Jewish Theater". Goldfaden began his career by writing songs and was surprised to find them well received by the public. He composed dozens of songs, over 60 plays, and over 30 operas - all in Yiddish. Some of his plays were translated into Hebrew (Kuni Lemel) and are still produced today. After witnessing local pogroms, he decried assimilation as a solution and became a strong supporter of the Zionist cause. In his last play, Ben Ami, his hero leaves Russia after a pogrom and becomes a pioneer in Eretz Israel.