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Goldfaden is considered the father of the Jewish modern theatre. He was a Russian-born Jewish poet, playwright,… [More] stage director, and actor who worked in Yiddish and Hebrew. He was also the author of some 40 plays. In 1876, he founded in Romania what is generally credited as the world’s first professional Yiddish-language theater group. He was also responsible for the first Hebrew-language play performed in the United States. The Avram Goldfaden Festival of Romania is named and held in his honor. [Less]
1880: Ernest Bloch
Bloch was a Swiss-born Jewish-American composer. Bloch’s early works, including… [More] his opera Macbeth (1910) show the influence of both the Germanic school of Richard Strauss and the impressionism of Claude Debussy. His later works, however, including his best-known pieces, often draw on Jewish liturgical and folk music. In 1927, he won a prize for the best symphonic work on an American theme by an American composer. (Bloch qualified because he was a naturalized American citizen.) In December 1920 he was appointed the first Musical Director of the newly formed Cleveland Institute of Music, a post he held until 1925. Following that role, he was director of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music until 1930. [Less]
1920: Bella Abzug
Bella Abzug was the first Jewish woman elected to the US House of Representatives. She was also a… [More] notable anti-Vietnam war activist, as well as a lawyer, social activist and a leader of the Women’s Movement. For example, in 1971, Abzug joined other leading feminists such as Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan to found the National Women’s Political Caucus. She was born in the Bronx to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. Interesting fact: her father gained fame as a butcher. [Less]