The Spectacular Story Of S. Ansky’s
The Dybbuk and How it Transformed American Jewish Theatre

By :  Edna Nahshon Professor of Jewish Theater and Drama Posted On Jul 26, 2021 / 5781 | A Wandering People: Jewish Journeys, Real and Imagined Monday Webinar

Part of the series, “A Wandering People: Jewish Journeys, Real and Imagined”

The Dybbuk, a play written a century ago by S. Ansky, is the most renowned work of the Jewish dramatic canon. The first performance took place in Warsaw on December 9, 1920, where it was staged by the Vilna Troupe in commemoration of the dramatist’s death. It was a smashing success that reverberated throughout the Jewish world. One year later, on January 31, 1922, the Hebrew-language Habima theater staged its interpretation of the play in Moscow in a production whose bold modernism made theater history.   

Since its premiere in 1920 The Dybbuk has been revived countless times in both Jewish and non-Jewish languages and inspired a substantial corpus of works in various media: it was famously filmed in Yiddish 1936 in Warsaw, and to this day has fired the imagination of artists and writers around the globe. Join Dr. Edna Nahshon to discuss this unique play and its various interpretations, focusing on its two foundational productions and the 1936 Polish Yiddish film. 


As the pandemic surged and forced us into our homes, many of us dreamed with new intensity of being elsewhere. For Jews throughout the ages, the promises and perils of travel have been central to shaping the individual and collective experience. Notions of home and homeland have been redefined by Jewish wandering. Drawing on literary, spiritual, and historical sources and responses, JTS scholars explore what happens when Jews—whether by force or voluntarily, whether in reality or in the imagination—travel from one place to another. 

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