Shloyme-Zanvl Rappoport, known to the world as An-sky, was the author of The Dybbuk, the best known work of Yiddish/ Hebrew theater. During a tumultuous life, he left his mark on a dizzying array of political and cultural movements, Russian and Jewish, and seemingly crossing paths with just about every significant member of the radical intelligentsia of his time. Born in the Pale of Settlement in 1863, An-sky experimented with a variety of identities across virtually his entire adult life, from Jewish Enlightener to Russian Populist, writer, ethnographer, Zionist, and finally, Jewish communal relief worker during the cataclysms of the First World War. An-sky is a singularly interesting historical figure as he, like few others, encapsulates a crucial era of Jewish history - an era that marked the birth of modern Jewish politics and a modern, secular Jewish culture.

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