MOYSHE-ARN RAFALSKI (MIKHAIL PADAYEVICH) (April 15, 1889-1937)
He was born in Kiev. He attended religious elementary school, later proceeding to a school for painting and at age nineteen a drama school. He acted in Russian theater in Kiev and in other cities. Under the influence of Ezra Korman and Dovid Bergelson, he switched to Yiddish. In 1918 he founded the first Yiddish theater in Ukraine and later the Yiddish state theater of Byelorussia, for which he produced plays by Sholem-Aleichem, Y. L. Perets, Arn Kushnirov, Moyshe Kulbak, Dovid Bergelson, and others. He was arrested in 1937 and died in a concentration camp. He debuted in print in 1910 with a poem in Kiyever vort (Kievan word). He published articles on theater in Minsk’s Oktyabr (October) and Shtern (Star). He edited Zamlung far dramkrayzn (Collection for drama circles) (Minsk: State Publ., 1936), 176 pp. In book form: the play Kheyder (Religious elementary school), dramatized following Sholem-Aleichem, Mendele, and Y. Linetski (Minsk: Shtern, 1926), 21 pp.
Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 4; Chone Shmeruk, comp., Pirsumim yehudiim babrit-hamoatsot, 1917-1961 (Jewish publications in the Soviet Union, 1917-1961) (Jerusalem, 1961), index; Literarishe bleter (Warsaw) 10 (1927); Y. Gutkevitsh, Af ale teg fun a gants yor (On every day of a full year) (Warsaw: Yidish-bukh, 1966), p. 134.