Sunday 21 January 2018


DOVID NAYMARK (DAVID NEUMARK) (1866-December 20, 1942)
            He was born in Shchezhets (Shcherets), near Lemberg, Galicia, into a poor family.  His father died suddenly at age twenty-four while praying by the synagogue lecturn, and Dovid was raised under the supervision of his mother, a woman who knew Hebrew and supported the family by hauling chickens to homes.  At age six he was already studying Talmud and at eight he was studying on his own in a small synagogue.  He later began studying German, stealthily, and against the desires of his mother he traveled to Lemberg to pursue his studies, supported himself giving Hebrew lessons, and he receiving support from the Lemberg Jewish community.  In 1893 he passed the examinations for entrance for the eighth class in high school, left thereafter for Berlin, and studied there at the institute for Jewish studies and the university.  After completely his doctoral degree in philosophy, he was accepted as a rabbi in Rakovník, Bohemia.  In 1908 he was invited to be a professor of Jewish philosophy at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, and he remained at this post until his death.  He published a series of works in Hebrew, German, and English on Judaism, Jewish culture, ethics, and the history of religion.  His main work Geschichte der jüdischen Philosophie des Mittelalters (History of Jewish philosophy in the Middle Ages) (Berlin, 1907-1910) appeared in German, Hebrew, and English.  In his youth he belonged to a circle of pioneers of the Zionist movement in Lemberg (Adolf Shtand, Sh. Shiler, Yehoshua Thon, Mortkhe Ehrenpreis, Shmuel Gutman, Avrom Korkis, M. Berkovitsh, and Y. L. Landau, among others) and wrote articles for Yiddish publications in Galicia.  One of the publications of this circle was also on the reform of the Yiddish theater, and it was decided that that Dr. Thon, Gutman, and Naymark should compose three plays.  Naymark wrote a drama entitle Rus (Ruth).  Goldfaden was said to have refused to stage it, because in the Yiddish theater only melodramas could achieve success.  Naymark never returned to writing in Yiddish.  He died in Cincinnati.

Sources: Zalmen Reyzen, Leksikon, vol. 2, with a bibliography; Zalmen Zilbertsvayg, Leksikon fun yidishn teater (Handbook of the Yiddish theater), vol. 2 (New York, 1934); Gershon A. Ḥurgin, in Bitsaron (New York) (Tevet [December-January] 1947-1948).
Yankev Kahan

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