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October 02, 1987 - Image 47

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-10-02

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Adapted by Charles Cooper

S. Anski is revered as the author
of "The Dybbuk," a Yiddish play
which has been presented in Hebrew,
Russian, German, French, English,
Norwegian, Chinese and many, many
other languages.
What is less known is that Anski
was a recognized researcher in the
byways of Jewish antiquity. In-that
capacity he roamed the old synagogues
of Central and Eastern Europe in
search of rare relics and artifacts. It
was not the rarity or the material value
of the relics that appealed to him but
the legendary background revealing
the patriarchal lives of ancient Jewish
In one such synagogue he
discovered a curtain that became the
inspiration of one of his folk tales. The
curtain was made of velvet with pearls
and spangles spelling the words, "Yom
Kippur — exalted above all other



An old story, with a twist, for
the holiest day of the year

days." Slightly below was the inscrip-
tion, "Psichath Ne'ilah" (to be opened
for the Ne'ilah Service). Appliqued
above and around these incriptions
were flowered adornments of rubies
and diamonds. This curtain covered
the Ark only on Yom Kippur.
Reb Nachman Fraides was con-
sidered the town's richest man and
finest philanthropist. He engaged in
extensive trade in bricks and other
materials with Leipzig and other big
cities. He was not your regular
nouveau-riche but a scion of affluent
parents and he conducted himself in
a manner of one accustomed to
generations of accumulated _wealth.
His was the most sought after opinion
in community matters. People trusted
him with dowries and orphanage
money. He was the one to intercede
for others with the royal powers that
He gave generously and with a
broad hand; his contribution was
always the first and the best. On



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