Yehudah Leib Landau

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Yehudah Leib Landau (1866-1942) was a rabbi, scholar, poet and playwright.

Also found as Yehudah Loeb Landau in some sources, e.g. Wikipedia.


Born on 4 May 1866 in Założce, near Brody, Galicia, he completed his gymnasium studies in 1891 and in 1898 obtained a doctorate from the University of Vienna.

The son of a composer of Hebrew songs, he began writing poetry, articles and plays from 1879 onwards, producing several playtexts, many published in local Hebrew journals.

In 1901 he became a rabbi in Manchester and in 1903 Dr Landau became the chief rabbi in Johannesburg (1903-1915) and later Chief Rabbi of the Federation of Synagogues in the country. He also served as honorary president of the Zionist Federation in South Africa and was a professor at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

Among his known plays have been Bar Kokhba, The End of Jerusalem, Israel Besh't, Don Isaac Abravanel and more. Some of his later plays, e.g. Israel Besh't and Don Isaac Abravanel, were probably written and even published (and possibly performed?) while he was living in Johannesburg.

his plays in Hebrew were published in print: "Bar Kochba" (Lemberg, Trm"d), "Akhrit yerushalayim" (Lemberg, Trm"u"), "Hurdus" (Lemberg, Trm"kh), "Ishtkuh" (Krakow, 1893), that was soon thereby staged in Brody, "Dm tkht dm" (Krakow, Trn"z),"Don itzhak abarbanel (New York, Tre"t), "Israel Besh't" (Johannesburg), Trp"g) and "Lpnim tsu lakhur" (Jerusalem) [1913?].

under the impression of Goldfaden there was performed in Lemberg, an adaptation in Yiddish of his Hebrew play "Hurdus" under the name "Hurdus and Miriam", which in 1890 was performed by Gimpel's troupe in Lemberg (with Berta Kalich and Zelig Schorr in the title roles). after "Shulmais" and it had been performed on the Yiddish stage in Galicia for an entire year. The play was also published in print "King Hurdus, a historical drama in five acts printed and published in Hebrew, year 1887, and now translated in jargon by Dr. Y. L. Landau, London, 1901" [p. 49, 16°]. In a [tsveyt zeytl aiz nokh tsugeben: "Behandelt eyge] of the great period in Yiddish history in the time of the great king Hurdus. Published by the well-known poet-rabbi Dr. Y. L. Landau and issued by R. Mazin", with a letter by the author to publish as an introduction. The play also later was performed by "amateurs" in Cleveland, America.


Catalogue of Public Auction #2 (2015) by Jerusalem of Gold (lot # 173 - books)[1]

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