“Anything that has real and lasting value is always a gift from within.” ~Franz Kafka
Around the time of 1911, Kafka became interested in Yiddish theatre, despite the misgiving of his close friends such as Max Brod who usually supported him in everything else and the vehement disapproval of his father. Kafka attended over 30 performances of the traveling theatre group in the seedy, rundown Café Savoy, befriending Polish actor Yitzhak Löwy. The performances served as a starting point for Kafka’s growing relationship with Judaism. Kafka even organized evening readings of Yiddish literature and gave opening remarks, although these brief remarks would leave him with sleepless nights because of his stage fright. Yizak spoke to Kafka about Jewish life in Poland and brought him in contact with a wide range of Yiddish literature. During his exploration of Yiddish theater, Kafka began to study Hebrew, and became more interested in Eastern Judaism and his own Jewish origin. He also began to write the novel The Man Who Disappeared, later Brod renamed it—Amerika, referencing a place Kafka only viewed through the letters of his uncles and in journals.
Photo: Yitzhak Löwy