WOLFSOHN-HALLE, AARON (1754–1835), writer. Born in Germany, Wolfsohn-Halle taught in a Jewish public school in Breslau from 1792 to 1807, serving the last five years as its principal. Among the most radical of the early maskilim, he was one of the editors of *Ha-Me'assef during its Berlin period, and editor in chief in 1797. Among his own various contributions to the periodical was the play Siḥah be-Ereẓ ha-Ḥayyim (in Ha-Me'assef, vol. 7, 1794–97), in which *Maimonides and Moses *Mendelssohn meet in paradise. The author praises Mendelssohn and combines his own radical views of the Haskalah with acrimonious remarks against the Talmud and the Kabbalah. His school text, Avtalyon (Berlin, 1790–18143), the first written for Jewish pupils, was a pioneer attempt to relate Bible stories in simplified Hebrew prose. In addition, Wolfsohn-Halle published the books of Job (1826) and I Kings (1827) in the Mendelssohn translation, with his own commentary; wrote in German, translating some biblical books into German; and published works in Yiddish, including Reb Ḥanokh ve-Reb Yosefkhi, a satirical play replete with Haskalah didacticism. An earlier Hebrew version of this play, written in the 1790s, recently discovered, was published in 1955 (PAAJR, vol. 24, with notes). In 1995, a new transcription of Leichtsinn und Froemmelei. Ein Familiengemaelde in drei Aufzuegen appeared, edited by G. Och and J. Strauss, and following the Breslau edition of 1796.
Rejzen, Leksikon, 1 (1928), 904–10; idem. Fun Mendelssohn biz Mendele (1923), 25–68; Z. Zylbercweig, Leksikon fun Yidishn Teater, 1 (1931), 652–4.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.