Russian-born actor, stage director, and teacher, mostly in America. Ben-Ari, whose family name was Raikin, was born near Kiev (now in Ukraine). He took his father's last name as his first name and called himself Raikin Ben-Ari, or "Raikin, son of a lion." After training at a polytechnic school in the sciences, Ben-Ari became interested in theatre. He co-founded the famed Habima Theatre in Moscow, a Hebrew-language theatre, at a time when revolutionary Russia did not look kindly on Jewish-oriented activities. Read more... theatre. In the 1920s, Ben-Ari and the Habima company traveled to New York and produced "The Dybbuk" on Broadway. A schism formed in the company and some members went to Palestine, reestablishing Habima there, where it continues (now in Israel) to this day as the premiere Hebrew theatre company. Other members of the company, including Ben-Ari, remained in the United States. Ben-Ari founded the Pargod Theatre, the only Hebrew-language theatre in America. He subsequently taught acting in Erwin Piscator's theatre workshop at the New School for Social Research, where his students included Walter Matthau and Rod Steiger. Eventually, in 1948, Ben-Ari moved to California and established a workshop there and also appeared in film and television roles. Ben-Ari was appointed drama director of the Brandeis Institute in Simi Valley, California, where he taught for many years. He died of a heart attack while visiting his brother in Moscow on January 2, 1968. He was survived by his wife Anna ("Nussia") and daughter Renah.