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Encyclopedia > Yiddish theatre

Yiddish theatre consists of plays written and performed primarily by Jews in Yiddish, the language of the Eastern European Ashkenazaic Jewish community. The range of Yiddish theatre is broad: operetta, musical comedy, and satiric or nostalgic revues; melodrama; naturalist drama; expressionist and modernist plays. At its height, its geographical scope was comparably broad: from the late 19th century until just before World War II, professional Yiddish theatre could be found throughout the heavily Jewish areas of Eastern and East Central Europe, but also in Berlin, London, Paris, and, perhaps above all, New York City. Yiddish (ייִדיש, Jiddisch) is a Germanic language spoken by about four million Jews throughout the world. ... Ashkenazi (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי, Standard Hebrew Aškanazi, Tiberian Hebrew ʾAškănāzî) Jews or Ashkenazic Jews, also called Ashkenazim (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִים, Standard Hebrew Aškanazim, Tiberian Hebrew ʾAškănāzîm), are Jews who are descendants of Jews from Germany, Poland, Austria and Eastern Europe. ... Operetta (literally, little opera) is a performance art-form similar to opera, though it generally deals with less serious topics. ... Musical theater (or theatre) is a form of theater combining music, songs, dance, and spoken dialogue. ... Satire is a literary technique of writing or art which principally ridicules its subject (for example, individuals, organizations, or states) often as an intended means of provoking or preventing change. ... A revue is a theatrical entertainment based around music with dancing and sketches or skits either on contemporary news or the venue or base of the theatre company concerned, such as college or medical school. ... Poster for The Perils of Pauline (1914). ... -1... On White II by Wassily Kandinsky, 1923. ... Le Corbusiers Villa Savoye, 1929-30: The modern style is noted for its rigorous geometrical forms, and became adopted internationally, though not without continuing controversy Modernism in the cultural historical sense is generally defined as the new artistic and literary styles that emerged in the decades before 1914 as... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km into the air. ... Eastern Europe is, by convention, that part of Europe from the Ural and Caucasus mountains in the East to an arbitrarily chosen boundary in the West. ... Berlin (pronounced: , German ) is the capital of Germany and its largest city, with 3,426,000 inhabitants (as of January 2005); down from 4. ... London is the capital city of the United Kingdom and of England. ... The Eiffel Tower has become a symbol of Paris throughout the world. ... City nickname: The Big Apple Location in the state of New York Counties (Boroughs) Bronx (The Bronx) New York (Manhattan) Queens (Queens) Kings (Brooklyn) Richmond (Staten Island) Mayor Michael Bloomberg Area  - Land  - Water 1,214. ...


Yiddish theatre's roots include the often satiric plays traditionally performed during religious holiday of Purim (known as Purimspiels); other masquerades such as the Dance of Death; the singing of cantors in the synagogues; Jewish secular song and dramatic improvisation; exposure to the theater traditions of various European countries; and the Jewish literary culture that had grown in the wake of the Jewish enlightenment (Haskalah). Satire is a literary technique of writing or art which principally ridicules its subject (for example, individuals, organizations, or states) often as an intended means of provoking or preventing change. ... Purim (פּוּרִים Lots, Standard Hebrew Purim, Tiberian Hebrew Pûrîm: plural of פּוּר pûr Lot, from Akkadian pūru) is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Persian Jews from the plot of the evil Haman to exterminate them, as recorded in the biblical Book of Esther. ... The word masquerade has a number of meanings: A masquerade ball is a ball, dance, or party; in which, participants wear elaborate costumes and hide their true identity. ... From The Dance of Death by Hans Holbein La Danse Macabre, also called Dance of death, La Danza Macabra, or Totentanz, is a late-medieval allegory on the universality of death: no matter ones station in life, the dance of death united all. ... The word Cantor can mean more than one thing: Cantor is another name for a Hazzan, a member of the Jewish clergy Cantor is the title of a member of a student society who is the main singer at a cantus Famous people named Cantor include: Eddie Cantor, singer & entertainer... A synagogue (from Greek συναγωγη, transliterated sunagoge, place of assembly literally meeting, assembly) is a Jewish house of prayer and study. ... Secularism means: in philosophy, the belief that life can be best lived by applying ethics, and the universe best understood, by processes of reasoning, without reference to a god or gods or other supernatural concepts. ... This article incorporates text from the public domain 1901-1906 Jewish Encyclopedia Haskalah (from the Hebrew word sekhel, meaning intellect) was the movement among European Jews in the late 18th century that advocated adopting enlightenment values, pressing for better integration into European society, and increasing secular knowledge, Hebrew language, and...


Israil Bercovici wrote that it is through Yiddish theatre that "Jewish culture entered in dialogue with the outside world", both by putting itself on display and by importing theatrical pieces from other cultures. [Bercovici, 1998, 103] Israil (Israel) Bercovici (1921–1988) served the State Jewish Theater of Romania as a dramaturg, playwright, director, and historian from 1955 to 1982; he also wrote Yiddish-language poetry. ...

Contents

Precursors and early influences

Noah Prilutski (1882–1941) noted that Yiddish theatre did not arise simultaneously with theatre in other European "national" languages; he conjectured that this was at least in part because the Jewish sense of nationality favored Hebrew over Yiddish as a "national" language, but few Jews of the period were actually comfortable using Hebrew outside of a religious/liturgical context. [Bercovici, 1998, 18] Nonetheless, the culture of the Eastern European Jews was permeated with music, song, and dance. These elements were to figure prominently in the Yiddish theater. The Modern Hebrew language is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family. ...


As with Ancient Greek drama, many elements of Yiddish theatre arose as an artistic refinement of religious practice. In a Jewish context, unlike a Christian context, psalms to the glory of God were almost always sung rather than spoken. Religious services involved what was known in Hebrew as menatseach, essentially call-and-response. Traditional dances were associated with certain holidays, such as Sukkot, but above all there were the Purim plays. [Bercovici, 1998, 18-19] Greek theatre or Greek Drama came into its own between 600 and 200 BC in the ancient city of Athens. ... The term Christian means belonging to Christ and is derived from the Greek noun Χριστός Khristós which means anointed one, which is itself a translation of the Hebrew word Moshiach (Hebrew: משיח, also written Messiah), (and in Arabic it is pronounced Maseeh مسيح). ... Psalms (Tehilim תהילים, in Hebrew) is a book of the Hebrew Bible or Tanakh, and of the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. ... The term God is used to designate a Supreme Being, however, there are countless definitions of God. ... Sukkot (סוכות or סֻכּוֹת sukkōt, booths) or Succoth is an 8-day Biblical pilgrimage festival, also known as the Feast of Booths, the Feast of Tabernacles, or Tabernacles. ...


Often satiric and topical, Purim players were traditionally performed in the courtyard of the synagogue, because they were considered too profane to be performed inside the building. These made heavy use of masks and other theatrical devices; the masquerade (and the singing and dancing) generally extended to the whole congregation, not just a small set of players. While many Purim plays told the story in the Book of Esther commemorated by the Purim holiday, others used other stories from Jewish scripture, such as the story of Joseph sold by his brothers or the sacrifice of Isaac. Over time, these well-known stories became less a subject matter than a pretext for topical and satiric theatre. Mordechai became a standard role for a clown. [Bercovici, 1998, 24, 27] A synagogue (from Greek συναγωγη, transliterated sunagoge, place of assembly literally meeting, assembly) is a Jewish house of prayer and study. ... Masks in a Guatemalan Market Teen reading a book, while wearing a dinosaur mask A mask is a piece of material or kit worn on the face. ... The word masquerade has a number of meanings: A masquerade ball is a ball, dance, or party; in which, participants wear elaborate costumes and hide their true identity. ... The Book of Esther is a book of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) and of the Old Testament. ... Joseph, in the Hebrew Bible (Christian Old Testament) appears in the Book of Genesis. ... Isaac or Yitzhak (יִצְחָק He will laugh. ... Mordecai or Mordechai (מָרְדֳּכַי, Standard Hebrew Mordoḫay, Tiberian Hebrew Mordŏḵay: Persian origin Contrition) - the son of Jair, of the tribe of Benjamin. ... A clown participating in a Memorial Day parade A clown today is one of various types of comedic performers, on stage, television, in the circus and rodeo. ...


Purim plays were published as early as the early 18th century. At least eight Purim plays were published between 1708 and 1720; most of these do not survive (at least some were burned in autos da fe), but one survives in the Jüdische Merkwürdigkeiten (1714), a collection by Johann Jakob Schudt (1664–1722). [Bercovici, 1998, 26, 28] (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. ... Events March 23 - James Francis Edward Stuart lands at the Firth of Forth September 28 - Peter the Great defeats the Swedes at the Battle of Lesnaya Kandahar conquered by Mir Wais In Masuria one third of the population die during the plague J.S. Bach appointed as chamber musician and... Events January 6 - The Committee of Inquiry on the South Sea Bubble publishes its findings February 11 - Sweden and Prussia sign the (2nd Treaty of Stockholm) declaring peace. ... Pedro Berruguete. ... Events August 1 - George, elector of Hanover becomes King George I of Great Britain. ...


Another similar current in Jewish culture was a tradition of masked dancers performing after weddings. The most elaborate form of this was the Dance of Death, a pageant depicting all layers of a society, which had originated among Sephardic Jews in Spain in the 14th century and had spread through Europe among both Jews and Gentiles. 16th century Italian Jews had taken music and dance to an even more refined level of art: at that time in Italy there were Jewish virtuosi and dancing masters in Mantua, Ferrara, and Rome, and the first known troupes of Jewish performers in Europe. Less refined versions of the same also occurred in 18th century Germany. [Bercovici, 1998, 25, 27] From The Dance of Death by Hans Holbein La Danse Macabre, also called Dance of death, La Danza Macabra, or Totentanz, is a late-medieval allegory on the universality of death: no matter ones station in life, the dance of death united all. ... In the strictest sense, a Sephardi (ספרדי, Standard Hebrew Səfardi, Tiberian Hebrew Səp̄ardî; plural Sephardim: ספרדים, Standard Hebrew Səfardim, Tiberian Hebrew Səp̄ardîm) is a Jew original to the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal: ספרד, Standard Hebrew Səfárad, Tiberian Hebrew Səp̄áraḏ / Səp̄āraḏ), or whose ancestors were among the Jews expelled from... (13th century - 14th century - 15th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 14th century was that century which lasted from 1301 to 1400. ... World map showing location of Europe A satellite composite image of Europe Europe is geologically and geographically a peninsula, forming the westernmost part of Eurasia. ... (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ... Mantua (in Italian Mantova) is a city in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the province with the same name. ... Ferrara, a town, an archiepiscopal see and a province in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. ... Location within Italy The Roman Colosseum Rome (Italian and Latin: Roma) is the capital city of Italy and of its Latium region. ... (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. ...


Additionally, there was a rich tradition of dialogues in the Jewish poetry known as Tahkemoni, dating back at least to Yehuda al-Harizi in 12th century Spain. Al-Harizi's work contained dialogues between believer and heretic, man and wife, day and night, land and ocean, wisdom and foolishness, avarice and generosity. Such dialogues figured prominently in early Yiddish theater. [Bercovici, 1998, 23] (11th century - 12th century - 13th century - other centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 12th century was that century which lasted from 1101 to 1200. ...


The origin of theatre in Christian societies in Europe is often traced to Passion Plays and other religious pageants, similar in some ways to the Purim plays. In the Middle Ages, few Jews would have seen these: they were often performed in the courtyards of Christian churches (few of which were near the Jewish ghettos), on Christian holidays, and they often had significant antisemitic elements in their plots and dialogue. However, in later times, the Romanian Orthodox Christmas tradition of Irozii — minstrel shows centered around the figure of Herod (Rom: Irod), which were the origin of Romanian-language theater — definitely influenced Purim plays and vice versa. The term Christian means belonging to Christ and is derived from the Greek noun Χριστός Khristós which means anointed one, which is itself a translation of the Hebrew word Moshiach (Hebrew: משיח, also written Messiah), (and in Arabic it is pronounced Maseeh مسيح). ... A Passion play is a dramatic presentation depicting the suffering and death of Jesus. ... The Middle Ages formed the middle period in a traditional schematic division of European history into three ages: the classical civilization of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and modern times, beginning with the Renaissance. ... The Eternal Jew: 1937 German poster Anti-Semitism (alternatively spelled antisemitism) is hostility towards or prejudice against Jews (not, in common usage, Semites in general — see the Scope section below). ... ... Christmas (literally, the Mass of Christ) is a holiday in the Christian calendar, usually observed on December 25, which celebrates the birth of Jesus. ... This is an article about a precursor to Romanian popular theater. ... Herod I, also known as Herod the Great was an ancient king of Judaea. ...


Jews had far more exposure to secular European theater once that developed. Meistersinger Hans Sachs' many plays on Old Testament topics were widely admired by the Jews of the German ghettos, and from the 16th century through the 18th, the biblical story of Esther was the most popular theatrical theme in Christian Europe, often under the Latin name Acta Ahasuerus. [Bercovici, 1998, 25-26, 47] A Meistersinger (German for master-singer) was a German lyric poet of the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries, who carried on and developed the traditions of the medieval Minnesingers. ... Hans Sachs (September 5, 1494 - January 19, 1576) was a German meistersinger (mastersinger), poet, playwright and shoemaker. ... Latin was the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... Xerxes I (خشایارشاه), was a Persian king (reigned 485 - 465 BC) of the Achaemenid dynasty. ...


The first rumblings

Although professional Yiddish theatre is generally dated from 1876, there are earlier claimants to the title. 1876 is a leap year starting on Saturday. ...


Although there was briefly some professional Yiddish-language theatre in and around Warsaw in the 1830s, it left no immediate heirs. There is a contemporaneous record of there being 19 amateur Yiddish-language theatrical troupes in and around Warsaw at that time, and of one professional company performing, with a large and receptive audience of both Jews and Gentiles, a five-act drama about Moses, written by A. Schertspierer of Vienna, with "well-drawn characters and good dramatic situations and language". The same report indicates that a play about Esther, written in Hebrew, was rejected by this same company on the basis that Hebrew would be incomprehensible to most of its audience. According to the same account, the theatre had a military general as a "protector", suggestive of why such theatre did not long prosper. [Bercovici, 1998, 30] Warsaw (Polish: Warszawa, see also other names, in full The Capital City of Warsaw, Polish: Miasto Stołeczne Warszawa) is the capital of Poland and its largest city. ... Events and Trends Dutch-speaking farmers known as Voortrekkers emigrate northwards from the Cape Colony. ... Moses or Móshe (מֹשֶׁה, Standard Hebrew Móše, Tiberian Hebrew Mōšeh, Arabic موسى), son of Amram and his wife, Jochebed, a Levite. ... Vienna (German: Wien [viːn]) is the capital of Austria, and also one of Austrias nine federal states (Bundesland Wien). ...


Around the same time, there are indications of a traveling Yiddish-language theatre troupe in Galicia, organized along the lines of an English or Italian theatre troupe. [Bercovici, 1998, 29] The Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, or simply Galicia, was the largest and northernmost province of Austria from 1772 until 1918, with Lemberg (Lwów, Lviv) as its capital city. ... Royal motto: Dieu et mon droit (French: God and my right) Englands location within the UK Official language English de facto Capital London de facto Largest city London Area  - Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population  - Total (2001)  - Density Ranked 1st UK 49,138,831 377/km² Religion...


In 1854, two rabbinical students from Zhytomyr put on a play in Berdichev. Shortly afterward, the Ukrainian Jew Abraham Goldfaden, generally considered the founder of the first professional Yiddish theatre troupe, attended that same rabbinical school, and while there is known to have played (in 1862) a woman's role in a play, Serkele, by Dr. Shlomo (Shloyme) Ettingher. Shortly after that (1869, according to one source), Goldfaden wrote a dialogue Tzwei Shchenes (Two Neighbors), apparently intended for the stage, and published with moderate success. [Bercovici, 1998, 29], [Sandrow 2003, 9-10] [1] (http://www.4-wall.com/authors/authors_g/goldfaden_abraham.htm) 1854 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... See Semicha for article about ordination of rabbis. ... Zhytomyr (Ukrainian Житомир) is the capital of the Zhytomyrska oblast in Ukraine. ... Berdichev (Polish language: Berdyczów, Ukrainian language: Бердичів, Russian language: Бердичев) is a town in Zhytomyrska oblast, Ukraine, 44 km South of Zhytomyr. ... Abraham Goldfaden Abraham Goldfaden (July 24, 1840 – January 9, 1908), born Abraham Goldenfoden (first name alternately Avram, Avron, Avrohom, Avrom, or Avrum, last name alternately Goldfadn; the Romanian spelling Avram Goldfaden is common) was a Russian-born Jewish poet and playwright, author of some 40 plays. ...


Hersh Leib Sigheter (1844–1933) wrote satirical Purim plays on an annual basis and hired boys to play in them. Although often objected to by rabbis, these plays were popular, and were performed not only on Purim but for as much as a week afterwards in various locations. [Bercovici, 1998, 28] Hersh Leib Sigheter (1844–1933) was a Romanian Jew who, even before the advent of what is generally considered to be professional Yiddish theater, wrote satirical Yiddish-language Purim plays on an annual basis and hired boys to play in them. ...


Another current that led equally to professional Yiddish theatre was a tradition resembling that of the troubadors or Minnesänger, apparently growing out of the music associated with Jewish weddings, and often involving singers who also functioned as cantors in synagogues. The first records of the early Brodersänger or Broder singers are the remarks of Jews passing through Brody, which was on a major route of travel, generally disapproving of the singing of songs when no particular occasion called for music. The most famous of the singers from Brody was the itinerant Berl Margulis (1815–1868), known as Berl Broder, "Berl from Brody"; 24 of his 30 surviving songs are in the form of dialogues. Another influential performer in this style was Benjamin Wolf Ehrenkrantz (1826–1883), known as Velvel Zbarjer. Bercovici describes his work as "mini-melodramas in song". [2] (http://klezmer.hyperlink.cz/bylitu.htm) [Bercovici, 1998, 31-37] For the article about the night club in West Hollywood, California, see: Troubadour (nightclub). ... Minnesang was the tradition of lyric and song writing in Germany which flourished in the 12th century and continued into the 14th century. ... The word Cantor can mean more than one thing: Cantor is another name for a Hazzan, a member of the Jewish clergy Cantor is the title of a member of a student society who is the main singer at a cantus Famous people named Cantor include: Eddie Cantor, singer & entertainer... Brody (Ukrainian Броди, Yiddish בראָד Brod) is a town in the western part of Ukraine. ... Berl Broder (1815–1868), born Berl Margulis was a Ukrainian Jew, the most famous of the Broder singers, 19th century Jewish singers comparable to the troubadours or Minnesänger, and reputed the first to be both a singer and an actor. ... Velvel Zbarjer (1824–1884 1), birth name Benjamin Wolf Ehrenkrantz (a. ...


Such performers, who performed at weddings, in the salons of the wealthy, in the summer gardens, and in other secular gathering places of the Eastern European Jews, were not mere singers. They often used costumes and often improvised spoken material between songs, especially when working in groups. Israel Grodner, later Goldfaden's first actor, participated in an outdoor concert in Odessa in 1873 with dialogues between songs comparable to much of what was in Goldfaden's earliest plays. Goldfaden himself was already a noted poet, and many of his poems had been set to music and had become popular songs, some of which were used in that 1873 performance. [Bercovici, 1998, 31-37, 59] Israel (Yisrol) Grodner (ca. ... ODESSA (German for Organisation der ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen; The Organization of Former SS-Members) was an alleged Nazi fugitive network set up towards the end of World War II by a group of SS officers. ... 1873 was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ...


Finally, at the time Yiddish theatre first evolved, the Jews were among the most literate people in Europe and Yiddish was establishing itself as a literary language. Most educated Jews were comfortable in as three or four languages. Some Jews with secular interests were familiar with the dominant theatrical traditions of their respective countries, but, as the New Yorker Yiddishe Ilustrirte Tsaitung wrote in 1888, for most Jews prior to the advent of Yiddish theatre, "Books were our stages, their letters our actors." As a result of a strong literary intellectual culture, within a year or two of Goldfaden founding the first professional Yiddish theatre troupe, there were multiple troupes, multiple playwrights, and more than a few serious Yiddish theatre critics and theoreticians. [Bercovici, 1998, passim] 1888 is a leap year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar). ...


The early years

Abraham Goldfaden is generally considered the founder of the first professional Yiddish theatre troupe, which he founded in Iaşi, Romania and later moved to Bucharest; his own career also took him to Imperial Russia, Lvov, and New York City. Within two years of Goldfaden's founding of his troupe, there were several rival troupes in Bucharest, mostly founded by formen members of Goldfaden's troupe. Most of these troupes followed Goldfaden's original formula of musical vaudeville and light comedy, while Goldfaden himself turned more toward relatively serious operettas about biblical and historical subjects, especially after his own company left Bucharest for an extended tour of the cities of Imperial Russia. Iaşi. ... Bucharest (population 2. ... Imperial Russia is the term used to cover the period of Russian history from the expansion of Russia under Peter the Great, through the expansion of the Russian Empire from the Baltic to the Pacific Ocean, to the deposal of Nicholas II of Russia, the last tsar, at the start... Lviv ( Львів in Ukrainian; Львов, Lvov in Russian; Lwów in Polish; Leopolis in Latin; Lemberg in German—see also cities alternative names) is a city in western Ukraine with 830,000 inhabitants (an additional 200,000 commute daily from suburbs). ... City nickname: The Big Apple Location in the state of New York Counties (Boroughs) Bronx (The Bronx) New York (Manhattan) Queens (Queens) Kings (Brooklyn) Richmond (Staten Island) Mayor Michael Bloomberg Area  - Land  - Water 1,214. ... Vaudeville is a style of theater, also known as variety, which flourished in North America from the 1880s through the 1920s. ... Operetta (literally, little opera) is a performance art-form similar to opera, though it generally deals with less serious topics. ... Imperial Russia is the term used to cover the period of Russian history from the expansion of Russia under Peter the Great, through the expansion of the Russian Empire from the Baltic to the Pacific Ocean, to the deposal of Nicholas II of Russia, the last tsar, at the start...


Goldfaden's troupe began as all-male; while they soon acquired actresses, as well, it remained relatively common in Yiddish theatre for female roles, especially comic roles, to be played by men. (Women also sometimes played men's roles: Molly Picon was a famous Shmendrick.) Many early Yiddish theatre pieces were constructed around a very standard set of roles: "a prima donna, a soubrette, a comic, a lover, a villain, a villainess (or "intriguer"), an older man and woman for character roles, and one or two more for spares as the plot might require", and a musical component that might range from a single fiddler to an orchestra. [Sandrow, 2003, 11] This was very convenient for a repertory company, especially a traveling one. Both at the start and well into the great years of Yiddish theater, the troupes were often in one or another degree family affairs, with a husband, wife, and often their offspring playing in the same troupe. Molly Picon Molly Picon (1 June 1898 – 5 April 1992) was a star of stage, screen and television. ... Shmendrik, oder Die komishe Chaseneh (Schmendrik or The Comical Wedding) is an 1887 comic operetta by Abraham Goldfaden, one of the earliest and most enduring pieces in Yiddish theater. ... Originally used in opera companies, prima donna is Italian for first lady. ... A soubrette is the stereotypically saucy and intriguing maidservent in early 20th century comic dramas or the actress that plays that part. ... Snidely Whiplash, a stereotypical villain. ...


At its high end, early Yiddish theatre was noted for its pageantry. A pageant about the coronation of Solomon, presented on the occasion of the 1881 coronation of Carol I of Romania was described by Ion Ghica as "among the most imposing things that paraded the coronation"; he acquired the costumes for the Romanian National Theater, which he headed at the time. [Bercovici, 1998, 73-74] Solomon or Shlomo (Hebrew: שְׁלֹמֹה; Standard Hebrew: Šəlomo; Tiberian Hebrew: Šəlōmōh, meaning peace) in the Tanakh (Old Testament), is the third king of Israel (including Judah), builder of the temple in Jerusalem, renowned for his great wisdom and wealth and power, but also blamed for falling away from worshipping the... 1881 was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Carol I, original name Karl Eitel Friedrich Zephyrinus Ludwig von Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (April 20, 1839 - October 10, 1914) was elected Domnitor (prince) of Romania in April 1866 following the overthrow of Alexander John Cuza, and proclaimed king on March 26, 1881. ... Ion Ghica (1817-1897) was a Romanian diplomat and a prime minister of Romania between 1866 and 1867 and also between 1870-1871. ...


One can get a sense of both the nature of early professional Yiddish theatre, and the directions it subsequently took, from these 1877 remarks by Moses Schwarzfeld: "If we write only comedies or if we only imitate German, Romanian and French pieces translated into Yiddish, all we will have is a secondary Jewish stage... just making people laugh and cry is an evil for us Jews in Romania" and calling for serious and "educational" Jewish theatre. [cited at Bercovici, 1998, 71-72] Goldfaden himself agreed with these sentiments; he later described his views at the time, writing "If I have arrived at having a stage, I want it to be a school for you... Laugh heartiyly if I amuse you with my jokes, while I, watching you, feel my heart crying. Then, brothers, I'll give you a drama, a tragedy drawn from life, and you shall also cry — while my heart shall be glad." [cited at Bercovici, 1998, 68]


B. Nathansohn, correspondent of the Warsaw-based Jewish newspaper Hamelitz visited Romania in the summer of 1878 and wrote, "When a Jew enters a Yiddish theatre in Bucharest he is thunderstruck hearing the Yiddish language in all its splendor and radiance," and called upon Goldfaden to create similar theatres in Warsaw, Lublin, Vilna, Berdichev, and Balta. [cited at Bercovici, 1998, 72] Warsaw (Polish: Warszawa, see also other names, in full The Capital City of Warsaw, Polish: Miasto Stołeczne Warszawa) is the capital of Poland and its largest city. ... Lublin (pronounce: [lublin]) is the biggest city in eastern Poland and the capital of Lublin Voivodship with a population of 355,954 (2004). ... Vilnius Old Town Vilnius (sometimes Vilna; Polish Wilno, Belarusian Вільня, Russian Вильнюс, see also Cities alternative names) is the capital city of Lithuania. ... Balta is an uninhabited island in Shetland, Scotland, lying east of Unst and the Balta Sound. ...


While Yiddish theatre was an immediate hit with the broad masses of Jews, was generally liked and admired by Jewish intellectuals and many Gentile intellectuals, a small but socially powerful portion of the Jewish community, centered among Orthodox and Hasidic Jews remained opposed to it. Besides complaints about the mingling of men and women in public and about the use of music and dance outside of sacred contexts, the two main criticisms from this quarter were (1) that the Yiddish "jargon" was being promoted to the detriment of "proper" Hebrew and (2) that satire against Hasidim and others would not necessarily understood as satire and would make Jews look ridiculuous. Bercovici quotes an anonymous 1885 article as responding to these criticisms by saying (1) that all Jews speak some modern language and why should Yiddish be any more detrimental to Hebrew than Romanian, Russian, or German, and (2) that the Gentiles who would come to Yiddish theatre would not be the antisemites, they would be those who already knew and liked Jews, and that they would recognize satire for what it was, adding that these criticisms were "nothing" when weighed against the education that Yiddish theatre was bringing to the lower classes. [Bercovici, 1998, 82-83] Orthodox Judaism is one of the three major branches of Judaism. ... Hasidic Judaism (Hebrew: Chasidut חסידות) is a Haredi Jewish religious movement. ...


Writing of Sigmund Mogulesko's troupe in Romania in 1884, and probably referring to the plays of Moses Horowitz and Joseph Lateiner, Dr. Moses Gaster, wrote that Yiddish theatre "represents scenes from our history known by only a tiny minority, refreshing, therefore, secular memory" and "shows us our defects, which we have like all men, but not with a tendency to strike at our own immorality with a tendency towards ill will, but only with an ironic spirit that does not wound us, as we are wounded by representations on other stages, where the Jew plays a degrading role." [Bercovici, 1998, 79] Sigmund Mogulesko (December 16, 1858 – February 4, 1914) — Yiddish: מאָגולסקאָ, זעליג, first name also sometimes given as Zigmund, Siegmund, Zelig, or Selig, last name sometimes spelled Mogulescu — was a singer, actor, and composer in the Yiddish theater, originally from Zlata Pole/Zlatapolia or Kalarash/Kaloraush, Bessarabia. ... Moses Ha-Levi Horowitz (1844–March 4, 1910), a. ... Joseph Lateiner was a playwright in the early years of Yiddish theater, first in Bucharest, Romania and later in New York City, where he was a co-founder in 1903 with Sophia Karp of the Grand Theater, New Yorks first purpose-built Yiddish language theater building. ...


The Russian era

If Yiddish theatre was born in Romania, its youth occurred largely in Imperial Russia, largely in what is now Ukraine. Israel Rosenberg's troupe (which later had a series of managers, including Goldfaden's brother Tulya, and which at one point split in two, with one half led by actor Jacob Adler) gave Russia's first professional Yiddish theater performance in Odessa in 1878. Goldfaden himself soon came to Odessa, pushing Rosenberg's troupe into the provinces, and Osip Mikhailovich Lerner and N.M. Sheikevitch also founded a Yiddish theatre at Odessa, which for several years became the capital of Yiddish theatre. [Adler, 1999, passim] Israel (Yisrol) Rosenberg (ca. ... Categories: People stubs | Jewish film and theatre | 1855 births | 1926 deaths ... ODESSA (German for Organisation der ehemaligen SS-Angehörigen; The Organization of Former SS-Members) was an alleged Nazi fugitive network set up towards the end of World War II by a group of SS officers. ... 1878 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Osip Mikhailovich Lerner was a 19th century Russian Jewish intellectual and lawyer. ... N.M. Sheikevitch was a Yiddish novelist and, beginning around 1880, a playwright in Yiddish theater in Odessa, Ukraine. ...


With the more sophisticated audience — many Russian Jews were regular attendees of Russian-language theatre, and Odessa was a first-rate theatre city — serious melodramatic operettas, and even straight plays, took their place among the lighter vaudevilles and comedies. All three major troupes did their own productions of Karl Gutzkow's Uriel Acosta (Goldfaden's was an operetta). What seemed, for a time, a boundless future in Russia was cut short by the anti-Jewish reaction following the assassination of Tsar Alexander II; Yiddish theatre was banned, under an order effective September 14, 1883. [Adler, 1999, 221, 222, passim] Karl Ferdinand Gutzkow (17 March 1811 - 16 December 1878) was a German writer notable in the Young Germany movement of the mid-19th century. ... Uriel Acosta (1585–1640) was a philosopher from Portugal. ... Alexander II (1818-1881) Alexander (Aleksandr) II (Russian: Александр II Николаевич) (April 17, 1818–March 13, 1881) was the Emperor (tsar) of Russia from March 2, 1855 until his assassination. ... September 14 is the 257th day of the year (258th in leap years). ... 1883 was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ...


Looking back on this period, although acknowledging certain of Goldfaden's plays from this era as "masterpieces", Jacob Adler saw this as a period of relative mediocrity compared to what came later. "For three years I... wandered in the cave of the Witch and the motley of Shmendrick and what did I really know of my trade?" he describes himself as thinking in 1883. "If someday I return to Yiddish theater let me at least not be so ignorant." [Adler, 1999, 218]


London

Of the next era of Yiddish theatre, Adler wrote, "...if Yiddish theater was destined to go through its infancy in Russia, and in America grew to manhood and success, then London was its school." [Adler, 1999, 256] In London in the 1880s, playing in small theater clubs "on a stage the size of a cadaver" [Adler, 1999, 248], not daring to play on a Friday night or to light a fire on stage on a Saturday afternoon (both because of the Jewish Sabbath), forced to use a cardboard ram's horn when playing Uriel Acosta so as not to blaspheme [Adler, 1999, 257], Yiddish theatre nonetheless took on much of what was best in European theatrical tradition. Events and Trends Technology Development and commercial production of electric lighting Development and commercial production of gasoline-powered automobile by Karl Benz, Gottlieb Daimler and Maybach First commercial production and sales of phonographs and phonograph recordings. ... For the observance of a seventh day of rest in religions other than Judaism see Sabbath. ... Shofar (by Alphonse Lévy) A shofar is a rams horn that is used as a musical instrument for religious purposes. ... Uriel Acosta (1585–1640) was a philosopher from Portugal. ... Blasphemy is the defamation of the name of God or the gods, and by extension any display of gross irreverence towards any person or thing deemed worthy of exalted esteem. ...


In this period, the plays of Schiller first entered the repertoire of Yiddish theater, beginning with The Robbers, the start of a vogue that would last a quarter of a century. Adler records that, like Shakespeare, Schiller was "revered" by the broad Jewish public, not just by intellectuals, admired for his "almost socialist view of society", although his plays were often radically adapted for the Yiddish stage, shortening them and dropping Christian, antisemitic, and classical mythological references [Adler, 1999, 276, 280-282] Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (November 10, 1759 - May 9, 1805), usually known as Friedrich Schiller, was a German poet, philosopher, historian, and dramatist. ... William Shakespeare—born April 1564; baptised April 26, 1564; died April 23, 1616 (O.S.), May 3, 1616 (N.S.)—has a reputation as the greatest of all writers in English. ... For information on mainstream political parties using the term Socialist, see Social democracy and Democratic socialism, For the governments of the USSR, the PRC, and others, see: Communist state, Other variants of Socialism include Marxism, Communism, and Libertarian Socialism. ... The Eternal Jew: 1937 German poster Anti-Semitism (alternatively spelled antisemitism) is hostility towards or prejudice against Jews (not, in common usage, Semites in general — see the Scope section below). ... Classical mythology usually refers to the religious legends and practices of classical antiquity: Greek mythology; Roman mythology; Greek religion; and Roman religion. ...


The heyday of Yiddish theater

The 1883 Russian ban (eventually lifted in 1904) effectively pushed Yiddish theatre to Western Europe and then to America; over the next few decades, successive waves of Yiddish-language performers would arrive in New York (and, to a lesser extent, in Berlin, London, Vienna, and Paris), some simply as artists seeking an audience, but many as a result of persecutions, pogroms and economic crises in Eastern Europe. Professional Yiddish theatre in London began in 1884, and flourished until the mid-1930s. By 1896, Kalman Juvilier's troupe was the only one remaining in Romania, where Yiddish theatre had started, although Mogulesko would spark a revival there in 1906. There was also some activity in Warsaw and Lvov, which were under Austrian rather than Russian rule. Western Europe is distinguished from Eastern Europe by differences of history and culture rather than by geography. ... Berlin (pronounced: , German ) is the capital of Germany and its largest city, with 3,426,000 inhabitants (as of January 2005); down from 4. ... London is the capital city of the United Kingdom and of England. ... Vienna (German: Wien [viːn]) is the capital of Austria, and also one of Austrias nine federal states (Bundesland Wien). ... The Russian word pogrom (погром) refers to a massive violent attack on people with simultaneous destruction of their environment (homes, businesses, religious centers). ... London is the capital city of the United Kingdom and of England. ... Warsaw (Polish: Warszawa, see also other names, in full The Capital City of Warsaw, Polish: Miasto Stołeczne Warszawa) is the capital of Poland and its largest city. ... Lviv ( Львів in Ukrainian; Львов, Lvov in Russian; Lwów in Polish; Leopolis in Latin; Lemberg in German—see also cities alternative names) is a city in western Ukraine with 830,000 inhabitants (an additional 200,000 commute daily from suburbs). ...


Between 1890 and 1940, there were over 200 Yiddish theaters or touring Yiddish theater troupes in the United States. At many times, a dozen Yiddish theatre groups existed in New York City alone, with a theater district centered on Second Avenue that often rivaled Broadway in scale and quality. At the time the U.S. entered World War I, there were 22 Yiddish theaters and 2 Yiddish vaudeville houses in New York City alone. [Adler, 1999, 370 (commentary)] Original plays, musicals, and even translations of Hamlet and Richard Wagner's operas were performed, both in the United States and Eastern Europe during this period. Note on spelling: While most Americans use er (as per American spelling conventions), the majority of venues, performers and trade groups for live theatre use re. ... Ypres, 1917, in the vicinity of the Battle of Passchendaele. ... Vaudeville is a style of theater, also known as variety, which flourished in North America from the 1880s through the 1920s. ... The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is a tragedy by William Shakespeare and one of his most well-known and oft-quoted plays. ... Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner (May 22, 1813 – February 13, 1883) was an influential German composer, music theorist, and essayist, primarily known for his groundbreaking symphonic-operas (or music dramas). His compositions are notable for their continuous contrapuntal texture, rich harmonies and orchestration, and elaborate use of leitmotifs: themes associated... This article is about opera as an art form. ...


Yiddish theatre is said to have two artistic golden ages, the first in the realistic plays produced in New York City in the late 1800s, and the second in the political and artistic plays written and performed in Russia and New York in the 1920s. Professional Yiddish theater in New York began in 1882 with a troupe founded by Boris Tomashefsky. At the time of Goldfaden's funeral in 1908, the New York Times wrote, "The dense Jewish population on the lower east side of Manhattan shows in its appreciation of its own humble Yiddish poetry and the drama much the same spirit that controlled the rough audiences of the Elizabethan theater. There, as in the London of the sixteenth century, is a veritable intellectual renascence." Categories: Manhattan neighborhoods | Stub ... Manhattan is an island bordering the lower Hudson River. ... Elizabethan redirects here. ... (15th century - 16th century - 17th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 16th century was that century which lasted from 1501 to 1600. ...


At the time of the opening of the Grand Theater in New York (1903), New York's first purpose-built Yiddish theater, the New York Times noted, "That the Yiddish population is composed of confirmed theatergoers has been evident for a long time, and for many years at least three theaters, which had served their day of uefulness for the English dramas, have been pressed into service, providing amusement for the people of the Ghetto." (For more on the Grand Theater, see Sophia Karp.) A ghetto is an area where people from a specific ethnic background or united in a given culture or religion live as a group, voluntarily or involuntarily, in milder or stricter seclusion. ... Sophia Karp (1861– March 31, 1904), born Sara Segal, a. ...


In fact, this was a tremendous understatement of what was going on in Yiddish theater at the time. Around the same time, Lincoln Steffens wrote that the theater being played at the time in Yiddish outshone what was being played in English. [Adler, 1999, 361 (commentary)] Yiddish New York theatergoers were familiar with the plays of Ibsen, Tolstoy, and even Shaw long before these works played on Broadway, and the high calibre of Yiddish language acting became clear as Yiddish actors began to cross over to Broadway, first with Jacob Adler's tour de force performance as Shylock in a 1903 production of The Merchant of Venice, but also with performers such as Bertha Kalich, who moved back and forth between the city's leading Yiddish-language and English-language stages. Lincoln Steffens Joseph Lincoln Steffens (April 6, 1866–August 9, 1936), American journalist, was one of the most famous and influential practitioners of the journalistic style called muckraking. ... Henrik Johan Ibsen (March 20, 1828–May 23, 1906) was an extremely influential Norwegian playwright who was largely responsible for the rise of the modern realistic drama. ... Leo Nikolayevitch Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Никола́евич Толсто́й) (September 9 (August 28, O.S.), 1828 - November 20 (November 7, O.S.), 1910) was a Russian novelist, reformer, and moral thinker, notable for his influence on Russian literature and politics. ... George Bernard Shaw (July 26, 1856 – November 2, 1950) was an Irish playwright and winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. ... Note on spelling: While most Americans use er (as per American spelling conventions), the majority of venues, performers and trade groups for live theatre use re. ... 1903 has the latest occurring solstices and equinoxes for 400 years, because the Gregorian calendar hasnt had a leap year for seven years or a century leap year since 1600. ... Shylock and Jessica by Maurycy Gottlieb (1856-1879) The Merchant of Venice is a famous comedy (note: at the time the play was written, comedy had a very different meaning; see Shakespearean comedies) by William Shakespeare, written at an uncertain date between 1594 and 1597. ... Bertha Kalich (May 17, 1874 – April 18, 1939) was a Jewish actress, born in Lemberg, Galicia (now Lviv, Ukraine), primarily known for her roles in Yiddish theater in New York City. ...


Some of the most important Yiddish playwrights of the first era included: Jacob Gordin (1853–1909), known for plays such as The Yiddish King Lear and for his translations and adapatations of Tolstoy, Solomon Libin (1872–1955), David Pinski (1872–1959), and Leon Kobrin (1872–1946). Jacob Gordin, circa 1895 Jacob Michailovitch Gordin (1853–1909) was a Ukrainian-born Russian Jewish playwright active in the early years of Yiddish theater. ... Poster for an 1898 production of The Yiddish King Lear starring Jacob Adler. ... Poster: the Federal Theatre presents Pinskis The Tailor Becomes a Storekeeper (Chicago, 1930s) David Pinski (1872–1959) was a Yiddish language writer, probably best known as a playwright. ... Leon Kobrin (18731–1946) was a playwright in Yiddish theater, writer of short stories and novels, and a translator. ...


This first golden age suffered a setback when the period from 1905 to 1908 brought half a million new Jewish immigrants to New York. Once again, as in the 1880s, the largest audience for Yiddish theater was for lighter fare. The Adlers and Keni Liptzin hung on doing classic theater, but Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky returned to the earlier style, making a fortune off of what the Adlers despised as shund ("trash") theater. Plays like Joseph Lateiner's The Jewish Heart succeeded at this time, while Gordin's late plays like Dementia Americana (1909) were initially commercial failures. It would be 1911 before the trend was reversed, with Adler commercially successful production of Tolstoy's The Living Corpse (also known as Redemption), translated into Yiddish by Kobrin. [Adler, 1999, 361-364, 367] Both the more and the less serious Yiddish theater persisted. As Lulla Rosenfeld writes, "Art and shund alike would find their audience." [Adler, 1999, 367 (commentary)] 1905 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... 1908 is a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Keni Liptzin (1863 (or earlier) – 1916), surname sometimes spelled Lipzin, was a star in the early years of Yiddish theater, probably the greatest female dramatic star of the first great era of Yiddish theater in New York City. ... Boris Thomashefsky was founder of the first Yiddish Theater troupe in New York City in 1882. ... Bessie Thomashefsky was a Jewish American singer and actress, a star in Yiddish theater beginning in the 1890s. ... Joseph Lateiner was a playwright in the early years of Yiddish theater, first in Bucharest, Romania and later in New York City, where he was a co-founder in 1903 with Sophia Karp of the Grand Theater, New Yorks first purpose-built Yiddish language theater building. ... The Living Corpse (original Russian title Живой труп [Zhivoi trup], also known in English as Redemption and as Reparation) is a play by Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910). ...


The Yiddish theater continued to have its ups and downs. In 1918, Isaac Goldberg could look around himself and, reasonably write that, "…the Yiddish stage, despite the fact that it has produced its greatest dramatists only yesterday"… is already, despite its financial successes, next door to extinction." [Goldberg, 1918, 685] As it happens, it was on the dawn of a second era of greatness: a 1925 New York Times article asserts that "...the Yiddish theater has been thoroughly Americanized... it is now a stable American institution and no longer dependent on immigration from Eastern Europe. People who can neither speak nor write Yiddish attend Yiddish stage performances and pay Broadway prices on Second Avenue." This is attributed to the fact that Yiddish theatre is "only one of... [the] expressions" of a New York Jewish cultural life "in full flower". [Melamed, 1925]


Two of the most famous plays of this second golden era were The Dybbuk (1919), by S. Ansky, considered a revolutionary play in both Yiddish and mainstream theatre, and The Golem by H. Leivick (1888–1962). For information on the creature from Jewish folklore, see dybbuk. ... Shloyme Zanvl Rappoport (1863–1920), better known by the pseudonym S. Ansky, was a scholar who documented Jewish folklore and mystical beliefs. ... The Golem (original Yiddish title Der Golem) is a 1921 dramatic poem in eight scenes by H. Leivick. ... H. Leivick (pen name of Leivick Halper, December 1888–December 23, 1962) was a Yiddish language writer, known for his 1921 dramatic poem in eight scenes The Golem. ...


Several of America's most influential 20th century acting teachers, such as Stella Adler (daughter of Jacob and Sara Adler) and Lee Strasberg, had their first tastes of theatre in Yiddish. Though some of the methods developed by them and other members of the Group Theatre were reactions to the often melodramatic and larger-than-life style of Yiddish theatre, this style nonetheless informed their theories and left its stamp on them. Yiddish theatre was also highly influential on what is still known as Jewish humor. Stella Adler (February 10, 1901 – December 21, 1992) was an American actress, and for decades was regarded as Americas foremost acting teacher. ... Sara Adler (1858–April 28, 1953) was a Ukrainian Jewish actress in Yiddish theater who made her career mainly in the United States. ... Lee Strasberg (November 17, 1901–February 17, 1982) was an actor and acting teacher, born in Budanov(near Chortkiv or Buchach), Galicia, Austria-Hungary to Ida and Baruch Meyer Strasberg. ... Method acting is the endeavour to apply natural rules and laws to the theatre and film acting which can aid an actor with the process of playing a role. ... The Group Theatre was a left-wing theater collective, formed in New York in 1931 by Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford and Lee Strasberg. ... Jewish humour is a style of humour that involves anecdotal humour rather than topical humour. ...


The effect of the Holocaust

Like the rest of Yiddish-language culture, Yiddish theatre was devastated by the Holocaust. A major portion of the world's Yiddish-speakers were killed and many theatres were destroyed. Many of the surviving Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi emigrated to Israel, where many assimilated into the emerging Hebrew-language culture. Concentration camp inmates during the Holocaust The Holocaust was Nazi Germanys systematic genocide (ethnic cleansing) of various ethnic, religious, national, and secular groups during World War II, starting in 1941 and continuing through 1945. ... Ashkenazi (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִי, Standard Hebrew Aškanazi, Tiberian Hebrew ʾAškănāzî) Jews or Ashkenazic Jews, also called Ashkenazim (אַשְׁכֲּנָזִים, Standard Hebrew Aškanazim, Tiberian Hebrew ʾAškănāzîm), are Jews who are descendants of Jews from Germany, Poland, Austria and Eastern Europe. ... The Modern Hebrew language is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family. ...


Although its glory days have passed, Yiddish theatre companies still perform in various Jewish communities. The Folksbiene (People's Theatre) company in New York City is still active 90 years after it was founded. The State Jewish Theater in Bucharest, Romania also continues to perform some plays in Yiddish, with simultaneous translation into Romanian. Although Yiddish theater never truly caught on in the state of Israel, the Yiddishpiel Theatre company (founded in 1987) is still producing and performing new plays in Tel-Aviv. Teatrul Evreiesc de Stat (TES, the State Jewish Theater) in Bucharest, Romania is a theater specializing in Jewish-related plays. ...


External links

  • Overview (http://www.bergen.org/AAST/Projects/Yiddish/English/theater.html) of Yiddish theater.
  • Yiddish Theater in America (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/Yiddish.html)
  • Yiddishpiel (http://www.yiddishpiel.co.il/eng_start.htm) Theatre in Tel-Aviv
  • Folksbiene (http://www.folksbiene.org/legacy.htm)
  • In London (http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/whatson/exhibitions/y3.asp)
  • Jewish Theater under Stalinism: Moscow State Jewish Theater (http://www.idc.nl/referer.php?id=466.htm)

References

  • —, "Actors Own New Theater", New York Times, February 8, 1903, 32. This article also reviews a production of Lateiner's melodrama Zion, or on the Rivers of Babylon at the Grand Theater, and gives a quick survey of the history and character of Yiddish theater and its audience in New York at that time.
  • —, "Burial of a Yiddish Poet", New York Times, January 12, 1908, 8.
  • —, Partial list of plays by Goldfaden (http://www.4-wall.com/authors/authors_g/goldfaden_abraham.htm); the names are useful, but some of the dates are certainly incorrect. Retrieved January 11, 2005.
  • Adler, Jacob, A Life on the Stage: A Memoir, translated and with commentary by Lulla Rosenfeld, Knopf, New York, 1999, ISBN 067941351.
  • Bercovici, Israil, O sută de ani de teatru evreiesc în România ("One hundred years of Yiddish/Jewish theater in Romania"), 2nd Romanian-language edition, revised and augmented by Constantin Măciucă. Editura Integral (an imprint of Editurile Universala), Bucharest (1998). ISBN 9739827225. See the article on the author for further publication information. Bercovici cites many sources. The information on profesional Yiddish theater in 1840s Warsaw comes from a contemporaneous account published in the Allgemeine Preussische Staatszeitung, Nr. 341, 6.XII.1838, apparently recounting an article that appeared November 12, 1838 in a Frankfurt am Main paper. The quotation from the New Yorker Yiddishe Ilustrirte Zaitung is dated January 11, 1888.
  • Berkowitz, Joel, Avrom Goldfaden and the Modern Yiddish Theater: The Bard of Old Constantine (http://yiddishbookcenter.org/pdf/pt/44/PT44_goldfaden.pdf), Pakn Treger, no. 44, Winter 2004, 10-19, gives a good sketch of Goldfaden's career, but also discusses 20th century approaches to the Goldfadenian repertoire.
  • Chira, Susan, "100 Years of Yiddish Theater Celebrated", New York Times, October 15, 1982, C28.
  • Goldberg, Isaac, " New York's Yiddish Writers (http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/toccer-new2?id=GolNewy.sgm&images=images/modeng&data=/texts/english/modeng/parsed&tag=public&part=all)" in The Bookman, volume 46 (684-689), Dodd, Mead & Company, New York, 1918.
  • Kanfer, Stefan, "The Yiddish Theater’s Triumph" (http://www.manhattan-institute.org/cfml/printable.cfm?id=1339). City Journal, Spring 2004.
  • Melamed, S.M., "The Yiddish Stage", New York Times, Sep 27, 1925 (X2)
  • Sandrow, Nahma, "The Father of Yiddish Theater", Zamir, Autumn 2003 (http://www.zamir.org/Notes/2003f.pdf), 9-15. This publication from the Zamir chorale of Boston contains numerous articles on topics related to Yiddish theatre.

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