Rose Shomer Bachelis
Born on 12 February 1882 in
Odessa, Ukraine, the daughter of the well-known Yiddish
novelist and dramaturg Shomer. She arrived with her
family to her father in America in 1891. She graduated
from public school, high school and completed the
Eastman Business College in bookkeeping, stenography and
typewriting. She worked in commercial enterprises for
the director of the newly found "Hebrew Educational
Society" in Brownsville, New York.
In 1906 she joined as a
social activist ("social worker") in the philanthropic
society "The United Hebrew Charities," where she worked
until 1920, at the same time taking part in other social
actions. In 1914 she helped organize and was "chairman"
of the "Red Mogen Dovid." In 1915 she organized "The
Women's Jewish Congress Organization," and thanks to
that there was handed to the congress ten women
(including Sh.) for New York . She was also the founder
and manager of the "Yiddish Publicity Bureau" in New
Even in her early youth Sh.
had manifested a desire for theatre. It was not only
that her mother had brought from Pinsk a
large box of theatre costumes to her father's theatre;
she had the children (Rose, Miriam and Anna) play in
home "theatre." They especially used to play "Shulamis""
Miriam as "Shulamis," Anna as "Absalom," and the other
roles, such as Mnukh, Abigail, Tsingitang et al -- Rose,
who also was the chorus, prompter, regisseur and
In 1920 she wrote, together
with her sister Miriam Shomer Zunser, the drama "Eyne
fun folk," which on 26 September 1921 was staged under
the direction of Osip Dymov in the Irving Place Theatre
with the following personnel:
Dr. David Brener
First child.... [Frances] Weintraub
Second child.... Miss Gendler
The play, which
Bertha Kalich had reworked for the Yiddish stage,
after a long interruption, had great success and
remained year-long in the repertoire of Bertha
Kalich (later in a revival production by Izidor
In 1925 there was
staged in Philadelphia's Garden Theatre Sh.'s and
her sister Miriam's play, "Di makht fun gezets (The
Power of Law [?]," [originally "In di hent fun
gezets"] with Samuel Goldenburg and Celia Adler in
the main roles. The play also was soon brought over
by them to New York, where in March 1925 it was
staged in the Prospect Theatre (with the
participation of Yudel Dubinsky, Lucy Levin and
On 15 September 1928
at the Second Avenue Theatre, there was staged under
the direction of Jacob Kalich, music by Joseph
Rumshinsky, Sh.'s and her sister Miriam's operetta,
"Dos tsirkus meydl (The Circus Girl)" (originally
called "Ver iz di meyl"), with Molly Picon in the
title role, and with the participation of Sam Kestin,
Betty Simonoff, Gertrude Bulman and Irving Grossman.
The operetta played for sixteen weeks for packed
houses, and was also staged in Argentinean Yiddish
theatre when Molly Picon guest-starred.
On 6 December 1930
there was staged through Ludwig Satz Sh.'s and her
sister Miriam's operetta, "Der zingendiker gonev
(The Singing Thief)," but, as Sh. recalls, the play
did not have any luck, because "Ludwig Satz, who had
bought it, had it so tsekalyetshet with the
changes, which he had made, that for more than a
week they hadn't performed it. For me, this cooled
my desire to write for Yiddish theatre." But she
finished her father's play, "Der zindiker rebbe,"
under the name "Dos kul fun gevisn," and composed a
drama in three acts, "Vayb, oder mame," and
(together with her sister Miriam) a musical comedy,
"Der apashe-tants (The Apache Dance [?])," or, the "Libes-tants."
She settled in Los
Angeles, California, where she organized the local
department of the "Maliam (sp)" (details can be
found in the book "Vi ikh hob zay gekent," pp.
49-53), the organization to help create and
disseminate Yiddish music, and in the span of the
eight years she existed there as president.
Sh. had from time to
time, in the local Yiddish and Yiddish-English
press, in "Tog" and in "Yiddish Culture," written
articles about her father, about her brother and
sister and about large Yiddish personalities, with
whom she came into contact with. A part of these
works she later had used for her book, "Undzer foter
Shomer," which she as published in 1950 in the "Ikuf"
Publishing house (New York, 251 pp.), and in which
for the first time her sister Miriam wrote. The book
also contains a series of assessments and reviews
about Shomer from well-known Yiddish writers. In
1953 the book, in the Hebrew translation by Aaron
Vaysman, with an introduction by Dov Sdn and Sh.,
was published under the name "Avinu Shomer" in the "Aḥiʾasaf"
publishing house in Jerusalem, published with the
assistance of Madam Rose Shomer Bachelis."
In 1955 in Los Angeles
Sh. published her book "Ṿi ikh hob zey geḳenṭ,
[portraits] of well-known Yiddish personalities"
(154 pp.), in which there were included in her
memories and episodes about: Morris Rozenfeld, A. M.
Sharkansky, Shlomo Shmuelwitz, Naftali Hertz Imber,
Avraham Friedus, Elikum Zunzer, Avraham Goldfaden,
Rose Pastor Stokes, Henrietta Szold, Solomon
Blumgarten-Yehoshua, Berta Kalich, Peretz Hirshbein
and Barney (Baruch) Bachelis. She performed from
time to time with presentations about her father,
Avraham Goldfaden and about Yiddish music.
Sh. is married to Samuel
(Shmuel) Bachelis, a brother of the deceased writer
Barney Bachelis, author of the book, "Mentshn fun
mayn dor" (Los Angeles, 1953). Her brother Avraham
and sister Miriam were associated with Yiddish
theatre. Sh.'s sister Anna Shomer-Rotenberg, an
interpreter of Yiddish songs, has published a
book of Yiddish folk songs (Bloch Publishing
Company, New York, 1928, 89 pp.; "Songs Heard in
Palestine"), and also wrote a play "Amol iz geven a
mesh," built on Yiddish folk songs.
Zalmen Reyzen --
"Lexicon of Yiddish Literature," Vol. IV, p.
B. Gorin --
"History of Yiddish Theatre," Vol. II, p. 282.
Adlin-Trommer -- A yidish-englishe star vos libt
di idishe bine ambestn, "Der tog," N. Y., 2
Ab. Cahan --
Madam kalish in a piese geshribn fun tsvey
shvester shomer, "Forward," N. Y., 6 October
S. Dingol -- Di
naye piese in irving plays teater, "Der tog," N.
Y., 7 October 1921.
Aba Lilian --
Madam kalish in irving plays teater, "Di tsayt,"
N. Y., 7 October 1921.
William Edlin --
Di kunst un berta kalish, "Der tog," N. Y., 11
D. K. -- "Eyne
fun folk," "Der veker," N. Y., 15 October 1921.
B. Gorin -- In a
vayberishe melukhah, "Mouring Journal," N. Y.,
16 October 1921.
Aaron Rosen -- An
intervyu mit berta kalish, "Yidishe tageblatt,"
N. Y., 18 November 1921.
A. Frumkin --
Berta kalish in "eyne fun folk," "Idishe velt,",
Spring, 8 June 1923.
-- "Di makht fun gezets," "Der tog," N. Y., 20
Ts. H. Rubinstein
-- Berta kalish in "eyne fun folk," "Der tog,"
N. Y., 24 April 1925.
N. Buchwald --
"Dos tsirk-meydl" mit molly picon, "Morgn
frayhayt," N. Y., 28 September 1928.
Ab. Cahan -- Di
naye operete in sekond avenyu teater, "Forward,"
N. Y., 4 October 1928.
-- Second Avenue Operetta, "The New York Sun,"
N. Y., October 15, 1928.
B. I. Goldstein
-- Oyf der teater evenyu, "Fraye arbayter shtime,"
N. Y., 19 October 1928.
Atkinson -- Family Festivities, "The New York
Times," N. Y., October 21, 1928.
Y. Entin -- Piesn
vos zaynen geshpilt gevorn heintikn sezon, "Di
idishe arbeter shtime," N. Y., January 1929.
Y. Entin -- Der
itstiker yidisher teater-sezon, "Di tsukunft,"
New York, February 1929.
Botoshansky -- Moli pikons "tsirkus meydl" -- a
loyterer shpil, "Di prese," Buenos Aires, 25
-- Mit'n khn fun di khn'en -- mit kindishkeyt --
shpilt moli pikon in "tsirk-meydl," "Di idishe
tsaytung," Buenos Aires, 25 July 1932.
M. Regensburg --
Moli pikon in rumshinski's operete "dos tsirkus
meydl," "Di idishe velt," Philadelphia, 25 April
Jacob Mestel -- "Undzer
foter shomer," "Yidishe kultur," N. Y., October
Shomer-Bachelis -- "Vi ikh hob zey gekent," Los
Ber Green -- A
shtik kolirfule fargangnheit fun der idisher
amerike, "Morgn frayhayt," N. Y., 12 June 1955.
Jacob Mestel -- A
tsushteyer tsu yidisher teater-geshikhte, "Yidishe
kultur," N. Y., October 1955.
-- In tukh genumen, "Idisher kemfer," N. Y., 4