H. was born on 15 February
1892 in a village near Lechowitz, White Russia.
A year later his family moved to Mezbish,
Podolia region, and from there to Odessa. As a
child of nine, his parents sent him to his
grandfather, a sexton in Lita
(Lithuania), intending to give him his
Jewish education. Here he learned in various cheders, ongeshrakhene from Kishinev's
pogrom, the family settling in Baranowitz,
where due material conditions H. had to
interrupt his studies and learn to be a
shoemaker. H. became a member of the "Kleynem
bund," then in S"s, tuliet zikh to the
intelligentsia, becoming a member in "amateur"
circles and acting in small roles in Yiddish and
in Russian with guest-starring itinerant
professional troupes. When Sholem Aleichem had
visited Baranowitz, where he became ill, H. was
his guard, and was so affected that he
dedicated his performances to Sholem Aleichem's
In 1909 he arrived
in America, settling in Philadelphia, partly
the "Hebrew Literature Society" with reviews and
declamations, and under the direction of writer
Moshe Katz he acted in an entire series of
one-acters and plays such as "Der glkh" in
Strindberg's "Father," "Abrush" in Hirshbein's "Neveyle
In 1913 H. participated as Slavic, Mexican and
Indian types in the silent "Lubin Film Company."
After his marriage
in 1915, he went over to New York, where he
worked in a shop of ladies' hats and lived
oys geystik the once popular "Schnorer
Association." In 1918, together with Berta
Kalich, Samuel Goldinburg and Elihu Tenenholtz,
he participated in a Sholem Aleichem yahrzeit
production, which drew the attention of the
critics as a Sholem Aleichem recitation. In 1919
he was assistant stage director in Schnitzer's "New
Yiddish Theatre," and he participated in the
productions of "Shtumer moshiakh," "Bronx Express"
and "Samson and Delilah."
Since 1932 H. has
dedicated himself to organizing and
participating in tours across the entire
American Jewish province, first with a concert
tour (organized by the Jewish National Labor
Union) for folksinger Chaim Katilanski, then
through other Jewish fraternal organizations
(Workmen's Circle, Jewish Welfare Board, and the
National Labor Union), later with large and
small theatre groups, which toured for fifteen
to twenty weeks every year across
cities and towns in the United States and Canada,
with short Yiddish plays and concert numbers.
H., also had in
1918, participated in the "Yiddish Art Theatre"
in "Success" by Moishe Nadir, and in other
one-acters. In 1939 he participated (as "Zazule")
with Maurice Schwartz in the motion picture "Tuviya
der Milkhiger" by Sholem Aleichem, in 1945 with
Jacob Ben-Ami in Leivick's "The Poet is
In 1955 H. settled in the land of Israel and
there performed in thirty-two word concerts in
Yiddish, personifying Sholem Aleichem's heroes,
and in 1960 he participated, with Maurice
Schwartz (in English), in Singer's "Yoshe Kalb,"
and (in Yiddish) in Leivick's "Shmates."