O. was born on 28 July 1904
in Kishinev, Bessarabia, into a pious family. His father
was a crops dealer. O. learned in a cheder and then in a
Talmud Torah. The "over-cantor" of the synagogue choir,
Kilimnik, took him into the chorus as an "alto", and as
an eleven year old youth, he sang in the operetta "Di
neshama fun meyn folk" in Libert-Zaslavsky's troupe.
Later he acted with "amateurs" in the role of "Israelik"
in "Pintele yid".
In 1918, when Chaim Meir
Segalesco came to guest-star in Kishinev, and he put
together a troupe of "amateurs", he took him in to act
in children's roles, and as a singer in the chorus,
later as a prompter. In 1919 during the tour of the
troupe, he functioned at the same time as a conductor.
Later he acted in Ziegler's
troupe in Iasi, then in Clara Young's troupe. In 1921 he
was engaged in Misha Fishzon's "Yidishes muster un
kunst-teater", and in October 1923 he came to America,
where he acted and prompted in the Mc Kinley (Square)
Theatre in the Bronx, with Clara Young across the
province and in the Hopkinson Theatre in Brownsville
In 1924-5 he was engaged in
Detroit as a prompter and stage manager in Misha Fishzon
and Moshe Schorr's theatre.
In 1925-6 he was in Detroit
under Misha Fishzon and Litmann's direction, in 1926-8
under Littmann, and in 1928-9 under Sam Auerbach's