He was ready to go to
Vilna or Zhitomir to a rabbinical school, but his
love for his mother he remained in Zamosc, where he
had in 1870 married a Sarah Lichtenfeld, and with
her had two sons, Yakov (who soon passed away), and
Lucjan (passed away in 1919). After the wedding he
lived in Tzoizmir (Sandomierz) and Apt (Opatow --
ed.), where he had, for several years, managed
with a partner a brewery, but neglected the business
because he wrote songs (in Polish -- although
already earlier he had written in Yiddish and
Hebrew), which circulated in handwritten
collections. Later again he began to write in Hebrew
and finally in Yiddish. His Yiddish songs were
mostly used by badkhans and Goldfaden styles.
In 1875 he began to
study in Warsaw as a lawyer and debuted with his
first published song in Hebrew, "Hashutfut", in "Hashakhar"
(Sion Trl"h). A year later (1876) he divorced his
wife. In 1877 he published, together with his former
brother-in-law (?) Gavriel Yehuda Lichtenfeld, his
first book "Sipurim be-shir ve-shirim shonim
(Stories in Verse and Selected Poems)", which
contained both creations. He then returned back to
Zamosc, married Nechama Rukhl (Helena) Ringelheim
from Lentshne (Łęczna -- ed.) (died 22
November 1937 in Warsaw), and here he managed for a
very short time (together with an uncle) a mill. He
survived the examination given by the county court,
he became in the span of more then ten years active
as a private lawyer. In this time he continued to
write in Yiddish and Hebrew.
In 1888, due to a
denunciation during a revolutionary movement, P. had
to give up his law practice in Zamosc, and he began
to think more of drawing an income from writing. He
now composed his first large work in Yiddish,
"Monish". In 1889 he moved over to Warsaw, where he
developed a lifelong friendship with Jacob Dineson,
worked for a short time with a relative, and then
became invited into the city expeditors, which the
known economist and philanthropist Jan Bloch (a
convert) had organized then across the Polish
province. This served him later as material for his
works. After a half-year P. returned to Warsaw and
became an employee in the Warsaw kehillah (gmine;
There in 1890 there was published Peretz's first
book in Yiddish, "Bekente bilder".
[For more details about
Peretz's biography and his role in Yiddish and
Hebrew literature, see Vol. II, pp. 974-1043, as
well as the tens of books about Peretz, and long
articles about him in the limitless books about
According to P. in his
memoirs, in his youth he was familiar with
Ettinger's comdy "Serkele" and other matters in his
uncle's house, where the Broder Singers also used to
come to sing during their travels to Zamosc.
Peretz's interest in
Yiddish theatre dates still from a very early time,
when he was yet in the Polish province.
So as told by the actor
M. Modovink in his memoirs:
"From Tomaszow we
migrated to Opotshna (Opoczno -- ed.) or
Kutno. There we happened upon Yitzkhok Leybush
Peretz (by chance we had met with the city badkhan,
and he gave us a tip: 'There is here in town
Yitzhkhok Leybush Peretz, the Yiddish writer, he can
give a good tone because he has a great knowledge of
the city"). had the director turn to him, as he had
a great knowledge of the city and is a popular
person, and he bahilfik us, that we may be able to
put on several productions.
Peretz had us work it
out that we may obtain the theatre in two nights.
...We had put on 'Kuni
lemel' and "Treyfniak". The Sabbath was a little
isolated, and Sunday absolutely nothing... that
[when] we had completed the two productions (in
Opotshna or Kutno), [that] Sharavner, Titelman and
Chizhik had begun, they went away to Warsaw to
Weisfeld. We continued without a shepherd. Had
overtaken the "director" Herman (Hershl) Berman.
Ordinarily we would have gone away, as we no longer
had Hershl Berman again to turn to I. L. Peretz, and
they had us in the city do both of them together. We
had the money until we traveled to Kielce".
S. L. Citron writes in
his memoirs a conversation that took place between
P., during his visit to Warsaw, and the founder of
Yiddish theatre Avraham Goldfaden, when Goldfaden
had recited his well-known poem "Der shtayn fun
"I recall that Peretz
did not become so strongly appealing the content of
the expected (?), as Goldfaden's artistic
declamations. There had begun a general conversation
about the Yiddish theatre, and Peretz had used the
opportunity to raise Goldfaden's "Shmendrik" with
"The Two Kuni Lemels" a. a. v.
-- That I wished to have
your talent -- so had Peretz then expressed, even
though as we later discovered several times for him
to hear, he had from Goldfaden's talent not so
deeply held -- I wanted to built my dramas and
comedies on many important and truthful sides of
Jewish life. That took, lmshl, the
systemization of our children's achievements in
... Goldfaden, I recall,
was deeply taken with his "heroes", and wanted to
show that they were absolutely not any caricature,
only a truthful creation....
...Peretz had with
Goldfaden long been in a dispute (?), had teed off
all of his virtues and read an entire list of scenes
that can and must be done in dramatic forms and be
produced on the Yiddish stage. That I mention now
without the picture gallery, I find among them
several such, that later had with time many
collaborations with Peretz's greatness".
"ER UN ZI (HIM AND HER)"
As P.'s first dramatic
creation must be considered "Er un zi (He and She)",
published in his journal "Literature and Life"
(Warsaw, 1894), which later was included in every
edition of P.'s collected works.
The one-acter is the
English translation of H. Champert, published in
"East and West" (N. Y., August 1915).
According to L.
Blumenfeld in his French translation of the scene
published in 1916 in a French newspaper.
In 1919 the one-acter
was published in the Spanish translation of S.
Reznik in his volume of translations of P.'s works.
"BAYM FREMDN KHUPE-KLEYD"
In P.'s "Yom-tov
blattlekh (Holiday Issues)" ("Evng shabat" and "Hmshh
eshr") in 1896 was published his "Bay dem fremdn
khupe-kleyd", which later was included in every
edition of P.'s collected works.
In 1933 in the
publishing house "Der kundas", Buenos Aires,
Argentina, in the volume "for drama circles" (pp.
163-174), there was published "Brider, fragment fun
"Baym fremdn khupe-kleyde" by I. L. Peretz, adapted
as an opera libretto in one act, two scenes, from N.
In 1936 there was
published "Tsvey brider" by I. L. Peretz,
music Jacob Schaeffer, issued by the Jewish Music
Alliance, New York, with Yiddish text of a song and
also an English translation, with an introduction by
B. Chertkov, 94 pp., 8°.
In 1922 in the volume
"Nine One-Acters from Yiddish", there was published
the one-acter in the English translation of Bessie
F. White, with a foreword that analyzed the scenic
structure of the dramatic poem, with directions for
staging the one-acter, a list of appropriate music,
as also a bhdrgh'dike staging from the text
with introductory remarks and staged sketches.
On 26 October 1923
through "Frayhayt gezang farein" in the "Aryan
Grotto Temple" in Chicago, there was staged
oratorio "Tsvey brider" (parts of "Baym fremdn
khupe-kleyd"), conducted by the composer.
On 20 February 1926 the
oratorio was staged through "Frayhayt gezang garein"
in New York's Mecca Temple, conducted by Lazar
Weiner. Since then, the oratorio often has been
staged with various conductors across various cities
of the United States and Canada.
In 1934 the oratorio was
staged in "Camp Kinderland", dance and direction --
Idit Segal, who also danced as "Shlang". The "Tsvey
brider" was performed through Michael Goldstein and
Shlomo Levine. In 1935 the oratorio was staged in New
York's "Coliseum", dance, choreography and direction
-- Lili Shapira, who danced the role of "the
shlang", and David Opatoshu and Vol Valentinov
in the role of "the two brothers". On 21 November
1936 it was offered again in "Carnegie Hall", with
settings by Zuni Maud.
About the offering, Dr.
A. Mukdoni writes:
".. I. L, Peretz's "Tsvey
brider" belongs to the Haskalah-like books
laykht mesh'lekh, and N. Schaeffer here has
brought about too much seriousness, but it is a very
interesting piece of music. Singing the oratorio, as
every other number, has the Frayhayt gezang farein
with warmth and with heart. The oratorio in the
scene was pantomimed and danced. One can not say
that the pantomime and the scene had helped out the
oratorio much. I am inclined to believe that they
have hindered their chances. The acting and the
dances have not begun to lift the height of the
music, and either way the performed oratorio did not
About Schaeffer's music,
M. Yardeini writes:
"...Schaeffer had to
write the most advanced melodies, the finest motifs,
the warmest Yiddish formulas of various Jewish
prayers, parts from poetry, from the scrolls, from
forms, from folksongs and Chasidic melodies, which
put themselves mkhih'dik in the air. It is
one of the beautiful pearls in the entire Yiddish
music literature that up to present day has been
In 1899, in "Der yud
(Krakow), under the pseudonym "Ltz", there was
published P.'s "A literatur stsene", which later was
included in the edition of P.'s collected works.
"KEGN HAKATA". "ETRS YESOYMIM IN VARSHE"
In 1902 P., under the
pseudonym "Ltsfr", published in the weekly "Der yud",
his dramatic scenes "Gegn hakata" and "Etrs yesoymim
in varshe", which were later included in every
edition of his collected works.
In 1902 P. created his
first dramatic attempt in Hebrew and published in
the collection book "Akhisf" (Warsaw), the scenes "Bkhuts",
"Khasen vkhale", "Bgn heir", "El yid hakhlun" and "Amnon
"Bkhuts" and "Amnon and
Tamar" were never published in a Yiddish
"IN KRETSME" ("KHASEN KHALE")
In 1921 in a Warsaw
journal "Ringen", there was published for the first
time the found rewritten manuscript of P.'s
adaptation of his Hebrew scene "Khasen v kale
(Bride and Groom", under the name "In kretsme",
which was published together with a second scene
"Bay der lvnh" under a common title "Poren". "In
kretsme" is reprinted in the Moscow "Eynikeyt" (3
April 1945), and is under the name of "Leygen firn"
staged through David Herman in Warsaw's "Azazel",
and later through Joseph Buloff and Luba Kadison in
the "Regnboygn" evening of the "Vilna Troupe' in New
About the publication of
the one-acter, the editor of "Rigen" remarked:
we have found among Dinezon's papers. The
manuscript, finely rewritten -- not by Peretz's hand
-- and through a black kalke penetrated (?),
is, as it points out, was prepared to be published. To us
the durchshlag found itself (?). He kept five
boygnzeytlekh and numbered from 1 until 5....
more to translate...."
"Khasen vkale" was
staged in English by Joseph Buloff on 26 May 1929 in
Chicago in the "Majestic Theatre". The scene was put
into print in English in the "Observer" (Chicago,
1930), and was reprinted in the "Social Orientation"
"IN SKVER (In Square)" ("IN SHTOT-GORTN [In the
City Garden]", "BAY DER LVNH")
In 1907 in the Yiddish translation of
I. L. Naumov, there was published under the name "In
shtot-gortn" in "Idisher kempfer", Philadelphia,
P.'s scene "Bgn heir".
In 1910 she in the Yiddish
translation of the author under the name "In skver",
was published in Warsaw's publishing house
"Progress", and then it was included in his
An adapted text of the scene under
the name of "Bay der lvnh" was created after the
author's death. according to a found manuscript by
Dinezon, and was published in "Ringen", Warsaw,
The editor of "Ringen" remarks that:
"...'Bay der lvnh" is in an adapted
form, under the title "In skver" included in "Odem
ve-Havah". ...more to translate...."
(top of pg. 1903).
The scene also was
performed through Warsaw's "Azazel" under the
direction of David Herman.
In 1922 in the scene in
the Spanish translation of Solomon Reznik, there was
published in Buenos Aires in P.'s volume "Odem
ve-Havah" (in Spanish).
In 1923 the scene was published
(Berlin-Vienna) in the German translation of
Alexander Eliasbrerg in his translation volume of
P.'s "Odem ve-Havah".
"FAR DER TIR" ("BAYM FENSTER")
On 2 February 1906 in the New York "Tsayt-gayst",
there was printed P.'s scene "Baym fenster", which
was published by the author in the original Hebrew
after being in the journal "Hshlkh" in 1902.
In 1908 the one-acter was performed
through the "Progressive Dramatic Club" in New York.
Later the author had the scene
adapted under the name "Far der tir", and thus it
was included in his collected works.
In 1922 the scene was published in
Buenos Aires in the Spanish translation of Solomon
Reznik, in his translation volume of P.'s "Odem
In 1923 the scene was published
(Berlin-Vienna) in the German translation of
Alexander Eliasberg in is translation volume of P.'s
In 1903 P. published in "Hshlkh" the
secne "Bnim", which he had later translated under
the name "Vegn kinder", in two dramatic scenes,
which at first was printed in P.'s "Shriftn", with
the andatirter date of 1907, and then it was
included in every edition of his collected works.
[The volume "Dramatishe zakhn", which
included the seven one-acters: "Er un zi", "Shvester",
"Nokh kburh", "A frimorgn", "Shampanier", "S'brent"
and "Vegn kinder", was really published first in
1907. He is however given to the reprinted prior
anniversary edition of 1901, leaving over in the
title page the old date, which can demonstrate the
belief that already in 1901 P. had published his
dramatic works in Yiddish].
P. had even sought to create
repertoire for the Yiddish stage. Thus he had in "Di
yudishe bibliotek (The Yiddish Library)" (Krakov,
No. 6, 1904), which was published under his editing,
published a Yiddish translation of Herman Heyerman's
play "Ghetto". And when the translation was
anonymous, they had in the actor's circles they had
always maintained that it originated from P.'s
Nachman Mayzel maintains explicitly
that the drama is P.'s translation.
The play was soon included in
repertoire of the amateur groups. In 1907 the
well-known actor Mark Meyerson staged and acted in
the role of "Zakhl". In 1909 the play was staged
through the "Hirshbein Troupe".
In 1904 in the Shavous
supplement to Peterburg's "Fraynd", there was
published P.'s one-acter "S'Brent", which later was
included in every edition of P's works.
In 1906 there was
arranged in the association "Hazamair" a Chanukah
evening, and under the direction of Mark Arnstein
and the author's providence, an offering of the
Avraham Teitelman, who
had participated in the production, characterizes
the course of the rehearsals:
to translate...." (middle p. 1904).
By the following
"...[P.] sat together
with Mark Arnstein at the director's table.....to be
included a short, cutting remark, lozt
however ongayn the work with his natural way,
and ...more to translate..."
Due to technical
difficulties to divide the stage into two parts (as
was needed according to the play), P. had to in the
last day to make a change in the text and include a
new character: "...Peretz dictated the scene easily,
but... more to translate....
"EULM HBA (WORLD TO COME)"
Around 1905 P. published
the scene "Eulm hba (World to Come[?]", which later
was included in his collected works.
In 1906 the scene was
published in the Russian translation of A. M. in
Peterburg's journal "Yevreyskaya zhizn", under the
The first play of P. in
a professional Yiddish theatre was this one-acter
"Di shvester", which was performed at the end of
1905 in Warsaw's Yiddish theatre with the following
"Leah" -- Esther Rukhl
"Mirel" -- Khiena Braginska
"Nechama" -- Vera Zaslavska
"Zorakh" -- [Lemkoff]
"Moshe'le" -- Itzhak Arco
About the production
Noakh Prilutski writes:
N. Auslander provides a
longer assessment of the production, understood the
press reaction of that time:'"In that one-acter, I.
L. Peretz.... more to translate..."
[top, p. 1909]
The information about
the Warsaw production also turns to New York, and on
18 May 1906, the one-acter was staged in New York in
the "Kalich Theatre", with Berta Kalich as "Leah".
The production was
advertised as a full play: "Di shvester" by Peretz
and Pinski. Knowing what they had about the
information, Peretz, and in a letter of 29 August
1906 he asked Pinski for the truth, that Pinski had
written an act of "Di shvester", and if he should
send to him the act....more to translate....
On our inquiry regarding
the topic, David Pinski declared to us that he did
not write any act, and that really the idea was to
play both Peretz's "Di shvester" and Pinski's "Gliksfargesene":
"In the advertisement,
in fact, there stood "Di shvester" by Peretz and
Pinski. An incident such as it was, because also in
"Gliksfargesene", it was a story with sisters. On
the poster, however, there was given "Gliksfargesene".
Peretz had seen an
advertisement and had to accept it, also this exact
name. I had naturally declared that matter to him.
translate (new paragraph, middle pg.
The one-acter later was
performed very often by various amateur groups, and
in 1915 it was put on in the "Neighborhood
Playhouse", in a benefit production for Jacob
Ben-Ami, and in the 1920-21 season in Philadelphia's
"Arch Street Theatre", under the direction of Jacob
Mestel (with Celia Adler in the main role).
"'Di shvester' -- wrote
Joel Entin (in 1907) -- more to translate...."
In his greatest work "I.
L. Peretz as a Social Poet", writes Shakhna Epstein:
"In the one-acter 'Shvester'....more
top, pg. 1910
"Also H. D. Nomberg
'Di shvester' is a deep
thing, deep with her natural truth..... more
The one-acter "Shvester"
at first was printed in "Dos yidishe vort" (Krakow,
1905), then in 1907 was included in the reprinted
edition of P.'s work, dated 1901, and later in every
other edition of P.'s works.
A Hebrew translation of
the author (or completely the original), under the
name "Bshfl", was previously printed (1904) in "Hshlkh",
and then was included with P.'s Hebrew works.
In "Yevreyskaya zhizn"
(Peterburg, No. 10, 1906), the one-acter was
published in the Russian translation of D. Z., under
the name "Na dnye" ("Oyfn opgrunt").
An English translation
of H Champert was published in 1915 in New York's
journal "East and West".
A second English
translation, from Yetta Black, in 1929 was published
in her volumes of translation "One-Acters".
In 1919 in Munich's
publishing house of George Miller, there was
published the one-acter in the German translation of
Alexander Eliasberg (in the first volume "Yidishes
"DER NISOYEN" ("DER UNTERGANG
FUN TSADIK'S HOYZ")
P.'s first large
dramatic creation made for the professional Yiddish
stage was "Der nisoyen (The Temptation)", a second
variant of his Hebrew play "Churbin bis tsadik"
(published in 1903 in "Hshlkh").
The Yiddish translation
of "Churbin bis tsadik" was first done in 1940
through A. Yuditsky, and with an introduction by the
translator, was published under the name "Untergang
fun tsadiks hoyz" in the Kiev "Sovetishe literatur"
(N' 10, 1940), and was reprinted in the New York "Yidishe
kultur" (April, May-Jun, 1941).
The Yiddish text of "Der
nisoyen" was never published.
top, pg. 1911....
About the true
beginnings of P.'s dramaturgical creations, Nachman
more to translate...."