Born on 16 January 1894 in
Shavel, Kovno Gubernia, Russia. He learned in the
Yiddish governmental school, then in a gymnasium.
Due to material difficulties and a protsent-norme,
had to withdraw from further studies and left for Russia
in a "search for happiness".
In 1910, he was associated
with Bernstein's troupe in Libove and toured with him
for a year, then with the troupes of Shravner, Guzik,
Zhitomirsky, Genfer, Sam Adler, Abraham Fishzon,
Warsaw's United Yiddish Theatre, Yiddish Folks Theatre
[under the leadership of Lipovski], taking up from time
to time the work of prompter, actor, stage director,
business manager and writer of "German" tsenzurkes.
For a certain time he was also associated with Russian
theatre and with Saygadetshini's (sp) Ukrainian troupe.
With the outbreak of the
first World War, he was taken into the military, was
wounded at the front, and then again was associated with
Yiddish theatre, arranging troupes on his own, later
entering into Libert's dramatic troupe, with whom he
toured across Central Russia, the Volga and Ural
regions, until the February Revolution in 1917, when he
became a delegate to the First Congress for the Yiddish
actors in Kiev and later as a member of the Presidium of
the first Yiddish actors union "Kifsotrid" and
associated with the troupe "Unzer vinkl" in Kiev.
Shortly thereafter he put together the first theatre
collective with Esther Rukhl Kaminska and went with her
around Russia, White Russia, Lithuania, then in Warsaw
and across the Polish province, and later entered into
the Warsaw Kaminska Theatre. Here he also became a
member in the management of the Yiddish Artists Union.