Born 186... in Belaya Tserkov, Kiev Gubernia, Ukraine.
In his early youth he began to sing with the municipal
cantor in the large Beit HaMedrash, R' Motl Minkovsky
(father of Pinye). After Pinye's departure, S. continued
as the only soloist and note reader in the chorus. Later
he became conductor for Cantor Shmuel Folishuk. He
married, and with a gdn became a merchant. For a
short time he did good business, then lost his money,
and in 1888 immigrated to America.
Here S. was from the first
conductor in the synagogues with the cantors Kuper,
Karnial, Grafman et al.
At the same time he also
conducted and studied with the chorus in the Yiddish
theatre, earlier as an assistant to Mogulesko, then as
an independent composer and conductor.
1889 -- he stage-directed in
a dramatic circle and staged in Turn (Turin) Hall
(Fourth Street) Goldfaden's "Dr. Almasado" (in which
Boaz Young debuted as "Bartelo").
On 21 September 1896 in the
Windsor Theatre, there was staged Joseph Lateiner's
operetta "Kidush Hashem", or. The Jewish Minister" with
S. also wrote music for the
operettas "Gbur hakhil" and for "Berukhah", or, Der
Yidisher kenig fun poyln oyf eyn nakht", by Prof. M.
Horowitz (1896), in which the music for the song "Eli,
Eli, lmh ezbtni" [according to Boris Thomashefsky -- the
text of the songs were written by him] had an
extraordinary success, and the play due to the
performance became week-long.
This song later became one
of the popular Yiddish compositions in the world and was
sung in concerts by folks- and opera singers, as well as
by cantors. In America this song, with the varieties,
was sung by Rosa Raisa, Sofia Breslau, Bella Baker, Al
Jolson et al.
The song was printed by a
music company, and S., demanded his honorarium, led a
protest that found a strong resonance in the press.
In the last years the song
was made especially popular by Cantor Yosele Rosenblatt,
who also sang with a flute, and was published with his
arrangement with a foreword in Yiddish and English, in
which there was said among other things: "There was
never a more popular song in Yiddish music as "Eli,
Eli". Not only among Jews, but also among other
nationalities, "Eli, Eli" came to be the song that
brought out sadness and determination in his [the Jews]
belief. Who created the song or the music isn't entirely
clear. In only a couple of years, "Eli, Eli" became
famous, [amd] the old musician Jacob Sandler and the
theatre director Boris Thomashefsky in management
partnership [gained] recognition for the song, because
it was sung in one of their operettas. However, it never
was in doubt that it had a much earlier history. People
who had remembered, recalled that the song had been
heard in various parts of Europe and then was a "folk
song". It was found that the music also was portrayed
among the composers to be of a cantor from the last
generation, as the music of a piece of Slichot."
For a certain time, S. also
was a composer and director in the First Street Theatre
in Philadelphia. Then he entirely withdrew from Yiddish
theatre, and from time to time only conducted choruses
for the High Holidays.
In March 1931, S., lonely/in
solitude, passed away in New York.
from Boaz Young.
B. Finkel -- Mir hoben
di ehre eykh fortsulshtelen dem kompozitor fun "eli
eli", "Di varhayt", N. Y., 20 July 1917.
Joseph Key(?) -- Ver iz
der farfaser fun "eli eli"?, "Tog", N. Y., 24 March
[--] -- Yakov kopel
sendler. "Di geshikhte fun "eli eli", ("Teater-zikhrunus",
Editor -- Zalmen Zylbercweig, Vilna, 1928, pp.