W. was born in 1850 in
Odessa, Ukraine. His father was the poet Eliahu
Mordechai Werbel. His sister, Polia (Paulina), was
Avraham Goldfaden's wife.
He finished gymnasium and
afterwards went to Minkhen(?), where he studied in the
local art academy with Kalbakh and Pilati, and later
finished the Politechnium in Vienna, later returning to
Over time W. had created
"scenes" (especially arousing the attention of the local
art world through his image "The Yiddish Wedding"), and
was engaged as a cartoonist by a local Russian
As the brother-in-law of
Goldfaden he came in contact with his troupe, where he
became known to the actress Margarita Schwartz, and
after his marriage to her (cir 1882), he traveled with
the troupe as its manager and scenic designer for the
first Goldfaden plays. [A reproduction of W.'s drawings
was published in the "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre", p.
In 1888, he came with his
wife to America, afterwards returning to Odessa where he
passed away on 27 August 1902.
M. E. from his
son Dr. John M. Werbel.