Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Rose Shomer Bachelis

Born on 12 February 1882 in Odessa, Ukraine, the daughter of the well-known Yiddish novelist and dramaturg Shomer. She arrived with her family to her father in America in 1891. She graduated from public school, high school and completed the Eastman Business College in bookkeeping, stenography and typewriting. She worked in commercial enterprises for the director of the newly found "Hebrew Educational Society" in Brownsville, New York.

In 1906 she joined as a social activist ("social worker") in the philanthropic society "The United Hebrew Charities," where she worked until 1920, at the same time taking part in other social actions. In 1914 she helped organize and was "chairman" of the "Red Mogen Dovid." In 1915 she organized "The Women's Jewish Congress Organization," and thanks to that there was handed to the congress ten women (including Sh.) for New York . She was also the founder and manager of the "Yiddish Publicity Bureau" in New York.

Even in her early youth Sh. had manifested a desire for theatre. It was not only that her mother had brought from Pinsk a large box of theatre costumes to her father's theatre; she had the children (Rose, Miriam and Anna) play in home "theatre." They especially used to play "Shulamis"" Miriam as "Shulamis," Anna as "Absalom," and the other roles, such as Mnukh, Abigail, Tsingitang et al -- Rose, who also was the chorus, prompter, regisseur and manager.


In 1920 she wrote, together with her sister Miriam Shomer Zunser, the drama "Eyne fun folk," which on 26 September 1921 was staged under the direction of Osip Dymov in the Irving Place Theatre with the following personnel:

Esther Steinberg
Helen Steinberg
William Lubin
Betty Lubin
Jennie Lubin
Dr. David Brener
Florida Jacobson
Mrs. Feferl
Bertha Kalich
Lucy German
Joseph Shoengold
First child.... [Frances] Weintraub
Second child.... Miss Gendler
Mischa German
Ida Goldstein
Rivka Weintraub

The play, which Bertha Kalich had reworked for the Yiddish stage, after a long interruption, had great success and remained year-long in the repertoire of Bertha Kalich (later in a revival production by Izidor Casher).

In 1925 there was staged in Philadelphia's Garden Theatre Sh.'s and her sister Miriam's play, "Di makht fun gezets (The Power of Law [?]," [originally "In di hent fun gezets"] with Samuel Goldenburg and Celia Adler in the main roles. The play also was soon brought over by them to New York, where in March 1925 it was staged in the Prospect Theatre (with the participation of Yudel Dubinsky, Lucy Levin and Sally Weisenfreund.)

On 15 September 1928 at the Second Avenue Theatre, there was staged under the direction of Jacob Kalich, music by Joseph Rumshinsky, Sh.'s and her sister Miriam's operetta, "Dos tsirkus meydl (The Circus Girl)" (originally called "Ver iz di meyl"), with Molly Picon in the title role, and with the participation of Sam Kestin, Betty Simonoff, Gertrude Bulman and Irving Grossman. The operetta played for sixteen weeks for packed houses, and was also staged in Argentinean Yiddish theatre when Molly Picon guest-starred.

On 6 December 1930 there was staged through Ludwig Satz Sh.'s and her sister Miriam's operetta, "Der zingendiker gonev (The Singing Thief)," but, as Sh. recalls, the play did not have any luck, because "Ludwig Satz, who had bought it, had it so tsekalyetshet with the changes, which he had made, that for more than a week they hadn't performed it. For me, this cooled my desire to write for Yiddish theatre." But she finished her father's play, "Der zindiker rebbe," under the name "Dos kul fun gevisn," and composed a drama in three acts, "Vayb, oder mame," and (together with her sister Miriam) a musical comedy, "Der apashe-tants (The Apache Dance [?])," or, the "Libes-tants."

She settled in Los Angeles, California, where she organized the local department of the "Maliam (sp)" (details can be found in the book "Vi ikh hob zay gekent," pp. 49-53), the organization to help create and disseminate Yiddish music, and in the span of the eight years she existed there as president.

Sh. had from time to time, in the local Yiddish and Yiddish-English press, in "Tog" and in "Yiddish Culture," written articles about her father, about her brother and sister and about large Yiddish personalities, with whom she came into contact with. A part of these works she later had used for her book, "Undzer foter Shomer," which she as published in 1950 in the "Ikuf" Publishing house (New York, 251 pp.), and in which for the first time her sister Miriam wrote. The book also contains a series of assessments and reviews about Shomer from well-known Yiddish writers. In 1953 the book, in the Hebrew translation by Aaron Vaysman, with an introduction by Dov Sdn and Sh., was published under the name "Avinu Shomer" in the "Aḥiʾasaf" publishing house in Jerusalem, published with the assistance of Madam Rose Shomer Bachelis."

In 1955 in Los Angeles Sh. published her book "Ṿi ikh hob zey geḳenṭ, [portraits] of well-known Yiddish personalities" (154 pp.), in which there were included in her memories and episodes about: Morris Rozenfeld, A. M. Sharkansky, Shlomo Shmuelwitz, Naftali Hertz Imber, Avraham Friedus, Elikum Zunzer, Avraham Goldfaden, Rose Pastor Stokes, Henrietta Szold, Solomon Blumgarten-Yehoshua, Berta Kalich, Peretz Hirshbein and Barney (Baruch) Bachelis. She performed from time to time with presentations about her father, Avraham Goldfaden and about Yiddish music.

Sh. is married to Samuel (Shmuel) Bachelis, a brother of the deceased writer Barney Bachelis, author of the book, "Mentshn fun mayn dor" (Los Angeles, 1953). Her brother Avraham and sister Miriam were associated with Yiddish theatre. Sh.'s sister Anna Shomer-Rotenberg, an interpreter of Yiddish songs, has published a book of Yiddish folk songs (Bloch Publishing Company, New York, 1928, 89 pp.; "Songs Heard in Palestine"), and also wrote a play "Amol iz geven a mesh," built on Yiddish folk songs.

Sh. E.

  • Zalmen Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish Literature," Vol. IV, p. 455.

  • B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish Theatre," Vol. II, p. 282.

  • Elbert Adlin-Trommer -- A yidish-englishe star vos libt di idishe bine ambestn, "Der tog," N. Y., 2 September 1921.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Madam kalish in a piese geshribn fun tsvey shvester shomer, "Forward," N. Y., 6 October 1921.

  • S. Dingol -- Di naye piese in irving plays teater, "Der tog," N. Y., 7 October 1921.

  • Aba Lilian -- Madam kalish in irving plays teater, "Di tsayt," N. Y., 7 October 1921.

  • William Edlin -- Di kunst un berta kalish, "Der tog," N. Y., 11 October 1921.

  • D. K. -- "Eyne fun folk," "Der veker," N. Y., 15 October 1921.

  • B. Gorin -- In a vayberishe melukhah, "Mouring Journal," N. Y., 16 October 1921.

  • Aaron Rosen -- An intervyu mit berta kalish, "Yidishe tageblatt," N. Y., 18 November 1921.

  • A. Frumkin -- Berta kalish in "eyne fun folk," "Idishe velt,", Spring, 8 June 1923.

  • Miriam Karpilov -- "Di makht fun gezets," "Der tog," N. Y., 20 March 1925.

  • Ts. H. Rubinstein -- Berta kalish in "eyne fun folk," "Der tog," N. Y., 24 April 1925.

  • N. Buchwald -- "Dos tsirk-meydl" mit molly picon, "Morgn frayhayt," N. Y., 28 September 1928.

  • Ab. Cahan -- Di naye operete in sekond avenyu teater, "Forward," N. Y., 4 October 1928.

  • Stephen Rathbun -- Second Avenue Operetta, "The New York Sun," N. Y., October 15, 1928.

  • B. I. Goldstein -- Oyf der teater evenyu, "Fraye arbayter shtime," N. Y., 19 October 1928.

  • J. Brooks Atkinson -- Family Festivities, "The New York Times," N. Y., October 21, 1928.

  • Y. Entin -- Piesn vos zaynen geshpilt gevorn heintikn sezon, "Di idishe arbeter shtime," N. Y., January 1929.

  • Y. Entin -- Der itstiker yidisher teater-sezon, "Di tsukunft," New York, February 1929.

  • Yankev Botoshansky -- Moli pikons "tsirkus meydl" -- a loyterer shpil, "Di prese," Buenos Aires, 25 July 1932.

  • Shmuel Glazerman -- Mit'n khn fun di khn'en -- mit kindishkeyt -- shpilt moli pikon in "tsirk-meydl," "Di idishe tsaytung," Buenos Aires, 25 July 1932.

  • M. Regensburg -- Moli pikon in rumshinski's operete "dos tsirkus meydl," "Di idishe velt," Philadelphia, 25 April 1934.

  • Jacob Mestel -- "Undzer foter shomer," "Yidishe kultur," N. Y., October 1950.

  • Rose Shomer-Bachelis -- "Vi ikh hob zey gekent," Los Angeles, 1955.

  • Ber Green -- A shtik kolirfule fargangnheit fun der idisher amerike, "Morgn frayhayt," N. Y., 12 June 1955.

  • Jacob Mestel -- A tsushteyer tsu yidisher teater-geshikhte, "Yidishe kultur," N. Y., October 1955.

  • Jacob Glatstein -- In tukh genumen, "Idisher kemfer," N. Y., 4 November 1955.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 3, page 2112.

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