Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


The Badkhan of Zembin
(Lazer Sheinman)

Born in Zembin circa 1839. His father was a shoemaker. Until his marriage, Lazer also was a shoemaker, then a sexton in a synagogue, divorced his wife, married another and became a klezmer with a cymbal. Gradually he became a badkhan, and received a great popularity in the entire milieu. Mainly he used to travel to poor weddings because he had been required by the synagogue bride.

Lazer was a short, industrious person with a constantly smiling face, and he used to love children very much. On Simchas Torah he used to direct the poor children in hope, where he allowed them to wash, and then over the wealthy homes, where he used to, with the children, remove the food into a bag and and then share it with poor people.

During a wedding he used to say programs that often had taken on a satirical character. Together with a klezmer, and at times by himself, he used to perform his own "shtik", among them the pantomime "A golem." A special success was had by his "production" -- "Der glh." He thus used to put on a tablecloth, eynhiln himself as such in "A riase," took the hemerl of a cymbal, instead a tslm, used to sit down, and the klezmer Yeshaya Muravantshik used to dress up as a countrywoman, and together they performed a scene such as the countrywoman who comes to confess to her priest.

It was a satire on the hypocrisy of the priest.

Lazer Badkhan also used to produce a scene under the name "Der eretz-yisrael yid," which used to end with a dance in a special way. He used to tsupasn a por shtoltsn, wear a long robe, tie a pillow to his belly, and in that attire he used to finish with an ingenious dance.

Being a badkhan and klezmer, Lazer used to bitern tropn, and in the last years of his life, he received a just reward. In 1903 he passed away.

  • A. Kharik -- "Azer sheynman der badkhn fun zembin, "Tsaytshriftn," Minsk, 1926, I, p. 264.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 136.

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