Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Joseph Barondess


Born in 1863 in Kamenets-Podolsk, into an important Chasidic family. He was raised in the town Bar, where his parents had moved to. There B. was one of the first meskhilim, had organized a library, and participated in an amateur production in a play about Cantonist life.

At the age of twenty-four, B. immigrated to America. Here at first he was a peddler; however, he was not content with his profession, and he then applied to the director of the "Roumanian Opera House" Moshe Zilberman, that he may enter as an actor, but Z. rejected him.

Among his choices, B. became a tailor in a shop for children's clothing, where he had after a short time organized s strike that was a failure. B. then went away to work with cloaks. Later he had specialized in sport jackets, and he worked in a shop, together with Morris Hilkvit.

Thanks to his speaking skills, B. became a work leader. He was one of the organizers of the United Jewish Workshop Cloakmakers' Union, Children's Jacketmakers' Union, Clothing Workers' Union, and first member of the Actors Union, Chorus Union et al.

B.'s main work was dedicated to the cloakmaker, and he led the first cloakmakers' strike in 1889-1900.


B. was a co-founder of the "Forward", and there he had for a certain time written light articles, then B. founded the "Baltimore Free Press", and also had issued several other editions, including "Frank B. Kaply -- The Jewish President David Israels, translated and with an introduction by Joseph Barondess. Literary Publishers, New York, 1916 [71 pp., 16].

B. then withdrew from the Worker's Movement and participated almost totally in every Israel Rule Movement.

B. had much love for Yiddish theatre, and he often used to try to be an actor, performing in various acting events and funeral occasions.

B. was the chairman of the committee that used to arrange yearly benefit productions for veterans of the Yiddish stage, e.g. Jacob P. Adler during his illness, and also he arranged for the Adler memorial production in the Spring of 1928, for the purpose of a gravestone for Adler.

On 19 June 1928, B. passed away in New York and was brought to his eternal rest at Mount Carmel Cemetery.

  • Necrology in the American Yiddish Press.

  • M. Dantsis -- Yosef barondess, a kharakteristik, "Der tog", New York, 20 June 1928.

  • B. Ts. Goldberg -- Der dur, vos geht avek "Der tog", New York, 21 June 1928.

  • Reuben Breynin -- Barondes als mensh un khll-tuer, "Der tog", New York, 21 July 1928.

  • Dr. A. Koralnik -- Yosef barondes, "Der tog", 18 July 1928.

  • Yakov Magidov -- "Der shpigel fun der ist seyd", New York, pp. 55-62.

  • Sh. Y. Yantskan -- Yosef barondes, "Haynt", Warsaw, 3 July 1928.

  • Leon Motskin -- A bletel erinerungen, "Haynt", Warsaw, 3 July 1928.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 126.

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