Born in Odessa. A mashkhil. Was
[according to Israel Tabatsinskov] a teacher in a Talmud
Torah in Yelisavetgrad, and developed a close friendship
with Gordin. According to Reuben Weissman, B. was a
tailor in Odessa, but always manifested a love for
Yiddish theatre, and interested in Goldfaden's first
He arrived in America in the beginning of
the eightieth year of the nineteenth century with the
first group "Em oylem", which had strove to colonize
Jews, and was under the pseudonym "Israel ben-oylem" the
editor of their writing organ in Yiddish under the name
Among the group, who then arrived from
London, one also finds Leon Golubok, who was the main
power of the troupe, that Thomashefsky had assembled,
and gave with her in 1882 in new York the first Yiddish
production in America. In this production and also in
the later productions, B. also participated.
When the "troupe" had already played the
entire Goldfaden and Shomer repertoire, B. wrote for her
in 1883 the play "Di vanzinige" an "Der pogrom".
When the professional actors came from
Romania, and the earlier troupe disbanded, the "actors"
united into a cooperative sewing shirts, and B. became
foreman and bookkeeper.
Later, when Thomashefsky organized again
his troupe, she went under the company name "Boris
Thomashefsky and Leon Golubok and Israel Barski as
Author" to Chicago, where they acted for a short time.
Arriving in Chicago B. opened in New York
a shop for old clothes, participated in the socialist
movement, and acted in a directing role in the movement
to create a general organization for the tailor workers
in America. For this idea he had under the pseudonym
"Israel ben oylem" agitated in a long series of
articles in the 'New Yorker "Idisher folks-tsaytung'",
and in old appearances during preparations and meetings
until it was, together with socialist M. Perlman,
successful in March 1889 in founding in New York the
"Brotherhood of Tailors" (United Tailor-Brothers). In
1890 B. edited the organ "Shnayder farband" that
directed an agitation to unite the tailors' unions for
particular cities into a general organization that also
However when the economy turned bad in
New York, B. moved over to a town in the state of
Pennsylvania, where he opened a store of old clothing,
and it was here that he passed away around 1900.
Zalmen Reyzen -- "Lexicon of Yiddish
Literature", Vol. I, pp. 226-7.
B. Gorin -- "History of Yiddish
Theatre", Vol. II, pp. 24-6.
B. Gorin -- History of Yiddish
Theatre", list of plays.
Chanan Y. Minikes -- "Di idishe bihne",
New York, (Zeifert's "History of Yiddish Theatre").
Boris Thomashefsky -- Amolige idishe
aktyoren, "Forward", 18 August 1923.
Ab. Cahan -- "Bleter fun mayn leben",
New York, 1926, II, p. 183.
Zalmen Zylbercweig -- "Teater-zikhrunus",
Vilna, 1928, p. 70.