Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Berel Bernardi


B. was born on 26 April 1873 in Lemberg, Eastern Galicia. His father was a [mnkr], an Orthodox, cultured man.

B. learned in a cheder, Talmud Torah, and he completed a folkshul. As a child, B. sang with Cantor R' Aaron Sholom?, and at the age of nine "played theatre" at home with the late folksinger and actor Moishe Weinberg. From age thirteen to sixteen he sang as a professional singer, afterwards entering into Gimpel's as a barist, also acting from time to time in small roles, and he also participated in the dances. Three years later, when Berl Bernstein traveled to America, B. took over Bernstein's roles, and he acted for six months with Gimpel, then Axelrad "stole" him away and took him to Czernowitz where B. performed with him for six years across Galicia, Bukovina, Rumania and Hungary. Gimpel "stole" him back, and he acted with him for six years, then went over to Anshel Schorr in Przemysl and its surrounds, then to Moishe Weinberg in Krakow and Hungary, until he came to Berlin, where he acted with his own troupe. When Thomashefsky guest-starred there in 1901, he took B. with him back to America, where he performed in Cleveland with Harry Bernstein under the pseudonym of "Bernardi". From there he was engaged to Elias Glickman in Chicago, where he acted for two seasons, touring for a half-year with Jacob Silbert across the province. He acted for eight seasons in Boston, where he also during that span of time had his own troupe. Then B. acted for seven seasons with Mike Thomashefsky in Philadelphia, two seasons with Gertner in  Chicago, directed a Yiddish theatre for two years in


Milwaukee, acted for two seasons with Kalich and Dina Feinman in Boston, a short time with Hershel Zuckerberg in Philadelphia and with Ross in Newark, single seasons with Lillian in Boston and with Hershel Zuckerberg in Montreal, three seasons with Gabel in New York, and a season with Thomashefsky in Toronto. He stopped acting for two seasons, then in 1928-9 acted in Philadelphia's Arch Street Theatre.

B. also participated in the films "Gebrokhene hertser (Broken Hearts)" (1926), and "Der vandernder yid (The Wandering Jew)".

Specialty: Character-comic.

M. E.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 206.

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