Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Abraham Blum


Born on 15 July 1893 in Radzivilov, Volin Gubernia. His father had a stroke a week before he was born, and B. was raised by his mother's parents. Aside from his sacred studies, he had at fourteen completed the city governmental school. Then he became a writer at the request of his uncle, a lawyer.

His grandfather sent him yet to the Kishinev yeshiva of R' Sholom Perlmutter, where he learned for three years. From there he went with his mother for a short time to Paris, then back to his shtetl, and finally he traveled with his uncle to New York.

His desire was to devote himself to the theatre, to write plays, although he had yet to define clearly which is such (vos iz azelkhes). His uncle, laughed at his "intelligent dreams", and he enrolled him in a night school, and at night in a shop for sewing jackets. However, being in the shop for a month's time, he became so iberdrisik, that he proposed to his uncle that he be sent back to the Ukraine. His uncle agreed with his choice, that B. should learn for a certain time and not work, and so he learned English for two years until he came into his "Pennsylvania Railroad" train company as an official. Here, in a collection of various types, he dealt with the matter in his first drama, "Der eviger kamf (The Eternal Struggle)", which was staged on 28 August 1914 by "amateurs" in Philadelphia, and on 17 January 1915 in New York by second-class actors with an old actor Cesar Greenberg in the main role.


Due to the cold attitude of the Yiddish actors, he lost the desire for the Yiddish stage, went away to New Haven to study at Yale University. There he expanded completely from the Yiddish world and began to write poems for a Catholic newspaper, and he translated one-acters of Murgenyev and Chechov for various journals .

Under the impression of a demonstration against the pogroms in Poland, he wrote his drama "Kol ya'akov (The Voice of Jacob)", which was staged by Gustave Schacht in the Amphion Theatre on 11 September 1922. He went away to New York and began again to work for the Yiddish stage.

On the initiative of Joseph Rumshinsky, he translated "Shulamit" in English, then he translated into Yiddish Yushkevitsh's play "Teyvel-gelt", which was staged by Gabel.

On 26 February 1926, Joseph Shoengold staged at the Lyric Theatre, Brooklyn, his drama "Der khum fun glik (The Dream of Happiness)".

On 21 October 1926 in Baltimore, Viera Zaslavska staged his comedy "Di mume fun lemberg (The Aunt from Lemberg)".

On 31 October 1926, his biblical drama "Ruth" was staged in English in Sam Harris' Theatre in New York.

B. translated "Sm (Sam)" by Lunatsharsky, and "Di meshugene" (from French) for actor A. Azro.

In the last three years, B. was publicity agent  for Gabel, the National Theatre, and for the "Vilna Troupe".

On 7 December 1927 in the Hopkinson Theatre, there was staged his drama "Ir letster tants (Her Last Dance)" (later staged by Gabel); 17 February 1928 in the McKinley Square Theatre his drama "Di vilder moyd (The Wild Maid?)".

On 1 October 1928 Samuel Goldenburg staged at the National Theatre his comedy-drama "Di libe fun a nar" (later staged in Detroit under the name "Yoshe gulm"); 16 November 1928 Joseph Shoengold staged in Philadelphia's Casino Theatre his play "Ven a harts libt (When a Heart Loved)" (later staged in Detroit under the name "Der kabaret-zinger (The Cabaret Singer), in Montreal under the name of "Nakht-leben fun new-york (Night Life of New York)", and on 8 November 1929 -- in Brooklyn's Lyric Theatre under the name "Di kabaret-tentserin (The Cabaret Dancers)".

On 4 January 1929 in Chicago with Glickman, there was staged his play "Shtif-brider (Stepbrothers)"; 20 October 1929 in New York's National Theatre there was staged B.'s operetta "Di eyntsike nakht (The Only Night)" (music by A. Olshanetsky), and on 1 November 1929 in Boston, there was staged by Hollander B.'s comedy-drama "Dzheykobs kinder (Jacob's Children)".

Sh. E.

  • L. Fogelman -- Di naye piese in neshonel teater, "Forward", 25 October 1929.

  • B. Y. Goldstein -- Oyf der teater evenin, "Fraye arbayter shtime", N. Y., 22 November 1929.

  • B. Y. Goldstein -- Oyf der teater evenin, "Fraye arbayter shtime", N. Y., 6 December 1929.

  • A. Frumkin -- "Di eyntsige nakht" in neshonal teater, "Brooklyn Yiddish Voice", 20, 1929.

  • A. Frumin -- "Di kabaret tentserin" in lyrik teater, "Brooklyn Yiddish Voice", 22, 1929.




Sh. E. from







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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1, page 174.

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