Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Baruch Chemerinski


Born on 28 December 1899 in the new city of Murafa, Podolia Gubernia, Ukraine. Father -- rabbi and ritual slaughterer. He was raised in Krasno. He learned in a cheder, for seven years with his father, in a Beit HaMedrash and also took "hidden" courses. From childhood on he had a desire for  badkhanim and fokusniks, and when the Krasno choir boys used to come in the middle of the week to "perform", Ch. used to help them in the technical preparations.

At the age of sixteen, he fled to Vinnitsa, where he began to prompt with "amateurs,' later also acting in small roles and took to writing plays. In Vinnitsa he also learned as an extern and earned a living giving Hebrew lessons.

Due to his desire to paint, he traveled out to Odessa, where he learned in the fine arts school under the direction of Rengbald and manager  Bazukher of a Yiddish theatre (Sabsey, Fiszon), especially from behind the scenes. He was arrested and sent away from Odessa, and Sh. returned with a false passport, examined in Rabbi Tseir's yeshiva, learned as an extern and performed during private evenings with his own "shtik" (Odessa types). Again he was arrested, and he fled to Mohilev Podolsk, where he staged in a wealthy home his play "Purimshpiel", which was based on the persecution against the Yiddish theatre by the Russian might. Again he returned to Odessa, where Ch. had success, entered into a Yiddish troupe and traveled back in  1913

to Vinnitsa, where he nourished himself as a teacher and performed in evenings with programs of "day topics". Due to the outbreak of the World war, he remained in Vinnitsa, and he performed (until 1917) in various "evenings" with the members of the "Literarishe kunst gezelshaft (Literary Art Society)" (that later called itself "Unzer vinkl"), as well as plays from the Gordin repertoire  (in a part of the productions, where there was also participation by actor Jacob Libert).

On 25 December 1918 he performed in the Vinnitsa municipal theatre "Ktrilevke," in three acts with a prologue, per Sholem Aleichem, from B. Chemerinski", and on 2 June 1919 there was staged Ch.'s "Shlim shlim-mazel, a comedy in three acts, per Sholem Aleichem, by B. Chemerinski."

As a vice director of the Hebrew gymnasium in Vinnitsa, Ch. directed the student productions and also arranged one "evening," together with David Vardi.

1919 -- Ch. entered into the Moscow Hebrew theatre "Habima", with which he later became one of the prominent actors and managers of the theatre, with whom he went on a tour with in 1926 across America, and after the troupe was divided was the main director of that part of "Habima" that settled in Eretz Yisrael.

In the "Habima", Ch. staged (together with Abbie Friedlander) H. Leivick's "Khblim (Chains)", "Amkh (The Big Winner)" by I. D. Berkowitz, per Sholem Aleichem and his own dramatization of Kh. N. Bialik's "Der kurtser fraytog."

Ch. has published more articles, generally about theatre, and about the "Habima" especially, including a series of memoirs in "Yevreyskaya Letopis."

M. E.

  • Avraham Bley-Tspuri -- Dos harts fun der "habima", "Dos yidishe folk", N. Y., 21 January 1927.

  • Morris Meyer -- A realer zin tsu a tiefen simbol, "Di tsayt", London, 7 January 1931.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 2, page 902.

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