Lives in the Yiddish Theatre


Shmuel Deyksel

He was born in June of 1886 [according to Z. Reyzen in 1884] in Kishinev, Bessarabia. His father had a large tailoring business. He became an orphan when he was very young  and was brought up by his sister. D. received a little Jewish education in the cheder, and after that he attended Jewish State public school.  At age fifteen, he became a judge in a haberdashery business, and three years later went back to school. During the Kishinev pogrom he was wounded and arrested. Later he led the revolutionary propaganda in Odessa, Nikolayev and other cities. He also engaged in propaganda while serving in the army on the border of Persia-Afghanistan.

On his return to Kishinev, Deyksel under the pseudonyms Rivares and Ovod became a regular contributor to the Russian newspaper  “Bessarabaskaya Zhizn” ("Bessarabian Life").

In 1911 he immigrated to America, where he worked in a tailoring workshop and became a member of the Russian newspaper  “Novyy Mir” ("New World"). He became familiar with Jewish literature and began writing in Yiddish, publishing in the "Freye arbeter shtime” ("Free working voice"), then - in the "Tsukunft" ("Future") and "Freyheyt” (“Freedom”), and other publications.

In last years Deyksel studied chiropractics and worked in this profession in New York.

In addition to other fictional works, Deyksel published "Ten one-act plays" (publisher "Freyheyt" (“Freedom”), New York 1925): “Oyf a neye veg” ("The new way") (two scenes), “Nokh tzvelv banakht” ("After midnight") (a summer fantasy), “Nakete neshumes” ("Naked Souls" )(a drama), “In a shloflozer nakht” ("In a sleepless night" ) (a scene), “Vemen di geter libn” ("Whom the Gods Love") (a drama), “Tsvey foters” ("Two Fathers" ) (a drama), “Dom fayer fun unzere heymn” ("The Fire of our Homes"), “Vi mir zeynen” ("These We Are") (a relief), “ In zikh” ("In itself") (a psychological study), "Shah mat" (a drama sketch), “Vays un Shvarts” ("Black and White”) (a scene).

In “Morgn freyheyt” (“Tomorrow-Freedom” (8-10 Oct, 1929) was published Deyksel’s “Der templ fun ale haykigkaytn” (“The temple of all holiness”) - a satire in one act”.

In 1929 in “Funken” (“Spark”) (N.Y.) was published D’s “Der tsorn fun der erd” (“Anger from the Earth”) a play in five acts and nine scenes [95 p., 16°].

Deyksel also wrote a drama in four acts entitled “Tsurik tsum folk” ("Back to the People").

In 1923 D. was the director at New York's "Kunst-ring" ("Art Circle"), in the summer of 1929 the cultural director and Director of dilettante productions at Camp “Unity", and his one-act plays are often performed by various amateur circles.

M. E. and M. E. from Sarah Kindman

  • Z. Reyzen – "Lexicon of the Yiddish LIterature", pp. 687-89.

  • M. Olgin – New drama ‘Der hamer” (“Hammer” ), N.Y. March 1926.

  • Froyka Shvartsman  – two proletarian books, “Freyheyt”, (“Freedom”), N.Y., November 11, 1929.






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Adapted from the original Yiddish text found within the  "Lexicon of the Yiddish Theatre" by Zalmen Zylbercweig, Volume 1,  page 294.

Translation courtesy of Iosif Lakhman

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